Thursday, October 19, 2017

Happenings from this Week

Hello!


I have neglected writing down what I am thankful for, which is changing TODAY. Until then, here are a few things I remember from the week that didn't involve changing diapers.

Thursday:

Our parents as teachers program had a story time walk around the lake, which we weren't planning on attending. However, Dan called to say that he would be home late from work, so I made the very fast decision to quickly prep dinner and load the girls and the stroller up in the car. The set up was so cute and fun and while the girls might not have entirely followed the story, we still got out of the house.


I am also incredibly thankful that the berries Cora found on a bush and shoved in her mouth while I was reading a page to Ina weren't incredibly poisonous.

Friday:

Our church had a party for all the people who serve, also known as The Dream Team. We ate great BBQ, danced with the girls to the always awesome and sometimes funny worship music, laughed at the hilarious jokes, and Dan wrangled the older girls while Mira and I snuck off to the nursing mothers room during the inspirational sermon.

Ina keeps on asking when the next "church party" is.

Saturday:


The girls and I met my sister and a friend and their kids at a new to us pumpkin patch. Almost as soon as we arrived I saw one of my very good friends from early college. I was so excited to see her I practically picked her up when we hugged. I chatted her ear off for a good part of the morning, while relying on my village to help me watch the bigger girls.


The girls walked through the pumpkins, painted pumpkins, did pumpkin word searches (Ina's favorite part), rode the little trains cars, went through the corn maze, played in the corn (Cora's favorite part), and went down a huge slide approximately 30 times. Cora couldn't go by herself, so between the two of us we went down pretty quickly and even caught some air a few times.


As soon as we skidded to a stop Cora would hop off my lap and squeal, "Again Mom! Again!" and already be at the bottom of the stairs before I could get up to tell her that this time really was the last time. 

After the pumpkin patch I bravely (stupidly?) took all three girls to Aldi by myself without feeding them lunch during nap time. As soon as we walked in a immediately grabbed a bag of goldfish crackers for them to munch on while I shopped and a box of red wine for me to console myself with then we got home.


I won't go through the horrible details, but I will say I earned that cart full of groceries.

Sunday:


Our Sunday routines are pretty set in stone: church, lunch/nap, and then small group. To note, Mira slept all the way through church and we saw 4 baptisms! Yay Jesus! Granny made us dinner, so after small group all we had to do was load up the girls and head over to her house. No cooking, no dishes. It was pretty nice.

Oh also, Mira took her first bottle, no problem. Dan gave it to her, with both of them laying down. It was pretty cute.

Monday:

I finally ordered a carseat attachment for my double BOB. The big girls took turns walking or riding the one mile to the park and it was so nice to get out of the house and shake out my legs.


Tuesday:

Dan was sick. How, just how, do single moms do it?

Wednesday:

The only thing that was incredibly memorable was the amazing dinner we had - spiced shrimp with yogurt, naan (from Aldi), and a tomato cucumber salad. I was secretly thankful that the girls don't love shrimp, because Dan and I had to fight over the last of them. This combo will be repeated very, very soon.

A few other recipes we have tried lately:

Cabbage, sausage, and potato soup: this was great on a cold day. I used onions instead of leeks and put everything in the slow cooker so we came home from church to a delicious dinner.

Sullivan Street Bread: I made bread! From flour, yeast, and water. It felt like magic.

Pumpkin mac and cheese with roasted vegetables: this was just okay...but the roasted cauliflower (our CSA delivered a beautiful yellow cauliflower) was my absolute favorite part. I forgot about how delicious that is!



Pizza pinwheels: I know what is on our super bowl menu!

Life Changing Soft Scrambled Eggs - my daily breakfast served with roasted sweet potatoes. 

I hope you have a good end to your week and weekend! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Life Update

Good morning!


I am so excited to report that after a month of the three kid/newborn life, we are all alive and well. I daresay, even, that we have a pretty good little routine down, and everyone knows what to expect in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. This of course means that Mira will soon change everything she does in the next few days, requiring us to start all over again.


There were some hard days in there...too many cries, too many "Mommy!"s, too many demands, too many expectations, with not enough hands, not enough time, and not enough patience. After a lot of deep breaths, an extreme lowering of my expectations, an increase in screen time, limiting the number of times Ina can say, "mom," and a few attitude adjustments on my part, things are getting easier. Still hard, but easier.


