Sunday, November 12, 2017

Long Time, No See

Has it been two years??  How?  I am sad that I haven't kept up well with my blog, it is something I really enjoyed doing, and it was a great documentation of what was going on in my life.  I am so glad that I recorded everything I did, but it makes me sad to think of all of the little stories and experiences that weren't typed up and may be lost.  Can I blame it on my crazy life?  Maybe my sluggish laptop and Windows 10, which I cannot seem to get the hang of (as far as the photo storage goes)?  How about a general life update?  It has been a while, but that is no excuse to not record what is going on right now. 

Travis is still working hard with his business, he played on a softball team this fall and really enjoyed it.  He got some great hits in, and his whole team really improved throughout the season.  He is currently serving as the Executive Secretary in our ward.  He has mastered making Ham and Cheese sliders, which we all enjoy.  His mission every day is to make me happy, and he more than accomplishes it.  Countless times I have come home to a completely spotless kitchen, he has been the one to get up with FJ at night probably since she was about 6 months old (now that is love!), there is nothing he loves more than to see me smile. 

Rachel - Every year for the last 3 years has been "the busiest year of my life".  I am trying to par things down, make life easier, and live more in the moment.  Balancing a toddler who requires near constant attention (as most 2 year olds do), and homeschooling Audrey and Phoenix has proven to be a struggle, but I am still working on it!  Sometimes it feels like the never ending items on my To-Do List get checked off, but when I look back, I can see how much I have actually done.  I need to celebrate that more, and more importantly, let go of my To Do List, in the sense that the check boxes dictate whether I have had a "good day" or not. 

Audrey - She just finished her second season of softball, and she absolutely loves it!  She will practice any opportunity that she gets, and she really improved with all of her skills.  She was the fastest runner on her team and stole bases like no other.  She has continued to foster her artistic abilities, and constantly amazes me with her skill.  She is the best big sister to Phoenix and FJ, and is very responsible.  Her best friend lives right next door, and Audrey is often the mastermind of neighborhood games and activites.  She put together the cutest Mother's Day celebration for me and a few of the neighborhood moms and right now she is leading the neighborhood kids in Christmas Carol songs for caroling for Christmas.  She has a very generous heart, and she is exremely thoughtful. Though she is 11, she has no desire to grow up faster than neccessary, and is fully enjoying her childhood. 

Phoenix - This boy was made to live outdoors.  His favorite thing in the world is to go around the yard and in the field behind us and catch bugs, lizards, toads, turtles...basically anything that moves.  He knows way more about cars than I do, and plans on testing out fast cars on TV when he gets older.  He is super motivated to finish school efficiently because that means he can get to play sooner.  He loves the Frog and Toad books.  He would have 25 pets in his room if I allowed it.  He has no desire to play sports, which is fine with me.  Legos and cars are still his go-to toys.  He still "aggresively loves" FJ, and it a little too much for her sometimes, but they have also had more and more successful play times.  Though it breaks my heart to say this, I have noticed an obvious independence, as in, he no longer needs his mommy like he used to. 

Felicity Jane, aka Fussity Jane, aka FJ  - This little ladybug was the sweetest, best behaved little missy.  Until she learned to walk.  Suddenly her sweet disposition was replaced with a fierce desire to be included in everything.  She does not want anything watered down just because she is little.  She was fine with cut up string cheese, until she saw me eating it whole.  Then she demanded that.  She was fine with little chunks of cucumber, until she saw my round slices.  Then she demanded those.  She doesn't want to be treated any different than Audrey or Phoenix.  She loves to be "ickled" (tickled) and will let you know where and when she wants to be ickled.  She loves pretending to be a doggy, a kitty, a monkey, or a bunny.  She started school in September, and she LOVES it!  When I come to pick her up she is happy to see me, but she usually keeps playing with her toys.  She has also started to love Nursery, and the childcare at the gym (it only took a year!).  We always joke that she thinks she is the boss of everyone, but she kinda does. 

