This is where I write about my life. Marriage, children, faith, and coming to the realization that as long as I have those three things...I am home. No matter where that is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baby Update: Week 16

As of today, I am 16 weeks and 5 days. To say that this pregnancy is flying by would be the understatement of the century. I feel like it is going SO fast.

This time around has been completely different from my last two. The first trimester was really difficult for me this time. I was sick a lot. I was nauseated pretty much 'round the clock. I felt exhausted all the time, constantly hungry, and pretty emotionally unstable (just ask my husband). There were days that all I could do is cry, because I felt pretty much useless.

But, alas, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Around week 13, I started to feel the fog lifting. The nausea has finally subsided. I feel more energetic. I'm still hungry pretty much all the time, but if that is the worst of my symptoms, I'll take it! I am now in my very favorite stage of pregnancy. The second trimester, for me, is bliss.

I still haven't started feeling the baby move yet. Which, I'll admit has me a tiny bit concerned. I was feeling both the girls moving by week 16. But, they say (whoever they is) it's nothing to be worried about this early. So, I'm trying not to think about it too much. I have an appointment at the ob/gyn tomorrow, so she should be able to reassure me that everything is OK. Of course, just hearing that precious heartbeat again will put my mind at ease.

We are getting very close to finding out if we are going to be buying pink or blue. I cannot stand the suspense. In 3 weeks, we'll have our big 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound. We will be thrilled with whatever gender we are blessed with. But, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't praying for a boy this time. I don't really have a feeling one way or the other. I keep dreaming that it's a boy, and we only have a boy name decided on. But, I'm not sure if that is a sign or just wishful thinking. We'll see.

I'm going to try and do a baby update every 2-3 weeks or so (or anytime something exciting happens).

We are getting really excited about this new addition to our family. I feel so incredibly blessed to have these children in my life. I can't wait to discover who this new little person will be.

Where Have I Been?

Wait! What?!?! I have a blog, you say? Oh, that's right. I completely forgot about that for awhile.

I'm really sad that I have gotten so far behind with my journaling. I've missed lots of exciting things, including 2 birthday parties, a phenomenal trip to Disney World, and the first 17 weeks of my pregnancy. We've had Easter, beach trips, and so much more, that in my (well, let's just face it) laziness have been skipped right over.

What was I thinking?

So, here I am. I'm not even going to try and back track to cover the last few months...unless I just, all of a sudden, can't get Disney out of my head until I write it all down. That is a very real possibility.

I'm back and ready to start typing out my life again. So much is happening and changing in the upcoming months.

So, stay tuned. You won't want to miss it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

25 Things About Motherhood That Make Me Smile

25 Things About Motherhood That Make Me Smile-New Addition

1. Thinking about what life would be like with 3 kids
2. Making the decision that it could only get better
3. 2 lines on a stick that mean "Ready or not, Here I come"
4. Finding out on my baby's 2nd birthday that she's going to be a big sister
5. Telling our families with both our girls wearing Big sister shirts
6. Sarah saying she wants a "baby brother"
7. Thinking about names
8. Thinking about how to decorate the nursery
9. Hearing the sweet sweet heartbeat
10. Seeing the baby for the first time on ultrasound
11. Even though it just looks like a blip on the screen- a peanut
12. Feeling those precious flutters from within
13. Wondering-boy or girl??
14. Finding out-boy or girl.
15. Those flutters turning into knees and elbows, kicks and nudges
16. The sweet baby smell
17. The sweet baby noises
18. Feeling soft baby skin up next to mine
19. Savoring every moment with my 2 girls before my time is divided by 3
20. The excitement as it builds and builds
21. Weird cravings
22. Nesting
23. Brian painting my toenails
24. Counting the days until November 17th, 2011
25. Feeling my heart grow enough to accommodate all the love there

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Birth Story...2 Years Later

I have been hesitant to post Rylee's birth story, because, to be honest, I'm still a little heart broken over it. But, my free-spirited and quirky and beautiful Rylee Anne just turned 2 years old. So, I have to reflect on the day she was born. Disappointed in the way things went or not, we still got a perfect healthy baby girl on this day. So, it (of course) is in my top 5 Best Days of my Life.

