31 May 2011

Baby Tex says...


Molly's first shiner!

Good thing purple looks good on her! Toddlers, take heed. When Mama tells you to resist jump on the bed, resist!

Oh Paul...

Being a good one.

You know that saying, "Whatever you are, be a good one."? I love that saying.

I adore being a homemaker. To me, it's thrilling, challenging, engaging, freaking hilarious and so fulfilling. I'm managing, delegating and problem-solving 24 hours of the day. What's not to like? I feel like I use my head all day long, and there are so many days that I still never get it all done. I like having stuff left on my to-do list, because I have a plan for tomorrow. I just love what I do so passionately. I'm sort of like that guy who works in a random factory and does nothing but count things coming off a conveyor belt, and people watch him whistle off to work every morning and concentrate all day long, like he's doing something that no one can possibly replicate. Well, except that I'm actually doing something that no one can actually replicate.

Today has been our busiest by far since we 4 struck out on our own, post-surgery. I woke up and realized that Claire is 4 weeks today. As I'm usually pretty organized, but not reliably so, I knew that that meant that she probably had a well-baby visit that I forgot to save on my phone calendar. Yeah. And by the time I remembered to call the pediatrician and ask, we had 20 minutes to get dressed and get there. We flew out the door and I actually remembered to grab everything I needed. A miracle.

We stopped at the Post Office to mail two boxes. One containing some treats for my brothers and parents, and one (huge) box to mail to Lisa. That box was covering Ben's birthday in Feb, Lisa's in March, Mother's Day, Lydia, and Josiah's birthday this past Sunday. To be fair, I've been busy, and Josiah's awesome gift will make up for it. I think. Claire decided that the tiny, echoey, packed post office would be the perfect place to come unglued. She was right. It was pretty much an inspired performance, which is probably why Molly decided to climb a rack of boxes and labels and Lucy happened to stand in front of me so I could trip over her. They're really a team when it comes to making things complicated.

We got to the pedi with time to space, miraculously. Claire has gained a TON of weight, going from 8 pounds 2 ounces to 9 pounds 8 ounces in 13 days. Rockstar fat baby. Love her. She's also grown an entire inch, which is why we're starting to fly through baby clothes! Her pediatrician reminded me that she needs to nurse for at least 6 months, but preferably 12. Like he needs to tell me twice. One quick check of my bank balance is proof that I seriously can't afford to give my little piggie formula. If Claire goes to formula, the rest of us will starve, the way she eats.

We went from the pedi to the bank, where all three girls had a mini-meltdown, putting us in a prime spot for groccery shopping. $166 and three tantrums later, we took a quick second to have a mini-pizza in the little food court at Target. Lucy loves to "sit and eat," so it was a special treat for her!

From Target to Church, where I met my dear friend Allison for a quick exchange, a hug, some baby-cooing and some conversation. I have no idea how people survive the post-partum period without loving friends. My friends have just made a world of difference in my recovery. I just can't think about where I'd be today if I hadn't joined that journal group last winter. What a wonderful group of women, and what a blessing each one of them is to me.

From Church to home. Called Grandpa Dick on the way for a little love and laugher. If he's not the cutest, I don't know who is. As we pulled into the driveway, things erupted again. I brought all the groceries in and somehow, everyone is in bed and napping, 20 minutes later.

So why is it important that we got through today? Today was busy, busy, busy. I was overwhelmed at times, but managed to keep my cool and keep a smile on my face. These girls are so funny and precious. Each day with them (and their adorable daddy!) is just a wonderful gift. Just knowing what I know about them so far, I know that each of them has so much to offer this world, and I'm so proud to be their mama. Getting through the craziness with a smile is a gift to them, because they're watching me so closely. If Mama's frustrated with her day, they can't understand "why" yet. All they know is that I'm frustrated, and it may be their fault. It so rarely is their fault, but they don't know the difference, do they? So navigating the chaos with a cool head isn't really just something to be proud of, but something I owe to my kids. Keeping myself energized and organized to make sure our day is smooth is really an obligation as much as anything else I do for them. Some days it's just pure exhaustion, but mostly, we manage.

