Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I got the itch to write out my thoughts about Abby turning 5.  I found myself reminiscing into this little collection of words and feelings about my beautiful girl. 

I remember.

I remember sitting in your quiet room
feeling you kick
Rocking and humming softly 
eagerly yet patiently awaiting you.

I remember seeing you, through blurry tears
Softer than I'd imagined, and smaller.
My heart grew straight to yours.
You were perfection.

I remember watching you sleep in my arms
Staying still while my heart pounded with emotion.
Your smiles shooting like electricity through me
and causing happy tears to spill.

I remember watching you look for me. 
There I am, and you smile.
I'm gone and you search
I'm back! You squeal with laughter. 

I remember that first food
I remember that first tooth
I remember that first step
I remember that first word

I remember seeing your world expand
Your curiosity endless.
We explored and learned together
My pride found new depth

I remember your first questions
and learning to sing
Counting, coloring, running

I remember the first "I love you, mama"
We were in the kitchen. 

I remember you kissing my belly
And sharing toys with your unborn sister.
I watched you see her for the first time
My heart grew again.

I remember every cut and hurt
I've kissed magic healing into so many
Your tear stained toddler cheeks
always begged me to kiss them dry.

I remember you changing
Your vocabulary, bigger 
Your face, thinner
But your lip still curls when you laugh

I remember watching you go to school
I could feel your heart racing in mine. 
Your hand squeezed mine and you were excited and scared
Then you let go

And I watched you walk into childhood.

And I've watched you blossom
And I've watched you grow
And I've watched how clever you've become
You're so very clever. And compassionate. 

I've watched your hair grow long
And your clothes get too small, again.
You like to crack eggs by yourself
And you can spell.  And text.

You like anything blue
You can finish any puzzle. 
You love art and animals and glitter
You are becoming you.

You ask me big questions now
Because you're so big.

And I do the best I can.

I remember when you turned 5.
The years have passed so fast
I look at you and am in awe
You are perfection.
Remember that.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Dear Abby,

Tomorrow morning, you start your first day of school.  It's kind of a big deal.

Some might argue that this is "just" pre-K instead of "real" kindergarten.  And while kindergarten certainly maintains an air of big-kidness - you will be going to pre-K five days a week.  And you will get there at 7:30am and get picked up at 2:45pm.  Monday. Through.  Friday.

And this is a big adjustment for us both.  We've been very fortunate to have always had lovely people to help take care of you at home.  I've watched you grow and learn and blossom your whole life and I do not have any doubt that you are going to LOVE school.  It's just the way you're built.

But, I know you.  And I know that you can feel shy sometimes, and nervous and unsure.  And I know that sometimes you don't know how to deal with those feelings, so you hide behind my legs, or you stare at the table when someone is talking to you.  And because I know you feel those thing sometimes, it's hard for me to think about leaving you everyday. I don't know what I'll do tomorrow if you get scared and ask me not to go. But guess what?  You won't.  Because any of those feelings are going to melt away before you realize it and you are going to have a whole classroom of new friends before you can say "I'm Abby-gail Shachmunt" as you tend to do.

And you're going to learn new things.  So many new things.  I'm excited to watch you grow in a new way.  I'm excited to pack your lunches and see projects you do at school, to hear about the adventures you have and the friends you make.  I can't wait to bring snacks to your class or watch you participate in a school play or race or bake sale.  I'm excited to start this new chapter of our story together.

You will always be my first baby, and so everything that is new for you is also new for me.  It's fun sharing the journey with you and figuring stuff out as we go.  For example, you start school in the morning and I just remembered we have a bunch of summer homework we were supposed to turn in tomorrow.  That's my fault, but I bet you won't mind doing a little coloring with breakfast, right? See?  Lesson learned.  Already.

Abby, I'm bursting at the seams proud of the little girl you've become.  You're going to love school.  I have so much more I want to say, but I don't have the time or brain power to figure out how to say it right now.  Just know that we love you, endlessly.

I hope you have a fantastic first day of school.

I love you so much,


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

things about me

the random thoughts that have been floating around in my brain today.

- I am not good at thank you notes.  I want to be.  But, I'm not.  I can usually do a thank you email, text, video, or in-person gushing, but to actually write something out and stamp it and mail it?  It never happens.

- I would like to be someone who can drink their coffee black - but I never will be.  I ran out of cream this weekend and haven't made coffee since...I wonder if that's why I have this headache, now that I think about it.

- I hate waiting for the toast to pop up.  It scares me every time.  Same for opening cans of biscuits...I have quite the set up in order to do it....it usually involves covering the can with a towel and whacking it from across the kitchen with a broomstick while I cover my ears with one shoulder and one hand.

- I wish I could make all my own food all the time, and that I could afford to buy the best and freshest foods.  But, there is still convenience foods in my pantry and always will be.

- I think it would be fun to get a well designed and meaningful tatoo, but I never will.  Not because I'm scared of the tattoo, but because I am entirely too indecisive to do anything that permanent.

- I don't use shaving cream, or good razors.  Just water and the disposables.  Mostly because I'm cheap.

- I'd like to be someone who cloth diapers - but, again, I never will be.  Mostly because I'm lazy....but hats off to everyone else who can get their act together.

- I don't know if we'll ever find a house to buy, but whenever we look at one - I look for good photography light before I count the bathrooms.

- I need to get my wisdom tooth out.

- I'm a morning person for sure...but few things feel as good as crawling into bed at night.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


At the most random moments, it hits me, like a bag of bricks...but happier - that I have three THREE wonderful girls.  It's incredible.


How did I get so lucky to have them entrusted to me?

I have no idea, but they fill me with so much joy that I could burst - and I hope they know that somehow.  I hope they know they mean the world to me.

