Monday, September 5, 2016

Life in the Past 6 Weeks!

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities." -Edna J. Le Shan

Life with two has been busy!  Hence my lack of blogging recently! I feel like we've adjusted pretty well...the adjustment to being a family of four hasn't been NEARLY as challenging as I expected, which has been a welcome surprise!  Lizzie is, for the most part, a pretty fussy baby, much like her brother was.  She spends a lot of her awake time crying.  Sometimes that makes it hard to get things done, especially Joseph's homeschooling.  But we're managing!  She is, mostly, a great baby overnight, though.  Some nights it's really hard to get her down, especially if she slept a lot during the day.  But MOST nights she goes to bed easily and just wakes every 2-3 hours to nurse.  Overall, I'm much less sleep deprived than I was with Joseph, maybe because I just know what I'm doing a little but more this time (with nursing and parenting in general :-) ).  She's definitely gained weight of today she's 7 weeks old on the dot, and up to about 9lbs 7oz, a gain of over 3 pounds from her birth weight!  Our pediatrician said rapid gain is relatively common in babies that started out on the small side like she did.  She's a healthy and growing girl. :-)  Our pediatrician, Dr. Lowe, has her on reflux medication because she has some pretty bad reflux, also similar to Joseph when he was a baby.  So far, it seems to be helping a lot, and we are grateful for that.

We were so blessed to have several friends from our church bring us dinner after she was was so nice not to have to figure out how to get meals on the table those nights!  My friend Jessica was the first to bring us dinner when Elisabeth was a week old.  Her daughter, Anna, is exactly 5 weeks older than Lizzie.  It was fun to get a picture of those sweet girls together...I think they are going to be good friends, just as their older brothers have been friends since birth!

Joseph has adapted SO WELL to being a big brother!  I'm so pleased!  He truly loves his little sister...he loves to give her kisses, and loves to comfort (well, at least try to comfort) her when she is crying.  He also loves to come up to her and say "Oh, my're so beautiful!"  It warms my heart. :-)

An attempt to calm the fussy baby :-)
We've been able to make it to all of our normal fun activities with Lizzie in tow.  Here we were watching the group Big Bang Boom at the McNairy Library when she was just a couple of weeks old.

We attended La Leche of Greensboro's World Breastfeeding Week event at Geeksboro.  Lizzie slept away in the Boba for most of the time.

And that same day, we met Heather and Samuel at the Farmer's Market for lunch at the Moose.  Samuel and Jojo always have so much fun together, but poor Heather got the responsibility of entertaining both boys while I took care of Lizzie.  The boys certainly looked like they were enjoying themselves!  We love these sweet friends!

Football season is now upon us, and that makes our little family very very happy!  We were able to get both Joseph and Elisabeth to show us their "dab" during halftime of the Panther's game one Sunday afternoon..

 We started our homeschool preschool year recently and Joseph has done great so far.  Just like last year, he loves learning, and some days he even tells me "I want to do MORE school, Mommy!" after we are done for the day.  He's awesome!

The sign does say "First Day of Preschool," I just couldn't keep him still long enough to get a clear picture.

Field trip to Bog Garden

Joseph has also really enjoyed the times we can take him to the park on weekends now that the weather is getting a little less sweltering...

And he recently hit a big milestone...trying his first piece of sushi (this is a big deal in our family since we love ethnic food so much!)  He didn't like it but, to his credit, he ate 2-3 bites before declaring he didn't care for it.

I also had my 6-week postpartum appointment with my OB/GYN, Dr. Lowe.  My mom went along with me so that I could take both kids and get pictures.  It was important to me to get pictures of him with both Joseph and Lizzie together since he delivered both of them (I also have a picture of him holding Joseph at my postpartum appointment back in 2012).  We often talk about how blessed we are to have him to take care of me and our children before birth and his wife (who is our pediatrician) to take care of our children after they are here.  They are both so wonderful to our family and always go way way way above and beyond in caring for us.