Oh, here's a good one. 20 minutes ago. I had a car full of Target stuff, cold groceries, sundry items, (LOVE that word) and other various things. I was making trips back and forth, Molly sleeping near the garage door, Claire snoozing in her carrier right next to the door. A yellow-jacket flies in the the garage, and I freak. The door to the house is wide open. It slowly flies into the house. And then back out. And then back in. I'm freaking the freak out. Whisper-screaming, "Oh *$%!" Oh $#%*! Get out here! No! I can't kill you! Oh $#%! Come back! No!" Holding a million pounds of groceries. Waiting for the stupid yellow-jacket to commit. I start hopping around, running in and out of the garage, trying to figure out how I'll handle parenting my children from the front yard while I wait until 5pm for Daddy to get home. I consider getting my elderly next-door neighbor to kill it. As it flies out of the garage, having thought better of going into the house, I whisper-scream, "I hate you!" and run past it for the door. Of course, I still have a car full of frozen food. So I open the front door, close the garage door and work as fast as I can before the crazy bee finds the other entrance. It was stressful.

30 May 2011


Stopped a great game of Angry Birds to take a pic of these ever-thickening cheeks!!!! SO stinkin' cute. Love dad.

29 May 2011

My 29th year...

...starts tomorrow.

Last year was difficult. I lost more than I was prepared for.
I lost Grandma Susie, which wasn't supposed to happen.
I lost my waistline, which was supposed to happen.
I lost a child and found peace in the Divine Mercy.
I lost a parent, but looking back I'm pretty sure that parent was never really mine to lose.
I lost my watch. Ugh.

But it was a year of finding.

I found a new watch. Win!
I found myself expecting a tiny Faustina. The perfect picture of God's great mercy.
I found friends in Texas, who have given me gifts beyond measure.
I found the strength to sit through a funeral I never really thought I could attend, with the help of my friends and a sweet two year old who has her Grandma Susie's zest for fun.
I found my marriage growing in grace and humility, as it usually does when another child enters the picture.
I found that my life is a huge occasion for growth and renewal in so many ways, and I know that 28 will bring just as much joy as 27.

28 May 2011


 And here we thought Claire looked like Molly...the more we stare at Lucy's newborn pictures, the more we realize that we have no idea which baby is which in most of the pictures. And being the person who breastfeeds the baby, you'd think I could look at a picture and tell you the differences between the two girls. The baby on top is Claire. The baby in the next two is Lucy. The only difference I can see is that Lucy had bigger ears. Their hair color is exactly the same at 3 weeks, from what we can tell. The nose, lips and eyes are virtually the same, and their hairlines may be just a tad different. At this point it's a good thing that our Lucy pics are on the external drive, or I'd never know which baby I'm blogging!

The Many Faces of Claire.

26 May 2011

dear kelle freaking hampton. we love you. lets count the ways.

I so rarely feel inferior. Generally, my self-esteem is healthy. Usually too healthy.

 Enter Kelle Hampton. Seriously?? What is WITH that girl?

She's all, "Oh, I live in Florida, my children eat sand and look gorgeous doing so, I throw birthday parties like it's my job, my kid can swim, Isle of Capri, sucking the marrow" and on and on and on. My hair should be longer. Maybe bangs would help. I want to be her. And I never want to be anyone but me. I have Kelle-envy. It's dangerous.

Hang on. Claire smells like poop again. Keeping it real.


I just got home from work and said, "who is Kelle Hampton and why do I not know her and how/why do you envy her???" The response? "Dont. Get. Me. Started." with a roll of the eyes and an (absolutely adorable) smirk that says 'Andrew, you are SO not in the blogosphere'.

So... I googled her. Turns out, yes. She is perfect and now I (Andrew) also want to be Kelle Hampton. Maybe it's just about seeing those beach pictures....mmmmm.....beeeeaaaacccchhhhhh!

Claire smells like poop.

