Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Insect Whisperer

Ava is a girly girl -- she loves Barbies, the color pink, ballet, princesses and anything sparkly or shiny. However, she's also an outdoor girl who loves to dig in the mud, climb trees and catch critters. As we went for a family roll the other day (Ava rollerskated, Jax scootered and Eden rode in her stroller) the kids stopped to inspect an ant pile. Somehow, someone noticed a large dragonfly trapped in a spiderweb on the wheel of Jax's scooter. I'm not sure how long the little guy had been there. It's quite possible he had been stuck the entire ride, spinning like crazy. I wonder if dragonflies get dizzy. I digress. Ava, of course, thought it her duty to rescue the little critter. So, she very gently picked it up, all of us fully expecting it to flutter off in a frenzy once freed. However, much to our surprise it sat in Ava's hand for several minutes. How cool is that? It's not very often one gets to hold a dragonfly. I'm so glad I had brought my camera along for our little outing and could capture this memory for Ava.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Our New Baby Girl

It's taken me eight days to write this post, but that's excusable when you're getting up every few hours in the middle of the night to feed a hungry baby, right?

Well, the newest addition to our little family is here... and she came on her own terms! Eden Faith was born Saturday July 16, at 11:39 a.m. She was 7 lbs 2 oz and 20" long, a runt compared to her 8lb 9 oz/21" big sister and 8lb 14oz/22" big brother. Eden's arrival surprised us a little, as it came four days before my scheduled C-section (and 12 days before her due date). I'd had "Braxton-Hicks" contractions off and on the last few months of my pregnancy, but last week, they began feeling more intense. By Friday night they were uncomfortable but not very close together. However, by Saturday morning they were about seven minutes apart so I called the on-call nurse. Since we live an hour from the hospital, she suggested we get on the road "just in case." Fortunately, Andy's mom was already here so we packed up, I wrote up a schedule for the kids and off we went. On a side note, we had planned to take the kids and Grandma to our favorite donut shop Saturday morning before visiting the Farmer's Market. Ava and Jax had been looking forward to our fun Saturday for a few weeks, so I sent Andy to the donut place while I finished packing. On his way home, my safe-driving husband was pulled over for going 50 in a 30. And he got to use the excuse, "My wife is in labor and I'm on my way to take her to the hospital." Seriously. How often does that really happen? The officer was very nice and let him off with a warning.

I thought we were just going to the hospital for observation and wasn't at all prepared to actually have a baby. So, when after about 30 minutes the on-call doctor came in and said, "It looks like we're having a baby today." I broke into tears. I had just had July 20th in my head for so long, not to mention, I didn't finish all the projects around the house I had hoped to before the baby came, hadn't done all I had wanted with Ava and Jax, hadn't made freezer meals for my family, hadn't finished painting my toes the night before (seriously). I kinda fell apart. Fortunately, my good husband was there to comfort me, to tell me this was actually for the best, that the kids were excited to meet their baby sister and that my toes looked cute. So, the preparation began and within 20 minutes I was in the operating room getting a spinal. A few minutes later, our sweet Eden Faith made her debut, with a loud, healthy cry! She looks quite a bit like Ava did as a newborn, just smaller and with a little less hair. She's absolutely, perfectly beautiful!

 A few hours later, a wonderful friend picked Ava, Jax and Andy's mom up from our house and brought them to the hospital so the kids could meet their new baby sister. It was love at first sight.

 Modeling the big sister and big brother shirts (and skirt) I made.

The C-section went so smoothly. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better surgery (as far as surgeries go). It was the easiest, least painful and quickest of any of my three c-sections. Overall, my recovery has been the best too. I haven't been in nearly as much pain as with my others and I was up and moving quite a bit sooner... if you consider hobbling around like an old woman "up and moving." With some persistence I convinced my doctor and nurses to let me go home Monday, just two days after my surgery. Why anyone would choose to stay in a hospital is beyond me. I never love my bed more than my first night home from the hospital. It's like sleeping on marshmallows.