The days all seem to run together, but I have made it a point to write down things we have done in my planner. A few things of note:

We started small group again, which is so, so, good for my soul. I love having our house full of my friends and their kids as we study The Word together.

We continue to have visitors- my cousins from Texas came over for the day, my grandmas have each visited, and we have had friends bring dinner...

Speaking of dinner, the helpful meals keep coming in - Danielle and her family brought over dinner and stayed to enjoy eating it with us, as well as our friends The Nashes. My mom also brought over a roast and veggies one morning, and all I had to do was pop it in the oven. I am also really enjoying my time back in the kitchen (see below for a few recipes we have made lately.)


Grandma Frankie took the big girls to the pumpkin patch when Ina had the day off school (bless that woman's heart). They loved every second. Cora kept on telling me how she road a "porsey" (a combo of pony and horsey) and when I changed her diaper, there were a few stray corn kernels from the corn pit stuck to her butt - a sure sign of a good time.


Last Saturday a combination of my frugality and a need to get out of the house motivated me to load up all three girls by myself and drive the 25 minutes to Costco (we needed allergy medicine) and Aldi (we needed to use the $5 off coupon...which...I forgot to use). Surprisingly, the trip was an overall success. We scored a Halloween costume for Ina, ate pizza at Costco's food court, and came home with an assortment of random items from Aldi that would fit in the cart around Mira's carseat. The only snags were Cora spilling her drink and Mira having a blowout, neither one of which were unexpected.

Either Dan or I (or both of us) have played at least one game of Uno with Ina per day. She is obsessed and my card game loving heart couldn't be more pleased.


I have started reading a few books. I just finished Outlander (Whoa, so addicting. I have the next book waiting for me at the library, but am waiting to pick it up in the interest of productivity) and am half way through Dinner: A Love Story (I am absolutely smitten).

Recipes I have cooked:


I hope you have a fantastic end to your week! <3

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thankful

Good morning! How are things going on your side of the internet?

We are trucking along over here. As of last Friday, Mira was still 5 oz. short of her birth weight and we have a strict target of meeting it by tomorrow, which means that if she so much as whimpers or opens her mouth,  I feed her. This has translated to me spending the majority of my time sitting down with her and the other girls having to deal with it.


I present, the typical Cora look.

This has been fine, for the most part, but we have had a few rough moments, as you will see below. Also, Mira projectile pooped on me yesterday. Good times. But, along with the rough moments are some really, really good ones, when I am hit with the blessing of adding another soul to our family.

We have also continued to be spoiled with the most delicious food. So much, in fact, that out of habit Ina has started asking, "Who's bringing dinner over tonight?"

There are always things to be thankful for:

Thursday:


  1. My grandparents and cousin stopped by with lunch and arms ready for baby holding. I just love seeing my kids with my grandparents.
  2. Ina had a bike-a-thon at school that she was oh so excited about. I am thankful I (barely) remembered to submit the money and form in time. 
  3. Our friend Jalisa brought over an amazing dinner of pork roast, roasted potatoes, and purple cabbage.  We are so blessed.

Friday:

  1. The fact that pink recycling bins exist (full story here). 
  2. Grandma Frankie and Papa Dan took the girls to a pumpkin patch, from which they returned home dirty and tired with three little pumpkins...perfection.
  3. My dad brought ultimate nachos over for dinner (so good!) and we rounded the night off by watching Heavy Weights...while eating nachos...(ha!). 
Saturday:



  1. I started my morning out with a little quiet time and coffee and one by one the girls made their way to my lap. The perfect start to the weekend. <3
  2. The dwindling of burn piles - such a quick way to feel some accomplishment!
  3. My brother and his family brought over delicious dinner, and even joined Dan and Ina for a late season swim!
Sunday:
  1. Our church recently remodeled and added in a nursing mother's room! Mira lasted through the first two songs and about 5 minutes of the sermon before she decided she wasn't having it, so we made our way to the nursing mother's room where there was a TV/speaker with the sermon, dim lighting, a changing table stocked with wipes and diapers, and two incredibly comfortable rockers. I have to admit it was difficult to leave once she was done eating. 
  2. My friend Liz volunteered to take newborn pictures of Mira, which doesn't sound all that complicated, but then you throw my family in the mix and you get the below photos. Bless her heart for her patience with my family. I think there might be a few good ones of Mira by herself, which I am excited about.
  3. Our friends brought us the most delicious fajitas for dinner. Like, the best I have ever had. Next time we are going to their house instead of a restaurant.


