Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lydia's 1st Christmas

I thought I'd share some of our Christmas pictures while a squirmy 8 month old tries to type her own message on here:

Yes, it was Lydia's 1st Christmas which makes things extra exciting. Our kids together are the dynamic duo (if you haven't already noticed in the pictures) and to remember this year, I decided to put some of their shared moments to song.

Lydia's 12 Days of Christmas:

On the 12th day of Christmas my Big Bro gave to me

12 goodnight kisses
11 Thomas re-runs
10 tickling fingers
9 mismatched socks
8 early wake-ups
7 bonked heads
6 swigs of apple juice
5 cups of puffs

4 pulled out hair bows

3 racecar sleepers (hand-me-downs of course)
2 candy pez
and a wrapped chocolate kiss fished-out by mom

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was probably one of my favorite ones so far as a little family. It was simple, and we all enjoyed dressing up for Church Christmas morning (Stevie and Daddy in matching shirts and almost matching ties). Lydia gave us the biggest reaction to her gifts, which surprised us, haha. Stevie sure got into the giving part a little too much...with the candy, juice, and puffs. Whenever I hear, "Here a go" (horray for another sentence!), I need to go see what's being given away. "We share our toys not our food and cups." Apparently, Stevie was more into the Pez dispenser than the candy itself, so I guess it was an "easy" giveaway. They are becoming more interactive (which is definitely a wonderful thing) and it's so much fun to see.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stevie's Christmas Miracle

Over the past 2 weeks, we have seen some amazing changes in our boy. We don't really know what's going on in his little body that are causing some delays, but I do have my hunches. We have started him on probiotics and vitamins. We started 2 weeks ago. His changes began 2 weeks ago as well. Coincidence or not, Stevie is improving, and we are thanking the Lord.

His mood is so much happier and playful. The brightness in his eyes and face seems to have "come back." (I hadn't talked about this with anyone but Matt and my mom, but I had noticed in his pictures that they just weren't capturing my boy the way I see him. It worried me, it made my heart ache. His smile and eyes were back for our family Christmas pictures. I can't tell you how I cried with Matt over those pictures. That's my boy in there.) He's trying to talk to us. He still speaks in his own language as he used to, but he is saying so much more in "English." I have my little list of his words from before beginning Early Intervention, and now his updated list of his vocabulary. He has said more words these past 2 weeks than he has his whole life. I waited almost 2 1/2 years to hear him say, "Mom" (which has become "Mommy"). Matt waited even longer to hear "Daddy." I know some parents of children are still waiting...years and years, and that pulls on my heart deeply. Typically, he would call my name and then jabber in his language. He had some words like, train, plane, truck. Single words, expressive words (wow!), and "Mommy" were what made up his "English." He said, "Where are you?" for the first time when he was 17 months old, and he never went past that, and lost it too. He now, at 30 months, has some short phrases/sentences again. "I want help" (this helps him so much), "Where'd go?" "Here we go!" Yeah, he likes to "go." Signing...for just a few words....and his jargon are more his thing.

Two days ago, Stevie helped me bake cookies. He loves the dumping and mixing of ingredients. I think he ate his weight in chocolate chips, but he had a great time. The cookies came out of the oven, I set them on the counter to cool, and he said it. He said, "Mommy, I want ookie." I could've cried. Never before had he put my name in front of an English sentence. Never before had he desired a need or want with a full sentence. And, I think he's only said "cookie" once before then. He only wants to sign it. You better believe that boy got a cookie even though it was almost lunch time!

Yesterday, we had a rough day at Kids Gym, and I asked him if he wanted to go. "I want go." Do you want to go home? "I want go home." For us, this is huge. This is amazing. He has started telling me, "I need change." He has never cared about a messy diaper in the past, and now he's telling me with words! He's also able to say, "drink", "juice", "milk", "snack", "lunch"....and so much more. At speech last week, I was telling his therapist about the changes we were noticing. I was praying he would show her. He often shows us better than his hour with her. That week, he said more words and had no tantrums with her. No throwing himself on the floor when the challenges were too much or he was unsure of what she wanted...or being unable to communicate his wants. There were three times the expectations or challenges were a bit much for him. Instead of throwing himself down on the floor, he reached up to Sophie with arms out for a hug. I observed from the other room with tears. This is my boy.

We still have our struggles and challenges. We aren't out of the woods yet. We finally had his OT evaluation, and he will be getting those services. We have other appointments yet. But, Stevie is improving, and we pray it continues.

Probably my most cherished moment (well, maybe it's tied with the cookie sentence) has occurred twice. I enjoy a good 7th Heaven episode, haha, and Stevie cues in to the theme song. He's always liked music. Sometimes he'll bob his head to it. Well, I'm sure you've all heard the theme song. Two different times now over the past 2 days, he has sung one word. "Go." "Where will you go when the world won't treat you right? The answer is home. That's the one place that you'll find 7th heaven." He has never sung before. Matt and I stared at each other with jaws dropped. He has the sweetest voice, holding that little note. "Wow, good singing Stevie. Mommy loves to hear your voice." And, I think that song is sort of just right for him these days. And go figure, he likes the word "go." The other time he sang it was the same word "go" or it was the "home." I can't remember because they sound similar and have the same long note.

His little voice singing. His sentences telling me his wants and needs. His bright smiling face. Prayers being answered. My boy is my Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Table Time

I mentioned in an earlier post I've been doing what we call, "Table Time" with Stevie most weekday mornings. It's usually during Lydia's morning nap. Here is a list of things we've been doing. I take out his little art caddy I got in those dollar bins at Target, and inside are 2 or 3 "options" (unless it's a baking project, water time, or oats and trucks...he only needs that "one" option). He can do one of them or all of them...his choice.

*Oats in a pan with construction trucks, cups, spoons, etc. He would do this one every day if I let him! (I definitely use this one on days I want to try to get something accomplished!)

*Coloring books/pages, crayons, and markers.

*Bingo Markers and paper or coloring pages for "dot" art. Stevie likes this one, but it's messy. The dot markers aren't as easy to wash off him.

*Magnetic letters and a tin.

*Tonka mini cars and trucks and a road play mat.

*Can with pipe cleaners. (He does have a tear line on his face...sometimes, he gets frustrated, but this kind of activity is really up his alley.)

*Pom-pom container with holes.
Several of these ideas came from this blog...she has SUPER ideas!

*Animal cards and oatmeal container with slit to put the cards in and take them out.

*Water tub and water toys, cups, etc.

*Play doh and accessories.

*Crafts: Crayola's website has some good ones. We often are making trucks and trains...go figure. This fall, we made a finger leaf tree (and I did this with my 1 year old Sunday School class too, so cute!): Today I have a little painting project to do, so I'm giving him a wooden ornament (left over from ones we did in Children's Church last year) to paint while I paint.

*Oh, yes, he has a pocket chart! I love it. It's a very small one...from once again, the Target bins at the beginning of the school year. He has a verse on there (we hope to change up once he's able to memorize and share), pictures of his family members and names, and usually Thomas trains to move around. Now, he has a nativity scene he helped make. He mostly did the gluing because glue sticks are his thing. Of course, he decided he still needed a Thomas train Percy or whoever is behind the stable.

*Baking...he helps with brownies or cookies, and then I often give him another little bowl of some flour to play in with measuring cups and spoons.

*Magnetic pen and balls (This was like a dollar from the Christmas Tree Shops...a favorite store!)

*Curlers...not to put in his hair, hehe. He can take the sponges on and off the plastic holder...eventually, he can do more of the snapping closed too.

*When there are 2 or 3 options in the bin, there is usually one of the activities listed above and then often a coloring page, a book, or some matchbox cars reserved for Table Time. This way, we don't go through the "fun" activities or "different" activities as quickly and there are several days before repeating. We also start with snack, which takes care of that, and adds a little more time.

