Sunday plans involved brunch with Mom and the sisters, followed by a bridal show, in downtown Denver. I joked with Jon that Christine’s water was SO going to break while we were down there. So I went to bed with visions of bacon and white dresses dancing around in my head.
At 6:00am, my phone rang. As I clumsily reached for the phone in the dark, I heard Jon mumble, “Its Christine. She’s in labor.” Sure enough it was my mom on the other end, telling me Christine’s water had broken. As I wiped the sleep from my eyes and stumbled into the bathroom to get ready, Jon started my car for me, then proceeded to nag me to get out the door. Based on how fast she had Elliana, we knew that it was just a matter of time before Ethan made his arrival.
Yet when I arrived at the hospital, I was the first one there and was alone for about 10 minutes. I spent those 10 minutes silently cursing Jon as I thought about the makeup I could’ve put on or the Starbucks I could’ve stopped to buy. But when the elevator doors opened, and I saw the family of three, I was happy that I could take Elliana off their hands while they got Christine situated.
We sat in the waiting room for about two hours. We read the newspaper, got on Facebook and Twitter, chased Elliana up and down the hospital halls, read text updates from Caleb’s mom, laughed at my mom in her scrubs, all while sipping on our delicious Starbucks. (Thank you, Courtney!)
When we were invited to come see him through the nursery window, we didn’t hesitate. It was there that we all got our first glimpse of this gorgeous baby boy, my first nephew. I can tell you that I’ve already fallen head over heels in love with that little Mister. And when I watched Elliana kiss him through the glass, my heart fell even harder. Sigh. I am so happy for my sister and her new family of four.
So Wednesday morning I logged into Twitter to find that I’d been volunteered to partake in a community vlog. Lets get one thing straight, I’ve never had any desire to vlog, and this just completely reinforces that feeling. But since Kodi, Whitney, Jenn, Jillian, and Angie decided I was doing it, I couldn’t find a way out of it. Trust me, I tried. Last I’d heard, Niki, Leah, and Ashley were joining in too. Anyone was welcome to join us.
We decided that we’d all answer 3 questions and then post the videos to our blogs. So please, go visit those ladies. If I have to be subjected to internet scrutiny, then they do too!
- If you won $30,000, what would you do with it?
- What does breakfast, lunch, and dinner look like for you on a normal day?
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- I actually put on make-up, which is not something I normally do when we’re sticking around the house all day.
- I absolutely used Ashlynn in the video with me on purpose. I thought perhaps all eyes would be on her, instead of me.
- I think the outtakes are 10x more funny than the vlog. Fortunately, I’m in charge of those and they will never see the light of day.
Without further ado, my 1st vlog.
The other night Ashlynn and I were the only ones still awake at 10:00pm. She wasn't fussy, she wasn't crying. She was happy as a clam and just wanted to play. I tried to take a video of it, but there was no sound to speak of. (Thank you Blackberry!)
So here's Take 2 of Ashlynn's first vlog. We are so enjoying our baby girl, her smiles, and her giggles. I hope you enjoy it too.
(P.S. Ignore my voice. It inevitably goes up two octaves every time I talk to a baby. Its a curse.)
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times. Reagan needs her own reality show. She is hysterical! I can’t begin to tell you how often I think to myself, “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it!”
Today she was at the top of her game…
She’s hit a “nekkid” phase. She loves being nude. Loves it! Often times I’ll get her from her nap to find that she’s taken off her shirt. All by herself.
This evening, before dinner, she stripped herself of shirt, pants, and shoes, and ran through the house screaming, “Nekkid! Nekkid! Nekkid!”
And if any of you have seen her run, you’re dying from laughter at the image.
Reagan, Ashlynn, and I made a trip to Walmart today for more medicine. (Yes, we’re still sick.) Since I had Ashlynn in the sling and no other Littles to worry about, I thought it would be ok to let Reagan walk on her own. It was the first time we wandered the store without her being in the cart.
And the last.
