May 14, 2014

one month.


I'm not really sure when or how, but we have already reached the one month mark on Bridger being a part of our family. So rude.
Yes, he is as sweet as he looks. He is also full of smiles, a terrible sleeper, and really, REALLY likes his dad. Which is totally understandable because he is his mini-me. 


definitely think I will keep him.

May 12, 2014

quotes from the girls.

Selah in her usual scene, surrounded by every stuffed animal she can carry.

Our girls are loud, verbal, dramatic and I wouldn't change that about either of them. They add more joy and entertainment to our world than I ever thought possible. Here are just a couple glimpses into a normal day around here...


Both girls looking out the window- Ashlynn-"I just love the snow."
Selah-"No you don't!"
A-"Selah, you don't know anything about my heart."
S-whispering, "Yes me do...I know everything."

While at the dinner table, dramatically in tears-
A-"My life is just so hard...and my heart is getting tough...Why is Selah so perfect?! I'm just really not a fan of this food anymore."

Mom-"Selah, why aren't you helping your sister clean the playroom?"
S-"She is giving me a headache!"

A-"Mom, please don't bite me!"
M-"Why would you ever think I would bite you?!"
A-"Because you have this crazy wild look on your face like you want to bite me or something."

I'm pretty strict with food around here and apparently use the term "real food" often. When I offered Ashlynn an apple for dessert-
A-"When are we going to start buying real food? You know, like ice cream and chocolate and stuff."

A-"I want some beet turkey, Dad."
Dad-"You mean beef jerky. As in beef, as in cow."
A-"WHAT?! I'm eating cow?!"

D-"Selah. You look like a ragamuffin."
S-"Me not a muffin! No more...in whole entire world! Me See 'Crae!" (Selah Mcrae"

When she plugged in the diffuser we use for essential oils-
M-"Ash, what are you doing with the diffuser?"
A-"It's just a good thing to use when people fart."
M-"But nobody did."
A-"Weeeeell....."

While tickling Selah-
S-"Don't tickle my guts. No more! Listen to my heart, guys!"





May 7, 2014

bridger: a birth story.



It's about time, right? I mean, now that he is three weeks old.

Let's just dive right in...
My due date was April 12th but because of being on blood thinners my OB wanted to induce me early so that he could monitor when I went into labor. The date was set for April 9th at midnight.
On the 8th we prepared all day, and made sure everything was set in place. My mom came that evening and spent the night at our house so that she could be with the girls the next day. We left at 11:00pm to drive into the hospital. They nurses got me hooked up to the monitors and all set by 1:00am. I'm going to majorly jump ahead to 5:00pm. After forcing pitocin all day long and not advancing whatsoever my doctor gave me two options. Have a c-section and be done with it or go home and wait another week to be induced again. You guys...that was not an easy decision. Hindsight I don't know why I made it so hard but both options where NOT what I wanted. Thankfully, we did not opt for a c-section. I knew that the only reason I would have chosen that route was out of impatience.
We packed up and went home.


Our little man was still sitting extremely high and not showing my ANY signs of doing otherwise so I spent the next several days bouncing on the excersize ball, going on long (painful) walks, and I even jumped on the trampoline with my girls. (At least until I wasn't sure whether my water had broke or....yeah. It wasn't that). I had maybe 3 contractions in 5 days. 
This next part I tell you because it is something I don't want to forget and such a reminder of God sovereignty to me.
On the 8th I never felt excited. My heart was in a weird place and things were off. Ryan and I were off. The anticipation of bringing our son into the world that should have been there, wasn't. I was sad about that.
But God gave us a week to sort things through and get our priorities straight. So when we were driving into the hospital for a second time at 11:00pm on the 14th, it was fun. We were both giddy and on the same page. I am SO grateful for that because that NEEDED to be the case with what were going to have to face ahead. He is really, really good to us.


We did the same song and dance at the hospital as the week before. At 8am my OB came in and checked me. I was almost at 4cm and Bridger had dropped a little. He waited to break my water though because he had a couple of scheduled c-sections that morning and didn't want them to overlap. 

He came back at noon and checked me. Bridger was no longer in position so he opted not to break my water again. I was frustrated. My nurse upped the pitocin and wished me luck. By 2:00pm my contractions actually turned into something and I was very uncomfortable. The nurse called my doctor and told him to come check me again. When he came in at 2:30 my sweet nurse, bless her heart, STRONGLY encouraged him to break my water to get things moving. He did and then left the room. I was not yet 5cm. 

My first contraction after that was intense. I wanted my epidural. Now. I felt ridiculous asking for it so soon but knew from my previous labors that I couldn't go long with that kind of pain. They called the anesthesiologist.

At this point let me give you a little background. I'm super sweet during my labors. I never screamed, was way calm and kind to my husband. With both of the girls my nurses kept saying what a great team we made. Yes, I thought we were pretty cool. 