I'm sure there are others, so I'll do a post again in the future with new things. If you have a toddler, go ahead and try some of these. They really have been wonderful in our house. We now have a cupboard in the kitchen reserved for Table Time activities. Stevie gets a little time with me or on his own that is a bit more structured, and when he's busy working on his own, I can get some dishes done.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"All of Me"

I'm not really sure how to start this post. I'm trying to tread lightly in some ways but still record my honest heart. We are going through some "new" areas with our dear Stevie. Since around the time before Lydia was born, he has shown more and more sensory "issues" I'll call them. Please forgive my vagueness for the time being. Like I said, I want to tread a bit lightly for now. So, add the sensory issues to his severe speech delay, and add that to some "low-tone" we've seen in him and are now just discovering that it has a name, we have had a lot to muddle through, think about, research, and pray about. While looking more into these things, I could not believe the connections of many of his symptoms. It was extremely eye-opening. I am not by any means quick to use terms for labeling. I don't want to jump to conclusions or diagnoses. However, I do not want to ignore things which may lead to regret later on. Stevie is a happy, expressive, lovable, caring, and fun little boy. He has the most cheerful belly laugh I've ever heard, and his eyes are full of life. He has been in Speech Therapy for a couple of months, and sort of oddly enough, his sensory issues have become more pronounced and reared their heads in other ways since beginning. Upon his original evaluation, they noted some of those issues, but I was told they were not "getting in the way," and all that he needed was Speech. As of late, we are seeing the opposite to be true.
To be completely honest, this is a road not without fears. I keep holding onto his his engaging eyes and trying to hear that laugh as often as I can...because I love them, and I confess, part of me worries that they may fade. I worry his expressiveness and interaction may fade before my very eyes and be lost in a world his own. How often I have heard the stories of having a happy "normal" baby born, and as time went on, the child regressed. I do not want the difficulties he's having to grow further in the way of his development. I am so thankful for his Speech Therapist, as she's sort of walking us through this, helping as an outside perspective, and working hard for us. He is making some progress in the speech sessions (and in our regular days), which is so's just little bits of slow progress, but thrilling nonetheless. I sit in the other room while he's with his Speech Teacher, and the little positive things I hear and see, literally bring me tears of thankfulness and encouragement. Sometimes, he'll catch my eye in pure delight from a moment of his own progress, and we'll smile together. You see, I love my little boy with all my heart. I want him to live a full, happy, normal (I guess whatever that means) life. I believe every loving parent desires the same, right? No one wants their child to have any more challenges in life than are already there. I think the child would certainly appreciate that as well.
So, at this time, we are seeking as many services as we can for our little guy, such as possibly OT and PT and a visit to the Developmental Pediatrician on top of Speech Therapy. All of this takes a little time as it's a process full of evaluations and set-ups. This may just be the boost he needs or the more intensive help that will mean a hopefully better life later on. We're trying to find that balance in our minds and emotions. I had never even heard this song by Matt Hammitt before last week (well, I think I may have heard it, but it wasn't until last week that I really paid attention), and boy, has it just been my heart as we love on our little boy and work with him.

I have so much to be thankful for, and I am so thankful... for my healthy children and a loving husband who is home and with us. This is not meant to sound extreme and certainly not insensitive- others are going through far greater challenges and trials, just as this song is actually written about. But for me, sometimes the unknowns can be intimidating and scary for sure, but I am so thankful I am in direct connection with the loving Creator of my son, and I know He is not finished with any of us yet. I will do all I can for his and his sister's (and any other children He sees fit to give us) growth and development. Father, hold our hands and our hearts and don't let them go... and may I pour all I have into my family.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Webcam Fun

Matt was working on homework the other night on the floor of our living room. In his school bag, was his "tool box" for the lab, and there were a pair of safety glasses in it. Stevie wants to be a part of EVERYTHING Matt does. Matt gave him the tool box to investigate, and he wanted to wear the glasses.

So...we had fun with the webcam while he tried them on.

Umm, the boy is getting a cold I think.

Caught in the Act!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Extraordinary Laundry Days

Our washer and dryer are not presently working, so laundry has been on my mind even more than usual. One of my favorite household chores is doing the laundry (which is probably a good thing considering my last post's frequent occurrence). I oddly enjoy sorting the loads, and Stevie used to like swimming in the piles of dirty laundry as I sorted. Thankfully, that phase seems to have passed. It was cute and fun...but obviously gross. Now, he happily tosses items in the washer as I start a load, and I'm happy to announce, they are usually items from the appropriate pile (instead of the clothes I just took out of the dryer). I feel a sense of accomplishment as loads are completed and the Mt. Everest of pants, shirts, onesies, and towels disappear, but it doesn't take long before a new pile is formed and waiting. And, hanging clothes on the line at my own house, just makes me feel so grown up...probably like a little girl wearing her mom's high heeled shoes ("teacher shoes") through the kitchen and basking in the uneven clip claps on the hard floor. If you never did that, you missed out!

The task of laundry has changed for me. I was once an unenthusiastic young girl folding her brothers' holey underwear and mismatched socks, and then a college student rushing to get her load in (and remembering to switch it) before every other student in the dorm decides it's laundry day. Later, I became a new bride smiling with pride as I folded my groom's work and play clothes: the khaki pants and polo shirts, the jeans and t-shirts, the camis and uniforms ...and yes, some holey underwear and mismatched socks. One day we will arrive at the stage in life where those are a distant memory, right?

Now, I tend to the piles of dirty laundry produced by a young family of four. I once dreamed of being in this place...being in this place of doing my own family's laundry. It is no longer a menial task but something I look forward to and enjoy. As I try to erase the dirt and food stains, I am reminded of our week. It's as if each article of worn clothing has a story to share of the fun we had and the messes made. I love to fold the fresh clean clothes while they are still warm. There is something so sweet about the smell of baby detergent and the folding of baby and little guy clothes, and yes, even the big guy's clothes. Some of the messes wash completely away and some remain as stains. With each wash, the clothes are a little more worn, a little more loved. My little ones are growing so quickly! Newborn clothes are stored away and exchanged for bigger ones. One chapter ends and a new one begins. As I fold the sleeves and pant legs, I think of the family member who will fill them. What treasures I have! And, what a perfect moment it is to pray for them. I pray that they will remember the wonderful times we've shared together in the adventures of the day. I pray that we will learn from the difficult moments and be washed clean with His mercy and grace for a fresh start and a new day. I pray that we will all grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. I pray that each day we will live purposefully. And, I pray that I am just the woman for the job of being the helper to my husband and the nurturer of our children. It is the desire of my heart to welcome the Creator of our days and our lives to fill our days with abundant life. These are ordinary days we're living. Matt is working hard at school and his job, and I am home with our 2 year old little boy and (almost) 6 month old little girl. Even though our days are quite ordinary, they are wonderful and beautiful. With each grass stain that is made and with each shirt that is folded, may our hearts be learning and growing and praising our heavenly Father as he transforms, in the way only He can, these ordinary days into extraordinary ones!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And the little girl wore white

for an hour.

Our camera is temporarily (hopefully) broken, so webcam pictures will have to do these days:

The Front:

Yes, her shirt says, "Cutest Little Sister"....not "Cleanest Little Sister."

The Back:

And this was before it traveled up to her neck.

While cleaning her up, Big Brother sized up the situation: "Whoa, wow! Oh no!"

*Why are my posts about such things? I guess because these are the days we're living! More posts unrelated to poop to come!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Twas the Night Before colonoscopy ...and let me tell you, creatures were stirring!

I debated writing about such a thing to the world, but then I decided, why not? Sometimes I deal with circumstances by trying to find the "humor" in them. If you don't want to know about it, hold your breath, close your eyes, and plug your ears... or you know, don't read. I know you're going to be disappointed, but no, I did not post the photos I was presented with afterwords, and believe it or not, I didn't on facebook either.

Hi, my name is Becky, I'm 27, and I had a colonoscopy last week (and no, spellcheck, I'm not trying to write "kaleidoscope"). It's been a crazy several months, and I guess I could say I'm ready for some normalcy around here, but then again, what is normal? I hope this doesn't come across as too off-color, but, I'm just talking about the human body. Remember the book, "Everybody Poops"? Kinda like that. Anyway, here's my story:

I was having some symptoms that my dear husband made me go to the Dr. about. There was blood in places it shouldn't be. Clear enough? I submitted to Matt (hoping he would change his mind?) and went. I hadn't even been to the office since before I had kids. A rectal exam wasn't exactly what I was looking forward to that day. All I can say is, I sure am glad I've had children...labor and delivery (as well as delivery repairs and other issues I've had) sort of keeps the modesty feelings in check. While I tried to distract myself and "relax" (ha!) in that odd position, I thought, it sure would be nice to someday go to the Dr's office and be able to keep my pants on (and is it too much to add keep their hands out as well?)! Anyway, I was sent on to a GI Dr. I cancelled the office appointment with him...knowing a colonoscopy was imminent...and there's no need to pay out of my pocket (or rear) any more than I have to. So, I might as well just get it over with.

To be completely honest, I was terrified of the whole prep process. They aren't joking when they want to flush you out! I counted and was up to almost 20 runs to the bathroom (with no "warning") before I went to bed around 9pm. The bathroom trips started around that math! I'm glad I was, a hem, caught up on laundry! I camped out upstairs (since our only bathroom is there), and I'm sure it sounded like the running of the bulls below me as I ran to the bathroom each time. Thankfully, Matt went out for some precious sensitive baby wipes for me. By the time of my procedure, I had gone 30 times. I kept my sense of humor through the night before, and at that point, I was still feeling physically fine. Sure beat being sick with the runs.

