Monday, April 7, 2014

8 week synopsis

My, how our lives have changed in the past 8 weeks.  It's been 8 weeks since Henry joined our pack (we're a pack now...all five of us).  A few words to describe the past 8 weeks would be:


I thought going from one to two kids was hard...but that was a walk in the park compared to going from two to three.  At least we had a home to go home to this time instead of a hotel (with Molly).  But it was during a winter storm.  Nothing is ever easy when it comes to bringing home my babies apparently. 

Henry is probably my fussiest baby.  At first I was determined to find an answer.  Was it something I was eating, gas, reflux, not sleeping enough, colic, forceful let down, eating too much...?  Was it the difference between boys and girls?  Could he sense my anxiety building when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying?  But whatever I tried and worked one night wouldn't the next.  My few standby's have been gas drops, Gripe Water and shower running in the steamy bathroom.  One of the first nights home Henry was fussing.  And wouldn't stop.  I was trying to snuggle Molly on the couch (which is our THING) and she got up, left me and went and snuggled Tim in our room!  I cried and cried :( Of course at that moment I was convinced I ruined everything and my "normal" was gone.  How would I ever make our home feel "normal" with a fussy newborn who demands all of my attention, a middle child who has fallen through the cracks and a six year old who seems even more distant from me because we've added yet another kid to the pack and she is basically fending for herself? 

The first few weeks were HARD.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  Looking back I can easily see the way God provided for me JUST when I needed it.  My husband taking the baby when he Just. Wouldn't. Stop. Crying.  My mom coming over and cooking dinner.  My sister stopping by after school drop off and holding Henry so I could do something without a baby attached to me.  My in-laws taking the girls overnight or out on quick "dates".  Dear friends bringing over meals. Midnight chats with my sister in Japan and her reassuring me that everything will be okay.

Eight weeks in and I actually feel like I can say we are turning a corner.  The house is staying a little more clean, the girls have gotten some dinners that aren't cereal, everyone is getting bathed a little more frequently (including me) and Henry is giving us some happy, awake, content stretches.  I am starting to see what life with three kids will look like for our family.  It helps when you set your goals and expectations pretty low for the day.  It also helps to wear your baby so your hands are free to help with homework and make dinner.  Slowly but surely I'm getting my groove back. 

As for Henry--he is the cutest little thing I've ever laid my eyes on.  Like I said, he is having more alert stretches where he loves to look around and watch what's going on (usually his sisters).  He is giving us some adorable smiles and cooing.  He's a mama's boy but will contently sit with daddy for a few minutes.  We are working on establishing a better nap routine and in just the past week he's started sleeping by himself in his pack and play for a few naps.  Sometimes he will go up to 2 hours for a nap which is awesome.  Today is actually my first day back at work and I'm reentering the world of pumping at work--it's a labor of love I tell ya!  I'm lucky to have an employer who is very accommodating.

The past eight weeks started out a bit bumpy, but I feel everything evening out.  It feels good.  I'm actually thinking I can do this!

*Henry goes in for his 2 month check up in a few days.  I can't wait to see how much he weighs.  I feel like he's doubled in size!  Stay tuned :) 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Henry's Birth Story

I downloaded Blogger on my phone just to get this birth story on "paper" while the details are fresh in my head.  

This story starts on Monday, February 10th.  I had been having cramping during the morning but it was nothing painful--just uncomfortable.  Around two in the afternoon I decided to call the nurse and fill her in on what I had been experiencing.  With my history of fast labors she thought it would be best for me to go to the hospital and get checked out.  I felt sort of silly going because I did not appear to be in labor.  No pain, no heavy breathing...nothing.  Once there it was discovered I was dilated to 3cm.  They told me to walk around the birthing hall for an hour and come back to get rechecked.  I did that and no change so they sent me home.  I got home around 6:00 PM.  I was still cramping but it wasn't any worse.  We had a normal evening and I figured we would be seeing Henry soon but not that night.  Around midnight the cramping got a little more frequent and intense.  After texting my mom and sister, they convinced me to go back in.  I woke Tim and told him.  He was in charge of calling his mom and getting her to our house to stay with the girls.  For the second time (while in labor-first with Molly) I drove myself to the hospital.  Back in triage and the cramping is ramping up a little.  Enough for me to need to focus on my breathing through them.  My mom got there before Tim and she and I chatted while listening to pandora.  When I first got there I was 4/5cm.   They gave me a birthing ball to sit on and decided to recheck me in a bit.  

