Tears (by Megan)


Have you ever felt the feeling when something is so emotionally strong you want to cry?

For example, if you see a sad movie where the two soulmates end up apart?

Or when you see an argument, which means you and somebody you love must be separated?

That is what happens to me sometimes.

When I looked at the “41 days of Jane video” in February 10th 2011, I started crying because I remembered Jack. He only was alive for 41 days. I missed him a lot. Same thing happens when mom watches certain Mormon messages.

It is OK to be sad and cry emotional tears.

It is OK to be sad about the soulmates.

It is OK to be sad about the argument or the death of a loved one or a sad message such as The Mailbox.

It is OK to shed tears.


Charlotte at 1 Month


Charlotte turned one month old on July 17th. It has been so fun watching her grow and change. I love living in this digital age so I can take as many pictures as my heart desires.

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I tried to do a little photo shoot within a few days of her birth. I found that photoshoots are really hard on my back and really hard in general. But I got a few sweet ones.

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All of my children have been such sweet little babies, but Charlotte takes the cake. She is SO sweet. She is calm and happy and just…content. She is my easiest baby by a long shot (and that’s saying something because Jane and Alec were both easy babies.) She just eats and sleeps and does her own thing.

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It seems like she sleeps a lot more than my other babies. She has a lot of chaos to sleep through but she doesn’t seem to mind. She shares a room with Adam and me, and sleeps nights in my arms. She has ALWAYS been a good nighttime sleeper. She will go 4-5 hour stretches during the night, and even then she just wakes up to nurse and goes right back to sleep. It just must be so exhausting being so cute.

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She is a good little nurser. Meal time only takes about 5 minutes and she’s satisfied. She does spit up… a lot. More than any of my other babies for sure. I think I am just producing way too much milk and she can’t keep up! Hopefully once things start to even out we will have less spit up! At her two week check-up she was up from her birth weight by 4 oz, at 7lbs 15oz. Also, her hair is curly, but only when wet. When it is dry it just sticks straight up. I love it.

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We are all so enamored with Charlie, but no one is more so than big sister Janie. Jane cannot get enough of her, and luckily Alec still loves babies as well. Megan is so sweet to all her little siblings.

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Charlotte is such a joy and has brought such a wonderful spirit into our home. We are so glad to have her and couldn’t imagine our family without her.


Cousin Marshall’s Baptism


My sweet little nephew Marshall was baptized by his daddy on July 11th up in Centerville, Utah. We were happy to able to attend with our little family.


The Vidal family came from Las Vegas for the event and of course to meet baby Charlotte.


I also got to meet my darling nephew Micah. He is perfection.

Charlotte and Micah. Just over 2 months apart.


Although I have already met Jude before, I was happy to cuddle and love up on his cute little self as well.
And of course Grandma Marshall wanted to love up on every baby at the same time.

Pretty much everyone had baby fever.

We got our first family photo (other than the ones from the hospital…)

And the cousins had SO.MUCH.FUN. playing together all weekend.

All the cousins were so proud of their cousin Marshall. He really is a sweetheart. Thank you for inviting us to be part of your special weekend!



Independence Day 2015



We had a pretty low key 4th of a July. We try to keep pretty much everything “low key” when we have a brand new baby.

The night before, Adam and I were discussing whether or not we should do the big Provo 4th of July parade. We had totally decided not to do it since the year before we got up so early to get good seats and the children didn’t even super enjoy it and it was hot and long. We made no plans to get up early and save seats.

Morning dawned and the kids and Adam got ready to go help clean the church. During breakfast we heard the clip-clop of horse hooves outside our window. The children ran to see and sure enough, there were horses pulling a carriage on the way to the parade route. The all declared they wanted to see the parade! Seriously though, you have to get up so early to get a good spot. Adam dashed up the street to see what he could find. As luck would have it, there was a great spot right in front of the Governor’s tent. I guess people thought you couldn’t set up there. But Adam asked a security guy and he said it was ok. So we scored great seats.

