Sunday, August 31, 2014

Logan 2.0

Our little Logan is two!  If you need me, I'll be in the corner retrieving my jaw off the floor; two really snuck up on me!


Some things about our little guy at two:

...Logan loves to play dress up.  Actually, it may be that Leah loves to play dress up and Logan is that sweet brother who gets excited about (everything) anything she is excited about.  It is a regular occurrence in our house for him to play life-size doll and allow Big Sis to dress him up.  He's currently into princess play heels, but I think it might have more to do with the fact that he can run around and they make a fabulous and wonderfully loud CLOP!-ing noise.

 ...has the greatest vocabulary in the world.  Half of his words are virtually unrecognizable unless you're accustomed to listening to it.  "Water bottle" is zsa zsa (as in Gabor) baba.  "Coffee" is saucy.  "Fire truck" is sire cuck.  It's completely ridiculous - and I absolutely adore it.  The child has a word for everything under the sun, and more often than not he's dead on... assuming you can figure out what the heck he's trying to say.  Luckily for him, Leah totally gets him and can act as his interpreter on the occasions that even Dad and I can't figure out what the heck he's talking about.  I still maintain that he has a bigger vocabulary than Leah did at his age, but where she was adamant about pronouncing everything correctly, he's not concerned in the least.  And, he will repeat, and repeat, and repeat again what he said until he's really sure that you understand what he's trying to say.  And if you repeat his words instead of the real ones he was trying to say?  Lord almighty, that kid just says them LOUDER and with MORE GUSTO!!!! {Love him!}

...Is great about saying please and thank you.  Everything ends with please, and more recently, "oh pretty please?"  

...He is amazingly coordinated, maybe even more than Sister is even still.  Yes, he falls a ton (and thankfully doesn't mind the falling), but he also is great at using his fork, almost never spills if I give him a cup without a lid, he can throw or kick a ball and my guess is he'll be riding a bike without training wheels even before his big sis.  He has waaaaay more physical dexterity than Leah had at his age. 

...In typical boy fashion, he loves things that move: diggers and buses and cars and airplanes.  If he hears an airplane, he'll stop to tell you about it and try to find it in the sky.  It's funny to watch, because it is just innate; nature over nurture for sure, because Leah couldn't have cared less about those things.  

...Every day and everything he does is just a huge, joyful adventure. He reminds me of Bullseye from Toy Story: he is loving and affectionate, almost always smiling and enthusiastic, and never short of exuberance over even the smallest thing.  



...He still has his Kankles!  His adorable, chubby baby legs.  Even as I write this, he's getting a little leaner and a little longer; a little more boy-ish and a little less like that sweet chunky baby who looked as if he had rubber bands around his ankles and wrists, so I'm loving every second of these:

...Is potty trained! (WAAAHOO!!)  He made it in about 2 months shy of his 2nd birthday, and, although he still has accidents, he's doing great.  I'm loving having only one in diapers at a time.

...He loves to read, and will ask you to eed gook, tease? several times a day.  I'm not sure he has a favorite, he likes variety. 

...His favorite show is Caillou.  And, just let me tell you how excited I am that we're not done with Caillou yet.  Good times.  

...He wears 2T clothing and size 6 shoes, although did you see how chunky his feet are?  He's a tough fit when it comes to shoes.  

...He adores this Tiger shirt with everything in him.  He calls it his Kruger shirt (Kruger is the lion at the zoo, so he's pretty close), and asks to wear it pretty much every day.  He's a little devastated if you have to tell him it's dirty or in the wash.

...On that note, he adores animals, and would go to the zoo every day if he could.  It's definitely his happy place.

...He loves to help and have a job.  He's really good about emptying the dishwasher or letting the dog out, and feels so proud of himself when he can accomplish something and do a task.