Finally, here are some pictures I've taken of sweet Lizzie over the past 7 weeks...

We are loving life with two!  Looking forward to getting back into regular blogging soon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Last Couple of Weeks

"Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June." -Al Bernstein

Summer is officially upon us (at least in terms of temperature!)  Here is a look at some of the fun stuff we've been up to these past couple of weeks!

Memorial Day Weekend brought lots of fun, including several visits to local parks!

I always laugh, because for a while Jojo wasn't a "climber" like some other little boys I knew.  That definitely changed recently...he climbs anything and everything by himself. :-)  Here he is at Carriage Hills Park, having fun.

Also had some fun downtown at Fisher Park

It was our Sunday to greet at church and, despite the rain, Jojo loved joining us as always...

And, on Memorial Day itself, after a nice walk down to our neighborhood lake my little guy took a great holiday nap on our couch :-)

Last Thursday, I had my second of 9 weeks worth of weekly non-stress-tests at my OB office.  These are being done weekly to keep check on Lizzie...I'm consider "high risk" because of Joseph's cord accident when he was born, so this is one way to make sure the same issue isn't happening to her.  Normally they only take 20-30 minutes, BUT I was hooked up almost an hour and a half this past time.  First Lizzie was asleep when the test was started, so she wasn't reactive ENOUGH to get a good baseline on her heart rate.  Then, once she woke up, she was SO active that she kept squirming out from underneath the heart rate monitor, also making it hard to get a good baseline.  FINALLY she settled into a happy medium and they were able to determine things were okay.  Whew.  These "non-stress" tests are NOT "non-stress" for mama, lol!  Jojo normally stays with my parents, but they had an appointment that particular day so he came with me.  He played very happily in the stroller almost the whole time...such a sweet boy.

This past weekend, David took Friday off and we went to Boone for the day.  We wanted one final day trip as a family of 3 before Lizzie joins us.  We ate an amazing (and ENORMOUS) meal at the Daniel Boone Inn, then spent the afternoon at Grandfather Mountain.  Wonderful memories made!

So.  Much.  Food.

Evidence that Jojo enjoyed the chocolate cake for dessert.
Our view from the Mile-High Swinging Bridge

Jojo crossed the swinging bridge on David's back in the toddler Tula...mama felt a bit safer about things that way!

Loved seeing the animals!
Time is moving right along!  As of today, 6 weeks 3 days (or less!) left until Lizzie's arrival!  I'm slowly getting into nesting mode...most of her clothes have been washed, ironed, and hung up in her closet, and the finishing touches are coming about on her nursery.  Given our infertility, pregnancy losses, and flashbacks to Joseph's scary birth, I tend to struggle a bit with anxiety during pregnancy, so I'll be very happy when she's on the outside and in my arms so I can see for myself that she's okay.  We also have our last childbirth class this Thursday, which involves a pot luck and "labor rehearsal."  We re-took the same series of childbirth classes at Women's Hospital that we took with Jojo, since last time I ended up with a c-section and this time we're trying for a VBAC.  We are the only couple in this class that already has a child, and it's been fun to watch the excitement of all the first time parents.  I've really enjoyed it!

That's all for now!  Stay tuned for more updates as summer draws on and due date approaches!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Baby Shower

"A baby is a blessing, a gift from Heaven above...a precious little angel to cherish and to love." -Unknown

Our family was so blessed this past Saturday by a baby shower for Lizzie!  My sweet friend Jessica hosted it at her house, along with help from my friends Marsha and Danielle.  It was such a sweet time with friends and I felt so loved!  Many of these girls prayed us through our journey with secondary infertility, and it was so sweet of them to get together to celebrate this new little life!

The yummy food!

So many beautiful presents!  Clothes, decor, and more practical items...everything a girl could ever need!

Sweet friends!  (And my mom, who isn't pictured because she was always taking the photos!)