It's the curse of the early morning. She can't help it. But I'm pretty sure I'm going to wait for a better reason than my own sense of smell to change her. It's very early, and stripping down a 3-week old to see why she's smelly isn't in anyone's best interests.

24 May 2011

Outdoor Exposure Good for Your Health - Discovery News



The key to better health may be as easy as stepping outside, says one University of Illinois researcher.

In a report for the National Recreation and Park Association, associate professor of natural resources and environmental sources Frances "Ming" Kuo assessed whether exposure to nature actually affects people's physical and mental well-being.

In the past, she argues that research has focused on how participants "feel" rather than objective measures, including blood-pressure readings, standardized cognitive tests and crime reports from police departments.

NEWS: City Dwellers are Greener

Exposure to nature increases people's health outcomes even when interest in nature isn't high and when socioeconomic status is considered, she concludes. More green space to enjoy equates to communities with better mental health, a more proactive attitude and a better ability to bounce back from hardships, according to the report.

In one analysis, researchers found parks to be linked to greater trust and cooperation among community members when compared to areas without them.

In general, communities with less green space show the opposite: more cases of depression among residents, higher blood pressure averages and an increased prevalence of anxiety disorders.

At the individual level, access to nature bolsters recovery rates of people who underwent surgery, improves people's immune systems and helps promote physical activity and independence across all ages. Areas with less nature to explore result in higher rates of childhood obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

But what is it about natural spaces that improve our well-being?

Simply put: It's what our species is used to. As pointed out by Kuo and Huffington Post writer Linda Buzzell, humans depend on their environments in the same way as other non-human animals.

Consider efforts to improve captive life for zoo animals, for instance. When qualities of an animal's natural environment are incorporated into its captive habitat, the animal usually lives longer with fewer health and behavioral problems.

NEWS: Man-made Oasis will Transform the Desert

The same idea can be applied to our health. Like all other living creatures, humans evolved in nature and are continually shaped by it. Although we possess the ability to adapt to different climates and landscapes, green space still plays a large role in our well-being and happiness.

Kuo advocates for cities and community leaders to create more green space and think twice before tearing down natural spaces unnecessarily.

But, even with more green spaces, there's a catch to making them effective. Although parks are known to generally reduce crime in a given area, neglected or abandoned ones may result in more crime.

It turns out that caring for green spaces might be just as important as creating access to them.

Photo by Hachimaki/Flickr.com

20 May 2011

Babies are boring.

My mama is here and I'm not blogging, obviously. The good news is, the first few weeks of newborn life are really nothing to yak about. They poop, they eat, they cry, they poop, they eat, they cry. The pictures mostly look the same, tired mama, tired daddy, poopy baby. Andrew and I are definitely bleary-eyed and zombie-like, but we know that we're getting closer to getting into a routine and getting back to normal.

My recovery is going very, very slow, compared to the last two babies. I'm still in a decent amount of pain, my incision  is still not healing well, and I'm still just exhausted and "off." Most of you know me in real life and know that my energy is boundless. Not having my usual bounce is really difficult for me, because I just don't feel like myself. My attitude is good, but I just miss the physical activity and being able to go and go and go. I'm having a hard time choosing between activities and trying to limit our events and "doing," which really frustrates me to no end.

In other news, Claire is nursing approximately 22 hours a day. She's hitting her two week growth spurt and is nursing constantly to bump up my supply, so we're spending a LOT of time together right now. I'm sore and tired of pulling up my shirt 15 times a day, but we're managing.

Lucy's big birthday bash is TOMORROW! I must have been crazy, thinking we could pull off a Pinkalicious party two and a half weeks after delivery, but we're determined to show our sweet girl a great day! Thank goodness I have lots of people in the house who are so willing to follow my delegation. I'm especially grateful for my brothers, who have nice, young, pink lungs to blow up all of those balloons in the morning. We've rented a bouncy house for the occasion and will be grilling, beating a pinata and getting the children of our dearest friends jacked up on obscene amounts of sugar. Looks to be positively Rapturous! I'll post a nice, big juicy picture post tomorrow night, so stay tuned!

Claire says, "Please tell me you didn't hear that poop!" 

