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Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Time

We had a blur of activity this Christmas season.  We spent Saturday visiting the girls' Grandpa Mark and Grandma Bonnie with Troy, Aimee, and Kallie.  Sadly, I forgot the camera.  I enjoyed the company.  Bonnie showed me how to to crochet hats!!!  Eliana's is done, and she will wear it for all of two seconds.  Natalie's is half way done. We got to see the girls' Great Grandpa Hal and Great Grandma Sue on Sunday along with my friend Sara and her family.  Christmas Eve was spent at Aunt Marcie's with a slew of family.  Christmas day was spent at my parents house.  It took me three days to unpack and get my living room clean from where we dumped all of the stuff when we unloaded the car.

The chocolate babka was amazing!  It is worth the 3+ hours to make for special occasions.

I loved watching Kallie and Eliana "paint" Aunt Marcie.  It is a good thing Aunt Marcie had two paint brushes since it was SOOOO important to both girls that they get to paint her hair and makeup.

 After pouring milk on herself several times, Eliana decided to derobe amongst family.  (o.0) Thankfully Aunt Marcie came to the rescue!  I loved watching Aunt Marcie make Eliana laugh.  One of the funniest moments of our trip was hearing that Sean told Eliana that the Dora button on the remote was broken, so they had to find something else to watch. 

 Eliana was showing the dogs the nice job her Nanny did painting her nails. Eliana liked the dogs as long as there was glass between them.

Both girls did fairly well being totally off the normal routine.  It took about three days, but I feel like we are finally settling back down from all of the business.

Natalie is 2 Months Old!!!

 Natalie brings blissful joy to our family.

 This month she eats between 7 and 8 times a day.  She is normally up only once in the night.  The longest stretch between feedings has been nine hours.  One of those times she didn't wake up at all.  The other time she woke up a couple times, but she fell back asleep immediately once I gave her a pacifier.  Most nights it is a six hour stretch between feedings.

 Her eyes are still dazzlingly blue.  They just might stay that way.

 She is starting to get a nice long nap during the middle of the day instead of the regular 45 minutes to an hour that the other naps are between feedings.

We love her and can't believe that she is over two months already.  This month she has learned that chewing on her hands is fun.  Her neck is getting much stronger.  She has been trying to pull herself up from a propped up position to a sitting position.  Natalie enjoys a few minutes of tummy time which I find amazing since Eliana hated being on her tummy.  We love her laugh that she has been sharing with us more and more.

Reasons a Christmas Card Wasn't Sent

 So, I will show you the three attempts at taking a Christmas photo.  Maybe you'll understand why a Christmas card didn't get sent this year.  

 This photo to the upper right was considered for a card, but I was hoping to get one of Natalie smiling since it might be the first photo introduction for some card openers.

 Eliana would rather read.  Notice the orientation of her book:)

 Oh yes, and just imagine that I am only sharing a small handful of dozens and dozens of attempts...

 This, awe yes, this was the smile I was looking for from Eliana.  It was captured only once.  It is too bad that Natalie wasn't looking a little better.

 And this, yes this was what I was looking for from Natalie.  I'm sure someone out there could photo shop the two together, but I am not that person.

 Eliana was far more interested in showing me her hands and foot rather than just giving me a few nice smiles.

 This upper left photo almost made it into a card.  It is a little cheesy of Eliana, but not nearly as cheesy as the one to the right.

 Oh yes, and the nose picking to boot.  Gotta love that!  So, here is my blog post rather than a Christmas card or letter.  Merry Christmas!  I hope you got a chuckle from my little ones.

A Daddy and His Girls

 Natalie has gone from smiling to chuckling to laughing this month!  We love it!!!

 I am so very grateful for Kyle.  He is an amazing husband and wonderful dad.  Kyle brings great joy to all of us when he comes home. 

I love watching Kyle and the girls interact.  I am such a blessed wife because of the gift God gave me for a husband.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why a Home Birth

When I told people I was having a home birth I often saw looks of astonishment, fear, and curiosity.  I was told that I was brave and crazy.  

My mom had a midwife with my brother, so the thought of having one wasn't a totally foreign idea.  When I was in college, I became friends with a midwife.  We chatted here and there about some of her experiences.  I was open to the idea of some day having a midwife.  I brought it up when we were dating, and Kyle was not open to the idea at all.  In fact, it scared him.

With Eliana's birth we did just as my OBGYN told us.  We got classes through her office.  We took all of the tests recommended.  From a hospital's point of view, her birth was pleasant.

