Thursday, January 20, 2011

For the Big Sibs

I like to make my older kids feel special when we introduce a new baby to the family.  It's kind of a big deal, afterall!  You shed your baby status and are suddenly big enough to become Mommy's or Daddy's helper around the house (whether you like it or not)!

I think it also helps them feel important, especially when all of our friends and family come around to oooh and aaaah over the littlest one.  For several weeks, big brother and big sister will not be the center of attention.  That's got to be a hard pill to swallow.

So far, here's the surprises I've prepared for the kids:

Bella & Brody will each have their own babies to take care of, complete with diaper changes!

I made them proud sibling shirts to wear to the hospital when the baby is born:

I'm currently working on picture frames that will have their birth details, name meanings, and a newborn photo of each of them to hang in their rooms.

I also let each child pick out one toy to give their new little brother.  I love how excited they get about being a part of all the excitement :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Third One

Photo by Squeezebox Photography
So after a brief visit to the hospital when I thought I was in labor, I learned that the third baby doesn't have a reputation of following the trends of the first two.

Bella came just over 7 hrs. after my water breaking- and after eating a meal of Swedish meatballs at my friend's house (This same meal put another one of her friends into labor. No joke). Of course, the epidural could've been to blame for it taking that long, because I was having heavy contractions early on. My doctor thought I'd deliver by midnight. My due date was August 15th, but she joined our family on the 6th, instead.

After an early miscarriage, the following pregnancy brought gestational diabetes and group b strep. Needless to say, the doctors worried and worried that I would have a gigantic baby and need to be induced. Brody woke me up at 11:30pm, five days before his due date, and met us 2 1/2 hrs. later. No pain meds. No time for antibiotics. And an average 7lb. baby. The doctors can only give their best guess, right?

Now, baby #3 is teasing us. Since big sister was born at 38 weeks and big brother at 39, I just assumed this little guy would come early and grant me a quick-like labor/delivery. Not so. Not so.

Photo by Squeezebox Photography

I've felt those Braxton Hicks contractions a lot more often in this pregnancy, so I've been disregarding them for the most part. I've even had fairly consistent contractions for an hour without calling the hospital. But 4 days ago, I started feeling more uncomfortable, and by dinnertime the contractions were still not going away. I went to bed, thinking I just need to sleep it off, but woke Jason up around midnight. I was a basket full of nerves. Was I in labor or not? We started timing contractions. They were continually less than 5 minutes apart. Even though my water hadn't broken, I was sure that if I didn't get to the hospital, this baby would come quickly.

I know my mom appreciated that middle of the night call, waking her up to come over and keep the kids while we went to the hospital. Honestly, I was full of worries: Would someone be available to watch the kids? Would I make it to the hospital in time? Was I ready to cope with the pain of labor again? Was this all a false alarm? Will everyone be annoyed if this isn't the real deal? Am I forgetting something?

Photo by Squeezebox Photography

After a long night of little sleep, those contractions kept coming, but there was no proof that I was in active labor- 9 hours in the hospital and only 2 cm to show for my efforts. I was a bit emotional coming home, but I'm glad we did. I was able to nap and get to bed early that night. Since then, I've had a brand new perspective. Getting more done around the house feels fabulous, and getting some labor jitters out of my system is a relief.

So there's no baby yet.  We'll just wait like the rest of the pregnant mommies and not expect a whole lot. I suppose I'll be even more excited when his time actually arrives. We'll keep you posted :-)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34

Do you have a similar third baby labor story?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When it Snows

It doesn't happen often where we live, but when it does, we, Southerners, all act like a bunch of hyped-up crazies.  When it snows, we flood the grocery stores and hoard unnecessary amounts of food staples so the rest of the city is left savoring every last drop of milk and bread crumb.  Though the power rarely falters, nor the cable t.v., we prepare for "Snowmageddon" or "Snowpocalypse" in the worst way.  Thank goodness Walmart had plenty of food to share, because my family was actually out of milk before the snow came.

Then we waited.  While the weather men & women grasped at their 15 minutes, we searched the skies for the white stuff.  We had to send the kids off to bed with not a flake in sight, so we prayed that it would come.  And while they slept, it finally did. 

