Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can You Guess the Commercial?

Can you guess what current commercial the following monologue (from Z) is a summary of?

"Where dat clown go?

The clown fcweamed.

What dat clown step on, on his foot?

He tep on a horsie.

All da kids fcweam and da kids wun away."

In case you couldn't guess, or haven't seen it, here is the commercial:

I'd say that was a pretty good summary...don't you think? :)

This is Z's favorite commercial - this one and the Pillow Pet one - he always asks to watch them when he sees them on. :) And he seriously talks about this clown all day long. It is hilarious. :)

Do you or your kids have any favorite commercials?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brotherly Love

He tries to feed her goldfish crackers while we're riding in the car. "No, honey, baby can't have crackers yet. In a few months, but not now."

He finds a binky, and brings it across the room to her. (Too bad she was sleeping before he tried to put it in her mouth...)

At playtime, she lays on her Boppy, entranced by him. He dances and picks out toys she's certain to love. He makes his stuffed owl hoot at her, presses the button so his dancing dog dances and sings to her. He hands her his favorite farmer and some animals. Sometimes she even gives him the hint of a smile.

"Hi, fweetie...Hi, Natalie...awwww", he coos, and grabs at her hand as she lies in her swing.

He reaches over to pat her back along with me as she fusses and finally burps on my shoulder.

She wakes from her nap, crying. "Let's go get Natalie! She wants a snack." he proclaims, and so we do. And she does.

And right now, this is how he loves her.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Wanted to Blog, but...

- My family and friends appreciate when I shower.

- I have two kids now, and some days it seems like they're always AWAKE and one of them is NEEDING something! :)

- Sleep is nice. :)

- Typing with one hand while nursing is hard to get used to.

- Z & I had the stomach flu this last week/weekend, and are just getting over it now. (SO thankful that Hubby could drop everything & help me out all weekend!!!)

- I occasionally like to spend time with my hubby, and just enjoy his company.

- My bedroom ceiling leaked all over me at 3:30 am this morning, in the midst of one of the worst nights of sleep (due to insomnia) I have EVER had. (random, but connected to the sleep-needing issue).

- I took my kids out in public THREE days last week. MOPS, weight-loss group at the library, and Natalie's ONE-MONTH dr.'s appointment. All trips went well- I discussed proper behavior with Zachary, and informed him of the consequences of running around in the library like a wild animal (as he did the week BEFORE, nearly frustrating me to the point of tears), and he decided that he did want to check out library books and get a sucker at the store more than he wanted to run around after all. At Natalie's appointment, we learned that she weighs 10 lbs, 14 oz - one whole pound more than Z did at one month old - in fact, his little book says that he weighed 10 lbs, 14 oz at TWO months old! Natalie is a little chunker, and has the appetite to prove it. :)

Aaaaand, Z is up from his nap. Sorry for the hurried & totally random post, but just wanted to let everyone know - I'm still here!!! And feeling much better. And enjoying my family and my kiddos. Though I was sick, it was real treat to have Hubby home all weekend. ;) And now, hopefully, Z & I are going to 'make sumping' - he's been asking to make random things all week, like a lion or a we'll see what color construction paper I dig up and what it comes out as! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tot School

New Baby and Winter Fun Edition! :)

We haven't done much for actual structured tot school these last few weeks, since Natalie's been born, but it is always a joy when Natalie's nap schedule lines up with our late mornings or late afternoons so that Z & I can have some fun learning time together.

We did make snowflakes together- using scissors is a brand new skill for Zachary, so I was just teaching him the basics of holding the scissors (at this point, he prefers to use two hands, but did manage to hold them in one hand a couple of times), and helped him make cuts in the paper coffee filters to make snowflakes.

Here's Zachary's:
And we worked on this one together:

We were able to go out and play in the snow in our yard while Natalie slept one afternoon, and we made a pathetic little snowman. :) Zachary enjoyed putting his arms on him. :)

Zachary helped me make pizza:

And we had a picnic on the kitchen floor one day, because Z said he wanted to. :) It was a fun little treat. :)

We've also been playing with some of his Christmas gifts, which I will be posting more about in the next few weeks. Here he is coloring in the big coloring book that his daddy bought for him - he loves it. :)

Over the last few weeks, we've been really enjoying all the new books Z got for Christmas & his birthday, too - that's one thing that I can do with him while I nurse Natalie, and it is such a sweet time as we all sit on the couch together, reading a book.

Zachary has been learning a lot about babies, too, from experience. :) He'll say things like, "Natalie's crying - let's go get her. She is sad. She wants to eat, probly." or "Natalie is awake. Natalie is happy. Hello, Natalie. She's just hanging out." He loves to hug her and give her sweet little kisses, and she has smiled at him a couple of times. His favorite thing is when Natalie squeezes his finger - he thinks that's great. :)

And, because this is my blog, here's a completely free picture of Natalie in her Sunday dress, complete with ruffly-bottomed tights and Mary Jane shoe socks. :) Enjoy!

