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.