I will try to do posts on some of our favorite trips from the last year, but I really hate accessing pictures from my desktop, so I can't make any promises.  In the winter we went skiing for the first time since having kids, and we LOVED it!  Trav hit the slopes like a natural, I was a tad stiff in my form, Audrey picked up on skiing like it was second nature, and Phoenix really improved a lot with snowboarding (but for anyone interested, we really wish we had started him on skiis).  We went skiing twice, and in the summer we went back to Snowshoe and enjoyed it arguably just as much.  The cool mountain air, the perfect wildflowers, the peace and quite.  Travis's parents came to visit in the spring and we made a trip to Biltmore, it was fabulous, and they had costumes from period era movies (like Pride and Predjudice!!).  We had another epic week at the beach with my siblings at the end of August, the weather was great (I wouldn't have complained if it had been warmer), our condo was spacious, and we just had a great time.  We played this game that Jo introduced us to, Masterpiece, and it was a ton of fun.  Then we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamgsburg with Leah and FJ's face when we walked in was priceless, she was SO excited!!!  Over the summer we started to go the Durham Bulls games (minor league baseball) and we (excluding FJ) really enjoyed it!  The kids even did a baseball camp that was lead by the players and the coach! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

My 31st Birthday

 Another year, and another birthday.  I actually do not remember what we did, what we ate, or anything else.  What I do remember is that I felt very grateful for all that I have been blessed with, and very loved.  That is all that matters.

Audrey's Recital

Audrey had her first piano recital.  Her teacher is such an amazing lady, and I really love how she teaches.  Audrey loves her also.  Audrey has been taking lessons for almost a year, and she has learned a lot!   Hopefully the video that I posted will work!

Our Kid Christmas Party

I told the kids that they could have birthday parties this year, but I just couldn't must up the energy for them.  So I told them that we could have a fall party, but that didn't happen.  So I decided to do a Christmas party for them and their friends.  It was so fun and laid back.  

The night before the party I hot glued some graham crackers together for the gingerbread houses.  A friend taught me that years ago and I thought it was genius.  Then the kids could just decorate the gingerbread houses instead of cry becuase the icing wasn't strong enough to hold the crackers together.  #parentwin

 We had four girls and four boys, everyone was a brother/sister.  It was a great group, and the kids had a lot of fun together.  They decorated gingerbread houses, Christmas ornaments with their pictures, we played a white elephant game, and the kids had chick-fil-a chicken nuggets, chips, and jello roll-ups for lunch.  They ended the party by playing outside (I love our southern winters).  

Felicity's Photoshoot

I was determined to take Felicity's baby pictures, and a friend came over to help me (which was super helpful).  These pictures (along with everything I have posted lately) have not been edited.  I got quite a few really cute pictures, but as I told my friend, if you take about 700 pictures over the course of three days, you are bound to get at least a few keepers.  

This floral frame was the picture I cared the most about getting, I tried to get this shot in three different rooms, with different blankets, over three days.  I am glad I was so thorough, because my favorite shots were from the last day.  There is a lot of pressure to get the baby pictures taken before your baby is 10 days old.  After the 10 day point, baby doesn't stay asleep as long or as easily.

A friend, who is also a photographer, edited some of my favorite pictures so that they could be pretty for the birth announcements.  The editing was way beyond my skill set (or complete lack thereof) so I was SO grateful to her.  I wish I had pictures like this of Audrey and Phoenix when they were born, but I am glad we got some pretty pictures of Felicity.  

The First Few Days

Here are a few pictures from our first few days with our precious little ladybug.

Felicity LOVES getting her hair brushed, it is hilarious!  When she got her first bath in the hospital she was crying the whole time, except when the nurse brushed her hair.  She immediately stopped crying and just enjoyed getting her hair brushed.  We all laughed.  It happened again for her first bath at home.  

I was completely shocked with how natural Audrey was with Felicity.  I was overly cautious when Audrey would hold her, but I didn't need to be.  Audrey watched how I held Felicity, or fed her, or burped her, and she would do all of those things on her own, without me ever showing her how.  My heart bursts with pride as I look over these pictures.  I am so proud of my big girl, Audrey is such an amazing help to me, and I love watching her with her baby sister.  

While I was at the hospital, Audrey and her friend Lonna made this banner to hang up before I got home.  "Welcome Home Mom and Felicity".