14 May 2011

Oh, the happiness.

 What is it about little girls that just makes my heart so full and woozy? I adore them. They're just so amazing. What's amazing about our girls is that as I watch them grow and do the little things that make them so unique, I fall deeper and deeper in love with Andrew, who is my partner in this wonderful journey. When Molly does something crazy, we trip over each other trying to grab the camera. When Lucy says something that touches our hearts, we know that together we're responsible for this deep and introspective little mind. When Claire yawns and smiles in her sleep, we're so aware of just how quickly she'll be running around and stirring up trouble. During the day one of them will do something and it takes all of my restraint not to pick up the phone to tell Andrew another funny story.
 We love having children together because each one is a little mystery, and each one brings us closer to God and to each other. No, Claire wasn't a boy. No, I still don't have my tiny little Andrew. But I do have another little girl who will be so in love with her Daddy for so many of the same reasons I am. It's hard to raise girls in a world that is so against true feminity and so damaging to the souls we're responsible for. A woman's worth is immeasurable and I was so fortunate to snag a man who values everything that I am. I know we're being given these girls beccause Andrew is a man who understands women so well, and can communicate the tiny things they need to hear and see. If anyone should be turning out strong women, it's him. With Andrew at the helm, they'll never doubt their goodness or worth, and that's something you don't often see.
Now onto the funnies. Here is a picture of Mo and Claire just as Lucy said, "Hey Molls, (her nickname for Molly) can I have the baby now?" Molly happily replied, "Okay!" and tossed the baby over her lap to Lucy. You can see her about to push the baby off her lap. Poor Claire is going to have to live a very defensive life.

Lucy and Claire. Lucy's love for Claire would just leave you speechless. She's such a sweet little mama to her sister. She'll sit for ages and jiggle her gently, smiling the most peaceful smile. She just loves her sister so much, and Claire is always at peace in Lucy's arms. I know they'll have a very special bond as they grow.

These are seriously my favorite baby pictures. I love cross-eyed newborns. Can't help myself.

Andrew, Poppers and Lucy put this together during my Mother's Day nap.  I love it so much! My particular favorite stick is the Stars and Stripes stick. Who does that?!?! I'm married to a creative genius, and a patriot to boot.

 My big girl on her birthday! We met up with Charlotte and the girls for some Chik-fil-a on Monday night and then we came home for a "chocolate cake with pink frosting." She's just such a little lady now! If we can manage the next four years as deftly as the past 4, I'm confident that we'll be well on our way to an amazing young lady. Lucy's birthday party is a week from today. We're having a Pinkalicious bash! I'm a sucker and put in an order for a bouncy house rental this morning, so it looks like everything is in full swing for a fantastic day. Mom and the boys will be here, too, so Lucy is just out of her mind excited about the big day!

Sweet Claire - looks like another poor soul got her Daddy's hairline. At least I'll be dead by the time they all start complaining about their thinning hair.

Clearly, I couldn't caption this photo if I tried. Lucy and Molly are major party animals at night, and it usually takes about 2 hours for them to settle down and pass out. This was a night of particular excitement. When Andrew found her like this around 11, he came running for me and couldn't even finish his sentence without crying. As you can see, she keeps things light around here.

 We're all pretty bummed that Andrew's paternity leave is up after this weekend. Sob. We've had a blast with him for the past 2 weeks and if Mimi weren't coming on Tuesday, next week would be incredibly sad around here. Andrew has been a HUGE help around here and while I'm ready to feel 100% and get back in the swing of things, it's been so great having so much time with him. The girls are going to have quite an adjustment when all of our visitors finally die down. We still have a pretty big list of people coming in and out through the summer, and with all of the airline tickets we have to buy now, we prefer to fly people out for long weekends and so on instead. We'd prefer to have lots of visitors and buy airline tickets for them than to have tiny visits on our packed trips home. Having one or two people for an entire week or a long weekend is preferable for us because we can really bond and have fun with that one person.  So we have a few more rounds of visitors through the summer and we're hoping to snag a few for the fall, too. Our next big trip will be Christmas in MD, which will be a big old party. I think Claire and I will make a trip to MD in August sometime for a weekend, just to say hello and introduce her around.

