Friday, November 27, 2009

Wow- busy Black Friday

I did not participate in the Black Friday madness but I did venture out after it was over. Once we got home Daniel built a fire in our firepit in the backyard so we could roast hotdogs and marshmallows for dinner. Then we all came inside to put the tree up and listen to Christmas music. We then put in K.ung F.u Pan.da and opened our tin of holiday popcorn but the kids started having meltdowns so we had to stop and send them to bed. All in all it was a wonderful day!

Every year we pick out a new ornament for each family member for the tree. I couldn't find a baby one for Zoë and Daniel couldn't find one he liked so we'll have to get theirs next time we go out. Elaina found a pink crystal, Abby a snowman and mine is a dangly iridescent crystal. I also foundd this awesome ornament that you can customize yourself! Each one had a different number of snow people on them and you write your family members' names on the hats with a Sharpie. So I couldn't pass this one up!:



Thanksgiving was wonderful. Here's Zoë hanging out in her bouncer while we all dined:


The kiddie table:


Here's a shot of our mantel. The entire nativity set was bought at the dollar store (love me some deals!):


Our tree after we were done decorating:


Enjoying marshmallowy goodness. She got it all over her hair somehow too!


Nothing like roasted, melty marshmallows!


After the kids went to bed Daniel left to watch wrestling with his brother at his house and I wrapped all the stocking stuffers I bought for the older girls today. I already put them in their stockings, too, so they're nice and plump!

Hope your holiday weekend is going great!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Can you guess?!

So I thought I'd share the one-month pics of all three of my girls. Can you guess which baby is which (other than Zoë of course!)?! Don't guess if you already know!









LOL! Good luck! They look so similar it is scary.

Would you look at her?!

Look who just turned a month old yesterday! We did a little photo shoot. When I upload to blogger my pictures come out looking weird and grainy but oh well. You get the idea!

This first picture is a pose and outfit that I've used with all three of my girls for their 1-month photo. I want to take all three and frame them together!



Sweet baby body


Super chunk!


Okay so I've been up since about 5 am (it is 8:30 now) and I'm so tired my head hurts. I don't do well with little sleep. Poor baby just didn't want to nurse, didn't want to lay this way or that way, didn't seem to have gas, didn't have a dirty diaper or anything. So finally I put her in the bassinet and she fussed a little but laid there staring around the room. No sleeping in there though. I'm wondering if she's starting to want to be held less or if she was just having a hard time this morning. Poor baby!

I'm off to try to stay awake and do something productive. I'm holding a very VERY asleep baby now. But I can't sleep with her since Abby is still up.

I can't wait for Thanksgiving. It's the one day of the year that I don't give myself a guilt trip for eating as many calories as we eat! One day won't hurt ya. I'm looking forward to the green bean casserole, corn pudding, real mashed potatoes with real gravy........ oh yeah! So totally ready. What's your favorite dish(es) that you're looking forward to?!

Tomorrow night we are hosting our Thanksgiving Dinner Outreach in the projects. We make a simple Thanksgiving dinner for low-income families, most of whom do not have family or family nearby to celebrate the holiday with. We get a lot of kids that come without their parents as well, which isn't unusual. So looking forward to seeing these people get some food in their bellies and smiles on their faces!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I can't believe it!

Okay actually I can believe it. I've already been asked, by multiple people, the infamous question, "So when are you going to have another?" while holding my baby who is less than a month old. The real question they want to know the answer to is, "Are you going to try for a boy?"

I've had people go so far as to tell me that we need to try for a boy. Even perfect strangers! I find it amusing because it's such a personal decision for a married couple to make. And yet others love to put their 2 cents in as though they're welcome in the bedroom. The questions really don't bother me so don't get that impression. I just find it amusing.

The honest truth is that we don't know. We don't have plans to stop or to keep having children. We don't have a number. We are pretty laid-back about it. If it happens, it happens. And if it doesn't... well it doesn't! Most likely it will happen or we hope for it to happen because Daniel truly has his heart set on having a son (or two).