...Is so unbelievably easy.  In the last month or two we've seen our first hints of what he'll be like in the "terrible" twos, but overwhelmingly he's easy to talk out of tantrums or issues.  He goes along with almost everything you suggest, and is typically excited about it to boot.  Such a different experience than where Leah was when she turned two!
But, let's face it: he is still 2, after all!
...This is the second time I've heard from people, particularly the teachers at church, how helpful and kind my children are.  Logan loves to share with other kids, and doesn't do the grabbing thing toddlers so often do.  He also loves to hang out with adults and help them as they go about their leadership tasks.

...He loves both of his sisters so unbelievably much.  I adore his gentleness, kindness and patience with them.  In addition to being an amazing big sister most of the time, Leah can be a bit bossy and demanding of him, and the vast majority of the time he handles it with such grace.  He almost never gets mad or retaliates when she's being too much, and almost always goes along with whatever she asks of him.  He could not be more gentle with the baby - he literally is as delicate as he is capable of being around her, and he adores her.  


I love the special bond that these two share!  Having a third has been so much easier than the transition from one to two, and largely that's because they have each other.  


Happy 2nd birthday, my big boy!  We are so very, very proud of the amazing little person you are becoming!  Thank you for sharing these last two years with us.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A letter to my son

My wonderful boy,

It is with overwhelming happiness that we come to this, your second birthday.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your second year; you bring us such joy and happiness with your mischievous smile and silly antics.  You are absolutely full of life, and you use every second to its fullest.  Even when it leaves me wheezing and struggling to keep up, I am so darned proud of your gleeful enthusiasm.  It is one of your defining characteristics, and something I pray you never lose.

My darling, you have one of the kindest, most empathetic hearts I have ever seen in one so young.  You understand so many emotions: gentleness, kindness, goodness, the ability of a hug to comfort a wounded heart, courage in the face of challenges and unconditional love.  I am so humbled by the wonderful little person you are, and I hope with everything in me that you will carry these qualities with you all the days of your life.  There is little doubt in me that you will grow to be someone who fights for those who cannot fight for themselves.  Where this will take you, I have no idea, but I cannot wait to watch God's plan unfold in your life.

You have never, ever - no, not once in your life - been called quiet.  Your voice is big and your ideas bigger.  You refuse to go unheard, and you fill my days with chatter, questions and unending observations.  Your smile and laugh light up every room you enter, and you remind me that every day is full of blessings.

God gave me a special gift when He gave you to me, and I am so very grateful that He chose me to be your mom.  I tell you this often, and I will continue to tell you often throughout your life, for it is the least I can do to convey back to you just how much joy you bring to my life.

I love you to the moon and back, my wonderful little guy.  Thank you for being mine.

xoxo,
Mommy

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The first week

The first week included many things:


A lot of staring at our girl's beautiful face.

Saying goodbye to this amazing view from the hospital window.

A first ride home, and the realization that she's too little for her car seat.  And her diapers - first thing we did when we got home?  Went back out for a pack of diapers, since the cloths are too big.  Who knew?


Hanging out in the swing.


First bath.  Which...


...didn't exactly go over so well.

She lost her belly button.

And we've been so fortunate to be able to just be home together, to enjoy this precious time as a family of five.  

We are so lucky to have this little girl in our lives!  One week in, she is by far the easiest of my children.  We'll see if that continues, but I have a hunch (and I accept full responsibility for the jinx I may be placing upon myself) that this sweet one is going to be a little less of a handful than we've experienced recently.  It's amazing how quickly and completely she has worked her way into our hearts.    


Already it feels like she was always meant to be part of our family.  We couldn't love you any more, Miss Olivia Joy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Good kids make great siblings

We weren't in the hospital for very long - less than 48 hours door to door, in fact; a complete record on my part - but by far the highlight of the stay was watching the kiddos get to meet their new baby sister.


And, excited?  Doesn't even begin to cover it.

These two, my little sweethearts.  Oh my.  They love babies.  It might be best to let the pictures do the talking.











