Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013

It's hard to believe Christmas has already come and gone, and now a new year is upon us.  There are so many things I've wanted to blog about lately, but I've had a hard time finding the time and free hands to type...I guess that's a good problem to have. 

This was our first Christmas in our married life that we have not spent with some extended family.  That definitely made it feel different, but it was sweet nonetheless.  In some ways, it felt a little like a "normal" weekend...with presents.  However, we did get to spend Christmas Eve and the afternoon of Christmas day with some special friends that made the time even more fun.

 The other aspect that made the time more fun was the fact both of the big kids were old enough to open presents and get excited.  Oh to experience Christmas again as a child, but not we get to see Christmas through the eyes of our children...what a blessing.  Kev and I talk a lot about traditions (especially around the holidays), and what type of traditions we want to have for our family.  With that comes discussion on how we want our Christmas to look like, especially how we can take the focus on receiving gifts and focus on the birth of Jesus and our anticipation for His return.  No easy task.

This year, I really appreciated insight from this blog, and we tried to institute some of her suggestions.  I really liked the idea of getting each child a want, need, and a surprise along with something to read and something to wear (pjs) so we generally tried to follow these principles.  I also loved the idea of each child having their gifts wrapped in 1 type of paper and a piece of that paper being at the bottom of the stocking so they would know which presents were their's.  This worked out particularly well with small kids as well since they can't read.  She has several other good ideas that I think would be fun when the kids get a little older (slumber party under the tree, money to get each other gifts, etc).

So what did our Christmas day look like?  It was pretty chaotic...excitement and joy, mixed with tears for a variety of reasons.  I was trying to feed Miss Campbell so Kev was in charge of documenting the event with video and photos as well as trying to help get toys out of boxes.  Lots going on but so much fun.  I think Miss E's favorite gift was a reusable Hello Kitty bag that I got from the dollar bin at Target and Mason loved a little battery-powered drill.  We had some friends over for dinner last night and they asked E what she got for Christmas.  She excitedly said, "I got sockies...with kitty cats on them AND candy santas."  Such a reminder to me that kids are so happy with simple gifts.  They don't need extravagant toys and they don't care how much things cost.  Hopefully I can remember this next year as well.
Mason was big enough to open presents!
 Lots and lots of trash. :)
 Sweet Campbell's first Christmas.
 Brave dress from Aunt Erin was a big hit!

Or course we didn't get a family pic or even a picture of all 3 kids together but at least we got some documentation the event happened.  Story of our lives.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our first month

It's hard to believe it has been over a month since Baby C was born.  How time flies...especially when you have a newborn...and two young kids.  Lots of sleepless nights helps make the time fly too...and makes you forget the days of the week.  That being said, we really have had an amazing month!  I would say so far, hands down, the transition from 2 to 3 has been easier than transitioning from 1 to 2.  Why, you might ask?  I have come up with several reasons.  First, we're already used to lack of sleep, so it didn't feel as traumatic as with your first (or second).  Part of what made Mason's birth so exhausting is Miss E stopped sleeping around that time, so that was really terrible.  We're also more used to chaos, multitasking, not having time to ourselves, etc which are all magnified by another kid.  However, in my books, newborns are fairly easy (at least my kids have been good babies).  They have basic needs (eating, getting their diapers changed, the occasional bath, sleeping), so fairly straight-forward.  For me, life got much more exhausting when #2 became mobile, and this was magnified when he reached 15 months and also started having strong opinions.  Sigh...the screaming months.  Thankfully, Mason seems to be exiting the screaming months as he is more able to communicate what he wants.  Thank you Lord!
Part of what made the transition to #3 much easier is my mom came and stayed with us for 3 whole weeks!  3 weeks...we felt so blessed that she would sacrifice her time and energy to stay with us.  Helping with 3 kids 3 and under is no easy task...certainly not a restful vacation.  She was truly a tremendous help and we wish she was still here!  She gave Campbell every single bath (funny fact...she has given all of my babies their first bath), washed infinite loads of laundry, played with kids for many hours, among many other things.

When I became a mother, I realized how much my mom sacrificed for me.  It became very clear quickly how much she had done for me for years.  Yet even now that I am an adult, a mother myself, she continues to sacrifice, continues to love me and my children.  She inspires me.