Every time I went to grab her hand, she screamed at the top of her lungs, “Owie, owie, OWIE!” I swear everyone thought I was abusing my poor, innocent baby with the big blue eyes and blond curls.
But letting her walk by herself proved even harder. She wandered the aisles and stopped to peruse every. single. item. in the store. She even paused by the yarn and cradled the softness like a baby.
When I tried to push her along, I waved at her and said “Bye-bye” to see if that would encourage her to hurry up. But she soon caught on and the last time I tried that she simply smiled at me, waved, and responded in kind.
Then she turned and ran in the other direction.
In a word (or two or three), she’s a pistol. And she exhausts me.
PS Despite its blurriness, I adore this picture of my Irish girl. The Princess dress, Daddy’s ball cap, and marker all over her face. Its Reagan in a nutshell.
Earlier this week, Devyn decided that she wanted to discuss her career goals at midnight, then again at 5:30am. She decided that she wants to be an animal doctor and a baby doctor.
“Mama, what’s a baby doctor called?” she asked me.
“A pediatrician,” I responded, while stifling a yawn.
“That word is too hard for me to say,” she decided. “I’m just going to call myself a baby doctor.”
We are on week three of this cold/flu/sinus infection and I am so over it. I’m ready to kick it to the curb.
Right now, Devyn and I are the worst. My head feels like its exploding from this sinus infection. And my eyes are on strike from contacts since they’re so irritated. The glasses have taken their place, which would be fine but I have repressed bad memories from junior high.
During our same conversation at midnight, Devyn decided that she can’t wait to babysit her siblings so Jon and I can go on a date. It was really quite sweet as she told me what she would do and say.
“But Mama, you’ll have to make dinner before you leave because I don’t know how to do that.”
And Christine and Caleb, be prepared. She’s fully planning to babysit Elliana and Ethan too, so “You can all go on a date together. Do you think Stine will like that?” I’m sure she will, Love.
I have recently posted two new recipes to our What’s For Dinner site. I finally posted a chili recipe that my friend Annie gave me. Its so easy and delicious! I get many compliments whenever I make it. The other recipe is Vodka Sauce Pasta. I made it last night and Hudson cleaned his plate in seconds flat!
Yesterday, Devyn decided to add “Hairdresser” to her career goals. She’s going to be a busy woman.
I’m currently giving Munchkin Land Designs a complete overhaul and makeover. To say that I’m in love with the new design is an understatement! I hope to have the big reveal in a couple of weeks, but I’m having to work on it in bits and pieces, in-between working on clients’ designs. Its completely different from what the design I’ve had for almost 2 years.
Jon’s V-Day surgery went well and he’s finally starting to feel like himself again. Its times like these that I wish he had his own blog because to hear his stories from the day is hysterical! Apparently the vas deferens were a little deeper than normal and the doctor had to do a bit of “digging” to find them and cut them. Unfortunately Jon felt most of it and had to get additional numbing shots. Poor guy!
If anyone had told me I’d be talking man parts on my blog, I’d have died.
“And when I become a mama, I’ll stay home with my kids and design.”
Hudson allowed me to take him for a haircut this week. Anyone that knows us knows what a HUGE accomplishment this was for him!
Hudson has a hate-hate relationship with haircuts. He kicks, screams, and throws an overall tantrum any time someone tries, we were even asked to not come back at one hair salon. (Yay me! Mother of the year for sure!) Even Aunt Holly and Daddy have tried on numerous occasions. To no avail.
But this time he sat incredibly still in my lap the entire time! What?!? Of course, no clippers were allowed, but the the hairdresser used scissors and managed to clean up the messy mop of hair.
And with that, I’d better go. Hudson and Devyn are currently in a screaming match over who gets to hold Ashlynn next. Sigh. A mother’s job is never done.
Hudson and Devyn ran into his room, shrieking and laughing the entire way. As I watched Reagan toddle after them, I wondered how this was going to turn out. Sure enough, as soon as Devyn and Hudson made it to his room, Hudson slammed the door in Reagan’s face. Shutting her out of their play.
