Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Weekend: A Feast and a Tree

Our weekend was busy...just like I'm sure every weekend between now and Christmas will be!  

On Friday, B and I went to a Thanksgiving feast at Aniston's preschool.  Aniston had talked about the feast all week, and was so excited to have two guests with her at school that day.  The three year old class dressed as Pilgrims, and the four year old class dressed as indians.  There was a short program filled with songs, and it was the cutest thing!  

We left the girls with their grandparents Friday night (Aniston with B's parents, colicky Harper with mine--Aniston is so over Harper crying) and served Thanksgiving dinner at Celebrate Recovery with our church.  We enjoyed serving (even though it confirmed that I have no business being a waitress, ever.) and the girls had fun, too.

We spent Saturday in the mountains looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Normally, I'm a stickler for absolutely no Christmas before Thanksgiving.  No Christmas music, no Christmas movies, and definitely no Christmas decorations.  But B is working on Friday, and he's part of the worship team at church on both Saturday night and Sunday morning, so we wouldn't be able to go get a tree until the next weekend.  And who wants to wait until December 5th to get a tree?  So, I went against my usual belief that Thanksgiving deserves it's own time and decorations and now we have a tree in the house a week before Thanksgiving.  And now that the tree's here, I feel like I might as well just go ahead and decorate the whole house and just be done with it, but we'll see what happens.  

Anyway, it was a fun trip and Harper did really, really well...much better than we expected.  We definitely beat the crowd this year--there was only one other family on the hayride, and we didn't have to wait in line to pay or pick up the tree--and that has encouraged me to rethink my stance on the whole thing.  It was so much quicker and easier than last year! Eric and Chelsea went with us, and we had a great time.

 I have to point out that, yes, Harper's little leg is exposed to the cold, but  
she had a blanket wrapped around her the entire time except for when we were taking this picture.  
So, not a complete fail on my part.  

We didn't make it to church on Sunday.  I love that we have the option to watch online when things don't go as planned. (The website is if you're interested...or if you're local and looking for a church, we'd love to have you at the Lincolnton campus!)  We spent the rest of the day getting the tree situated, grocery shopping, and preparing for the week ahead.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I'm looking forward to hosting our family on Thursday! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Harper: Two Months

 Harper Shea, you are two months old!

You're growing so fast.  At your well check, you weighed 11 pounds 3 ounces (40th percentile) and were 22.5 inches long (35th percentile).  You are eating well (four ounces every three hours) and you're beginning to sleep better. 

You've had a difficult time lately.  The Zantac didn't help as much as we had hoped, and you're still having lots of issues with acid reflux and spitting up.  Dr. H switched you to Prevacid and told us to thicken your formula with rice cereal.  We're hoping that helps quickly.  It's so sad for us to watch you cry and be so uncomfortable after you eat.

You also have colic.  The hours between four and eight in the evening are not kind to us.  You go from happy to inconsolable in a matter of minutes, and continue to be until after eight.  It's a miserable time for everyone, and we hope this passes quickly--both for you and for us.

You smiled for the first time this month!  I leaned over your pack and play to pick you up one morning, and you gave me the sweetest little grin.  I absolutely melted.  You've smiled lots since then.  You're very stingy with those smiles, though, and make us work hard for them.  You've started cooing, too, and it's such a precious sound! 

You've lost some of your hair, but it's coming back in quickly.  Your eyes have continued to lighten, and are a bright, clear blue.  

You love to sit in your swing and talk to your birds and yourself in the mirror, but you don't care for the swinging motion at all.  You love bathtime, and are content to sit in the water as long as I'll let you most days.  You hate being buckled into your carseat, but love riding in the car, and it's becoming one of our favorite tricks for calming you.  

You love watching Aniston, but hate when she grabs your hand--which is very often, I'm afraid.  She loves you so much...even if you aren't quite sure about her sometimes. :)

You spend much more time awake now, and you're so alert, especially in the mornings.  We love watching you grown and change, and we're eager to see your little personality emerge.  

You're such a blessing, Harper, and we love you to pieces!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Harper's Birth Story

Our sweet Harper will be seven weeks old tomorrow!  Time is flying, and I'm trying to soak in every bit of her being this little.  After working on Harper's birth story bit by bit, I finally finished it this evening.  Blogging has allowed me to preserve so many memories, both big and small, and I can't wait to share them with my girls one day.  You can read Aniston's birth story here and here.
To begin Harper's birth story, let's go back to Monday, September 14.  That day, I marveled to the other teachers in the grade level about how good I felt.  I felt much better than I had in months.  Brooke made a comment about it being the calm before the storm, and I brushed that off quickly--I wasn't having a baby until the 21st, after all.  I worked in my classroom until 6 and then went to life group with B and Aniston, feeling more energetic than I had in a long time.

