Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Henry at 7 Months

I know the typical time to update pictures and facts about a growing baby is at 6 months. However, when Henry turned 6 months old, we were driving across the country in an RV with all of our earthly possessions hauled behind us in a trailer. Six month pictures were not about to happen until we got settled! So...I took 7 month pictures instead. Here is the update on Henry from about 6 weeks ago.

At 7 months Henry:
~Has two teeth on the bottom and three starting to come in on top
~Sits up without assistance
~Loves balancing on his toes and hands with his head down
~Made his first crawling movements!
~Sleeps through most nights
~Looks for big sister when he first wakes up and gives her huge grins when he sees her each morning
~Is enjoying exploring new foods
~Shows a lot of curiosity and interest in the world around him
~Has a wide array of facial expression that keep us entertained
~Is using the potty in his daily routine (yes, this crazy mama is doing it again...)

Here are a few more favorite pictures:
Henry first crawled while I was taking these pictures!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

We kept things pretty low key around here for Valentine's Day. I did manage to make Ella a new shirt for the occasion. It matched the skirt I made for her Minnie Mouse outfit.

She requested that I make her hair look like a heart. Thank you, internet, for showing me a picture to copy. She loved her hair!

There was, of course, the preschool Valentine Party complete with passing out valentines. Ella decided she wanted to make froggy valentines and even came up with the tag line, "You make my heart hop, hop, hop!" all by herself. I was happy to design a simplistic valentine to make her "vision" a reality. She colored them and glued a chocolate heart on each one. 

I forgot to get a picture with my girl at school, so we did it ourselves when we got home. 

Here's what Henry did during the party. Loving his smiles!

When Blair got home from work, he had a pot of roses for Ella and me. She adored them and carried them around from room to room. At bedtime, she decided to make herself a bed on the floor and put her roses from daddy right next to her pillow. I think she felt the love!
We hope you all felt the love, too! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DW 2013

Here are a few snapshots from our trip to Disney World in January:

We enjoyed New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. And Ella worked up the guts to get close to a character! Can you spot Blair in one of these pictures? He was a good sport to play along.

Can't forget a family picture in front of the castle!

Ella adores carousels. Henry had his first carousel ride and slept right through it. 

Ella loves that we have "matching" shirts. Here we are at Hollywood Studios. This was our least favorite park. Even Henry protested for much of the day. 

Day 3 was spent in Animal Kingdom. We really love this park! It's a little more low key than Magic Kingdom and we love the animals and shows. 

Ella really enjoyed collecting stamps for her card at "conservation stations" throughout the park.

Henry did a lot of sleeping in Animal Kingdom. See? Much more peaceful than Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. 

We let Ella choose a stuffed animal to take home. She didn't want Minnie Mouse, but they matched so well I had to get a picture of them together. She decided on the white kitty from Aristocats. 

 "They made me wear this silly hat. I can't control my arms yet, so my only defense is drooling."

Ella with her 7 cousins that came from Idaho. I don't know why we didn't get any pictures together inside the park!

Ella with her cousin, Olivia. They are the same age and Ella was happy to spend time with her!

Disney Surprise

In January my brother brought his family out to Disney World. We decided to take advantage of Disney's great deal for Florida residents and took a trip up to hang out with them for a few days. Ella has been asking to go back to Disney World for a long time, so we decided to surprise her. I had about 2 days to come up with an idea, so I turned my wheels fast.

I decided I could easily and quickly make a minnie mouse shirt that she would like, but decided it needed something on the bottom to make it a complete outfit. So, I found a link on Pinterest to this tutorial on Grand Revival Design for making a ruffle skirt. Ella prefers to wear skirts--especially if they have ruffles or sparkles, so I thought this would be perfect for her. A quick trip to Jo-Ann for some fabric and ribbon and one trip to Wal-Mart for a cheap T-shirt, and I was ready to go. The process was fairly easy (thank goodness, since I'm still a novice seamstress) and I loved the results!

I made the outfit the evening before were were going to leave for Orlando. The next day, when Blair got home from work, we sat Ella down and I told her I had made something special for her because she is so special to me. Then I gave her the outfit. She was thrilled to have a new outfit and wanted to put it right on. I asked her if she'd like to wear it to the place where Minnie Mouse lives and she nodded with her big smile. She figured out that Minnie Mouse lives at Disney World and we were going to take a trip there. She got a big smile and gave me a big hug. Ella has never been one to bounce off the walls with excitement, so I wasn't surprised with her reserved reaction. I could still tell that she was really pleased and excited. I'd say the surprise was a success!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Family of Four

We are now a family of four! On November 9, Henry Blair was born at 10:24 am. He weighed 7 lbs, 1 oz and was 20.5 inches long. 
I could not have asked for a better birth! For my own benefit, I'll write a little about the birth here. If you don't enjoy reading birth stories, skip ahead and just look at the pictures. Consider yourself warned!

Henry wasn't due until November 18 and I fully expected him to come on or after that date. So when I started having steady contractions on November 8, I wasn't convinced he would be coming soon. Surges were about 15-20 minutes apart and not very intense-just a firm tightening. However, by evening, they started getting more predictable and I started feeling cautiously hopeful. I called our friends who had volunteered to take care of Ella during the birth and let them know that there was some action, but things could easily slow down or stop at that point. She said she'd put her phone by her bed just in case.