However, the next morning, I felt completely different. As I tried to drink my final doses, my body shook with exhaustion (I lost 4lbs overnight), and my stomach finally revolted. I "threw up" 7 or 8 times...who knows, probably more. Because I was not allowed to eat anything both days, there was nothing in my stomach but that Gatorade and miralax...and acid, and my body dug to the depths of my being to throw something, anything up. I cried while my body tried to rid itself once and for all of that nastiness, and in between retching, asked Matt to call the Dr. I was dearly hoping for the permission to stop, but of course, I was told take a little break, let my stomach settle, know it, keep drinking. (I have a hard time with that one size fits all medical mentality. I'm not a 350 lb man, but I had to drink the same amount.) I was green that morning, literally....and pathetic. I packed "spares" in my purse and kept a garbage can in the van for emergencies on the trip to the hospital...seriously, people, it was *that* bad, and what are you gonna do?

We arrived at 1pm. I kept looking for the hidden cameras from this point on...because I'm sure someone somewhere was watching and laughing, as patients heading to "Endoscopy" walked stiff-legged. We had to go to the 3rd floor and wind our way around the hospital. Couldn't make it the first floor huh? The whole time I was praying I wouldn't have to "go," especially as the elevator bounced when we reached the 3rd floor. I had a black fleece conveniently tied around my waist ...because I'm a planner. We made it, and I checked in. I was told to take a seat with the others in the waiting area. The waiting area was packed with people clearly not as anxious as I was (or as young). We sat for not even one minute. I looked around and asked Matt where the bathroom was (you know, so I could make my mad dash when needed). We saw the sign pointing DOWN THE HALL! (I can hear the snickers from whoever is watching this on camera.) That was it, I was not sitting to wait for my name. I was going to be proactive and stand in the hallway, half way between the receptionist and the hallway that led to the bathroom. Everyone else was calm, cool, collected...and seated, and I was sweating bullets,standing in the hallway, muttering, "It's ok to be ridiculous, I'm never going to see these people again." The first person was called with the intercom. Hmm, wonder why they announce your name over a speaker? Because you could be a mile away in the bathroom, that's why! A half an hour later, my name was called. I stepped up, was asked to confirm that I was there to see Dr. so and so for a co-lo-nos-copy! Shout it from the rooftops won't ya? I'm not sure the physical therapy students joking around in the hallway heard that clearly enough!

And again, I waited. That was when I noticed prep and recovery room #2 was in the back, behind the reception area through a door (like normal...for privacy) and...where was #1? #1 was in the hallway where we were standing. Apparently #1 was an afterthought. And, I had to crack the joke about how of course they made room #2 first for such a was on the mind, and I was nervous. Matt laughed with me? at me? the whole time. Either way, I reminded him, "Someday, this will be you!"

They called me back (to the prep room #1 that lacks privacy of course), and had me change into a gown. It was a room full of beds and the little curtains. The nurse showed me where to put my belongings under the bed and closed the curtain. I changed into my lovely gown keeping it untied in the back per instructions, bent over, and laughed...and laughed. My poor, weak body still had a little laughter left. Of course they ask you to put your belongings under the bed after changing into the gown and the curtains around the bed crowd you and only hang as low as mid calf! There was no way to prevent this bare bottom of mine from hanging out below the curtain. I stopped trying to hold my gown in place as I squatted and bent to put my clothes under the bed. If this was the way it was gonna be, fine then! I wondered how many bare bottoms they must see everyday just from putting belongings away. And cue hidden cameras to curtain area #1, span wide!

After the iv was in, they wheeled me into the room to have it done. I got my nose oxygen put in (technical term of course)...just to feel a bit more ridiculous. At this point, the short male nurse looking through my papers behind my bed says, "Oh, I know where you live! My fiance lives right around the corner from you on North St." Umm, awkward!! (I mean, how do you respond to this in such a situation?) I reel my hooked up body and head around the back of my lifted hospital bed with that thing filling my nose and said...just as awkwardly, "Oh. Really?" I turned back around thinking, "Why don't you stop by some time, but it's not like you'll recognize me by my FACE!" The Dr wanted me to fill him in once more about why I was there. and then he gave a pause and look like I probably didn't need this. Nice. After this, the other nurse told me to roll on my side. I looked at her and looked at the door...the open door, which was directly behind where my behind would be. "You going to close the door?" She smiled and said, "Don't worry, I'll be sure you're covered up." So reassuring considering my rear is the entry point for your 6 foot long camera. So that's where that hidden camera was! A few moments later I was out and don't remember anything except saying "oww" a few times in my "sleep" and feeling like my stomach was being pushed on. I have no idea if they ever closed the door.

When I woke up (sorta), Matt was by my side, and I was told I was just fine and was shown the pictures of my insides.

So, I'm thankful I'm healthy, and the actual thing wasn't so bad. And hey, at least I don't have to endure that for another lifetime hopefully (23 years ish?).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Precious Lydia

Precious Lydia,

You will be 5 months old tomorrow! It is surely time I sit down and write a letter to my precious little girl. I still can't believe I have a little girl! I thought I might have several boys before a girl may join our family, and here you are! Lydia was a name I hoped to use one have a little Lyddie.

Your smile absolutely brightens my day and certainly brightens each moment I am able to see it. Your curly grin goes right up to your eyes which join that smile in complete sweetness. Sometimes, you wrinkle your nose and that sweet face offers a cheesey similar to the way your Daddy makes his goofy smile to you kids. Boy oh boy (or girl oh girl) do you look like your Daddy! You certainly are Daddy's girl too!

You seem to be a bit of a snuggler, and oh do I soak that up! (Daddy too) You have on rare occasion joined us in the wee hours of the morning in bed...trying to give your brother an opportunity to get sleep. You roll into me and snuggle in, and of course, I can't sleep a wink! Sometimes you curl up when I'm holding you with your arms tucked in and sticking your little bottom out to find that perfect cozy spot and sort of hum to try to go to sleep.

You've been sleeping about 10 1/2- 11 hours at night for awhile now. You may sleep longer if you had your own room, but nevertheless, you have the fun of sharing a room with your big brother. In the morning, I hear Stevie jabbering and you cooing. He likes to peek over your crib in the morning and greet you! You give him a big smile because you know he's there even though your eyes are still trying to adjust to the light.

Right now your favorite things are your feet and just being a part of the group. You seem to like me or Daddy to sing you to sleep for naps. You're getting good with your hands, putting the pacifier in and out of your mouth (sometimes successfully the right way and sometimes not) as well as other toys. You have your first cold right now. Despite the buggery nose, you're still pretty cheerful.

I am so thankful to see that smile and hear that sweet giggle come from your belly. You often like to do a belly, clear your throat sort of "ha" laugh to get our attention and to get us to pick you up. After those long months of colicky crying, I savor each bout of cheerfulness you show now. Stevie lights up and smiles when you smile, giggle, and talk too. He loves to rub your little head and say, "Nice. Nice." You two sure are a pair in the backseat of the van or in your cribs in your room. It's either joyful or unhappy noises from the both of you. When you cry, your tender hearted big brother is usually sharing your tears. If he's not sharing your tears, he says, "It's ok. It's ok." to you. I hope and pray you will continue to be a close team, playing together, lifting each other up and encouraging each other through the harder times, and rejoicing together in the good times.

I love you so much Lydia Faith. Your name means beautiful and of noble kind, and of course, faithful. You are a princess of the most high King, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made, a true beauty! May your beauty and faith grow as you grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. Your name verses share our prayer for your life: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9). "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). I'm confident God has amazing plans for your life, Lydia. I'm so glad He chose to put you in our family, so that we can be a part of your growing and a part of the plans He has for you. So my Lydia, hold onto your sweetness and smile, grow in your faith, and realize your precious worth in the eyes of your Creator and in the eyes of your family.

Love always and with a kiss,

Friday, September 9, 2011

Scuff, Scuff, Scuff what I heard behind me the other day, and I knew this is what I'd see:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ordering our Days

I did not want to title this post "updates" like so many of my previous ones. Every time (ok, the few times), I pop in here, it's been a long time since my last post. I'm finding it very difficult to either have time to blog, energy to blog, or I have a ginormous case of writer's block. Our days are so incredibly busy, so I'm sure there are things to share, but nevertheless, my days end without a new post.

To be completely honest, part of me has been feeling swallowed up by my days. We are finally getting into a rhythm I think...the rhythm of our family of 4 on "normal" days or weeks. This Spring and Summer was one activity after another since Lydia was born, and I guess I need some down time...or quiet time. We went to Michigan for our family reunion, we had VBS, we had our church basketball camp, and weekends out of town most of the summer for additional extended family time, etc. I guess it's just life...always changing.

First of all, our house needs work! I need time to clean it top to bottom. Really clean and organize. It's just very difficult to do right now. Stevie occupies himself quite well...until I attempt to get something done and another mess is made by his 2 year old hands. :) Lydia often speaks up when I'm trying to get things done too. I've learned I have 30.2 seconds to throw a diaper away, wash a bottle, and use the bathroom myself. And, I only have 2 children.

