Thursday, November 3, 2016

Our Jam

These two pictures depict all that Henley wants to do day after day. Sword fighting and play Sleeping Queens. Richard has taught me the ways of sword fighting, because before this all began I was a total novice. When he wasn't home, Henley would constantly be saying "No Mom! Watch what I do." I guess you could say I was mostly worried about when we could be done. But with some training from both Richard and Henley, I'm able to hold my own. One of my life long dreams. Also, after the picture below was taken, I was informed that no one fights in the position I chose. Thanks guys.

If you are happen to be searching for a game that your kids will love and you don't hate playing with them, I'd try this one out.  

Fall is Our Friend

When we first found out we were moving to Rockford I was a bit skeptical, but tried my best to be upbeat about the whole thing. After living here for almost three years there are a lot of things I have come to really, really love. One is how much we love the fall here. There are gobs of apple orchards, pumpkin patches, hay rides, etc to visit and the weather is almost always on the up and up. Our favorite place to go is Edward's Apple Orchard. The apples are way too expensive for us to pick (and they require you to pick a bushel), so we always pick the raspberries and blackberries. This is one of Henley's most favorite activities we do all year.

 She eats as many as she picks. This girl has a steel stomach when it comes to eating fruit. 
I got too close to the goats with Declan this year and they started nibbling a little bit at his fingers. Oops. I didn't know they would really mistake a finger for food. Good thing Rich was there to warn me. Rookie mistake. 

 Fall walks are the here.

 Her birthday bike...that she hates. That's a story for another time and place. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Is Breast Best?

I realize that I'm stepping into controversial territory writing this post, but I feel like I have been completely surrounded by this topic recently.

The other day at the library I pulled out a bottle to feed Declan and a complete stranger ask me why I wasn't nursing my baby and continued to give a list of reasons why I should. Immediately, I wanted to roundhouse kick her in the face. I didn't even want to give her an explanation, because why does it matter and why is it any of her business?!! 

A little back story...Declan has been a great eater from the get go. However, quickly the stress of extreme engorgement and an overactive letdown got to me. Trust me when I say that I tried everything I could to solve the problem, but it just wasn't getting resolved and my stress level was rising at a rapid pace. Every feeding was stressful for both me and the baby. So to make a long story short, I gave up nursing and now I solely pump. Things have been much better even though I'm still trying to figure out how to manage it all. The main thing is that I'm happier and I feel like the stress I had when nursing was affecting my relationship with Declan.

All I'm saying regarding feeding your baby is different strokes for different folks...and it should be 100% respected by all mom's. Cause really truly, being a mom is hard regardless of how you are feeding your baby. I don't even know who reads this besides my mom, but no matter what method of feeding you use for your baby, don't feel guilty and do what works for you. End rant.

Henley hung her elastics on my eyelashes for two days straight any time I fed Declan. Weird...yes.

One perk of pumping, is Henley and Richard have the chance to feed him.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Baby Number Two

Well, I wanted to get this birth story documented before my memory completely turns into mush. Below is a picture of me the day before my scheduled C-section. I was very much looking forward to not being grateful as I was to be pregnant. 

The night before the procedure, my Mom flew in which was a relief. I can't even remember what we did that night except I remember finishing up packing my bag and having mixed feelings about putting Henley to bed. See, I had to be in to the hospital by 5:30 am and I knew I wasn't going to see her again before I went it. This got me all sorts of emotional. I was basically a basket case the second my head hit the pillow and I didn't get much sleep. I kept thinking "this is your last chance to get a good night of rest." I think that put a little too much pressure on sleeping. 

As soon as we got to the hospital, the work began. I changed into my gown and from that point on, there was someone in our room prepping something. I got my IV (it hurt way less this time), had to drink that disgusting acid crap, and answer a billion questions. The anesthesiologist came in and spoke to us pre-surgery as well. Rich had worked with him before, which made for a good situation and Rich said he was one of the best anesthesiologists at the hospital. One of my biggest hopes for this time around was to not be puking the entire first day of the baby's life. I was incredibly sick from the medication with Henley for the first 24 hours and it was miserable. Puking + nursing + visitors + exhaustion = a foggy day. I was assured that they would do everything they could to avoid it. So around 8:30 am they wheeled me into the operating room, while Rich waited nearby. They gave me my spinal, laid me down and then I had to spread eagle for what seemed like an eternity to get a catheter. Humiliating x1000. After such shinanagans, I basically lost my cool and started crying. I knew I was really nervous, but I didn't realize how nervous I was until I opened the flood gates. I think the reason I was so scared this time was because Henley was waiting at home for me. It added an extra level of emotion for me. By the time they got Richard into the OR I was a complete emotional wreck. He asked me what was wrong and all I could say way that I was scared. Between him and the anesthesiologist talking to me I became somewhat distracted during the surgery, which I think was their point. 

At 8:57 am, our little baby was born. He started crying immediately which was like music to my ears. As soon as Rich saw him he said, "Wow, he looks a lot like you did when you were a baby." Poor thing...I wasn't very cute. They took him over to the pediatrician and nurse and he continued to wail and wail. This was the first sign of him being harder then Henley to calm down. They weighed him, telling us that he was 8 lbs, which in fact we found out later that the pediatrician had told us wrong and that he actually weighed 8 lbs 8 oz (WHAT?!! I never thought I would have a baby that large). Rich was able to cut the cord and shortly after bring him over to me.

Us three were able to hang out like this for about ten minutes and that was pretty special. Rich and I didn't talk much during this time cause I think we were both in shock about having two kids. However, the first things we noticed about him were his long fingernails, how much hair he had on his shoulders and how small and slit-like his eyes were. Funny thinking back that those were the attributes that stuck out to us. 

I was taken back to my room after everything was finished up. The baby was brought to the room about 45 minutes later. When they brought him in, they moved the bed into a semi upright position so I could nurse him and unfortunately I started throwing up. That didn't stop until the wee hours of the morning. I'm not gonna was rough. On the bright side, he was a great eater and slept for the majority of the first day. We decided on the name Declan Curtis Bell. We had other options, but this one was the name we were favoring for most of the pregnancy.

Henley and my Mom came later that afternoon and I would have to say that seeing those two meet for the first time was pretty magical. I know it sounds weird, but you could tell she really loved him already. I was worried about the whole meeting thing because I've heard kids aren't interested in new siblings right away, so that is what I had planned on. She was actually quite interested in him and loved holding him. Their little bond continues to tug on my heartstrings.

The next couple of days were pretty relaxing and exhausting at the same time. Rich and I were able to spend some one on one time with the baby and each other before going home and we really appreciated that extra time we had to bond with him. 

We had good care at the hospital. The baby slept in my arms for the majority of the two nights we were there. Not by choice, but because our hospital didn't have a nursery so there wasn't the option of sending him with the nurses for a break. He was unhappy in the bassinet so I just held him. I got reprimanded from the staff, but I didn't care. Mama needed sleep. 

I know this picture isn't clear, but Henley held my hand the entire way out of the hospital. She was overly concerned that I was in a wheelchair and thought I couldn't walk anymore. Haha. 

To wrap this up, everything went smoothly and we are so happy to have Declan as part of our family. We feel really blessed and extremely grateful. Having kids is really an incredible experience. 

Side note: one thing that was a little disappointing was the pictures we ended up with. This wasn't our first rodeo, but somehow we didn't get very many good pictures right when he was born or in the hospital. You would think we were rookies.