One of the fun activities her and Elliott got to do was make a "ginger" house, as Elliott called it.  It was fun activity, but Elliott constantly wanted to know when they were going to eat it.  Funny store...Truman decided to eat the ginger house when we were gone one day...I'm surprised it didn't cause serious stomach issues.
The other thing you may not know about my mom is she is the baby whisperer.  Like for real.  She can calm any baby.  I have learned so much from her.
My sweet baby girl!  She has been such a blessing, and has truly filled my heart with so much joy.  When I was pregnant, I had a hard time visualizing her, imaging how another child would fit into our family.  And yet then she was born, and my heart fills like it will burst with joy.  Words can't describe.
We have learned several things about our sweet girl this past month: she HATES being really hates it, she does not care for baths, she loves to snuggle and especially loves to be held.
She takes the best naps in the afternoon evening, eats like a champ every 3 hours, has monster burps, and usually has plenty of spit-up to accompany the burps.  Spit-up is just part of my wardrobe and perfume these days.
Her daddy hasn't gotten as many snuggles as he would like, because he has been doing the lion share of work with the older two.  I guess that's how it works when you have multiple kids.  Seriously couldn't have made it this first month without him.  Like for real.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Birth story

Campbell Mae made her grand entrance to this world on 11/16/2013.  I have been wanting to document her birth story, and figure I better do it quickly as it is seeming more and more like the distant past.  

My due date was 11/18, and with both of my 2 previous births and even my miscarriage, my labor started at 1am.  I stayed home the longest with E, but with both my kids, I was dilated to a 6cm when I got to the hospital.  In all my appointments leading up to her arrival, the midwife would say she was in an okay position but could be better, in that she was head down, but not completely facing the right direction.  This made me completely petrified because what was so difficult with M's labor is I had SO much back pain because he wasn't facing the right direction, and then I ended up stalling when I was 8cm.  So miserable.

I'm always amazed how waiting to go into labor is so exhausting, but for the most part, I felt peace about God's timing.  My mom flew in on Thursday and we were able to spend Friday together which was a huge blessing.  I woke up Saturday morning at 2:45am having somewhat painful contractions.  I was still able to drift off to sleep, and since it wasn't completely characteristic of my previous labors, I wasn't sure it was the real deal.  At 4:30am, I was still in bed and felt a pop in my belly and quickly realized my water broke.  I made it to the bathroom without making a mess, and I just could hardly believe my water broke.  I wasn't having regular contractions, so I called my midwife and she said I could stay home 2-6 hours.  Very quickly, I began having regular, painful contractions every 2-3 minutes, and around 6am I decided we should head to the hospital.  

When we got to the hospital, I was dilated to a 6 and they got me into my room at around 6:30am.  The next hour of my life was a painful, extremely intense haze.  At first I was having lots of back pain but was still able to breath through the contractions, feeling pretty controlled.  However, the contractions intensified quickly and I definitely felt like I lost some of my control.  Different than with E's labor, I felt most comfortable sitting on the bed, partially reclined, partially on my side.  As the contractions intensified, my body just started spontaneously pushing.  The midwife checked me at 7:35am and I was complete then I had her at 7:38am.

Needless to say, that last hour was unbelievably painful...but at least it was short lived.  I still look back in complete awe of the experience.  And then, we had a beautiful, dark-haired, 8 pounds 9 ounces little girl that they quickly laid on my chest. 

I'm always amazed how the difficulty of pregnancy, the intense pain of childbirth fade in comparison to the wonder and joy of a new baby. Children truly are a blessing. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013


We're in the waiting place, a holding pattern, unsure of when baby girl will be here but knowing it will be soon.  Trying to cherish the time we have as a family of 4 but excited to become a family of 5.  Enjoying every little kick and movement baby girl makes, yet also anticipating holding her in our arms. Hoping she'll come soon, but also hoping she waits until my mom makes it here.  One of the hardest things for me during this season is just how difficult the simplest tasks have become...getting off the ground (which I do often), bending down to pick things up (a constant activity since there is always clutter to be put away), trying to hold both kids in my lap to read a book...everything requires extra effort.

