I’m back!

family photo shoot

I am so excited to be back in this space after a challenging couple of months.  The entire month of April was spent being more sick than I’ve ever been.  Like ever. It started out as an unidentified virus with crazy high fevers and utter exhaustion.  Every day for over a week I would wake up with a low but manageable fever, thinking today would be the day I would feel better.  Then right around 4PM I would crash.  Hard.  My fever would spike to 102/103, and I would feel  like I got hit by a truck.  Alex was out of town, so I was running the show solo, along with the help of some truly wonderful friends.  And some truly wonderful new iPhone apps like Postmates (delivery from any restaurant in town) and Instacart (grocery delivery).  I went to urgent care two separate times in two weeks, just wanting someone to give me some answers.  My virus turned into Bronchitis, which honestly seemed easier than the fever.  And when Alex came home I just stayed in bed as much as possible.  Nursing and napping with Poppy in my white linen cocoon.  After a week or so of this, my body started reacting in the worst ways to all the coughing.  Sore throat, achy muscles, and exhaustion to name a few.  But everywhere I read just said Bronchitis could last up to a month, and there is literally nothing that can medically help except rest.  Which is, of course, next to impossible when you are the mama to three young children.  So I fought on.  Alex left town again for a week, and I thought I might be feeling better.  Then my fever came back.  And I knew something was still really wrong.  I went to a new Doctor and gave him the whole rundown. I was nursing Poppy as he examined me, and practically begging him for some sort of help, some sort of answer.  And then he heard the rattling in my lungs.  They took a bunch of blood and whisked me to another clinic for a chest X-Ray.  An hour later he called, it was pneumonia and I needed to be on antibiotics immediately or I would have to be hospitalized.  So I packed the kids in the car and headed to the pharmacy.  This was a Friday night and Alex wasn’t due back until Sunday.  My parents couldn’t fly out in time to make it worth it to be here for just one day, so my friends swooped in.  And the kids and I pushed through.  We watched a lot of movies, ordered in all of our meals, and left the house a complete untouched mess.  It was survival mode.  I was terrified of what the antibiotics would do to Poppy so I googled, and called pediatricians and lactations specialists.  I didn’t want to mess with her tiny belly and I had heard enough about thrush to know I couldn’t possibly add that onto my laundry list of current dreadful symptoms.

The antibiotics kicked in over that weekend and I finally started feeling better.  By this point my cough was almost gone and my fever was going back down, I was just so tired.  For days.  Then the next week at Poppy’s 6 month appointment, we found out she dropped in the weight charts from the 25th percentile to the 8th percentile.  Our pediatrician knew I had pneumonia because I had talked to her about the side effects of the antibiotics before I started taking them.  But I don’t think any of us recognized the magnitude of how sick I really was and how much it must have affected my milk supply.  Poppy never seemed particularly hungry or fussy so I at the time I didn’t know what was happening, but clearly my body just wasn’t giving her enough.  So I called a lactation specialist who walked me through what our bodies had been going through and what we should do going forward.  So we have been spending the last month trying to get both of us back to normal.

In the midst of all of this, my computer hard drive was mechanically destroyed.  We took the drive to three different data recovery places, but everything was gone.  Luckily, I save all of my photos from my “real” camera on a separate drive.  But everything from my iPhone photo stream (literally thousands and thousands of photos, the every day stuff) that saved to my iPhoto was gone.  I know I know, I should have backed them up.  I should have had them on the cloud.  It was always on my to do list, it just never happened.  And in the back of my mind I sort of just thought if anything ever went wrong someone would be able to recover everything.  It was literally straight out of the Sex and The City episode where Carrie realizes she’s the only person who doesn’t back up her work.  I was sad Mac’d.  And I was devastated.

These last two months were the first time as a mother where I truly felt I hit my limit.  I have always been the type of person who feels invincible, who could do anything.  I’m always spinning a hundred plates but still eager to take on more.  But this time has made me realize that I can’t do everything.  I’ve learned to say no to things that I feel are pushing us all too far, and admit that I sometimes need help.  My kids were so loving and caring, always offering extra hugs or words of encouragement as we ran late into school day after day.  I will never forget hearing Adam say to Lake, “Mama’s just not feeling good today, I can help you with your shoes.”  It was like he grew up 2 years in 2 months.  And my friends who offered the kids rides every day, who would bring me coffee or feed me any time I saw them, or would come over to hold Poppy or fold a load of laundry.  I love them all dearly and I cannot wait to return the kindness when they need a few extra hands.

