Monday, April 30, 2012

Mary Ella's 3K Art Work

Here are a few pictures from Mary Ella's art showcase at school. 

One of our favorites was this drawing... It's hard to see the text but basically Mary Ella drew the picture and then her teacher wrote what everything was supposed to be... basically the colored lines are different color fish and then she drew herself and her daddy and it says "we have our fishing rods going fishing in the water in the boat." Of course Chad loved this.

So proud of you, Mary Ella!
What a great job!
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One of those days.

Today has been... well... one of those days.

When you kinda just wanna crawl back into bed.
It actually started last night. The big kids were distraught at bed time, simply because it was bed time.
It was a school night, too, so we were adamant about them getting into bed. They were mad. We were tired. We had already been rushed through dinner to make it to Mary Ella's art show at school and then once we got back home it was one thing after another...

 8:02pm Blowout # 4 for Sam. Diaper changed again.
8:30pm Kids tucked into their beds.
 8:32pm "I don't like these pajamas." 
Heard it about 4 times. Finally found some she liked.
8:37pm "My bed is too hard." 
Heard that one about 6 times. Nothing we can do for that.
8:42pm "My finger hurts." 
Princess bandaid wrapped around finger.
8:43pm "This bandaid is too tight."
Adjusted bandaid.
8:46pm "I can't sleep in here cause its too dark." 

Insert Mommy screaming her head off.
Insert Daddy going to lay in bed with my 3-yr-old until she finally fell asleep.

And it didn't stop there.

9:52pm Nurse Emma Kate for the last time
10:30pm Finally lay my head on my pillow
10:31pm "Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyy" (from Sam's room)
10:32pm "Daaadddddddyyyyyyyy" (again, Sam)

(and you can repeat this pattern for the next 10 minutes.)

10:42pm Go into Sam's room. He is distraught.
Feel sorry for him so instead of letting him cry I pick him up and take him into the den to rock him.
11:01pm I'm falling asleep. I'm sure Sam is asleep so I stand up to take him back to his bed.
11:02pm "Buzz? Jessie?" (pointing at the TV, wanting to watch Toy Story)
"No buddy, we have to go night night."
Hysterical crying.
11:03pm Take him to our bedroom. Put him in the yellow sling (which is for INFANTS), give him
his blankie, tell him good night. Turn on Nick Jr and turn volume to ZERO so we can all sleep.

12:01am Chad wakes up, hears Sam walking around the house. (Because he can get out of the sling.)
12:02am Chad finds Sam, takes him to couch, Sam cries.
12:03am Mary Ella wakes up crying, comes into the den, Chad puts her on the couch too.
12:04am Chad lays on the couch with the kids, falls asleep.
12:05am Emma Kate wakes up, has spit out her paci, crying.

12:06 - 3:00am Put Emma Kate's paci back in her mouth 562 times.
3:00am Feed Emma Kate
3:35am Change and swaddle Emma Kate and put her back to bed (beside me, on her pillow)
6:22am Emma Kate hungry again, feed her in my bed, we both fall asleep.
8:05am WAKE UP, frantic, because it's a school morning and I have to get 2 kids ready, 2 lunches packed, and get all 3 kids in the car and out the door by 8:45 am.
8:06am Find kids still on couch (Chad already at work), Mary Ella has stuffy nose, Sam is in an ill mood.
8:08am Get kids dressed. Mary Ella keeps coughing.
8:09am I decide Mary Ella is not going to school because she's getting a cold.
8:10am I decide Sam is not going if Mary Ella is not going.
8:12am Frustrated and knowing I will have my 2 oldest ones today instead of having them at Mothers Day Out, I grab 2 chocolate chip cookies and a Diet Mountain Dew from the fridge and eat/drink them like I've been starving for a decade.

Ahhhh. That's better.
And then...

8:30am - 10:29am 
Spend most of the morning breaking up fights between M.E. and Sambo.
Try to get them to do their own activities - coloring, iPad, reading books, counting the money in her new piggy bank, etc. 
Nothing is working. Because they are both EXHAUSTED from having NO SLEEP.
Consider calling Nanny 9-11.
Then consider it again after finding maple syrup all over one of my couch cushions because a certain little girl did not wipe her hands after breakfast like she was told.
Sam screams and points to candy jar on top of the fridge and cannot for the life of him understand why he is not being given any candy.
Sam stands at the gate at the top of the stairs and screams because it will not open. 
Because it is child proof.

10:30am Chad calls and tells me he forgot to remind me that I needed to go sign some papers at the lawyer's office for our home refinance. And I need to be there by 11 am.

"Ok honey, will do."

Cause that'll be just easy peasy.
My kids are in their undies/diapers. My hair is a wreck. My house is a wreck. 
I don't have time to do anything.

