Sunday, April 29, 2012

Emily: 4 Months

Little Miss Em is 4 months old today. What a joy she is!

She's still a very happy baby. She doesn't fuss and cry much. She loves sitting in her bumbo chair watching the big kids play. She's starting to enjoy tummy time a little bit more and is is able to lift her head better. She's very close to rolling over. Her newest talent is blowing raspberries and boy does she love to do it!

4 month stats:
- 12lbs 6.5 oz - she's dropped percentile again. She's now between the 10th-25th but right about where she was when she was born.
- 24 1/2 in - she's right about at the 50th percentile for height.

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Madison: 3 Years Old

I know it's cliche but I can not help but think "where has the time gone?" every time one of my kids has a birthday. My little girl is now 3 years old or 3 old as she'll tell you. She'll be the first to tell you that she's a big girl now and that's why she can...fill in the blank a long list of things that only 3 year olds can do! The time has flown by! But at the same time I'm often reminding myself that she's only 3. At 31 lbs and 3ft 3in she's bigger than her 4 1/2 year old brother so there are even times where I have to remind her that she is younger than him. She takes it in stride because she's the spunky one. At times that causes me to wonder if she turned 3 or 13. After her party she told us that the reason she kissed her friend Charlie was "Because he likes my kisses!". He's supposedly her boyfriend. See!? 13 I tell ya! My mini teen is a firecracker. There's never a doubt how she feels. When she's happy, she's very happy. When she's sad, she's very sad. When she's mad, she's furious! Don't get in her way when she's mad! But when she's loving, you won't find a better cuddler. Hugs and kisses are one of her favorite things. Unless you're daddy. She randomly told Richard recently that she does not like his kisses anymore. I don't see that lasting long! She tends to gets a little carried when it comes to babies but she means well. One of Maddy's most favorite things at the moment is art; the messier the better. Hand her art supplies and she'll stay busy for hours. So what a better theme for her party!?

Her birthday begun with sprinkle cake batter pancakes. They were a huge hit!
I got the idea/recipe from I'm Bloggin'.

Then it was time to get ready for her art party! Our house is just not big enough for birthday parties so we hoped and prayed for no rain so that we could have it outside. We got a beautiful day! With rainbow paper chains, rainbow fruit, Maddy's art gallery and the rainbow aprons attached to the fence easel, the yard was equally beautiful!

The guests arrived and the kids got to painting. Off to the side I had a little washing station set up for the impending mess. We may try this party idea again in the future. The kids seemed to love it but the older kids did more painting while the younger kids got distracted but the yard toys.

At last, it was cake time! I had my own plans for the cake but at the last minute Maddy informed me that she wanted a princess cake. What's a mom to do but combine the two! She got a princess cake with a twist. I knew I had done good when, as I was putting the finishing touches on the cake, Maddy exclaimed "WOW!".
Princess Belle waving hi in her cake dress:


The birthday girl chowing down:

For more art party ideas, check out my art party pin board.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Impromptu Morning Photo Session

The big kids joined Em on the floor the other morning so I pulled out the camera:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sean's Birth Story

This post is beyond overdue. I finally made it to birth circle. Hearing all the birth stories and sharing Emily's inspired me to finally write about Sean's birth story.

Sean's story begins the day before he was born when I woke up to bloody show. I called my OB who sent me to labor and delivery to get checked out. Sure enough, it was just bloody show, nothing to be concerned about. They sent me home to wait for labor. That afternoon I had an appointment with my OB. I was still at 2 cm like I was that morning at the hospital. He then frustrated me by wanting to schedule an induction. I was still 6 days from my due date, the day he wanted to schedule it for. I told him no. I was a first time mom, before my due date and no signs of problems. I did not want to set myself up for a c-section. Not to mention that the bloody show that morning showed that something at least was starting to happen. I went home and planned to see him in a week, when I knew he'd bring it up again. Being that it was Halloween, the day I made sure Sean knew I didn't want him to come, that night was trick-or-treat time. My dad painted my big belly to look like a jack-o-lantern and I helped pass out candy. ...ok ok, I also did a little trick-or-treating to some neighbors we know. It was a great laugh but I was tired by the end of the night.