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family photo shoot los angeles

christy dawn dress

 

 

 

A Poppy Was Born

Birth Story

Everyone kept telling me to be prepared for how fast labor can go with baby #3.  But both Adam and Lake took hours of lovely epidural clouded labor, and I just assumed this one would be the same.  I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I might have been a little too quick to dismiss these warnings!

In the weeks leading up to her due date, we knew Poppy was breach (sideways).  We also knew not to be too concerned, because Lake was breech into her 39th week as well.  At 38 weeks we scheduled an external version, a procedure where our beloved OB would try to turn head down with his hands on my belly.  This would prevent me going into labor with her in the wrong position which could lead to an extremely dangerous labor for both mom and baby.  They don’t always work, but he performed an easy and successful external version with Lake, so we knew it could be done with little worry.  But she apparently was not all that excited about being pushed around, because the day before we were supposed to go to the hospital for the version we suspected she had turned all on her own.  We went to see the Doc and after confirming she was in the right place he high fived us and said we in the clear.  MOST babies stay put this late in the game once they are head down. But knowing that Lake had turned sideways again at this point, I knew there was a possibility this baby could too.  I was sent home with instructions to return Tuesday (5 days later).  Tuesday morning I woke up and I could have sworn she was sideways again.  Her kicks and pushes always felt stronger when she was sideways and my belly looked wider.  Sure enough, at 39 weeks, when I got to the Dr and he felt my belly he got a surprised/exasperated look on his face and said you just bought yourself an ultrasound, her head is definitely not down.  So he made sure she was in a favorable position and that I had enough fluid to try turning her and scheduled another version for noon on Thursday.  This time he told me to just swing by the office on the way to the hospital if we think she might have flipped head down on her own.  So we lined up babysitters for the two big kids, packed our hospital bags in case of an emergency c section during the procedure, and prepared ourselves for all the possibilities that lie ahead.  But come Thursday morning, Alex looked at my belly and said, she’s not sideways anymore.  He was right.  So we went to the Doc for an ultrasound to confirm, and promptly cancelled ANOTHER version.  Alex and I breathed a little sigh of relief and instead of checking into the hospital we had a lovely breakfast at Bouchon.

We headed into our final weekend as a family of four with nothing to do but spend time loving up our two kiddos as best we could.  I had an appointment to see the Doc on Tuesday and an induction scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday. Since she was still dancing all over my Doc didn’t want me to go too far and risk going into labor with her breach.   In a more controlled situation we knew I would be safe and she would be safe.  Also, since I was absolutely going to get an epidural anyway, I was not afraid of a nice long, slow induction.  I looked forward to a day of lying in a hospital bed, comfortably watching movies and enjoying my favorite lemon popsicles.

At this point I was 39 plus weeks, just two days away from my original due date.  Our babysitter was scheduled to come Thursday morning to spend the day with the kiddos until my parents arrived that night.  And another babysitter and my closest friends were on high alert in case baby girl decided to make a surprise early appearance in the middle of the night.  There is something so unnerving about such an a huge, important milestone that could happen at any moment and you have no idea when.  Every day I would walk into preschool and everyone would say “oh wow you’re still pregnant!”

On Tuesday morning, the day of my last appointment, I started having very mild contractions.  And I felt like she was still head down.  It was a hot, sunny, LA day.  I decided to take Lake with me since my appointment was in the afternoon after I picked her up from preschool.  I always parked in the neighborhood behind my Dr’s office, and I remember calling Alex saying maybe this plan was flawed as I waddled down the sidewalk carrying my 2 year old on my 39 week belly in 100 degree heat.  It was a moment I will never forget.  I was still having very mild contractions here and there, never consistent and never painful.  During the appointment my Dr said I was 2 cm dilated but that I still had a long way to go.  Since things were starting to happen we switched the induction to Wednesday rather than Thursday.  I asked him if he thought I would make it until morning, and he of course said that since he had no crystal ball there was no way of knowing. But since I still had a while to go he thought I probably would.  I asked him what the protocol was for when to go to the hospital.   When I was in labor with both Adam and Lake I went to the hospital before I was in active labor, for various reasons, so this was somewhat new for me.  He told me contractions should be 5 minutes apart about for a couple hours, then I could go in.