Those darling littles.  How can two people so new to this life themselves be so full of compassion, gentleness and abundant love?  Truly, the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  They were so happy, so happy to meet their baby.

Logan kept saying over and over again, "it's okay, Baby," kissing her head and patting her gently.  He was as sweet and tender as could be, even without considering the fact that he's not yet two.  And Leah, oh my dear heart.


That child wanted so badly to make Livvy feel better.  She couldn't take her crying, and kept whispering and shushing her, trying to soothe her.  I make so many mistakes as a mommy, but I must be doing something right that I can hear myself in Leah's concern for her tiny new baby sister.


She took her job as big sister very seriously, and sat in the rocking chair to sing her baby the ABC's so she would go to sleep... and go to sleep she did.  Leah was so very proud of herself, it was heart warming to watch.  I'm pretty sure she would have carried the baby out of the hospital and insisted on taking her home if it had been in her power, she was very intent on proving that she could care for Liv all by herself. 


I can't tell you how humbling it is to be the mommy of these wonderful little people.  They make my heart grow three sizes and bust out of that little measuring box.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The third time's the charm

It sounds so much like playing favorites that I almost hate to say it, but there really is no competition:  Miss Olivia wins the prize for best labor and delivery.  Hands down, no contest.  Give the lady a prize.  


The story starts, interestingly enough, with me not wanting to have to be induced.  Induction was on the agenda for Tuesday, and I spent Sunday evening coming to grips with the fact that it would probably be necessary.  I was feeling particularly sentimental, and spent a long time watching my two big ones sleep.  Their little eyes fluttered in sleep, and so did my heart; I said an extra long prayer thanking God for making me their mommy.  How did I know that an induction be okay?  Because whatever I'd been through to get there, being the mom of those two beautiful children makes it worth it.  I knew it would be that way again.

I fell asleep Sunday night feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.  

And then, as I had done nearly every night for the past two weeks, I woke up about 2:30 a.m. having contractions.  I'd like to tell you that by now I was used to them and just rolled over and went back to sleep, but I don't think I'll ever be that girl.  Instead, I tossed and turned and kept a mental "eye" on it.

About 5 a.m. the contractions did something they hadn't done before: they got stronger.  A lot stronger, and noticeably closer together.  

When the kids got up at 6, I did as well.  I ate and moved around, but still no change on the contraction front which was unusual; typically, they disappeared when I got up and moved around.  By 7:30, I was in a zone I was unfamiliar with: contractions 4-5 minutes apart and strong enough that I'd hesitantly concluded - at the very least - that we were not going to the zoo as we'd planned.  What else, I wasn't yet sure, but I was starting to suspect enough that I called my mom to tell her just to pack her bag and be on alert.

By 8:30, with contractions still coming 4-5 minutes apart and now at about a 6 on the pain scale, my water broke.  My mom was on her way to watch the kids, and I was able to stay on top of the contractions really well.  I was shooting to leave for the hospital about noon; trying to balance laboring at home with the noise and distraction of having the kids around.  Casey was bustling around, trying to finish up the checklist we'd come up with the night before of things to do before the induction.  Around 11, he took the kids to the grocery store to grab a few last minute items when my contractions took a tough turn into the 8 range and were coming every 3 minutes.  I lasted maybe 30 minutes before I had to call Casey to hurry back - it was time to go to the hospital!

The car ride was pretty miserable.  We're not terribly close, but Casey made the drive in about 35 minutes.  We arrived at the hospital at about 12:15 or 12:30, and they started right away getting me ready to go.  The most overwhelming part of that whole day was the next hour or two, because they wanted to draw blood and start an IV but they were having a horrible time doing it.  I think they stuck me four or five different times.  Meanwhile, I was contracting every 3-4 minutes and they were getting tougher to handle all the time.  All I could think about was getting in the bath, but I didn't want to do it unless I was dilated far enough.  

