Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthday Dance Party

Daddy dancing with Nola

Happy kiddos (notice the audience on the couch?)


air guitar?

"Mommy, look at me!" him!
Nola's dancing with Tigger

"Look at Daddy!"


Taking a break

"uh oh!"
This girl can boogie.

Disco fever!

Some sort of hip-hop move?

Shakin' what her mama gave her!

Hilarious!  In mid-air.  Normally I don't condone jumping off the couch, but this was an exception!

Happy 3rd birthday, Nathan!

I'm going to jump on this birth-story-for-birthdays bandwagon because it's such a great idea!  Not to mention the fact that I love birth stories myself!

Nathan was by far my easiest labor and delivery.  For some reason, everything about my pregnancy with him was laid back and relaxed.  Although I was quite sick in the beginning and had some sort of cardio-pulmonary scare around the 7-month mark, pregnancy with Nathan was footloose and fancy free.  I don't remember ever being anxious for birth or feeling like I was going to die if I didn't deliver immediately.  And that is probably because he surprised us by coming at 38 weeks and 5 days!

It was a Tuesday afternoon.  I had my weekly OB appointment, and Natalie stayed with Kevin while I went down there myself.  At the appointment, my midwife checked me and said I was 4 cm dilated.  And I responded, "that's technically active labor, right?!"  She said yes, if there were noticeable contractions which there weren't at the time.  Then she proceeded to tell me not to go into labor that night because she was going to be on the WCIA morning show the next day and wouldn't be on call that night.  Ummm...ok?

So I left the appointment around 4:45 feeling pretty excited that I could potentially go into labor at any time.  And as soon as I got on I-57 heading back to Rantoul, there were the contractions.  Not painful, just noticeable, regular, and obviously labor.  I got home a little after 5 and fixed supper.  Kevin had a meeting that night, so I was busy putting Natalie to bed all the while knowing that that night was the night.  I called my mom around 7:30 and told her what was going on, and she prepared to come stay with Natalie.  I called Kevin and told him we were going but that he didn't have to hurry because the contractions still weren't painful.

My mom and Kevin both got to the house at about the same time around 8:15, and off we went.  We drove slowly to the hospital (no rushing or freaking out), and we talked and enjoyed being together.  We got to the hospital around 9, and they had no beds on the labor and delivery floor.  We had to wait a little bit until they decided that they would just put me in a recovery room until another room opened up.  They did all my admission stuff and checked me again to find that I was 6 cm dilated and like 75% effaced.

We got more excited that he was coming, but we were on our phones texting friends and checking facebook and talking back and forth.  I still marvel at how calm and natural we felt.  It was really quite a different feel than Natalie's birth and even Nola's birth also.  Finally they were able to move us into a regular room, and there we were blessed with the best nurse ever.  I don't remember her name, but she was awesome.  And we also got to meet with the midwife on call, Cathy.  She was so fantastic, and she checked me and said I was about 7 and that the water was bulging and would likely break if I got up and walked around.  So we walked for awhile still chatting and laughing as if we were on a date rather than having a baby.

The water didn't break, so we went back to the room since we were sort of tired and then she broke my water.  They kept asking me if I wanted an epidural or if I thought I'd be okay, and I really had no idea what to expect since the first part had been so easy.  But I was afraid that I would end up really close to the end and freaking out, so I took the epidural at about 8 1/2 cm.  I fell asleep for awhile, and woke up to ridiculous pain on my left side.  I could feel everything.  Contractions, his head, everything.  I buzzed the nurse, and when she came in I said, "it's time."  And she told me that she would check me and that it was likely that I was just feeling more pressure.  But when she checked me, she said, "Okie dokie, you're about to have a baby!"

Cathy came in and got ready, and I was feeling this insane urge to push.  I pushed through it, and he was almost out.  I pushed again, and he crowned.  I pushed one last time, and his shoulders came through and our baby boy was born at 3:43 in the morning on April 22nd under a crescent moon with a star (or something) on each side of it.  They put him up on my chest, and he didn't make a sound.  They sucked the stuff out of his mouth and nose and put him under the heat and still he was quiet.  I started to get a little worried, but Kevin was so awesome to come and tell me he was fine and breathing normally.  And then one of the nurses moved out of the way and I could see for myself that his little chest was going up and down.  He was just so relaxed like we were that he must not have felt like crying.

And that's the story of our precious boy's birth.  He's such a handsome little guy.  He's growing into quite the little storyteller and sweet brother.  Here are some pictures from his birthday celebration today.

Breakfast: birthday waffles with nutella and sprinkles.

Grandma helping Nathan open his birthday present

Post-dinner cupcake
Nathan's stats:
He's 38.6 lbs and 42" tall.

Nathan's favorite things:
his sisters
school and all of his friends.
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
scrambled eggs
praying when somebody gets an owie
Thomas the train
going for rides in the car
going to parks with Daddy and Sissy
laughing and being silly
having Daddy lay with him while he goes to sleep
helping Grandma with grocery shopping
spending time at Grandma and Grandpa's house

I can't wait for his class party tomorrow.  I'm going to bring bubbles and join them for their outside time and then read the kids a story.  And then Nathan gets to bless each of his friends with an "I Spy" book of their very own. 