I went to bed around 10:00 pm and at 1:00 am a contraction woke me up. I went to the bathroom and then got back in bed. At 2:00 am I woke up again with a contraction and this time I was more awake. The intensity of surges was increasing but I didn't want to wake Blair until I was sure the baby was coming. I sat in our rocking chair and breathed through contractions while I thought about our little baby and the coming birth. I wasn't timing the contractions, but they seemed to be fairly close together. Finally, at 2:30 am I woke up Blair and asked him to time contractions so I could concentrate on hypnobirthing techniques instead of the clock. They were coming at 4 min. apart and lasting about 30-45 seconds each, but I could still easily talk and breath through each one.

At 3:15 am I decided to call our midwife to get her opinion on when to head to the birth center. Though my contractions were not very intense, the fact that they were coming steadily at four minutes apart and the fact that the birth center is 45 minutes from our home led her to recommend coming in pretty soon. We called our friends to come and stay with Ella and then got our things ready to go.

I felt very calm and peaceful during this time. I successfully used hypnobirthing techniques such as visualization, relaxation, and intentional breathing to manage the contractions and was able to move around, change my clothes, brush my teeth, and even make a list of instructions for Ella's care. Blair got our bags by the door and gathered the food we wanted to take with us. When our friends arrived, we took our time getting our last things together and spent a little time talking. I started to feel excited that our baby was coming but still felt very relaxed and peaceful. We finally left for the birth center at about 4:30 am.

When we arrived at the birth center, I was at 4.5 cm and 60% effaced. I was the only mother birthing at the time, so I got my pick of rooms. We got settled in to our room and met the student midwife who would be observing my labor and recording my vitals and progress. I ate a sandwich and had some juice then spent some time resting. Blair laid on the bed next to me and he may have even snuck in a little nap. I wasn't attached to any monitors or tubes and was free to get up and move around, use the restroom, or rest in any position I desired.

At about 8:00 am the contractions were getting more intense, so I asked Blair to put a movie on to help distract me for a while. We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding for about 45 minutes and I had some snacks. Finally, around 9:00 am I decided it was time to rely more heavily on the hypnobirthing techniques to help me manage my increasingly intense contractions. Blair started talking me through each surge and he was a great help. At around 9:45 am my membrane ruptured. The midwife checked me at 10:00 am and found that I was at 6.5 cm and 80% effaced. She told me to hang in there and keep doing what I was doing and she would come check me again in a couple of hours.

Fifteen minutes later, after several very strong contractions right on top of one another, I felt the urge to push. The student midwife advised me to breathe through it if possible while she got the midwife to come back. Keeping my body from pushing was the hardest thing I have ever done. The midwife came quickly and found that I wasn't dilated completely yet. Pushing could cause a tear in my cervix, so I had to breath through 4 more contractions and stifle the pushing instinct. The second the midwife told me it was safe to push, I let my body go and followed my instincts. I remained laying on my side for the pushing phase. There was no coaching, no breath holding, no counting. Just me and the baby working together with the surges.

After less than 4 minutes of pushing, Henry was born at 10:24 am. He was perfect and beautiful and had a nice strong cry. His apgar at 1 minute was 9 and at 5 minutes was 10. He was placed right into my arms and I got to hold him and snuggle him to my heart's content while the placenta was delivered and the midwife and her assistant checked vitals (both him and me) and cleaned us up. I didn't even have to hand him over when the midwife helped me sit up and get settled for nursing. Blair and I spent the next 2 hours holding him, sending messages to friends and family, and eating some snacks. The assistant midwife monitored vitals and made sure Henry latched on for successful nursing. After this initial bonding time, the midwife weighed and measured Henry and gave him his complete newborn exam. We were discharged from the birthing center at about 2:15 pm.

On the way home we stopped by Five Guys and Blair ran in to get some burgers to take home and eat. Best post-birth meal ever.

We got home at about 3:30 pm and had our early dinner and enjoyed some quiet time alone with Henry. Our friend brought Ella home at about 5:00 pm and she got to meet her baby brother. She was so happy to have a baby, and very excited that he brought a present for her: a Cinderella doll. Here is our first picture as a family of four. Henry is about 7 hours old.

I'm so glad we decided to have Henry at the birth center. The experience was everything I hoped for and I would definitely choose to do it again for the next baby.

It took us three days to finally settle on a name for our little guy. Henry is a family name (my father's middle name) and Blair, obviously, is also a family name. I guess we're pretty traditional. I have loved having a baby in our house again and I'm thrilled to see our family grow.

Henry is a calm, sweet little guy and I'm trying to drink him in before he grows. I am so thankful that he finally came to our family. And I'm so thankful his birth was such a positive, beautiful experience.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Perfectly Pink Baby Shower

In September I co-hosted a baby shower for my good friend, Maggie. She already has a little boy and was so excited to have a baby girl. We played up the girl theme with a tea party (herbal, of course) and went with classic pink decor.






Here's a group picture of everyone that attended--minus one friend who was holding the camera. (No, that's not a black mask. I just want to respect my friend's preference to not have her picture posted on public sites.) We had a great time and I'm really going to miss Maggie when she moves away next month. Glad we could make this memory together!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friend School


Ella started "preschool" this fall! It's really a rotating co-op preschool that we do with two other friends. We meet once a week in someone's home and each mom takes turns teaching. It's a little like Joy school except we use a different program. Ella LOVES it. She talks about preschool all week and constantly asks when she gets to "have preschool" again. And there are usually tears when it's time to leave someone else's house. Here she is all ready for school (her lunch is in the backpack).


As much as I hate to admit it, she's really growing up.