After the appointment, Lake and I met Adam at school for My Gym, one of our favorite weekly activities.  I was still having slight contractions on and off, but none that felt serious or real.  Like most weeks, we went to The Counter for dinner with a table full of kids and moms after school.  I started using my contraction timer app during dinner, and they were still about 15-20 minutes apart lasting for less than a minute.  And still super mild.  Alex had a work event over the hill that he was hoping to attend, so I took the kids home, threw them in the tub and got them ready for bed.  During their bath I called Alex and jokingly said, maybe bath time wasn’t the best idea while I was having contractions!  They were just starting to get slightly uncomfortable.  But the kids were super sweet and went to bed nicely.  I decided not to tell them about our induction the next day. Adam had been talking about being nervous about me and the baby being safe during delivery, and I didn’t want him to be terrified knowing we were at the hospital while he was at school.  After the kids were asleep I spent the next hour or so doing some work and watching TV, contractions were getting a little closer together but still only lasting for about a minute.  I called Alex around 9 and asked him when he expected to be home, only because it felt a little lonely timing contractions by myself.  He said he would leave right away and swing by the grocery store to pick up some juice for me on his way home.  I was still feeling great so I decided to take a shower and try to fix my hair.  I was dying to be one of those cute moms with perfectly curled hair right after delivery!  I had texted my babysitter earlier in the day to make sure she left her phone on that night in case something happened in the middle of the night.  But when I stood up to walk to my room, I had my strongest contraction yet and started feeling pressure (duh, I don’t know why I didn’t think this might happen after lounging on the couch for 2 hours!)  So I called my sitter and asked if she would come over and stay here with us, at this point knowing I probably wasn’t going to make it to my induction in the morning.  She asked if she had a few minutes to pack and get ready for work the next day, I said of course!  I’m sure I have a couple hours before I have to go anywhere!  I jumped in the shower thinking a nice warm relaxing shower might slow things down, but instead I think I was in and out in 2 minutes, barely limping to my closet to throw on clothes.  Needless to say my hair did NOT get curled.  Alex called and said he was just pulling into the store and asked what I wanted, I said you better skip it and come straight home. By the time he arrived 3 minutes later I was in the middle of a contraction on our bed, not able to talk, barely able to breath.  This was definitely not what he expected to see since just 20 minutes earlier I was calmly chatting with him saying maybe he should think about making his way home!  At this point I knew our babysitter was on her way from Glendale so we had another 15 or 20 minutes to wait, and he said absolutely not we are going to the hospital now.  I fought him for a second and said no, the Doctor said this should go on for an hour or two before I go to the hospital!  Then another contraction happened almost immediately and I said, yep, ok we’re going.  Alex called a dear friend that lives nearby to come stay with the kids until our sitter arrived.  By the time he got to our house I was in the car and terrified, things were happening way to fast.  And there was no break in between my contractions.  By the time one ended another was already starting.  So Alex jumped in the car and drove as fast as he could with me yelling no!  slow down!  that hurts!  I was hanging for dear life on the bar inside the car door because every tiny bump made the baby drop even lower and every contraction stronger.  But since we were going over Coldwater Canyon, basically the curviest, bumpiest, mountain road in Los Angeles, poor Alex was a little conflicted.  I was shouting slow down!  now speed up hurry hurry!  through the entire drive.  Somehow as he was fighting this fight he also called our on call Doctor.  I heard him ask how long my contractions had been like this and he said about 15 minutes.  Then the Doctor asked which baby this was, Alex said 3, and he said ok!  I’m calling your Doctor now and he’ll meet you at the hospital!