As usual, this is a BIRTH story. If you are totally weirded out or offended by words like cervix, then you should probably go back to facebook now. You've been warned.

I was due to deliver on March 21, 2009, but because of gestational diabetes and my "history" of a big baby. The doctor wanted to induce at 38 weeks. By my 38th week, I was pretty much over being pregnant, so there was no objection from me.

So, on March 8, 2009 (my 26th birthday) we went in to be induced. The nurse came in and administered a drug to help "thin out" my cervix and help me dilate. I had been dilated to 11/2 and had been 50% effaced for a couple of weeks. But, with the big induction coming the next morning, they wanted to give me a good headstart. When that was done, we visited with the family that had come up to stay, my Mom and Nana and Brian's parents and sister. I cried after they left and took Sarah with them knowing that it would be the last time I would hold her as my only baby. I felt terrible guilt about the effect that having another baby would have on her. I was afraid that my time would be too scarce for her, and that she would resent me and her baby sister for it. I found out later that most of those fears and worries were unnecessary.

After the family left sometime between 9 and 10pm, the nurse came back and offered me a pill to help me sleep. At first, I said no. I know that I have a low tolerance for anything like that. I should have gone with my gut on that. But, after persuading me that this would be the only good night's sleep I would have for the next 3 months (at least) and I would need to be rested for the long and gruelling day ahead of me, I agreed. I took the ambien, and it was lights out, Rachel!

And, here is what honestly happened.

I don't remember progressing at an insanely rapid rate. I was supposed to be induced with pitocin and breaking my water the next morning. But, I apparently started contracting so strong and dilating so fast that waiting until the morning was no longer an option. I don't remember getting the epidural. I'm pretty sure you have to sign all kinds of waivers and things before they stick that gigantic needle in your back, but I can't recall signing one thing. I don't really even remember the contractions, except that I would sit up on the side of the bed when they were strong enough to be uncomfortable. I was fast asleep for the majority of my baby's birth. I don't even remember pushing or the doctor using the vacuum to get her out. If I'd been conscious for that I would have objected. But, I was completely out of it. It was the most helpless, horrible feeeling, to be physically but not mentally or emotionally present for one of the most important things I'll ever do. I had no control over myself or anything that happened.

Rylee was born at 8:15 am and weighed in at 9lbs. 1oz. and was 21 inches long. The exact same measurements as her big sister. I do remember the nurse saying that she had a dimple on her left cheek, and I absentmindedly reached up and felt with my hand to see if my dimple was on the left cheek, too. It is.

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, they brought Rylee to me to nurse and I got to really look at the new little person that I had loved for so long. The emotion that washed over me was overwhelming. And, in that moment it didn't matter how she got here. Just that she was in my arms, healthy and warm, and beautiful.

Immediately after laying her back in the bassinet, I went back to sleep not even able to stay alert sitting straight up. When the sleep inducing medicine finally made its way out of my body, I was able to fully enjoy my new bundle. Nursing often, and taking a bazillion pictures of her with her proud (and all of a sudden very grown up) big sister.

But, to this day, I am filled with regret and disappointment that I can't remember every detail of that most wonderful day.

My take on labor and delivery changed a lot after that day, and I have found myself throwing around ideas like all natural birth, midwife, doula, and even homebirth.

I can't believe that my little firecracker is now a busy, fun-loving 2-year-old. The time has passed so quickly. I have enjoyed every second being her Mommy. Rylee never wants to be very far from me. She loves to cuddle with me and give me kisses. She follows me wherever I go. And, if I go into a room without her, she stands outside the door and calls for me, "Mama, Mama, Mama!!" until I come out.

I really wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Best of Times...The Worst Of Times

Every night, in this house, after dinner and before bedtime, we have what is not-so-affectionately referred to as "hell hour". Just ask my sister-in-law, who called tonight during such hour. We didn't get to speak much more than a sentence to each other before having to hang up. Who can hear someone on the other end of the phone with Battle of the Baby Dolls going on in the background, anyway?
The girls are cranky, tired, and loud. They yell and scream. They bicker and fuss. And, 9 times out of 10, one or both of them ends up getting hit or kicked or even (on the rare occasion) bitten.
Sometimes it can look like pre-school WWF around here. Exhausting.

And, then...bedtime.