So, this is the final picture. How cute is our little Molly-Poppers? This is a picture of Molly and one of our scary tulips. As you can see, it was almost big enough to take her down completely. Agriculture these days...

13 May 2011

So chic.

So Kasie and I took a couple hours off last weekend and went out for a little pampering. I decided to get a gel manicure to try to preserve the gorgeous nails pregnancy gifted to me. Somehow i always come out of pregnancy with beautiful nails and they slowly deteriorate once the baby is here.

I asked the manicurist what I could expect and she said that a gel mani lasts about two weeks. You can go gel acrylics or gels over your regular nails. Clearly, I chose the latter to preserve my vanity. I decided to do a sheer pink to keep it simple and ensure that they'd look matchy and summery.

It took about 40 minutes and by the time I stood up, they were rock hard and gorgeous! It's been a week and they're still absolutely perfect. I've banged my nails into all sorts of things, picked at random objects, dirty children and my husband's bad habits, washed dishes, worked outside (without straining my stiches, of course) and showered twice daily (postpartum, you know) without incident. They're still incredibly shiny and just beautiful. I'm not sure what to do about the growth, as they're getting longer and I like them a little shorter than this. I'm trying to just get used to it, and since they're still super strong, I'm just dealing with it and attempting to ignore them. I know I can file them if need be, but I don't want to mess them up, so I guess I'll just see what sort of growth I acquire in the next week. Mom and the boys will be visiting next weekend, but I may need to slip away to deal with these bad boys before they get too unruly! Maybe next Friday I can dash out for an hour and refresh them.

It was $28 at our local salon, and they did a fantastic job. Considering how quickly a basic mani disappears to the tune of $20, I think $30 every two weeks is a steal for the quality. I haven't picked at them once, because there's literally NO color to catch my attention or look funny. What I love is that the tiny places where my nails usually break as they gain length are still looking great and healthy. This is definitely a beauty splurge I can get behind. If you can manage to get those nails a little longer, run out and get them gelled to preserve the length without the work!

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"Molly goes fishing - and catches a 19 inch Claireshark!"

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12 May 2011

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11 May 2011

Moving toward the light.

We have these battery powered candles all over our room and Claire thinks they're just amazing. We always switch one on to do her diaper changes, and this morning I found her happily cooing to her new candle friend. Adorable!

10 May 2011

Nothing better than...

...hearing the tiny newborn breath next to me.
...breastfeeding. And the pain that comes with it.
...watching my angel blow out FOUR candles last night.
...hearing Molly's thoughtfulness grow by the minute.
...being able to afford groceries.
...looking at my sleeping husband and thinking, "I am so glad I married him."
...saying "I told you so" when I told him 5 years ago that he was going to have a whole bunch of little girls. (He swore I was wrong!)
...being "mama."
...hearing, "wow, you've got your hands full!" and actually wondering who they're talking to. My hands have plenty of space left, should the need arise.
...feeling safe.
...Andrew's signed statement that he would never get married or have kids, framed and sitting on my dresser.
...the happy coincidences that led me to where I am.

3 Girls. Yipes.

So, things here are going well, all things considered.

Recovery from my surgery is...going. I have to stay on top of the pain, but for the most part it's limited to early mornings now and the days are getting better. It's hard not picking Molly up, only for the sake of getting things done faster, but she's been great at climbing to where I need her. The hardest part for me is remembering that I'm still very much on the tail end of major abdominal surgery. Imagine losing 30 pounds, being completely free of intense chronic pain and suddenly having endless energy. Would you really want to sit down and relax? So I'm trying to take it easy, but the pain meds can really mask the pain and hormones well enough to make me feel like I can run a marathon. And I'm guessing this weekend coming up is going to feel like I've run a marathon, so I'm trying to rest while I can!