We went to bed that night without a clue what was about to happen! At midnight I woke up to a contraction. They started coming regularly and stronger. I couldn't do anything but pay attention to them. I knew it was time! I labored a little at home until they were about 5 minutes apart, then I called my OB and my mom. The OB said I didn't sound like I was in labor but I could go ahead and come get checked out. My parents followed us to the hospital (my mom and mother in-law were going to be in the room with me). At the hospital I remember having to stop in the parking lot to work through a contraction, then in the hall, then at the nurses' desk while they tried to have me fill out paperwork. They took me over to triage to make sure I really was in labor. Surprise surprise, I was and off to labor and delivery I went. I informed them that I did not want drugs and wanted a natural birth while they continued to hand me more and more paper work to fill out. Who's great idea was it to save all this paper work for labor!? I swear I preregistered! The first nurse I had was amazing! She was so encouraging and helpful with my goal of a natural birth. She would tell me I was doing great and suggest I change positions and keep moving. But, she had other patients and then there was the shift change. The next nurse wasn't really bad but was not as helpful and encouraging. The OB that came in was even less helpful. Without knowing me and for no reason, decided that I was not allowed out of bed. I really believe that was the beginning of the snowball. I could not deal with the contractions laying in bed. Eventually I was asking for the epidural that I was so dead set against. They told me that it would be awhile because the anesthesiologist was in a c-section. While I waited, they offered me IV drugs. I took them. I was able to sleep a little but everything was a blur. I was able to get the epidural earlier than they thought, while the IV drugs were still in my system. The rest of my labor was horrible. The epidural worked all but one side of my lower back. I was having back labor so that was not helpful! The epidural slowed my labor so they gave me pitocin. Sean's heart rate then began to drop with every contraction. I had an epidural, pitocin, and was laboring on my back so I'm not too surprised. It concerned the OB so he began talking about a c-section, the last thing I wanted! They gave me oxygen and I rolled onto my left side. If I stayed like that, Sean's heart rate was fine. Labor was rough like that but it kept Sean safe and kept me from a c-section. 

Finally, they said I was 10 cm and I could push. At 3:16pm Sean was born. All 6lbs 7oz, 18 1/2 in of him. I was in love with my tiny peanut!  Then the epidural wore off and I got the shakes something horrible! I couldn't hold him, much less nurse him. The room filled with family and Sean got passed around. Eventually it was time for Sean (and hubby) to go to the nursery and me to a recovery room. I remember them having Sean much longer than I thought they were going to. Finally hubby and a nurse return to me. It took longer because they had to do some more testing. Sean has testicular torsion and one of his testicles was swollen; it would not be able to be saved. They wanted our ok to send him to the children's hospital to be looked over again and for surgery. We agree and they brought my son to me. I only had a couple of hours to hold him before they transported him. I sat there with him in my arms drinking up his beautiful face, holding back the tears. The team from the children's hospital showed up and were very nice. They apologized for having to take him and left a couple of pictures for me. Handing him over was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do. That night was rough but I will always be thankful that my parents went with him and did not leave until I was able to be with him. That made it a little easier. We talked to the doctors at the other hospital over the phone that night. Testicular torsion was confirmed and surgery was set for the next day. I didn't sleep well that night. I thought often of how I didn't even get to nurse him before he left. The next morning the OB took forever releasing me. All I wanted to do was get to my son and was about ready to just walk out. Finally, I was released and got to the hospital right as Sean was being taken to recovery. It was wonderful seeing him again and I anxiously waited until I could hold him again. 

