Saturday, August 29, 2009

Homemade in Red

Brace yourself for a photo blitz!

My sweet little Lily is 7 months old! I can't believe how fast this year is going by. It's probably that way with most 3rd and beyond children. I tell myself to cherish the moments as much as I can knowing I may not experience a new baby again.

Last week I had some professional photos taken that I have at work waiting to scan, I just haven't had time yet. I was pleased with how they came out. Want a preview? Here she is in the same dress after church on Sunday.



Check out the length of her tongue.



But, sometimes the best photo sessions are homemade. Certainly they are cheap! And someday, if I ever learn photoshop, I'll have fun editing the home shoots I've done with my kids.

So, I present

Miss Lily Cate

a study in Red

(homemade headband bow to boot!)





Her favorite lovey,



Which usually results in this, as soon as she's laid down. I'm hoping it will be her comfort item since she won't take a binky anymore.




These baby blues melt me




Oh, how I love this baby girl in red.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Binky

Dear Binky,

You have been a staple in our lives. A most treasured item. By these parents and our children alike. You have provided comfort and calm. You were there in sickness and in teething and in health, until about 2yrs old, did we part.


"don't you dare take this out of my mouth"

Miss Rose loved your green Soothie version. As she got older, we'd put two of you in her bed at night, just in case one fell out. By 6 months old, you mostly a sleepytime item.


comfort with Mama in Mexico

Then the fateful day came, when it was time to bid fare-thee-well. For some reason, this mama thought your absence would be solidified if Miss Rose dropped you in the trash herself. In retrospect, perhaps a bit traumaitc. And perhaps why it took a few days and many minutes of crying for her to adjust. But she did.

With the arrival of Gracie, we welcomed you back into our home with open arms. She chose one of your Playtex variety. It was a beneficial relationship.


trying out the soothie at 3 months with mama in Ireland


slinging with the binky

Especially when the new baby arrived and Gracie was a bit confused. There were many times we told her to fetch you from her bed, and sit on the couch to calm down. And then again it was time. Postponed several months by many changes. We took a different approach and told Miss Gracie what a big girl she would be. Shock of all shocks, she took your absence so well. Not a tear was shed.

Earlier this year when Lily was born, I expected your steady presence once again. In five years so much changes and we had the pink and purple versions of the Soothie and even the Gumdrop. Once again we used blankets and burp clothes to prop you in her sweet mouth. She readily accepted you.

Until that day. That Lily found her fingers. First it was her thumb. Playing traitor to you. Lulling her to sleep. Then it was her two middle fingers. Still is actually. Providing comfort. Just like you did.


those fingers



slinging with mama

And now weeks later, versions of you are found throughout the house, collecting dust. Growing brittle from lack of use. And it's me who's having a hard time letting go. I've accepted that this is the end of our journey with you. But yet I don't want to separate. There are no promises that those middle fingers will comfort for as long as you would. That when Lily is making noise in a place we need quiet, getting her to suck her fingers is not as easy as popping you in her mouth.

Dear Binky, we've loved you and cherished you. We've searched high, but mostly low, under couches and beds for you. But I think this is the end. It's time to gather you up and perhaps give you to another family, where you are more welcome.

Thank you for your faithfulness to us. For being there when we needed you. I'm surprised and saddened that this goodbye comes so soon. I had hoped we had a few years left. But eventually this day would have come.

We'll always have fond memories.

Love,
The Bean Family

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

We recently took the two older girls to their first real baseball game. Both Bean and I are sports fans and enjoy a good ballgame. We went last year and sat on the grass, but the game is watched on a large screen from there. This year we decided it was time to get some regular seats and our church purchased a large block of tickets so it was a great opportunity. Being there with many friends made the experience even more fun for the girls.

I realized it was the first time, since Lily's birth, that we purposefully did a fun activity with Miss Rose and Gracie, leaving Lily with a babysitter. It was a good experience and probably something we need to do every now and then until Lily is older. Oh and the man-to-man defense was so much easier too!

Bean & I had fun, and our team won!!



Gracie loved cheering for the team. Although sometimes she yelled out a football team name, but most of the time she got it right. Miss Rose said her favorite part of the night was Gracie's cheers.




Can you find Miss Rose in this photo? A friend took it and emailed it to me when she saw Miss Rose. Rock on!!