Monday:
  1. A slow morning watching Netflix and cuddling. 
  2. Dan came home early from work, which I am thankful for, but because he put a nail through his thumb...like all the way through. He says it is healing well, which I have to take his word for, because looking at stuff like that makes me all kinds of squeamish.
  3. We successfully put the cover on the pool! Closing the pool down has been on my to-do list for a few weeks now and I am so happy to have that checked off. 
Tuesday:

  1. Library story time went much, much better this week (in that we left without hysterics). Mira slept through all of it. I even made a new mama friend. 
  2. My friend Aubrey and her girls stopped by to meet Mira and brought new mom/baby essentials (diapers, wipes, and wine). I wanted to kiss her whole face. We enjoyed catching up while our girls played/fought over every toy in the playroom. 
  3. My first night of making dinner after Mira was born (we were wonderfully spoiled for a few weeks!), went OK, as in, we survived. There was a moment when Dan was fixing something at his mom's house, Mira was screaming and acting like she was hungry even though she had nursed for the past hour, Ina was freaking out because her aqua beads weren't turning out perfectly, and Cora wanted me to hold her while also asking for chicken nuggets even though she had asked for a banana and a bowl of cereal, both of which I gave her and she did not eat, that I was afraid I might actually lose what little control/patience/sanity I had remaining, but soon Dan walked in and helped me get the food to the table and once everyone wasn't as hungry or frantic, we enjoyed some time around the table. The dinner wasn't particularly fancy and I made most of it while Ina was at preschool (garlic lover's chicken, roasted beets, baked potatoes, and cucumber/tomato/onion salad), but it felt good to be in the kitchen again. 
Wednesday:
  1. Super hero muffins. They are so, so delicious, especially if you replace the raisins with chocolate chips. 
  2. My two week post-partum check up went great! I loved getting to see Jeane again and she told me I am healing as if I never gave birth. (I think she says that to all the mamas, but it was still good to hear!) Granny watched the older girls while I was at my appointment, and Mira and I had 20 minutes to stop into Old Navy just to walk around and see all the pretty clothes that might one day fit me again. 
  3. Watching Dan read to all three girls in bed, Mira tucked in his arm with Ina and Cora's heads snuggled in closing on either side of his. Just the sweetest.
Have a good end to your week! <3 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thankful

Good morning!


Things are going pretty smoothly over here. I am slowly adjusting to being a stay at home mom to three for the next few months. Although I know I need my rest, I also need my sanity, so we are venturing out of the house at least once a day for an hour or so. I am taking advantage of the 2 hours a day that Cora is napping while Ina is at pre-school and soak in some couch/baby cuddle time.



Mira is doing great! She continues to eat like a champ, every 1 to 2 hours during the day, and has even stretched out her sleeping to a few 3 to 4 hour chunks at night. She continues to be the cuddliest thing in the world and I just want to never forget the way her body collapses on me after she gets done eating and the way she smells and the little noises she makes. Yes, I am in love...again...

Ina doesn't seem to be phased by the addition of a new sister, except to make sure I comfort/feed Mira immediately if she so much as squeaks. She also asks to hold her often.



Cora is doing okay, actually better than expected. Not surprisingly, Cora is a little jealous of Mira, wanting to be on or near me whenever Mira is. She also wants to lay on Mira's nursing pillow, sit in her bouncy seat, sit in her car seat, etc. However, I am really trying to sell the big sister gig, and giving extra attention when Mira is napping, so things are looking good.


Dan is excited to have another girl in the house to love on. We have had a few hiccups in our routine, and a few frustrating late night moments, but for the most part, the transition has been good for us.