We read a story every night. It is quite possibly my very favorite part of the day. Both girls climb into one bed, we pick out a book, and then we experience the calm after the storm.

Tonight it's a Beauty and the Beast bedtime story. We click, click, click our tongue when someone knocks on a door and we all take turns HUCKKKK-SHOOOO'ing at the part where the Beast is snoring. And, I laugh out loud, because it really is the best kind of silly fun.

We kiss and hug and tuck in. Repeat. And, repeat. And, repeat again. (Rylee is still adjusting to not being "behind bars" at night.)

"Mommy, Rylee is out of her bed again!!"
"Mommy, Rylee is in the toy box!!"
"Mommy, Rylee took Mammy and won't give him back!!"

I sigh, too loudly, and march, also too loudly, into the bedroom to (most likely) yell something like, "NOT ONE MORE WORD!!!"

But, Sarah says sweetly, "Will you rub my back and sing me a lullabye?" She has requested a back rub and lullabye every night for the past week. I should have seen it coming. So, I kneel beside her bed, and take a few deep breaths to calm myself. She lifts her purple monkey night gown and I start to rub her back. I ask what lullabye she wants me to sing and she says, "Jesus loves me". Yes, Lord, I hear You.

So, I sing. And, I insert Sarah's name in all the appropriate places. She loves that.

She says, "Tomorrow night we can sing "He's got the Whole World in His Hands." Loud and clear, Father, Loud and Clear.

Then, Sarah drifts off to sleep.

5 minutes later...


Gently I say, "Rylee, it's time for night-night."

Rylee rolls over in her bed with her back facing me and tugs at her Tinkerbell PJ shirt.
"Wuub Bock, Mama. Shing."

I kiss that sweet, dimpled face. Then, I rub that soft, pudgy little back, and sing "Hush Little Baby." When the song ended, I gave more kisses and hugs.

Rylee then cupped my face in her precious little hands and said, "Go, Mama." with a smile, and a minute later she was sleeping.

Right there, feeling my most frazzled, my spirit was soothed by singing of Jesus' love for us, counting my blessings (2 of them lying in their beds with my hand on their backs), and even hearing that still, small voice whisper that it is all in His hands.

It was my own personal "Heaven Hour".
p.s. These pictures were taken a few nights ago when the evening had been a smidge more pleasant. I'm not crazy (or talented) enough to be snapping pictures in the middle of total chaos.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mullet Be Gone

Cake the Flying Love Mullet is no more! (Thanks for the nick-name Uncle Drew. She'll appreciate that when she's older) Rylee got her first haircut last weekend. She is having lots of firsts these days. She can't sit still at home for more than 5 seconds at a time, but she made a total liar out of me, and sat like an angel for the duration of the haircut. Of course, the Dum Dum sucker probably helped. I'm thinking I should buy a lifetime supply of Dum Dum's and give her one every day when we comb her hair. Maybe, just maybe, then she'd sit through it. Of course, we'd have to hold her down to brush her teeth after that, so it would defeat the purpose. Anyway, her haircut is SO her. It really does fit her personality. And, I think she looks downright adorable, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday Of A Few Words

I don't know why I love this picture so much. I just do.
One day last week, Sarah came to me, with her Glenda the Good Witch wand in hand, and said, "I have a wish that I want to magically come true." (Sometimes I wonder where she gets this stuff)
I replied, "What is your wish?"
She waved her wand around in the air and said, "I wish, I wish that Daddy could stay home with us everyday."
I smiled and said, "Me, too." And, I meant it...mostly.:)

If I could wave a magic wand and get a wish, I would wish for our girls to always see their Daddy as a big goofball who gives the best hugs, tickles, and "horse"back rides. And that he loves them more than his own life.

p.s. He also makes absolutely the most convincing elephant noise I have ever heard during "Old MacDonald Had A Farm". HA!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

4 Years

Four years ago today, I was laboring, and laboring, and laboring. We all thought that this day would be THE day. Little did we know that she would wait until just after midnight the following morning to make her grand entrance. My first baby, Sarah, will be 4 years old tomorrow.
Four years old!!!

She is funny and sassy. She is emotional and dramatic. She is a cry-er. She is a laugh-er. I've said it many times before, but she feels everything so deeply. She is going to make a big difference in the world someday. She has already made all the difference in my world.

