Friday, October 18, 2013

son, Errol Mark

This is what blogging looks like with three kids.

Cricket.  Cricket.

I've been dying to write about Errol since his birth but have beyond busy.  Three kids.  Who knew :) Probably all mother's of three kids+

So, he came a full week early and completely threw us all off!  I love sharing the babes birth stories and while all three of my kiddos are asleep I'm going to attempt to write it!

There is always some background information, right? My church, Antioch Community Church, was going on a Fall retreat the weekend of September 13th-15th.  We had gone camping for Labor day and I quickly realized that no matter how good I felt, sleeping on a cot or bunk bed was just not going to fly.  So I told everyone I wasn't going to make the retreat.  Then my dear friend Shelby mentioned to my man that he could still go with the girls and give me the weekend at home.  Best. Idea. Ever.  And he did it!

So on Friday the 13th, after a busy day preparing, my man took off around 3 with the girls for a weekend away.  I ran some errands, met a friend for happy hour, and came home to a quiet house for dinner and movie by myself.  I had no idea how much I needed that time.

Saturday I met Shelby and her little man for more errands.  I had the crazy desire to get a bunch of stuff done that I had been putting off.  Returns.  Birthday gift shopping.  Whatnot.  But I also got a ton of stuff purchased for the upcoming weeks.  It's seriously as if my body knew something my brain didn't.

After spending 6 hours walking around and getting things done I again came home to a quiet house, caught up on some Project Runway, and promptly went to sleep.  At 9 pm.

39 weeks and in labor!
On Sunday morning around 1:30 am I woke up to some pretty strong contractions.  I had been having consistent contractions since around 24 weeks with this babe so I went back to sleep.  At 3 I woke up again and wasn't able to fall back asleep.  And then the nesting instinct kicked in.  I texted my man since he was still two hours away to let him know that as soon as the girls got up that morning they should head home.  No response.  Not worried.  So, I cleaned my bathroom.  Took a shower and a bath.  Cleaned my room.  Changed the sheets on my bed.  Did three loads of laundry.  Made breakfast.  Swept the main level and swiffered it.  Cleaned the kitchen.  Drank a mug of coffee.  And started watching episodes of The Business of Being Born (figured it couldn't hurt!).  At 4:30 I decided to call my man and tell him to hurry up.  I knew that things weren't progressing that quickly but I didn't want to be going through heavy labor without him.

We chatted on the phone for a minute (he hadn't gotten the text because he was sound asleep) and he started to get excited!  My man loaded up the girls and the whole van and managed to keep them asleep and then drive home.  They pulled into the driveway around 7 am and I was so glad to see them all.  He promptly went to sleep and the girls and I watched Cinderella.  I got to cuddle on the couch with Audrey Lou, my baby girl who was about to become my middle child.  It was a really sweet moment.  None of the contractions I had up until now didn't really hurt.  I could breath through them all just fine.  So I thought a family walk would be a sweet option.

We called the midwives around 9 am to let them know we were going to be heading out for a walk and if they wanted to come over around 10 that would be great.  I called my mom at this point too since she was going to come pick up the girls and take them back to her place for the delivery.  I woke Dan up and we all got bundled up for a walk.  Loaded up the stroller and headed out.  It was a beautiful, drizzly Fall morning.  Perfect weather for having a baby :)

When we started on the walk my contractions were coming about one to every block and a half.  About 20 minutes later, towards our way home, they were coming about three to a block.  Still nothing that painful.

We got home just before 10 and everyone started to arrive.

I love the energy around birth.  I love the excitement and anticipation.  Even in the midst of it all I could sense this great love for baby boy and what was about to happen.  I felt strong.  I decided to get into my bathtub while my team filled the birthing tub.  I was in there for about an hour and half before I even considered moving! Water is so good for me during labor.

My mom came during that time and took the girls.  It was hard to say good bye but I knew it was for the best that they weren't there for the birth of their baby brother.  It would have been very difficult for me not to help them if they needed it and I'm sure I would have felt self conscious.

