The Past 7 Days and Christmas

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. I participated in the Winter 2009 run of 7 Days again, and these were my shots. You can enjoy the slideshow, and you can also click on over to my Flickr site if you’d like to check out the captions and notes on the pictures.
This run took us right up through Christmas, and was (is) quite fun. Christmas was really nice this year. It ended up being Kev and I and our kids, my parents, Kev’s mom and brother and sister, and my grandma all hanging out up at our place. We kept it simple this year with steaks for dinner, and one big family gift, (from Kev and I) a Wii. Everybody hung out bowling, boxing, playing baseball and tennis yesterday, and now we’re all sore today (Ha ha! How out of shape are we?) Even my grandma was able to figure it out and kicked some butt in the bowling alley!

Excitement!

This year I actually had a hard time sleeping on Christmas Eve, which hasn’t happened to me since I was a teenager! I was super excited to watch the kids open their presents. Christmas is great when you’re a kid, then you grow up and the excitement kind of wears thin. Then after you have kids, everything becomes new again, as you watch them experience the magic of it all. This year, it was fun to have 3 really expressive kids on Christmas morning. Drew opened his stocking and commented on everything. “Socks! What?” “Star Wars Cards!!! Awesome!! That’s just what I wanted! I love you Mom!!!” Then he did a happy dance when he opened his Lego Star Wars gift from my sister…

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Beau was happy with his haul too, but I think he was a little bummed he didn’t have more presents to open… oh well, you can’t win them all.

Beau Opening Auntie Hannah's Present

Selah would have been totally happy if all her presents had only been candy. That is what she was most interested in, and I had a hard time keeping it away from her.

Selah on Christmas Morning

My parents got Rory the cutest little pair of lambskin booties, which I am particularly grateful for, as this is looking like a long winter and they will keep her toes nice and warm.

Rory and her new Booties

My grandma sat down and asked if Kevin got me anything pretty for Christmas this year (we only stuffed stockings for each other this year in addition to getting the Wii) and I said, “Yes… a nice crisp fifty dollar bill.” 😉 He was super super busy this season (when is he not?) preparing for the Christmas Eve service in which he played guitar and a bell-kit. He also had a bunch of clients wanting to get last minute things done. And I’m not complaining, we are blessed to still have plenty of business these days! And my hubby is an excellent provider!

Life is good… what more can I say. Hope your holidays were especially fantastic this year! Love you all!
If you’d like to see the entire Christmas set of photos click here.

On Adjusting to Having Four Children…

Ok… first of all… what the heck happened to my last post of pictures!!??? I know I posted it, I even had a few comments from some of you. So where is it? That’s just straight up weird. There isn’t even a trace of it on here.

Well anyways… someday, when I have the time to learn how to manage and design and publish my own website, I’ll add my Twitter statuses to this whole mess.

My current twitter status: “have lots to do today, and… I want to do everything else but what I should be doing. Sound familiar? At least dinner is in the crock pot.”

I just wanted to expound on this a little bit. Having four kids is easier than I thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Rory is a great baby. She’s really mellow, rarely cries, is a good nurser, and sleeps pretty well too. The rest of my kids think Rory is great too. They haven’t asked me to send her back or anything, and they seem genuinely interested in her and tickled by whatever she is doing (when she’s actually awake.) However… (you knew there was a “however” right?) the rest of my kids are definitely testing me and Kevin to see what they can get away with now that we’re a little more preoccupied. That’s the hard part. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been yelling a little more these past 3 weeks. I hate that. I don’t want to be a yeller, but sometimes it’s the only tool I’ve got in my arsenal. I know this wont last forever. The kids will eventually figure out that Mom and Dad are still in control, and they will simmer down and get back to, well, decent, (because who are we kidding, my kids aren’t good all the time, even though they are generally good. Are yours?) behavior.