I have felt so blessed this week, with the things I am thankful for being too many to list or count, but here is what I happened to jot down this week:

Thursday:


  1. Mira looked great at her doctor's appointment! She has lost almost a pound since being born, so my job over the next few days is to nurse, nurse, nurse, so she will get back up to her birth weight by next Friday. If not, we have to go in for daily weights until she meets that goal.
  2. Granny and G went with Ina to pre-school for grandparents' day. Ina was pretty proud to have them there. 
  3. My mom came over and made Dan and I dinner! (I also enjoyed the leftovers the next two nights!)

Friday:


  1. A blacked out room that enables sleeping in past sunrise. Mira doesn't like to sleep at night, but is fine with sleeping all morning long.
  2. A day full of nothing but baby snuggles. I am really trying to soak all of this in.
  3. The move War Room. This goes along with Fervent, a book I read a year or so ago and it had both Dan and me laughing and crying. 


Saturday:

  1. Grace and learning (and re-learning) how to give and receive it.
  2. A little time to myself (plus a sleeping Mira) to watch a few chick flicks and drink a long awaited adult beverage while Dan was sanding the floors at his mom's house.
  3. Wal-mart grocery pick up (<--we both get $10 if you use that link). More on that later.

Sunday:
  1. Lots of hugs and kisses from the "big" girls. I sure did miss them.
  2. Multiple visitors. It was so good to see our toy room get some action after a week of inactivity.
  3. My sister brought over fajitas for dinner and Kim brought over chili. Have I mentioned we are beyond spoiled? 
Monday:


  1. I thought ahead and made a few bowls of overnight oats before the girls came home (1/2 C each of oats, yogurt, and milk mixed and refrigerated overnight and topped the next day with bananas, pecans, and coconut). I must have known my feet would be required to hit the ground running and a prepared breakfast would ensure that I actually eat something. 
  2. We came out of the first day all together and in one piece. In less than 2 hours Cora fell down the stairs, put a goldfish cracker in Mira's mouth, and then stepped on Mira's head. Similarly, I am thankful Cora is a lightweight.
  3. Our friend Michele made us dinner (sausage with cabbage served over mashed potatoes WITH the most beautiful apple pie) and Dan was able to convince her and her kids to stay and eat it with us. Ina and Cora loved having the extra company. 

Tuesday:
  1. Dan came home from work to eat lunch. This was such a treat. Although I love being on maternity leave with my girls, some adult interaction and a chance for someone else to answer the questions for 20 minutes was sure lovely. I told him he needs to make it a daily habit.
  2. Our friends Matt and Sarah made us a delicious and healthy dinner - breaded chicken tenders, garlic quinoa, roasted tomatoes, and a kale salad. The girls literally fought over the last of the tomatoes. I will have to remember that next time I am struggling to come up with a veggie side.
  3. We ventured out of the house as a family for some ice cream at a fund raise for Ina's pre-school. It was nice to get out of the house in the evening.
Wednesday:


  1. I successfully bathed all three girls at the same time. I am working on honing in my multi-tasking skills..
  2. Library story time and the fact that they didn't revoke my library card when I made the walk of shame out of the library with screaming children.
  3. We went to Fun House Pizza to celebrate Big Dan's birthday and I was able to eat pizza with both hands while others held Mira, helped the big girls eat, or corralled them in the game area. It was lovely.

Have a great end to your week! <3

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mira Belle's Birth Story

Hello from the land of nurse baby...change baby's diaper...30 minute nap...repeat.



I can't believe Mira is almost a week old. Time sure flies when you don't know what time it is. The older girls have been with my aunt, cousin, and grandparents for the week, who graciously took over big kid duty and gave me the precious gift of a few days of newborn bliss. I have invested the time wisely, holding Mira, soaking in her snuggles, breathing in her smell, nuzzling her soft head, and kissing her face, fingers, and toes. There is nothing better in the entire world.


Here is the story of how she got here.

Despite all my efforts to induce labor (spicy foods, foot rubs, even mowing our yard...), Dan and I woke up dark and early on Monday morning to head to the hospital for my induction.


My 41 weeks pregnant self was so, so happy to soon not be pregnant.

We checked in, met our nurses, signed our life away and answered questions. One of our nurses was training, so we were spoiled with two. During the whole process I couldn't help but compare this experience to Ina's (Part 1 and Part 2) and Cora's (Part 1 and Part 2) births. Each one was so different.