10:31am Get the big kids loaded up in the van. In their undies/diapers. No shoes. 
10:35am Head back upstairs and throw on some jeans and a t-shirt and pull my hair back into a pony. 10:36 am Head back downstairs.
10:37am Oops, I forgot to grab the baby. Yeah, you know, your OTHER CHILD.
10:38am Grab the baby, put her in car seat, head downstairs.
10:39am Pull out of driveway.
11:03am Arrive at lawyer's office, sign papers. His secretary generously watches my kids.
11:08am Leave office. Decide that the only thing that can make this day better is...
a DIET COKE. From McDonalds.
11:20am Arrive at the McDonalds at our exit. Wait in line forever.
11:30am FINALLY get to order:

"I'd like a large diet coke, please."

"I'm sorry, we're out of Diet Coke. Can I get you something else?"



Thankfully, by God's grace, they did have Diet Dr. Pepper, and I politely apologized for my incessant screaming and agreed to have a Diet DP instead. 

11:50am - 12:30 pm
Arrive at home. Fix kids lunch. Drink my Diet DP after nursing Emma Kate again.

And now, at 2:12 pm, they've all 3 been asleep for a good hour,
and I'm guessing the big kids will sleep at least 2 more.
They need it.

 I'm thankful for naptime today. More thankful than usual.
I needed it, but my kids needed it even more. Being tired just makes for cranky ol' kiddos.
And a real cranky ol' mama.

Hope I didn't sound too much like a Debbie Downer here.
Just giving you the scoop on our day.
Sometimes we gotta blog about our bad days, ya know?
Cause life ain't always full of home improvement projects, crafties, fun recipes and great photographs.
Sometimes it's about poopy diapers and syrup-soaked couch cushions and whiny children.
Sometimes it's about mommies who get ill when they don't have their Diet Cokes.
Hope I didn't rain on your parade by writing all this.
And if you made it to the end of this post, well done, my friends.

Now I'm going to lay down!

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2 Weeks.

Emma Kate, you are 2 weeks old today.

You are perfect in every way, little one.
You have 3 favorite activities: sleeping, eating and pooping.
Your least favorite activities are getting your diaper changed, being lathered with lotion, and 
being the slightest bit delayed when it comes to getting your meal or snack. You are very much like your sister was when it comes to eating - you don't play around. When you're hungry, you're hungry and you'll root around and suck on just about anything when you're tummy's rumbling.

You had a sponge bath one night last week and you didn't make a peep.
You stared at us like you were wondering what was going on, but you never cried.
After I washed your hair it curled up into teeny tiny curls. I think you will have your sister's hair.

You are wearing size 1 diapers (and have been since the day you were born) 
and newborn size clothes. You can still fit into some of your premie gowns too. Hard to believe.
You had your first professional photos taken this past Saturday at Aldridge Botanical Gardens by our friend Volree. You behaved best out of all 3 kiddos. Not surprising. :)
And you looked precious in your pink dressy outfit.
Here are you and sister and Mom after the pictures. You were pooped.

You are still giving us the sweetest smiles in your half-asleep state and some funny faces too.
You even gave me one good 'awake' smile last week and it was hilarious. I know it wasn't on purpose but it made me laugh anyway. You look like a little Asian baby.

You are still a fan of the paci when you are tired but you'll spit it out once you're good and asleep.
And you will only take the Nuk pacifier so far, which is coincidentally the brand that our hospital gives out now (it used to be Soothie I think), so we snatched a few from there thanks to our nurses.

You eat every 2-3 hours during the day. You took your first bottle on Saturday at the gardens and did just fine. You will only drink out of a Dr. Brown's bottle. I tried the Tommy Tippee one as well as the Walmart bottle and you would not have it. But the Dr. Brown's worked fine for you.

You are giving me 4-5 hour stretches of sleep at night, although 2 nights this past week you just could not get comfortable unless you were sleeping right beside Mommy. I think I could've been laying on the hardwood floor and you would've been more comfortable beside me than in your comfy bassinet.
It's ok though, I don't mind sleeping with you.

You are still getting bad hiccups if you're laid down flat. Boo. Most of the time holding you and patting your back will make them go away. You do not like the hiccups one bit.

You seem to focus better with your eyes now and you are giving us the stare-down more often.

You met some new friends and family this past week -

Your great grandaddy Ace came to visit on Monday night.
Auntie Sara, Charlotte and Marmee came on Tuesday, 
as well as your cousins Annsley and Ann Marie.
 Aunt Kristi and Uncle Brad and cousins Courtney and Braxton this past Friday.
You met cousins Brooks and Case on Sunday night!

We love you so much, baby girl, and we thank God for you every single day.
He is so good.

Here is a slideshow I put together of some of my favorite pictures from the hospital and the past couple weeks at home. The song is Nichole Nordeman's "You Are Good," one of my very favorites.