Abby is growing up so quickly. It pains and excites me to watch her blossom into an amazing girl. I'm so proud of her.  She is so kind and empathetic...and sometimes bossy - but just the way a big sister is supposed to be.  She's protective.

Elizabeth amuses me with her antics and completely melts me with her eye-squinting grin.  She gives the BEST hugs.  She hugs with everything she's got.  She impresses me with her physical skills and keeps me laughing with her general craziness

Madeline nestles quietly into the crook of my arm, buries her nose in my sleeve and relaxes.  She stretches every limb when she's unswaddled, blinks 10 times, looks at me and grins. She is nothing but sweet and easy and soft and she smells like honey.  She makes my heart palpitate with gratitude. I have to restrain myself from kissing her all day.

This life I have - even with it's stressors and day to day parenting battles, financial woes, and hard moments - is fantastic.  I'm so thankful for it.  May I never take a day for granted.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Madeline is nearly 2 months old now...I guess that happens next week.  I feel like we're just starting to get into something that resembles a routine around here.  Between having a new newborn and vacation, it's only now that the dust is getting a chance to settle.

I'm still trying to figure out Madeline's sleeping schedules.  Maybe not figure out as much as mainstream.  She sleeps, she wakes, she eats and smiles and then she's ready to sleep again about an hour after she wakes up.  Sometimes that stretches to an hour and a half or 2 hours - but rarely.  In the mornings, she wakes up and goes down for her first nap 45 mins later.  So - the times between naps are relatively consistent, but the time on the clock changes a little day to day.  At any rate, a large percentage of my days are spent swaddling, rocking, nursing, and putting her paci back in to settle her back to slumber when she fusses.

She does cry - but, really?  Only when she's hungry or tired.  She's otherwise, such an easy baby.  I dare say she's at least as easy as Abby was if not easier.  Definitely easier than E was.  In hindsight, that shouldn't shock me. E was a pretty easy baby, but just not as completely chill as Abs was.

Madeline doesn't have any constant nicknames yet.  There are several we toss around with reckless abandon.  The most common is when we mimic E's pronunciation of "Madi-Lion"  Baby Jane, Sweetie, and a barrage of nonsense names that Abby throws at her "Good morning, you little pickle-goose"  and the like.

Overall, this transition to 3 kids has gone well.  It's been smoother than I've expected.  I'm thankful for that for sure.

I was actually going to write about our day.  But, I'm drawing a blank on anything blog worthy to write about.  We fed our frogs new crickets.  They were bigger crickets, and it was unsettling to watch the frogs eat something nearly as big as they are.  I don't think I'll watch next time, I feel too bad for the crickets.  The frogs have been fun, but I think I'm ready to let them go.  Abby won't like that, so it may take a few weeks to work up to that.

I had my official post-baby check up today and all was well.  Now it's time to strap on my running shoes and find (I know, I know *make*) time to run again.  Or...maybe jog.  I'm not looking forward to rebuilding all the endurance I've lost...but I am looking forward to dropping 20 lbs.

That's about it for us today.  I'm tired, so I'm gonna wrap things up here, do my last pumping and cleaning duties for the night and go to bed. :)

logistically speaking

I've discovered a new problem that's keeping me from blogging as much as I'd like.  And, it's actually not having three kids or time management or something like that.

It's the iPad.

Kyle got me an iPad mini for our anniversary and I love it.  And much in the same way that Elizabeth looked so much bigger and older when Madeline was born - my laptop now seems an archaic hunk of plastic...or whatever this thing is made of.  The problem, of course, is that while I strongly prefer using the iPad for browsing and reading - I don't love it for typing long things like blogs.

And so, when the kids are all in bed, and I sit down - I grab the iPad and I read or browse, but I don't blog.

I compose blogs in my head everyday, and I'm always surprised when I realize I never wrote any of them down.  It's sad, and I really need to do better with it, because I won't remember these days if I don't.  They're too fast.

that said -

Life is good.  We took our vacation to Cocoa Beach and had a great time--

(baby just started crying...that is another reason I don't blog often, I guess)

(ok, I'm back)

The girls are doing well.  Abby got her first haircut before vacation - just a trim.  It was a positive experience for her - it was a sad one for me.  I secretly wish we hadn't cut it...but it so needed it. Elizabeth is just growing and growing.  That includes molars, which is what we're blaming some recent epic tantrums on.  When she's not tantruming or whining, she's adorable.

Madeline is a super baby.  She is sleeping great, which is really the only thing we have to judge her by. She goes down at 6:30pm at the latest and wakes between 6 and 7am.  I usually give her a small bottle once during the night - around 3 or 4 am most night.  She naps well and is generally just still sleepy...but she's smiling now, and that is super super awesome.

(she's fussing again....I guess she didn't want her paci...She probably wants to wake up from her nap)

Ok.  I'm gonna sign off.  I'll try to open this big 'ol heavy laptop more often so I can document our days in actual detail instead of large sweeping hand gestures.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm here

I'm still here.

Kyle left for the NFB convention for a week and...surprise, surprise...blogging didn't make the cut at the end of the day.

The day that Kyle left for his conference - early Sunday morning - I was pretty productive that day.  I decided not to be chained to the house and I took all three girls to mass on my own.  Um - I'm lucky it went well.  I rewarded them with a girls lunch at the Cheesecake factory.  On day 2-4 we got out everyday.  We did easy things like Target and the grocery story, and we played at home, and we made it.  Then it was the 4th of July.  That day was busy from the get go and we were completely exhausted by day's end.  Day 6 - was recovery day, we didn't leave the house or do anything...I think they ate all 3 meals in front of the tv.  And then it was the weekend again...but, unlike the beginning of the week, I was now worn down with the exhaustion of tending to 3 on your own all day.  I don't think I got out of my PJs for 3 days.  On the day Kyle was to come home, the girls were insufferable....I mean, of course they were - we hadn't left the house in days and we were all driving each other a little crazy.  Then they shoved plastic beads up their noses and a huge screaming fit of panic ensued from both.  Alls well that ends well and the beads came out fine.