Miss Rose loved the fireworks after the game.




Gracie did not.



All in all, we had a BLAST! I can't wait until Lily is around 2 and we can all enjoy a game together.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not My Children!



Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This week it's the "Not My Child" edition.

And may I remind you, you can't make this stuff up!

Yesterday while celebrating a special occasion at a friend's home, my children were invited to swim in the pool, which also has a slide.

It was not my risk-taker of a 2yr old who decided to walk down ALL the stairs into the pool, chasing after a toy, without any floaties. She did not begin to go under the water, causing me to walk right into the pool after her, in my clothes, wetting myself to the hips, to pluck her out of danger and place her back into safety, just as she was going under for the second time.

Nor was it my other risk-taker of a 5yr old who decided to go down the rather steep slide on her knees, not five minutes after the stair incident and promptly hit her head on the end of it. Hard. Hard enough to be heard by those around.

It was not this same daughter who wore the same clothes two days in a row after spending the night at Grammie's house. She did not play outside with cousins the first day and then wear the clothes to church and a school BBQ the next day. Not my child. She is very amenable to the decisions I make for her, such as what clothes I pack in her bag.

And now for my favorite moment that couldn't have happened this week...

My 2yr old is not talented enough to shoot a stream of urine right onto her father's crotch, as he lifted her from the toilet to see if she was actually going. Apparently she was. This was not at a baseball game, where Bean had to return to his seat, looking like he had urinated on himself.

Not my children, friends. They practice pool safety, wear clean clothes every day and would never urinate on a parent. No way.

Don't forget...I'm having my first (albeit, small) giveaway. You have until Thursday to enter by posting a comment here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good for you and the environment: My first giveaway!

A few years ago I started becoming more aware of the ingredients of many products and foods and how they were unecessary to the true function of the product and how they are potentially dangerous to our bodies and the environment.

In some ways it began when I read the book Curly Girl sometime in 2006. (A GREAT book if you or your kids have curly hair). I learned that many chemicals in the hair products I was using were actually harmful to my hair and didn't help control the curl and actually created frizz. I was really surprised to learn that the sulfates, the main ingredient in most soaps and shampoos that make the "sud" is actually quite drying.

I've since tried to purchase shampoo's and body cleansers that are soap-free. They clean just the same. Both Miss Rose and Gracie had bad eczema on their bodies as babies. By around 18 months, they seemed to grow out of it. I've been using soap-free wash on Lily from the time she was born and so far--no eczema. It's hard to say what the factors are, but I can't help but wonder if not using sulfates on her skin (and only getting 2-3 baths a week) play a part.

I am trying to make the jump to mineral makeup. I just need to find the right brand and color to go with my skin. I've had to make one return and am actually going out tonight to pick something else up so that I can wear some sort of foundation to church tomorrow!



Ecostore USA has products that not only are GOOD for our skin and safe cleaners for the home, but they are also GREEN! I love that their company tagline is "no nasty chemicals." They have baby and body products, hair products, household cleaners and pet care. I'll have to remember that when Bean comes through with his "dog for Christmas" promise to the girls.





I'm currently using the Natural Citrus Spray Cleaner. It definately has a more pleasant odor than your normal all-purpose cleaning sprays. It's great to know there is nothing harmful that can be inhaled by my little girls. And I am totally comfortable having Miss Rose do some cleaning herself.
Guess what, for leaving a comment here, you can win the Vanilla Soap, great to cleanse your body, even if you have sensitive skin. I've inhaled the scent through the box, and I think you will smell so yummy after using it.

Leave a comment with what item you would most like to try from eco STORE or share your own tips for being more green or less harmful products for your family. One comment per person please and I'll choose a winner after noon (pacific time) on Thursday!
Thanks eco STORE USA for the opportunity to try your products and for being my first giveaway!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

When all else fails...

I enjoy blogging quite a bit. But I've found when I'm facing challenges or discouragement in life, it takes more energy to blog them. I'm much better at bottling. Although I am working on it. I have a couple topics in mind, but haven't been able to flesh them out yet.

Lest you think I'm neglecting my blog here are a few photos! When all else fails, photos will always do.


I believe Gracie is destined for the runway, what with this hair. Certainly this is post-nap, but regardless, it's FABULOUS! And I caught a little attitude to match the hair here!