God gave her to me right when He knew that I would need her the most. "A time to be born. A time to die." I do not believe in coincidences. I know that my little girl was born the day before my Daddy's birthday for a reason. I have often in the last 4 years questioned. Lord, why did you have to take him while I was pregnant? Why could he not have at least lived long enough to lay eyes on the granddaughter that he was so looking forward to meeting? But, I think I understand now why. It was time for him to go and time for her to come. And, I will thank God for that everyday. The only thing in this world that could alleviate some of my grief was bringing a beautiful new miracle into this world. It really was perfect timing. I will thank Him everyday for the 23 years that I had my Daddy and I will cherish every second that I have with my daughter, because it is all so fleeting.


Mommy loves you so much!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Somebody Is A Big Girl...Maybe.

We have introduced Rylee to the potty. For the last 3 days we have sat on the potty, sang the potty songs, done the dance, and all of that. For the last 3 days, she has sat there for about 10 seconds at a time, and been completely uninterested. Yesterday, I decided that she might just not be ready. She isn't quite 2 yet. Then last night, she grabbed her diaper and said, "Potty". So we gave it another shot. She tee-tee'd in the potty!! We celebrated like it was the 4th of July! We clapped and sang and danced. Then both girls got a congratulatory M&M:1 for Rylee the potty user and 1 for Sarah the cheerleader. I'm pretty sure now that I'm going to have to give Sarah an M&M every time that Rylee uses the potty. Sarah was more excited about it than any of the rest of us! Which, I'll admit, surprised me a little. I thought there might be some issues with Rylee getting that extra attention, but Sarah really impressed me with her excitement and pride over all of it.
I was SO excited!
We get up this morning, and start to take Rylee to the potty first thing. NOT HAPPENING! She has wanted nothing to do with the potty all day. Not once have I been able to get her to sit on it. Not once has she even gone into the bathroom. Today, she is perfectly content in her Huggies. I guess maybe she isn't quite ready after all. But, she's making the connection. So, hopefully it won't be too much longer.

By the way, I hate potty training. I really do. I wish it was one of those things that they could learn to do on their own like crawling and walking. But, it is part of the job. And, once successful, the results are well worth it. Although, I have to confess, it is hard for me to imagine a life without diapers.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Answering The Call

"MAMA...MAMA...MAMA...MAMAAAA..." My precious girl can't seem to sleep tonight, and neither can I. I was lying in bed sending up prayers for my closest and dearest friend of more than a decade when I heard that sweet little (and not so little at the same time) voice calling my name. I walk into her room, she reaches up, I take her in my arms, and she buries her face in my neck saying "Hey, Mama." As I sat in the rocker with my 21-month-old and tried to quietly hum her back to sleep, I got to thinking. How many times over the past 4 years have I answered that call? Did I always want to? Even when I was resting so well, or too busy, or completely comfortable where I was? I can't say that I was always thrilled about it, but I can say that I have always gone to my children when they called me.

The call to motherhood can come in many different forms.

It's not always a stick with 2 lines, nine months to prepare yourself, and waiting for those first calls for you in a delivery room. Adopted when I was 10-months-old, I am proof of that. There are some beautiful children in my family who are proof of that. Sometimes, it's a pricking at your heart. God leading you to foster precious children who are desperately in need of love and a family. Sometimes, it's a desire you can't explain, to adopt a child who needs you...and who you need, as well. And, sometimes the call to motherhood comes right out of nowhere when you are least expecting it. It wakes you from a peaceful night's sleep, turns your world upside down, and rearranges it in a matter of minutes. But, you do what all Mamas do, and you answer that call.

The dear friend that I was lifting up to the Father when my baby called for me, got an unexpected call a couple of weeks ago. And, instead of turning the other way, and letting someone else "deal" with it. She answered the call that thrust her into motherhood overnight and thirteen years late. People told her it was crazy, and it would be too hard, and it wasn't the right time. But, she obeyed God, and dove heart-first into motherhood, because that child needed someone to be her mother right then.

I am immensely proud of her.