And then Kyle got home and we all celebrated...but then he went to work the next morning and we resumed our girls day norms.

Kyle's been home for most of the week now, and things are back to our new normal.  The girls are good, I'm good, Kyle's good.

Madeline had her 1 month check up yesterday.  She weighed in at about 9lbs 4oz.  So, she's gained about a pound.  You can tell, her face is rounder and her ankles are slowly filling out.  She's battling baby acne pretty bad, but I think it's on the mend as well.

What else?  Have I mentioned that Elizabeth is 2 going on 12?  She can do so much stuff.  She talks and, like, understands us and such.  It's incredible and Kyle and I are constantly surprised by some exchange or phrase or concept that she brings up.  She's also far more strong willed and defiant than Abby ever was at that age.  She will routinely tell me "no" when I tell her to go to timeout.  Luckily, once I put her there - she stays and they are still an effective discipline for her - but that initial "NO." is all too common.  She's so two.

Oh, and we have frogs now.  Jen brought over 4 baby frogs for Abby to watch.  Long story short - I ended up buying them a tank and a box of tiny crickets to eat.  Craziness.  They're fun to watch, I'll admit.  I don't know how long we're going to keep them...but, for now, we have 4 frogs.  Abby's names for them change on a regular basis and they're all a little crazy anyway...I'll let you know if we settle on anything.

My mind is feeling disjointed at the moment.  We just made brownies, so maybe it's just that I can smell them.  I dunno.  Apologies for the random and scattered stream of consciousness update.  I figure it's better than nothing. ;)

Monday, July 1, 2013

my madeline

Kyle left for Orlando yesterday.  He'll be gone for the week while he stays busy at the NFB national convention down there.

So, it's me and the 3 girls most of the week.  I managed to get all three to mass yesterday, and then we went out to lunch together - it all went well, and I was happy for that.

Last night, after I got Abby and E in bed, I came downstairs and held Madeline.  She fell asleep on my shoulder - and as I listened to her little baby breaths in my neck and smelled her sweet baby smell, I felt myself bonding with her.  It was nearly tangible.  My heart swelled, a shot of endorphins or some hormone ran through me and I took a deep breath, smiled, and snuggled her closer.

Then I took a picture.  So that I could remember that sweet moment.

Monday, June 24, 2013

summer day

Today was a good day.

I didn't sleep enough, but that's ok.  I made coffee instead.  We all got up this morning and Kyle went off to work.  He's still working 1/2 days this week.

I decided that it was as good a day as any to try to potty train E a little.  I put her little potty in the living room and stripped her down to a t-shirt.  The girls played while Madeline slept upstairs and I had planned to do a lot of cleaning and clothes sorting (fun!).  Luckily, a friend invited us to go to a splash park with them instead.  It was a little spontaneous - but I managed to get everyone dressed, bags packed for a splash park/ playground, and out the door in an hour.  If that doesn't sound impressive to you, then you are much more organized than myself.

We had never been to this particular splash park before - which is surprising, because it's 1.3 miles from our house.  The girls LOVED it.  It was jam packed though.  We left the house at 9:30 and it was already in the mid 80s.  Pretty hot for us Northern folk.  The girls played with their friends and got wet and played on the playground and dried off, then got wet some more.  We eventually got them to a second (fenced-in) playground where we hung out until it was time to go.

E threw a huge fit over leaving.  Poor thing.  You know it's a fun time when I get that level of tantrum over leaving.  Epic stuff.  Plus she was hot, and tired, and hungry.  A winning combo for sure.

We decided that lunch out sounded better than mac-n-cheese and our friends agreed.  I picked up Kyle on the way and we all enjoyed some Chipotle for lunch.  Yummo.

Once home, E went to nap, I went to feed Madeline, and Abby went to play with her friend down the street.  Once E and M were both napping - I joined in.  I got a full hour before I woke up.  Felt nice.

Our awesome playgroup has arranged for people to bring us meals twice a week through mid July.  This is amazing and generous, and I feel guilty about it but am really thankful on days like today when dinner just showed up and I didn't have to do anything.  So nice.  We all enjoyed dinner, and then it was time to clean up and go to bed.

And here I am.  Logging our day while Madeline tries to drift off next to me in her baby chair.  It was a good day - full and busy, hot and tiring. I'd much rather spend the day outside and keeping the girls active than cooped up inside with too much Disney Jr. (again).  It makes the time fly by- and they're so much happier for it.

I sadly forgot my phone at home while we were out and about today - so no fun splash park pics.  Here are a few others from yesterday and today though.

Madeline's belly button stump fell off yesterday - so we were excited to see if all 3 fit in the tub. 
Abby and E's expressions are priceless here, and pretty much sum up everything right now. :)

Madeline's first trip to the abandoned flower shop that A&E love to visit every Sunday.  
Also - showing off their pretty butterfly dresses from Granny and Grandpa (thanks!)

Going on a 5+ hour nap.  She sleeps all the time right now. 

Another gift from Granny and Grandpa - 
making miss Madeline the best smelling member of the family. 
Abby asked "Mom?  Why do you want her to smell like BEES?"

Potty training.  Rain boots optional, but preferred. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

So, how are things?

Things are good.  Thanks for asking.

