Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Decor and Santa Visit

The tree, decorated almost completely by my very, VERY excited three year old. Wouldn't have it any other way!

The photo bar, with my birthday cards in the shutter.

Shelves, with Christmas photo cards and the snowman countdown.

The mantle, complete with a brand-new baby stocking for Gray. Hopefully I will have new stockings next year! ;)

More Christmas cards on display, plus a vinyl quote with my kids photos.

Merry Christmas! :)

Until next time . . .

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gray's One Month Update

Guess who's already a month old??!!

Little wiggly man! These were the best photos I could get, lol. Until - you bring big sister into the picture and she starts reading Gray a book ...

Then suddenly we have a happy little ham. :) Their relationship is TOO adorable already. He just loves to look at her right now ...

... and she's so proud of him. :) Plus both of them are as silly as they come!

Anyway, it's flat out cruel how fast kids grow up, isn't it? A month ago I could barely walk and was sleep-walking my way through life, but now Gray's almost got himself on a flat out SCHEDULE. Seriously, he's amazing. After a week and a half, he figured out night and day and started giving mommy some pretty decent sleep - and THEN he went ahead and decided to always sleep for few hours right at one o'clock when big sister goes down! Can I get a hallelujah??!! Every night is not perfect - sometimes it takes him an hour to wake up enough to eat, sometimes it takes him an hour to go back to sleep - but most times he wakes up, we eat, he goes right back to sleep, and we do it all again about 4 hours later. BOO-YAH.

At the doctor today he measured up at 22.5 inches (80%), weighed in at 12 pounds, 12.5 ounces (off-the-charts), and his head circumference was 15.25 inches (70%). He's technically 5 weeks today, but that is 1.75 pounds larger than sister was at her 1-month check-up. Whoa baby! Anyway, there was nothing special about this check-up - he got a shot, but that's about it. He actually did really good during his shot, but he holds a grudge like sister does. ;)

Personality-wise, Grayson is getting to be less crabby and more happy. He likes to be on his belly when he's not too tired, and he recently started sleeping in his cradle. He has some nasal-issues recently, and I have to clean out his nose a lot with the aspirator. The doctor gave me some saline for him as well and that has been working out great today. He's currently working on taking a bottle - he doesn't love it, which is odd because he took one for the first week of his life! I should have been more on top of that I guess. He's getting one bottle of formula every other day or so. He likes to play, and bats around at his toys. Every so often he smiles as well. :) It's not very frequent, but I usually get one baby-smile per day. I caught him smiling at his toys today too. ;)

That's about it! :) Congrats to me, Cory, and Nora for making it through the first month of big change!! Until next time . . .

Sunday, November 25, 2012


When last I updated you on the porch, only the first pour had been completed. A lot happened while I was in the hospital and while I was sleep-walking my way through Gray's first few weeks of life. ;) Since then, the sidewalk and patio have been poured, the concrete has been sealed, and posts have been put up.

Here's what it's looking like now:

Next week there will be a few things put up here and there (soffits and what-not) and then that's it for the year. It's getting too cold for anything else!! The rest of this project will be completed next spring - with the exception of house numbers, that I hope to get up here very soon. In the meantime, our front porch is finally use-able!! And that's all that really matters when you have a newborn. ;)

Until next time!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grayson's First Few Weeks Home

HOME! :)

Grayson's first week was pretty hard. He woke a lot to feed, and I felt like I was a walking zombie! Poor Nora wasn't sure what the heck was going on, and to top it all off, my milk came in which means one thing - TEARS! I have learned that my milk coming in just makes me feel like I have to cry for no reason. Ugh, it's so embarrassing!

For Grayson, life "on the outside" was a lot of sleeping and streeeeetching and eating! His signature look? Mouth open! At his two week check-up he was already up to 10 pounds, 4 ounces. So he lost an entire pound in the first few days after birth, and then gained it back, with interest! The kid loves to eat - he was in newborn clothes and diapers for about a week. He's since moved on to 0-3 month wear and size 1 diapers!