Bridger was a different story. With each contraction I was writhing, moaning, and when Ryan asked what he could do to help I forcefully would say, "Just SIT down." I honestly felt like I was going to die. The nurse nonchalantly would say at the peak of each contraction, "Well I paged the anesthesiologist, I wonder where he could be?" 
After 25 minutes of completely unacceptable behavior and noise making on my part (I still can't believe that I threw all dignity out the door) my nurse said, "Let's just check and see how things are going down here...Oh my, honey, give me one push. Yep, you are a 10. Let's just have this baby right now."
25 minutes to get from a "a good 4 1/2, almost 5cm" to a 10. At this point no one could tell me when to push or take a break. It was just going to happen. 3 pushes later and my 8lb 6oz Bridger Wesley was placed on my chest at 3:05pm. I opened my eyes for the first time in 20 minutes, looked up at Ryan and started crying/laughing and said, "What the hell just happened?!"




It was the most surreal thing I have every experienced. It took a while for me to process what had just happened and that it was all over. 
My mom drove into town with the girls and brought them to see us and meet their brother. I loved that moment...


They gave me about an hour and half to breathe before moving us from labor and delivery to another room where we would stay the night.
Ryan took the girls and got teriyaki take-out that we all shared together before he took the them home around 9pm that night. 
After a routine blood sugar test the nurses did on Bridger they said his levels were pretty low so they were going to put him in the NICU overnight for some observation. I took a hot shower and slept for a couple hours before they called me to come over and feed him. At this point they informed me that they were admitting him for 48-72 hours because his protein levels were a little off which could be an indicator of a possible infection. 
Ryan brought the girls back into town and I was discharged. We checked into a hotel that night so that Ryan could pick his parents up from the airport and I could go back and forth for feedings. That next day we were told that our boy was going to need to stay in the NICU for 10 days, instead. That was rough. We live about an hour from the hospital and so it wasn't possible for me to be there for every feeding. I bought a breast pump and drove home that night. For the next week I set alarms to wake up and pump, call the NICU to see when he ate last, go in for the early morning feeding, stay in town and kill time between feedings and shift changes, and then drive home to be with my family in the evenings.  


Ryan was just beyond amazing. He cared for the girls, spent time with his parents who had come to visit, let me drive back and forth everyday and cry at night when I missed our boy, and so selflessly put his own desire to hold our son on the back burner. That was hard for him but he never put himself first. When he was able to come in and visit, his parents were a life saver in helping run the house and entertain the girls while we were gone. I'm so grateful for them and the timing of their trip.

Our 10 days in the NICU gave me a lot of perspective. I am grateful we had a healthy "sick baby" and I often felt ridiculous and guilty having a chunky, over due baby next to so many babies that were too small to hold. My exhaustion felt unjustified compared to the parents that had spent months in there. And NICU nurses are saints. The kindest women I've ever met. I miss seeing them.

We are home now, though, and life is pretty great. 
And we have three kids...we feel so complete.

April 8, 2014

transition.


I'm not surprised it happened this way, I expected it really. I go a month and a half without writing a post or even signing into blogger and then the day before I have a baby I wake up at 5:00am and think, "I should write a blog post."I'm not even fully sure what about, exactly, but it seems like the right thing to do. So here are my thoughts this morning...

There is time in labor that happens (yes, I'm actually using a birth analogy. It's on my mind a little bit, okay?) called transition. It is this noticeable shift into the second stage of labor when the baby is engaging and things really start happening. The emotions that come at this point are almost out of your control. It is intense. From my own limited experiences, this is the time when I go through these waves of "I can do this. I am so damn close." and "Nope, I'm good. I think I will just sit here and remain pregnant forever." It's the time when my (already amazing) husband steps up and knows exactly what to do and say to not let me give up. It's a gift, really.

This is the best way to describe the season of life we have been in lately. There has been a shifting. A noticeable change in the way we go about our day. It can be intense. There are days I'd rather just give up and others that I actually have some resolve to get through. Regardless, I know who is by my side and that it is worth every moment of it. I've never met a parent that holds their brand new baby in their arms and says, "Yeah, that was so not worth the pain." In fact, it's quite shocking how quickly you forget.

We are doing well, I'm not at all implying that we are in a bad place as a family. It's just life and I'm really quite looking forward to get the next stage. The transition in between stages can be rough but very necessary and every so worth it. I've missed this place and interactions that happen here but sometimes when there is just SO much on your heart, it's impossible to share it. The good thing is, I know what's ahead and so I'm not giving up yet. :)

And don't worry, I will be sure to introduce you to our son very, very soon!

February 11, 2014

relationship with my kids.


So if you haven't noticed, the longer I go without blogging, the easier it becomes.
It's not my intention, I simply forget about it sometimes.
I'm finding I have to work a lot harder at being consistent. With blogging, with parenting, with everything.
During these long winter months there hasn't been anything entirely pressing and I've let it effect way too many things. 
Like parenting.
As soon as I feel like I've got a good handle on things God uses my kids to show me that I don't.
At all.