I could think of only two things as we were going over the hill 1. How long it was still going to be before I could get an epidural and how many contractions I would have to fight through without it.  And 2. That there was a fire station at the bottom of Coldwater and I couldn’t deliver her in the car, we just needed to make it to the fire station.  When we got to the fire station Alex said it’s 3 more minutes to the hospital, you can make it 3 more minutes.  So we flew the last mile to the hospital, potentially through a red light or two, and cruised up to the ER dropoff.  Alex ran in and brought out an awesome lifesaver of a guy who helped me into a wheel chair.  I was so happy to be within those walls with people to take care of me.  This nice man apologized for every tiny bump along the route to the elevator, and I moaned and groaned through my never ending contractions.  I was right out of a terrible romantic comedy.  When we made it up to L&D, the woman at the desk said oh great we’ve been waiting for you!  Sign this one random thing and go right on in.  The nice man wheeled me into the closest room where a team of nurses was standing in the hall waiting for me.  They tried to say something nice and the first words out of my mouth were I need an epidural.  They all giggled and said, ok that’s fine but we need to check you first.  I said, great, do that, but I need an epidural right now.  Clearly they knew I was serious so they called in the anesthesiology team.  I was 7.5 cm dilated.  Within minutes they were setting me up for my epidural, and even though I was fighting through a constant contraction they quickly got me hooked up and said ok, just one more contraction and then you should feel a little relief.  And then my water broke.  And the contractions kept coming.  All I kept saying was they won’t stop!  I just need a break for a second!  I asked for more epidural so the anesthesiologists dialed me up a bit and said they weren’t going anywhere, that they would just stand right in the room in case I needed them.  Hooray!  The nurse checked me again and in those 15 minutes since I arrived I was at 10 and ready to push.  But I really wanted to wait for my Doctor.  Less than a minute later Alex said, I think he’s here, I just heard a high five down the hall.  Sure enough, seconds later, he waltzed in and said, hey Em!  How are you?  I said, I’m ok but can I have more epidural?  His reply?  How about let’s just have this baby. He quickly ran me through what I was going to do, and told me to push on the next contraction which I did.  Then as I started my second push I said yikes! why does this one hurt so much more?!  And he said because she’s here!  Look down!  And this tiny little red smushy peanut looked back at me with the same eyes as her big brother and sister.  She immediately let out a little cry and they swiftly plopped her on my chest.  She snuggled in and whimpered with sweetest little voice.  I turned to Alex and laughed and said what just happened?  That went so fast!  From the time I called him and said maybe you might want to think about coming home because I’m starting to have more contractions, to the time she was born was under 2 hours.  It was truly a whirlwind.  I had been preparing for a nice long, slow labor, blissfully relaxed by epidural, happily snacking on lemon ice and watching movies just like my other two deliveries.  I loved that time, knowing we were about to meet our baby, anticipating, waiting, enjoying our time together in such a safe, nurturing environment.  But that’s not how this baby wanted to roll.  At one point during the chaos my L&D nurse turned to me and said, I think this is going to be over so soon we aren’t even going to have time to become best friends!  Which is so true, my nurses for my other deliveries were absolutely my best friends.

After the Doctor finished everything up, he told us the reason this was only (ONLY!) 8 pounds 7 ounces rather that 9 and 13 like my other two babies, was that the umbilical cord was not properly attached to the placenta.  I had a momentary freak out, and he reassured me that she was fine, that 8 and 7 was completely normal and healthy and there was nothing to worry about.

So our tiny Poppy seed was here.  After the Doctor and nurses got everything situated, we spent the next two hours just the three of us.  It was quiet and calm and Poppy snuggled and nursed.  She looked around at us with all the wonder of a brand new baby.   When it was time to be wheeled into our postpartum room, it was about 1am.  We got situated, I ate a sandwich, Poppy nursed some more, we met our new lovely nurse, and we sent out calls and texts to some very surprised family members who weren’t expecting to get this call until the next afternoon after our induction.  Since the other kids didn’t know we had left, Alex went home around 3am to sleep at home so the kids wouldn’t be scared if they came looking for us.  I felt completely comfortable by myself and one harmless newborn, with a team of nurses there to make sure we were taken care of.  As predicted, Adam wandered into our room shortly after Alex got home and asked where I was.  We wanted Adam and Lake to go to school the next day, Wednesday, and wait until after school to come see us.  But of course if they knew where we were it would be super hard for them to go to school, so Alex lied and said I was running an errand.  Adam, a pretty smart 4 year old, replied with, at a store that’s open in the middle of the night?  But he seemed to accept the possibility and went back to sleep.  The next morning, Alex took them to school as planned and they were blissfully in the dark until Alex came back after school with really really special news.

Seeing the two kids walk into the hospital room that day was one of my favorite moments of my entire life.  Adam crawled right up next to me in bed, gave me a big hug his eyes searching mine as if I was somehow different.  Then he just said, where is my new baby?  (This is what he called her for the first few weeks of her life, the new baby.)  For the next few hours we all had dinner together, watched movies, and snuggled up with Poppy.  When Alex went to take them home they gave me a hug and as they walked out of the room Lake calmly waved and said bye baby!  My heart literally broke into a thousand pieces and I just knew our family couldn’t be more perfect.