Audrey drew this picture of me with Felicity.  She is just the cutest!

Grandma and Felicity

It was so nice to have my mom here for the week after Felicity was born.  She made me oatmeal every morning, and she helped a lot with Audrey and Phoenix.  I was admittedly somewhat of a baby hog (sorry Mom!), so there was not a lot of opportunity to hold Felicity for everyone else. I am glad I snapped some pictures of my Mom and Felicity together.  

Peter Pan Play

I was bursting with pride when I saw Audrey, she was awesome with all of her indian dance moves, she really got into the role!

Three days after I had Felicity, Audrey and Phoenix had their performance of Peter Pan.  The past plays were all homeschool productions (same director, but different group of kids), the homeschool group was not an option this time, so it was a different experience for Audrey and Phoenix.  They still had a few of their homeschool friends that did the play with them.  Audrey was an indian, and Phoenix was a lost boy.  They both loved their roles.  My mom was in town to see the play also, I was so glad she could be there.  

Phoenix was so sad when the play was over because he wanted to be a lost boy again.  I just love seeing Audrey and Phoenix perform!  They both had choreography and lines to say and songs to sing, so many skills aquired!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Felicity's Birth Story

I was scheduled to be induced on Monday November 9th.  My mom was going to be in town to watch the kids while we were at the hospital.  I would have been able to go see the kids in their Peter Pan play the Friday and Saturday before.  I was hoping to get an epideral first, and then get hooked up to Pitocin (I don't think they actually do that in hospitals, but it is a nice thought, yes?).  I wasn't going to feel any pain.  I had it all scheduled in and planned out.  Nothing to worry about...that is unless the baby came early.  

At around 3:30 am I woke up with consistent contractions that were strong enough that I couldn't sleep.  I had a lot of contractions during this pregnancy, starting really early (week 12ish), and a lot of times they were painful enough that I would get concerned, but they would always stop.  Travis woke up and sat with me and talked.  With both Audrey and Phoenix, I was up by myself in pain from contractions, but having Travis being awake with me this time made a huge difference.  It was so much better.  At around 5:30 I called my doctor and she told me to go the hospital right away.  We dropped the kids off at my friends house and went to the hospital.  My contractions spaced out and slowed down.  And I basically got kicked out of the hospital because I wasn't progressing.  We picked the kids up, Travis stayed for breakfast, and then went to work.  

I did a short day of homeschool with the kids, pausing occasionally with contractions so painful I couldn't stand up.  By lunch time I was in a lot of pain, but the contractions weren't consistent.  I had a Dr. appointment at 3:30, and I still hadn't really progressed a lot, but the Dr. told me to call my Mom because I wasn't going to make it to my induction date (so much for my perfect plan!).  The Dr. told me to call when I was contracting more consistently, or when I couldn't take the pain anymore.  I had some hugely painful contractions on the way home, and by the time we got home I was a complete mess.  These were not normal contractions...what I had experienced with my labor with  Audrey and Phoenix was mildly uncomfortable compared to these.  I was screaming, crying, yelling...I was a mess.  We called a friend and she came to pick Audrey and Phoenix up.  I couldn't say goodbye to them because I was in so much pain.  They were so worried about me, those little sweeties.  Travis called my doctor because I couldn't, the contractions were 1-2 minutes apart, and so painful I couldn't talk.  I texted my sister to have her call my Mom to tell her to drive down.  My doctor said to go to the hospital, and this time I was automatically admitted.  