After we got home from life group that night, though, the great feeling quickly faded, and was replaced with something else.  I couldn't quite describe the feeling to anyone, but I just  The feeling continued, and it was enough to make me throw my hospital bag in the car before heading to my 38 week appointment with Dr. H on Tuesday at 11:40.  We listened to Harper's heartbeat, discussed the plan for the c-section for the following Monday, and signed all the necessary paperwork.  After I mentioned how I was feeling, Dr. H did a quick check and confidently announced that he would see me in the OR on Monday morning.

I met B for lunch, then went home and spent the rest of the afternoon resting.  I blogged about Eric and Chelsea's wedding, B mowed the grass, and we had leftovers for dinner.  It was the most normal, mundane night.

At 2:45am, Aniston woke up and yelled for B.  He went to check on her, and I took the opportunity to grab a sip of Gatorade from the fridge--the fruit punch kind was my biggest pregnancy craving.  As I walked past the foot of our bed, I felt a pop.  It wasn't anything dramatic, just strange, and I didn't give it any more thought.  B got Aniston settled, and we went back to bed.

At 3:30, my eyes flew open with a crazy thought: Was that pop my water breaking?!

I've never felt so dumb in my life.  My water broke, and I didn't even realize it until forty-five minutes later.

I quickly woke B.  While he showered, I called my OB's answering service.  Since I was a scheduled c-section, I had been told to call if anything happened because they didn't want me to go into active labor. Dr. F returned my call within minutes and said he'd meet us at the hospital.  My contractions were very far apart, and I only had one at home that I could really describe as painful.  I called my mom to come stay with Aniston, we got a few last minute things together, and we headed to the hospital. 

I love B for lots of reasons--one of which is his ability to stay calm in any situation.  Even though that frustrates me sometimes (like when I'm losing my mind and he's being calm and rational), it makes us a good team.  I panic, he doesn't, and we work together.  The only sign of him being nervous at all that morning was that, once we arrived at the hospital, he couldn't decide where to park in the empty parking deck. 

After he finally found the perfect spot (I insisted on not being dropped off at the front door), we went to OB triage and I was hooked up to lots of monitors.  We spent the time listening to Harper's heartbeat and feeling her kick.  We made the necessary calls and texts to family and friends to let them know that our sweet girl had decided to make a plan of her own instead of following ours, and would be arriving that day.  Dr. F arrived and talked with us, and the c-section was scheduled for 7:15.

Harper's birth was so different from Aniston's.  There was no rush.  No one was in a hurry, and everything was calm and relaxed.  I walked into the OR on my own, the anaesthesiologist put in the spinal block (the first one didn't take, and he had to do a second), B was allowed to come back, and Dr. F started the surgery.  It took some effort on Dr. F's part to deliver Harper, and it was evident in his voice as he said, "Ooof!  That's a big girl!"  (At that point I asked exactly how big "big" was, and had a moment of fear that we were talking about a ten pound baby.)

Harper Shea entered the world at 8:02am with a tiny cry.  She weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.  She had the sweetest cheeks and a head full of dark hair.  After the nurses cleaned her up, B brought her to me.  It was love at first sight.  She was--and is--absolutely perfect.

B and Harper went to the recovery room while Dr. F finished up in the OR.  That's the hardest part of a c-section, I think.  You've carried a baby for nine months and you're not the first to hold her, snuggle her, talk to her.  I'm thankful B got that chance, but it was still hard.  After what seemed like forever, Dr. F finished the surgery and I was finally taken to recovery and had the chance to hold my little girl.  We stayed in recovery for a long time, and I loved our quiet time together, just the three of us.  

We were moved to a room, and after we got settled B went to the waiting room to get Aniston.  She was so shy when she came into the room, and clung to B's neck when he picked her up.  I think it was just a situation where she was completely out of her element and a little unsure of everything at first.  We were able to be together as a new family of four for a few minutes before everyone else came in.  It didn't take long for Aniston to return to being her normal lively self, and she loved showing her baby sister to everyone.