They finally checked me around 1:00.  I'd been dilated to 4 for the past 10 days, not to mention contracting for several hours every night and in actual labor since 2:30 a.m. (almost 12 hours at this point), so I was very seriously hoping I'd be dilated to a 7 so I could get in the bath without any worries.  I'd decided that if I was at least a 6, I was getting in the bath anyway even though it was a little early, just so I could cope with those heavy contractions.  When they checked me?

STILL A FOUR.

Ugh.

After everything.  After all those stupid contractions, after all the laboring my body had been doing that day.  After my water had already broken, so there was nothing to give me a hormonal boost.  I was still a freaking four.  My mind spun out another awful labor... I was already nearly 12 hours in, and I knew I'd never survive another 12 hours with contractions the way they were.  I'd already done the miserable, long, exhausting labor.  No way was I doing another one.

So, even though I had just finished giving the nursing staff my all-natural birthing plan - please, don't discuss pain meds with me, please don't discuss medical alternatives in front of me, etc, etc - I completely threw it all out the window and made a sudden and drastic executive decision: bring on the epidural.  

And here's the thing: it was the single best decision I made all day.    

Yes, this is how you look when you get an epidural part way through labor.
The other relevant part of the story is how often I've heard someone in the medical profession say, "your baby is really high up there!"  Yes.  I know.  There's not a damn thing I can do about how high my babies sit, that's just where they are.  Except that, I now know, that's why I don't dilate... the baby has to drop to help me dilate and efface and a whole bunch of things that make labor and delivery move forward.  Mine?  They don't.  And by don't, I mean they sit like 6 inches (literally - this was the rough measurement they would ultimately give me about how far Liv dropped before I started pushing her through the birth canal.  No wonder it took me so long to push Logan out!) higher than they should.  

After I decided to get the epidural, the doctor really backed me up and shared what a good decision she thought that would be because it will help the baby drop, which will help move everything else along.  It turns out, she was totally right.

I got the epidural at about 2:30.  By 3, they checked me and sometime between 1:00 and 3:00 I had dilated from a four all the way to an eight!  We'll never know if my body did that work on it's own, or if all that was the result of the epidural, the nurses both said it could go either way.  

Either way, it absolutely did not matter to me.  I felt good, things were moving in a really positive direction, and my birthing room was way more fun than it should have been.


Casey, Jess and I laughed and joked for the next couple hours.  The nurses kept telling me how labor and delivery isn't supposed to sound like that.  It was way too much fun - way more fun than anything I've experienced before.

We were still joking and telling stories when the doctor came in to check me around 5:15 and announced: it was time to push!  WHAT?!

And push I did.  (This was where the whole "six inches" story came into play - the baby had moved down thismuch from where she started before I even started pushing.)  I'd really been on Casey to make sure he was keeping me posted on pushing, since it was such an ordeal last time.  So I pushed.  And I pushed again.  And Casey said that he could see hair and I was completely convinced he was messing with me.  I pushed again with the next contractions, and he told me her head was nearly out, and this time I think I actually said, "No way!  You're joking!"  To convince me, they took my hand and placed it on my baby's head... she was really there!  In a matter of just a few more pushes, out she came.  Nearly seven pounds of perfect, pink baby girl.  


With some apology to my other beautiful babies, it was the most perfect, amazing moment of my entire life.  She was there, and I was still in one piece.  


Somehow, everything had come together beautifully.  I was in complete and total awe over the fact that she was here, and I had been present in every part.  My body had worked exactly - beautifully, wondrously - the way that it was supposed to work through labor.  It was completely incredible, and so, so very different from what I've experienced in the past.  


She was beautiful.  Totally healthy, ten little fingers, ten little toes.  And brought into a room so filled with love, laughter and joy that I truly thought my heart would burst.


She was born at 5:34 p.m.  I had no idea that labor could be such an amazing experience.  Peaceful.  Wonderful.  As if to cap off what was already the most amazing day, Casey and I watched the sunset over the mountains as we ate dinner (did you know they often feed women who have been through childbirth?  ME EITHER!) recovering with our new little beauty who was already nursing away.