Baby Claire is doing great. Nursing was slow to get off the ground, but I'm happy to say that she's still be totally free of formula and we're just trudging through the bad latching and sleepiness. She seems to improve a little more each day. The lactation consultant at the hospital said that being born at 38 weeks was probably the reason she wasn't ready to latch well and that every day outside the womb would be a step in the right direction. I'm happy to report that she was right and we're getting better and better!

Claire is quite the screamer - while she's been an easy baby so far, she makes up in volume what she lacks in colic. She's not a fussy baby by any stretch, but she gets what she wants the second she wants it. I think we're all a little afraid of what the noise would sound like if she got really mad, so we do everything we can to keep her happy far ahead of her needs! Her cry sounds a little like two mountain lions fighting for a deer carcass. Just not something you want to hear more than once. Ever.

Sleeping is going okay at night. She's up about three times a night and goes back down pretty easily. We had decided to keep the crib and the bed separate just for ease of movement at night, but it looks like we're going to suck it up and push them back together. Claire wants us all to sleep very, very close, but I'd really like her to have her own space. We'll do that this afternoon and see if we can't get her sleep a little better. I still can't sleep on my side, so until I'm healed up a little more, it's going to be difficult to find a spot in bed next to a tiny newborn. Until I can sleep curled around her better and let her nurse more freely, I think having her in her own crib is going to have to work.

Claire took her first shower this morning! She was getting stinky again so we decided to introduce her to what may be the most populated bathroom in Texas. Our master bath is like Grand Central, I tell you. This is one reason I was relieved to find we had another little girl - it's simple when everyone is one gender. Generally, the girls go nuts in the bathtub while I shower next to them in the glass stall, and then I hop out and do their hair before I dry off. This may be the most complicated part of my recovery, as I can't use the tub until I'm completely healed, and post-partum showering is...insane. And then you add in the fact that I can't bend over to wash them outside the tub, either, and things get even crazier.

So this morning we had two girls in the tub and Daddy holding Claire. I got in the shower, Andrew handed Claire to me and then flew about the house gathering diapers, towels, clothes, etc. Claire thought the shower was groovy. Passed out almost immediately. While I cleaned Claire, he rushed to wash the girls and then grabbed the baby to get her diapered and squared away. Once she was put back in her swing, he gathered up the other two and got them dried off and out of the bathroom.

 And then I had to get out. I know that most of you women who read this blog know what a one-week-past-delivery shower looks like. There is nothing more inconvenient about the end of pregnancy than the post-shower dash. You finally feel clean and fresh, only to have to dash through getting your hair and body dry and put back into your battle armor before your entire shower was completely wasted. What a joke. It's even worse when you have a c-section, because you can't put cover up a damp incision, so you really need to air-dry, but everything else needs immediate attention. Showering exhausts me. (I seriously just wrote an entire paragraph on showering. I may delete this.) I would delete this. Love, Andrew

Lucy and Mo

Andrew. Don't write about me. :-P

09 May 2011

Claire naps - Part 2

Claire naps - Part 1

Thank You, Auntie Kasie!

We were so fortunate to have a very wonderful helper with us for the past week. Aunt Kasie came out from Washington to help with the girls, nurse me back to health, make sure things ran smoothly and snuggle the baby for her first week. I was so worried that planes would be late, the surgery would be changed around, things would get derailed for one reason or another and so on. The week went off without so much as a hiccup, and much of that was due in large part to Kasie running this place so well! She got here Monday night and immediately flew into action, keeping the girls busy, making sure things were packed and organized, handing out meds and nebulizing a sick two-year-old, (did I mention she's a nurse!?) keeping the groceries stocked and the baby supplies fresh, folding laundry and putting everything in the right spots, changing babies and yelling at bad hospital staff, cooking dinner and spoiling the girls rotten and still managing to get her nails done and work on her tan!

My family never ceases to amaze me, and Kasie was no exception this past week. Every moment of the week was easy, fun, organized and seamless, thanks to our dedicated Auntie who was so willing to give up an entire week to care for us.

Thank you Aunt Kasie! We love you! 

Happy 4th Birthday, Anna Lucille!

How is our little baby already four years old?!?