Birth Story

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daddy and new baby

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Young Love Story Favorites // Misha and Puff

I’m so excited to be starting a new series on the blog showcasing my favorite baby and mama products.  These are by no means “must have” items that you can’t live without, they are just things that have been special to us or have offered us a helping hand when we needed one.   In the insanely overwhelming world of baby products, it’s impossible to keep up with what you really need.  So this series is about things our family has loved along the way.  Some are obvious and can be found at Target or Amazon, some are from smaller more specialized companies.

I wanted the first piece to be on something that we will hold on to for a long time rather than on something temporary that has gotten us through a quick phase.  Since Poppy is likely our last baby, I am highly sentimental about everything she touches and am already saving her favorite baby clothes.  My absolute favorite pieces are these gorgeous hand knits by Misha and Puff.

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Misha and Puff knits are incredibly soft, made from all natural, washable merino wool or alpaca wool.  The rich hand dyed yarn colors vary from season to season.  The nature of the knit allows you to stretch the fabric as your baby grows to ensure a long life.  Each piece is knit by hand in Peru by their talented team of knitters who work to support their families.  The knitters work from home or in the Misha and Puff knitting center which provides meals and daycare.   The strong connection between the knitters and the company is apparent in each meticulously made item.  The name of the woman who created your piece is included on the hang tag so you become part of their community as well.  These heirloom quality knits are sure to last many lifetimes and I hope one day Poppy will be passing them down to her own babies.  Any one of their pieces would be perfect for your squishy cuddly babe, or would make a gorgeous baby gift for friends or family.

Poppy is wearing the pinetree playsuit, the dayhike booties, and the popcorn bonnet.

misha and puff dayhike booties carnation

misha and puff popcorn bonnet

Resolutions

I’ve never really made New Year’s resolutions before.  They always just seem like more to add to my ever growing and impossible to accomplish to-do list.  But this year there are a few things I would like to focus on that might make our family’s life more enjoyable.  And I feel like if I write them here, with all of you as my witnesses, I will have to honor them!

  1. BE ON TIME  I am perpetually late.  Which means my kids are perpetually late, and that’s not fair.  It’s not fair that every time we leave the house I am shouting at them and rushing them.  I am going to try to leave more time to put on shoes, pack up bags, and walk peacefully and calmly out the door.  And if you’ve ever seen Adam (who always moves as if he’s moving through peanut butter) get ready you know I’m going to have to leave A LOT of extra time.
  2. BLOG MORE This space was intended to be a place for me to share stories about our life and give helpful tips and observations along the way.  I am certainly not claiming to be any sort of expert, and I have learned enough not to judge other parents’ decisions.  We are all doing the best we can.  But I have discovered some things along the way that have made my life easier and I hope to share more this year.
  3. CONSUME LESS Alex was excited about this one.  Even though I made sure to point out that it’s not necessarily intended to spend less, although I am hoping that’s a happy side effect.  I truly want to bring less STUFF into our home.  Toys, clothes, decorations, nick nacks, all of it.  I understand the value of having a variety of thought provoking toys.  We have every drawer in our living room filled with legos, crafts, puzzles, games, paints, markers, drawings and papers, which I will happily add to.  But other than that we just have too much stuff.  It’s everywhere.  And I can’t keep up.  The laundry, the toy closets, the kitchen cabinets.  We are filled to the brim.  It’s time to try a more streamlined way of life.  And I know, that means less shopping.  But I’m giving it a go.
  4. MORE KISSES This was Alex’s contribution to the list.  And I’m happy to oblige <3

Maternity Photo Shoot

I know I know, belly photos are such old news around here!  And even though I’m a few months behind, these photos by the amazing Nicole Elizabeth Photography are too beautiful not to share.  She, as always, has captured Adam and Lake so perfectly and I just want to remember this day forever and ever.

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First Annual Gingerbread House Party

“First Annual.”  Such a nice ring to it with such good intentions.  But this is really one I’m hoping to recreate each year.  With a table full of treats to decorate with (and snack on) the kiddos were in gingerbread heaven.

I decided to build the houses the night before since all of the kids are still pretty young.  Thanks to Target, I had a quick and easy kit that came with 4 kid-sized Gingerbread houses, all with different details to make each one unique.  I also bought extra frosting (in a jar from the grocery store, no judgements) and lots of extra decorating goodies.

We ordered some pizzas for the kids while the moms enjoyed a cheese plate and wine.  Then the kids did a book only gift exchange and everyone left saying “Happy Christmas friends!”  It was pretty perfect.