So, I suppose I'll share some of the changes going on here...that are helping me not feel so swallowed by my days.

Lydia is growing up! She has nearly gotten over the colicky-ness she had! Umm, that's a big reason there wasn't much blogging going on! After 4 months, I've figured out chocolate is a doosey for her. (Oreos, cookies, chocolate ice cream,and chocolate animal crackers in particular...) And all the crying left this Mama in search of chocolate! What a terrible cycle we were stuck in until I figured it out. We thought it may be milk so I cut out quite a bit from my diet, but it didn't help every time. And sometimes, we were all out stumped by the cause (apparently part of the definition of colic). At 3 months, she was a lot better, and at 4 months...sooo much better and happier. She is so much less gassy, and her diapers smell more normal, haha.

Lydia's also getting about half formula now (regular formula...another reason we don't believe milk to have been the issue) and half me. After so many sacrifices, I had to finally just let what happens, happen. I'm not a crazy breastfeeding lady. I just want to give my kids the health benefits of nursing for at least 6 months, and my body is dead-set against keeping up with my kids. The herbs really helped, but we hit that terrible hot week/s in July while we were camping in Michigan and it was over. I drank and drank water, took my herbs, and pumped for a half hour to barely get an oz. What broke this camel's back, was coming home to find our freezer door was left unsealed...and the contents were thawed, some refrozen...including the tears, sweat, and work of 11 bags of milk stored (a little less by that point because she was eating more). I pumped and pumped and tried feeding her all day during growth spurts. I was even getting up at night to pump while she slept (and yes, that is absolutely insane). I've also had other nursing issues I'm not going to get into here. So, if there are other mothers who have gone through the same, I understand!

Anyway, now she gets "only" a bottle at dinner time, and I don't even pump! The feeling of this...well, it's enough to topple me over with joy! I can "fix" dinner (with intermittent interruptions) and give her a bottle without pumping after! It's really the break I need. So, on the nice weather days, I lace up my shoes, give Matt the bottle and our sweet little girl, and I head out for a run! 15 minutes (haha, for now...boy does having babies change this body) of rejuvenation! I love my kids dearly, and those 15 minutes away, renews me and energizes me. Yup, even if it's only 15 minutes. Then I come in and Matt usually takes his turn to go for a run or bike ride and take Stevie, which he loves! It's a win, win, win. I really treasure the time I have with Matt when he gets home from work, so I used to drag my feet about going out for a run (and you know, not go!). Then I realized how little time I'm actually away and how much better I feel, and well, I'm hooked. (On most far..., I'm back to being hooked. ;) )

Another thing I've done is...ok, don't laugh... I've signed up for chore lists that come in a daily email. I actually look forward to seeing what things are on the list each day. You see, when I make my own to-do list, I write everything that needs to be done and am discouraged if I don't finish it...let alone get past the first 2 things. The email focuses on one "room" in the house per day and gives 9 "options". The goal is to complete 3. I love it. You pick 3 and that's your goal...completing any tasks beyond that is also very encouraging for this gal! (So, it doesn't always take much for me.) I have a manageable goal each day for this season of my life! If you're interested, I'll share the site.

I have also implemented "Table Time" for Stevie each day around 10am. (The teacher in me can't stay away for too long.) The first week or so has gone pretty well. He sits in his booster seat at the table with a snack first. Then he has a little art caddy (thank you Target dollar bins!) that contains a few items for him to do or play with each day. I try to coordinate this with Lydia's morning nap (that also seems to last 30.2 seconds, haha, where does the time go?). Stevie gets some extra attention and special time from me while I set him up. Some of the things in his box (only 2 or 3 each day) are different books, magnetic ABC's and a tin to stick them to, construction trucks and quick oats, play-doh, coloring books and markers/crayons, a white board, little cars, etc. (I'll probably do a whole post about this with pictures.) This table time serves a few purposes. I really felt like Stevie needed some extra special time now that he's a big brother especially. With Lydia being so needy since her arrival, I want to be sure he knows how special he is too. So, he gets a little extra attention and time away from his sister... and also away from his beloved Bob and Larry and the t.v.! He gets to play with some different things than usual, and after he's set playing, I'm a little more free to throw a load of laundry in or get something done. I also figure it's not bad for him to have some organized sitting time too. We encourage him to sit with us during church with his church bag most Sundays, but we also let him play in the nursery when he needs to get extra wiggles out. Another perk of this time is knowing where he is and what kind of mess he's making. ;) So far, he's really liked it.

I guess overall, I've been really encouraged with more structure to our day, and Matt and I are working on our goals for our family days for now and in the future. I am still definitely open to fun "extras" and ditching the schedule every now and then, but I think this just helps us run better. I'll take any tips from other moms...especially moms of more children (who may or may not be laughing about my getting the swing of 2 kids).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Brother

Dear Stephen,

How did you grow into my 2 year old boy right before my eyes? Yesterday, you were playing in the little pool at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and I was telling Grandma how you have grown so tall and stretched out. You're no longer my baby Stevie. You're my little boy Stevie.

You have been quite the big brother to your new little sister too. When Lydia was born, that was the first time we spent nights away from each other. And really, that was the first time we spent days away from each other too. You don't nap well other places, so I was worried it was going to be a rough weekend while we were at the hospital. You surprised us though...and thrilled us. You still didn't nap super well, but you did sleep quite well at night in a new place at Grandma and Grandpa's. Grandpa said you woke up and fussed a bit the first night. He told you to lay down and go to sleep. You did! When you visited us in the hospital, you were a bit unsure of the place. (I think you get that from your Dad...hehe) You really didn't want to stay long. It was a bit bittersweet for me. I missed you and wanted to be with you, but I was so relieved you were always ready to leave with Grandpa and Grandma with barely a wave goodbye! I know, they are so much fun! You always have such a great time with them. You didn't have many thoughts about your baby sister when you saw her the first time. You let out a few "words", touched her for a second, and then turned your attention to the umbrella stroller Grandma brought you in.

We gave you a book of different trucks, boats, trains, planes, etc. You sat up with me on the bed and looked at the book. That was exciting until you noticed the iv in my arm and tried to pull it out...while I was looking at your book. You also wanted to press the buttons on that monitor too! Yup, we think you're a toddler boy!

You came again the next day, Easter Sunday. I think you were even more less than thrilled to be there that day. You and Daddy took a "man walk" together. Hand in hand, you walked to the freezer to get some special ice cream. Daddy said you talked the whole way (in your own language of course). You shared that chocolate goodness together back at the room.

The day we came home from the hospital, we went to Grandma and Grandpa's to pick you up. You, Nathanael, and Rachael were waiting for us outside with balloons! (And oh you love balloons.)

You were wearing your beloved green boots!

You certainly have a way of always making me smile...and chuckle, you cutie!

On our ride home, you didn't give your sister much of a glance. (Now that I'm thinking of it, you did give her one glance. Sort of, "Who are you?" And that was it.) And that first week or so, that was how it was. You just accepted her.

As the days passed though, you wanted to get more involved. And if she cried, you wailed along with her. Thinking the pacifier would cure any cries, you would try to help by giving her one. If one worked, for sure 2 would work better.

The pacifiers were also pretty funny to stick on your fingers. And, I'll be sure to share this with your future wife: You were interested in the whole nursing deal with this baby sister of yours. You would often lift up your shirt and inspect what was under there. (You did this a lot through the day...even at church.) I thought for sure you were going to try to nurse her one day. Didn't happen. You were also very interested in the pump, and any time I would pump, you wanted to sit on my lap and play with the dials. I didn't encourage that. (I can hear you now, all grown...gross, maybe, but as a toddler, quite hysterical) You would take spare parts that were drying on the counter and put them under your shirt...making us both laugh out loud!

You often go over to your sister and give me a panic because you appear to be trying to pick her up. However, those are your loving hugs. You like to sit next to her on the floor and touch her feet and her hands. Those are so funny to you. In your own way, I'm quite convinced you say, "Lyddie." When we first brought her home and she would cry and you would become so concerned, we would say, "Tell her, 'it's ok, Lyddie.'" Now, when she cries (and you don't), you melt my heart and say, "It's ok. It's ok." And she just loves you. She lights up when she sees you, and you love it when I say, "Stevie, she's looking at you! She's saying, 'Hi, big brother!'" Lydia is going to learn from you, Stevie. We hope she picks up on your joy and reflects it too.

At Lydia's first Dr's appointment, just a couple of days old, you stood right by her carseat with one hand on the handle, gently rocking her. You watched as others walked by with pride and a protective spirit. You never let go of her seat. Dad and I were so proud of you. We hope you continue to love your sister, that you two grow in friendship, and that you will continue to seek to protect her (even though we think she'll be a tough cookie hanging around you). You might not be the baby of the family and an only child anymore, but you will always be my only Stephen, my little Stevie and my big Stevie (and I'm sure, eventually, Steve.) You're becoming quite the little man already, and what a privilege and responsibility it is for me to be a part of that growing and training process. I'm so thankful to have these little boy years with you...even moreso now that I see glimpses of who you'll be when you're grown. I love you so much, Stevie.