Lucy is such a shining star. She's polite, empathetic, funny, friendly, creative, loving, silly, smart, witty, peaceful, obedient and endearing. She's a cuddler, a go-getter, a surpriser, a comedienne, a kisser, a back-rubber, a puddle jumper, a tub swimmer, a cookie stealer, a sneaky toddler and our sweet baby girl.

Lucy is constantly looking to make us proud, make us smile and make us laugh. She's a wonderful big sister with so much love to give. She's always watching out for her family, lending a hand and coming up with ways to make life easier. She'll sneak into her room and clean it top to bottom, or color a picture to surprise us, or gobble up her entire dinner when we know she'd rather do anything else. She's so easy to love!

Lucy's 4th year was full of accomplishment. Suddenly she's recognizing her numbers and letters, zooming around on her scooter, taking her dishes to the sink and putting away her laundry. She's making so many friends in Texas and is really learning to play well with her peers. Lucy loves Jesus and thinks he's a superhero. We hear lines like, "Well, he doesn't fly faster than Jesus!" on a ddaily basis.

Our sweet girl has spent the past four years winning our hearts over and over. How proud we are to call her ours! From her sparkling green eyes to her red-painted toes, she's packed with magic and love. We know the years ahead are already filled with so much love and joy.

Happy Birthday, Lucy! We love you!


Clear victor

Claire - 1

Crib - 0

08 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

What a wonderful day to celebrate a wonderful Mama! It was so great to have her here for Claire's birth, even if it was only about 24 hours - just long enough to go out for dinner, do a little shopping, get through a surgery and cuddle a baby. She'll be back in a week for more bonding and we can't wait. The girls can't wait to get Mimi back for a week of fun!

My mom is my best friend, #1 on my speed dial, my laughing buddy and the first person I turn to when things feel all wrong. She's the model for my own mothering, and sets the examples I use every day. Her faith and love are evident in everything she does, and her selfless parenting over so many years turned me into the person I am today. When people say to me, "Your girls are so GOOD!" I think, well, that's exactly the way my mother would have done it...

Happy Mother's Day to the mom I'm so proud to call mine! I love you!

06 May 2011

Claire yawning 5 May 2011... so stinking cute & floppy.

Magic Baby

We're home. We were discharged around 1:30 yesterday and rushed straight over to Walmart for prescriptions and things we hadn't counted on needing. (Which is exactly where everyone is right now, as well. Breast pumps, this and that, food, jet dry, things I usually take care of that Kasie is deftly handling for the entire family.)

Claire is so perfect. I hope to be a mother to many someday, but today I'm a mother to three. Lucy, Molly and Sweet Claire. Claire is loud and active. She's Molly times 12. She's got a tiny little head, dreamy big eyes and a very tiny, very strong body. This sure isn't my first baby, but you'd never know it. I hope that every baby always feels like my first. She smells like acetone and fresh skin. and she's so perfectly pink and soft.

Nursing is going well - she's not the old soul that Molly was at this point, nursing contendtedly and skillfully, but she's strong and determined. She just keeps trying and is improving her latch every time she makes the attempt. Our first night at home was quiet, peaceful and restful. I had to wake her to eat each time, and she went straight back to sleep without a peep after each little snack. My milk came in overnight and I'm in great pain, but Claire is happy and hungry! Her little baby burps and multiple diapers are a good sign that nursing is taking off without a hitch.

We were able to speak with my OB yesterday before we left the hospital and he said that my surgery was perfect. My uterus looks great and he gave us the go-ahead for "4 or 5 more." Ha! While I appreciate room for more pregnancies, we're very happy where we are right now. Claire may be a big sister in a few years, but we're just so excited to be able to look forward to a few years of enjoying these crazy girls!

Lucy and Mo are really having fun with Auntie Kasie; she's keeping them very busy! Molly has picked up, "Go to bed, Fred!" and repeats it all day long - it's definitely keeping us laughing! She and Aunt Kasie went out to explore the shopping, and Lucy took off with Daddy to look for oil-changing supplies for the van. I'm going to try to squeeze a nap in before everyone returns!

