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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And Then There Were Five...

There came a time…a while ago…that I wanted to write a blog post.  Well, the fact of the matter is, quite often I want to write.  The thing is, sometimes it has been so darn long that I have written that there is this huge hill to overcome.  A million changes have occurred in our lives over the last few months.  How do I write about an especially fun day, or an amazing trip for Spring Break, when I haven't even introduced Stella Rose!  Yet, it's hard to find words to write about how wonderful our life has been with this amazing new tiny person.  Today, I decided, it's okay.  Just write what I want to write.  That is what I have always done and it is what I will do again…tonight.  So with no further ado, I am so happy to introduce Stella Rose.
Stella joined our family at 1:47am on February 23.  She weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces and was 21 3/4 inches long.

The end of my pregnancy was definitely the roughest that I had ever experienced.  Quite possibly due to the fact that I have never made it to a due date and Miss Stella made her appearance five days AFTER my due date.  Not to mention, I had steady and consistent contractions for the last four weeks of the pregnancy.  Yet, I am convinced that a rough pregnancy produced the most chill and easy-going baby that I have ever met.  She fits into our family so perfectly.  God certainly made her just for us.  She is so worth the wait.
The night of Stella's arrival was the most relaxed birth that I have ever had (just like Stella!)  Ben and I went to the hospital fairly early with contractions because Jillian's labor was so fast that I was only at the hospital about 20 minutes before she was born.  Better safe than sorry and a car delivery was not a desirable option if we had any choice in the matter.  Although, we didn't need to worry at all.  Everything progressed steadily, but it wasn't a crazy whirlwind.  It was relatively peaceful and each step of the labor happened when it should.  Then, at 1:47am, Stella was born.  For the first time, I was able to have my newborn placed on my stomach immediately following birth.  She stopped crying right away and nuzzled right in with me.  It was love at first sight.
In the morning, Myles and Jillian came to the hospital to meet their new sister.  Seeing the two of them love their sister with all their hearts, just melts mine.  It started that day in the hospital and it continues every single day.  No one squeals with joy more than Jillian when Stella smiles and coos at her.  She talks to her and looks forward to the times each day that Stella is awake and ready to play.  Myles is her protective big brother.  He loves to hold her, sing to her, and was the first one to object when the animal trainer joked that she was the perfect size for snake food at Gatorland on our vacation to Florida recently.  They love her and I can see in her eyes, she loves them too.
Now a bit about my new baby girl.  As any mother would say, she is amazing.  She is so relaxed, peaceful, and happy.  Frankly, my other two were never "chill" babies.  They both wanted to nurse every two hours and were quite fussy.  Stella, just goes with the family flow… a basketball game before she was a week old, dance practices, school drop offs, you know…normal stuff.  We even made the trek to Florida for a week of fun in the sun.  She was perfect and content.  A happy baby.  I won't bore you with boring details about the fact that she sleeps through the night and often puts herself to sleep when I lay her down drowsy.  Chill.  That is the best way to describe her.  Well, that, and happy, cuddly, loving, smiley, beautiful, and the sunshine of my everyday now.  It is amazing how a mother's heart can open and love each and every child in her family with so much gusto.

My days lately have been filled with cuddling with Stella and having good old family fun.  I never imagined that the transition would be so easy.  I thank God for answering my prayers. For giving us a wonderful baby girl that completes our family in a picture perfect way.

 A few random photos of the last two months…

Hospital photo.
First doctor's visit.

Stella enjoying a basketball game.
Roadtrip to Florida!  
 When I look at this picture...I realize…just how many kids we have...
Sitting under an umbrella by the pool.
 Sibling love.
Stella at the beach.
 Beach baby.
 The kids call Stella "GlowWorm" when she wears this green swaddler.
 First touch of the ocean.  She smiled.

 This feathered lady kept trying to steal the gator food (hot dogs) from Myles!
 Silly Jillian at Gatorland.
Legoland.
 It's baseball time again!
Stella cooing.
And smiling.
My Love.  Be Still My Heart.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Almost Post-Flu Irrational Rant

Warning: Irrational Rant Is About To Ensue.  Proceed At Your Own Risk.  Seriously.  Consider Yourself Warned.  I'm A Little Crazy Right Now And If You Remotely Like Me, You May Want To Stop Reading.

I know there are people in this world that suffer so much.  Sickness, emotional stress, loss…every single day terrible things that happen.  I always try to keep the little issues in my life into perspective.  Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind and I realize that most are worse than mine.  But today…after a week like this week…I just want to scream.  I want to scream as loud as I can, as if it would help in some way.  Although, the truth is, it would just send me into a coughing fit that would likely last the better half of an hour.  So.  I won't.  But just know, I want to.