Love always,

This little girl

...I think looks like her Daddy (others tell me differently). a girl of many names, Lydia, Lyddie, little Lyds, Baby Girl, Bids... not much of talker...yet, anyway. She just gives a couple of coos and sighs here and there.

...has been sleeping consistenly for the past week and a half 9 hrs to 11 1/2 (Whoa baby! Except last night, of course, was less than that average.) going through a growth spurt!

...still has some unhappy days with some happy ones mixed in.

...spits out the spit up stuck in her mouth. I would do the same, little girl.

...takes a pacifier but not always.

...has some smile! Sometimes, it's quite the cheeser!

...thinks her brother is quite entertaining. quite patient with her brother's "help" with her. (The swing does quite well on it's own. Thank you, Stevie.)

...should have been born with a crash helmet and pads for her brother's "help" and "love."

...has me smiling whenever I say, "little girl"

...will be 3 months old on Saturday! dearly loved!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sleep and Stumpers

I wish I had more time to write (because I don''s a long post of thoughts smushed togeher). My days are just busy and filled to the max with my 2 kiddos. I have so many memories I want to record and remember of these days with a 2 year old and 2 month old. And, I will admit, there are times I'm hoping some days go quicker. Some things are evening out or getting better.

Lydia had been sleeping about 6 or 7 hours at night when we switched her to her big brother's room at exactly 2 months. Boy, did we backtrack a little bit, haha. We had a few long nights, and after one, I looked at Matt and said, "Let's place bets. How long do you think it will take for her to get back to her old sleeping habits she had while in our room?" I figured we may as well have fun with it, and whoever won would receive their prize and we'd be getting more sleep! What a win, win! Well, don't you know, it only took a couple (a few?) more nights, and she was back to sleeping like she had been. So, all in all, maybe a week. That's not so bad. I guessed 3 weeks (really hoping for shorter...but didn't want to be too disappointed or something if it took that long, haha) and Matt had guessed 2 weeks. He was closest, so he wants TGIFriday's takeout. It's definitely a win, win all around!! I know I wanted tips before we started the transition, so in case you're wondering, here's pretty much what we did:
Most of the advice given me was to put one down before the other. It sounded good, but just didn't really fit our routine, but if it works for you, wonderful! I'm sure when they are older, they will need different bedtimes anyway. We give Lydia her bath first, pj's, and then I begin nursing her (my babies are long nursers) in the rocker in their room. Stevie and Daddy are meanwhile wrestling or playing and getting all that extra energy out (while I jokingly remind Daddy we're trying to wind him down before bed!...But really, he does fine.) Then Matt gets Stevie in the tub/shower, pj's, milk and story or 2, prayers, kisses from me, and he gets put in bed with lights out. At this point I'm hopefully wrapping up on side 2 with Lyds. Stevie usually watches or plays with his stuffed cow or hams it up or...if we're lucky he'll snuggle in (but he never falls asleep till I leave). I will share more about his bedtime antics another time hopefully. Then, I put Lydia down when she's done. If she's awake, I turn the aquarium on (that no longer bubbles from rough big brother). They both ooh and ahh over it...and then when it's over, we begin our routine of settling them with her pacifier, etc. a couple times...sometimes only once...sometimes not at all! If she's asleep when put down, well, they do just fine. At first I tried to really zoom in when Lydia would wake up at night to eat. I realized Stevie wakes up no matter what, haha, so I try to get up and go in a little more safely ...aka, more awake, haha. I change her quickly, feed her, and put her back down...if it's still dark. Stevie tends to think that if it's light out, it's time to be up for the day. In those times, I just take Lydia right out of the room to feed her and hope Stevie will go back to sleep. Sometimes, he does. I'm hoping in time, he will get used to those noises and just sleep through it. For nap, Stevie has the room all to himself for now. Because his night sleep is interrupted, I want to be sure he's getting good naps...when he's able to with a quiet sister.

The 2nd night of our transition, I really began to love the idea of the kids being together in the same room. Our house pretty much requires it for now, and we knew this would be coming...and I also fiured that in time, the kids would come to love it. I just didn't realize how much I would love it. We have our family time in their room right before bed! We're all there, winding down, reading/hearing stories, and doing bed time prayers and kisses. I think this will be the perfect time for our family devotions too! It is just such a special time, and our kids are totally used to it already.

Now, Lydia has been sleeping 8 hours on average, gone a couple 9'ers, 1 10, and get this, 10 1/2 last night!! She even slept longer than her brother (who used to be a solid 11-12 hr sleeper, but since his sister has arrived, has been woken much earlier, haha.) This Mama is thankful! I'm a better mom with decent rest, so I'm thankful this is going much better!

Now the stumper: My sweet little girl often has miserable days. I am quite convinced it's some sort of tummy trouble and often gassiness, some colic? She is starting to have some better days mixed in, but we are stumped on the rough days...and we've tried a lot. Stevie didn't have these issues, so it's new for us. And, I'm being honest here, it is so tiring. Add on top of that how Stevie doesn't like his sister crying, and he cries right along with her while she screams...our house has some loud days. (And he thinks the pacifier will cure when she doesn't take it or spits it out, well...) I just keep in mind that it won't last forever, and I hear 3 months is a magical time for fussy babies...and that's just around the corner! And she's calling "my name"...gotta go!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mama's Milk Mart

Open 24/7.

That's the way I felt around here...and still do to a certain extent, since a little girl came home to our house!

Lydia had jaundice and it got worse after we came home from the hospital, so we I was feeding and pumping and feeding and pumping to try to wash it out of her and avoid another stay at the hospital. I have to say, there were a couple of days I was so worried about her. She just was so lethargic, moreso than just the newborn sleepiness. I was terrified. When we went to get her blood level tested again, she slept through the entire heel prick. The lady said she'd never seen that before. I was worried, and praying all night long for her because she just barely ate, she had no energy. Thankfully, within a couple of days of extra feedings through bottles, she turned around and became a different baby girl.

While I was recovering from delivery, we took down our baby gate to the kitchen. (It's not a swing gate...just a cheapo wooden one, and I didn't really want to have to hop over it.) Stevie was thrilled with the opportunity to get his own cup from the fridge...and peruse whatever else looked good in there too. However, he was also carrying the gallon jug of milk out to me (because of course I was probably nursing) when his cup was empty. That turned into trying to open the jug himself....and trying to pour the jug himself. And well, I had some gallons of milk to clean up off of the floor, off of him, and off of his trucks he tried to play with in it. After a few rounds of this, I decided I made a quick recovery, and we needed the gate back up! Stevie is generally even more interested in milk these days, and I wonder if it's because he sees his sister with bottles of milk sometimes. He's gone through a half gallon of milk just on the weekends.

Like with Stevie, I had a dip in my supply again around 6 weeks, just in time for a growth spurt. I was back to pumping around the clock and visited a natural foods store for some herbs to boost me back up. (They are really helping too! I wish I had done this when I was nursing Stevie.) It was a family affair, so Matt and I loaded up the kids and went to the store. That was an experience! I'd never been there before, but I knew what I was looking for. We pulled into the parking lot and the walls were painted these bright colors to look like farm fields and sunflower fields. I thought it looked a little cheesey, and I turned to Matt, "Are there really going to be walking vegetables in there?" (referring to their commercials)Well, there were aisles and aisles of supplements in what seemed to me no particular order, and thankfully, no walking vegetables. Stevie enjoyed pointing to several containers (thankfully, he wasn't plucking all the bottles off the shelves) and jabbering about them. As I was looking, a guy came over and asked what I was looking for. I turned to him, and he was this young (young as in, around my and Matt's age) muscle man guy. I told him what I was looking for, and I guess judging the book by the cover, totally expected him to need assistance finding it. (No offense to the guy at all, but I figured his expertise would be in the "body building" supplements. My husband who has a nursing wife isn't familiar with what I was looking for.) Boy was I wrong! He acted completely familiar with it! He brought me right to it and told me it was in this form and this form...but you might not want this one because it contains alcohol, and this is another section for "lactation support." I almost laughed out loud at his knowledge, and when we rounded the corner, I did! Matt did too! So, if you need a good natural foods store, I know one where the employees really know their stuff!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lydia's Birth Day

This is the super long version of Lydia's birth story. I guess I'm making up for lost time on here! I just don't want to forget anything!