After an hour had passed my midwife Jeane arrived, checked me (I had advanced to a 2), broke my water, and gave me instructions to walk the halls for 40 minutes, after which I still felt absolutely nothing in the contraction department. When I was in labor with Cora, I walked the halls looking like a zombie and stopping every few minutes to moan. This time around Dan and I were smiling, chatting, and saying hi to everyone.

We were about to start another 40 minute round of walking and then start Pitocin if nothing happened when Dan interrupted Jeane's instructions to ask, "Why can't we just start Pitocin now?"

Good question - and so we did. Apparently he was the most ready to meet his daughter.



Mild contractions started almost immediately. I politely asked for an epidural, but was told I needed to wait until my pain was more intense to ensure labor was really happening.

My pain from the contractions went from a two out of ten to vomit inducing in about an hour with strong contractions happening every two minutes. Apparently my body just needed a little pitocin jump start. During that time they were having a hard time picking up my contractions on the monitor, but I assured them they were happening.

Soon later the anesthesiologist walked in and had I not been connected to monitors and an IV, I would have jumped up to give her a hug. Thirty minutes later my back was taking in that sweet nectar, my pain was a 0 (thank you Jesus!), I was dilated to a 5, and we were told to relax for a few hours while labor progressed. Unfortunately, I don't have mid-day napping skills and was so excited to meet our daughter that sleep was absolutely impossible, so I scrolled through social media on my phone. Don't worry, Dan napped enough for the both of us.



I was given the same peanut exercise ball I used while laboring with Cora, rotating from side to side with it between my legs because laying flat on my back caused my blood pressure to drop and made me extremely noxious and dizzy. I was told to let the nurses know if I felt the urge/pressure to push, and about an hour after the epidural started I thought I felt it but wasn't sure. I couldn't have progressed that quickly, right?

However, soon later Jeane called and said she had a "feeling" and instructed my nurses to checked me. The training nurse checked and a huge smile crossed her face when she asked the other nurse to confirm that I was dilated to a 10 and ready to push.



Jeane hurried over from clinic (which is conveniently attached to the hospital). Dan put on his gown and gloves, preparing to catch the baby while the nurses helped me get in the "birthing position." Dan has so, so wanted to catch all of our children, but couldn't with Ina because she was an emergency C-section and couldn't with Cora because she had stooled in utero and there are extra precautions involved when this occurs.

However, the third time was the charm, because nothing was stopping him this go-around. After he was completely dressed, I told him to pose for a picture. As I was taking the picture I couldn't help but giggle, and when I did a surprised look crossed his face and he said, "Racheal, stop laughing, the baby is coming out!"



Jeane looked over from where she was preparing the instruments and such and said, "Oh wow, he's right. Seriously, stop laughing."

The next thing I knew they were in position, they told me to push, I did, "Not that hard!....OK, Here comes the head...Dan turn the shoulder...One more push...Racheal, reach down here and grab your baby!"


And there she was, a screaming, purple, black haired, beautiful mess on my chest. I was laughing and crying at the same time. It is crazy how your heart can double in size in an instant.



Dan counted her fingers and toes to confirm that she was perfect...and then looked at her purple coloring and asked if she was a different race than us, which of course had all the nurses giggling and me slapping him.

I held her on my chest while she pooped...and pooped, and pooped some more. They weighed her - 9 pounds 11 ounces on 9/11. We cuddled, she screamed...and screamed...and screamed some more. We waited until she started rooting to nurse, which she immediately picked up and has continued to master with rock star skills.


Dan went to the waiting room to get the girls. Ina came running in with a present and Cora screamed "Baby Mira Belle!" when she saw her. (Cora soon later saw her nursing and said, "My turn!" Sigh.) The rest of the afternoon and evening was a blur of nurses, family, snuggles, and love. So much love. Who knew that one person could give and receive so much?


We spent the next two days at the hospital, not really sleeping, but enjoying the visits from friends and family, the relaxation, and the food delivered after a quick phone call.


We came home on Wednesday afternoon and had a minor scare of Mira not having a wet or dirty diaper for over 12 hours, even though my milk had come in and she was eating like a champ, nursing at least every two hours, if not more.

After a quick call to her pediatrician, we were instructed to come in the next morning and nothing horrible could happen over night. She eventually had a dirty diaper and has since then had no problems with needing a diaper change.