*side note: I've lost all concept of time around now.  I just know the specifics of the nitty gritty of the delivery.  That's coming up.

When they rechecked me I was at 5cm.  They decided to admit me due to fast labors and a winter storm on the way.  We made our way to the labor and delivery room.  At this point Tim was here too.  I hopped back on my ball while nurses did a few things.   The doctor came in and asked if I wanted them to break my water.  This was new to me as my water broke on it's own with both girls.  I was all for this as I know once my water breaks things move pretty fast....little did I know....

I was still at 5cm when she broke my water which happened at 2:26am.  

Oh my dear.  The pain following the water breaking was unbearable.  It's pain I had never experienced before--even going all natural with Molly.  I was begging for meds.  Thankfully my nurse could tell what was going on and put me off.  

2:36am they check me and I'm complete.  I dilated those last 5cm in 10 minutes!  I continue to beg for meds, tell everyone how much it hurts, tell my mom to "shut up" (I don't even remember this), and basically act like some possessed crazy lady.   

They tell me to start pushing.  After 4 hard/long pushes, Henry was born at 2:47am!!

So from deciding to leave my house at midnight to when Henry was born it was 2 hours 47 minutes.  From when my water broke to delivery was 21 minutes.  

February 11, 2014
Henry Arthur
8lbs 6oz

I can't explain the emotions behind this labor and delivery.  The 21 minutes up to his arrival were the hardest 21 minutes of pain I've ever experienced.  When he came out the emotions were overwhelming.  

We are adjusting to being a family of five. It has only been 4 days (3 of which were winter storm days) so it will be a while before we find our groove.  

I'm just thankful he is here and healthy and LOVED by so many...especially his sisters.  

*I apologize for any typos.  It was hard doing this all on my phone. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How we beat lice--(knock on wood)

It was the Friday before Emma's first full week of Kindergarten.  Emma asked me to straighten her hair and I reluctantly agreed to.  As I was pinning up her hair I noticed these white specks scattered throughout her hair.  I tried to pick them away but they were stuck to the hairs.  I had her stand by the window where the sun was shining and I inspected further.  As I was parting her hair and looking at her scalp, I saw a BUG....a BUG! go running through her hair!  It was a good size--close in size to a tick.  Off to Google I ran.  I did an image search and typed in "lice"....

Up to this point, my only dealings with lice have been when I got it when I was little.  I remember my mom washing my hair with this special shampoo and having me sit in the bath tub while she combed through my hair with a special comb.  I only remember her doing it one time...and that was that.  Not a horrible memory.  The image results returned lots and lots of images of lice and nits.  In my head I was trying to convince myself that it was something else.  School was about to start and I did not have the time to deal with lice.  After consulting Google, I consulted my mom-friends...because they know everything.  I was basically told to put Emma in a bubble along with everything she has come in to contact with and to not let her out for two weeks (not really, but that's what it felt like).  LOTS of my mom-friends had dealt with lice and I took what they told me to heart. 

Being the amateur lice treater I am, I ran to Target and got the Target brand of Nix (the name brand was all sold out).  I also stopped off at Trader Joe's and got some tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. 

Once we got home I followed the directions on the Target brand Nix and treated Emma.  I used the plastic nit comb that was provided and combed through her pretty little hairs and that was it.  I was feeling pretty good about myself.  ....until I started reading online and being told my friends that this stuff doesn't kill the eggs--just the live bugs.  I was told to NIT PICK (hahaha--I will never look at that expression the same way again) each and every nit out of her hair until I didn't see any.  That one missed nit would start the whole process all over again.  And that plastic comb that was provided in the kit did NOTHING to pick out the nits.  Nits are basically cemented to the hair shaft and the only way to get them off is to use your nail and pull it off. 