Grayson's first two weeks of sleep were typical newborn-style: awake half the night, sleeping half the day. However, a few nights ago Grayson started sleeping at night, waking every 3-4 hours to feed, and then going right back to sleep. He's even given me a few great naps to boot! So sleep-wise I really can't complain too much. He likes to sleep in his rock-n-play right now, but I am hoping I can switch him to his cradle and/or crib pretty soon. We are practicing napping in there right now, but he's not totally loving it just yet.

A few days ago he started to play a little! He loves to lay by the mirror on the floor and try to eat the legs of the lion hanging down. :) He cracks me up - he's so alert and determined to get them in his mouth. He will play for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time, then he's usually ready to eat again. ;)

Nora has adjusted to being a big sister much better in the last week or so. She loves to help change diapers and give baths, and has gotten to give Gray a few bottles too. She's not showing signs of jealousy (though she is probably feeling it), but is instead acting very proud of "her baby". She just loves to show him off - it's VERY sweet. :)

Speaking of sweet, Gray sure is! He does cry a LOT though. I am thinking he's having some tummy/gas issues, and I am hoping they will resolve themselves in the next month, with the help of lots of burping and Mylicon. However, when he's awake, fed, and not too sleepy, he's SO sweet. He likes to cuddle, and listen to people talk. He studies big sister Nora with lots of interest, and watches overhead lights and ceiling fans. He's so alert! If only we could figure out this crabbiness. ;)

Personally, I am doing pretty well. I am down about 40 pounds since Gray was born, and I am starting to get back some energy - as long as I get some decent sleep that is! I am a lot less emotional than I was with Nora at this point, so that's great. I am hanging in there alright most of the time - mostly when Cory is home and the kids are not ganging up on us. ;)

That's about it! Until next time . . .

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Welcome Baby Grayson!

It's a . . . BOY!

World, this is baby Grayson Michael! He was born at 9:37 a.m. on October 29th, and weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, 12 ounces. He was 20.5 inches long.

I have been trying to write this post a little at a time over the past two weeks, so it's a bit long! But I wanted to make sure I documented Grayson's birth story as best I could. So - here it is!:

His birth was a planned c-section. We got there at 7 a.m. and the nurses loaded me up with a few bags of fluids. Cory and I chatted nervously while we waited, and each took one final guess: boy or girl? (We both said boy.) I was wheeled into surgery a little late, and very nervous/excited. They put in my spinal, and it went very well for me - it hardly hurt! Soon after I was numb from ribs-down. The spinal made me nauseated, but my anesthesiologist Bryce was FANTASTIC and made sure I didn't throw up once (even though I thought I would and told him that about 10 times in a half hour.) He was so on top of things - each time I said I thought I would throw up, he was injecting me with something so that I wouldn't - and I was very impressed with his overall demeanor and service. Cory came in the OR soon after I was numb to hold my hand, and surgery began.

Surgery took longer than I remember from before. I could not see anything going on, however after they cut me open and began I was wide awake and aware of everything going on, while at the same time feeling nothing that was going on. I felt a LOT of pressure when two nurses got on top of me and started to push baby out. It felt like they were going to break my sternum, and I could hardly breathe! We had to take breathing breaks, which was a little scary for me. Grayson was stuck up in my abdomen, so it took a lot of pushing and pulling to get him out.

And then . . . he was out! Dr. Dalla-Riva said "It's a boy!" and I was so shocked and happy. My first thought upon looking at Grayson was "Is that one mine?" :) The reason why I thought this: he was very red, bruised, and had a lot of DARK (almost black) hair! That was unprecedented - no one in our families has had hair as dark as Grayson's, so we were very surprised. I then became overcome by what a miracle he is, and I started to tear up. Then I started to laugh when I heard him cry - it was definitely a cry that reminded me of Nora.

They put him on the scale and told us his weight and I was SHOCKED! I knew baby was big, but I thought to myself there is no way this child is bigger than Nora's weight of 9 pounds, 1 ounce. WRONG! It was so shocking, I could only lay there shaking my head.

I was in recovery for nearly two hours before I got to see him again. That was the longest two hours ever and I got pretty antsy while they checked and re-checked me, and asked me about my pain levels. (Side note: I was feeling no pain at this point.) However, they did eventually bring him in, and I did get to breastfeed him as soon as I saw him, which was what I wanted. We later learned that there were a lot of babies born that day, and most were C-Sections so everyone was very busy!