Adam took the bigger kids to clean the church while I stayed with Charlotte. I only planned on saving our spots, but Charlie and I ended up staying for the parade. The children ended up liking it a lot more this year, and the clouds and light rain kept us cool.

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156Later Adam’s brother Jake and family came to hangout for a bit and meet baby Charlotte. We had fun chatting and the kids had fun with their cousin Bentley.


In the evening we did sparklers and then headed to our traditional firework watching spot. So, like I said, low-key, but a good day all the same. We love this country and are proud always to be Americans.





Miss Megan Turns 9!


Sweet Megan turned 9 years old 9 days after Charlotte arrived.



I wasn’t up to doing a big party of any sort, so we decided to invite Megan’s cousin Katherine to come spend a few days with us and the two girls did “birthday activities.” They went to Seven Peaks one day and Jump on It the next. Megan loves both of those places as well as spending time with her cousin Katherine, so she had a happy birthday indeed.


We did pizza and cake and gifts in the evening. Megan’s Johanson grandparents were able to be here for the “party” as well as cousins Katherine and Norine. I had put off getting gifts for Megan for too long, and the night before her birthday I had to run out and find some. In my haste, I ended up buying way too many presents, but it made for a happy happy birthday girl!


At 9 years old, Megan is such a sweetheart. She feels deeply and loves freely. She is so smart and funny. She is growing up so much quicker than I would like, in so many ways. As my first child, she has to deal with a mother who is trying to figure out how to be a mom at each new stage of her life. I am so grateful she is so very forgiving and loving and patient with me.

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Megan deals with more than her fair share of struggles, but she is so strong and brave. Each day I watch her make a conscious effort to be happy and enjoy life. I am certain that she is so very beloved of her Heavenly Father. She is a special spirit indeed.

117 270Some of Megan’s favorite things to do are read, write stories, watch videos on YouTube, read, play Minecraft, play with Jane, swim, read, sing, dance, and did I mention she loves to read? Her favorite foods are pizza (with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top), quesadillas, grilled cheese, and nachos. Her favorite color changes quite frequently. Her favorite music to listen to is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She loves to joke around and laugh and be silly. She is an absolute delight.

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As much as I struggle to be a good mom to this sweet little child, I love her all the more. She makes me so happy and so proud.  There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her every happiness.  I have loved watching her become the little nine-year-old she is now, and I am so excited to see who she will become. But no need to hurry growing up Megan! I sure love you.131

It’s a Girl…


Even before we discovered we were pregnant with our fifth baby, Adam and I were totally determined to once again have the gender be a surprise all the way up to delivery. During Alec’s pregnancy, I went back and forth and had my moments of weakness about not finding out, but when all was said and done and he arrived, it was one or the coolest things ever. So there was no question that’s how we wanted to do things the next time around.

At 20 weeks pregnant we had our big anatomy scan/ultrasound. We were confident and determined to not find out the gender. The ultrasound went great and we walked away so happy that there were no red flags and that our baby appeared perfect and healthy. As our doctor was “checking boxes” at the end of ultrasound, he clicked “not seen” for gender. The only concern was that my placenta was low lying which is far from ideal. My doctor said we would have a follow-up ultrasound to watch and see if the placenta moved up and out of the way like it was supposed to.

At my 24 week appointment, I had my follow-up ultrasound. I reminded the doctor that I didn’t want to know the gender. The ultrasound was only like 30 seconds. He looked, saw the placenta had moved where it was supposed to (yay!) and that was it.

At 28 weeks I had another appointment and again, the doctor wanted to do another ultrasound to double check the placenta. Since the last ultrasound was so short and all he did was look at the placenta, I didn’t even think to remind him that I didn’t want to know the gender. Again, he checked the placenta right away and saw it was fine. Then he also checked the baby’s heart rate and we were done. He put away the wand and then he said “oh wait, there’s one more thing I want to check.” He put the doppler back on my abdomen and immediately said “yep, this baby is a girl.”