My husband gets as excited as the kids when snow comes to Georgia.  We stayed up, pretending to watch t.v., but really kept checking out the windows.  Then the wind blew in thousands of snowflakes.  The exclamations began, "Oh my gosh!  Look how much it's snowing!"  "Wow, I wonder if it'll stick!"  "Well, I guess they were right, afterall."  And within the hour, the scooter in our front yard was covered in white.  Soon after, it was completely buried.  We went to bed in a happy stupor, knowing that God had given us a free family day.  It was like Christmas morning.

When the family awoke, we all ran to the windows in wonder.  We measured 5 1/2" on the back porch, so my husband encouraged us to just say "6."  He likes a good story :-) 
For breakfast, we whipped up homemade pancakes and fried bacon in the skillet (we don't eat bacon often anymore, but this day called for the good stuff).  We kept the firewood stocked and blew smoke out of our chimney all day.  We met some friends to sled down their backyard hill.  We took lots of pictures.  We drank hot chocolate...twice.  We ate potato soup.

Because when it snows here, we celebrate.  We stress the importance of being safe on the roads, but I think what we really want (and need) is a good excuse to stop and enjoy ourselves.  Let the Scrooges work.  We have some snowman building to do!

When it snows, we bundle up in whatever warmish clothes we can layer, along with plastic Walmart bags to keep our feet dry.  When it snows, we pull out our summer pool floats, because sled sales are rather hard to come by in the south.  Then we become adrenaline junkies and the kids play until we make them come inside. 

It's funny how snow makes kids of us all.  I loved watching the grownups build snow ramps to sled over, and we cheered with every stunt. 

Now that the roads are clearing, and we all dive back into our routines, let's share a collective and contented sigh.  Now, wasn't that fun?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Feeling better

Clearly my absence from the blogosphere and my outdated fall header is proof of my busy mind.  Hosting the holidays with visiting family, getting ready for baby, and just a general lack of inspiration (writer's block?) lead to these momentary lapses.  I apologize for my inconsistencies.  I haven't even put away my Christmas decorations yet :-/

By the way,

At this point, the family Christmas picture would be just as belated, so I think I'll wait to change that photo header when we add our new member to the family...

So now, here's what I really have to say:

After three days and nights of nursing a feverish little boy, I found relief when the doctor made her diagnosis and supplied us with a cure.  To celebrate, I took the most blessed nap after lunch- since I've been on sick duty and haven't slept that soundly in a while.  With a mixture of both joy and disappointment I awoke- I could've slept for hours.  Refreshed, I resumed my parenting duties: homeschooling, laundry, disinfecting germs.

When dad arrived, he took his turn meeting the sick patient's needs.  So my daughter and I shared the couch to watch A Little Princess (her reward for reading the book).  We laughed at each other, because we're both movie criers.  Then, we baked a cake together.  I couldn't have asked for a better evening to take off the edge of the past few days.

 To top it off, as I put her to bed, I was able to be vulnerable with Bella.  We've been trying to read devotions with the kids at bedtime, which is what led to tonight's conversation with my daughter.  The subject was about how God wants us to talk with him about everything- the big and little things.  I shared with Bella about how there were many times in my adolescence when I only had God to go to- when I was sad, lonely, frustrated.  It gave me the opportunity to reveal how different our lives are- how I was always missing my mom, how I didn't have very many friends to play with, or how I couldn't go to many parties or sleepovers growing up.  She was surprised and empathized with me and listened and told me that she loved me- "the best mom [she] ever had."

Once again, I'm amazed at the grace our children give us- even when we snap at them in impatience or push them away for other distractions.  They just want to love us.  It's so humbling to know that my kids will seek my attention and affection for most of their lives, and I hope I'm always available to meet those needs.  It's so rewarding when they give it back.

I'm so glad I didn't let my exhaustion steal that moment away.  I'm so thankful that I didn't rush through bedtime so that I could have time to myself.

I'd do these past 3 days over again if I knew they would end exactly like this.

Of course, I am looking forward to getting out of the house again, socializing without fear of spreading germs, and not having to check on a sick child all night long.

That's good too:-)