My drugs have kicked in once again, and it looks like I'm going to drop this computer on the floor if I don't sign off and finish this later! Here's a picture of Lucy with her new baby. She's just loving the freedom she has to mother this one, and has been spending most of her time just holding Claire and staring at her new sister. As you can see, Claire is just spreading the bliss all over the place!

05 May 2011

Last nap @ hospital

Last nap @ hospital for Laura and Claire who has already been nicknamed Claire Bear by her Aunt Lisa and Claireberry by Laura :-)

Let me count the ways...

I really hope that it's just my hormones that are skewing things. I'm sure I didn't call for pain meds two hours ago. Probably a dream. And I'm betting that Kathy D wasn't in here 5 minutes ago snapping at me about the fact that I can call the nursery and put the phone back myself since she "knows" I'm walking. Oh Kathy D...what a treat. I'm almost wishing I'd stuck with the loud, obnoxious male nurse from earlier. I don't know if it's night nurses in general, or just this particular hospital, but asking them to help me stay on top of the pain was definitely a foreign concept because I've pretty much had to beg for anything they've given me. This has been, by far, the worst hospital experience I've ever had. I wish Andrew were here tonight, but it's so important to Lucy that he be at home - she seemed a little clingy yesterday, so I gladly gave him up.
5 more hours of Kathy D. Christmas really did come early this year, didn't it? Thank goodness I didn't land myself in the hospital for anything before now - this place is really something...

04 May 2011

Claire Faustina - first picture ("curtain pic") 3 May 2011

We want to share this full color, full pixel picture with our beloved family and friends [who follow this blog] as we welcome Claire Faustina into this world. That first little cry adds so much joy to our lives that it'd be selfish not to share this wonderful experience with as many readers as possible.

Click photo to enlarge

Seconds after this picture was taken, Andrew informed Laura that "It's a girl" and Laura (amidst happy tears) said, "Really?!" The medical staff laughed to hear Laura and Andrew's joyous disbelief! Their laughter and our happy tears and subsequent chatter about how to manage three redheaded girls transformed that "O.R." into an absolutely amazing baby greeting experience. Excellent work hospital folk.

Lucy, piecing the puzzle together. Good SMELPER!

So I stayed home tonight with the girls & Aunt Kasie. They both needed some Daddy face time, although Molly would much prefer face-to-face time with "baby" as she calls Claire. We talked at bed time about baby Claire coming home tomorrow (Thurs 5/5). Both girls are VERY excited but a little confused perhaps...

A: "Baby Claire is coming home tomorrow! Are you excited!? She's pretty cool, huh?"
L: "My cousin Claire is coming here?"
A: "Yes. You're sister Claire is coming home, here, tomorrow. She's going to sleep a lot and mostly in Mommy & Daddy's room for now. That ok?"

Lucy sighs. Lightly slaps hand on forehead and drops her head back on her pillow, mocking exasperation says... "I can't be a big sister to two babies!"

To which Poppers quickly retorts, "No baby. Baby baby. Book, Book, Book, Baby Book. Read me."

Yes, she does kind of sound like yoda :-)

L: "You're a baby sometimes Molly..."
A: "Okay, easy now. Go easy with Molly... Of course you're going to be a great big sister to two babies."

Hearing "great" and "big" back to back, Lucy started stretching her arms out like she's measuring something really large. Like a fish or when someone says "I love you thiiiiiis much".  Sigh. I laugh and continue...

"Are you going to help us with baby Claire? Watch her? Change her diaper? Play with her? Make her smile? And keep her safe?" (whispered from Molly)

L: "Yes Sir!" [We've recently reinstated saying Sir in this house. I love when either of them say it unprompted. It's adorable when Popper's tries and says "yessa"].

Lucy finishes this dialogue with a whopper.........

"I'm a gonna be a goooood smelper."

Just spoke w/ Laura who pulled a Donald Trump and fired the latest RN assigned to her. You go girl! ;-) Love you miss you and will be back (well rested) to you and Claire early in the morning!

Pleased to Meet You, Sweet Girl