So that's about all we've been learning around here these last couple of weeks! For more Tot School posts, head over to 1+1+1=1!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He Calls Me Honey

You know your cooking is bad when...

"Want Mommy's pizza crust."
"Oh, honey, Mommy's pizza crust is too hard to eat, that's why Mommy isn't eating it."
"Want Mommy's pizza crust."
"Okay, but it's pretty hard."
(tries to take a bite) "Pretty hard..."
"Yes, I told you it was hard."
(tries again and succeeds) "There we go!"


I had one lone cracker left on the arm of the couch next to where I was nursing Natalie.
Z had several crackers left on the table next to him.
He took my cracker, and acted as if he was going to eat it.
"Oh, Zachary, you aren't going to eat my last cracker, are you? That will make Mommy sad!"
"Mommy cry!" (he loves when I fake-cry)
His face lights up, and he stuffs my cracker in his mouth. "Ate Mommy's last cracker!" he announces gleefully.
..."And it was good!"


Zachary has also taken to calling me 'honey' quite a lot of the time. Which I think is totally hilarious. He'll yell to me from the living room, "Want a cracker, honey!" in the exact same tone that I would say to him, "Put away the blocks now, honey." or "Leave that alone please, honey."

I think it's good that he picks up on the nice words that I say to him... :) Though, I've always been the kind of person who says those kind of 'sweet' words, even when I'm frustrated with someone. When my Hubby and I were first dating, my BIL used to laugh about how when Hubby & I would disagree on something, I'd say something like, "We'll discuss that later, sweetheart" or "Not right NOW, honey" though clenched teeth. So I guess the fact that he calls me honey does have to do with the fact that he hears it a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he never frustrates me...I mean, come on, he's two. He frustrates me daily. We're actually really struggling with his discipline lately, and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and consistency in this area of our parenting.

But, as a friend mentioned in a comment on my Facebook page, I am so grateful that children's memories are short. She tells me that he will remember the good times and not the frustrated moments. The moments where we enjoyed each other, and not the moments where I made him sit on his bed for five minutes while I hid in the bathroom because I wanted to scream. And I am thankful for this.

When I think about the kind of home I want to have, and the kind of childhood I want my children to remember, it is not a house filled with yelling, snapping, and grouching. It is a home filled with sunshine and laughter and music and giggles and, most of all, filled with the Spirit. And I need to keep in mind that it may be a dirty or cluttered house, but my children will not remember that, as long as the giggling and cuddling and loving get done each day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Natalie's Birth Story: Part Three - 'Worth It All'

**Catch up on part 1 here and part 2 here.**

The next morning, I woke and ordered breakfast. Hubby went to get something to eat for himself, and we chatted and waited for a couple of hours for the doctor to show up. The day shift nurse, Yvonne (sweetest nurse EVER - I totally loved her) showed up, and ended up spending her entire shift taking care of me {poor lady}.

The doctor arrived around 10:00 to administer my Pitocin, and finally chose to break my water and really get this party started. Having your water broken doesn't hurt at all, in case you ever wondered - I thought it would.

After my water was broken, I hardly needed any Pitocin to get going with my contractions. I labored in bed, standing, and on the ball again. At some point in the early afternoon, when I had been sitting on the birthing ball for a while, the contractions were still very painful in spite of all of my efforts to change positions and breathe and all. I decided to ask for an epidural.

Every time I am expecting, I plan to have a beautiful, 'natural' med-free labor. But I 'reserve the right' to have an epidural. And both times I have resorted to it. :) At some point you'd think I would just realize that I am NOT a 'natural labor' girl. I am an 'epidural-needing' girl (with absolutely NO pain tolerance). Will someone please remind me of this the next time I am writing a birth plan???

Also, both of my kids have been so active during labor - kicking against the contractions and spinning around in my womb during my labor, so that about half of the time, I'm experiencing 'back labor' (where their head is facing the wrong way - which makes for VERY painful contractions).

Anyway, when I asked for an epidural, Yvonne checked me and I was at 6 cm. The epidural mercifully only took 20 minutes to arrive, and then, oh, sweet relief that is numbness. They laid me down, covered me with warm blankets, and was blissful. I napped for an hour or so, and then I began to feel each contraction again, stronger in my lower back than before. At first I just felt tightness, and pressure, but the longer it went on, I felt more and more pain with the pressure. I asked to be checked again, and was progressing nicely, to 8, then 9, with the pains growing stronger every minute. I can't imagine the pain I would have felt withOUT the epidural, but even with it, the last two hours were ALMOST unbearable.