I felt defeated.  She had a good amount of nits in her hair.  How was I going to sit there for an hour (and expect her to sit there for an hour) while I went through her hair layer by layer picking out nits?! 

A few of my friends (and a pinterest search) told me about the Cetaphil treatment.  It is explained here.  It was developed by a doctor from Stanford University.  The Readers Digest version of the treatment basically is you get some Cetaphil (it must be the Gentle Skin Cleanser):

Get yourself a condiment dispenser and pour the Cetaphil in it.  Apply the Cetaphil to the dry hair in this pattern:

being sure the top of the bottle stays in contact with the scalp the whole time.  The point is to saturate the scalp and all the hair with the cleanser.  Once you feel the scalp and hair are fully saturated, you comb out the excess cleanser and.....ready for it?......this is the fun BLOW DRY the cleanser on the hair.  You have to blow dry it completely.  This takes a LONG time.  Once the hair is dry, leave it for up to 8 hours and then you can wash it out. 

Emma was the first to receive this treatment.  A day or two after seeing the bug in Emma's hair, I ran my nit comb through Molly's hair and what do you know a louse came out.  A very small one....but a live one. guessed it, Molly got the exact same treatment.  I did do the Target brand Nix on her initially to kill any live bugs and then I did the Cetaphil treatment.  An hour and a lots of marshmallows later, Molly was treated. 

That night I had Tim look in my hair.  Guess what--nits.  At this point I was ready to chop off all my hair and hide in that bubble some of my friends referred to...but I couldn't.  Let me tell you, treating hair that is almost halfway down your back with Cetaphil and then blow drying it is not easy.  Once it was dry, I put it in a bun and prayed that this would work.  While I didn't find any nits in Tim's hair, I also treated him just to be pro-active. 

Between Cetaphil treatments I combed through the girls hair every-single-night.  The comb I ended up getting was this one:

It got great reviews on Amazon and it really does work well.  The first week I nit picked every night.  After the initial nit pick, I would only find between 3-6 total on the girls.  I think they were probably ones I missed and not new ones.  I was also washing with the tea tree oil shampoo and spraying the girls with this spray while they were away for the day--especially at school:

After the first week, I was not finding any more nits in Emma's hair and before the second treatment I think I found 2 in Molly's.  When the next Saturday rolled around, everyone got the Cetaphil treatment again.....and the Saturday after that, again.  So, three Saturday's in a row everyone was treated with the Cetaphil and in between they were combed out and sprayed with the repel spray. 

I have only been nit picked twice--by my mom.  It's impossible to nit pick yourself and it is helpful if you have somebody to do it for you.  The neat thing about this treatment is that the Cetaphil is supposed to kill the nits as well as the bugs.  So if you do the treatment correctly-once every 7 days for 3 weeks (minimum), you should be good. 

Once I stopped finding nits in the girls hair, I started brushing them out every other day...and that's where we are now.  The girls are nit free.  I need to be checked again by my mom and Tim is looking pretty good as well.  As far as the bedding, toys, stuffed animals, etc.  When I first saw the louse in Emma's hair, I spent that afternoon stripping the beds and washing everything in hot water.  I ran all the pillows and stuff animals through a cycle in the dryer on high heat.  I vacuumed the sofa and washed the covers for the cushions.  The lice treatment kit from Target came with upholstery spray so I sprayed the beds, sofa and car seats with that.  I re-washed everything a week later....and then a week after that.  Basically my Saturdays were treating hair and washing bedding, etc. 

For my first lice experience--dare I say it wasn't horrible.  For some people, their personal experience was the end of the world.  I'm thinking I caught it pretty early.  I've heard of people being terribly infested with hundreds of live bugs...thankfully we weren't there yet.  There were nights I did not want to comb out the girls hair--but I did it.  Like I said, one little louse could start this whole process over again. 