After having our first child within a few weeks of each other, Jessica and I will have these girls within a few weeks of each other, too!!! (One difference is though that Jessica is on her 3rd and I'm just on my 2nd :-) )

 Thank you, Jessica, Danielle, Marsha, Mom, Heather, Brooke, Megan, and Kate for such an amazing morning!  So blessed!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Update

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." -Margaret Atwood

As always, I am long, long overdue at updating our blog.  I realize that for a while I was really good at doing "Week in Review" posts and now they've become sort of every-other-month posts.  Yikes.  But at least I'm still blogging, right?  Here's a look at what we've been up to since mid-March!!!

Jojo had his 2nd ever dental appointment and, just like the first time, he did awesome!  From playing with the train table in the lobby to getting his teeth cleaned, he seems to enjoy each step!

They always take a picture of him at each appointment and I thought this one was so so cute! 
We took a day trip to Charlotte to get together with our friend, Emily!  We try to get together with her a few times a year and we all always have SO much fun!  She took us to a very very authentic Dim Sum restaurant (Dim Sum is a style of Cantonese Chinese cuisine in which you order multiple "small plates" to share, kind of like Spanish Tapas).  Our family definitely loves ethnic food (including Jojo), so we are always game to try pretty much anything.  After eating, we went shopping at an international market and then also went to Concord Mills for a bit.  Thanks, Miss Emily, for such a fun Saturday!!!

Our Dim Sum table
Jellyfish anyone?  (Yes, I'm serious...jellyfish.)

Jojo loves Miss Emily!

Watching the balloon artist

Playing at the Lego Store at Concord Mills

Silly Emily!!!

Happy family after a fun day with a friend!
We were heartbroken to stay up late only to watch the Tar Heels lose during the NCAA Title Game.  So, so sad.  But at least Jojo had fun snuggling on the couch during it!

As a family, the three of us (well, four of us counting Lizzie!) attended the annual La Leche League Area Conference in Durham, NC, at the Doubletree Suites.  We only went for the Saturday morning sessions (the conference went on all weekend), but we had so so so much fun!  Next year the conference is in Greensboro which means not only will I be helping plan it, but hopefully we can make it for the full weekend!  Most of you know how much my involvement with La Leche means to me.  Being a member and a leader has been simply amazing.  And, although La Leche is first and foremost an international breastfeeding support organization, for me it's also an important place of connecting with other moms that share our family's parenting philosophies in general.  And the best thing is that La Leche really encourages family participation in conferences, so it felt great to bring David and Jojo along, and I can't wait for them to join me next year!  The three of us attended the first morning session on "Fostering Sibling Harmony."  With Lizzie on the way, David and I decided this would be a good one for us to sit in on.  After that we all attended the general morning session, and then I attended the luncheon session on cosleeping and bedsharing while David took Jojo to lunch at the hotel restaurant and to play outside near the hotel.  I'm not sure which of us had the most fun!  I also got to meet Mariam Thompson, one of the original founders of La Leche League International back in 1956.  If you don't know the story of La Leche's history, it's pretty cool!  In 1956 breastfeeding rates were at an all-time low in America.  A group of suburban Chicago women (Mariam included) met at a church picnic at Wilder Park outside of Chicago and noticed each other nursing their babies.  Shortly after, many women approached them expressing their frustration with wanting to breastfeed their own babies, but experiencing difficulty and not being able to get much help from their doctors or others (doctors at the time were very poorly educated in breastfeeding).  They started a local group to provide mother-to-mother support to women who wanted to breastfeed and, in the 60 years since, La Leche League has grown to a huge international organization that offers support to breastfeeding moms all over the world.  Meeting Mariam was awesome!

Me with all of the other ladies who became accredited LLL leaders over the past year. 

Jojo and Daddy played outside while I went to the lunch session.

Jojo played on some steps of an apartment complex next to the hotel.  He must have been having fun, because he asked David if we could get an apartment there, LOL!

As is a regular occurrence for us, David gave blood at a local blood drive.  I'm so proud of him for giving so consistently.  One of the things I miss most when pregnant is donating blood with him (can't wait to get back at it after Lizzie comes).