I grabbed Hudson’s hand and told him we were going to have a conversation. We discussed how God had specifically chosen him (Hudson) to be the big brother for Reagan and how he had a responsibility to take care of her and be the best big brother he could be.
“Do you love Devyn?” I asked him. And he smiled enthusiastically, and said responded, “Yes!”
“Do you love Ashlynn?” Again he smiled his infectious smile, “Yeah!”
“And don’t you love Reagan too?” I asked. Without pausing, he responded. “Nope.”
And here is my handsome son, without the mop on his head. He has always hated getting his hair cut. Every trip to the salon resulted in a huge fit, and my trying to physically hold him down while the stylist attempted to cut his hair. At one place, we were even asked not to return. Talk about feeling like the biggest failure of a mother…
Jon attempted hair cuts at home, but those got just as ugly. And even Aunt Holly attempted hair cuts too. It had gotten to the point that a thin layer of sweat broke out across my forehead and down my back every time he needed a haircut.
I’m not sure what happened, but today there was a major breakthrough and Hudson did a spectacular job at the hair salon. He wouldn’t allow the razor to come near his ears or neck, but the rest of the haircut went so smoothly. I was so proud of my Little Man! I’d forgotten how handsome he is with shorter hair!
And I don’t mind admitting in the slightest that bribery may have been involved. McDonald’s seemed to work very well!
While I hate it when our Littles fight with each other, I can’t help but find humor in some of it. Hudson and Reagan are especially bad. I don’t know if it’s the close proximity of their age or what, but more often than not, those two are usually going at it.
At some point during the day, the following conversation WILL happen and inevitably, the two of them will end up in timeouts in opposite places of the hallway for two reasons. One, because they simply need a break from each other and two, Mama is trying desperately not to burst into laughter.
Hudson will ask, “Mama, can I have a snack?”
Reagan walks up to him and with the sweetest smile on her face replies, “No.”
Hudson (getting in her face) yells, “Yes!”
She smiles sweetly back at him and without raising her voice a smidge, responds. “No.”
Hudson, with clenched fists at his sides and his face coloring red in anger, reacts. “I’m asking Mama, Reagan. Not you!”
And with the same smile and calm demeanor, Reagan says again, “No.”
Its at this point that I’ve given up trying to reason with either of them. “Reagan, stop teasing your brother.” “Hudson, she’s just trying to get a reaction out of you.” And I simply take both by the arm and lead them to their time out spots.
There are times I’ll look back over my shoulder to see that same sweet, innocent smile on Reagan’s face. She has already learned how to use that smile as a way to goad her big brother.
And it works.
I saw my first set of two pink lines on March 5, 2004. Exactly 7 years and 5 days ago. We’d been trying for a few months to get pregnant and I bounced on Jon about 6:00 in the morning, shoved the pregnancy test under his bleary eyes, and demanded to know if he saw the same faint two lines I did.
In these past seven years, we’ve experienced three more positive tests. Three more times to experience the heady rush of knowing life was growing inside me. Three more reactions to tuck away into the memory bank of our marriage.
Four pregnancies in seven years.
Its been an incredible season in my life. A season I never even knew I wanted, but now can’t imagine not experiencing. It has been a beautiful season of carrying life, of feeling movements and hiccups and kicks. A time in which my body allowed me the breathtaking experience of birthing four beautiful babes into the world. It has been an incredible time of baby coos and contented sighs, of milky grins, and trusting eyes.
It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.
Tomorrow we end this season of our life. Ashlynn and I will accompany Jon to the doctor’s office where he’ll undergo surgery for his vasectomy. His ability to father children is coming to an end, and we’re both ready for this. Our family feels complete and finished.
It is the most conflicting of emotions and thoughts right now. While I will always cherish these years that I carried my babes in my womb, I am also looking forward to the next stage of our marriage, our family. And excited to see what God has in store for us. As relieved as I am to not have to worry about birth control, I can’t believe I’ll never feel the rolling of a baby inside again.