I hope this post is helpful to somebody who is desperately searching for a way to get rid of lice.  I know there are about a million home remedies out there.  It can be overwhelming....but this is what I did and what (seemed to) work for us.  Best of luck in your lice-killing adventures! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our New Normal...and, It's a BOY!

I'm such a creature of habit.  I don't like many disruptions of my "normal".  I don't think I was prepared for the change to my "normal" when school started.  Emma and Molly have been in school a full two weeks now.  Elementary school is no joke.  Monday through Friday, 9:15-3:45.  Homework.  Snack schedule.  Dates to remember.  PTA playdates.....and did I mention homework.  Five days a week it seems our house is non-stop.  Everyone is going in different directions.  Emma at one school, Molly at another and Tim and I at work.  Molly is only in school two days a week, but that comes with a list of responsibilities, too.  Volunteer hours, snack duty, etc.  Don't get me wrong.  I am so thankful to be able to have my girls in school and for the teachers that give of themselves daily for them!  I guess the past 5+ years I've had it pretty easy.  My normal was a little bit of preschool, not many different schedules to maintain and two little girls to raise.  I still have those two little girls to raise, but now with so much more mixed in--and I know some mom's who do three times as much as we do!  (I don't know how they do it!) 

I feel like I can barely breathe Monday through Friday from the hours of 5pm till bedtime.  Everybody's getting home, dinner needs to be started, homework needs to be completed, bags need to be packed for the next day to do it all over again....oh, and maybe we will fit in a bath....Oh......and when your kids get LICE, you need to spend an hour combing out their hair (more on that in another post). 

When I was in BSF, our Teaching Leader would describe what it is like to prepare and give her lecture every week.  She said it was like going through labor a delivery of a baby just to find out the next day that you're pregnant again.  That's what my day's have felt like since school has started.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a weekend as much as I have these past two weekends.  Not needing to wake up the girls or change out of PJ's.  Enjoying a lazy morning as the girls slowly eat their breakfast.  Not having to remember what to pack in their bags and not worrying about if I forgot anything. 

How are the girls handling the schedule change you ask?  Wonderful!  They didn't blink an eye.  Emma is LOVING kindergarten and Molly is tolerating preschool.  They haven't skipped a beat.  I was concerned how Emma would handle the long days, but she hasn't shown any signs of fatigue...yet.  So I'm thinking it's harder on me than it is on them.  I do find myself being led to pray for them throughout the day.  I mainly pray for protection over them and for the Holy Spirit to comfort them. I guess that gives me a little sense of control when they are not with me--I know He is!

I know in a few months, this will become my "normal"...but for now, I'm just making it a day at a time.  I just don't want to mess up.  I want to BE that mom that has it all together--I'm just not there yet.  Let me just say, I'm glad ONE of my kids is still on the inside.  Haha!  He (yes, we found out it's a BOY) is taking everything he needs from me and doesn't require any extra attention.  I don't need to worry about this little one needing a bag packed or a lunch made.  My efficient little body takes care of all that for me. 

Come February when I have 3 on the outside--you'll probably never hear from me again. 

Baby Boy

Emma first day of preschool/Molly first day of preschool

A BOY! (the only time it's ever appropriate to share a photo of the goods online)

Molly so little in her class

Be sure to check back when I tell you all about how we won the war against lice (knock on wood) in our house!  It will be informative! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten

Well.....the day has come.  My first born started her formal education career.  She had been looking forward to this day for a loooong time.  We even made a paper chain to count down the days.  Every morning she would wake up, take off a ring and count the days left.  This past Tuesday was finally the day!  The school supplies were purchased, the lunch was packed and the outfit was picked out.  She woke up in the morning ready to go. 

Her school does staggered entry for Kindergarten.  During the first week of school, the kindergarteners go just one day that week for assessments.  The school then takes the results from the assessments and builds the classes accordingly.  We find out tomorrow (Friday) who her official teacher is and where her official classroom is.  I do like it this way because it sort of eases her in to this new routine rather than BAM, school 5 days a week for 6 and a half hours.  