 Sadly, our spring has not been all happy experiences, though.  In mid-April, all 3 of us came down with a HORRIBLE stomach bug.  Terrible vomiting, stomach pain, was awful.  Joseph got it first and had it a full two days before David and I came down with it.  It is the sickest I've ever seen our little guy.  He was truly pitiful...slept for 2 days with only a few small periods of being awake, and couldn't keep anything on his tummy.  We finally took him to the doctor, just to make sure he wasn't getting dehydrated.  It was really rough on all of us in different ways....rough on Jojo as a child, rough on me as a pregnant woman, and rough on David as someone that had to go back to work right after recovering when he was still weak.  Stomach bugs stink!

This was the first day he was sick.  He'd been throwing up since 11pm the night before.  We took him outside to the back yard and hung out there, to get him some fresh air and to make clean up easier (gross, I know!).  Poor baby.  He slept most of the time.

At the doctor's office, waiting in the waiting room
Note the bucket.  As the doctor said "Jojo, it's never a good sign when a patient comes to see me for a stomach bug and they have a bucket with them."  Hahaha

After the doctor's visit.  So, so sick.  He requested to sit in the front yard and be held like a baby.  We obliged him, of course.
Finally, that evening, turning a corner

And even up for a little interaction.  Little did David and I know at this point that the same bug would hit us about 8 hours after this pic was taken. :-(

Not my finest picture, but taken with Joseph the next day when I was really sick (I'm all about being "real" on the blog, so here you go!).  Little monkey was feeling considerably better by then, and was so sweet to cuddle with mommy.

 The week after we fully recovered from the bug, we attended a fundraiser at the Brassfield Chick-Fil-A that was being held my the Greensboro Police Department, with proceeds to benefit Special Olympics.  Jojo had so much fun visiting his police officer friends, including his longtime favorite "Miss Rosann").

Miss Rosann, Jojo, and the Cow!
Hanging out in the back of Miss Rosann's patrol car, with the stuffed animal she gave him

Such sweet buddies!

Thanks, Greensboro Police, for all that you do!

We attended a "Big Brother/Big Sister" Class at Women's Hospital one Sunday afternoon, for children expecting little siblings soon.  Joseph had a ball!  He got to make Lizzie a card for when she comes, see a mother-baby room (so he'll see the type of room he'll visit Mommy is when Lizzie is born), have a snack of animal crackers (probably his favorite part), and learn how to hold a baby (he was allowed to bring a stuffed animal to mimic diapering and holding a baby, and he chose to bring the stuffed bee Miss Rosann gave him the previous week).  Little man is going to be an AWESOME big brother!

Daddy helping Jojo make a card for Lizzie

Snack time!

So proud that he learned to hold a baby!

 Jojo and I finished our homeschooling year this past week!  YAY!  I am so so proud of all he learned this year and am looking so forward to planning his next preschool year to start in August (this one will be with a 5 week old baby in tow, so it should be a whole new challenge for me!).  Homeschooling him has been amazing...I'm 100% excited about the many years that remain in our homeschooling journey!  I've also, over this year, really come to prefer the "unschooling" philosophy, that learning shouldn't be confined to a school day, and is a lifelong process that happens throughout time, in every little moment.  I also like some structure, though, which is why we will continue to have a "formal school year" each year and do a little enrichment work over the summer.  But, by and large, I most enjoy seeing his brain soak up little bits of life all the time!  Amazing!