On Friday the 22nd, I noticed my braxton hicks becoming more uncomfortable, but I pretty much just brushed them off. I ignored them because I tend to cramp and have them quite frequently near the end of my pregnancy. Looking back though, I'm sure things were kicking into gear. I had an appointment that afternoon and being Good Friday, Matt was off from work, so he was able to come and we brought Stevie along to see the Dr. again. My Dr. gave Stevie a little crocheted bunny magnet (I'm guessing for Easter) and did the usual checks on me. She called the baby a "she" again this visit, "She's a little wiggle worm"...and I was still left wondering if it was a "slip" or was that just what she was calling the baby this visit? Anyway, during my "check" she asked if I had any dilation prior to this 38 week visit. I was immediately disappointed by this question thinking I must have backtracked somehow and closed up. At 36 weeks, I had been a centimeter and 75%. I declined a check at 37 weeks. My disappointment quickly turned around when she said I was an easy 3 and 95%! I was so excited and said, "I don't even care if this baby takes another 3 weeks! It's just so nice knowing I've got some work out of the way before it's really begun!" Then my Dr. said something about seeing if I make it through the night or that week. Well, been there done that. Last time she said that with Stevie, and he didn't come for another month!

Even though I dismissed the Dr.'s comment about possibly not making it through the night, it really made the possibility real to Matt and I that the baby could come at any time. With baby #2, I was much more distracted...afterall, baby #1 and other life responsibilities were taking up a lot of time and attention. As we got to my final month, however, I just had this feeling this baby was going to come early...and I wouldn't be ready! With Stevie, we tried everything to try to put me into labor. With Lydia, we tried everything NOT to, haha. So, ask Matt, the final month was spent with me in a stressed panic mode. It drove him nuts...but it probably drove me nuts even more. I had so much to do to get ready for the baby...and I knew I wasn't going to get it all done. Once her name hat (and the hat we ordered had she been a boy) arrived when I was 37 weeks, I relaxed a bit. We decided that was going to be how we announced her gender and name at the the baby couldn't come before the hats did! Anyway, after that final appointment, I called my mom, and we went out for dinner at good old Micky D's. My mom told me to eat something good because it might be awhile before I ate again...joking about me going into labor that night. But, excitement about the coming baby and those uncomfortable, frequent braxton hicks kept me from really enjoying my meal.

I don't remember anything else that happened after the meal that night until...

I must've been contracting during the night but trying to sleep through them...again not thinking much of them. At 4:45am however, I realized I was pretty regular and feeling a bit in my bottom, so maybe I better pay more attention and time them. At that point, they were 5 minutes apart. By 5am, I was pretty certain they were doing something...umm, didn't take me very long to figure it out, haha, so I turned the light on to finish tossing some things in the hospital bag. Matt woke up, but immune to my weird ways, didn't think anything of me doing that at 5am. So, I snapped him out of that state by telling him he may not be playing his long awaited 1st paintball game of the season that afternoon! He says he still didn't really believe it till he saw me stopping during some contractions. I didn't really believe it myself. I kept saying, "It's so early!" (because Stevie was 1-2 weeks late). I really hoped for delivery day to be May 1st (my Dr. was on call then, it was a few days early), so April 23rd just felt ridiculous....and while I packed, I repeated over and over, "so if this is real, she's a girl! She's going to be one prompt little girl!" I was hoping my water would break, so I would be sure...but it never did. We got some more things ready, I took a shower...and noticed a little pink (helping me feel like it really was time), and I called the Dr. by 5:45am...contractions were still about 5 minutes apart like clock work and I was told to come in. Yup, I was going to anyway! My mom and dad came to our house to take care of Stevie (who of course slept in like a champ till 8:30am...on an exciting day we weren't home for!) and we were off. Both Matt and I were so excited. I walked quickly to the van through the dark rain, completely convinced in those steps that we were about to have a baby girl. On our way to the hospital, I called my aunt who's a midwife out of state. She asked how long my contractions were...and I wasn't timing that, so again, I was nervous it wasn't real...but then they'd hit again, and I KNEW it was! I also had a feeling she was coming quickly. The half hour drive to the hospital was feeling like forever, and the whole morning I was telling our baby..."You have to wait till the shift change! You cannot come before 8am!!" (The Dr. on call that evening was large with large hands. So, I wanted to avoid a delivery and "checks" with "Big Man Hands")

We arrived at the hospital around 6:45 I think. I was checked at 4cm and 100%. The nurse looked at me, and asked, "What do you want to do?"
"Umm, huh?"
"What do you want to do? Do you want to leave and go home?"
I was more than confused and had to wait to wrap my mind around the question till a contraction was over. For real? Go home? I was having some good contractions at this way! And my labor with Stevie wasn't all that long. I guess they couldn't read me well to know the intensity of my contractions? They kept acting like it wasn't real labor since my water hadn't broken. It was very weird and very frustrating. So, we were stuck in triage. Matt and I walked around to try to get things moving along even more, and I needed to stop and hold onto him for the good ones. They started coming on top of each other while I walked. I decided to head back to the bed in triage to relax a bit. Poor Matt. I kept asking him (more like drilling him), "When am I going to a room? What are they doing? What's that noise, it's driving me nuts! Tell them I want to go to a room!!" The nurse was busy on the computer and on the phone...I heard her talking about how I delivered a 9 lber. That was the talk of triage, but apparently they weren't as focused on THIS delivery, haha. I was very irritated....afterall, I was in labor. Finally, at 7:45ish (it seemed like a lot longer) the resident came by to check me again. I just wanted to go up to a room to deal with these contractions how I wanted...and relax a little about being "settled in." As she checked me, a look of complete shock swept over her face. "Do you have a high tolerance for pain?"
"Why?"....Well, because I was a 6 but could be stretched to an 8 with bulging bags (a term that sounds so lovely)! I was finally able to get the wheel chair (you know, after we waited awhile for that) and head up to a room!

By the time they got me up there, monitored me and baby for awhile and got my iv in (again more blow-outs...but Matt did superbly! hehe), I didn't have time to use the tub, which is where I wanted to be. The Dr. on call came by at 9, called me "calm as a cucumber" (ha!). (I guess I need to kick and scream to be taken seriously, haha.) I was a 9.5, they broke my water and left...leaving me to wait for the irresistable urge to push. During this time, I had back Matt was able to rub my back while I sat on the exercise ball. Man, that doesn't give you a break between contractions! (I didn't have this with Stevie, and Matt didn't get to "do" anything for me that labor.) I started thinking an epidural would really sound good at this point. After an hour, I still didn't feel like my uterus was going to push on it's own (and it didn't with Stevie either) but I wanted to get it going, so the resident came in. I gave a few pushes. She and the on call Dr. already started getting the gowns on...I couldn't believe it...I actually asked, "So, you really don't think this will take me 2 1/2 hours?" haha I started pushing sometime after 10, I don't know the exact time. I pushed for less than a half an hour this time (soo much better), but boy, that is where the pain meds would be totally worth it. Lydia Faith was born at 10:29am!!

Honestly, I don't know how this is, but she hurt more than Stevie as she entered the world! Her little self! I think it was because the Dr really tried to protect me from major tearing (thank you Dr!!)....and she had me breathe when she was crowning and do some half pushes. That's when I got SUPER vocal, cool as a cucumber flew out the window....grunting, blowing like a horse, and generally making awful loud noises. I remember wondering what the people in the hallway thought. That hurt so bad. They also mentioned her head came out transverse. The resident had guessed her to be about 7 1/2 lbs, but when she saw her "huge" head coming (which wasn't so huge), she thought she was way off...until she noticed her head was coming sideways.

And then.....she was here! SHE was here! For most of the pregnancy I was convinced she was a boy until that morning I went into labor. Matt leaned into my face with a soft but elated whisper voice and confirmed what we both already knew, "It's a girl!" I looked down at her, overjoyed, and the first thing I noticed was the white creamy vernix (which my mom has said I was the only one of the 4 to have) and, "She's soo tiny! She's so tiny!" She was such a skinny thing! The Dr. (who was a riot...her English wasn't always very clear) looked at me and said, "Tiny?"
"Uh huh!"...Ok, so maybe she's average size but compared to Stevie, what a peanut! Then she peed, haha, and I immediately felt badly as I looked down at her tiny little self as she cried thinking, "Ohh, one day you will have to do this." I don't ever want her to feel such pain, but oh the joy! I held her for a long while as she sucked her middle fingers, and then they asked us to guess her weight as they put her on the scale, and I had no idea. 7lbs 9oz! She was born so quickly she had the perfect little head and cone head or marks! :)

I called my mom who was busy with Stevie and getting the Easter meal together (sorry about that, Mom) and told her the baby was here. She was shocked she was born so quickly, and said she couldn't wait to know the details till she came. So, I told her she had a granddaughter! She cried and was so excited...she had been wanting her girl to have a girl I know.

Then my aunt called to give me last minute advice for the labor and delivery, haha. Welp, didn't need that!

