Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

James was a s'more this Halloween and Ellie was popcorn. They both got a lot of attention, the popcorn especially... People were asking to take my picture! It was odd to have so many people talking about the costume... I could hear their comments as we walked by (all good, but still it was strange). People really liked James's costume, although 2 people though he was a baker lol!

James seemed to really enjoy it though he was a bit overwhelmed by all the people. We went trick-or-treating in the mall and city hall where it was dry and safe. This year, Grandpa Mark and Mimi joined us all the way from Baltimore!

Here are just a few pics from today. I'll have more later.

Ellie's first Halloween!

We are taking the kids Trick-or-treating this afternoon at City Hall and the mall, But I wanted to post some pictures since it's Ellie's first Halloween before we get in our costumes and venture out.

My lil girl is smiling up a storm these days!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One month!

Eleanore Josephine is 4 weeks old today! We are calling that a month even though it's not the 29th yet.

She is getting more responsive, cooing and smiling (we think she may be smiling at us) and being charming. She's also a lot bigger, in 3 mo clothes already!

She sleeps 3hr stretches most of the time, more if she is cosleeping. We love her, she fits right in with our family. <3

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin patch!

Today we took Ellie for her first trip to the pumpkin patch! James really loved the ride on the tractor-pulled wagon, and we had a fun time out together as a family for the first time. A very generous person even secretly paid for James's pumpkin without us knowing and we found out when we stepped up to pay! It was a wonderful surprise. On the way home, we got McDonalds so James could have his first happy meal. He LOVED it, ate chicken nuggets for the first time and even dipped his apple slices in BBQ sauce! Tonight James helped me carve our pumpkin. He was very good at sorting out the seeds and putting the gunk in the bowl. He was excited to see it light up and wanted to play with the lid over and over. Overall it was a really memorable, wonderful day. :-) Here is a link to our pumpkin album!
Pumpkin patch
I've also posted some other pics in our Fall 2012 album here:
Fall 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One last note...

My girl is 3 weeks old today.

Giving of self

As a mother, I've learned a thing or two about sacrifice... The endless giving of yourself to others, putting others needs first. In these days with a newborn and a toddler, I've learned also what it means to be pushed to a place where you don't believe you have the strength to go on. Life, its demands, are literally so hard you think you can't handle them... And then you do.

I firmly believe it is The Lord granting me the strength and patience to do what I am doing now. I don't have it in me alone to give so much to so many people day after day. I heard this song by Josh Wilson called "Fall Apart" on the radio tonight and this line stood out to me:

"How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need?"

This is it. I come to the end of me so often these days, and that's where God picks up. I could call it some inner strength or whatever but its really not. It's just God, helping me give more of myself than I thought possible.

You may think that in this process I must lose a bit of myself too. Actually, the opposite it true. By serving my family, I find a joy I could never have found merely serving my self. I do the things I love... Dancing, singing, sewing, gardening, but just a little differently for now. And watching my kids discover the world and things I love is the most amazing gift... Even
more than sleep and time to myself. How incredible that I get to be the one there from the start of their lives, watching them become their own selves in front of my eyes.

I'll leave you with this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, a favorite of mine and one of my favorite authors (Jane Kirkpatrick ).

"God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand."

Book of Hours, I 59


Way back when my brother and I were babies, my dad made a cradle for us and engraved our names on the sides. My mom stored it over the years, and when my brother had his twins, they slept in it too, and their names were added (well, actually they were added today, but lets not split hairs). Now both James and Ellie have taken a siesta in said cradle, and their names were added today. It's such a cool tradition that I hope will continue for generations. I've added a pic of the names on the cradle... I have a pic of Ellie in it, but its on my other camera... So for now you'll have to settle for a pic of James in it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ellie plays piano

Eleanore has been fussy in the evenings, so tonight she tried out her new piano baby gym for the second time. Here is a short video of her. :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Eliot is at an Irish festival for a week, so mom and I are here just trying to make it through the day with a newborn and a 2 year old. Ellie is 2 weeks old as of yesterday... She is eating better and now my mastitis is gone and I'm in less pain.

I can't believe how fast she's growing! She's almost out of her newborn clothes already. James is having a hard time adjusting to Eliot being gone and me taking care of Ellie all the time. He's "falling down" for attention and is tearing the house apart. He still has his sweet moments when he cuddles with me, but its hard to see the cuteness when he's being so difficult. I feel bad him, it has to be hard to have so many changes all at once.

It will get better, I know. I really love getting to know my new little girl, and I know in time we will figure things out with James.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eleanore's birth story

I had had several episodes of false labor in the week leading up to my due date. I'd get a couple of hours of regular contractions 5-7 minutes apart, and then they'd get more irregular and eventually disappear. It was maddening and exhausting, because it didn't let me sleep well.

When I hit 40 weeks, I asked my midwife Miriam to sweep my membranes and see if we couldn't get things moving. After another 48 hours of irregular contractions, around 3:30pm on September 29th they started to get regular again. Afraid that they may disappear again, Eliot and I decided to go for a walk to help keep things progressing. Since it was pretty hot outside for a preggo lady, we decided to go to Costco where it was air conditioned and had lots of space to walk.