When I was home with the kids on Friday, I decided I would focus on spending time together, not accomplishing tasks which is a hard line to draw at times.  It was a sweet time with the kids.
 This is Miss E's cheese face...she basically either refuses to look at the camera or gives me this face.  Love it.
 This guy has been obsessed with triangle blocks lately.  He will look for all the triangles in the block box and then line them up in a row.  It had a moment where I thought, who taught him about triangles??  Certainly not me. :) His learning style is so different than E's.  He has been obsessed with reading lately but never on his own...he always wants me to read and he wants to talk about all the different pictures, sometimes getting fixated on one page or image.  If I'm distracted, he'll repeatedly pat my face saying "Mama,, dog, dog..."  He really wants to interact where Elliott is content so often doing things independently.  She can be hard to teach, because she doesn't want to be "told" what to do.
 She is also not a toy player, but she LOVES jumping...on her bed, from her bed to the ground, off her ottoman, off her toy boxes, across the room with 1 and 2 feet...the girl loves jumping.  I'm thinking we need to invest in some kind of indoor trampoline for the winter.  
 When I was preparing lunches, the kids got in the sandbox.  Oh joy.  Nothing like sand in their coats and boots.

I'm so thankful for time with these munchkins, even though they wear me out!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oh baby!

36 weeks.

Where has the time gone?  I'm thankful for each and every day that I've had to carry our sweet baby girl, but I'm not going to lie, it hasn't been the easiest pregnancy.  I hate to complain because I am so very thankful for the opportunity to be pregnant, to experience the joy of the baby's movements, to see her grow as my body grows, but this pregnancy has definitely been the hardest for me thus far.  Maybe it's because I'm older, or have two very energetic young children to run after, or my body is just worn out from being pregnant.  Probably a combination of all of these things.
 I've had a lot more Braxton Hicks contractions lately, which are exciting and yet scary to think of the impending pain to come.  I've also had a lot of ligament pain (like way more than my other pregnancies), especially when I walk, so that's exciting (but not really).  It probably doesn't help that Mason still loves to be carried, so I probably carry him way more than I should, and often have to cart him up and down the stairs in our house.  
I've actually had way more energy my 3rd trimester so that has been nice.  I kept waiting to have energy in the second trimester, but it just never came.  Even though I've had more energy lately, I still feel tired...a lot.  Especially days I'm home with the kids all day.  I so love our kids, but I feel like they are both at a difficult age with fighting, whining, exerting independence, etc.  All this requires energy...more energy than I often feel I have.  Not to mention our dreaded stairs.

I'm really looking forward to baby girl being here, but I also have had a really difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that we will have 3 kids.  3 kids.  I feel like people who have 3 kids look old and I don't feel that old.  Plus, I wonder how it will change the dynamics of our family.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A long September...

Anybody remember that song?  Takes me back to high school...or maybe college.  Some time when I thought life was really complicated, but in retrospect, was actually very simple and trivial.  Hindsight is 20/20. :)  Anyway, it has been a long September/October for several reasons, mainly we have been sick for what feels like an eternity.  The kids got colds, that led to ear infections that didn't respond to one round of antibiotics, that led to a nasty cough for Kev and I, that was topped off by a delightful GI bug with lots of goodness from both ends.  We were all healthy for about a week, then Mason started running a fever with a runny nose on Saturday.  Then Elliott got sent home from school today with possible pink eye but ended up having an ear infection.  I expected for the kids to get more sick since they started preschool this year, but seriously, this is ridiculous.  I have started to feel desperate to find ways to keep us all healthy.  It's amazing how easy it is to take your health for granted, until you're sick...and these are just colds!!  We're not fighting major illnesses or life threatening battles, just really annoying viruses and bacterias.  So basically all these illnesses have definitely contributed to my lack of blogging.  Along with the fact that I'm 35 weeks pregnant...what??...and have not had my normal energy.

Other than crazy sicknesses getting us down, life has been good, and I wanted to include a few photos.
We had some sweet friends from Oklahoma (although we both no longer live there) stay with us a night with their 3 kids.  They have 3 kids 3 and under and are basically about 6 months ahead of was like a glimpse into what our life could potentially look like in a few short months.  They certainly handle 3 kids with much more grace than I'm sure I will and laughter than I'm sure I will, but it was encouraging to see them take it in stride.  The visit was short but incredibly encouraging for multiple reasons, one being they are about to go overseas with their 3 young children to do ministry among tribes.  I was so challenged by their obedience to God's calling, even though I'm sure there are very daunting and difficult aspects of leaving.  It certainly made me think twice about the things I think are inconvenient or difficult in my life.  Ummm...probably don't compare to living in a tribe in a third world country.  Plus their kids were super sweet and all the kids had fun playing!
I just love Mason's little smirk in this picture.  We were quite the sight to see...5 kids 3 and under.  Yikes. :)
These 2 pictures are kind of old but I had to include them.  My parents came for a visit during Miss E's birthday.  One of her presents from them was a Belle dress...insert major excitement here.  The girl loves her princesses and Belle is one of her favorites.  Time with Momo and Papa is always so incredibly precious and not long enough!