Grayson was very bruised after he came out, and he looked like he had been squished into every crevice inside me. His poor arms and face were black and blue, and it was obvious to me that he was very sore for the first few days of his life (and on day two, they circumcised him!) He cried a lot in the hospital. Right away the pediatrician informed me he was "LGA" - Large for Gestational Age". (Um, duh.) He also had a weird bump on his lip, that first was classified as a skin tag, then later called a "mucous retention cyst". I don't know what it was exactly, but it has completely shrunk down to nothing since he's been home. I do think it interfered with breastfeeding originally - Grayson was a very shallow latcher at first. We have since corrected that, but DANG. That was very painful for me.

His first day of life he got to meet his big sister Nora. She came up in the evening with most of our family to meet Grayson. She was so very excited, it was so cute. :) She had a little gift for Gray, and mommy, daddy, and Gray had little gifts for her too - a Thomas the Train book, and a REAL kid's digital camera.

On Grayson's third day of life, I was alone with him for most of the day. He cried and cried, and I nursed him repeatedly to no avail (my milk was still not in.) I noticed that his mouth was dry and he wasn't wetting his diaper, so I asked the nurses for formula supplements. That's a hard decision to make (it felt like a mom-failure to me) but it ended up being the right decision. The very next day I was ordered by the pediatrician to supplement Grayson with formula until his one-week check-up. He had lost 10 percent of his body weight in the hospital, which is the maximum he can safely lose. It's amazing to me that I felt like such a failure giving him formula, and it ended up being exactly what he needed to have.

The last day in the hospital went just fine and Grayson got to add his footprint to the wall just prior to leaving. His reaction was the same as his sister's. :)

So, he's here! :) He's been such a little joy, but life sure has been a LOT different for all of us! I certainly forgot how tough having a newborn is. I will post again in a few days with an update on how his first two weeks at home were. ;)

Until next time . . .

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 Weeks - "The Baby Files"

How far along? 40 weeks. Today is my C-Section.

Maternity clothes?Yep.

The belly progress:

Sleep: I am more exhausted than I have ever been in my life. It's hard to get to sleep, but once I do I can get some rest until I have to pee the first time.

Cravings: My sweet tooth is bad lately! I made a chocolate chip cookie pie that was fantastic. Also I really wanted Cracker Barrel this weekend (I settled for Geno's).

Best moment this month: I discovered this month that everyone just wants to know if we're having a boy or a girl. :) The suspense is killing everyone! It's totally. AWESOME! (Sorry, folks, but it is!!)

Movement: Baby is hurting me a bit this late in the game. Loads of pressure, and still an abundance of hiccups. I kind of feel like he/she is trying to pry my hips apart, and that feeling makes it hard to sleep.

Gender: My facebook poll last week was almost entirely "boy" predictions. I am happy with whichever gender I get! :)

Labor Signs: Lots of discomfort and pressure. One or two contractions here and there. Not much really.

What I miss: Being able to move around with ease and without pain. Also - I already miss Nora! Going through a week in the hospital without her will be hard, even though I am certain that I will enjoy it. ;)

Weekly Wisdom: I hope to write a blog on the subject of this topic when I get home. Until then, I am just happy that my brain is functioning - I feel like I am on overload!

What Stereotype I Embody: "Hangin' in there."

What I Bought This Week: Not a whole lot. I have been sitting around and relaxing as much as I can.

What I Checked off my To-Do List: Random odds and ends. Caught up on laundry, wrote out instructions for Nora ... I am ready to go!

We are excited and ready for this day. Baby post to come soon. :)

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

39 Weeks

Well, it looks like I will be going to my due date! After my appointment Monday the doctor doesn't think I will go early. Fine with me - I just have another week to tough it out, try to get in some last-minute relaxing, and prepare myself.

We did have a conversation about baby's size, and the doc thinks this child is large too. My personal guess is the high side of eight pounds. We also talked about how this c-section will go, and that they hope to have me going home the Thursday after surgery.