Love celebrating my kiddos even though the time goes by way too fast!

Friday, April 20, 2012

house story

I've been "writing" this story in my head for awhile, but it's just not coming together as I would like.  So my hope is that by getting it out of my head and into black and white it will suddenly congeal and make sense in a way that it's not currently.

So if you've talked to me at all or glanced in my general direction while I've had my laptop on my lap anytime in the last two months, you'll know that we've been searching desperately for a new place to call home. 

A quick google search will define "desperate" this way:

"Tried in despair or when everything else has failed; having little hope of success"

This is exactly what my attitude has been for about two months.  And it has literally been suffocating.  After hearing that we had not been selected for the house we REALLY wanted, I tried to make sense of what I had felt God say to me about that house during that time of waiting for the decision.  Had I missed something?  Did I interpret his leading incorrectly?  Did I even know what I was listening to?   And the answer, plain and simple, was "Yes, you do know what you're listening to.  But now I have a new plan."

So, okay God.  You've got this.  We decided that we would stay where we are and be happy with how blessed we've been here.  I even went so far as to make a schedule of how I expected my weeks would go in the fall when the craziness of nursing school ensues.  That was on April 9th.  I budgeted time for driving both ways to school, study time, class time, even a small two-hour slot for TV time on Mondays.  I got some acceptance about where God had placed us.

Then Tuesday the 10th after Mom2Mom, I decided to take the kids out to lunch.  As we were driving up Prospect heading to Wendy's since I really wanted a spicy chicken sandwich and the kids' nuggets come with 5 each, so I can just take one out of each of them to give to Nola (very economical, no?), the thought of Fazoli's popped into my mind.  Okay, I've never taken them there.  But we've had plenty of chicken nuggets in our lives, why not do something different?  So with very enthusiastic kids, I pulled into Fazoli's and we went in to eat.

As we were sitting there enjoying various delicious pasta dishes, the realtor who had shown us a house in Savoy (and had selected someone else for said house in Savoy) stopped at our table and said, "I don't know if you remember me."  To which I said, "Of course I do!" And she said, "There's a house that is just coming available, and I think it would be perfect for you guys."  Astounded, I probably mumbled a muddled thanks so much.  And she gave me the address and told me to talk to Kevin and give her a call if we wanted to see it.

For the rest of the meal, I was trying to be the good mom who doesn't let her kids throw stuff on the floor and act crazy because she was sitting pretty close to us.  Luckily, they were in a cooperative mood and super cute that day.  So I got the kids loaded up after we were done eating and took them to school, came home and put Nola down for a nap, and waited for Kevin to get home.  When I told him about it, he was excited to go see it.  So we called Fawn and made an appointment to see it that Thursday.  To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about going to see this house because I just didn't want to be disappointed again.  But I tried to pull it together and get excited about what we would see.

Thursday finally came after the longest Wednesday forever in the history of the world, and we dropped the kids off and headed down to Champaign which felt like another of our house-hunting dates where we get really excited about a house and then drive home with a whole lot of anxiety over whether or not we'd get it.  On the way down, Fawn called to confirm the appointment.  She hadn't done that when we had seen the house in Savoy, so that was sort of exciting.  When we pulled up in front of the house, I felt a peace and a sense that my heart was opening to whatever we'd find there. When we stepped inside, there was such serenity that we felt welcomed into some huge loving arms.  As we walked through the house, I really began to picture us there.  That was crazy because the rooms are much smaller than we have now, but the flow of the house and the peace we felt were indescribable.  Toward the end of the showing, Fawn made it clear that she had pretty much decided we were the future tenants of the house if we wanted it.  She said that she did have someone coming right behind us, and if they were to turn in an application that she'd have to give it consideration.  But in her mind, we were the ones she was going to recommend to the owner.

We walked out of there on cloud ninety-nine.

Not thirty minutes later, she called to tell us that she was pleased to inform us that we were selected for the home.


The best part about all of this is that I've learned to trust God in a way that I never have before.  I am absolutely certain that He knows what we need before we do, and He's so ready to give it to us as long as we ask and are willing to wait for His response.

Another extra cool part of this story is that our friend, Angela stopped me after a Mom2Mom meeting in March to tell me that during worship and ministry time she had gotten a picture of a house for us.  She didn't want to say it in the group for whatever reason, but when she told me I immediately thought of another house we had considered.  I showed her that picture, but it wasn't exactly like what she had seen in her mind.

After seeing the picture of this house, she exclaimed, "THAT'S IT!"

I'm so thankful for amazing people around us who encourage us and are willing to share God's thoughts with us.

Can't wait to move and spend all summer with my kids in the pools and parks making them tired so they can go home and take a nap while I go to school only 5 miles from our house!