 I suppose this blog would not be complete without a pregnancy update, so here it goes.  As of tonight, I am 30 weeks, 2 days pregnant!  Roughly 9 weeks, 5 days to go.  Yay!  I'm feeling relatively decent.  I've had no swelling at all so far, in my legs or anywhere else.  I had a TON of swelling starting at 21 weeks with Jojo, so having made it 9 weeks further with no swelling is awesome.  In terms of uncomfortable symptoms, there have been a few.  For one, Lizzie's movements are so, so, so, so painful.  I hate to complain, because I love that she is healthy and active.  But WHOA, her movements hurt so bad.  One night I was actually in tears.  What I found odd was that it isn't just her big powerful kicks that hurt me (those also hurt with Joseph), but even her smaller squirms and movements cause me much pain and discomfort.  It was confusing, because the pain occurs even when she isn't moving vigorously.  After asking my doctor and several other medical professionals I know about it, as well as some other moms, I pretty much determined the reason for all this discomfort (her movements started hurting at 24 weeks and it's gotten worse of course as she has gotten bigger).  For one, since I've been pregnant before my abdominal wall is much more stretched out and thinner, leading to a more intense feeling of movement.  For another, the placenta is entirely on the back side of my uterus this time, meaning it offers no padding between Lizzie and my abdominal wall.  But the biggest thing has been my weight gain.  When starting at a normal BMI, it is recommended that a mom gain 25-35 pounds throughout pregnancy.  By this point, I should have gained somewhere between 17-21 pounds.  With Joseph, I think I had gained about 20 pounds at this point (I was ravenously hungry during my 2nd and 3rd trimester with him).  With Lizzie, I have gained...9 pounds.  LOL.  I'm very behind in my weight gaining.  I was so nauseous my first two trimesters, AND even now I don't have the huge appetite I did with Jojo.  Basically I have apparently lost the nice layer of fat padding on my abdominal wall that I had to cushion Jojo's movements.  So virtually, there is not much of anything between Lizzie and the outside world other than a super thin layer of uterus and a thin layer of abdominal wall and skin.  Her movements feel like they are RIGHT under my skin, and if you watch my belly you can see virtually every move she makes.  It's crazy.  In fact, AS I am typing this, I am yelping in pain every few minutes.  I think I'll enjoy her movement more on the outside than I am right now.  LOL.  Also, I'm having some trouble sleeping due to her putting pressure on my sciatic nerve, but that comes and goes.  Some nights I have a really good night, and some nights not so good.  Every night I go to bed in our master bedroom with David and Jojo, and then when I wake up uncomfortable anywhere between 11:30pm and 3am I wander into the guest bedroom across the hall and sleep the rest of the night there where I can toss and turn as much as I need.  It's an arrangement that works fine now, but I'll be happy when she's here and I'm more comfortable and can spend all night long in the bedroom with my two favorite guys (and Lizzie!).  And I'm having LOTS of VERY STRONG Braxton Hicks contractions.  They were never so strong with Jojo, and some are downright borderline painful.  My body must really be practicing for this upcoming VBAC!  It's all so worth it, though.  We had an ultrasound this past week at 29 weeks 5 days.  She looked great and the ultrasound estimated her weight to be 3 pounds 3 ounces, which means she is measuring about 2 days ahead of schedule (which is on target with how she has measured from the start).  It was so fun to see her for the first time in a while!!!  We have also started a refresher series of childbirth classes.  Hoping that we'll get to use all the techniques we didn't get to use with Joseph's delivery since I never went into labor with him.  Lots of exciting things going on!

Sweet Baby!
Finally, I'll leave you with a few random pictures of Jojo as of late.  Love love love my precious boy.

This picture makes me laugh.  We were fishing at the lake in our neighborhood a couple of weekends ago.  Jojo was squatting down right at the edge of the lake and tumbled right in!  LOL.  David grabbed him with one hand (without ever dropping his fishing pole!) before he was fully submerged, but we laughed about his quick little "swim with the fish."  This was the immediate aftermath.

Joseph took a late nap one Sunday afternoon when we'd gone to my grandmother's house for dinner.  Nonie was happy to hold him while he slept.

We got rid of an old recliner.  Jojo was happy with it when it was in "transition stage" after we had removed the back.  It fit him perfectly. :-)

He loves to stuff a stuffed animal under his shirt and pretend that he's pregnant like me, haha.

Posing with the beautiful azaleas in our backyard!

Silly boy enjoying some time at Krispy Kreme

Hope everyone is enjoying their spring!  Hopefully I can do more regular updates soon!