So in case anyone was wondering now you don't have to ask. But we're definitely not thinking about it right now and probably won't until our youngest has her first birthday! I need time for that labor and delivery pain to fade, ha ha! And I really would love to reach the goal of getting back to at least 140 lbs before having another baby.

Speaking of baby- Miss Zoë is starting to really smile at me! I feel silly playing peek-a-boo with her right now because she doesn't really react. She just stares at me like I'm an alien with three heads. LOVE HER!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It All Comes Full Circle

It is absolutely breathtaking and amazing to me how things look in retrospect. When you are in your darkest moment it is impossible to understand that one day things will be brighter again. That there is always hope. That things can change so unbelievably fast.

Exactly a year ago today I found out I was miscarrying. I consider the actual anniversary to be the 20th (tomorrow) as that is when I started passing tissue and my baby. (Post HERE) Many of you will remember that post. You might also remember the posts that followed- the anguish, the heartbreak, the sorrow.

I found out I was pregnant on Halloween, October 31, 2008. A sonogram on November 19, 2008 showed "fetal demise", or an embryo without a heartbeat. My miscarriage was most likely due to low progesterone that could've been caused by having taken Clomid in the previous cycle.

The miscarriage of Kieran, the name we gave our baby, broke me like nothing in life has ever broken me. I stopped eating, I got unbelievably angry at myself and my body and from there I began to care for my body better than I ever have (and that included eating again). Like a broken record I would say "I'm doing this to have a baby" as I worked out, as I fought working out, as I tamed my body to eat better, when I got too tired. That phrase just ran through my mind, almost in anguish. When I wanted to quit working out I would push myself by saying it over and over, even aloud. It DROVE me and kept me going the following weeks after my loss.

And it might be obvious what happened next considering I have a baby cradled in my arms as I type this. And that is how it all comes full circle. Just a week before the anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with Kieran is when Zoë was born. And she is turning 4 weeks old on the anniversary of my miscarriage. It doesn't always happen this way for everyone. Each person has their own unique story.

You may remember that before I became pregnant with Zoë I shared two names with you; the name we'd give our future son and the name we'd give our future daughter. And of course Zoë's name was one of them.



Zoë Beth means "Life; A Promise of God" or loosely translated as "A Promise of Life from God". And she is an answered prayer, my promise from God of new life. If I hadn't lost Kieran I wouldn't have Zoë. Likewise I wouldn't have my Abigail if I hadn't miscarried right before I got pregnant with her. That is not something that I could see from my place of darkness and torment. That is only something I can see now in retrospect.

Whatever dark place you may be in right now it is impossible to hear this but I will say it anyway--- THERE IS HOPE!


I also want to give a special shout out to two of my blog friends who've struggled with infertility and one with multiple miscarriages. They both just found out they are pregnant! ♥ GO GIVE THEM LOVE! ♥ And follow the journey to their bundles of joy:

Photogrl- just got her second beta result in and it is rising!
Jennifer (Hope Endures)- is pregnant after IVF with awesome numbers as well!!!

On a sad note:
Today I found out a high school friend has miscarried. I won't put her name here for her privacy but please say a prayer for her and her husband.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I hate being cold! And some ?'s answered!

We woke up to snow powdering our roof and car. It didn't stick and I know that the weather can do some crazy things where we live so who knows if we'll even have a white Christmas. But I hate the cold. Our house is 100-years-old and still has it's old windows so it can get pretty cold. We're going to be putting that lovely plastic over the really bad ones hopefully this week.

Well a few weeks ago I asked you to ask me questions! My friend, Chelsea whom I've known since the 3rd grade, had a couple questions!

1). Are you using cloth diapers?

I am not using cloth diapers. I wouldn't mind using them except I ordered them when Abigail was a baby and the seller conned me out of almost $400. Needless to say that really put a damper on it all. I never got my money back and Daniel refuses to even entertain the idea of using cloth now because of that. I use Hugg.ies for the most part.