My favorite Lily-smile. She tries to smile so big and with so much gusto that the right side of her mouth often slants down like this--thus the cutest crooked smile you've ever seen. It's so sweet and I hope it's something she doesn't grow out of. (Notice also, our progress with sitting! She's getting there)



I know many of my photo posts are Gracie or Lily, mostly because Miss Rose will rarely pose for me--and the little ones are still at my mercy! But here is a collage I made for our computer desktop. Miss Rose is getting great at holding and sometimes picking up her baby sister. She is quite anxious to be a help, and most of the time she truly is. And then there's my little girls in their brown and pink polka dots. That I had these coordinating outfits was a coincidence, but of course I had to take advantage of it for church recently.


I have my first giveaway I need to blog this weekend. I was actually approached by a company because of my blog or twitter I guess, to try some of their product and give something away. Stay tuned!!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 17, 2009

Desparately Seeking Routine

I am sure I'm not alone in searching for routine in our weeks. Sure, our sleep and wake times and meals are pretty routine; but beyond that most days it feels like a free for all. Three small children and a few jobs will do that for you.






I feel a little bit like Hannah Montana, who gets the best of both worlds. But various challenges and difficulties present themselves as




Hannah Montana is a regular around our home. Miss Rose likes watching it on Disney channel and Gracie has become quite familar as well with "Hannah-Tana" as she calls her. In fact, lately she's been heard singing "you get best bof worlds" and "rock out the show" in her super cute two-year old voice.

What's funny is, I can find a lot of parallels between Hannah Montana's life and my own.

I am desparately seeking routine these days. But I am caught between two worlds; in the abyss between the stay at home mom and the working mom. I don't meet many women (or find their blogs, and I've looked!) in a similar situation. I DO have the best of both worlds, just like Hannah. I love my job. It's more than a job, it's calling and a passion for me. But I love my days at home with my children. The days I am just a mom, and I don't have to think about my hair or makeup (or showering for that matter) and get to do mom things with my children.

But, just like the TV show portrays, there are challenges and difficulties that come about when you have a foot in two different worlds. It's this weird limbo that can't always be reconciled. It's hard. But yet it's still the best of both worlds.

We live in Southern California, an expensive place to live. Both Bean and I have goals for our family and what we want to provide for our children and our future. Right now, that means a two-income family. If we had the option, I would probably work less or be home full-time during these years of small children. I know I could not give up my involvement in ministry though, even if it were just a volunteer basis.

I consider myself very blessed to have the schedule and flexibility of working for a church. I spend three days in the office and then Sundays I'm at church about 6 hours. But there is great flexibility for doctor's appointments and babysitting snaffoo's and the other things that come up. For a working mom, it's a great job. Gracie was with me at work for 6 months and Lily spent the first few months with me and now comes one day a week--although she's about to "age out" with being able to sleep while I work and entertain herself or sit on my lap during her wake-time.

For me, the difficulty lies in finding routine at home and keeping up with housework and personal time. My salary (and the fact that family provides our childcare) is enough to help us meet our goals and pay the bills. But our income doesn't allow for housekeepers or extra babysitting. And family-based childcare often means extra driving and preparation--although it's SO worth it to know my children are with family.

The energy expended on a workday with preparing the kids for the day and myself,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

I have a little scwape

Gracie is at the age of clumsiness. I think all toddlers go through this clumsy stage. And some of us never grow out of it.


A few weeks ago Gracie fell on the sidewalk in front of our house and skinned her knee. She re-opened the scrape a few times of course. It's now been just a scar for a few weeks, but she keeps telling people about her "little scwape."


Yesterday, while chasing a lizard at Grammie's house, the law of equal opportunity of the knee was exercised, and she fell and skinned the other knee.


For some reason, scraped knees mean poor sleep for Gracie. She cries out a lot, and when we check on her, she complains about her knee. With the first skinned knee, this happened for several nights and meant bad sleep for us!


So last night, when I heard her crying for the second time (which Bean told me this afternoon was the fourth time) I just brought her into our bed. It was only 1am, so I knew we were in for a long night of it. She slept better with us of course, but as all two-year-olds are, she's a little bedhog and Bean and I woke up a lot.


I never knew a "little scwape" as Gracie calls it, could cause such sleep disruption.


I'm just thankful that so far Gracie's clumsiness has not resulted in major catasstrophe.


