Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Marvelous Mariah: Tomboy Princess

My dear, sweet, marvelous Mariah turned 6 years old on Monday!!  Most small children anticipate their birthday with great excitement, but Mariah takes her enthusiasm to another level.   On Sunday, she went around offering hugs to everyone...  because it would be their last opportunity to hug her as a 5-year old. :-)

This cute little girl came to me on Saturday with a card she had made... for herself.  She told me to not let her see it until her birthday.

Here is the front and back of her card.  :-)

"Happy Birthday.... To me I'm 6... From me"

On Sunday evening, Jackson went to a church activity and brought back treats as a surprise for Mariah.  While she slept, he wrapped the treats in foil, put a bow on top, and made a shrine with all her stuffed animals in front of her bed.  

After the shrine was finished, all three older boys slept by her bed to surprise her with extra love in the morning.  

The princess 6-year old awoke to a party. :-)

...and a surprise horseback riding lesson!

With many thanks to her wonderful grandparents. 

And now.... HER BIRTH STORY!!!

My sweet friend did an early ultra-sound (16 weeks) to find out the gender of our baby number 4.  I thought our first 3 boys were going to be girls, so I was genuinely surprised when we were actually going to have a girl this time.  The kids couldn't stop talking about their baby sister.  

Her Name

The boys often lay in bed talking about what they would name their sister.  One of their favorite names was "Minnie Mouse." :-)

As I prayed about her name, I was guided several times to spiritual articles in the Ensign about women named Mary and other forms of the name Mary.  I also happened to read a beautiful article about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  My middle name is Mary too.  I went to the temple with a prayer in my heart about our baby girl's name.  I continued to have experiences with variations of the name Mary.  Then, I happened to sit down next to one of my favorite friends from college whom I hadn't seen in several years.  In complete shock to run into her there at the temple, we hugged for a long time.  Her name is Maria.  

Abe and I decided to give our baby girl a variation on the name Mary... thus we have our sweet Mariah.  Her middle name is Christina- named after my angel sister.  

Her Baby Shower

My dear friend Justine and her mother, Elaine, gave me a huge baby shower.  It truly was sweeter than I could have ever imagined.  I remember holding up the itty bitty clothes and wondering about the little body that would fit into the clothes covered in beautiful pink and purple flowers and bows.  Her mother surprised me with a beautiful new bassinet.  Her mother has since passed away, and we cherish that bassinet.  We love and miss her tremendously.

Justine's husband, Josh, noticed that I would be using a camping chair covered with a pretty blanket as my nursing chair.  Unbeknownst to me, he and his wife coordinated a group gift from many of the neighbors.  I received a beautiful new rocking chair at my baby shower from all of them.  I cried as I sat in it for the remainder of the baby shower.

Josh and Abe decided Mariah's bedroom needed to be pink and purple as well, so they spent hours making it fit for a princess.  


My due date was 10 days away.  Abe was still on a trip in Washington state, and I was the Stake Cultural Arts director fulfilling my duties by putting on a big dinner for all the leaders and their wives in the stake.  (A stake is comprised of about 9-10 congregations within my church.)  

I had spent much of the day cooking and preparing for the event.  After the event, I came home, put the boys to bed, washed all the dishes from the event, and collapsed on the couch from all my work.  

Less than 5 minutes after I collapsed, I felt my labor begin.  Less than 5 minutes after that, Abe called to say his plane had just landed.  Just in time!  I told him to hurry because we were having a baby!!!

Josh and Justine came over to stay with the kids while Abe and I took off  to the hospital.  By the time we arrived to the hospital, my labor had advanced quite a bit.  We arrived in the middle of the night-around  4am or so.  I remember  it was pretty dark and strangely quiet.  There were only a couple of people meandering around.   

Between contractions I walked on my own into the hospital; but when those contractions came, my body weakened.  I dropped to my hands and knees to breathe, and then got back up again to walk the loooong hallways to the labor and delivery ward.  I remember feeling silly in the elevator when a contraction came.  I hoped nobody else would come on the elevator while I was dropped to my knees.

I had been planning on not taking an epidural with this childbirth; but the honest to goodness truth was that I was just too worn out from working all day to try to relax through any more labor pains.  I walked into the room, lay down, received my epidural, and easily delivered my little angel Mariah just about an hour and a half later.  

Everything was perfect.

My first 3 boys ended up in the NICU after their birth, but my tiny little Mariah was as healthy as can be.  

First Meetings

I couldn't believe I could be so in love.  She had the teeniest little feminine features.  She was perfect in every way.  I had more fun than I ever thought imaginable reverting back to my days as a little girl playing with my baby dolls.  I remember getting ready for church and Abe would ask me what was taking me so long.  I was embarrassed to tell him I was changing my new little "doll's" clothes.... again... just for fun.  Mariah was my perfect doll. 

One of the kids' favorite stories is when Jordan (age 2) looked at Mariah for the first time he said, "That's a boy/girl."  Jordan had been so excited for a baby girl that he assumed she would arrive with long, curly hair.  When she was bald, he decided she was part boy/ part girl. 

Mariah's Charisma

At age one, Mariah had a gift for making everybody think they were her favorite person in the world.  She was always very advanced in her social interactions.  She still is!  Abe and I loved seeing her melt grown men's hearts.  These men would come to church very innocently looking for little Mariah wanting to hold her.   It's usually the women wanting to hold the babies!  They didn't know Mariah made EVERYBODY feel special.  The little neighbor boy said he was going to marry Mariah when they got older.  A different neighbor boy pushed through the crowd every Sunday, took her by the hand, and accompanied her to nursery.

People are still always drawn to Mariah and her spunk.  She lives life to its fullest!!

*At age 3, she danced in a hip-hop class with kids 8-years old and older, and she actually held her own!  

*At 3 1/2, she ran a 3 1/2 mile race with me without stopping.  As she ran, she looked down at my legs and said, "I can see that my legs are moving faster than yours."  She was absolutely right!  

*When she was 4, she played on a basketball team against girls ages 7 and older.  She jumped so wildly when she guarded the girls that they couldn't shoot the ball because they were too busy watching her instead!  

*At age 5, she played football on two different teams against some really big kids.  My confident little Mariah has absolutely no fear of any situation.  She holds her own... just like she did on her horse this summer up in the mountains.  I wrote about that in my "Wild, Wild West!!" blog post in June.

*Now as a 6-year old, she sings and dances like a star.  She plays the piano and the violin, and she loves to read to all of us.  She bears a beautiful testimony of how much Jesus loves her.  

*Her giggle is so cute, loud, and feminine, you can't help but giggle when she does.  Her tiny arms give giant hugs.  She puts a positive spin on almost every situation, so not much gets her down!

*One of the things I love the most about little Mariah is how well she takes care of her little brothers and sister.  She is very tiny herself, but she hoists those babies on her back or her hip and walks around everywhere with them.  Jayden and Juliana follow her wherever she goes.

She is absolutely adored by us all.  I'm so grateful she came to our family.  She is such a blessing to all of us.  Enjoy the pictures of our Tomboy Princess :-)

That's Mariah scoring a touchdown against a bunch of boys in a game of backyard football.  They all loved playing with her :-)