I’m sure that because my chart said “gender not seen” that he thought he was just covering all bases. He probably should have said “oh, I see we didn’t see the gender, should we check for it?” Maybe my chart should have just said “patient wants to keep gender a surprise.” Or maybe I should have been sure to remind him I didn’t want to know. It all went down so fast. After he told me I was having a girl, he was probably a little confused that I didn’t reply. I just laid there in stunned silence. It had nothing to do with the revelation that we were having another girl (which I had suspected from the get-go because I was so sick and had always been sicker with my girls than my boys.) I just wasn’t expecting to find out at that moment and like that.

I walked away with a tiny itch of disappointment that the big gender reveal wouldn’t happen at delivery like we had planned. After about 2 minutes of “well, there that goes” all that was left was pure jubilation and excitement that we were having another girl!!! Anyone who knows me knows I have zero gender preference. It was fun to start envisioning what our new life would be like with our 3 girls and little boy. And I’m nothing if not consistent (girl-boy-girl-boy-girl.)

I called Adam immediately and said the ultrasound went well…and that I also knew the gender. He was equally excited that we were having another girl.

We decided to keep the gender a “surprise” from EVERYBODY else. We didn’t tell a single soul we knew we were having a girl. We tried so hard to not lie or be dishonest. When asked we tried to carefully phrase our response. When asked “are you having a boy or a girl?” or “do you know the gender?” we tried to always reply “it’s a surprise” instead of saying we didn’t know. Sometimes we couldn’t help be being a little misleading, depending on how people phrased the question or how much they pushed for an answer, but that’s the thing about “surprises”, right? It’s a secret you keep for a little while. So misleading or not, it was our secret to keep. Especially since we were the ones who most wanted it to be a surprise and it was spoiled for us.

It didn’t take long for our smarty pants Megan to suspect that we knew the gender and weren’t telling. I tried not to straight up lie to her, and she could tell. She knew I was lingering a little longer in the baby girl section at the store. She’d heard me slip when referring to the baby and say “she” more than once. I bought Jane and Alec pink outfits to wear to meet their new sister. When Megan brought this up as “irrefutable evidence” that I knew the gender, I was sure to make her “meet the new baby outfit” blue. I considered telling her the truth, but I knew she wasn’t 100% sure and still wanted the element of surprise.

Megan and Jane both wanted the baby to be a girl from the very get-go. I’m not sure how passionate Megan was about it, other than it meant our pattern remained intact. Jane however really wanted another sister. I’m happy things worked in her favor. I thought another little boy would be so fun for Alec, but luckily he is too young to have an opinion and there’s still plenty of time to even out the score.

Hopefully no one is offended that we kept this surprise to ourselves. I can think of a handful of people that I was dying to tell, but it was more fun this way. We sure love our little girl!!!




The Birth of Charlotte Johanson


I had felt for a while that baby number five would arrive at least a few days ahead of schedule. I’m not sure if my body was telling me this or if it was just wishful thinking during such a difficult pregnancy, but I felt so certain about it happening. When I was 38 weeks and 4 days (Thursday June 11th) I had a check up with my OB. He checked for progress and found I was at 2 cm. I had no progress even up until 40 weeks with Jane or Alec (and maybe even Megan…I don’t remember…) and I took that as another indicator that things would happen sooner than later. My doctor did a sweep at this appointment, although I am not sure it was a full on sweep because it wasn’t as intense or painful as ones I had had with the other children. We discussed the option of inducing at 39 weeks, but neither of us really felt good about that plan, so nothing was scheduled. I made an appointment for another week and headed home.

I started to have some cramping and contracting that very day, but nothing that made me think labor was near. Off and on through the next few days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) was the same thing. Just random contracting at no regular intervals and with no real intensity. I was really hoping that labor might happen that weekend because Adam had so much going on the next week. He had been invited to give an astronomy presentation at our stake girl’s camp on Tuesday, and had big planetarium presentations at BYU both Wednesday and Thursday. Missing any of those events wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but of course we wanted things to work out so he didn’t have to miss them. But the weekend came and went with no activity.