Like when Miss Rose fell at age 2, while playing with a ball. And one of her front teeth was chipped and shoved up into the gums. Which later abscessed and needed to be pulled.




I'm so used to seeing her with the missing tooth now, almost 4 years later, that I forget what happened. She keeps asking me when a new tooth will grow in--which will hopefully be within the next year or two.


In other sleeping news, Lily is doing better in that area. Last week she slept 10 hours all on her own. Proving to me that it's possible and she's more than capable! We're moving her to a pack-n-play in the living room when we go to bed. Since I often need to pump at night to keep up with her bottles for when I work, I can't do a dream feed. But if she wakes up before 8 hours since her last feed, I'm just leaving her--and she only cries a bit and goes back to sleep. We're making progress!! In another week or two, I'll probably increase it to 9 hours if she doesn't do it on her own.


Lily has absolutely NO love for cereal. Yes, she's approaching 7 months old, and not really eating any solids. This week we may try cereal mixed with a puree or perhaps some mashed avocado.


Wish me sleep tonight! I will admit, there still is something sweet about cuddly children in my bed, even if it means less quality sleep for me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How to survive the beach with small children, in 28 easy steps

1. Decide, why not. It will be crazy, but let's join friends at the beach.
2. Make sure friends are going. Because you can't supervise everyone on your own.
3. Bring another child. Because 3 definately isn't enough and what's one more?
4. Let kids watch more TV than normal in the morning while you prepare to go to the beach. Between all the "mommy I need's" and preparation, it will take a few hours.
5. Pack light. The kids can share one towel. You don't need a chair, because you won't sit down at all. Germs? Who cares! We can all share one water bottle.
6. Stop at the gas station to pick up the food/beverage items you didn't have at home. You can park right in front, and leave the kids in the van, just like would do if you were getting gas.
7. Try a new freeway combo to get to the beach, and go the wrong direction, even though you've lived in the same city for over twenty years.
8. Unload children and belongings. Throw baby in the sling, and pile the stroller with your stuff.
9. Once you get to the sand, pull the umbrella stroller behind you. MUCH easier than trying to push it through sand.
10. Field 5,345 requests while trying to nurse the baby
11. Get baby to fall asleep in stroller so you can frolick with the toddler in the water.
12. Try not to cringe at how sandy all food gets before it makes it to the toddler's mouth.
13. Cringe again as the loudest Navy jets you've ever heard fly over because you're next to a Naval Air Station.
14. Bury head in hands as baby wakes up screaming due to loud jets.
15. Decide to leave early because "Baby Interuppted" won't be consoled by anything.
16. Feel thankful that you have friends to help clean up sandy children and hold fussy babies while you prepare to leave.
17. Secure screaming baby in sling, begin trek back across the sand and to the car.
18. Decide against showering children off. It will give hubby a reason to use the new Shop Vac.
19. Load sandy children in the car. Remove now sleeping baby from sling, waking her as you secure her in the carseat.
20. Be thankful for the DVD player to entertain tired sandy children on the drive home.
21. Drop off extra children
22. Arrive home. Make sure no one sits on the couch. Leave baby in the infant seat.
23. Quickly shower the toddler and put her down for a nap, while baby cries in the infant seat, and sandy 5yr old watches Disney.
24. Nurse sandy baby. Decide to put sandy baby down for a nap and bathe her later.
25. Get 5yr old cleaned up. Realize as you are brushing her hair out, it's still full of sand. Be thankful it's dark hair, so no one can really see it.
26. Finally shower yourself. Resist urge to climb into bed and nap the rest of the day,
27. Feel grateful you live in a great city with great beaches and that your kids had a fabulous time. Even though you still have all the stuff to clean up.
28. Plan to lather, rinse, repeat all these steps next Friday with the same bat-friends, at the same bat-beach.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Babywearing Bliss



I love this photo.

The closeness of my baby to my heart, thanks to my Peanut Shell.

The pure contentment on her face.

The blueness of her eyes against the blue of her onsie.

The characteristic sucking of her middle fingers.

I wish we could stay like this forever.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Me

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I have not been using a small Dora brush from the 99cent store on my children daily because I've yet to replace a broken hairbrush.

I do not regularly postpone bathing my children, knowing they are going in the pool or the beach or sprinklers the following day and will definately require a bath after that.