Hubby held my hand through the pain, allowing me to squeeze the life out of his fingers during each contraction, and reminded me that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Which I repeated to myself constantly. And then I began to feel the 'urge to push'. While I was enjoying the benefits of my epidural during Zachary's labor, I felt nothing. I slept peacefully for three hours, and they told me, "When you feel the urge to push, let us know." Finally, at some point, I said something like, 'Um, I think it's time...maybe...not sure...' But during his labor and even delivery, I had never in my life felt THIS URGE.

I told the nurse, and she checked me, and informed me that I was fully dilated, and that she would CALL THE DOCTOR AND HAVE HER DRIVE OVER FROM HER OFFICE (only a 5-minute drive, but STILL).

Um, no, you don't understand. I HAVE TO PUSH. THIS URGE is not something that can just wait until it's convenient. I am usually a really nice person during my labors (I think, not too demanding or yelling stuff at Hubby or anything), but this was the one time that I really wanted to yell at someone - I ended up just whimpering and trying to focus my energy on 'breathing through' the contractions, when my body had other ideas about what I SHOULD be doing with them.

Yvonne (and Hubby) impressed upon me the necessity of waiting until the doctor was present to deliver the baby, and Hubby continued to encourage me with our favorite verse, and God helped me hold that baby in, and I prayed more fervently than ever before that my doctor would ALREADY BE NEAR, IF NOT IN THE HOSPITAL, and when she walked in the door about 60 seconds later, I literally uttered a rather loud, "Oh, PRAISE the LORD!", which Hubby and I laughed about later.

At this point, I still figured I had a while until Natalie would make her appearance - I pushed for two grueling hours with Zachary, and expected my experience with Natalie to be just slightly quicker - I was praying for a 'pushing time' of 20-30 minutes or less.

So the doctor made sure I was ready, and got everyone in position, and I pushed a couple of times, and exactly TWO minutes of burning pain and hard work later, Natalie was outside the womb!!! It seemed like it took forever to hear her first cry, though I'm sure it was only a few seconds. They put her on my chest as they cleaned her up, and let her cuddle, and it was wonderful and beautiful and amazing. And her cry was the most beautiful sound in the world.

And every single second of pain and discomfort was absolutely worth it.

And if God so chooses to bless us, I will be thrilled to do it all again. :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Natalie's Birth Story: Part Two: The False Start

So, we had the induction scheduled for Monday afternoon. We were to arrive at the hospital at 5:00. We celebrated with a quick lunch together at McDonald's, went home, and I tried to rest (yeah, right!) for a couple of hours while Hubby finished up some final tasks at the office. We showered, took one last enormo-belly picture (above), and headed to the hospital! I was so excited to say, "Hello, I'm Carrie, and I'm here for an INDUCTION!!!" :)

We had to fill out all kinds of paperwork, I got blood taken, an IV set up, and those stupid belly monitors all stuck on my belly. {Speaking of which, if someone could invent an external fetal heart monitor, and contraction monitor that ACTUALLY stayed on, and did not have to be adjusted every 20 minutes (TAKING 20 minutes each time), they would make a FORTUNE. Those things are DUMB. Just saying.} Anyway, the good news was that I was starting out my labor at 3.5 cm dilated (out of 10, in case any of you were wondering) - so apparently those 'useless' contractions I'd had all week had been doing SOMETHING after all.

My doctor stopped by around 7:00 or so, and started me on some Pitocin. I asked her to break my water, but she decided not to, giving a vague reason about me being overdue & possibly having low fluid levels...? After just a few minutes, I started having some mildly uncomfortable contractions, and after a little while, they were coming just a few minutes apart. I had to lay in the bed for about an hour to make sure the fetal heart rate was good, but then I was able to get up & stand, walk, and sit on the birthing ball.

This was a new experience for me, since when Z was born, I had to stay in bed during the whole labor. I rushed to the hospital too early with him, thinking my water had broken when it hadn't, and during the process of being checked out, his heart rate dropped twice, so after that, I was confined to the bed, and that was not pleasant. I was really looking forward to a more 'natural' labor this time, and being able to walk around, and it really did help, especially during the early stages. So I labored, changing positions every 45 minutes or so, spending 20 minutes each time with a nurse adjusting my monitors, and then laboring through my moderately painful contractions.

At 2:00 am, my doctor called to see how I was doing. Holding steady at 4 cm, thank you very much. So she called off the whole Pitocin operation for the night, and they offered me a sleeping pill and a chance to start over the next morning.

I was SOOOOOO completely and utterly disappointed, I cried when the nurse was trying to help me decide what to do. Even at this point, some part of me honestly believed that Natalie would NEVER be born. Hubby tried to decide whether to go home or sleep in the delivery room (on a recliner or the floor), but I was afraid that my labor would continue on its own & he wouldn't be there - and our house is a half hour away, so I talked him into staying - poor guy. I got my sleeping pill & my lovely hospital bed, and warm blankets....and he slept on the hard recliner & floor with no sleep aids. And I don't think he actually slept much. :(

And after the Pitocin was turned off, my contractions slowed down to next to nothing as well. So my fears were for naught.