The transition to three has been pretty good so far.  We are, I believe, still in the honeymoon phase of it all.  Madeline sleeps all the time.  Today, she was awake for about 2-3 hours. total.  Not consecutively. Her naps come in 4-6 hour chunks most of the time.

We're not quite yet at the 2-week mark though.  I believe somewhere between 2-4 weeks, they're supposed to start waking up more.

But, for now, it has made things pretty manageable.

Abby is still head over heels in love with her new baby.  She dotes on her every chance she gets.  She talks to her in a baby voice and calls her "Miss Madeline" and "Little Chicka" amongst other nicknames.  She strokes her head, tickles her feet, and smothers her with kisses.

Elizabeth has been more reserved.  She acknowledges Madeline, but doesn't go out of her way to dote on her like Abby does. Elizabeth well give us the play by play "Oh.  She crying" or "She hungry"  Every time Madeline sneezes, Elizabeth enthusiastically says "Oh! Bless you Again!"  Don't get me wrong - Elizabeth hasn't shown any animosity towards Madeline yet.  There has been no hitting, etc.  But, Elizabeth is just not as sure about this whole thing yet.

Having said that - tonight, she was really excited to see that madeline was awake.  She and Abby both sat down with her and stared at her.  We compared their feet to her tiny feet, and they enjoyed that.  Elizabeth comments that she is "so tiny" and "so coot"

As I mentioned - Madeline sleeps most of the time, which means she's not crying much.  She cries, y'know, when she needs something.  Typically when she's hungry - or tired.  That's about all she needs.

Today, we gave her a "real" bath.  Her belly button stump finally fell off, so we put her in the tub with the girls this morning.  Abby thought it was great.  E kinda just stared at her.  Madeline liked the tub bath leaps and bounds more than the sponge bath she got last week.

What else?

Nursing is still up and down.  Because she sleeps so much, I'm pumping more often just to keep my supply up.  This is good because it's giving me a chance to heal my battle wounds, too.  Madeline is not a good latcher.  I'm going to blame our nursing difficulties on her since she's too young to say otherwise.  Although, I'm sure I'm not doing everything right either.  We're working through it - and I think things are getting better...but it's not easy yet.  Far from easy.

How am I doing you ask?  I'm doing pretty well.  This recovery has been the easiest so far.  Kyle has done a nice job taking care of me and helping me with the girls quite a bit.  He's going to be gone for a week soon - and that will probably be the real test.  My hormones seem to be mostly in check.  I haven't had any melt-downs or overly emotional outbursts yet.  I don't feel baby blue, I feel happy.  I feel, knock on wood, calm.

So far, the transition to three hasn't been as chaotic as I'd imagined.  But, I'm not so naive to think that it will stay this way.  On the contrary, I'm trying to soak up these sleepy days and store them in my memory to pull out on the days where I want to pull my hair out.

So.  Things are good.  We're happy.  And it already seems like little MJ has been here forever...she was totally meant to be here.  It just feels right.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

a week in (mostly) pictures

In no particular order - here are a bunch of photos I've taken since we've been home with Madeline.  It's random and unorganized - but so is life right now. :)

This double rainbow made local headlines this week.  I happened to see it while doing dishes after the girls were all in bed.  I went and stood in the rain in the middle of the street to take a few phone pics.  Rainbows are always special

E said she was a robot - and insisted on playing with this bucket on her head. 

Our first day home with Madeline

nursing is serious business

the first picture of me and my three girls 

Abby and E giving me a morning rock concert.  
I love watching them play.

Madeline's first bath - Abby was, as always, very helpful.
Madeline did not like it.  Any of it.  Not one bit.  ;)

3 days old and we couldn't stay inside on such a beautiful day. 
 We all went to the park and had a picnic lunch.  It was lovely.

Abby drew me a birthday cake.  
She said she couldn't quite remember how old I was - but she though 15 was close. <3 p="">

Daddy-Madeline fist bump.  1 day old

Jen has come over to help some this week.  
She is so good with the girls, we feel really lucky to have her in our lives. 

This is my little tom-boy ragmuffin E.  Who knew?  She has become such a big girl in the last week, and I can't seem to  find a way to stop her from growing.

Jen decorated the front of the house for our homecoming
....and to let curious neighbors know the news :)

This is exactly where I was the minute Madeline turned 1 week old.  We were on a family walk - stopped at the bridge to watch and wave at trains.

I love this picture, it captures Abby's sweet and caring personality so truly.

Abby was showing Madeline her bird book - to keep her from crying.  She was explaining that we have a baby hawk that lives nearby - and that it's a baby just like Madeline - except baby hawks are fuzzy and baby Madelines are not. 

Abby put Madeline's first sticker on.  
You're welcome, paralyzed veterans of america.

more front door decor

We finally opened the gender envelope that has been sitting in our kitchen since January.  

Madeline's first sunrise at home

The girls color every day during snack time.  E colored this goldfish - and while I'm not 100% sure she meant for it to look So much like a goldfish - I was pretty impressed. 

fell asleep

3 days old - first froyo trip with the fam. 

Grilling out to celebrate the official start of summer.  Good stuff :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Madeline's birth story

It's taken me 5 days to open my computer for the first time.  :)  Bear with me as I try to get as much of this story out as I can in the 30 seconds I have before somebody needs me, lol.


I woke up about 2am on Wednesday morning and was just restless.  Didn't feel great.  About 3am I started having some contractions.  They were 8 mins apart.  I timed them until a little before 5:30 when I decided to go ahead and get up and shower.  I went to the bathroom and wondered if my water had broken/sprung a leak.