2). Is Zoe easy going or does she cry a lot? How is she in that regard compared to your other two?

Zoë does not cry unless she's had to wait a little to eat. Even then it is not full out crying! It is more like fussing and grunting. The only times I've heard her really cry her heart out was when she was born and when Elaina accidentally kicked her (not hard but hard enough!) when she was laying on a blanket on the floor.

Elaina cried the most. She's my sensitive girl and she is still the one who cries more than my other girls. Some days she comes home from school and cries because she is tired and overwhelmed from a long day. She cries when she gets in trouble, if she is embarrassed, if someone else is hurt or she hurt them, etc. So she cries more than Zoë. But she also has the brightest and most beautiful smile. When she is happy it makes up for it all because she is just so wonderful and amazing. She can melt your heart! I don't mean to make it sound like she cries constantly but we always have a few meltdowns a day.

Abigail never cried as a baby. Seriously! I can count on one hand how many times she cried as a baby. She is also the baby that never wanted to be held. She was just happy as a bird to sit in her bouncer or on her play mat. Even when she was sick she wouldn't cry. But she's making up for it as a 2-year-old. She cries more now as a toddler than she ever did as a baby, usually it is when she gets hurt and when her big sister isn't sharing.

Abigail is sensitive in a way that is different from Elaina. She doesn't like to be touched or messed with (which is how I am). Elaina is sensitive emotionally and Abigail is sensitive physically. So Elaina needs a lot of physical touch and Abigail needs a ton of positive affirmation. It's funny how that works! I wonder what Zoë's love language will be!


Great questions! I loved having questions to answer! Let me know if any of you have anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Breast is Best

We have all heard that "Breast is Best". So when Elaina was born this mantra would run through my mind as I frantically tried to nurse her. Nursing was a nightmare with Elaina (we're talking open sores and bleeding). I got home from the hospital and bawled my eyes out for days because we'd try nursing and then I'd end up giving her a bottle because she would just scream and not latch on. She had no problems with the bottle. She preferred her bottle to me which tore my heart out.

I felt a ton of Mommy Guilt. My hormones finally calmed down. Then I realized how much more pleasant our feeding sessions were when she was calm with her bottle. That I could actually gaze at her and she could take her time and get nourishment. And yet I still heard that motto in my head: "Breast is Best". And I still felt this pang of guilt and remorse as I watched her eat from a bottle.

When I became pregnant with Abigail I was determined to make breastfeeding work! Unfortunately I didn't do enough homework. We've all heard, "If it hurts, they're not latched on properly!" Well, it really hurt when I tried feeding Abigail. I gave birth to her on the weekend and no lactation consultant was available. I ended up giving Abigail a bottle in the hospital thinking I was doing something wrong.

Turns out I was doing everything right and her latch was perfect. It can be very tender after birth, especially for fair-skinned women, when baby latches on. It is once the milk has letdown that you should not feel pain anymore in order to know if the latch is correct or not. The latch-on pain goes away by the time baby is a few weeks old.

But by the time I finally got the L.C. in my room I had to use a shield and it was just a big old mess. Abigail never wanted to wean off the shield but really loved nursing and breastmilk. I stuck with it, using shields, for three months before I couldn't take it anymore. We switched to formula. More Mommy Guilt.

It was hard not to hear "Breast is Best" in the back of my mind while cleaning bottles and changing stinky formula diapers or packing half of my diaper bag full of bottle-feeding supplies. It was hard not to hear it when I gazed at them as they drank from a bottle. It was hard not to feel that special connection that comes with nursing and to know I wasn't providing them with the very best, something that was actually a part of me made for them!

So please know that I've been on both sides of the fence as you read on.

Breastfeeding is going so amazingly well with this baby. I remembered the things I learned in the past, especially from my own mistakes. I stuck with it when the latch-on pain was excruciating (does not hurt at all now). I stuck with it when one position wouldn't work with Zoë until we found a position that did work without leaving me raw and aching. And I stuck with it without resorting to a pump or a shield. No outside help this time.