But the next morning is the REAL beginning of Natalie's birth story. (Spoiler alert - She DID eventually come out!) :)

I'm hoping to have the third (final) part up soon! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Natalie's Birth Story: Part One - Introduction

In preparing to write Natalie's birth story, I realize that I have never shared Zachary's birth story, other than this Labor Day meme a little over a year ago.

So these posts will intertwine both stories, a study in similarities and contrasts, and also what I have learned about myself through the hours I have spent bringing my children into the world.

To start out with, Z was 'overdue'. Just a little teensy bit - actually, the first sign of labor happened on the evening of my due date. And his labor was quick - from that first sign until the beautiful, miraculous end, was only 23 hours. From the time I first felt a contraction for sure, after my water broke at 4:30 am, until his head lay on my chest, was only about 15 hours. So I expected my labor with Natalie to be very similar, and equally quick.

I went to my doctor on December 15th, three days before Natalie's due date. And just as she had on Zachary's due date two years ago, she did something to get things going inside of me. I scheduled my OB appointment for the next Monday, just as a formality, of course. And when I came home, after feeling 'crampy' all afternoon and evening, the first sign of labor appeared! Contractions came gently every 15 minutes or so, and I was sure that this was it, and Natalie would be in my arms before her due date even arrived. I slept on an extra waterproof crib mattress pad 'just in case' my water broke during the night. And the next morning, when I woke up without any more signs of labor, I was rather mystified and disappointed. But I stayed home from a Christmas party that Wednesday morning 'just in case' - I mean, how embarrassing would it be for my water to break at someone else's house???

That next afternoon, I headed into town for a non-stress test, to make sure that Natalie was still thriving in spite of my gestational diabetes. The test went smoothly, and I had two contractions during the half hour I was hooked up to the monitors - 15 minutes apart again, but hardly felt. I did some Christmas shopping, and headed home. I remember having to breathe through two contractions on my way home, and being excited about their intensity (but rather distracted while driving).

Over the next few days, as my due date came and went, my contractions did the same. At times they were ten or fifteen minutes apart, but for hours at a time, they were barely noticeable. One night, I had an hour-long spell of contractions that were close & intense, and I got excited, waiting, breathing, and then they went away. I woke up rather discouraged. I felt that Natalie would NEVER come out. My parents arrived, to be here in time to take care of Zachary while we were in the hospital, and we went on walks, and read countless books, and played with toys...and waited. On Sunday, God gave me a swift attitude adjustment at church, and on Monday morning, Hubby and I headed to my scheduled OB appointment. Which turned out to be my last!

...more to come as I have time between disciplining and loving on a 2-year-old and feeding and loving a newborn!!! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mom to Two

Alternately Titled: "I Can't Do This (on my own)"

Good thing I don't have to!

I am working on writing my birth story, to share with you all (I always LOVE reading other women's birth stories, I think it is such an amazing experience, and love to share in the intimacy of it all!), but I am just a little busy over here, so it may be a few more days before it's finished. :)

Hubby's parents helped us get home from the hospital, and have been staying with us while I've been recovering the last few days. They were a huge help, with the kids, and getting the house all cleaned up, and they're always such a blessing to be around, but sadly, they left yesterday afternoon, and then Hubby had to go to a wedding last night.

Leaving me at home with two children. And only one of me. Overwhelming much?

Okay, so it wasn't NEARLY as terrifying as staying home with Z alone for the first time two years ago, but I was still rather scared.

And we survived. I fed both kids, nobody starved, nobody cried too much more than they would on a typical day, I even got Z bathed, and after he went to bed, Natalie slept a little while, and I had some nice time to myself.

Earlier in the day, I was pretty fearful about the whole experience, and as I laid down to rest while the kids napped, God kept bringing two verses to mind:

2 Timothy 1:7 - "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

and Phil. 4:13 - "I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me."

This morning, Hubby & Z headed in the deep snow to church (and Z's first day of his 2-year-old Sunday School class - waaaaahhhh), and as I sat on the couch, feeding Natalie, I came across this post that stopped me in my tracks. It was JUST what I needed to hear today. I love the verses that this mother of 9 (!) reminds herself of when parenting her children is above her own strength (which, truthfully is all the time for all of us, right?).

I was totally floored by her description of her 18-month-old stopping to pray for self-control, and turning to God, as she has obviously done in example many times. My prayers are typically private, silent; prayers for strength & help & patience are said inside my head, but not out loud, as an example to my children - and this needs to change. What an godly testimony can come from my openness, and my obedience as I lean on God for the strength I don't have, as He helps me do the things that I can't do on my own.

Including parenting two children at once.