When the sun starts to rise and I open my eyes, You are good.
In the heat of the day with each stone that I lay, You are so good.
With every breath I take in, I'll tell you I'm grateful again.
When the moon climbs high before each kiss good night, You are good.
So how can I thank you? What can I bring?
What can these poor hands lay at the feet of a King?
So I'll sing you this love song - it's all that I have
To tell you I'm grateful for holding my life in your hands...
You are holding my life in your hands.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Daddy

I forgot to mention that we celebrated Chad's 35th birthday on Friday, April 13th!
We had just come home from the hospital the night before, so on his actual birthday we visited the pediatrician with Emma Kate and then stopped by Taziki's and Edgars for some of his favorite foods (the Friday special pasta and strawberry cupcakes), since we knew we wouldn't be going out. 

I don't think he minded though... he spent his birthday weekend snuggling with a certain little peanut.

We actually had a celebration for him the night before Emma Kate was born at Cheesecake Factory with both our parents and all the siblings and cousins. 
He was gifted with some fishing lures, a Mark's Outdoors gift card, some new shoes, a new wallet, and some sweet cards from everyone. Oh, and a huge piece of cheesecake complete with a candle and birthday song! 

A week before, I decided to interview Mary Ella using some questions I found on Pinterest.
These are all about her Daddy and for one of his presents, I typed this up for him and framed it so that he can put it in his office. I thought her answers were super sweet and very honest and some of them are pretty funny. Chad loved this and I'm hoping to do it year after year with the kids.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The End. Or maybe not.

As I mentioned a couple months ago,, the website I used to make my blog designs, closed down on April 19, 2012. Unfortunately because of that, I am unable to design blogs or invitations/cards anymore. I am sorry about this and am still unsure why Picnik closed so suddenly when clearly there were thousands of people who used and enjoyed the site. Oh well. Such is life.


When I tried to go to Picnik today, they did redirect me to a new site called PicMonkey.
I don't think the site is totally up and running yet, but you are able to edit pictures there and they are offering many of the same features that Picnik offered; in fact, I didn't find much difference at all. For now, this site is free but I'm sure soon it will require a paid membership, so go and edit-edit-edit! 
Here's one I did real quick today just to see how it worked.



Now, I couldn't adjust her skin tone and it's a little too yellow/red for me but oh well. 
This is actually an iPhone camera picture so I didn't take it with my SLR, 
which I'm sure would make a difference.

Anyway, go try it out!

I don't normally use sites like this to edit pictures; I'm more interested in the graphic design stuff like the collage features, making birthday invites, gift tags, etc. And on the home page, they have a little bubble that says "Collage Coming Soon." So I'm hoping I'll be able to get back in business once this part of their site becomes accessible! 

Until then I'm outta business, folks!
Thanks for understanding.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Emma Kate's Birth

Note: I like to remember all the details of my kids' births, as you can find here and here
so feel free to skip this post if you aren't interested; it's mostly for my memory!

As you know if you've been keeping up with the blog, Emma Kate was a repeat scheduled c-section. She was born at 39 weeks and 3 days. Our c-section was scheduled at 7:15 am so we were required to be at the hospital at 5:15am on Tuesday morning. We arrived on time (after about 5 hours of semi-sleep) and I was taken to a room on the third floor. It was a smaller room than I'd had in the past with Mary Ella and Sam so I was a little bummed at first but too excited to care much since I was about to have a baby. My nurse for that first hour was Stephanie and she did all the preliminary work like ask me a bunch of questions, started my IV, sent off bloodwork, and hooked me up to the monitor. I was having contractions pretty regularly. Dr. Bill came in to see me, as did the anesthesiologist, and we signed our life away :)  Around 7 am they wheeled me to the O.R. On the way to the O.R. we found out we'd be moving downstairs to the second floor (the c-section floor) for our stay, and that we'd have a much bigger room! I was thrilled. I knew I'd have a lot of company over the next few days so I was glad to know there would be room for everyone.

By the time I got to the operating room I was shaking and shivering; partly because it was cold in there and mostly because I was nervous. Even though this was my third cesarean, I still found myself worried about anything and everything that could go wrong. Dr. Bill came in while I was sitting on the operating table and when he saw me shaking he went and got me a heated blanket which helped a ton. He then told me he was tired because "he'd stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night watching YouTube videos on how to do c-sections." 
Goof ball. If this had been my first c-section I would have hit him. He's so crazy.
Anyway, after I'd been in there about 10 minutes the anesthesia team came in and gave me my spinal, which took effect immediately and felt a.w.e.s.o.m.e. I swear there is nothing better. I laid back on the table and they got to work! After about 5 minutes of prepping (giving me a catheter and scrubbing my belly and testing me to see if I was really numb) they started the cesarean.
Chad came in and was able to video the entire thing. During the beginning I began feeling very nauseous and almost threw up a couple times; thankfully I had a wonderful anesthesia team who popped some Zofran into my IV as soon as the nausea came on and I was fine within minutes. Another time during the c-section I became emotional all of a sudden and tears just started pouring down my face; I was a little scared for some reason but couldn't pinpoint why; I was squeezing the death out of Chad's hand but he was so good and just kept reassuring me that things were going fine and that we'd have a baby in a few minutes.