I've been feeling sick to my stomach off and on, but no significant contractions. This baby is sitting LOW, and I have some pain and pressure. I have been sitting around a lot, trying to rest as much as I can - specifically because I'm not sleeping well and it makes me really tired all day long. Last night I was too hot to sleep, the night before I had to pee repeatedly, some nights I have odd dreams, and sometimes I just can't get comfortable. This was definitely not an issue while I was pregnant with Nora! I guess this time around my body is preparing me in advance for the lack of sleep.

The porch is still not done - the weather has been keeping workers away this week - and honestly I am angry about it, but also done being concerned with it. I have to have a baby sometime in the next week and I just can't deal with my damn porch right now. Worrying about it when nothing can be done does nothing but raise my blood pressure, which has always been really good despite my swelling! So I am going to try and forget about it. "Try" being the operative word. I think they are still planning to come Wednesday if it's dry enough, so we'll see about that.

This week Nora has been acting up. She knows something big is going to happen, and despite all the preparing I have done for her, she is nervous. I can see it in her behavior and it KILLS me. This week I am going to muster up some energy to take her out to eat and have a little "Mommy-Nora Night". I am hoping that will make her feel a little less anxious. I think she just needs to know that I am here for her right now.

I tried to shave my legs and give myself a pedicure this morning. HA! - That was funny. I was able to do a crappy job at the former, and do none of the latter. "Mommy-Nora Night" will include a pedicure I guess!

Next post should be either a porch update or baby post! Until next time . . .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Porch Progress/38 Week Update

Under two weeks left and my porch just started getting poured yesterday. We don't like to push our luck around here, but at least it's getting done now.

Here are a few photos from the first pour:

Looking good, just needs a sidewalk and patio! Please join me in praying that this gets completed soon.

I am 38 weeks along as of yesterday. I went to my doctor appointment and was dilated 2 cm. I didn't think too much of it (let's face it, it's only 2 cm!) But when I left the doctor says "see you next week - if not before!" Yikes!

I feel "low and ready to go". :) This child has definitely dropped and I can tell because he/she gets the hiccups a lot! It makes me laugh because earlier in this pregnancy I could see the hiccups up by my belly button, and they have migrated downward so I can feel them just above my bladder (but my belly sticks out too much to see them anymore.) It's nice to know that things are moving along, but I am starting to get nervous about my water breaking in public, or it breaking before the porch is done. I would be happy to go in on my scheduled date this time around because it should be done by then, but there is just no predicting what will happen. Baby will come when he/she is ready ... or when my c-section happens. :)

So that's what's going on! Until next time . . .

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rhodes Family Farm, Year Two!

Since I am so far along into my third trimester, and I never know from day to day how much energy I will have or if this baby will show up early or not, we have to "go with the flow" a lot this month. That definitely includes trips to the nearest pumpkin patch at the very last minute. :)

We went to Rhodes Family Farm (a 15 minute drive from our house) last year and we were highly impressed. We definitely had to make a repeat trip! For 6 bucks per person, it's a lot of good country fun. We always end up getting our money's worth of entertainment! :) Anyway, here are a few photos from this year's trip (with Nana-Banana):

Nora jumping on their inflatable jumper. (Side note: This thing is amazing. It seriously looks like a tarp and a shop vac are creating this. Nora could spend all day here alone.)

Our little girl on the tire swing.

Going down the slide.

Going down the slide the right way. :)

Wondering where she learned that??!! :)

They are so goofy!

Going to pick pumpkins.

"Nelping" Nana pick out some pumpkins.

Nora and our pumpkins.

We love this place!

Until next time . . .

Benny's Baptism

My nephew Benny is two months old now! ALREADY! It's hard to believe he's that big that fast. He's such a cute little man, and my sister and her husband are great parents already. Anyway, this past weekend he was baptized into his church, and I represented him as his Godmother. I didn't get many photos of the event, but my stepmother did, so here's what she had:

Dad, Mom, and Benny

Parents and Godparents

Me, Benny, and Nora (with her sucker that she got for sitting through church, and her cow watch which she decided to carry around that entire day)

Godfather Brent, Billy's brother

After the service we ate at Rachel and Billy's house. It was a fun and special time. Congratulations to Benny on your baptism!

Until next time . . .