The other thing that is hard is not being able to accomplish as much as my brain tells me I can and SHOULD be doing. It can and does take me twice and sometimes three times as long to get things done. It’s not easy to get dinner on the table when both daughters have just double-teamed me with dirty diapers, and one of them needs a bath as a result! In addition to making this hard, is that I can tell it frustrates my husband that I’m not getting things done quicker. He doesn’t actually say anything, but he sighs a little louder, and sometimes stomps through the house. I’m sorry, honey, I really am trying. And I really do appreciate all your help! You do make things easier, which makes me happy. So… what I’ve been trying to do, to combat all this self-imposed guilt, is count my daily accomplishments. Sort of like “counting your blessings” except you insert accomplishments instead of blessings. Technically, the accomplishments ARE blessings… So for today:
1. I got up
2. Made Drew’s lunch
3. Changed Rory’s diaper, fed her, clothed her
4. Made breakfast for myself and Kevin, including some nice hot tea
5. Got dinner in the slow-cooker (and it’s smelling good!)
6. Researched some fun Christmas crafts to do with the kids
7. Wrote this post…

It’s not much yet, and it’s only 11, but it’s something… it helps me feel a little better when I get to the end of my day and wonder where all the time went, and what I did with it.

In the meantime… Rory is now down for a nap, Beau and Selah are happily distracted watching Avatar: the Last Airbender, so I’d better take this opportunity and go add some more things to my list of accomplishments!

Rory’s Birth Story

I should be folding laundry right now, but I wanted to take the opportunity to document Aurora’s birth story before the details get all foggy in my head, and/or I cease to remember them at all. 😉 (Side note: several days later, I come back to finish this post, and sure enough… I STILL should be folding laundry right now. Ha ha!) Also, please be forewarned; this is a pretty extensive and detailed post (although I did leave out the more sensitive a.k.a gross details.) I wanted to chronicle as much as I could remember about the whole thing for my own sake, and possibly Rory’s, if she ever wants to know about her own birth once she gets older. So yeah… it’s just LONG, and I won’t be offended if you don’t make it all the way through. 🙂

Monday night, the 16th of November, I heaved my pregnant self into bed, looked at Kevin and sighed, and said, “I’m not all stressed out about being overdue. I feel just fine. I just want to get it over with, you know?” He nodded in sympathy, having watched me waddle around for the last nine ten months, and definitely eager to meet his new daughter.