It's still in the learning stage for us but it's getting to the point that she knows when I grab the Boppy that it is feeding time and she starts doing her little newborn grunts and snorts in excitement. She is also to the point that she'll have her mouth open and ready, too.

We co-sleep and so I'll often wake to her furiously attacking my chest with her face, sometimes even in her sleep! And she has latched on to me in a place other than where she should and left me with some lovely hickeys too. I'm sure to use that as blackmail when she's a teenager...

I pumped a bottle the other day for her because she wasn't eating as frequently and I could tell my supply was starting to dwindle. I was just going to throw it out but then told Daniel he should give it to her. He was freaking out. He thought me pumping this one bottle meant failure because, as you read above, it didn't go so well with our other daughters.

Finally he gave it to her, mostly because she woke up to eat right after I finished pumping and the well was dry, so to speak! Her initial reaction was a look of utter disgust in having a synthetic nip.ple placed in her mouth. She kept spitting it out and smacking her gums with this look of horror on her face. Classic! After she downed the bottle in under 10 minutes she wanted to nurse. I gave Daniel a look of triumph and said, "I win!"

Needless to say he was relieved one bottle didn't ruin her nursing streak and I had the satisfaction of knowing that my baby preferred me, not something else!


Making an icky face!


Staring at Daddy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sonogram

Today Zoë had a sonogram of her spine. What I thought were birthmarks all over her lower back are actually believed to be a hematoma. It's flat and really does look like birthmarks, not a full blown hematoma that is blood-filled and bubbled up on the skin. Since it's a strange place for a hematoma to crop up, especially one that covers such a large area, her doctor wanted to check her spine just to be safe. Specifically she was looking for "spina bifida occulta". It's the mildest form of spina bifida and very common (meaning many people have it and don't even realize it!). Usually it just means a hidden hole and/or deformity of one or more vertebrae. It is not life-threatening and rare for it to be debilitating.

Anyway the sonogram went really well but we won't know anything until her doctor calls. From the looks of the sonogram itself which I saw and the way the tech was talking there's nothing to worry about! And my doctor said if all was well with her spine then we'd just ignore the hematoma. In and of itself it is a non-issue. It could start to evolve into what people think of as traditional hematomas where it is blood-filled and bumpy but she said that unless it bothered me we wouldn't do anything about it.

So that is our grand adventure for the day! We ended up running errands afterward and I think I finally hit that wall. The adrenaline is gone now and I'm tired! BTW- I am not worried about her spine or the hematoma so I don't want anyone else to be.

We got her new carseat today. Her other one ended up being a dud. I couldn't loosen or tighten the straps as there was something wrong with the contraption that allowed you to do so. I ended up getting her THIS carseat and I love it. And I had a coupon! I went to two different stores and the second store only had one left. Hopefully it fits better in our van as well.

I leave you with pics. I'm a little camera-happy these days... and for good reason!

Taking another bath! She was checking out Abigail who was helping wash her.


Such a beautiful face! Look at that chunk!!!


Raking up the leaves. I told Elaina, "When the leaves change colors and fall from the trees is when Zoë is coming out of Mommy's tummy!" Elaina was in awe of my 'prediction' when it came true!


All the sisters in autumn!


Helping Daddy rake the leaves!


Dog pile!!!


I know I look tired! I've had enough people tell me that already. But had to post a pic of me and baby since I usually don't even think to take pics with my kids.


HAPPY THREE-WEEK BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As Promised

Here are the pictures I was able to take of Zoë today. It took a few hours and a couple nursing sessions. She wouldn't stay asleep for the pictures except for the first two posted. AND... I completely forgot to put her bow in her hair! I had it sitting out and everything. I also wanted to do some of her in her pumpkin hat. So I might try to take more tomorrow with the accessories.

Anyway, here is my baby girl at 2 weeks and 4 days old.