God is totally and utterly amazing.

sleep stories

So, for most of Nola's life I've been decidedly against cry-it-out for her.  Don't ask me why.  It worked totally fine for Natalie (most of the time), and Nathan was just an easy sleeper from the get go.  But with Nola, I just never felt like it was right with her.  So for 14 months, I've been at her mercy as far as when bedtime or naptime is likely to occur.  About a month ago, I started laying her down to fall asleep but staying with her with my hand on her back until she was asleep.  But something changed about 2 weeks ago, and it quit working.  She suddenly thought it was playtime, and she would cry for a little bit and then get up and laugh at me.  Needless to say, I was far from amused.

So for the past week or so, we've been nursing before sleeping still.  But if she wakes when I put her in bed, I lay her down and tell her it's night-nights and leave the room.  I come back at five minutes if she's crying, do the same thing.  Then if she continues to cry, I go back ten minutes after that.  And so on and so forth.  Fortunately she usually falls asleep before I have to go in there a third time after 15 minutes, but there are exceptions (like tonight).  But the really miraculous thing is that not only am I not stuck putting her to bed for three hours, she's also sleeping through the night now!  She'll usually go from about 7:30 to between 4 and 6 without waking up to nurse.  And by that point, I usually go ahead and bring her to bed with me for some well-deserved snuggles while she nurses and snoozes until she hears the kids wake up.

And not only is she sleeping through the night, she's also taking 1-2 amazing naps during the day.  She typically only gets one on the days I have school because she waits for me to get home to nurse her at around 12:30, and then she'll sleep 2-3 hours.  Although, she did fall asleep on Daddy for a morning nap for the first time this week so maybe she'll start doing more of that.  On days that I'm home, she starts whining for a nap by about 9:30 or 10 depending on when we get out of bed.  And then she'll take her nebulizer treatment while she's nursing and fall right to sleep for two hours, wake up for lunch, play a little bit, and go right back down around 2 or 2:30 for another 2 hours and still go to sleep for the night at 7:30!  I must say I love this new routine we've developed, and I know she's a happier little girl now that she's getting all the sleep she needs.  I can't help but wonder if the asthma had anything to do with the poor sleeping too.  Who knows...

And now that I've reported her amazing progress to the world, it's likely that things will do a 180.

I'm aware of this risk.  Praying that Jesus continues to work this miracle in my precious girl's life!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hearing without listening

I don't know why, but over the past two days I've felt so burdened for families with kids with chronic and/or life-threatening illness.  Whether it's a first-time mother who has lost her baby at about seven months gestation or a 10-year-old boy fighting for his life against cancer, I feel deeply for them.  My heart is broken wide open for the situation.  I just read another story of a 4-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy as a baby.  Heartbreaking.  But there is such beauty in each of these stories.  There is such strength and empowerment in the lives of these families.  There is a tenderness in the daily struggle and sorrow that I can clearly never know in two days of being touched by the stories.  But the overall effect these stories are having on my perspective of and attitude toward my children and life in general is completely overwhelming.

In some ways, I feel like these pulls on my heart are part of God's call on my life.  I've known for awhile now that my ultimate career goal is to practice somewhere in obstetrics, maternal-child health, pediatrics, somewhere along those lines.  So there's that aspect, but I think reading about the ridiculously difficult experiences of these families also makes me realize how fortunate I am to have the struggles that I do have. 

In a season that is difficult in many ways, perspective is quite a blessing.  I need to know that having children who disobey more often than they obey is not the end of the world.  (Yet.)  I need to know that not sleeping will likely not kill me, at least not until I'm old and predisposed to Alzheimer's due to said lack of sleep.  I need to know that all of my struggles could be a million times more difficult.  Perspective, an important reality check.  A quick snap of God's fingers in front of my face. 

So yes, God.  I hear you even though I wasn't listening for this kind of message.  Thanks for the grace to see my life from the perspective you've given me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

That deserves a blog post

Nola has developed quite the little personality lately.

The act that precipitated this post was a visit from Nola as I was sitting in my chair a few minutes ago.  She walked over with a little block, put it in my lap, and took off with my phone.  A perfect trade.

She loves to say "whoa" and "wow" for everything.  "Nola, look at this book."  "Wowwww." 

No (nah) is also a new favorite.  "Nola, do you want your cup?"  "Nah."

She and Nathan have this insane sibling rivalry.  I don't know how children develop that at this young age.  They literally have fights over toys, me and Kevin, places to sit, space to look out the patio door or front door, food, and the list goes on.

Hi and bye are also becoming favorites.  Whenever she sees somebody getting shoes or a coat on, she says, "Buh buh bye!!"  Now, this does not necessarily mean she's giving you permission to leave without her.  Usually she gets upset if she doesn't get to come too.  She has started to engage other people in conversation at the store, restaurants, church, etc.  So exciting to see her come out of her shell.

Also, SHE'S WALKING!!!  She's really gotten it down over the past couple days, and she's even figured out how to turn around and bend down to get something.  Her favorite thing to do is get her snack cup from me at the gate to the kitchen and walk off with it like a big girl. 

This is such an exciting stage for us with Nola, and I'm happy to report that it has produced better sleeping habits as well. (YES!)

So amazing watching our precious little girl doing new things!