I was not laughing like crazy the other night when I was trying to help Gracie potty, when Miss Rose slipped in the shower and almost fell out of the tub, and then Gracie was urinating as I was pulling her panties down. I did not say "sweet Jesus" only to hear Gracie mimic me.

It's not me who's been waking twice a night again, with a baby, who doesn't want to sleep more than an 4-5hr stretch.

And it's not my 6.5 month old baby, who still isn't eating solids because every attempt at cereal has resulted in vomit.

We eat healthy around these parts, and avoid fast food. So, if you're wondering you did NOT see me this past Saturday, in the Target food court, feeding my children hot dogs and icee's for lunch which I munched on an Italian sausage. Most certainly not.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Overachiever

I have a hard time putting just one toe in the water. If I'm going to put a toe in, why not the whole foot? And if the foot, why not the leg and you know how it goes. Before you know it, I'm completely wet.


What's funny is this analogy doesn't really apply to me getting into a pool. But it pretty much applies to the rest of my life. I like to warm up to a pool. But if I'm reading a book--I want to read the whole thing without stopping. If I take up a hobby, I want to go all the way with it.


I do wish I had this characteristic when it comes to housecleaning and chores. Those apparently, I will only do half-way.


A few years ago I never really understood MySpace or Facebook and I don't think I knew what a blog was. Was Twitter even in existence then? I have no idea how long it's been around.


Then I gave in to MySpace in order to connect to students in my ministry. Not long after I dove headfirst into Facebook. It was much more my style---very streamlined without backgrounds and moving images on MySpace which give me a headache. I've reconnected with SO many friends from my childhood, high school, college and youth group days.


Then it was bloggging, and now Twitter. I have these aspirations of creativity and offering useful information. I'm afraid I annoy my IRL friends who read my Tweets because they quickly became more geared towards the mommy bloggers and Tweeps.


But then I remember, I have a family and home to care for. I have a job and people to minister to. These are just my hobbies. And they don't they pay!!!


But of course, when I see this giveaway being advertised, I can't help but enter. A new blog design (because I am very ignorant in this area) would definately feed my current fascination with blogging!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Firecracker


(wearing a bathrobe I wore as a child. Don't mind the mess in the background.)


Have I mentioned how Gracie is our little firecracker? Maybe it's her role as the middle child. Maybe it's just her personality. Maybe it's having Miss Rose as a big sister. Probably it's all of the above!
Her language has just taken off since her 2nd birthday. Listening to her communicate these days, it's hard to believe that she's the same little girl who had some difficulty adjusting to a new baby in the house and didn't have the vocabulary to express herself and would just get angry and yell and hit.

She's funny. And she knows it. Gracie loves to talk in different vocal tones and accents, adding to the hilarity. She does funny things with her mouth, with make her words come out differently. It's hard to explain, but it cracks Bean and I up all the time. Even Miss Rose laughs.



(Did I mention she LOVES pasta?)


Some of my favorite phrases these days include...

"right now" she loves adding this to many requests and demands

"your Lily" said whenever she wants me to notice Lily

"there's your Lily all this time" I'm not sure why she adds all this time, but she does it frequently

"why mama" this one just started. such fun.

"stop it right now"

"nooooo"

Words she adds a -y on the end such as milky, buggy, dressy etc.


Every morning begins with "I wear prettly dress" (not a typo...she says it with an L)


"Can we watch a moooovie?"

"Can we go home?" I think she uses this phrase when she is bored. And she has been known to use it when we are home.

"My hair is CRAZY."

Gracie thinks that our contractors (who are also friends and fellow church members) are either going to live in the addition or that they already do. She often greets them with a "hi Tooony" which makes her sound like she's from New York or something.

Whenever she hears a funny sound she said "who's that mama?" A few days ago she made an involuntary noise while having a bowel movement and wanted to know who made the noise.


Oh, and she fell in LOVE with this little Dean Martin singing statue a few weeks ago. She couldn't stop hugging him and singing into his little microphone. This is was at a family members home and you can see that she likes to collect her favorite toys at other people's houses. No matter where we are, if they have toys she will find Barney, Backyardigans, Mickey and Minnie and whatever else is her current favorite.

This little one keeps us on our toes and in stitches too!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hectic & Harried

Those are the words I would use to describe life these days.