I imagine I’ll mourn the end of this season at different times in the years to come, I know my womb will ache when I hold a newborn, but this is a new adventure. And truth be told, I am far more excited than I am sad. Let’s do this!
(And my family all grinned in relief.)
She shuffled to the front of the van, head to her chest and tears welling in her eyes. “Mama,” she whispered, as she tugged at the front of her coat. “I don’t want to wear this coat. I’m embarrassed.” I knew it wasn’t true, she’d been spinning in front of the mirror in her bathroom just 10 minutes before. But here, in front of her peers and friends, wearing a coat that was so different from theirs, she second-guessed her choice.
My heart ached. Another new milestone with Devyn Paige, a milestone that I’ve dreaded since the day I found out I was having a girl. The age-old desire to fit in with other girls, to not stand out or be embarrassed, to feel accepted, like one of the crowd. As Devyn cried at the idea of being mocked, those same feelings came flooding back to me and I remember what it was like during those tough years of growing up.
I sat there in the driver’s seat, wiped the tears from her freckle-smattered cheeks and smiled confidently into her eyes, though I felt anything but confident. I had a choice here, make her wear the coat and try to teach her that it was ok to be herself. Or allow her to run in without a coat, run home, grab another one, and bring it to her. It would be an inconvenience, but…
I chose the latter. There will be bigger issues and harder stances that she’ll take throughout the years, times when she will be in the minority. But in this, an article of clothing, it was too small an issue to force. And the relief that shone in her eyes when I told her that it was ok to leave the coat behind, made me breathe a little easier. The first of many crises avoided.
Last night she fell asleep in my bed; it happens often on the nights Jon is working late. As I started getting ready for bed, I bent down and pulled her into my arms to transfer her to her own bed. As I made my way down the hall, I became very aware that she was now a bundle of gangly arms, legs, elbows, and knees. She no longer fit snug in my arms, cuddled against my chest. I could no longer stand and rock her back to sleep as she stirred in my arms.
My heart shattered in a million pieces.
She’s growing up, this tall, lithe girl of mine. We’re venturing into a new stage with her, and while I’m so proud of the person she’s growing into, I can’t help but mourn the end of innocence, where she was unaware of peers, acceptance, or vanity. I’m praying for wisdom to navigate this next part of the journey with care because I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m hoping that the right coat made a small difference today.
The kids were playing hide ‘n seek with Grammy last night. They all took turns counting, even Reagan. She put her face to the wall, covered her eyes, and counted to 3. It was simply adorable and we laughed about our smart Irish lass.
Smart… until she tried hiding by herself.
It was Grammy’s turn to count and seek. As she counted to 20, Reagan came running into the living room, and lifted the lid of one of our black cubes that holds toys. Jon said that he later thought, “Wow! She’s found a pretty good hiding spot all by herself.”
But instead of climbing into the box to hide, Reagan simply bent over and poked her head into the box. And that’s how Grammy found her. Reagan facedown in a box, with her little bum and legs in plain sight.
So much for finding a great hiding spot. We are so proud.
We ended up taking Ashlynn to the ER on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, where she was diagnosed with Influenza A. We’ve now all been put on the Tamiflu.
Lessons Learned from the Littles While Sick:
- If we have to share toys, we need to share germs too. (Never more apparent than when Reagan stuck her pacifier in Ashlynn’s mouth.)
- If medicine helps, then a double dose is even better. (Unbeknownst to the other, Devyn managed to weasel a dose of chewable, grape-flavored Children’s tylenol out of Mom and Dad. This has now been remedied with only one of us administering medicine.)
- Dressing up is an instant pick-me-up, even in the midst of being sick. (The girls keep breaking out the dresses, and Hudson is not without his cowboy hat. Please ignore the poor quality of my Blackberry camera.)
- Kleenex is the new must-have toy. (Kleenex has been used as a red carpet, a blanket, and even doll clothes.)