I have some really fond memories of my time upstairs.
  • Julie, one of our midwives, showed up and came upstairs to check my temp and blood pressure and to listen to the baby.  She walked into the bathroom and it was so sweet to see her.  She immediately bent down next to the tub, kissed my cheek, and told me how beautiful I looked. It was the sweetest thing she could have said. 
  • Clare, another one of our midwives and one of the gals who was here when Audrey was born, came in to check on me and asked if I needed anything.  For some reason peanut butter toast with a glass of chocolate milk sounded really good.  She scooted out quickly to go make it for me.
  • Emme, another midwife came in to bring me the food and was so tender.  I took a bite of the toast but then had a pretty strong contraction immediately after it.  I couldn't swallow the peanut butter and it was so sticky in my mouth.  I just kept thinking, "peanut butter was a bad choice" and all I could envision was this scene from Anchorman. 
  • Dan came in then and the ladies were all downstairs.  We just chatted for a bit.  He put a cool washcloth on my face and told me what was happening downstairs.  Then we laughed a bit at how funny it was that this little baby was coming a week early when I was dead set on him coming late!
And then it was show time.  I still hadn't had a super painful contraction yet but I could feel the baby moving pretty low and wanted to get into the birthing tub.  They finished filling it up and I headed downstairs.  The second I got out of the bathtub I had three contractions back to back that were pretty strong!   Dan and I walked downstairs and the main level of my home had been transformed.  The blinds were closed with the curtains dropped.  The lights were off.  Gillian Welch was playing on the computer.  The candle that I bought for the birth was burning and the place was prepared.  I feel so blessed to be able to have my babies at home.  So peaceful.  So relaxing.

I climbed into the tub and then Dan started to take his shirt off.  Up until this point he was unsure about whether or not he'd want to get in with me and I didn't have a strong opinion either way.  Now here he was undressing and I was shocked!  He climbed right in behind me and held me up.  It was incredible.  I had a few contractions in the tub that felt different and I asked to be checked.  I hadn't had a cervical exam yet so I didn't really know how far along I was.

Emme, who is now a close friend of mine, told me to check myself.  Yup.  That's right. So I did!  I figured that unless I become a midwife myself some day this is probably the only time I'll get to feel that.  And I immediately felt what felt like a water balloon.  It was my baby's water bag!  It hadn't broken yet.  Then I was told to reach behind it and see what I could feel and there was little man's head!

I had another strong contraction that told me to push and I listened to my body.

One push and my water broke.

One push to get the feel of it all again.

One push to move baby down.

One push to crown.

One push and the head was out.

One push and he was fully born.

I caught my son and pulled him up to my chest.  It was the most amazing experience of my life!

At 12:44 pm Errol Mark was born (although we didn't name him until a full day later). 8 lbs. 8 ozs of pure yumminess.  21" of sweet little baby boy. 

All snuggled in with our new baby boy!
Errol Mark, day 1.

Day 3.  We spent a whole week upstairs together to get nursing established.

A taste of life with three!

New born photos taken by our friend Trisha.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

37 year old husband

Yes, you read that correctly.  My man turns 37 today.  Late thirties.  Almost 40.  37.  I like to tease him about being old because I'm still in my twenties but in actuality, I absolutely love how old he is.  I love that there is an 8 year gap between us.  I love that he lived on his own for quite some time before we got married.  I love that he is wise.  I love him.
Daniel- you are an amazing husband.  Someone asked me the other day why I married you and I just stopped and smiled.  There are so many reasons.  Stability.  Kindness.  Gentleness.  An appreciation for me and all that I offer.  A love for God and knowing Him more.  A love for others and serving them well.  Your ability to sing and play guitar.  The way you look.  (Is that shallow?!)  You desire to keep learning.  Your want for a family.
I hope this year you realize how loved you are and know that no matter what, I'm here for you.  And so are your daughters.  And I'm pretty sure you son is going to be crazy about you too.
Here's to many more birthday celebrations babe.

Monday, May 13, 2013

gender reveal

So.  We know the gender of baby love.  And I couldn't be happier!