Sunday night we started getting sick.  Really sick.  Influenza sick.  The whole family.  I won't go into all of the details, but Influenza is not funny.  And if you are wondering - yes, we had flu shots.

Our week has included:

  • Fevers.
  • Coughing and chest discomfort that relates closely to an elephant repeatedly stomping on you.  (Oh - and if you are almost 37 weeks pregnant and you are coughing so hard your whole body is behind it - you will have contractions….and you will pee.)
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Adverse reaction (Ben) to Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug, that sent him into a severe vomiting day and ended in a face full of broken blood vessels.
  • A flu test for me (apparently flu and pregnancy together are a BIG deal, and doctors will scare the sh!t out of you if it happens to you)  I didn't know you (well, a doctor) could stick a stick up your nose six inches.
  • 16 phone calls with different doctors: general, pediatricians, OBs, you know, all the good ones.
  • Rebound fevers for Myles every night, even after full days without.
  • A medication list that I am required to take (despite arguing with both my regular doctor and OB about - they insist the drugs are better than me not breathing…really?)  that scares the sh!t out of me.
  • Worry.
  • Constant wonder if it will ever end and if we are all going to make it.
  • Counting baby kicks to see if she is doing okay.
  • The whole family wearing masks so we don't re-infect each other (extra fun when you are not breathing well anyway). 
  • Wonderful phone calls and texts from concerned and praying family members.
  • Closed front door drop offs of supplies from my caring Mother-in Law.
Okay, there is more, but enough b!tching I suppose.  Today, we had declared was it.  Ben and Jillian have been better for a while.  Myles has been pretty good despite an occasional and random fever.  I have been the worst, but yesterday the anti-viral drugs must have clicked, because I had marked improvement.  Today was going to be the day that everything got better.  Better enough that we can get dressed by Saturday.  Baby steps I suppose.

So, I am taking Myles's temperature and I lift up his shirt to find…..a RASH.  I smiled, took his temperature (98.9), asked him if it itched (yes), and went ballistic over text to Ben.  Seriously!??!?  Why the hell do we need a rash too????  I need to get ready to have a baby.  I need to disinfect this plague from my house before a tiny little baby comes home here.  I need to get back to growing a baby, instead of losing weight laying on the couch everyday.  WE NEED TO MOVE ON.

Instead, now I needed to call his doctor on this new development and send my husband texts that include every swear word I know.  And you know what?  Auto-correct won't even LET ME SWEAR.    No iPhone… I do NOT want to say DUCKING.  Sometimes enough is enough and this is enough for me.  I'm done with this.  I haven't left the house all week and taking a shower was the biggest accomplishment of my week.

Ben read all of the texts and asked all of the right questions…what can he do?  should he come home?  what does the rash look like?  what is his temp?  You know…all of the right things.  I read them breathing my shallow breaths (heaven forbid I take a few deep breaths and cause a coughing fit until tomorrow) and continue my freak out.  Of course there is nothing he can do.  There is nothing any of us can do but wait for this crap to LEAVE my house.  His last text though………ticked me off so much…….but only because he was so right……

"We're almost there.  Just close your eyes and say a prayer, babe."

So I will.  I will.  But first…this rant.  But I will.  And it will get better.  Gotta go.  My kids are asking when it will be warm enough to swim in the lake.  They must not have heard of this Polar Vortex B.S.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Love and I'm Better Off Without Lists...