I'm STILL trying to nail down a routine, weekly schedule for household chores.

Such as laundry. So that it doesn't sit on my loveseat for a week. Or in the laundry basket.

Such as tub cleaning. So that I don't cringe at the built-up ring around the tub when I put my baby in.

Current circumstances dicate a change in babysitting location...which means extra driving. Add in VBS this week for Miss Rose. Even more driving.

The closer our addition nears to completion...the more anxious and impatient I get. How does it work that way? I'm ready for the baby to have her own room, and to hopefully wean her off the middle of the night comfort nurse back to sleep. I'm ready to be able to read in bed before I go to sleep. Or relax in my room whenever I want. (Who am I kidding? I have three children. There will be no relaxing in my room). I'm ready for my kids to be able to play in the backyard...instead of the front.

Summer is a blast. But the routine of Miss Rose going to school will be nice too.

Sometimes, in the midst of the hectic and harried days, it's nice to let it all go.

Last night we all ate in shifts. Which allowed Bean and I time to exercise, Miss Rose time to play with her beloved neighbor-friend and we didn't stress about it.

Bean said--who cares if the kids watch more TV than normal tonight.

Just let it go. Relax. Take it easy.

So we did. Sometimes, you just have to do it. The laundry is still in the basket. The tub still has a ring. Other chores remain undone.

Oh well. It will get done eventually. Just like the baby will sleep through the night eventually. And the addition will be done eventually.

And in the meantime, we'll go on living.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wow!

After finally completeing Gracie's birth story and then adding Lily's I shared the link on a few Babycenter message boards thinking some may be interested in my stories. I know I was very hungry for VBAC stories when I was pregnant with Gracie and then for post-rupture pregnancy info and stories (which is hard to find) when I was pregnant with Lily.

I checked my Stat Counter account today and it looks like my stories have been read almost 600 times today. Wow. I did not expect that. I'm glad I can share my experiences though.

If you are interested, here are links to the Uterine Rupture Support Group and the Pregnancy After Rupture (PAR) groups I found. You will need to apply to become a member and they are only intended for those who have experienced ruptures. But I know they have been quite helpful to me.

And if you found your way here through Babycenter, I don't mind new readers!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Final Installment: Lily Cate

To catch up, you may want to read these blogs first.

Gracie part 1, part 2, and part 3.

I was looking back in my blog posts to find a link to Lily's birth story. But I guess I never actually blogged the details of her birth. It's not like I wasn't busy you know, with the c-section recovery, pre-K, toddler and baby. Oh yeah, and throw in my job!

It's not nearly as long as Gracie's was...but here are the fun details.

If you've been following my blog you'll remember I blogged this in the morning of the day Lily was born. My labor had been stopped the night before and I was killing time before I could call my doctor to be seen.

I've realized, given my history of uterine rupture and how uncommon it is to experience a rupture and then a subsequent pregnancy, the doctor on call was nervous to make any decisions regarding delivering me. I was 36wks and 5days, just 2 days shy of the magic 37-week full-term number.

As soon as I spoke with my doctor's office, they said to come in just as soon as I could and be seen. Miss Rose and Gracie had stayed the night with their grandma, since we had been at the hospital so late. The next day was the day she normally watches them while I work, so she kept them for us again.

After hearing my story of the night before, my doctor said it sounded like I would deliver before my scheduled c-section date. She planned to let the hospital know that if I came in again in labor to call her (not the on-call doctor) and she'd come do my c-section without trying to stop my labor again. I felt better about this plan, but I was still nervous about the taxing my flawed uterus was getting.

Then it was internal exam time. Upon examining me, I was a very loose 2cm, and easily stretched to 3cm--even more progress since the night before and the head was very low. My doctor said "oh, you're not going to last. This baby is going to come. You're so close to 37, let's deliver you as soon as possible."

Now that was more like it! That's what I was wanting to hear and really put me at peace. They would call the hospital and find out when their was a slot and call me--she said it would be that day or the next. Bean and I did a few quick errands and were on our way to our old house to pick up the co-sleeper (remember, we had just moved 4 days prior), which was next to my work.

While en route I got the call to head to the hospital as soon as I was ready, as my c-section would be at 3pm. It was quite a whirlwind. I had NOTHING packed or prepared. The coming weekend, our first full weekend in the new house, was supposed to be "get ready for baby weekend."