Both of my girls are anything but passive.
I feel like somedays we are just playing bumper cars with one dramatic meltdown to another.
I am learning to navigate a lot of unchartered territory and seem to be doing it every way but gracefully.
My fuse is short and it isn't producing anything good in my kids. And then I'm surprised when their own reaction is different than mine? Hmmm...

I justify it at times by saying "I'm just fighting for their hearts", when in all honestly, we have their hearts. It's evident in the way that they always comes back and love on us so genuinely.
They aren't holding back on us.
They are human and they make mistakes but it doesn't mean that we have lost them.
I don't know why I didn't see this before.


I get so consumed with trying to shape, mold, and keep them in line that I'm missing out on the relationship with them.
It's true that right now it is critical in establishing their worldview and many other fundumental basics to  becoming a decent human being. But I think what hit me this morning is that the best way I can do that is by investing more in my relationship with them.
What I am doing now is important for establishing boundaries and showing them how to trust those boundaries....but I want them to also trust me. I think that is where the connection is getting lost.
I can get frustrated at times that my husband is by far the girls favorite. I am the one here all day long, investing in them, dammit! The thing is though, they are craving relationship, and that is what he is giving them. His  "Come and talk to me" "Tell me about your day" "Let's wrestle" versus my, "Sit up, eat your dinner. Use your fork, not your hands" "Hurry up and get out of the bath" "Put the books away and climb in your bed...quickly."
I am in no way saying throw the rules out the window and just be "fun".
But would it hurt me to take the extra time to be more fun on occasion? They are still so little! It's ok!

In the past I've thought each day was a battle to winning their hearts.
No. They have given me their heart, freely. It's my job to keep it and in order to do so I need to work on building my relationship with them. Simple as that. 

I am far from having this all figured out, and I'm aware I probably never will. 
But I am grateful for the little things I am learning along the way and that I haven't permanently damaged my children as of yet. :)

January 23, 2014

cherry almond shortbread cookies.



Today my sister, my best friend, and their little munchkins fly into town. I'm pretty excited about it to say the least. I cannot think of a better way to break up the winter "blah" than to see their faces. 
I am ready for couch time, coffee time, talking time, and play time. 
We have no intentions of really venturing out in the bitter cold so I have prepared by stocking the kitchen with all sorts of things that will be a great addition to the mentioned couch/coffee/talking/play time.
These cookies are my husband's favorite and he has been dropping (not so subtle) hints that it's time that I have these in the cookie jar. 
I originally got my recipe from the farmers nest. I changed it a little by substituting the vanilla extract for almond and the strawberry jam for cherry preserves. They are buttery. They are tart. They go really well with tea. 



Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Dough:
3/4 lb butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Topping:
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
Cherry preserves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix dough ingredients together until it forms a ball. In a separate bowl combine the beaten egg and water. Put the flaked coconut in a separate bowl. Scoop a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Drop it into the eggs wash and cover. Roll the ball in the coconut flakes. Place on cookie sheet and make an indentation with your thumb. Spoon a small amount of the cherry preserves into the thumbprint, just to the top. Finish with the rest of the dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the coconut is just lightly toasted. Move to rack and cool.



January 20, 2014

quotes from my two.


You guys. I have been doing "quotes from Ashlynn" posts for almost two years now. Well, now I am needing to add Selah to the list. It's hard to capture her personality because most of it includes her facial expressions. The conversations between these two girls have found Ryan and I just staring at each other  thinking, "What have we got ourselves into?"


Ashlynn- "Did you know that Jesus lives in our hearts, in the sky and in every home?!"
Selah- "No he not. He lives in Alaska."

After opening their stockings, "Hey Selah, can you go throw this wrapping paper in the garbage?"
"I can't. It's all Ashlynn's fault."
"Um, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure you opened a present too..."
"It's just too tricky."
"Well I guess we will have to take your presents back then...."
"Look, Mom! No more tricky!"

Ashlynn-"Oh, Mom! I just came down and smelled the soup you are making...It's totally horrific. I can't wait for dinner!"

"Sometimes...I just really wish you and I were twins, Mom."

Angry at her sister, " I would just like to go up to Alaska by myself with no one else so I can have some time to myself. That would be a great time."

"Did you know, when you drink beer in town the cops will trap you and put you in jail?"

I stopped Selah running into the bathroom with the air freshener, "Selah. What are you doing?"
"It's a big one..." Yes. She meant that.

Ashlynn screamed, "THERE IS AN ONION IN MY CEREAL!!!! Oh wait. Nevermind. That's just my thumb."

Ashlynn- "Mom! It's game day, where is my Seahawks shirt?"
"It's in the washer."
Totally horrified, "But, Mom......it's G A M E DAY!!!!"
Yes, we are doing something right.