We were definitely not planning on finding out right away but I've been feeling more and more lately like this is our last.  So, with that and the fact that I'd love for the girls to be able to call this baby their "baby brother"or "baby sister" we decided to have the results put in an envelope so we could find out someway special.  Also, I've been feeling like this is a little man since the beginning and I really wanted to know if that was right or not.  So, we had our u/s on Friday and had the technician write it down.  I left with the girls then and my man went to work.  I took the envelope out when we got to our destination and I held it up to the light to make sure that it was really covered.  Needless to say, it wasn't.  I freaked out!  I called Dan right away and told him that I now knew and that I didn't know what to do.  He laughed.  Best reaction ever.  I was sick to my stomach.  And he laughed.  Just what I needed. 

I wanted to find out someway special.  Like when we're in Costa Rica in two weeks.  Or out at a restaurant on a romantic date.  Or with the girls by opening something preplanned.  But instead I found out by looking at the picture.  Alone.  It wasn't the least bit anti-climatic but it was surreal.  Did I really see what I thought I saw?  

I still wanted my man to find out in a special way so I took the girls shopping and we bought two outfits (I didn't want them to know already but looking back they were not paying attention at all and I could have totally bought the correct one right away) and two pairs of sandals.  I had thought all along that if we did find out we might be able to use the fact that we met camping, fell in love camping, and have continued to camp throughout our marriage as a personal touch.  

And then I went to lunch with most of my immediate family and had to lie to them.  It slipped at one point in front of my mother and older brother but I tried to recover quickly.  I did the best I could to keep my poker face and not react.

And then I had a play date with a friend.  And upon seeing each other she quickly said, "I just had this funny feeling that God told me you're having a boy".  To which I could say nothing because I really wanted Daniel to hear first.  

I wrapped up the present that was correct after checking to confirm what I head read and waiting very impatiently for my man to come home.  

Once he did we sat out on the porch and I filmed his reaction.  
And I cried.  A lot.  I heard very clearly from God about a month ago that He was preparing my heart for a son but I didn't want to believe it.  This is a longing I've carried through two full pregnancies.  Don't get me wrong.  I adore Greta and Audrey.  I am so very grateful to be raising sisters, something I never biologically got to experience myself.  I'm also more than grateful for who they are.  But a son is different.  Completely.  And if we really are "done" then I would love to get to experience this.  

And so, once again, we feel blessed.  I feel so fortunate to be able to get pregnant.  And I feel so fortunate that I now get to fall in love with a little man.  Thank you for your continued prayers. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

halfway comparison shots

 I'm 19.5 weeks now with Baby Love and feeling great.  But smaller than I can remember with the girls.  So I did a little comparison shot to see if I'm right.  You be the judge.
19 weeks with Greta Elise, my firstborn.
20 weeks with Audrey Louise, my second.
19.5 weeks with Baby Love.

And the three pieced together. 

When I see these three photos put together it confirms for me the thoughts I have been having about feeling like I look so much different with this baby then the previous two pregnancies.  Oh my word.  Maybe this is a boy?

Friday, April 26, 2013

18 Week Pregnancy Update

How far along: 18.5 weeks (Sunday is my turnover day)

How big is baby: 5 1/2" long and 7 ounces! About the size of a bell pepper!

Weight gain: I'm guessing 5 lbs? I kind of don't care.  I mean- it's good to know if I'm gaining too much or too little but I just feel normal with a bump :)
Standing behing my latest food creation! Almond Kringlers
Stretch marks: no news ones :) I have plenty from the girls!

Sleep: I'm loving the second trimester so far!  I sleep great at night and still take a nap almost every day with the girls.  It's glorious!
Definitely getting up there in the bump department!
Cravings/Aversions: I think about spicy food all the time.  Yup.  All the time.  It can't get hot enough.

Movement: I feel the baby all the time now!  Nothing from the outside yet but I know my placenta is on the back of my uterus so my man and the girls should be able to feel the baby soon!

What I'm loving: Sunshine.  Plain and simple.

Symptoms: A little touch of heartburn here and there but nothing really to write home about.

What I'm looking forward to: Springtime with my ladies and walks! And transitioning Audrey Lou to a big girl bed!!

Best moment of the week: Just now I've been working on the computer for a bit and I can feel the baby doing all sorts of crazy movements.  I love that sweet time when no one else knows about this little one besides me and the people I share with.  So precious.