Tuesday morning at exactly 4:49, I woke up needing to go to the bathroom, but also realizing I was having a rather painful contraction. At that point, my brain woke right up in excitement, and the adrenalin started running. It was hard to get back to sleep. I was stuck between wanting to get as much rest as possible for what might lay ahead and wanting to time the contractions. They were between 20 and 30 minutes apart. Finally I got up at 6, got in the shower and decided to proceed as normal. I got Drew up for school and made his lunch, and wondered if we’d actually be able to get out to do our grocery shopping that morning. The contractions were still coming though, in sporadic waves. They were painful enough that I nixed grocery shopping, especially since they increased the more I walked around. Kevin took Drew to school, and my mom, who was staying with us, took over Selah and Beau. I shut myself in my bedroom, wanting to be away from the noise, sat down on my couch and got on the internet for a little bit. I was so tired I was nodding off. Then Kevin came in to check on me, and I told him I was still worried about grocery shopping, but that I was so tired. He helped me out by telling me it was okay for me to take some time for myself, and it was okay to not worry about the grocery shopping and to go ahead and take a nap, which was exactly what I needed to hear. My contractions had slowed down even more at this point, since I had been sitting down. I was beginning to think that I had just been having false labor all morning long. So I crawled into bed and went back to sleep. I still had a few hard contractions while laying down, but was able to get some decent rest.
Later, after some adequate rest and letting the adrenalin die down, I was able to think a little more clearly. I decided to go check on my mom and Beau and Selah and then get something to eat. I was a little shaky, not sure if I was really going into labor or not, and knew I needed to eat to keep my strength. So we ate and then I put Selah down for a nap, and sent my mom out the door to do the grocery shopping. I went to go lay down again for a while. Beau wanted to watch a movie in my room, so I indulged him and put on Transformers. At this point, the contractions were still coming, but didn’t have a distinguishable pattern. I could tell they were actually getting some work done though.
At about 2:30, things started to change a bit. I don’t know exactly what it was, but the contractions were suddenly more serious, even though there was still no pattern to them. They were coming 20 minutes apart, then 15, then 5, then 8, then 10, the 3 minutes apart. I decided I’d better go tell Kevin, who was downstairs in his studio that it was probably time to take this a little more serious, and I also needed to remind him to go pick up Drew from school. The contractions were painful enough that I felt like I needed to crawl on the floor when I had one, so I crawled to the top of the stairs and yelled for Kevin. His door was shut, so I knew I’d have to crawl down the stairs and get him, so I crawled down them backwards. When I told him what was going on, he said he thought I was appeared to really be in labor, and wanted to know how long before I thought we should go to the hospital. I said I didn’t know, probably 1 or 2 hours. Then I crawled back up the stairs and went to go lay down again. Kevin went to go pick up Drew. When he was gone, I had a 4 minute long contraction, and I started to get the shakes. I also felt a wee bit nauseous. Normally, I would have thought I was starting to transition right off, but my contractions were still not following any sort of pattern (which is not typical for me) so I was really unsure of what to do. I finally decided it would probably be best to get to the hospital. The worst that can happen is that they send me home, right? Also, I didn’t want to wait too long and risk delivering in the car! At some point my mom came home with the groceries, and Kev came back with Drew. Drew was obviously excited and concerned for me when he came in the door. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget the look on his face when he ran back to check on me, and said “Hi, Momma.” I couldn’t quite tell if he was expecting to see a baby when he got home, or if he was just worried about me. I also remember my mom coming in and trying to get me to eat some vegetable chips she had bought me at the health food store. I think Kev tried to get me to eat something too, and I adamantly refused both offers. The contractions were getting more and more fierce, and knew it was time to go. Right before we left, Beau came running into the bathroom where I was and gave me a hug, told me he loved me and asked if his sister was going to come out today. It was really sweet. I didn’t get to say goodbye to Selah, and felt a little bad about it. So, with all our gear in tow, off to the hospital we went. We checked the time and it was 4:40, a little over 2 hours since I had told Kevin we might want to head in that direction.

Gramma Summer and Rory

In the car, Kevin put on some soothing music, and the first song that came on was Massive Attack’s “Teardrop.” If you watch HOUSE, you’ll know that this is the song that plays during the opening credits of the show. If you watch HOUSE, you’ll also know what a dramatic and often terrifying show it can be with regard to anything and everything that can go wrong while you’re at the hospital. I just could not listen to it at that point in time, and even though I was in pain with contractions, the fact that it was the first song to come on made me giggle a bit. I gripped my seat and held on as we headed on our way, a ten minute drive to the hospital.
Finally we got up to the labor and delivery floor and were whisked quickly to a birthing room. At this point, we didn’t know if we were going to be joined by my midwife or her partner, as it was her partner who was on duty that day, and my midwife was out of the office. The contractions were coming quite a bit closer and I was starting to feel quite a bit of pressure. The nurse checked me, and I was relieved to find out that I was already dilated to 6-7. I was so worried I wouldn’t be very far along, and have to labor longer in the hospital. (Can you tell I like to do most of the work at home?)