Harper has made our family so much more complete.  She's the piece we never knew we were missing, and we're so thankful she's here! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Weekend

It's a rainy, dreary Monday.  I would normally be a bit blah, but Harper slept for a solid six hours last night and, in doing so, has given me the sweet, sweet gift of feeling human again.  It's 9:30 as I'm writing this, and both girls have been fed and dressed.  I've dropped Aniston off at preschool and Harper is napping happily in her swing.  I've packed the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, and straightened the house.  It has been a successful morning so far, and, despite the yucky weather, things feel bright and happy.

Our weekend was busy and full of festivities.  On Friday morning, I went to Aniston's preschool for their Halloween party.  The kids were encouraged to wear their costumes to school, and they were so cute!  Unfortunately, we were only fifteen minutes into the party when Aniston got sick.  She has had such a hard time with allergies and congestion lately.  She had been too excited to eat breakfast, and the combination of all that yucky drainage and an empty stomach just didn't work.  Even though I knew that was more than likely the reason, I still didn't want to take a chance, so I took her home.  She missed the party and the hayride, and I was so disappointed for her.  She was perfectly fine after we got home, and we spent the afternoon playing.  After B got home, we went to dinner and had the best time.  We have two of the sweetest, most precious girls.

Saturday morning, I went to a holiday gift galleria with my friend Brooke.  We went to breakfast first, and then spent the morning shopping.  It was so nice to get away for a little while and just be me.  Every mama needs that now and then.  After I got home, B had to go to work for a bit to update a system and the girls and I headed to the mall.  I hadn't really planned to do that, but I had reward dollars that were going to expire plus a few really good coupons, and both girls needed some things.  That was an adventure, to say the least.  Aniston thought she needed everything in sight, and the things she didn't need, she thought Harper had to have.  After I finished my shopping, Aniston wanted to do some of her own since she had money from her grandparents.  Before she chose anything for herself, she picked out a soft stuffed monkey for Harper.  I just melted.  After lots of thought, she finally chose a big stuffed Sven--because another stuffed animal is exactly what we need in this house.

Saturday night was spent trick-or-treating with Batgirl and Minnie Mouse.

After church on Sunday (B went because he was part of the worship team, Aniston and I watched online because it's really, really hard to get two kids ready and out the door on time), we went to a birthday lunch for my Mamaw Ruth, who turns 91 today.  Aside from B and Aniston doing some grocery shopping late yesterday afternoon, the rest of our Sunday was spent spending time together at home.

It was a busy, fun weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five on Friday

1| At my post op appointment yesterday, my blood pressure was higher than it had been during my entire pregnancy with Harper.  My doctor attributed that to stress, and laughed as he imparted this little nugget of knowledge to me: "One plus one is a heck of a lot more than two when it comes to kids."  Amen, sir.  I feel that truer words have never been spoken. (Also, I edited his quote just a smidge.  His language was a bit more colorful.)

2| I'm a little OCD about germs in general, but add a newborn to the mix and I've reached a whole new level of worry.  B reminded me that Rick Grimes had a baby during a zombie apocalypse, and so there are worse things than having a baby in the fall.  It's all about perspective.  Ha!

3| I've only had to change clothes twice today because of spit up.  I'd call that winning, but it's only 5pm as I'm writing this.  The night is still young.

4| After much (much, MUCH) debate and indecision, Aniston is going to be Batgirl for Halloween.  She is in love with her costume and may never take it off.  Thankfully, she hasn't asked to wear it out of the house yet, but I'm afraid that's coming soon. 

5| I'm now the parent who drops off her child at preschool wearing yoga pants, a t-shirt, and no makeup.  Want to know what's even worse?  I often pick her up the same way.  That would have absolutely mortified me before Harper was born, but now?  It's just about survival, friends.

I'm linking up with April and Amy today.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Harper: One Month

Sweet Harper Shea, you are ONE month old!   

Where has the last month gone?  It seems like just yesterday I was counting kicks as you bumped around in my belly.  The time is passing too quickly already.

You are the sweetest, most laid back baby. You love to be cuddled and are at your happiest when someone is holding you...which I gladly take advantage of.  Your daddy often says I'm spoiling you, but I say that's just nonsense.  You are the warmest, squishiest little thing, and I could snuggle you all day.   

You sleep a lot.  You had your days and nights mixed up for the first couple of weeks, but you're doing better now, thankfully.  Our middle of the night feedings are still our sweetest times.  Your eyes are big and wide, and you're content just to stare at me.