Since he did well, he was taken to the adjoining hospital to stay in the level two nursery. Finally! He was in my arms again. The first nurse he had was amazing! Not a lactation consultant but she was a God send and got me and Sean off to a great nursing relationship. Thankfully we saw her a could times during Sean's stay. We had some horrible nurses too. Sean was a natural when it came to nursing. He'd latch on with ease and nurse 30 minutes or so. I thought it was perfect. The nurses thought differently. They said he was nursing too long so he must not be getting enough. And until he began peeing more, he couldn't go home. I'm stopping for a minute to say what bull that was!! At 1 and 2 days old, he should have been having 1 or 2 wet diapers a day and he was! Their solution was not to let him nurse the whole 30 minutes and top him off with formula or my milk. My milk was not in yet so I was not able to pump as much as they wanted. I wanted him home, so against my wishes, he got formula. From first thing in the morning until late at night, we were there with Sean, only taking breaks to eat or for the nurses to change shifts. You would think the nurses would have been happy about this. It didn't seem so. They eventually told me that I was holding Sean too much. The last full day Sean was there I remember being ticked off with the nurse about this. As we left for the night she placed a sign on Sean's bassinet saying not to hold him if not necessarily. That ticked me off even more. November 4th came. Sean was just 3 days old. The nurse we loved was there and the sign was gone. She knew how stupid it was. The best news, Sean was ready to come home. I couldn't have been happier! They sent us home with formula and instructions to top him off after eat feeding. Sean never got formula once we got home. He just nursed until his heart was content and did beautifully.

Sean's birth story is far from ideal. There are many things I wish I could change. I wish I had known our insurance would pay for midwives. I wish I had gotten a doula. If you're pregnant, get a doula!!! When it came to his testicular torsion, I wish they hadn't made us make a choice in such a fragile state. I was not able to think clearly and it was not a life/death situation. After research I have come to the conclusion his surgery could have waited. The twisted side was gone. There was no saving it. If the other had twisted, there would have been obvious signs and we would have 24 hours to get him into surgery. Taking him from me just hours after birth was not necessary. I don't think his surgery was not necessary but just it could have waited until we were released at least. Looking back on his birth is difficult at times. Just typing it all out brings tears to my eyes. But then I try to remind myself that it wasn't for nothing. I've learned a lot since then and have used that to make better choices for his sisters. If his birth had been even ok, I may not have sought out the midwifery center for Maddy and then eventually a homebirth for Emily. This is our story. It is what it is.

My other birth stories:

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Homeschooling Update: Following His Lead

My little sponge has been doing a lot of learning since I posted the last homeschooling update! ...but not quite the way I thought things would go. I think I'm still stuck in the public school frame of mind. I had thought that after we had gotten back into a routine after Emily was born that we'd go back to our daily school time, working on curriculums I made based on themes Sean showed interest in. Not so much.. With two preschoolers, one little baby and a daycare of under two year olds, that just didn't seem to be working. Especially since school time was during nap time and Sean has gone back to taking naps!

We haven't had regular school time since the end of last year and the workbooks I put together for the kids are gathering dust. However, the one thing that sticks out in my mind is all that Sean has learned and how easily he learned it! He's excelling when it comes to his letters. He knows all their sounds and can write them without having to see them. He's even teaching Maddy. But lately, he seems to be taking a little break from letters and moving onto numbers. The calender has become a big part of our day because Sean is always asking what day it is and so on. He figured out the pattern numbers have just by looking at the calender everyday. The other day he surprised me by counting to 100 (with a little help) when before I didn't know he could get past 20. Then one night he asked me what 2 + 3 was and I started teaching him addition. Easter candy seems to be a great addition (and subtraction) tool. Now he's showing interest in wanting to be able to read a clock. I'm running with it!

Along with the math and literacy, he's been learning about local geography. How? By car rides. He wants to know what city we're in and what street we're on. He can tell you where daddy and Uncle Justin works, what city their works are in, what street and city  hubby's parents live on/in, almost our complete address (he doesn't know zip codes yet) and he's working on my parents address (they live on the same street as us so he's memorizing their house number). I credit our Me On the Map until for sparking this interest but he's learned a lot recently just by asking me questions during car rides. He's also learning about chickens thanks to the baby chicks we're raising. I'm anxious to find out what will be next.

I never thought we'd go more toward the unschooling path when we started homeschooling but it works. And if it's not broke, don't fix it!

Here's some learning tools I made for Sean. I got the ideas from pinterest...where else!?
Telling time tools: 
the sun rays around the clock and the little time posters for daily events.

Addition tool made from an Easter egg:
He can turn the halves to create more addition problems.
Note: Even Sharpie rubs off of Easter eggs but clear tape keeps it on.

For more ideas I've found on Pinterest, check out my Homeschooling, Math and Literacy pin boards.

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