Ingredients for a cute Gingerbread House Party:

This incredibly easy Gingerbread Village kit (includes 4 houses, I bought 3 boxes)

Extra frosting, I used 3 store bought jars.

Fun decorations.  The kit comes with sprinkles, spice drops, and candy balls.  I bought extra plus holiday m&ms, marshmallows, skittles, candy canes, and candy lights.

Adorable friends.

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gingerbred house party

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Naughty or Nice

Santa

Last night we went to visit Santa.  It was our yearly tradition of “Sushi and Santa” at Katsuya at the Americana.  So LA, I know.  But it’s lovely.  Millions of beautiful lights, a giant tree, live music and snow.  It’s a Christmas wonderland.  On our drive there I realized that we haven’t talked about Santa much this year.  Lake had no idea who he is and I wanted her to be excited and not terrified.  And Adam hasn’t talked at all about what he was going to ask Santa for.  In fact, he hasn’t really talked about getting presents at all.  So far Christmas truly has been about being excited to go to Minnesota to see family, decorating the house and their room, and practicing songs for their school Christmas program.  I didn’t realize it until last night, but I was proud that Adam wasn’t making it about things he wanted.  It took him a long time to even come up with something to ask Santa for.

When it came time to actually meet Santa Adam was prepared.  He very politely told him he would like a new Transformer toy.  The lovely Santa was so sweet and kind and said well that sounds fun!  But remember you have to be a good boy.  And you have to do two things, be nice to your siblings and listen to your folks.  Seemed easy enough.  Alex and I giggled, Adam smiled, we took a photo and left.  10 minutes later we were getting in the car and Adam was drinking what was left of his water.  Lake had said she wanted water also so as he was drinking Alex told him not to drink it all.  Two seconds later he finished it.  Alex and I immediately jumped all over him about being disappointed that he didn’t share with his sister and he immediately burst into tears.  The inconsolable sobbing, can’t talk kind of tears.  We let him cry for a second and started driving home thinking he was just tired.  But he was so beyond upset, more sad than I’ve ever seen him.  Through the sobs he was trying to say that he didn’t hear us and that he didn’t know Lake wanted water.  And then he said I just don’t know if I’ve been a good boy this year.  And my heart shattered into a million pieces.  This sweet little boy with a heart bigger than anyone I’ve ever known, who is endlessly kind to his sisters, even when they are terrorizing the place, who shares without being told all day long, who constantly asks if we can go home and “cuddle as a family.”  But he was so scared that this one single incident made him a bad kid.  He said he was going to have a sad Christmas because he wasn’t going to get any presents.  I pulled over to the side of the road and crawled into the back of the car next to him and tried to explain through my own tears that he was the best person I know.  And that Christmas was about giving gifts to the people you love and that so many people love him.  It sort of helped.

Up until last night we have never tied presents to being naughty or nice.  We don’t have an elf that watches over the house to report back to Santa about how the kids are acting, we don’t talk about naughty and nice lists.  We don’t believe Christmas should be about threatening kids into good behavior.  And yes, in most houses an innocent reference to Santa watching to illicit good behavior is completely benign and I am certainly not passing judgement.  But in our house right now it’s just not necessary.

While I love the magic of Christmas, I haven’t completely been able to wrap my head around the whole Santa situation.  I want my kids to believe.  I just don’t want Christmas to revolve around him.  So we will still leave him cookies and set out our stocking, but we won’t write him letters telling him how good we’ve been and the gift he brings will be small but fun.  And if Adam starts asking real questions I think it’s going to be hard for me to keep the ruse alive for too long.

Already this morning Adam has gone back to talking about gifts he wants to get for Lake and Poppy, and getting excited to go to Minnesota.  So hopefully he knows he’s going to have a great Christmas.  Because I know giving really does make him happy, and we can’t wait to fly to Minnesota to play in the snow and spend time with all the people we love.