Decided to go ahead and take a nice shower.  I love that I had time to shave and just feel really clean before tackling the day.  Got out, got dressed, did my hair, took my time.  Contractions had stopped.  I decided to lie down for half an hour and then get up to see how things were.  It was hard to tell, but I thought I might be leaking.  So, I called the hospital to see what they suggested and they said to come on in.

We went about our normal morning routine.  I packed the rest of my bag, got the girls breakfast and when Jen got there, we told her we were headed to the hospital to get checked out.  I was still pretty worried they were going to tell me my water hadn't broken and send me home.  Kyle got ready for work just in case it was a false alarm.

Kyle and I got to the hospital around 9am.  We waited for a while to register - but I think they let me jump the line some cause I didn't wait more than 10 mins ("Hi, I'm in labor"  apparently has it's perks)

We got to our room, got changed, and they did a swab to check for fluid.  My contractions picked up and were every 5 mins.  An hour later, they came back and confirmed that my water had broken and that we'd be having a baby today.  They hooked up my IVs and I worked on breathing through the contractions that were getting stronger.

Unfortunately, the contractions spaced back out to 10 mins apart, so they decided to hook me up to the pictocin to keep things moving in the right direction. Once your water breaks - you've got 24 hours to deliver, so they like to keep things going. They upped the pit every 30 mins and after the first hour, my contractions were getting to be pretty painful.  I could deal with them still, but it sucked.  I wonder how contractions differ on and off of pitocin.  I think the pit makes it worse.  Kyle started getting nervous and told me to go ahead and get the epi - but I was trying to hold out.  Y'know, there's that part of you that wants to see how much you can take?  I was kinda there.  I wanted to see.  But, it was really bothering Kyle to see me like that I guess.  So when the nurse suggested that I go ahead and get it if I wanted it - I said ok.

3pm. Epi man came in and did his thing.  I could still feel the contractions on my right side, so I had to lay on my side to see if the medicine would seep down.  It didn't, so the epi man came in and gave me a booster.  That worked.  Couldn't feel a THING.

They decided to check me for the first time.  Doc let me know that I was all of 3cm, which was utterly embarassing.  I was seriously bummed out about that and a little angry at my body who had been having contractions for a week with No Result.  Stupid body.  I really was annoyed, and resigned myself to settle in for a long afternoon.

 I took this time to text and update folks and then decided to try to rest.  As soon as I closed my eyes, I started feeling the contractions in my left side.  So, we tried laying on that side for a while.  The nurse said that my bladder might be full and that emptying it might help.  Fine with me.

So, she went to help with that and said "Oh. You might be about ready."  I was shocked.  SHOCKED.  It had only been a little over an hour since I got the epi and they measured me at 3cm. I was mentally prepared to wait for another 6-10 hours.

I heard the nurse say that they would call my OB, but that she wouldn't make it in time.  I was all "huh?  now?"    Yoda doctor came in and we joked how he said I would go into labor today...the day before he had told me I would go into labor the next day because my "face had changed"  He's a little mystic.   He went to check my progress and said (in his thick indian accent) "Well, de head is right there, she can push when she wants"

With Abby and E - I felt the pressure and had the urge to push despite the Epi - not so much this time.  I couldn't feel anything at all.

So, they got everything ready and the next thing I know, the nurse is giving me instructions on how to push- and I was still all "wait, you actually want me to push?  We're doing this now? Like, for real?"

So, I pushed for I think 4 or 5 rounds and out she came.

6.12.13 - 4:54pm - 8lbs 3oz - 20.5 inches - ten fingers, ten toes.

They put her right on my belly which was awesome - I'd never gotten to do that with A or E.  When they lifted her up, I saw she was a girl and was surprised.  They didn't announce it right away, so I asked "is it a girl?"  It was.

I cried, and stared at her and rubbed her slimy little head while Kyle got to cut the cord.  She was SCREAMING mad.  They took her to clean her up, and I waited for them to bring her over.

They let us chill in the room with her for a while.  I tried nursing - I dunno if it worked or not, but I tried.  Kyle and I talked about names and I told him "She came out mad.  I think she's a Madeline."  He found it to be a compelling argument and we had our name.

We stayed with her in the room for a while before they took her down to the nursery.  I stayed in the bed for another 3+ hours waiting for my epi to wear off enough to walk.  Even then, I nearly passed out when I got up - but we did make it down to recovery and Kyle helped me get settled in before he left for home around 9pm.

The hospital team loved the story that her temperament at birth was what decided her name.  We had no shortage of people commenting on how loud our little M was in the nursery.  Every time a nurse would bring her in, they would chuckle and say something like "Oh, this one isn't afraid to tell you when she needs something..."

The hospital stay was nice.  Once people found out it was my 3rd, they pretty much left me alone until I called for something.  I enjoyed the meals brought to me and the luxury of having a nursery at my disposal.  Madeline was great.

The girls did well meeting her.  Abby hasn't stopped doting on her since she first saw her.  E is a little more reserved.  She calls her Mad-Lion - and then roars.  We find that pretty funny...and appropriate.  She's been very sweet to her, and shows spurts of interests, but is also happy to go about her regularly scheduled programing.  On more than one occasion, we've found E being secretly sweet to Madeline.  She'll sing her a lullaby or kiss her - and if you catch her in the act and ask her "Oh, are you being sweet?" E will fervently deny it.  "NO.  I not." and then she'll walk off to do something else.

Our little Mad-Lion has actually been pretty chill since we got home.  It took her a good 2 days before we heard her initial trademark roar again.  She is a typical newborn - one who sleeps 22 hours a day and eats for the other 2 that are left.

Nursing has been going ok.  Ups and Downs already.  I'm pretty determined to make this work, so I'm trying to work through the pain and initial injuries in order to get back on a level playing field.  I'm trying to remember I need to eat and drink enough  - and so far my supply is good...so that's helpful.  Wish us luck on that front.  I've said it before - but it's amazing our species has survived as long as it has.