Drop off went well.  Emma tucked all her belongings in a cubbie and found a table and activity to play while all the other kids came in.   Tim, Molly and I were Emma's entourage during all of this.  Emma did satisfy me and pose for a few pictures, but was really ready to get the day started.  After a quick hug goodbye, we were out the door.  Tim did peek around the corner right after we walked out to see Emma ask another little girl to play and the little girl said "yes".  That's always nice!  ....and no tears from Emma!  That's huge :)

As we were walking out it was very hard for me to hold back the tears.  I sort of hid behind Molly so I wasn't that mom crying after dropping her kid off.   I blame pregnancy hormones....but also the fact that Emma has come SO far.  You all know about the plight of my shy girl.  She's gone from fighting back the tears for most of preschool to all but pushing us out the door on her first day of kindergarten.  And boy is elementary school BIG compared to our little First Baptist Preschool.  Emma was the big cheese at preschool last year.  Now she's back to being the littlest in the school.  I sent my dad Emma's first day of school picture and his response was, "I think you were not so happy about going to kindergarten.". 

I worked that day so Tim got to pick her up.  When she was in preschool, the hours were 9:30-1:30.  Her new school hours are 9:15-3:45.  It was torture waiting until 3:45 to see how her day was.  Tim texted me after he got her and said she had a great day and that I could call if I wanted to.  At that point it was 4 and I was off work in an hour so I figured I would just chat with her about it in person.  When I saw her, she was just like, "Hi mom."...and want about what she was doing.  It's like pulling teeth from this kid to find out about her day.  All I got out of her was that her favorite parts were eating lunch in the cafeteria, playing outside and rest time.  Oh, and that she made friends with two girls and their names were Lizzy and Isabella.  That's it.  That's all I got.  BUT....that's way better than "it was so horrible I just wanted to go home I missed you so much I hate kindergarten". was a great day.  I'm so thankful!  Now, we will see how she handles a full week.  I have a feeling we will have some early bed times for a bit while her body adjusts to this new schedule.

You've come a long way, baby.  I'm so proud of you!  
First day of Preschool/First day of Kindergarten
Be sure to check back in this Tuesday.  That will be Molly's first day of preschool.....if I can see beyond the tears, I will try to type up a post then and let y'all know how she did. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

3 month hiatus

 Last blog post I was talking about Emma's kindergarten orientation (which took place before she even graduated from pre-K) and now we are halfway through summer and just weeks away from her actually starting kindergarten!  I can't believe I haven't blogged since the beginning of May.  Three months is an overwhelming amount of time to try to cover in a blog post.  I figured the best thing to do would be to go to my Instagram feed and download some pictures from the last three months.  Some highlights are:
*Emma graduated from pre-K! 
*the girls and I took a few days and went to the beach--heaven
*Emma started ballet and loves it
*the girls got bunk beds
*Molly's talking and sentence making skills have exploded

Lots of coloring and crafting

A few bumps and bruises

Lots of dress up

Chris Tomlin's autograph!


Lots of watermelon

NC Farmers Market

On our way to the beach!

Pure bliss

Lots of puddle jumping

Emma got a hair cut

Pool time

Putt Putt (Emma's a natural)

more puddles

Family walks EVERY evening

spray ground

dinner out

don't let this fool you--none of this has been happening

beach music

hose drinking
Here are two pictures I took of the girls while we were at the beach.  They are two of my all time favorite pictures of the girls!  They were beautifully edited by a friend of mine which ups the wow-factor big time!  Aren't they beautiful?!

Oh....and this:

Yep...we're expecting #3!  Baby is due in February 2014.  Emma is beyond thrilled.  Molly has no idea what's going on.  This is going to be fun! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

From anxious to awesome!