Within the hour from my doctors appointment to the hospital I went from being 3 cm dilated to 8-9 cm.  I was so far that getting an epideral wasn't looking likely.  The hospital had to do a blood test which took about 45 minutes to run through.  I was the patient that was screaming and crying.  I always thought that labor is very overly dramatic in TV shows and movies, but maybe all of the actresses are having sunny side up which case their screams and cries are totally understandable.  I was extremely panicked at the idea of not getting an epideral, the pain I was in was indescribable to anyone except for those who have experienced it themselves.  My doctor came in and told me that she could break my water and I could have the baby, or I could try to get an epideral.  I told her I couldn't do it without an epideral (I was ready to beg for a c-section if that is what it would have taken).  The nurse told me that as long as my water didn't break I could still get the epideral, I was worried that it would break at any time.  And then the hospital room door opened.  The anesthesiologist appeared.  The clouds parted.  Light from heaven shown down on this blessed man.  I could breath.  Everything was going to be OK.  I had another hugely painful contraction, but I could deal with it because I knew my pain would be taken from me soon.  As he was sticking needles into my back he kept saying "this isn't comfortable, this isn't comfortable" and I kept telling him "this is NOTHING!".  Within 3 minutes of the epideral my pain was 50% gone, and within 10 minutes I couldn't even tell when I was contracting.  The miracles of modern medicine are real my friends!  

Throughout this whole ordeal, Travis was by my side, being supportive, comforting and trying to talk some sense into his crazed wife.  5 minutes after I got the epideral Travis asked the nurse what his options for dinner were.  I felt so bad.  Here I was on the brink of begging for death because of my pain, and I had completely forgotten about my husband's stomach!  It had to have been at least 3, maybe 4 hours since the last time he had eaten!  Poor guy. I still have no idea how he made it the next 2 hours without eating.  Men have it so rough!  I kid!  Luckily, when he asked about his dinner options I was so relieved to be out of pain that I could laugh at his inquiry.  I probably would not have found it so funny 10 minutes previous.  

Out of the goodness of her heart, my doctor let me relax and enjoy my epideral for 2 hours.  When it was time to start pushing my doctor remarked at the very unusual presentation of Felicity, not only was she face up, but she was also face first!  The nurse later told me that normally that is an automatic c-section.  My doctor gave me the chance to push, and after that she knew that I would be able to deliver naturally.  I had to push a lot longer with Felicity than I did with Audrey and Phoenix (they were both about 10 minutes and Felicity was closer to 30).  My doctor called in several other doctors/nurses to "look at the unusual presentation", and normally that would be somewhat humiliating, but by this point I didn't care at all!  Felicity came out, and she was so swollen.  I had several dreams later in my pregnancy that she looked exactly how she did when she was born, so I was already prepared in a way for how she looked.  I wasn't sure how much was swelling, and how much was her features.  I just knew that I loved that little baby girl so much.  She was so tiny, and so sweet.  She had a healthy cry, and everything was as it should be.  I had two babies previous to her, but I was a different person then. I was young, inexperienced, and selfish.  I did not have a full comprehension of the miracle of a baby.  If there is anything that testifies of God, it is a new baby.  They are sent straight from Heaven, and there is no denying that.  

I stayed in the delivery room for another two and a half hours, waiting for my epideral to wear off enough so that I could stand.  One of my close friends was working that night, and she hooked me up with a huge room (and a few sodas, snacks, extra diapers and formula...score!).  It was so fun to have her there, we laughed, we joked, she held Felicity.  It was the perfect ending to my long day.  Travis excused himself to get a Big Mac (priorities!).  I woke up once during the night and my nurse friend, Lisa, was feeding Felicity a bottle. Felicity slept through the night besides that one feeding, and she basically slept almost nonstop except for several minute intervals in which she would eat 15-20 mm from a bottle.  The next morning I was so sore, my back and my legs were extremely achy, probably from everything they endured the previous day.  I sat in the shower for a long time.  A very long time.  Long enough to wash all of my aches away.  When I was putting on my socks afterwards I could lift my leg up normally for the first time in 5 months!  It is amazing how fast the relief your body gets after you have a baby.  No more heartburn, no more separated pelvis. I will continue with our first day together as a family in my next post.    

Felicity Jane

Felicity Jane Andrew was born 10 days early.  19 inches long, 6 lbs.  Totally perfect.  

Poor babe was so swollen and bruised from her delivery.  Sunnyside up and face first!  She couldn't open one of her eyes for at least 12 hours because she was so swollen.

The kids stayed the night at a friends house, but they got to meet Felicity the next day.  Audrey called dibs on being the first one to hold her months ago, probably back when the kids first found out that we were having a baby.

They couldn't get enough of her tiny little features.