I had wanted to have a natural birth with Eliana.  After 12 hours of labor, and about 7 of those being at the hospital, I wasn't progressing.  I felt like I was letting Kyle, myself, and Eliana down, but I had an epidural.  They checked me right after, and I had gone from a 4/5 to a 10 in about an hour. After pushing for a little over an hour, Eliana was born.  We were elated that our first born had arrived.  Kyle said he felt like he could climb a mountain and wanted to shout for joy up on top of that mountain. 

Fast forward a year and a half.  A friend of mine is a doula, a labor coach.  She invited us to a screening of More Business of Being Born.  I figured that before I saw the more part we'd watch The Business of Being Born.  I checked it out from our local library so that Kyle and I could have a "movie night". The film opened up a slew of questions for Kyle and I to discuss.

So here are a few of the top reasons we chose to have a home birth:
*Everyone at the birth would be on the same page.  I built a strong relationship with my midwife.  Our visits weren't just the last few minutes of a check up.
*My goal was to have a natural birth, and epidurals aren't part of home births.  I wouldn't have to hope that the nurse would support my decision to not have an epidural.
*I would be home where I was comfortable and where everyone on my team was comfortable.  My midwife came to my home for my visits (a HUGE blessing), so she knew where things were.  I knew that I'd be able to move around without dragging an iv with me, worrying about the band on the heart monitor moving, or having a nursing staff change (my 1st and 3rd nurses with Eliana were fabulous, but the 2nd one...).    The baby's heart was monitored, but not with the painful to me (maybe they don't drive everyone crazy, but they made me crazy) bands that constantly moved during contractions.
*Things wouldn't slow down because I had to get in a car, go to a hospital, go to triage, and then a room.  It is very common for labor to slow or completely stop during the transition from home to the hospital. 
*I labored for a little less than four hours.  I know that is not the case for many home births.  I had felt during Eliana's labor that I progressed so much more at home and was so discouraged at how things slowed down at the hospital.
*This time around a friend lent me The Bradley Method.  Although I didn't use much of what I read, I did focus a lot on relaxing as much as possible.  I read parts of the book to Kyle, so he was able to gently encourage me to relax.  My midwife friend had told me a long time ago that the baby can move as needed much easier if the mom can relax.  It is difficult to relax once labor is really intense, but I did my best and I truly think it made a difference.

I am so grateful for our home birth of Natalie.  I believe things progressed as quickly and smoothly as they did because I was home with a supportive team.  I know that a home birth isn't for everyone, but it was the best choice for us. 

Newborn Pictures

 When Natalie was about a month old, our friend Esther took these amazing photos.  Thank you Esther!!!

 Grandma Bonnie made this cozy sack and matching hat. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Happenings

 Eliana and I made a felt Christmas tree.  We had a lot of fun decorating the felt ornaments with puff paint.  She would get so excited when some would finally come out of the squeeze tube.  "I got it!  I got it!" she would say in great jubilation!
Rachel and Natalie got to share a few cuddles on Saturday while Kyle took Eliana grocery shopping.  Most of the time when Rachel visits, Eliana makes sure she gets a lot of time with "her" Rachel.  Rachel and Ruli continue to be a HUGE blessing in our lives.  It is so nice that they live close by and love our girls.
 GramE came to visit!!!

We have been blessed to have GramE and PopE come to stay with us for a few days.  Sherry and I spent some time yesterday with my friend Nav learning how to make some Indian food.  Perry and Sherry love Indian food, and Nav really enjoys showing us how to make some of her amazing food.

Natalie will be 8 weeks old tomorrow.  I have no idea where the time went.  She is a delightful baby who sleeps and eats well.  She is waking up normally just once a night.  She loves to "talk" and smile at us.  She enjoys bath time and hasn't been crying too much in the car lately.  Natalie is still losing her hair, but it looks like some dark hair is starting to grow back on top.  Her eye brows have a red tint to them though, so we'll just wait and see.  Her eyes are still blue.

Eliana will be exactly 2 and a half on Christmas.  She has recently learned to jump up and down. It is hilarious to watch her jump and jump.  If she naps, she is up until 10.  If she doesn't nap, she goes to sleep fairly easily around 8.  If she doesn't nap, sometime things fall apart in the afternoon.  We are still working on her staying in her big girl bed.  Some days she does great at it.  Other days she figures out legitimate reasons to come out.  "I have to go potty.  I need a tissue.  I have a booger on my finger."  I am often feeding Natalie during her rest time, so I am blessed if I fit my Bible study time in too.  All of the other things I used to do during her naps either get done later or simply take longer to get done.