Monday I was so defeated and ready to be done being pregnant. I tried to stay pretty active during the day. I took the kids to the splash pad and we also did a lot of outside play. More contractions, but again, nothing to make me think labor would soon be here. Tuesday I was super emotional. I was so ready to have my baby! Adam went to the temple in the morning and he worried through the entire session that I would go into labor while he was there. He decided afterwards that if he was stressed enough about being in the temple for 2 hours out of contact that he shouldn’t go up to girl’s camp since it was hours away and also out of cellphone range. I hadn’t had much of an appetite for a few days previously and found I was so hungry on Tuesday so we went to Pizza Pie Café for dinner. Throughout the evening I started to have more intense although not regular or painful contractions. We put the children to bed at 8:00 and I decided to get some laundry done and clean up around the house. At about 10ish contractions started and they were relatively strong. With both Alec and Jane I had regular and painful contractions every evening for several days before they were born so a big part of me thought even if things started up that it would be a few evenings of contractions before it was the real deal. It was quite stressful trying to decide if the baby was really on the way yet, especially because my mom wanted to be at the baby’s birth. With Alec I called her in the middle of the night and told her to come (from Vegas) under these exact same circumstances only to have Alec hang in there for 3 more days. So I waited to call her until I felt certain something was actually happening.

I had contractions every 10-15 minutes for two hours. They weren’t super intense but they had a little kick to them. Then one came at 9 minutes so I called my mom at 12:13am and told her I didn’t know if it was the real deal but I could go to the hospital and at least get checked and keep her posted. Adam and I contacted his cousin to come be with the sleeping children and headed to the hospital. By the time we pulled out of the driveway, at about 12:45am, contractions were at about 4 minutes apart and were starting to really hurt. Things honestly went from “maybe this baby will arrive in 3 days” to “this is happening and this is happening fast.”


We got to the hospital and got checked in and in a room a little before 1am. They checked me and found I was at 6cm, and contractions had slowed to about 6 minutes apart. They ordered my epidural and the anesthesiologist was there quickstyle. There were some complications getting the epidural to work, however, and it was a pretty awful experience. Because I have such severe back pain, I couldn’t hunch my back over enough to open up my spine so the needle could get into my epidural space. After multiple needle pokes, the doctor decided to have me lay on my side in fetal position with my knees up and my arms hugging my knees and my head in my chest. It was so awkward and uncomfortable. Not to mention the strong contractions I was having through it all. But it worked. Thank goodness. Because of my chronic back pain, I had been looking forward to the epidural since the day I found out I was pregnant (joking, not joking.) The anesthesiologist later told me he has only had that happen about 3 times. Lucky me.

Once the epidural kicked in I tried to relax while Adam got some work done. They checked me again a little after 2am and I was still at 6cm, “maybe 6 and a half” they said. I was content and confident my mom would make it in time. Adam dozed off and I tried to sleep but it never really came. At 3:30am the nurse came in and told me my doctor ordered poticin if we wanted but we said no. So she checked me again and I was still at a 6, which was fine with me because I wanted my mom to make it. She said there was some fluid when she checked me, but not enough for it to be my waters. At 4am my doctor came in to check me. He checked me and said my water was already broken and I was at 10 centimeters and it was time to push. I only know now that that is what he said. At the time I didn’t really process what he said and I thought surely I wasn’t ready to push since 30 minutes ago I was still at only 6cm.

Suddenly the doctor and the nurse were getting everything ready. I think I asked them what they were doing and what was happening and they were like “you’re having a baby. You’re at 10.” Next thing I knew the doctor was telling me to push. It seriously all happened so fast! I pushed once and they were like “wait, we need the baby nurse.” So they got the “baby nurse” and then they had me push again with the next contraction. Then the doctor said “okay, with the next contraction your baby will be here.” Then he said “or you can just push now if you don’t want to wait.” So I pushed and I felt her arrive. I love that part. Only thing is, she was very blue and wasn’t crying. I asked if she was okay and my doctor said, “let’s just have the nurse take a look at her.” So instead of handing her to me he handed her to the nurse. I said, “be careful with her. Please don’t drop her.” The nurse chuckled and said, “there’s a first for everything I guess.” It wasn’t long before they had her crying. The sweetest little cry (they told me later the cord was around her neck – just like my other 4 children.) Then they brought her right over to me and placed her on my chest. Baby Charlotte arrived 4 days early at 4:04am on June 17th, 2015.