And of course, we were scheduled to have our range delivered that afternoon. Bean initially asked his mom to remain at our house with the girls for the delivery (which killed her) because she loves being at the hospital when the babies arrive. A co-worker, who's also a babysitter of ours, offered to leave work and stay with the girls so his mom could come to the hospital.

We picked up the co-sleeper and headed to the hospital. We didn't even have our camera with us--so my mom brought hers.

When I arrived at the hospital and they began to prep me for surgery, I was already having contractions again, confirming that this delivery was inevitable. I had the most wonderful nurse who had three girls of similar ages (we didn't know yet our third girl was coming). She also had a history of c-sections and pregnancy complications. She told me I was getting the best anesthesiologist in her opinion, which I was excited about.

Everything went textbook. It was actually my best c-section. I had the fewest side effects (itching, nausea etc). The OR team put me at ease and conversated with me. We were very excited to meet our baby and both Bean and I were pretty certain it would be a girl. There were three names on our list--Addelyn, Camille and Lily. Bean told me right away he thought she looked like a Lily. And sure enough, the name was perfect for her.

Lily Cate weighed in at 6lbs, 5oz. Her big sisters were a respective 8lbs, 30z and 8lbs, 8oz--so she was a peanut compared to them. This girl was BORN crying. And she cried all through her exam, until she was brought to me. When they were wheeling me into recovery, I heard a baby crying and when Bean came to talk to me he confirmed that yes, it was our baby! Because the experience was so laid back Bean got some great photos (I'm sharing one at the end) and this was the only time he cut the umbilical cord. Things happened so fast with Gracie we didn't even have a camera in the OR.

Bean tormented our family and didn't tell them the gender of the baby at first. Once the baby was with me, he went out and shared the news with Miss Rose (who still wanted a brother) who then shared it with the rest of the family.

It was taking a long time me to be able to move my legs, but my recovery nurse knew how anxious we were for the girls to meet the baby, so she moved me to my room before I could move my legs. By then the girls were pretty tired and overstimulated, so their excitment wasn't quite what I might have dreamed of. After leaving my room, Miss Rose vomited, thanks to skittles and excitement before dinner!

After the trauma that surrounded Gracie's birth, it was a blessing to have such a drama-free and positive c-section experience. Even though it was a crazy time with just having moved and Miss Rose's birthday being two days prior, and not having bags packed or all the baby purchases made. But family and friends pitched in and we made it through.

In my eyes, they all are my miracle babies. Just knowing that I could get pregnant and have a baby was incredible to experience with Miss Rose. Knowing how close we could have come to losing Gracie, makes her a miracle. And then Lily--who surprised this planner of a mama, was in existance weeks before I knew it and decided her own entrance into the world.

I don't take for granted that I can have babies and even if I didn't have the deliveries I dreamed of, I am healthy and so were my babies.

It still amazes me.

Proof she was born crying! Check out this AMAZING photo Bean snapped.


Click on the photo if you want to enlarge it.
I've changed it to black and white to minimize the "gross" factor for those that don't appreciate photos of a surgery (yes, there is a gasket in my incision which they are pulling the baby from.)

Stop It

Kids are parrots. They say what you say, how you say it, over and over again. There have already been many times I hear myself in my children. Sometimes it causes my to cringe. Sometimes it's pure comedy! Sometimes it's so sweet to hear Miss Rose "mother" her sisters in the same way I speak to all three of my girls.

As a parent, you often have to get the message of "no" across to your kids. For all sorts of reasons. Because they are being disobedient, because they are in danger, because they are embarassing you in public, because they are having a temper tantrum. Because they are pestering their sister or coloring on the carpet. You get my drift.

I don't want to be one of those parents who barks out rude statements and comments to their kids, only to tell the kids not to say those kinds of things to each other. I'm not a fan of "cut it out" "quit it" "knock it off" and the like.

So I thought, if I use the word "stop" I will get my point across, without being rude, or overusing the word "no".

Good idea, right? But EVERYTHING backfires with kids.

So now, my kids tell each other to stop. They tell me to stop. Oh how I love it when Gracie gets mad and tells me to stop right in my face. Usually it's not even about a specific thing I'm doing. She is just frusterated about everything.

I guess hearing "stop it" barked around the house is better than "knock it off". But still.

It totally backfired.