I have a lot more I want to record, but I've used up enough time as it is.  Hopefully I can get back on soon to get down all the little moments I want to remember.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

thoughts on parenting

Being a parent isn't a particularly easy job.

But, it is rewarding, and generally "worth it."  I'm a fan.

Now that we're about to welcome kid #3, I like to think back on the things I've learned and the advice I would give others who are about to embark on this adventure.  I like to think back to my first days with Abby and how we really didn't know what we were doing.  I think it's fascinating to see first time parents figure it out.  We all do of course - each in our own way.

I have two mantras that have helped me through this motherhood stuff.

The first one is what I repeat under my breath when I'm about to lose it.  When the girls are pushing my buttons or being unreasonably difficult - or both.  "Give me patience"  It's both a prayer and a plea.  It's a reminder.  It's something to say to myself when I know I need to give myself a little space, too.  It reminds me that when the girls are being difficult - it's because they are kids.  Little kids.  Little kids who are trying to navigate a huge and complicated world...and who do it pretty well most of the time, but who, on occasion, melt down and fall apart.  It reminds me that their tantrum or acting out is not about ME - it's about them.  Give me patience.  *deep breath*  Give me patience.  It helps me remember that when they are screaming and throwing things is when they need me the most.  Sometimes that means discipline - a time out - a lecture - but sometimes it means they just need a big hug to help them calm down.  And it takes a LOT of patience to keep myself in check in those frustrating moments when there is spaghetti sauce on the white carpet and they're pouring milk on their head.  Of course, sometimes it doesn't work.  Sometimes I yell - often too soon.  But, when I can, I repeat "give me patience" in my head and it helps.

The second mantra I have is similar - and it's the one that I lean on the most.  "Parent with grace"  Or sometimes it is just shortened to "with grace"  This is what I strive to do.  I hope to raise these kids as gracefully as possible.  To me, it means to slow down and to make the best decisions I can in the moment.  It means when E comes up to me and says "Mama?  Wanna pway tea party wiff me?" - that I say yes.  It means that I don't sweat the small stuff as often as possible.  If Abby wants to leave the house wearing shorts and winter boots and a broken tiara - that I just roll with it.  It means paying attention to the important things like Abby proudly showing me a letter she wrote and ignoring the trivial things like E covering her new rody horse with permanent marker.  It means trying to engage the girls and BE with them as often as I can.  To give them rich experiences, genuine attention and conversation, to feed their insatiable curiosity about the world to the best of my ability.  With gracefulness.  It's a happy mantra.  It means when they are acting out in public, that I keep my cool.  It means I don't let them see me sweat if I can help it.

Of course, lest I give the wrong impression, I fail all too often at this, too.  I'm the first to admit that I'll flip on the TV for a while just so I can have some computer time to myself, or that I'll pick the wrong battles, not give my full attention to something that deserves it, and that I'm often anything but graceful when public tantrums happen.  But to parent with grace - it's a goal.  One that refocuses me when I remember to use it.

All the details of parenting are different for everyone - I don't see much point in telling others what worked for me, as it may not work for the next person.  But, I think that no matter your parenting style - or how easy or difficult your kids are to raise - patience and grace are two things that can go a long way.  They're two words that have helped me along the way, anyhow.

And so, as I think about what life will be like with three - I'm constantly repeating to myself "patience and grace"  I'm trying to prep myself for that moment when they are all three screaming at me, they all need something urgently, and I am 2 hands and a week's worth of sleep short of what I need to deal with it all.  I'm trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.  And for now, it's working.  At this exact moment in time - I feel confident and ready for 3.  I'm excited.  I'm ready to embrace the crazy.

Ask me again after I haven't slept in 3 weeks.  I know.

But for now - I'm looking forward to this adventure, and I hope I can manage it with patience and grace as often as possible.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


So here I am, two days away from my due date.

The girls both went late, so I shouldn't expect differently with this kiddo - but the past 4 or 5 days have been riddled with contractions and backache and pretty much every other sign of imminent labor.  Except...nothing ever happens. Le sigh.

At this point, I'm pretty ready.  Logistically speaking, we have my bag packed finally.  The pack and play is set up, the bottles are washed, the house is relatively clean.  The girls seem to know that the baby is coming soon.  I'm not too worried about Abby - she's been preparing for the new baby for a while now.  She's very excited.  I'm hopeful that E will make a graceful transition as well, but I suppose only time will tell.

I still have a pretty good list of to-do items for work.  I'm not really sure how that's going to go.  I guess I'll do what I can.  Maybe this kid is waiting for me to finish that stuff....in which case, I'll be pregnant for another 2 weeks.

Overall, I'm excited.  I want to meet this new little one.  I feel ready.

So, c'mon buddy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Date night

Kyle and I went out to dinner in March - that had been our lone date for the year so far.  So, we decided it was time for a second.  Now, we spend most evenings chatting and watching TV and hanging out - so it's not like we never get to talk or anything - but it is nice to go do something different every so often - to have somebody else put the kids to bed for one night and to be outside when the street lights come on.

So, last night we headed out into the city for what is probably the last time for a good while.  We bought tickets to see the Boston Pops play, which is always a nice treat.  The guest was Matthew Morrison (aka Mr. Shue from Glee)  who was promoting a new album of classic rat-pack and broadway type tunes.

Before we hopped the train, we walked down to the centre and tried a little thai place that we walk past all the time.  A tiny little place with about 5 tables, mismatched dated decor, and faded vinyl  tablecloths.  But, it has a great reputation and it seemed like a perfect date night spot as we'd never fit in there with the whole clan.  We ordered our pad thai and just chatted.  Food was really yummy and hit the spot.