At this point I started shaking and trembling something fierce and I kind of checked out mentally. My baby was here and she was perfect and healthy but it had happened so fast and I was struggling to process it all. I’ve always loved labor and delivery. It’s my favorite part of pregnancy (other than the baby obviously!) I felt kind of robbed of that time between 6cm and 10cm. 30 minutes? That’s seriously not enough time. At 10pm I wasn’t even sure if labor was really starting and at 4am I was holding my new baby. I was sad my mom had missed it and I knew she would be disappointed. And all the stress and worry for the health of my baby that had accumulated over the 9 months of pregnancy was now shifted to caring for this new tiny human. More than with Jane and Alec I had worried that Charlotte would be born sick like Jack. It was such a mixed feeling of fear and relief when she arrived. And as I lay there holding her, I was just so overwhelmed and emotionally and physically exhausted. I recognize now though that it was a very positive and wonderful birthing experience. After all, it’s beyond wonderful any time a baby arrives healthy and perfect. I often close my eyes and go back to that moment; the moment I laid shaking and weary and confused and holding my new child. But when I go back there and experience it again in my mind, I can feel the peace and joy and calm and closeness to heaven that I missed the first time. I hope those are feelings and a memory that will not soon leave me.


Once I pulled myself together I nursed Charlotte and spent some time discovering every little part of her. She weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and was 19.5 inches long. She had lots of light brown hair, with little splashes of blonde throughout. She had one of my dimples high up in her check and my tiny little mouth. She was squishy and pink and perfect.




Adam finally pried her from me and swaddled her tight and held her close. He sure loves his little girl.

My mom arrived about half past 6. I called her shortly after Charlotte arrived and told her baby was here and it was a girl I kind of wish I would have waited to tell her the baby was a girl so she could have been surprised when she met her. My mom was able to be there when the other children arrived, however, and got to see their excitement about getting a new sister. Adam brought them over at about 8am. They were so cute and sweet and I was on cloud 9 with my 4 sweet babies.


The children meet Charlotte:




I know this is plenty long but I would be remiss if I didn’t express gratitude for the timing of Charlotte’s arrival as far as the other children are concerned. I was so worried about who we would leave them with when the time came. Most of our close by family had to work during the day and I was worried how Alec would do with someone he didn’t really know. I was also worried about someone else having to take care of mealtimes or bedtime with my children because my kids are very particular about food and sleep routines. I prayed and prayed for the best case scenario. I specifically prayed I would go into labor in the evening, shortly after the children went to bed. The timing worked out beautifully that all the children were asleep and slept the entire time we were at the hospital and Adam arrived back home just 5 minutes after Alec woke up and both girls were still asleep. Alec also has a tendency to wake in the night and wants only his mama but he didn’t wake at all that night. Everything worked out so well. And I’m so grateful to Adam’s cousin Kristen who answered our late night call and had no problem coming over. And speaking of timing, Adam obviously missed the girl’s camp presentation, but he was able to make it to his two BYU lectures which was very important to him. Prayers answered all around.

Between my 5 children I have had so many different labor experiences. I have experienced the most wonderful and perfect labor as well as a very terrifying and awful labor and everything in between. But I can honestly look back at all 5 labor and deliveries with fondness and happiness and gratitude for the children I have been blessed with. Looking back I have nothing but positive thoughts, even for the emergency c-section and even though my Jack arrived so sick and didn’t make it. I marvel that I got to bring all these sweet babies earth-side and that they are mine for all eternity. I am so grateful that Charlotte is here and that she is perfect and beautiful and I will spend every day of my life keeping her safe and making her feel loved. Thank you for choosing us Charlotte. We love you too much.