Then my cousin, Chrissy, called to see if I had been sent home or not! Definitely not! haha

We were so thrilled! The Dr. kept telling me how weird I was...her word...I think because of how quickly and smoothly it went...and apparently how "calm" I was, surprising them all. The nurse told me I should go into business birthing babies. Ha. She was cute. And at that moment, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was experience that ring of fire again. As I held our little girl, I leaned over to Matt, "So, your little girl already has you missing paintball games!" He told me over and over again how much she was worth it! What a man! What a Daddy! It was quite hilarious as people called him asking about paintball that afternoon and him saying, "Well, my wife and I just had a baby this morning so..." I could've listened to that all day...and I did! She even came with plenty of time for him to make it though if he had really wanted to.

We had the most wonderful time together, Matt and I, with Lydia. It was like a weekend away, haha. We joked that having a baby is what it takes to get a weekend away. Stevie had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa, and we were so thankful he did well away from us (and that I did too...we had never spent a night away from each other...or that much time apart during the day either). He was always ready to leave with them (gladly, haha) when they left the hospital. My recovery has gone amazingly well this time around...a true answer to prayer. I can't even believe it, after such a rough go the first time. I am all for another smaller baby again the next time! Though, we calculated, had Lydia been born a week late, she easily could've been just as big as Stevie too!

Lydia was originally due (by the old fashioned method of calculating) April 23rd! So, see she was a prompt girl! Though her changed due date was May 5th, so she came almost 2 weeks early! We love you so much, Lyddie!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's a Girl!!

Yes, I've been a bit busy around here with our little girl coming almost 2 weeks early! It's been so long since I've been on here, blogger didn't want to let me in.

We'd like to introduce you to our daughter, Lydia Faith.

She arrived April 23 (the day before parents guessed she'd be an Easter baby) at 10:29 am. She was 7 lbs 9 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. I will be posting her birth story as soon as I can...including how they almost sent me home, and she was born a mere 3 hours later!

I am still so surprised (but at the same time not) that she's here already! And, I'm still surprised she's a she! More on that later! For now, I need to get back to my 2 kids! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Stevie is starting to gain a bigger vocabulary much to our delight. The word building has been a bit of a slow go and frustrations (and temper tantrums, ugh) resulted from him not being able to communicate.

We finally got the word "please" down a few weeks ago. "Ceese." (Which sounds very similiar, umm almost identical, to his version of "keys.") I need to get that on camera because it's so sweet. The boy loves 3-2-1 Penguins, and he'll grab a video tape (yes, I said a video tape) and carry it over to me indicating he'd like to watch it. (Is any other mom ready for summer weather? He would watch these videos all day if he could.) If he hasn't said "Ceese" I remind him..."You would like to watch this, please?" He reached a stubborn stage quickly and would refuse to say please. So, no video, which resulted in an unhappy boy. I would try and try to get him to say it...I know he knows! Well, then he started saying it again, and we'd get all excited and yell, "Yay! You said 'please'!" give him high 5's, and just live it up, and pop the video in with great enthusiasm. He loved it.

And so the other day, Stevie brought over his beloved video tape wanting to watch. I waited for the magic word. Silence. So, I said, "Please?" Stevie's response: "Yay!!" and clapping and joyful dances, congratulating his mother on a job well done.

Sigh. One day, he'll get it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Post Overload?

You may or may not have noticed a lot of posts have been published all of the sudden recently. I have this habit of starting posts, and then they sit as drafts unpublished. Sometimes, they are waiting to be finished, and often, they are just waiting for me to hit that publish button. I don't know what it is. I guess I just wonder why anyone would want to read most of them. And some of my posts are just pretty personal, and I'm hesitant to let that out. But, then I need to remember this blog is more for me than anyone else. I need to record these moments. I want to remember these times...the good and the bad and how far we've come. I could just keep a journal, but I think I'd be even worse at finishing entries. So, I keep this public...and if others are encouraged or get a chuckle out of my life, well, that's some good icing on the cake I guess. So, I'm a real girl, a real wife, and a real mom...learning as I go. If you're still sharing the journey with me, thank you! Oh, and if you're wondering, I'm now 35 weeks pregnant with #2! I'm in nesting mode and a little frazzled. I'll try to be back soon!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Boyness in the House

A glimpse of what's been happening in this house of boys (at least for now)...pretty much what you'd rather not know.

Confession time to my husband:
Confession #1: Stevie grabbed your toothbrush this morning....and used it. (The boy loves toothbrushes.)

Confession #2: Umm, I was glad he didn't use mine.

Awful? Matt laughed...he didn't really I suspected. I don't like sharing straws with my husband. I'm not even thrilled with 2 straws in the same cup. (I have more issues I could go on about.) Boys (yes, I'm generalizing here...good or bad) just aren't as grossed out by things as girls (or me anyway). Let's continue with this theme.

My warrior boy discovered a new toy today and was running around the upstairs with it...briefly (aka, just until Mommy saw and let out a "Nooo!"). He was happy as could be with the... plunger! He was so close to sticking his face right in it too. (He likes to try to peek through things.) Gross!! This large, pregnant mama raced over to him pretty quickly! We'll find new things to "slay the dragons" with.

I still have to sometimes keep Stevie's hands away when I'm trying to change him....he just has an itchy bottom I guess! When he walks from his room to the bathroom for his shower (we don't have a bath tub...poor kid), he will hold my hand or dad's (to keep him focused on the destination without a diaper on), and his other hand is usually scratching his bare behind. He chats the whole way. Maybe it's a thing only a mom can find funny and cute.

He pulled an empty container out of the bathroom garbage, and I quickly exchanged it for a container not in the garbage. He was completely content with this...and when he was done, he threw that container away too. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be thrown away. I guess he thought that was where I got his new "toy." No, mommy does not get toys for you from the garbage! (Ok, ok, sometimes we find a cool toy on the side of the road...or your basketball hoop in a recycling bin, but that's different!)

When I sweep our floors, I have to be quick. He loves watching me sweep, and if he spies a cheerio in the pile, it looks tasty. Yes, I have to be quick. I will get you a fresh snack, Stevie!

I've already mentioned how he likes to swim in a pile of dirty laundry, and if he sees one of his blankets in the's love time. Ahh!

Of course he likes to play outside in dirt, mud, and snow...especially with sticks. That's not so bad. And, I'm thankful he really likes his showers! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Isaiah 25:1

"LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

The past several months have been "sprinkled" (some times it seems like dumped) with some trials and difficult times. I shared several on here in previous posts. It was like we were still catching up, trying to tread water since Matt's layoff this summer. We were so thankful when he was hired on by a new company. He was actually hired the day his benefits at his last company ran out. Coincidence? I don't think so. Unfortunately, Matt's new paycheck was not what it had been before and no benefits were provided until he had worked there a certain amount of time. Paying for family health insurance out of pocket was a heavy burden. It was a significant amount more than we could actually afford every month. You can imagine (or maybe you also are in that boat!) the stress of that. We were just trying to "make it" until the benefits rolled in at his work. When the time came, we realized the plan offered at work was no cheaper, so we stuck with what we had. The stress in my gut grew deeper. Well, let me tell you: Miraculously, we were provided for during that time...even though we were so short ourselves. Little blessings along the way and things we don't even know about I'm sure, somehow filled in the gap. Yes, God filled in that gap in ways He can only do. This weekend, things just seemed to smack us though. We felt very attacked through the weekend and into Monday. We are dealing with some diapering "issues" still with Stevie that needed attention ASAP, we had slid into a guardrail on the slippery snow, and we had been in process of switching to a different health care plan to try to make it more affordable for MONTHS! Then Sunday night, our sump pump bit the dust, Matt (going back to school) received his first graded assignment back (and he's almost done with the class in 2 would be nice to know how he's doing before then), and it was not good. Our basement is filling with water, and it's too late to get a sump pump on a Sunday night. Matt tried using something else with no success. However, in that process, he stumbled upon another pump in the basement. (We don't spend much time down there, haha, because it's an old, old cellar of an 1800's house...we've been here since June.) He hooked it up, and well, we know why it wasn't the one installed because it only works when it wants to. For days, Matt (or I had to when he as at work and class) had to go down and jiggle it to kick on...over and over and over. Not my favorite thing to do in the least....stomping through the standing water in the basement in Matt's big boots! After Stevie's Dr's appointment (waiting in the waiting room for over an hour and a half and dealing with more insurance issues...and still trying to deal with his diapering issues after we got home), I was spent. I cried the whole way home. By the time I pulled into the driveway, I said, "God, I know you're bigger than all of this. I NEED You to help. I NEED You to do...this."