After dinner, we hopped the train into the city and walked down Mass ave to the symphony.  We bought cheap seats - which is fine - music still sounds nice from the rafters. :)   The Pops played several familiar pieces, we listened to some high school kids who were contest winners perform various songs and then watched Morrison do his song and dance bit for everyone before the Pops closed out with stars and stripes like they always do.  Morrison left after performing "singing in the rain" which was appropriate as it was indeed raining when we got out.

We made our way back to the train in the rain.  When we got back to our stop it was coming down pretty hard, so we ducked into a little irish pub and tried to wait it out for a bit.  Then we decided to wait it out in another little bar down the street where Kyle got another beer and the bartender gave me free chocolate milk.  The rain didn't really let up, so we just walked home in it.  We got home around midnight - wet and tired but happy for the nice evening out.

Maybe we'll do it again before next year.  :)

at the pops


faceless phone pic of morrison

 chocolate milk & beer...mmm?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2 week wait

When you first suspect that you could possibly maybe be pregnant - you have to wait about two weeks before you can test with any sort of reliable results.  Fondly known as the two week wait - or 2ww for you online lingo folks.  I think the length of those 2 weeks is rivaled only by the length of the last 2 weeks of pregnancy.  At least for me - who is not one to expect to go early (or even on time).

I suppose the last 2 weeks probably go faster than the first 2 weeks - because you're busy, there are to-do lists, and other kids to worry about.  But, then again, you're huge and it's difficult to maneuver and you're running into things, things ache and pull that shouldn't etc.  Either way - both are draining in their own right.

I currently feel that 2 weeks could not be a longer time frame.  I do not feel that this baby is even close to making an appearance - nor am I ready for it to meet us quite yet.  I am equally torn between wanting to (needing to) concentrate on work and trying to finish things before I leave and wanting to meet this little baby and get on with mothering 3.  I'm afraid I'm going to run out of time before I'm able to get my work ducks all in a row.  And I'm selfishly - but not unreasonably - craving some down time to myself to concentrate on this baby.

I feel unprepared for this baby in some senses.  No, not unprepared, just...that I haven't had the chance to slow down and daydream.  I felt the same way with E.  I wanted to just sit and think and imagine and spend time talking to my belly - talking to this baby - bonding.  That's the word.  I want time to bond with this baby before it's born.  I think it is harder to pre-bond when you don't know the gender, don't have a name (or names), etc.  I haven't done any shopping for this baby, I haven't bought any clothes, I haven't done any projects or prepared anything.  The kid isn't born yet and I'm already feeling guilty about it not having the same attention as the others.  Guess it's a mom thing.

And yet - I know that if this baby were to come tonight (settle down, it's not)  that it would be fine.  While I haven't had time to prep and primp the house - babies need blessedly little when they're new...and this ain't our first rodeo.

Le sigh.

I think the baby is still breeched.  I won't know for sure until my ultrasound next week.  I have to decide if I want to go through the prep and pageantry of having a manual flip attempted or not.  I'm leaning towards not doing it.  Partially because I don't know when I would find the time to go in for it (work is BUSY) and partially because there's no guarantee it would work.  And worst case is an emergency C-section...which is also the "worst case" if I don't do it.  Plus I hear it hurts.  So, I think I'd rather give the kid a chance to flip on his/her own.

Sometimes, I get little waves of emotion that catch me by surprise.  I'm so busy at work and with the girls that I sometimes forget that I'm actually excited about this baby.  And I know that sounds awful...I just mean that when I do slow down long enough to really THINK about it - I am excited.  I'm curious to find out what this baby is and WHO this baby is.  I'm nervous, of course.  I worry about the girls.  I worry about all the transitions.  I worry about nursing and traveling and plenty of other things - but when it is all said and done - this third kid feels right, and I know s/he was always in the plans - and I'm excited.

2 weeks. tick tock.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

off guard

There are certain things that I expect to make me feel like a mom.  I fully expect to cry on Abby's first day of pre-school.  I expect to beam at my baby's first steps.  I expect to feel guilty when I have to yell. I expect my hair to be simple and my clothes to be slightly wrinkled and to occasionally find half eaten apples in my work bag.

But, then there are other times that catch you off guard.

I came home from work on Monday to find that Abby's little friend (who lives 2 doors down) had come over to play.  This, of course, is fine.  Abby was having a blast.  E woke up and all three girls played for a while.  Eventually, however, I had to get ready to go to Target to pick up some stuff - so I gave the girls their warning - 5 more minutes and it'll be time to walk friend back home.

Abby said "ok, mom"

3 minute warning.  "Ok mom"

Time to get your shoes on.  "Ok mom"

Ok, time to go.  "Mom?  Can we just have TWO more minutes?  Pleeease???"

and then two things happened at the exact same time.  The first was that I said "no, we need to go now"  and the second was that I was transported back to when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  Living in Little Rock and playing with a friend who had to go home and begging and pleading and bargaining a longer playtime.

And I felt like such a mom.  When did this happen?  It was like lighting struck and a freaky friday thing happened.  I was the kid pleading, not the mom. When did I become the authority on playdates?  When did I stop being the little girl?  Cause, y'know, I don't always feel like the 30-year old mother of 3 that I appear to be.  I very often feel like I'm about 12.  And yet, I have my own little girl now who is looking at me with big wide eyes and saying "pleeeeeeease?"

It happened again after we took our friend home.  I chatted with their nanny for a second, and in that second, the girls all disappeared upstairs to keep playing.  Again, I called to Abby that we had to GO...and she replied with an "Awwww, but mom?  please just two more minutes?"

Another thing.