Already Playing to the Camera

At this point, my best friend, Melissa, who works up in labor and delivery came in, and I was glad to see her! She started getting the room all prepped for the delivery and I tried to focus on not being too nervous and breathing through the contractions. Then my midwife walked through the door, and I was really glad to see her too. They told her my stats, and she asked me if I wanted to have my water broken to speed things along. I was really unsure about it for a couple of reasons. My first thought was if they break my water now, my mom will definitely miss the delivery. Then I was torn over wanting the labor to just be over with, and not wanting it to hurt more. So she just let us be for probably only 5 or 10 minutes, then came back in to check me, because we were pretty sure I was progressing pretty fast. Sure enough, I was at 9 when she checked, and so we went ahead and broke my water at that point. (At this point, I REALLY knew my mom wasn’t going to make it.) Then I had about three contractions that were just full of pressure. I started to sorta-kinda push a bit, because that actually helped relieve the pain of the contractions a little. Then it was time to really push.
With the first big push, I honestly thought her head would at least come out. I was definitely expecting a small baby, because Selah had been a pretty small baby at just over six pounds. She had been pretty easy to push out. With Aurora, and the first push, I realized she was definitely not as small as Selah, and at that point, I was pretty much the most uncomfortable I had been during the enitre labor. Kevin and Melissa could see it in my face too. I broke out in a sweat and it took all of my concentration not scream, “GET HER OUT NOW!!” I finally got a hold of my thoughts, closed my eyes and just breathed realizing that this would be over quite soon. That last 3 minutes of waiting for the next contraction felt like forever though. Finally that last contraction came, and with some mighty effort, and my midwife reminding me to breath, her head was out! PHEW! And many a “Praise God” uttered from my lips. We had to suction her a bit, because she had a little bit of meconium in her water. Then I was able to reach down as the rest of her body was coming out and pull her up to me. We were all very surprised at how big she was. At some point in there, I looked up at Kevin and said, “Go get a vasectomy.” (LOL)
One of the first things I noticed about Rory, is that there was a weird little blister on her hand, just below her thumb. I asked what it was, because I was a little worried, and my midwife told us it was a sucking blister. Then we noticed she had one on her other hand in the same spot! I think we all thought I was in for it at this point, and somebody said I may have to use a pacifier with this one. Her hands and feet were also very wrinkled, like she’d been hanging out in the water a little too long. She was a little slow to cry, and pretty mellow, but after about 15 or so minutes of just hanging out in my arms, we got her to latch on and start eating.

At some point, we weighed her since we were all very curious as to how much she weighed. We were pretty surprised at the 8 lbs. 2 oz! She was also 21 1/4 inches long.
I did indeed feel extremely relieved to finally be over and done with the labor, but part of my brain was still in shock that it was already over as well. It took a while to convince myself that yes, this had actually happened, and I could actually relax and not feel anxious about impending labor anymore.
The rest of our hospital stay was pretty mellow and uneventful. My mom and dad were able to get up there to see us, just before they were ready to take me to my room. Then we hemmed and hawed forEVER over what to get for dinner. I was pretty set on having a sushi roll from our favorite sushi place here in town. In fact, I had told Kevin before we left the house, while I was still in labor, “I want a K.A. roll when this is all over.” So that’s what we finally got, and it was quite yummy. (Thank you to my mom and dad for caving to my whims and running to get that for me. Insert sheepish grin here.)

Mom and her Girls

We were pretty anxious to get home the next day, as I honestly really missed Drew, Beau and Selah. They were not able to come up to the hospital to meet their new baby sister this time, because of the whole swine flu thing. The hospital likes to keep you there for at least 24 hours after your birth, so we finally got to go home around 5 p.m. Rory did so well on the way home, she didn’t even cry. (Each of her brothers and sister did.)

Awake.

Today, almost 2 weeks later, she is doing really well. She is now 9 lbs. 3 oz. and 21 3/8 inches long, and looking healthy! She is a pretty good eater, and no, I actually haven’t had to use a pacifier with her. (I’m not a fan of pacifiers, can you tell? I just can’t help but think of them as a “plug” to keep your baby quiet. However, I don’t have anything against people who do use them!) She is pretty mellow, and very rarely cries. When she’s awake, she’s really checking everything out. She’s really starting to study my face, and also turns toward anyone who’s talking to her.
We’re very thankful that nine ten months ago, we unknowingly conceived this beautiful little angel. She is the perfect addition to our now large, family. Right now I’m watching her as she quietly sleeps next to me, her little mouth nursing away at nothing (yet.)
Mommy and Daddy love you, our little sunset, Aurora Grace.