A few weeks earlier, when we were looking at our budget in stress, I was telling Matt that I loved him. I loved him way more than any money he brought in, and I appreciated his faithful provision for our family. It's our choice that I stay home, and I will not complain about how much we have or don't have. We needed to do our best and let God fill in the rest because only He can. I said, "Sometimes I think He likes to show us a glimpse of How big He is and how amazing He is when we are so short." So in those moments in the car parked in our driveway, I was faithfully putting all these things in His hands. Like this verse: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Well, we are still waiting for more of an answer in Stevie's diapering department, but never in my wildest dreams would I have expected Him to show His power to us so quickly. The next day, Matt called from work saying he got a raise!! This was so significant that it will meet our financial needs and maybe even a bit more! (Yup, when Matt called me...I cried. I called my mom...and cried. She was confused, "This is a good thing isn't it?" haha.) We are blessed I tell ya! Yes, there is a God. And my God, is a big God who deeply cares and is personally involved in our day to day lives. It is so very humbling to mean that much to Him, and to see His hand at work in our lives. And, how sweet it is to receive such blessing right in the thick of trials. It is so important to me to give praise where it is our great God, and to record these things as further evidence of His greatness and love so I don't forget and can teach them to my children.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday could've been better. We received unfortunate news in the mail on our way out that night...that Matt's G.I. Bill pay for going back to school will be half of what we expected due to new legislation. (Shall I say, "typical.") That was a super bummer. I don't think Matt will be taking more than half time in credits again any time soon because it just isn't worth it financially or stress-wise on the family. As we're running our errands (including a family grocery trip so I don't have to do it on my own every time as a huge pregnant lady with a cute little boy...I cannot tell you how much I love that Matt will come with us in this stage of the game), Matt discovers he doesn't have his wallet. Thankfully, it was not missing (phew!)...just in the car.

Just when I didn't even realize I needed it, while laughing through the store with my 2 favorite men...and waddling severely from a good dinner, waiting for over a half an hour in line, I paid for our groceries, and the woman behind us leans into me and softly says, "I just have to tell you this: You have the cutest baby belly I have ever seen. Congratulations! And your little boy, he's a cutie too!" I'm telling you folks, you want to make a pregnant woman's day, you tell her something positive about the way she looks. (Forget the comments about the hugeness. That doesn't really help.) That lady made my night. She was a complete stranger. She didn't have to say anything out of obligation like those close to you do (or feel like they do, haha).

We head out into the snowy night, and true to form, lost control of the car and hit a guard rail. It could've been way worse....we didn't hit it hard at all, and the damage is really minimal, and of course, most importantly we're all fine.

But oy! 2 steps back and $2 (give or take) short!

And Then There Were 2

No, the baby is not here yet. But just like that, there are now 2 cribs in our nursery. We had contemplated moving Stevie to a "big boy bed," but we decided he loves his crib, and do we really want to rock the boat if we don't have to? Nope. So, we invested in a new crib that we actually moved Stevie into because it's convertible. His previous crib was not (a wonderful hand-me-down for which I cannot complain), so that is now for the new baby. I was sort of hoping to get matching colors in the cribs since they are in the same room, but I could not turn down a good 4 in 1 crib for $88 brand new (plus I had a $10 gift card) just because of the color...I like deals!

Stevie has smoothly adjusted. I'm...getting there. I had no idea how emotional I would be (inwardly, people) as Matt set up the new crib with his little man's help. All of the sudden I felt like, "Oh no! We didn't take a picture of the way it used to be when this was just Stevie's room!" It's all changing. My boy is no longer in the only crib he's ever known. I tried to stuff it a bit and just enjoy the time for what it was. I got a few pictures of Stevie helping put the crib together (the boy has crazy fine motor skills...he was putting pieces in the screw holes ever so seriously and clapping for himself every once in awhile). It was the most precious thing to see my boys working together...and looking SO much alike (in the same positions, working on similar pieces).

But, it's hard to keep stuffing those thoughts and feelings forever. I am so ready for this new addition, so excited for the baby to be here. (And yes, even though I'm feeling relatively good for this stage of the game...almost 31 weeks... I do relish the thought of not having to make 3 pt turns in bed just to roll over!) I guess I just have a difficult time seeing my boy grow up is all. I know, I know, it's only just begun. I don't want to lose the special relationship we have...I don't want jealousy to grow in him as I have to tend to the baby. I want them to grow to become great friends. My mom has told me it was the most challenging for her going from 1 to 2 kids, but after 2, I guess the routine was well established and much easier. It will certainly be an adjustment for us all, but I'm hoping and praying it is as smooth as his transition to a different crib.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Last night was one of those "Some days" that are difficult. Stevie was crying a lot. We go through these bouts of all day crying every once and awhile. Sometimes he's overtired, sometimes he's frustrated he cannot communicate his desires to me (he still has a very limited vocabulary), and sometimes I just have no idea. It makes me feel awful though. It literally triggers something in my gut on such days (and newborn days too when he cried and cried and we just weren't getting it). I want so badly to understand what he needs. I also want so badly to be teaching him that he doesn't always get what he wants and to deal with that appropriately. I want so badly for him to know I love him. And in those days, I can get discouraged. They are often days Matt is gone all day and isn't even able to see Stevie. I think a part of that may contribute to Stevie's unrest...he misses his Daddy. But overall, our days have gotten so much better than they were a few months ago (that left me in tears a lot of nights). He really is for the most part a happy little guy. If you've ever heard him laugh, well, you know, he laughs a lot!! So anyway, in general last night was one of "those" nights.

I was busy doing a lot of laundry. We have uneven floors (old house), and apparently I'm not the best washing machine loader because our machine likes to shake and jump at least half of the time. I try to adjust the laundry, and my attempts are often not accompanied by my desired results, so I confess, sometimes I just grin and bear the noise until it's over. Well, unbeknownst to me, during that loud ruckus of my final load, the brand new unopened bottle of detergent that sat on top of the machine fell, shattering the plastic cap into what seemed like a hundred pieces, dumping the entire bottle of detergent on our hardwood floors. We still had about 45 minutes or something until Stevie's bedtime, so I decided I was going to make some hot chocolate to enjoy and relax with. My little pal followed me to the kitchen and got distracted like usual as I was preparing my "treat." I was just about to take my cup to the couch when I noticed Stevie playing in our laundry area. He was playing in a puddle. I gasped loudly because my first thought was the washing machine leaked all over the floor. Then I realized he was a sticky, gooey mess and I saw the bottle. It was at this moment, I was ready to call it a night and just cry. (Ok, so I'm pregnant maybe that contributed to my emotions.) I set my hot cocoa back on the counter and start my endeavor of cleaning up the floor. I waited on cleaning Stevie up because he would likely be back to "help." I didn't even know where to begin because there was SO much detergent. I wiped as much up as I could on my hands and knees (my belly probably wiped some up too) while Stevie rolled in my paper towel roll as he unraveled it. (I didn't want to use bath towels because who knows how much detergent that would put in the washer and cause another issue.) Then I got out an extra mop sponge and tried to rinse and ring, wipe, rinse and ring...with intermittent times of chasing Stevie around to get my sponge back. (The boy loves all things cleaning.) I cleaned it up (as much as I was going to at that point), and sat down to my cooled cocoa. I internally grieved over that wasted bottle of concentrated laundry detergent though. I used a coupon to save a dollar, but I still spent like $5 or whatever. I thought about the other ways I could've blown $5, and really there are a lot of ways since starting that Dave Ramsey class. As a pregnant lady (who am I kidding, as ME), my thoughts immediately went to, "I could've bought THIS much chocolate..." or whatever else sounded good to eat at the time...oh yeah, and you know, I could've put it towards those student loans. (I think I really should record the "funny" stories of how our good intentioned plans are being sabotaged...what seems like daily.) As a stay at home mom, it's sometimes hard on me that I'm not contributing financially when we could so use it, and when my efforts of trying to save money go down the tubes like in this instance, I get so discouraged. Stevie climbed up next to me for a few spoonfuls of the not so hot cocoa, and then it was pretty much time for bed for him. As I rocked him, I was thankful for that little boy playing in the detergent puddle because if I hadn't caught him doing that, the detergent could've sat making it so much harder to get cleaned up. I was also thankful the detergent was free and no blue stains to worry about.

We survived the day, and really by most people's standards that would've been a piece of cake compared to what they're enduring. Perspective, Becky, perspective.

Then a day like today comes. One of those "other days." My little boy snuggled up on the couch with me while we (he) watched "Boo." He just pretty recently started sitting with me since he came down with that strep throat/scarlet fever a few weeks ago. He has never been a cuddly guy, but I'm hoping that's changing! He ended up falling asleep with me!! People, this has never happened. I can't recall him doing such a thing since he was a newborn! I felt badly, but I told him I needed to change his diaper because he would be totally exploded if I didn't. So, I laid him down and changed him...he slept through it. He has never done that even when he was newborn. What has happened to my boy?! I sooo badly wanted to cuddle up with him and just nap on the couch together, but we have plans tonight, and I still needed to shower (grr). So, I picked him up, he wrapped his little sleepy arms around me, and I carried him to his crib. As I laid him down, his eyes still closed, he gave me the most precious smile. These are the moments I want to hold onto forever...and in those moments, there is nothing else that matters. I may not have $5, and I may be out of laundry detergent, but I have it all...all that really matters!