How I'm feeling: Awesome!  Ready for a fun but busy weekend with my family.  Going to attempt to start social media free weekends.  Not sure if this is the weekend for it or not but I'll go without blogging, Instagram (which I'm on by the way but private.  Look me up! ) and any other forms like Pinterest (unless it's for a meal- but no scrolling!).

Prayer Requests: I'm starting a new section here- I'd love some prayer for a bachelorette party I'm throwing this weekend.  I don't know most of the girls coming and I'm attempting to keep it quite clean but it's always a tricky thing to plan when you're a believer and the others coming may or may not be.  Want to honor God first and foremost, know what I mean? That's it! Enjoy this beautiful day if you haven't had a chance yet!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Movie Monday

Yes.  I realize that it's Wednesday.  But I had a fabulous idea this Monday to start posting videos on the blog from our weekend and then I ran out of time.
Family of 5!
So, here's a video from this weekend.  My man and I took the girls on an impromptu trip to the Mall of America for some rides and dinner.  It was nice to not have to cook however, we soon realized upon parking that we were going to one of the busiest places in the world on a Saturday night in Minnesota when it was really cold out.  It was busy.  But we still had a blast!

For one reason or another I can't load the video.  Sorry.  I'll try again as soon as I have another chance!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

16 week pregnancy update

I was terrible about updating during my pregnancies with the girls so this time around I'm going to attempt to be better at it.  A lot of my friends use this little list of questions to answer each time and I think it's a fun way to watch the progress!

So here goes:
How far along: 16.5 weeks

How big is baby: 4 1/2" long and 3 1/2 ounces already! About the size of an avocado!

Weight gain: I have no idea!  I'm guessing 5 lbs?

Stretch marks: no news ones :) I have plenty from the girls!

Sleep: I'm loving the second trimester so far!  I sleep great at night and still take a nap almost every day with the girls.  It's glorious!

Cravings/Aversions: I think about spicy food all the time.  Yesterday I had a Charley's sub with tons of jalapeƱos and banana peppers on it and it was awesome! Nothing really sounds gross now though.

Movement: I'm hesitant to say that what I'm feeling is the baby and not gas but I think it's just starting!

What I'm loving: The snow has forced us to stay tucked inside and I really don't mind it.  Time to bake and sew and play with the girls.

Symptoms: After a fairly eventful first trimester I'm doing great.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  My gums bleed when I brush them but that's about it.

What I'm looking forward to: Popping!  I'm so ready to start showing.  I think this baby just likes hiding because most days it's really hard to tell I'm pregnant.

Best moment of the week: I love to read to the girls and they are just getting used to sitting for longer periods of time so we're starting chapter books.  Right now we're reading Charlotte's Web and they love it.  Today though, we hit a few pages in a row without any pictures and rather than complain Greta just started staring at me.  Literally staring.  When I asked her what she was doing she just said, "Oh, I'm watching your mouth read!".  It was really sweet.

How I'm feeling: Great! Ready for the snow to melt so we can start playing outside! Ready for walks and all the good things that come playing at the park!

Number 3

We're pregnant again!
And we couldn't be more excited!
Dan and I started talking about adding another member to our family towards the end of 2012 and by mid January we were no longer talking about it and were simply realizing it.

I love when the verse for the day lines up with my heart. 
We found out on January 12th that another little lamb will be joining our family.

Of course I told my man via text message.
He was downstairs with the girls and I couldn't tell them yet.  
Our official due date is September 22nd but with my track record I changed it to September 29th and honestly am planning another early October birth.
Audrey's immediate reaction!
We plan to have this baby at home again, with the same midwives, and are so excited to experience it again!
Here is Dan's drawing to help explain it to the girls.
Audrey and Greta both had p.j's on at the time with animals on them, hence the little drawings on them. 
We, as of right now, are not finding out the gender.  Dan really wants to be surprised!
On Valentine's day we got to see Baby Love's heartbeat! 
The girls are really excited to be big sisters!  Greta thinks it's going to be another girl and Audrey says, most days, that it's a boy!  Either way we feel blessed!

walking foot

For those of you who quilt this will make total sense.  For those of you who don't, I'll explain what a walking foot is in a bit.