- There’s no need for baths when steam showers are involved. (Hudson feels that since they’re having steam showers on a regular basis, that’s all the clean he needs. Ha!)
We’re doing ok around here. It seems like every time we take 2 steps forward, we take another step back. We’re still battling runny noses, intermittent fevers, and hacking coughs. It’s a nasty bug. But hey, a family that’s sick together, sticks together, right?
… and it’s a doozy!
Jon and I received a very, very nice tax return this year. As a friend on Twitter pointed out to me, “With all those kids, you’re bound to make bank!” And she was right. We’re very fortunate!
Well that nice tax refund landed in our bank on Friday and by mid-morning, I received a text from Jon asking if we could get a flat-screen TV. My initial response? Absolutely not! No how, no way, ain’t gonna happen. (Does anyone else get tired of saying no all the time too?) I shared Jon’s text with Mom, expecting a smile, a shake of her head, and in complete agreement with me. “Silly boy.” Instead she paused, pursed her lips, looked me in the eye, and said, “Why not?” I sat in shock, not quite sure how to respond, and wondering who this woman was sitting before me.
She went on to explain. “Your husband works hard, Jenn. He comes home to you every night, he’s a good husband, a good father, and I’m sure he gets a little tired of seeing his hard-earned money going to bills month after month. Why not splurge on this for him?”
Well, huh. Now my wheels were turning. I sent Jon a text back, asking if he’d still like a flat-screen, and his response made me fall back in my chair. “Nah. I was just kidding. Its more important to me that you stay home with the kids.” God was rocking my world all over again. And while his response was noble, and I truly appreciated it, the seed had already been planted.
And so we did something that is so unlike us. We never, ever splurge on big-ticket items. We’re usually so content with the status quo, and rarely give in to our materialist urges. But since Jon turns 30 this month and in appreciation for him and his incredible work ethic, this is something that I’m glad to do for him.
So there you have it. Our big splurge of the decade. And I must say, the goofy smile on Jon’s face was completely worth the small heart attack at the cash register. Happy early Birthday, Babe! We love you!
We’re in the midst of living life right now. As is the case of small children, and four of them at that, some kind of virus/bug has taken over our house and our lives at the moment. Hudson and Devyn came down with cold-like symptoms on Friday, a runny nose and slight fevers. By Saturday morning, Reagan was coughing the familiar sound of a seal-like bark and we instantly knew she’d developed croup. Throughout the weekend, we did steam showers, administered cold medication, and wiped noses.
When Reagan kept us up for the 2nd night in a row with her coughing, we knew it was time for the doctor. He looked her over, diagnosed her with croup (duh!), laughed when we told him we were familiar with the protocol of steam showers and cool night air, then administered a shot of steroids into our 2-year-old’s thigh. Poor baby limped the rest of the day.
We had the doctor look Ashlynn over too, as she was also showing the beginning signs of her first illness. No thanks to Reagan who took the pacifier out of her own mouth and placed it in Ashlynn’s mouth. So much for keeping the germs away from the baby. The doctor gave Ashlynn the all-clear, only for Ashlynn to go on a breastfeeding-strike and spent all day sleeping.
When she had a temp of 101 and refused to eat again this morning, I took her back in. Only to be told that there was nothing they could do, it was just a virus, and watch her carefully. Um, ok. Never mind that she’s only 3 months old (today!), has a temperature, a cough, isn’t eating, and had a dry diaper after eight hours. Sure, I’ll just go back home. Sigh.
So right now I’m watching her closely, begging her to eat (Mama’s in some pain), and continuing to wipe noses. But at the slightest change in Ashlynn, we’re heading to the ER. I’m kind of over the doctor’s office right now. (And I should clarify, our normal doctor is off this month. She wouldn’t send me home without tests and a better idea of what was going on.)
All of that to say that this scripture is perfect for right now…
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12, NIV
Short, sweet, and to the point. Patience in affliction… No one ever said this mothering thing was a cake walk, and that is never more true than right now.