This picture melts my heart because first, it is SO hard to get a picture of Miss E smiling and second, it's virtually a miracle to get a picture of her smiling WITH me.  This picture is like gold.  So thankful for this picture together and most importantly, for my sweet girl!
Again, valuable picture EVEN if Mason is not smiling.  Elliott happened to be in a good mood this day and when I started taking pictures she said, "Mom, do you want me to go by Mason and smile?"  Yes, yes I do.  And why do you want to do it when I don't ask?  One of life's little dilemmas.  The other landmark thing about this picture is Mason's paci...because it is now NO more!!  During our 4 weeks of sickness, we also accidently lost Mason's last paci.  Now we were wanting to wean him off it before the baby (but just dreading it).  Nothing like losing the last one...on a work night...on a school night...right before bedtime.  For the planner in me, this was basically my worst nightmare.  However, he has handled it pretty well.  He never seemed to miss it during the day, but definitely had a rough transition during naps and night time.  He actually has stopped napping quite as long (1 nap for 1.5 hours) and has been waking up screaming most mornings around 5:45 or 6.  Not ideal.  However, no paci.  And he did sleep until 8 yesterday and 7 today (after a 5:15 wakeup when E went to the bathroom).  It's the small victories.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My 3 year old...

She's THREE!
It feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms...a tiny, helpless little girl.  She made me a mother and showed me how DEEP a mother's love is.
I stared in awe at her perfect little face...her nose, her eyes, her sweet little mouth.
She was absolutely perfect...more than I could have ever imagined.  God's gift after a miscarriage and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for our dreams to be realized.
Then I turned around...and she turned ONE!
My baby was turning into a little girl.  A sweet girl who still wasn't walking, with a serious demeanor who had sweet smiles that she reserved for very special people.
 And then what seemed like a week later, she turned TWO!
She had transformed into a ball of energy and life, a climbing machine that hated to be confined.  A little girl that decided sleeping was overrated and had more opinions and preferences that I would have ever imagined possible at the age of 2.
She was talking so much and learning the good (and the difficult) about being a big sister.
And now she is THREE!
Our sweet, beautiful daughter...fiercely independent and opinionated, with an infectious, exuberant laugh.  She still has love for climbing, being chased, being tickled, reading books and wrestling with her daddy.  She sings frequently (many times in the early mornings or sometimes in the middle of the night) with a strong preference to any princess songs.  She loves watching shows and movies and is constantly trying to negotiate a deal to get to watch something.  She can be bossy and loves trying to tell her brother how to do things, but with that, she is actually very helpful.  She has a deep love for our family and would prefer us always do stuff together...she also loves well but she doesn't give her affections away carelessly.  

I feel SO very blessed and HONORED to be her mother.  I can't wait to see how she grows and develops in the years to come and pray God will give us wisdom and grace in knowing how to parent our little firecracker.  

3rd Birthday Party! from the birthday July.  This has been on my to do list for quite some time.

We had a joint birthday party for the 2nd consecutive year with Miss E's BFF Maryn with a couple of church friends.  It was a beach theme a park...just go with it.  I have to post a couple pictures of the decorations because I feel like they turned out pretty well, but don't kid yourself, all ideas from pinterest...I'm all about stealing ideas as I'm not the most creative person.

 Jello with gummy fish.
 Beach ball fruit pizza (in case you couldn't tell).
 "Sandy" beach cupcakes.
 The kids dinner was in buckets (PB&J, goldfish, grapes, and a juice box).
 The birthday girls!  Can't believe they are three!
 Enthralled by her cool cupcakes.
 Some cupcake eating.  Yummy.
I'd say he liked it.
 Parachute playing.

 Throwing beach balls through hula hoops.
 What's better than playing with beach balls?
My most favorite person to plan parties with!  Can't wait until next year!