So I'm ambitious.  If you know me well this isn't news to you.  So when we moved Greta into her toddler bed and talked about the day that we'd have both girls in bunk beds I said to my loving husband that I'd love to make their quilts for their Big Girl Beds!  Little did I know the work it would take to accomplish such a feat.  Also- the tools.  Also- the money.

But I trudged on.  It all started with a trip to Joann with my dear Shelby for fabric.  I quickly found 5 or so that I fell in love with and knew I wanted to do for Greta's.  They are feminine but also not super girly.  I bought what I could afford and we had a day of cutting- deciding to do a quilt of squares and rectangles that will make rows that would make a complete, twin size quilt.  The squares that we had cut would piece together to make about a third of the entire top.  Not enough.

So I saved.  And bought more.  And pieced them together.  And realized that they were still not enough.

So I saved again.  And cut coupons.  And went back a third time for the rest of the materials I would need.  Mind you- this was just for the top.  I hadn't even dreamt of the back yet or the batting for the inside.

Then the sewing started.  My lovely mother-in-law loves to sew and is quite good at it so she was forced volunteered to help!  We made all the rows in one weekend and I quickly fell in love with the quilt.
Liz- my lovely mother-in-law taking a moment to sip some iced coffee!

And so I did what anyone would do.  I took about 6 months off from it :)
The whole quilt top!

And then Christmas came.  And with it came the sales.  And so I bought the batting one day on a solo trip to Joanns.  And then that sat there.

I made a mini quilt for Audrey's baby elephant so I could practice all my new skills before I tried it on a larger scale.
And then that same mother-in-law made plans to come visit in February.  So I got my act together and had everything ready to go for when she came that visit.

The backing all taped down .
Top on and pinned!
And because the quilt was so large and I didn't have a piece for the back large enough I had to make one.  Took a little math but we got it figured out.  Once the back was ironed we taped it, face down to my living room floor- the only room with enough floor space to work.  Then the batting gets smoothed down on top of that.  Then the quilt top gets placed face up on top of it all.  And then you start pinning. They make these great safety pins that are curved and perfect for this step so I invested in some of those and it made the whole thing go much smoother.  And once it was pinned I immediately wanted to start sewing. I got a row in and realized I didn't have enough thread.  My man and I took a late night trip to Walmart (because Liz was still with us we could leave right when we wanted to.  So fun!) and bought 4 spools of grey.  And headed home.

To which I proceeded to sew four rows (the long way) only to realize that I hadn't dropped my feed dogs and the bottom of the quilt was sewn faster than the batting and the top.  We had to rip them all out.  And I was sad.

And so I didn't touch the quilt for a couple more weeks.  Seemed logical.  Breathe.  Look at it.  Feel sad again.  Then, get your act together and get it done!

Liz purchased a Walking foot for me (well two actually since we didn't know what would work) and I got to try it out on a different machine.  My oh my- this made all the difference.  A walking foot has feet under the presser foot that pulls the top fabric at the same rate as the bottom fabric.  It's incredibly smooth. Of course I had to re-lay out my entire quilt and re-pin it because of the mistakes we had already made but that wasn't as hard I thought it would be.  Once pinned and ready to go I set to sewing it. For the second time.  And with the help of Shelby again I was able to get quite a bit done that first night.  With motivation running high I finished "quilting" the giant thing.

Then came time for the trimming. Which made me more nervous than I care to admit.  But from what I can tell it looks pretty square.  The next step was to sew our bias tape right onto the edges.  Success.

Checking with other bloggers who quilt made all the difference!
Then I needed to bring the bias tape around and do the hand sewing.  Which I was totally not interested in before but once I had spent so much time and money on this puppy I really wanted to finish well.  The last step is washing and drying.
Here's a terrible photo of the finished quilt.  Dan is holding it with his arms stretched up all the way just to show how huge it is! 
It's done.  And we love it!  Greta can't wait to get a bed big enough to use it with and I can't wait to start on Audrey's.  Good thing I already started buying her fabric!!