After an exhausting photo session I dressed her, grabbed the Bo.ppy and fed her. So she is good and asleep in this pic! I just kiss her forehead and cheeks all day.


So sleepy! She's frowning because I put her down probably... ha ha! She woke up a few seconds after this shot.


Her hair is not red, it is blonde (see pic above). I think that the red in her skin and the flash was making her hair look red in this pic. I posted this one to show her beautiful eyes. Elaina has hazel eyes, Abigail has dark chocolate eyes and Miss Zoë appears to have eyes that may be blue or eventually turn green! This is the eye color I had as a child and my eyes are green now.


Posing in a basket with the blanket I crocheted just for her:


"I'm not too sure about this, Mom..." I had to put a diaper back on her as we had a couple accidents. You can definitely tell she's eating enough! Look at all those yummy baby rolls!!! She already looks like she's gained another pound.


My favorite picture; her toes!


Her precious hand


Super sweet and content


She just laid there for a long time, chilling out.


I'm going to frame the sepia ones all together. I never did newborn photos with my other girls. I could never get good shots of their hands or feet. So I'm quite proud of myself for these, even if they aren't professional. She is such an amazing baby and very peaceful. This was fun provided I had gotten everything I needed ready the previous night so all I had to do was undress baby and take pics. Her room, especially with the sun beating through the window, was really toasty for her, too, so she liked laying there na.ked.

Since I'm at a loss of what to write about lately, with good reason of course, is there anything anybody cares to know? Any questions about my life or parenting or whatever?

Well I've got one sleepy baby in my arms right now so I am off to bed to catch whatever sleep I can!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Confessions...........

Random pics:

On our way to the bonfire


After Sunday service, "watching" football with Daddy


So for the past few days I've gotten on here and stared blankly at the screen or have been interrupted. There's a lot to say but in the same sense nothing is really going on. Instead I bring you confessions!

I confess........

-........ it feels great to actually PEE again! Say what?! You heard me! When you're 9 months pregnant you don't pee, you trickle. You will feel such a strong urge to use the restroom and all you get is a teaspoon. You never have that feeling of relief. Well I feel relief now and it feels good! I don't even care if that's TMI.

-........ that I can't put this baby down. I hold her all day and all night but mostly because I want to. She doesn't mind being put down now but I can't help but want to stare at her and drink her in. I know all too well how fast time flies so for now I hold her. But I am eager to get her crib because I am eager to sleep horizontally again!

-......... that I wish I felt like myself. I'm in this weird limbo right now. I feel good but I don't feel like myself, emotionally, yet. Stupid hormones! I know, it's still early yet.

-........ that breastfeeding is harder than I thought it would be. The hard part is that it is YOU who has to be accessible and ready constantly. I love not having formula (stinky!) and bottles to clean and nasty diapers. But it's really hard to have to nurse and have both of your hands tied up and not be able to do anything beyond sit there. I have to remind myself that it won't always be like this.

-....... that I fall asleep every morning while Abigail watches Ses.ame Str.eet. We just all chill out on the couch for that hour, Zoë and I sleeping and Abby learning the letter of the day. I also fall asleep every evening for about an hour.

-....... that I dread going to bed every night. Not because of the baby but because of another confession....... I broke our bed! Our mattress is on the floor and it makes me feel really out of sorts to not have my room together. I was sitting against the headboard, right on the edge of the bed, and all of my weight in that one spot caused the support board to snap.

-....... to feeling guilty. By the time Elaina gets home from school I'm pretty much half-asleep on the couch. Abigail is left to entertain herself most of the day unless she watches TV or a movie (which I HATE; I do not like it when my kids veg out all day). I just feel torn in three directions and of course Zoë is the one who wins out at every chance she gets since I'm the only one that can feed her. Thankfully my kids are taking it well but I know there's going to be a breaking point soon! One day at a time, right?!

-....... that I do miss this (last belly pic, just a day or two before she was born)...




Other stuff:

Pending the weather I'm hoping to do a little photo shoot of Zoë tomorrow. I need lots of sunlight so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day. And therefore I'll have more (and better) pics of her to post!