And sure enough, the pushing and the pressure started and I could tell they were trying to get her out (I could feel them pushing on my stomach and tugging but there was no pain - craziest thing.) They pulled out her head first and suctioned her mouth before delivering the rest of her, and this part was accompanied with phrases I'd heard back in 2008 - "Oh wow," "Yep, look at those shoulders!", "Yep she's a big girl!" so I had a feeling she was taking after her sister. Within seconds they'd delivered my baby girl and seconds after that she was screaming her sweet little head off. She was wide eyed and alert and looking at everyone like, "What have yall done to me??"

She weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 inches long. 

The nurses immediately brought her to the head of the table so I could see her and kiss her and then they took her over to the warmer to clean her, weigh her and get her ready to go back to the room with us. While they were doing this Chad stayed with me at the bedside since I'd been so nervous and he just kept talking about how pretty she was and filled me in on what they were doing. Fifteen minutes later I was ready to roll back to the room and had my baby girl in my arms! Such a sweet experience! I was overjoyed and so thankful to have a healthy baby in my arms.

We rolled back to our room - a much bigger room on the second floor - and I met my new nurse for the day (Stephanie left at 7am after her night shift was over). My nurse's name was Cheri and I ended up having her for my daytime nurse the rest of my stay, which was totally a God thing because she was such a blessing to us. She took care of Emma Kate and myself with the help of a student nurse from UAB.

In case you don't recognize her, that's me in the background; the one with the swollen face and the obnoxious temperature sticker on my forehead. Which I didn't know was there until we got home and I looked at all of my pictures. 

Emma Kate was pretty calm while laying in the warmer. Since she was a big baby, she was at risk for having low blood sugars, so they let me nurse her right away and then put her back in the warmer; her first blood sugar was 42 I think, which was after nursing, and they wanted it to be 40 or above, so since that was on the low end they gave her a little bit of formula. They checked her blood sugars every hour for the next couple hours and her levels were 47 then 50-something, so I just kept nursing her and letting her snack as much as she would until it was in the normal-normal range, and by that night were were done checking blood sugars, so I was thankful for that. We had to do the same thing with Mary Ella.

And speaking of Mary Ella, she and Sam were the first to come see the baby and we were able to spend some time with just our little family of five. Mary Ella was enamored with her from the first moment she saw her... a moment I happened to capture with my phone. Look at her face - I love it.

She stayed right by Emma Kate's warmer the whole time she was in the room. She couldn't wait to hold her.

Sam was interested at first - kept pointing at her and saying "BeeBee."
Then he became restless and more interested in the hospital room and the new environment.

We let him run wild in the room and open all the cabinets and doors and climb on and off the couch and play "Peek a Boo" with the privacy curtain... and finally he'd had enough. He pointed to Mama and her bed and Chad put him on the bed with me. In a few minutes he was out! 

But Big Sis, she stayed with the baby. 

We had lots of visitors over the next few days and we are thankful for each and every one!
So special to share this time with our family and friends.
Here are Chad and his brother Jason with Emma Kate.


Aunt Ashley and Uncle Adam and Gracie were able to come down the night she was born! They were troopers - had a flat tire near Cullman and were delayed for over and hour at the Walmart getting their tire fixed; they still managed to make it close to 8pm and we had a great visit.

Mimi and Poppa with all FOUR grandchildren! Blessed indeed.

Aunt Betsy (my sister, if you are new around here.)

My recovery was great. Not as easy as Sam's c-section, but I'll chalk that up to the fact that Emma Kate was an entire pound and a half bigger than him, so there was a lot more pulling and tugging and my incision was a bit larger too. But this was still much easier than my first c-section, which I never wish to relive! My hospital stay was great too, and I attribute that to these two fabulous, compassionate, hilarious, Jesus-loving nurses, Cheri and Cassandra. (We had Cassandra during our stay with Sam and requested her this time!) Cheri took care of us on day shift and Cassandra was our 3-11pm nurse. These women have such a heart for nursing and they are both so great at it. I couldn't have asked for better nurses. I wish I could have brought them both home with me for those first few days. :)

Miss Cheri

And Miss Cassandra
You can see Mary Ella did not want to leave them.

 And to our surprise, Dr. Bill let us go home a day early! 
Here's little miss, all ready to go. 
This day gown is the same one Mary Ella wore home from the hospital,
smocked by Granny Carolyn of course.

Ready to go home!

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