Love List…

  • That I have lists this Tuesday!!  Monumental as lately!
  • Myles and his snowman last weekend.  Not sure if that is some sort of dental headpiece…or what.  He was quite proud of the creation though.
  • Myles and Jillian have been playing together non-stop.  They seem to have grown even closer over Christmas break.  Today it was basketball in the basement.  Yesterday it was "college" in the den.  There is always someone to play with when you have a sibling.
  • Tonight during the basketball lessons, I could hear Myles telling Jillian, "Don't worry, practice makes perfect.  Keep trying, you'll get better."  Adorable.
  • We bought a new baby mobile last weekend.  Each night since, Jillian wants to listen to it when it is time to go to bed.  I'm not sure there has ever been a little girl more excited for her baby sister's arrival.  Ever.
  • Sleeping on the couch.  Not sure why, but there is no more comfortable place in my world lately.  Want to know what is even better?  My wonderful husband will sleep on the couch with me, because he knows I won't ditch him overnight to sleep on the couch.  So, on some weekend nights, the kids camp in the den in sleeping bags and Ben and I camp on the couch in the nearby family room.  Pure love.
  • New TV shows.  Aren't we all glad about that?
  • This weekend, Jillian and I have a fancy tea party playdate with a few of her friends and their moms.  We are BOTH super excited.  What fancy girl wouldn't be?
  • Myles and Ben (the coach) have their first official basketball game this weekend!  It will be so fun to watch all of those first and second graders dribbling around the court!
  • I have a vacation day tomorrow.  I set it a long time ago to get ready for the baby.  Since Jillian has pressured me so much to get ready the past few weeks, I'll still do a few things for the baby...but I think Jillian and I are in need of a girl's day!
  • Tomorrow is Jillian's first haircut ever.  She and I have both wavered over the decision to cut for quite some time now.  The day is finally here.  Hoping she can keep some of her curls.
  • Baby hats.  (Enough said.)
  • This year, my family adopted another family and instead of purchasing Christmas gifts for each other, we showered this family in need with gifts.  Jillian was able to pick out all of the gifts for the four year old girl.  When we delivered the gifts, Jillian and the girl became instant friends and played together for an hour or two while the adults chatted.  Almost a month later, Jillian is still talking about the little girl and how they are friends.  She was happier to give to that little girl than she was to receive this year.  Although, she was hoping to have some gifts under our tree that were similar to what she had picked out for her.  :)

I'm Better Off Without List…

  • People saying things to me like, "You are still pregnant?!?"  "Geez, when are you going to have that baby?!?"  Yup, still pregnant.  I'll have her when it's time. 
  • That feeling that I have to pee SO BAD and then I barely go.  (I know…TMI…Sorry.)
  • That nasty look of our back yard when the snow starts to melt.  It goes from looking like a beautiful winter wonderland to a melty, icy, dog poo garden.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nesting and Prepping

Maybe it's the snow and cold…maybe it's the insane level of nesting urges that I have been experiencing…or maybe it's the sweet friend who wrote to me and told me that she has been reading old posts…  Any way you look at it, this little corner of the internet has been on my mind.  Time to clank a post out on the keys tonight.

The Motivator
Christmas has officially left our home and has been replaced by baby nesting craziness.  Each year I feel a pang of nostalgia as I pack each ornament away, knowing I won't see them again for a whole year.  Especially this year, my mind was racing as I was thinking how different our life will be the next time I am taking our stockings out of their bin (especially after purchasing a new one to match Myles and Jillian's that will be used for the first time next year), or my favorite "Get in touch with your inner elf" sign.  Yet, the super clean, simple homeyness after the decorations are all packed up always wipes away that sad feeling.  Fresh and clean.  Ready to start the new year.

This year, after the decorations were put away, Jillian and I went into super-nesting-prep-for-baby-mode.  Before this crazy prep session, by looking at our house, you would have never known I was eight and a half months pregnant.  Unlike with the first baby, we did not have a nursery set up and waiting five months before the baby's arrival.  There was literally not a single sign of a baby in our house (unless you count American Girl paraphernalia in Jillian's room).

I couldn't believe Jillian's extreme motivation in this baby prep initiative.  She wanted everything ready for her sister, and frankly, she wasn't real interested in her mother taking occasional breaks.  "We gotta get this DONE MOM!!"  Sorting through her old clothes...setting up the crib…washing baby socks and hats in Dreft…all of it.  She was the driver, the motivator, and frankly, the pusher.  She was successful.  We are officially ready to bring home a baby whenever she decides to show up.  Myles wasn't exactly interested in helping…although during the prep he did inform me that he is hoping that I will be busy when the baby is born and he will be able to play video games whenever he wants to.

So, now we are left to waiting (and deciding on a middle name).  I'll tell you, there are many things that I have found different about this pregnancy than the others.  Many are probably simply due to the fact that I am older…  Yet, there is one more recent observation that I have to simply attribute to the fact that this is the third time my belly has ever been this big.  You know those weird pictures that you can see a baby's hand or footprint clearly through the mother's belly?  Like this?  Well, it has been proven the photos are doctored, but seriously, I feel like this is reality to me.  It seems like there is hardly anything between her and my skin.  I can make out body parts with ease and frankly, Ben can spot them across the couch.  So odd, yet so amazing.  So, we are on to weekly doctor visits and praying that I don't have another 10 pound baby (okay, she was a half an ounce shy - but she poo'd in utero, so I say it counts).  I prefer to deliver a newborn (not a two-month-old) if possible.  Here's hoping!