I've already put away fall decor but I'm not breaking out the Christmas stuff just yet! I'm going to try to hold off until Thanksgiving to bring it all out but it might be hard. I am so excited to put out an extra stocking this year!

I've already lost 28 lbs since giving birth. Just 11 lbs more and I'll be back to where I was before I got pregnant. And that's all from giving birth and breastfeeding. Got to love that perk!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sweet Emotions

Look what I stumbled upon last night............... two sleepy-heads!



And I never really ended up showing nursery pics. I don't know why the pictures look so grainy. I think it's my blog layout. Anyway here is the changing table:


Here is her closet door. My MIL made the tassel hanging up and the grocery sack keeper on the doorknob. I keep grocery sacks in there for my Di.aper Ch.amp.


Open shot of the room! Abigail was helping me show it off...


And of course I have to add a picture of the littlest princess of our house sporting one of her new outfits! She had had a bow in her hair but I must've forgotten to put it on for the shot. Ohhhh well!


So things are going really well. Daniel went to work on Monday and my days aren't that difficult. I think the true test will be when Elaina has off from school and I have all three girls. I feel badly for Abby. I wish I had more energy and time and hands to engage her in activity. As it is we mostly sit on the couch all day since I nurse around the clock. My brother and his family came to visit yesterday and Abigail had a blast with her 3-year-old cousin, Addy, which was good for her!

Zoë is starting to stay awake a little longer each day. She's gazing at us a lot more (they are huge eyes- wish I could get a good picture of them). She makes all sorts of funny grunts and sounds, especially when she's hungry (which seems like a constant, ha ha).

She also smiles a ton in her sleep. Yesterday she actually had herself a good belly laugh in her sleep! I don't care what anyone says--- I think babies truly do smile. If they can express anger, frustration, hunger, sadness and fear then how can they not also express happiness? When my babies have gas they grimace and cry, not smile! But when they're dreaming about eating and they smile then how can you not assume it's real? They're happy when they eat! Total tangent. Ha ha!

So like I said, my days have recently consisted of lounging with her on the couch. Though the past couple days she has let me lay her on a blanket on the floor while she gurgles and stares around so I can get a few things done. She is mostly quiet, though. She has a very alert quiet state that she gets into throughout the day. It's so awesome! Today she slept a lot in the bouncer so I was able to get some things done. Until today she has hated the bouncer.

She doesn't really cry unless someone other than Momma is holding her. Oh yes, I have myself another Momma's girl! And I love it. Abigail didn't ever want to cuddle so my arms have been aching for some baby cuddles and I'm just soaking it all in. She won't cry for very long unless she is hungry and sometimes calms down for Daddy for a bit.

We are co-sleeping for the time being. She hates the bassinet so I just sleep with her on my chest. I sleep semi-sitting with pillows propping my arms up. I sleep so lightly and don't move without waking first anyway so it works for us. I'd rather she sleep like that then directly on the mattress where one of us could roll on her. Elaina also co-slept with us. And of course Abigail didn't. She was my good sleeper who slept through the night from 2 months old and on!

Okay so this is getting rambly. Hope everyone is doing well! I'm trying to keep up with blogs and comment when I have a free hand (or two).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recovery

Well yesterday was Halloween and I can't pass an opportunity to share my cutie-pies!


A princess, a tamale and a fairy!


Don't you just want to eat those cheeks?!


My beautiful firstborn! Abigail wouldn't pose for pictures by herself.


Zoë at 1 week 2 days old


She can't be anymore precious and sweet!


Well my recovery after this birth has been different and interesting. First, the post partum contractions have been the worst by far. But that is because I've been through this rodeo before. Apparently the more babies you have the more intense it can be.

However the bleeding is almost non-existent. I had no swelling (in fact my wedding ring is back on!) and no side effects from an epidural.

And breastfeeding is going amazing. More on that another time! I'm off to bed to get what few precious hours of sleep I can get!