So my mom watched James as we headed out to the store. Of course I hadn't thought that there would be a million people there since it was Saturday. Eliot enjoyed some free samples as we wandered the aisles, occasionally stopping for me to "examine" some chicken or book or something when the contractions hit..

After Costco, we decided to stop by Albertsons and get some cake (I had been craving cake after watching too many episodes of Cake Boss). When my contractions picked up to every 3 minutes and were pretty intense while standing in the bakery, Eliot and I agreed I should call and check in with the midwife on call, who told me to keep walking and check in when they were more intense and 2-3 minutes apart.

We went back home and to keep myself walking, I engaged James Ina game of "I'm gonna get you!" while he ran through the house squealing and laughing. Come story time, though, my contractions were so intense I had to go lay down and concentrate on relaxing through them. After about an hour, I called Eliot in to time them because they were too intense for me to think about hitting the stopwatch on my phone. When we realized they were less than 3 minutes apart, Eliot called the midwife, and after she talked to me through a contraction we both agreed it was time for me to come in to the birth center.

At this point it was about 8pm. James was in bed and my mom was there to watch him, so we drove 10 min down the road to the birth center. It was a tough ride for me, as a moving car with intense contractions does not make a great combo. Nevertheless, we made it just fine.

The midwife on call was the same one I had seen at my 40 week appointment, Miriam. She checked me and I was at 5cm, which meant I wasn't going back home! They put me in the "blue" room and I sat in a chair trying to work through the contractions while the nurse Janelle set up the jacuzzi tub for me. I sank into the hot bath and it felt great... But the contractions were still pretty awful. I had to moan to get through them, which is funny because I never would have thought that would be a coping technique for me but hey, whatever works at that point! I remember doing that with James too.

They kept a close watch on the baby's heart rate every 15 min or so while I labored in the tub. Everything was going fine, and it was so nice to be in a place so quiet and peaceful... The only staff was my nurse and nurse midwife. When Miriam came in to check on me, I was in so much pain I asked her about breaking my water. She said she'd like to give it 2 hours and then see where we are at. I looked at her in disbelief... I couldn't fathom 2 more hours of the pain I was feeling. She reminded me that time would fly and said that I'd already been there a half hour, which was surprising toe. Time distortion indeed.

The contractions started coming right on top of each other and extremely intense, and I felt a POP! And my water broke! Eliot called the nurse in to confirm it. They did a check and I was 8cm. I think if I was in my normal mind I would have gotten out of the tub at this point... I never wanted a water birth in any capacity. However, I was i so much pain with each contraction and things moved so quickly that suddenly I had to push! I started saying to Eliot, "I need to push!" I've and over. He went to get the nurse and told her, and she and the midwife came in a minute later (Eliot was a bit rattled and couldn't believe they were so calm). I remember Eliot saying something like shouldn't she get out of the tub and Miriam assuring him lots of babies are born in the water. Quite frankly, by that point, I didn't care that I was in the tub and there was no way anyone was moving me... I just needed to push!

And push I did. Probably about 4 good long pushes with me screaming to get through the pain. I remember reaching down to feel her head and thinking to myself, "Just one more push and I'll be pain-free!" HA!
And then there she was. My beautiful girl, born at 9:13pm, in a tub. She was pretty ashen and I was scared she wasn't ok, but then she cried and all was well. They had to get me out of the tub, which reminds me of the Office joke where Creed, upon hearing of a water birth, said, " it must have been like the tide at Omaha beach" Yep, but I didn't care. Eliot crab-walked across the room with Ellie in his arms as we were still attached and I needed to get to the bed. They inspected me for tears (none! Yay!) and I remember being in a lot of pain and saying that. I think I wanted drugs more after the delivery than before!

After a few minutes of snuggling and Eliot cutting the cord (and the usual clean up), we were left alone for a bit in our quiet, dim room to bond as a family. The moon was almost full and we could see the hospital where James was born outside the window. It was so peaceful, and Eleanore was very calm. She even took right to breast feeding.

I took a shower and almost passed out in it from not having eaten, so I then had a snack while daddy held Ellie. Then the nurse came in and weighed her in a little fishhook sling (8lbs 2oz) and measured her height (20") and head (13"). Then, after a few more minutes of cuddle time, it was time to pack up and go home! The birth center is a short stay facility where you just stay 4-6 hours after birth. So around 1:30am we dressed Eleanore in a little kitty sleeper outfit that Daddy had picked out and prepared to go home. Eliot packed the car and I felt a but crampy so I laid down for a few extra minutes. Then Janelle took one last pic of all three of us and we were out the door at 2am. We made it home safe and sound at 2:15am, in awe of our little girl and that it all went so quickly. Suddenly we were a family of 4!

Eleanore is now a week old and doing so well. She is a wonderful presence in our home and a blessing to us all. <3

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our family of 4...

Here is a short video we took tonight of the kids. :-) Sorry its just a link, couldn't figure out how to embed it from my phone.

My little Eleanore

I've been enjoying getting to know our baby girl over the past few days. She is over 48 hours old now and doing great. She had a marathon nursing session that was 8hrs + on her second night, which made my milk come in but also did some serious damage that I am still recovering from.

Other than that, she is super sweet and loves looking around at us and her brother. James is still trying to figure her out, but he hasn't been jealous or anything. We are all adjusting to our new life.

Here are a couple more pics I snapped of Ellie. :-)