Thoughts From Our First Days As A Family of 5

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Things I’m grateful for: a beautiful, healthy, snuggly warm baby girl.
Adam and his sweet, caring, nurturing love for his new baby sister, and his mama. Today he randomly turned to ask me, how are you feeling mama?
Lake’s singing. Last night Lake was having a hard time going to sleep with everyone else in the house still awake. So I laid in bed with her and we sang every song she knows. Twice. Her little voice touches my heart in such a way. After a few days of relying on Alex whenever she needed anything, it was really nice when she asked me to lay down and sing with her.
Adam and Lake’s team. They have grown so close, and you can see them appreciating their friendship during this time of crazy transition. They were off to school together this week and I couldn’t help but tear up with pride over this incredible bond they have formed. They truly do have each other’s backs and love each other as only siblings can.
My team. I am so hyper aware of Adam and Lake’s feeling right now. I might have even bought them a box of Count Chocula at the store today to bring home as a surprise. And of course there is also a hungry newborn to take care of. But I’m feeling ok with it all right now, like I might actually be able to handle this. Because of my team. My parents who are staying with us, making my favorite meals, bringing me coffee in bed in the morning, loving up my kids. My friends who are bring me my favorite snacks and sending love and support all day through texts, calls and emails. I feel it all. And it’s giving me the strength to be able to give everything I have to my 3 little ones.
My husband. And his thoughtful gifts, his baby rocking in the middle of the night, his patience with the toddlers and his overflowing love for our tiny Poppy. His support for all 4 of us is unwavering.

What’s In My Hospital Bag

After many weeks of procrastination, I finally packed my bags for the hospital!  We had an external version scheduled yesterday (which ultimately was cancelled since baby girl turned on her own) and it forced me to be prepared in case she decided to make an appearance.  Here’s what’s in my bag, I also have a separate diaper bag packed for baby since we won’t need her things right away.

what to pack for the hospital

  1.  A comfortable nursing bra.  Find one that is good to sleep in and provides easy access for nursing.  My favorites are always from Target.  I have splurged on higher end brands in the past only to be disappointed in the long run.  You also may want to throw in a couple pairs of very large undies in case you don’t like the mesh underwear the hospital provides.  I happen to love the crazy mesh underwear, they are super soft and stretchy, but many moms don’t share my enthusiasm for disposable underwear!
  2. Milkmaid Tea  I love Earth Mama Angel Baby but there are a handful of great options.  If you plan to breastfeed it’s smart to do everything in your power to get your milk to come in as soon as possible.  This tea has always helped my milk supply so I start drinking it almost immediately after my babies are born to start speeding up the milk production process.  Plus it’s yummy and cozy to have a warm cup of tea in bed.
  3.  Zoe Organics Belly Butter  This super rich belly butter that I used throughout my pregnancy to prevent stretch marks also has ingredients to help your skin regain it’s elasticity after you deliver.  And trust me, you are going to want all the elasticity you can get.  Also, your first shower after delivery will be the best shower of your life and it’s nice to have some of your favorite products with you to make it even more luxurious.
  4.  A pretty robe.  I love this one from Plum Pretty Sugar.  Everyone will tell you not to bring anything you don’t want ruined.  But my philosophy is that all clothes can be washed and it’s nice to feel pretty if you will be having visitors or photos taken during your hospital stay.  You don’t need to be dolled up every day all day, but there may be times when you want to have the option of feeling cute.  This goes for makeup as well.  I have a small bag of just a few necessities, some lip gloss, tinted moisturizer, blush, and dry shampoo for my hair.  It may not ever get touched but I like having the option.
  5.  A phone charger, or two or three if your husband also needs one and you are also bringing an ipad or ipod.  There is often a lot of down time during your stay and you will constantly be sending photos and calling friends and family.
  6.  Speakers for your phone or ipod.  Make a great playlist ahead of time or find your favorite streaming stations.  I always loved having nice calming, chill music to help me relax during labor.
  7.  Comfy shoes.  I love having my Minnetonka Slippers in the hospital.  They are roomy and easy to slip on and off as you get in and out of bed.  Also, the hallways are often cold in the hospital so I prefer a soft warm shoe for walking the halls during labor and recovery.
  8.  Personal touches from home.  I made sure to pack photos of Adam and Lake so I can always look over at their cute faces.  I know I am going to miss them dearly while I’m at the hospital.  These prints are from my favorite print shop Artifact Uprising.
  9.  A keepsake from my dearest friends.  At my baby sprinkle my friends each strung a few beads to make a lariat to keep with me in the hospital.  It is meant to be a reminder that they are thinking of me and sending love and support.  Isn’t that so lovely??
  10.  An outfit to wear home.  You will still look pregnant (at least 5-6 months) so don’t even thing about grabbing those pre-pregnancy skinny jeans.  Keep it simple, loose and comfortable with easy access for breastfeeding.