It was just the best day.  Such a wonderfully, blissfully different experience from those I've had before.  We are truly, truly blessed.  I mean, let's be honest... 


...we always were. 
 It's just a real bonus not to go through hell on top of it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Introducing...


Our beautiful new addition: 
Olivia Joy
5:34 p.m. August 4, 2014
19.5 inches, 6lbs 15 oz

Welcome, sweet beautiful girl!  You are madly loved!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

That time we potty trained a boy.

And it was, like, sooooooo much easier than potty training a girl.  I would use more "o's" in that phrase, but I think I've already exceeded the socially-approved limit.

Against the entire world of pop culture which reminds me that potty training a boy is SO.MUCH.HARDER! than potty training a girl.  Maybe this is true, but in case you had any doubts that kids have their own minds, spirits and intentions, my 22-month old little boy was all over debunking that myth.

Here's pretty much how it went:

Logan: Mommy, go potty please?
Me: Sure honey!  Oh, yep, you already took off your pants, how about that.  Let's go sit on the potty!
Logan: Otay.
....aaaaaand cue the pee pee.


That was the end of the story.

We had been talking about going in the potty for several weeks, and he was crazy excited about both the underpants that he got to pick out, and the "special potty" we picked up for his use.  I had hyped how awesome it would be beforehand, but he wasn't even willing to wait for me to be ready because he already was.

We did a three-day naked potty training marathon.  No one in or out.  We set the timer for every 15 minutes, and Logan got excited every single time that "PEEPEETIMER!" went off.  He had a few accidents at first - as in, the first morning - and then grasped the concept beautifully.

Bonus: getting to see those adorable nekkid bebe cheeks.  Seriously, I love 'em.

On days 2 and 3, we were able to go to about every 30 minutes, and he was already diligently telling me (much of the time) when he had to go on his own, outside of the timer.  It was pretty impressive.

It's been a little over a month, and that child has this concept down pat.  Seriously, easiest potty training of all time.  He still has accidents here and there, and he probably will for a while.  Because, well, let's face it: he isn't even 2 yet.

I'm definitely learning lots that I didn't know about proper boy toilet etiquette.  Like, for example, the fact that I couldn't figure out how to get him on a big potty in a public place for like two weeks without it either spraying up and over the seat, or out from between the seat and the bowl.

Turns out, there's a really simple solution, just in case you were wondering, because unlike a girl's, boys' sprayers can be aimed.  So instead of letting it hit me in the face every time while trying to avoid dropping him in the toilet, turns out, I can just point it down.  (Yes, it took me two weeks to figure that out.  Don't even say anything.)

Don't even get me started on how simple it is to have an unanticipated potty break, say, at the park or on a walk, or once, even in the parking lot at the grocery store.  Boys have it so much easier than girls.

My favorite is when people compliment me on getting him potty trained so soon.  Hah!  Yeah, because I totally had anything to do with it.

It's a lot of work, this whole potty training business... though I'm not changing diapers, there is definitely a lot more jumping up and down to help him make sure he gets on and off the potty successfully.  For the first couple of weeks, he would wake up and go even before he came to get me out of bed.  Which, as you might imagine, resulted in me being roused at 5:07 a.m. by a boy who was extremely proud of himself, shouting, "MOMMA!  POOP IN THERE!"  In there was loosely interpreted to mean partially in the bowl, all over his legs, down the wall and smeared all over the little potty, but it was hard to argue with his enthusiasm.

Now, he's getting into a much better routine and "in there" generally means the actual potty.

Plus, I got to thoroughly wash all those diapers and snap them back up for someone's tiny tushy, hopefully to be making an appearance soon.

All in all, I'm obscenely, ridiculously, over-the-top proud of this kid.  He completely mastered this big job all on his own with just a little cheerleading and extra laundry from me.  I couldn't love him any more!




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