Ina and Cora come back home today and we are ready to start the new-to-us real life. Although I have loved having this concentrated time with Mira, I miss the other two so, so much and can't wait to catch up on hugs from them as well.


I hope to continue to blog at least once a week. Thank you so much for following our little (but growing!) family and for all the support you have provided along the way. <3

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thankful

Good Morning! Here is what I was thankful for this week:



Thursday:
  1. Our neighbor/high school friend delivered a beautiful baby quilt for baby girl! It matches her room perfectly and Ina and Cora both didn't want to put it down.
  2. As I sold all of Ina and Cora's clothes up to about 9 months, I asked my sister if she had any we could borrow and she gave me a trash can full of clothes. A full sized trash can of pink flowers, stripes, and polka dots. I think we are set.
  3. Danielle taught me how to find the lock code for the van's radio. Let the worship music jamming proceed.
Friday:
  1. We finally, after 13 years of mortgage payments, are through with PMI on our rental house. I was just considering refinancing in order to get rid of it and they saved me the hassle. 
  2. A new round of library books and the hours of entertainment they provide.
  3. Leftovers of two meals that someone else made for dinner. It doesn't get much better.
Saturday:
  1. I found a side dish recipe that not only included ingredients I had on hand, but found a use for the squash excess our family is currently under.
  2. Our friends the Nybergs invited us over for dinner. I know I say it all the time, but I love watching our kids play together. 
  3. Due to bedtimes, we are rarely outside after dark, but the few times we are, Cora is obsessed with the moon. Last night she did't want to come inside when we got home and she kept on pointing in awe and saying, "The moon! It's boo-ti-ful Mom!"
Sunday:
  1. Our church has made some pastoral adjustments and everything has appeared to work out so well. I know a lot of thought and work went into planning to ensure our church stays healthy and growing, and I so, so appreciate it.
  2. Dan and Granny and lots of friends and family have made some great progress on our old rental house aka - her new house. There is still lots (lots!) of work to do, but they have made tons of progress in 3 days. I feel so useless because I can't comfortably stand for more than a few minutes, shouldn't lift more than 20 pounds, and have two children in tow that would undoubtedly undo any work I was able to get done. Therefore, we mostly stay at home with occasional visits to view the progress.
  3. Everything on my to-do list before baby is done! We are ready! Or, should I say, we are as ready as we can be.
Monday:


  1. The trees at Granny's house - perfect for climbing, despite everyone's face in the picture. Ina was kind of scared at first, but warmed up. Cora had no fear and kept on yelling, "I get in the tree!"
  2. Kim brought us over a lasagna to put in the freezer for (whenever) baby girl decides to make her appearance. She and her husband Mike are the best.
  3. The girls continue to be occasional adventurous eaters. Our dinner was a yellow curry simmer sauce from Aldi with chicken, rice, and roasted green beans. They both completely cleaned their plates and fought over the rest of the green beans. I added raw jalapeƱos to mine, hoping the spice might motivate some contractions. 

Tuesday:
  1. Baby Girl is happy and healthy in my belly...which means she doesn't really want to come out. However, I am still so thankful there are no reasons to induce before Monday, other than the fact that we think she will be a big baby. But, I can handle that, right?
  2. Down time at work - this week would be a lot more difficult if work was busy.
  3. Dan and Ina ventured off to Granny's house to help paint after dinner, which gave Cora and I some rare alone time. I actually can't remember the last time Cora and I were alone and I wasn't putting her to sleep. Let me tell you something, that girl is completely different without her sister. She talks so much more, which I didn't even think was possible. She is a lot more inventive in her play. She is sillier. She spent 20 minutes try to "eat" my toes like a little piranha. I had to run to get away from her.
Wednesday:
  1. I have been able to maintain inbox zero in both my work and personal emails every night. It feels so good to have issues closed/resolved just in case.
  2. We had two sets of papa visitors! The girls were in rare form and all over the place, but it is always nice to have people over.
  3. My house was cleaned just in time for baby. Now the challenge will be to have the girls keep it clean while we are waiting the next few days out. I would love to come home from the hospital to a clean house. 
Have a good week! Hopefully the next time we talk I will be introducing you to the newest addition to our family! <3
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