You're a great little eater.  At first, you were eating two ounces every two hours.  Over the last week or so, you've moved to four ounces every three hours.  You keep yourself on a pretty set schedule during the day, but will go for a longer stretch once each night--usually around four or five hours.  You have some reflux issues, and the pediatrician prescribed baby Zantac to help.

When we came home from the hospital, your weight had dropped to 7 pounds 14 ounces.  At your one month well check appointment today, you weighed 9 pounds.  (I had to look back at Aniston's one month stats just to compare, and she weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces at one month old.  Such a difference!)  You measured 20.5 inches long still, but that may not be accurate.  You are a little wiggle worm, and the nurse had a really hard time measuring you.

You're still able to wear newborn clothing.  Your 3 month outfits still swim on you, but you're beginning to fill out a few of your 0-3 month outfits.  You recently graduated to size 1 diapers.

You snort when you cry, and it may be the cutest thing I've ever heard.  You don't cry very much, except when you're hungry.  You don't give us any warning at all, and you can go from sound asleep to absolutely ravenous and screaming in mere seconds.  You often sleep with your mouth slightly open.  You have several cute little things that are unique to you--you pull your bottom lip in all the time (we have an ultrasound of you doing this before you were born), you cross your pointer finger over your thumb, and you raise your eyebrows.  You make the cutest faces, and I can't wait to see you smile on purpose.

You have lots of dark hair (much more than Aniston had).  Your eyes are still dark, though they've recently started to lighten a bit.  I can't help but hope they're bright blue like your daddy's.  You have the most precious little cheeks, and I could kiss them for days.

Precious girl, you are such a blessing and we are so happy to have you in our family.  You've only been here a month, but it's hard to even remember life without you.  
You've made our little family so much more complete, and we love you so very much.  


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Living the Dream

 Life lately is busy and overwhelming at times, but so good.  I can't believe how quickly time is passing (Harper will be one month old on Friday!), and how I can't seem to get anything done other than caring for the girls even though I'm home all day.  I keep reminding myself that that's what I'm here for, and what maternity leave is supposed to be, but I can't help but look around at the end of the day and think, What did I do today?

I'm doing life, I suppose, and last weekend was a perfect example of that.

B went to a men's retreat right after work on Friday.  I knew it was coming up and I was supportive of him going, but that didn't make him leaving any easier.

The evening was crazy and it was after 9 when I realized that even though I fixed dinner for Aniston, I never got around to eating.  I popped a few mini egg rolls in the oven (dinner of champions, I know) and only managed to eat a couple of them before Harper was crying and Aniston was yelling for me from her bedroom.

Being completely on your own with a four year old and a newborn is not for the faint of heart.  I'm not sure how single parents do it, and I don't want to find out.   Ever.

After a rough night with Harper, Aniston was up with the sun as usual.  It was at this point that I realized that, as if I didn't have enough to deal with, Henry the guinea pig--bless his heart--had crossed the rainbow bridge and was already stiff in the bottom of his cage.  I texted B because I didn't know what to do because Aniston hadn't had to deal with death until then.  Of course, he didn't have a signal where he was so I did the next best thing--I called my mom and wheeled Henry's cage onto the back porch where he waited until Mom came to bury him in the rain.  (Have I mentioned how wonderful she is?) 

I explained things as well as I could to Aniston and told her Henry was no longer with us, to which she replied, "Uh, yeah he is.  I see him right there."  She then proceeded to give him a pep talk through the patio door which consisted of phrases like, "Don't give up, Henry!",  "You can do it, Henry!", and--my personal favorite--"Believe in yourself, Henry!"


It was a very heavy conversation for a Saturday morning after a night of little sleep.  If you ask Aniston about Henry now, she'll matter of factly tell you that he went to heaven but left his fur behind.  Bless.

I took care of everyone's needs, kept the peace, tried to hold onto my sanity, and changed clothes three times before noon because of spit up.

As I walked by a mirror, I caught a glimpse of myself and my third shirt choice of the day.  It's a shirt from church.

I would have laughed at the irony of it if I wasn't so close to crying at the time.  

But you know, it's the truth.  I am living the dream.  It's a chaotic, loud, overwhelming, rewarding, wonderful, amazing dream and it's better than I ever imagined.  It's not always easy, and there are tears at times (and sometimes lots of them, depending on the day) but it is so, so worth it.

Even in the craziest moments, I couldn't ask for more.