She answered the desperate call of a child who was crying out for a Mama with all of her heart and everything she had. For once in her life, that precious child will have someone to call for, even in the middle of the night. And, my friend, although brand new to the role that has been given to her, will take that child in her arms, wipe her tears, and make her feel safe and loved, because that is what Mamas do.

You never know what a difference you can make in the life of a child, just by answering when they call, and answering when He calls you to motherhood, no matter what circumstances lead you there.

"A Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." Psalm 68:5-6

I think this must be one of my cousin Vanda's favorite Scripture passages. And, I wanted to share it, because she has answered the call to Mama in many different (and all wonderful) ways.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Of A Few Words

Sarah's dance class had Parent's Night. Just before their performance, I looked down and Rylee was sitting right next to Sarah's friend, Lylah. During Sarah's dance, ALL eyes were on her. And, by ALL eyes, I mean mine and Brian's. As soon as the dance was over, I started looking around. "Where is Rylee???" I ask Brian. He says, "I don't know. I thought she was with you." PANIC sets in. So, I start frantically searching for my 21 month old who seems to have disappeared in a sea of tutu's. Just then, right through the door that Brian had been standing in front of the entire time, Rylee walks through, holding a cookie, and smiling mischievously. In the 2 minutes that no one was watching her, she got up, went to the next room where all the refreshments were, and had her own personal intermission. As nervous as I had been, I had to laugh! That girl keeps me more on my toes than any of the little ballerinas we saw that night.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

25 Things About Motherhood That Make Me Smile: Christmas Edition

1. The drive home on Christmas Eve with both girls sleeping in the backseat.
2. Reading What is Christmas? to them when I put them to bed.
3. Putting out gifts from Santa in certain spots in the living room.
4. Making cookies for Santa. This didn't get done this year. Santa got store bought oatmeal cookies and a Little Debbie Christmas Tree cake with a tall glass of milk.
5. Leaving crumbs on the plate and a little milk in the glass.
6. Writing a letter to Sarah and Rylee from Santa.
7. Waking up hours before they do, too excited about Christmas morning.
8. The looks on their faces when they realize Santa came to their house.
9. Playing in the snow-snow angels, snowman, snowballs!
10. Watching Sarah "play" her violin like she is the Concert Master of the Symphony.
11. Watching Rylee roll in laughter when she tickles Elmo and he laughs. Just like Sarah did 3 Christmases ago.
12. The NOISE!
13. The MESS!
14. The JOY!
15. Waiting (impatiently) for Gigi and PopPop.
16. Sarah's reaction when she opened her salon.
17. Sarah "painting" PopPop's fingernails.
18. Settling in for the evening to watch Toy Story 3 together.
19. Sarah laying on Gigi's lap during the movie.
20. Rylee falling asleep in her Daddy's arms during the movie.
21. Me crying at the end of the movie like the dork that I am.
22. Uninterrupted, quality family time.
23. Getting to feel like a kid again on Christmas morning- only better, because of my husband and daughters.
24. Sarah saying that she can't wait until next year.
25. Me saying, "Neither can I" and meaning it.

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

And, this year that dream came true!

When we went to bed late Christmas Eve night (or I should say early Christmas morning), there was grass on the ground. When we woke up, we had at least 2 inches of snow!

Brian saw it first. He got up and looked out the window, then started yelling for me to wake up. "Rachel! Get up and come look!!" We were almost jumping up and down like little kids. Speaking of little kids...ours were still sleeping. They both slept in until nearly 10 am. Which is totally unheard of, but we were glad. That meant we got to go out and play in it first. Brian and I had a snowball fight, it left me with a huge whelp on my knee, but I didn't care. We had a white Christmas! Who can believe it? This is Alabama! I am usually still wearing flip flops in December. The only thing I can figure is that God looked down and felt sorry for us spending yet another holiday living up here and decided to give us a little consolation prize. It was wonderful. After the girls got out of bed and saw all the things that Santa had brought, we got bundled up (I won't mention my husband's not-so-brilliant idea to keep the kids' clothes dry) and went out to enjoy it. Sarah was so excited to build real snow angels. She was just beside herself. Rylee wanted to eat the snow, and she did. We all worked on Frosty. Sarah and Rylee enjoyed putting his buttons on, which is why he had so many. People driving by our house were taking pictures of him!
It was an incredible Christmas morning. We had the best time!