I love that she has this friend "down the street"  It's the kind of thing that I used to daydream about when I imagined being a mom.  It's the kind of thing that makes me not want to leave our neighborhood or buy a home somewhere else - because the fact that she has a little girl friend 2 doors down - it's just...exactly as it should be.  It's the kind of thing I want her to grow up with.  And while I'm still hesitant to do it - they live close enough that I could send Abby down or they could send Abby's friend up the street without an adult escort- we can stand on our front porches and intercept children as they come and go.  It's nice. And I know this is something that is so normal for most of my friends who live close to friends and family and perhaps have a whole neighborhood of little friends running around - but it's something I wasn't sure we would have up here.  We live on a great street - but we don't know most of the families on it.  We really lucked out to have a great family 2 houses down that we've been able to get to know.


All of this ties into the over arching fact that Abby has become a kid recently.  She's not a toddler.  She's a full blown kid.  I feel like I actually watched it happen.  One night, I was getting her ready for bed and I noticed that her legs were longer...and more muscular.  I've noticed that her face is more defined, that her speech is out of this world, that the connections she makes are more advanced, that she's added new skills faster than I can count to 100 or color all the way within the lines.  She's just so big.

And I'm bursting at the seams proud of her for all of it.

I'll write more later - E is awake and Abby just got home - time to play monster and chase them for a while.  Kid or toddler - they still like mommy to chase them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

2 etc

Just start with something small and mundane.

That's what I tell myself when I sit down to blog and instantly feel overwhelmed.  There are 100 posts in my head.  1000s of things I don't want to forget.  And then I sit down and find that posting on facebook or reading other people's blogs is just so much easier than writing my own.


I just put lasagna in the oven for dinner.  It already smells good.  I don't know what I'm going to have with it cause I think my lettuce is bad and so my salad idea isn't going to work.  I guess probably some frozen veggies.  We'll keep it simple.


The biggest thing I should blog about is my sweet Elizabeth turning two years old.  TWO.  It's curious, how different it feels for her to be 2 than it did for Abby.  I have to remind myself that E is, in fact, NOT a baby anymore.  She can do so many things.  She knows so many things.  More than I give her credit for.  I suppose that's the curse of having an older sister who is also somewhat of a talker herself.  I forget just how big E really is.  She's growing up fast.

She had her 2-year check up the other day.  You may recall, my girls don't do well at the doctor's office.  Kyle and I have tried to do all the tricks to get kids to like the doctor.  We talk, we play, we roleplay, we prep, we reinforce, etc.....but that doesn't matter.  Most of our appointments still end with a note on their chart that says "partial exam due to anxiety" For real.  We're the family the nurses talk about and compare others too.

All that to say - E did amazing for her visit.  I was shocked.  She complied, she didn't really cry for her shot.  She did cry during the blood draw, but was fine once it was over.  It was...surprising.  And I wasn't the only one who was surprised.  All the nurses commented on how "good" and "quiet' the girls were today.  They got stickers from one nurse, they got a book from the doctor, they got fingernail polish from another nurse.  They got a post-doctor trip for donuts from mom.  I was quite pleased that the visit went so well.  Oh, and right when the doc asked me about how many words E has, she pipes up with "what're you guys talking about?"  It was *perfect* timing and the doc was happily impressed with that sentence.

E is 60% for height and 66% for weight.  Or is it the other way around?  28lbs, that's all I remember.

Earlier in the week, we had E's party.  A general transportation theme since the girl loves all things with wheels and wings.  We had our playgroup over to our house for snacks, pizza, ice cream...and lots of noise and toys and general craziness.  With adults included, there were about 30 folks running around our place...which is kinda a lot.  But, it was fun.  E had a great time.

So.  At two years old E is:

- in size 2T for most things and some 3T shirts
- size 7 shoes
- size 4 diapers
- 34" tall
- 28 lbs

- her vocabulary is good and she's fairly easy to understand - although she certainly has babyish enunciation of many words.
- she can go up stairs fine and can come down forwards or backwards.
- she's now forward facing in the car (we flipped her just before her birthday and I still felt guilty)
- she sleeps in the bottom bunk bed.
- she's not very good at falling asleep at night (she'd much rather get up and keep playing). She falls asleep closer to 8 most nights.  She wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 most days.
- she likes most foods.  Her favorite veggies are green beans, peas, and broccoli.  She likes carrots and tomatoes.  She loves all fruit.  She doesn't like guacamole or tuna.
- she loves her sister, so much.
- she's also more aggressive than her sister and will hit and slap and bite if she's angry (whereas Abby never hits, but instead will just melt into tears)
- as antagonistic as she can be, she hates seeing Abby sad and will go out of her way to find a way to make Abs happy.
- she responds well to time-outs and goes willingly when needed.
- she loves to paint and any other activity that is messy.  The messier the better.  Playing in a sandbox full of sand and paint and glitter and mud while blowing bubbles would be her heaven.
- she can sing twinkle twinkle the best of her songs.
- she can count to 10, but needs help.  Most of the time she counts "one, two, one, two, ten!"
- I think she knows most of her letters, but not all of them.  She gets excited when she sees one she knows somewhere.
- she loves her cars.  They are her favorite toy.
- she likes to point to my belly and ask if it's the baby...but I'm not so sure how much she really understands that there's, y'know, an actual baby coming.  

That's E in a nutshell.  here are a bunch of random pics.

day one of being flipped forward

bed head 

birthday party!

morning breakfast with mom 

party favors

birthday trip for ice cream

her first ice cream cone 
(we don't really eat as much ice cream as it seems)

party decor 

mini me

like seafood?

party stuff

love this picture. 

hiding from mommy-monster

post-doc donuts

party food