The adjustment to life with another child has been great! Our older kids have been a dream, seriously. Jax, who I thought might act out, has been the best big boy. He throws Eden's diapers away, loves on her gently, gives her "baby trucks" to play with and says things like, "Don't cry baby girl, big brother is here." Ava has been the helpful big sister I knew she would be, however, I was not prepared for the jealousy issues. Oh no, she's not jealous of the attention I give the baby, she gets jealous when other people are holding her baby sister. She wants to have a hand on Eden at all times. She can't wait for her to wake up, she follows me around like a little shadow, whether I'm feeding Eden, changing Eden, burping her, bathing her, you name it, Ava is there because she simply doesn't want to miss a moment with her baby sister. It's so sweet, but to be honest, sometimes I just have to ask her to back off a little. It's hard because I want her to know how appreciative I am of her love for her little sister, but a baby's gotta breathe! I will say this, the time Ava and I spend together in my room as I feed Eden is precious. We've been able to just talk and laugh and really enjoy some special time together. As I prepare for my big girl to go to kindergarten in just two weeks, I can't even begin to explain how much I cherish these moments with Ava.

Now to the million dollar question: Am I getting any sleep? Actually, yes. Much like her big brother and sister before her Eden has, thus far, proven to be a good little sleeper. She usually sleeps in three to three-and-a-half-hour intervals at night, waking to be changed and fed, then as long as the lower half of her body is swaddled, she's back to sleep. Not too shabby. Am I still tired? Yes. We've had family here all week so I'm not resting during the day like I should. But, my good husband has made an effort to provide opportunities for me to sneak in an extra hour or two whenever possible.

Despite the lack of sleep, I'm enjoying having a newborn in our home again. I've loved the newborn stage with each of my children, but I have to admit, this has been my favorite because of the extra added joy of having an excited big brother and sister in our home too.

Our family is truly blessed! I feel my Heavenly Father's love each time I see my three children on the couch together, Ava and Jax giggling at the silly sounds and faces their baby sister makes. I am grateful for my wonderful husband, how sweetly he shows his love for me and for our children; wrestling with Jax for hours, reading chapters of "Harry Potter" to Ava several times a day, waking up in the middle of the night just to stroke Eden's hair as I change her diaper, telling me I'm beautiful even though I haven't showered for two days, my hair is in disarray and I have dark circles under my eyes. As our eternal family grows, I can't help but wonder what I did to deserve such a blessed life, whatever it may be, I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lots O' Projects

Our poor children. The heat, the humidity, lack of a backyard and their pregnant mom have forced them to spend much of this summer indoors. We try to make it outside early in the morning before it gets too hot (it's already miserably humid by 7-ish) but we don't always make it. So, I do my best to come up with fun activities for us to do indoors.

Both kids are really into art lately. They love to color and draw together, but have been interested in using different mediums, or painting with different utensils (Q-Tips, apples, combs, fingers, etc.). I saw an idea on a blog for salt art, so we gave it a try. First, the kids drizzled glue onto their papers, then sprinkled table salt (which we colored with food coloring) on top of that. This was a big hit... and a big mess. But, it provided an hour of fun and took just a few minutes to clean up, which is a trade I am willing to make!

As for me, I've been nesting like crazy and taking on far too many projects. In all actuality, it's probably best that I keep as busy as possible so as not to focus on how terribly uncomfortable I am. I tell you, this pregnancy has been an odd one. This baby is much lower than the other two EVER were and as a result, she is constantly hitting the scar tissue along my incision line (from my first two c-sections), pouncing on my bladder and causing general discomfort. Despite waddling when I walk and having to go to the bathroom every five minutes, I am very grateful for this little girl and all the added energy she seems to have provided me in the last weeks of pregnancy because this is some of what I've been up to:


We had these two ugly pieces of furniture annoying me so I had to do something about it. The first is a dresser that was in the kids' room. We got it for super cheap at Walmart when Ava was born. It was an awful honey color. We weren't using it anymore and considered just throwing it away when I had the ingenius idea to paint it. Zinsser makes this AMAZING primer that you can use on ANY surface, even that cheapo glossy fake wood lookin' stuff. So, a few coats of that, a few coats of black paint, vinyl, spray painted knobs (I still need to get two for the bottom drawer) and TA-DAH! We moved the dresser to the living room and now use it as a TV stand. Smart, huh? The other is a side table we got at a thrift store for $10. I loved the design on it, but hated the color, so I painted it. I've been seeing so many bloggers paint their furniture this pretty blue shade and have loved it, I just don't know if I love it on our piece. It's in the same room as the black dresser, so maybe that's what's throwing me off. The good news is, I can always repaint it.
I've been doing major sewing too, but haven't taken pictures. Soon enough, soon enough.

And lastly, Ava got to attend her very first Kids Club at Home Depot this month! It's held the first Saturday of every month and she's been begging to go for quite some time, but our schedule never permitted. However, we made it a priority this month and she and Daddy went on a little date to build coasters and a coaster holder. Pretty great, eh? She even banged the nails in by herself! She came home and painted it pink, purple and green (sorry no photo)... so very Ava!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So Awesome!

The kids successfully completed two weeks of swim lessons! Jax is even more fearless than before (if that's possible) and Ava, our formerly water-shy girl, will now go ALL the way under water and even jump in the deepest part of the pool (as long as someone is there to catch her). I'm amazed at what a difference two weeks make!

Jax got to the point in his class, where some of the "skills" he was being taught were a little too, well, easy for him. Or maybe they just weren't as daredevil-ish as he would like. Either way, Jax's teacher sometimes just let Andy and Jax spend the last portion of class in the big pool where Jax would practice jumping in to Daddy. In the beginning, he would jump into Andy's arms (still going under) but after a few days he would jump in by himself, go all the way under, touch the bottom of the shallow end (3-4 feet) and kick back up to the surface. Here's video of our little jumper:

Like father, like son!

 I love this picture because he looks like the Karate Kid!

Unfortunately, I don't have video of Ava. She told me it made her nervous when I took pictures of her. I don't know if the child has ever been camera-shy in her life, but, I honored her request to keep the camera away. Although, I did get a few pictures back before the camera made her nervous.

 On her way under...

 We had a great two weeks and look forward to practicing the kids' new skills in our pool the rest of the summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Too Loud Fourth

Our little town was exceptionally hot and humid on the 4th of July. Maybe my gauges are a little off since I'm pregnant, but I tell you, it was miserable. However, late in the day we got some cloud cover which cooled the temps down a bit, but did nothing for the humidity. We had planned to go downtown for the fireworks, but an invite to our friend's house changed our plans, and it's a good thing because the fireworks were cancelled downtown because of lightning and rain.

Fireworks are legal here so many people forgo the traditional shows for those of their own. We had front row seats to our very own show in our friend's cul-de-sac. I had no idea there were so many variety of fireworks! The only thing is, the kids and I watched from inside. They enjoyed the fireworks, just not the "too close noises" (as Jax called them). Jax lasted about five minutes outside, hands on his ears, before asking me to take him in. Ava went about 15 more minutes before she too opted to watch from the window. We still got quite a show and the kids had a great time. 

 Ava thought it was pretty cool that our friends brought a couch and rocking chair outside!

 Watching from the window
Ava got distracted by a book... no shock there.

 As much fun as it was to spend the holiday with friends, there's just something about going to a big venue and watching a HUGE fireworks display that just screams 4th of July to me. I missed that a bit this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to our friends and had such a fun time, but I think there's just something nostalgic about hanging out in your camp chairs, surrounded by thousands of people who all go completely silent when the firework begin and Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful" begins playing in the background. Not to mention, the fireworks are far enough away that my kids don't feel the need to take cover.