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 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 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.