When I would say Emma was painfully shy as a baby/toddler/preschooler, I wasn't kidding.  Just ask anybody who met her.  She would cling to me, not make eye contact, not talk...and when Tim and/or I would leave her someplace, she would cry--a lot.  Tim and I figured it was best to start her in preschool when she was two going on three to work on that separation anxiety and the social skills.  We enrolled her in First Baptist Preschool and in September of 2010 she went to her first day of preschool.  See her down there in the picture?  Cautiously excited about this new adventure that mom and dad had been talking up for the last few weeks....yeah....that lasted just until it was time to say bye bye at Miss Jill's door.  A quick hug and kiss bye bye and we were off.  Emma was crying.  My phone was attached to me those first few weeks of school.  Emma was dealing with it, but not very happy about it.  She would cry every day on the playground.  She would have to know exactly what was coming next during their daily activities and she would have to be given direction by the teacher on what center to go to.  By the end of her first year she had improved tons.  No more crying at drop off or on the playground.  She still had a hard time making those independent choices on which center to go to and still needed to know what was coming next on the daily agenda.  

Summer break!!  woo hoo!!!!!

September 2011 rolls around and it's time for preschool!  See that picture down there?  Still cautions...a little more on the excited side.  Emma wasn't sure what to think.  She had gotten so use to Miss Jill's class and Miss Jill's schedule.  Who was this Miss Sara we were talking about...and a different class room?  No way!  But, we told her she would have the same friends, so that was a plus.  The first few weeks were tough.  Emma would get teary eyed at drop off.  She would try SO hard not to cry, with her bottom lip pouting and quivering.  Trying to hold it in so the other kids wouldn't see.  And then...this was presented to her in class...

You see what that says there?  No tears all day!  This was huge!  Emma was so proud of herself.  I could see the confidence in her growing.  Emma developed just as close a relationship with Miss Sara that she did with Miss Jill.  Emma would give Miss Sara a hug every day when she left.  She started interacting more with the kids and actually making her own choices as far as which center she wanted to play in.  I even started to see a difference with her outside of school when we would go to playgrounds, playdates, etc.  At first, if there were any kids playing on the playground, she wouldn't go on it.  She would sit next to me and watch.  As I saw her confidence growing, I would see her inch her way on to the playground while there were other kids on it.  She still would not talk or interact with other kids.  She would get out of the way fast if another kid was running around her or playing near her.  But...she was making her way.

Then it was summer break!!  Woo hoo!!

September 2012.  My cautious little girl pretty excited about Pre-K!  But no more Miss Sara and different class room?  Oh boy....

Emma was a pro at this by now...but the first few weeks took some adjusting.  I don't remember any tears, but I do remember some lingering in the doorway of the classroom or an extra long hug.  Emma would tell us every day that she had "no tears" and had a "great day".  Parent/teacher conferences were scheduled and Tim and I got to sit down with Miss Susan to discuss Emma.  This was our first parent/teacher conference.  I was nervous.  It was great hearing about Emma from her teacher's perspective.  About what she was excelling at and what needed work.  Around this time she was still needing some direction as far as which centers to go to, but her teacher was pleased with the improvement she had seen since the beginning of the year. 

 And now here we are....May 2013 (just a few more weeks of Pre-K left)....and we just went to Emma's Kindergarten round-up last night.  We got to the school and were told which room Emma was going to go in and where we were to go for the presentation.  Uh oh...a new place...all new teachers...and all new kids.  We walked in...Emma still a little cautious, but she sat down at the table with the other kids and said bye bye to us.  Tim and I walked out to go learn all about her new school.  An hour or so later we went to pick her up and she declared "no tears!". 

Emma Conn is the name of her school.  Neat!
I can't believe how far Emma has come in the last 3 years.  She has gone from a painfully shy toddler to a little girl that everyone wants to play with.  I never thought we would get here.  It's hard to see your kid WANT to do things but not be able to.  To know what all they are missing out on because of the anxiety they are feeling.  To see her self-confidence build year by year brings tears to my eyes.  To see that cautions excitement turn in to pure enthusiasm has made me so proud of her and happy for her.  Emma will probably never want the lead in the school play but boy oh boy will she be the best supporting actress...or the set designer or the costume designer. 

Emma's gone from anxious to awesome!  
We are going to take Kindergarten by the horns!