Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our Sweet Elle

I would try to re-cap our entire summer, but it could probably just be summed up with these pictures. I was large and pregnant for the beginning of summer and the boys and I spent many days at the pool. The latter part of the summer was spent cuddling this precious new addition to our family. 

Ellen Virginia was delivered on July 7th, at 12:40 p.m., weighing a tiny 7.4 pounds, and was 20 inches long. Both Matthew and thought she would weigh 9 pounds, based on both boys being over 8 pounds, and me feely huge. We were totally wrong. The delivery went great, and for a third c-section, everything went according to plan. I was so thankful for the medicine this time, as they were out of it with Shepherd, and my recovery with him was pretty miserable.

We named our little Elle after Matthew's grandmother Lou Ellen. We have always liked the name Virginia, and my grandmother's side of the family is from there, and as she says, she will never leave the state of Virginia. We thought we could pay her a little tribute by including her favorite state in her name. :) Plus, we are saving her actual name in case we ever have another little girl!

I knew Eli would do pretty well with his newest sibling, but really wasn't sure how Shepherd would do. He is certainly our grumpiest child yet, and I thought he might be a little jealous. He did great though. Both boys were smitten from the second they laid eyes on their little sister, and haven't shown a moment of jealousy yet. They may fight with each other, but the second she wakes up from her nap, they are right in her face, goggly-eyed and smothering her with kisses and baby talk.

She pretty much has us all wrapped around her teeny tiny long fingers. We weren't sure if a girl after two boys would feel any different, but it does. EVERY single child is a perfect gift, and this little girl is such a fun addition.

So far, we think she looks like me and a little bit of Shepherd. She looks nothing like Eli's newborn pictures, but of course, she's changing every day, so we keep seeing different glimpses of who she looks like.

She is a petite thing, and at 11 weeks old, weighs a little over 10 pounds, and can still wear some of her newborn clothes. We had some reflux and oversupply problems the first few weeks, and the poor thing was pretty uncomfortable every time she laid down. She pretty much slept on upright on my chest while I sat up during the first 6 weeks. She is now taking some reflux medicine, and I have been working to even out my supply so I quit drowning her in milk.:) She wouldn't take a paci, but just last week, found her thumb, and now sucks on her thumb as soon as she gets sleepy.

She is seriously a dream baby right now. Both the boys were pretty particular from the beginning. Eli had to be bounced and held a certain way, and almost never went to sleep by himself. Shepherd had dairy problems, and was colicy, and would fuss and have to be held all day. Elle hardly every fusses, and smiles every time someone talks to her. She is just starting to coo, and we have been trying hard to get some good laughs out of her. She's given us a few so far- so sweet!

Although I really don't like being pregnant, I really like babies. They are the best tangible gift of how God loves us, and I am in awe every time our family grows. Bring me all the babies, I say. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Never-ending February.

January always passes by pretty quickly. The holidays are over, and it's time to start anew, clean the house, and get ready for a new year. February, the shortest month of the year, is always the longest for me. This February has felt twice as long this year, with the never ending ice and snow days and sicknesses that have kept us cooped up pretty much all month. We have played trains, built towers, read books, watched way more tv than needed, and pretty much lost our minds. But!! It's March, and Monday has a forecast of 70 and sunny, and I plan to live outside. 

Here I am at about 18-ish weeks. I keep telling myself I will take bump pictures when I am actually dressed and hair and make-up are on, and frankly, all three of those rarely happen on the same day.
I am still feeling pretty poor, but not as bad as the beginning, so I'll take any improvement I can get!

Eli made his very first best friend this year...and his best friend is moving. Rylan's dad was the youth minister at our church, and they are moving back to their hometown in Indiana, so we are definitely sad around here without our buddy! Eli and Rylan had Sunday school classes AND pre-school classes together, which was so nice for my shy little buddy. I hate that he is losing his cute friend, and have been praying fervently for a new sweet friend for Eli for the next school year. We have decided to send Eli to pre-k at his MDO program, to give him, and his mama, another year before "real" school starts. We are praying about and considering homeschooling, so that gives us another year to decide what's best for our family.

Here's a poorly lit phone picture of Eli and one of his latest creations. If y'all don't have Magna-tiles, I highly suggest you purchase some. We bought the boys a shared pack for Christmas, and they have played with them EVERY DAY since they opened them. If you have little kids, you know how amazing that is to have them not be bored with a toy after about one day. Shepherd loves them too, and he wasn't even two when we got them. We went ahead and got the 100 pack, and are seriously considering buying one more pack. They both play with all of the tiles, and fight over needing more for their latest creation. I actually ordered the "Picasso Tiles" from Amazon, as they were a tad cheaper, and they have held up great so far. Seriously, such a great gift!

I was too sick this year to get our acts together for a Christmas card, and so I attempted to do a Valentine's Day card, but my big camera needs servicing, and I didn't like how any of them turned out, so I scrapped those too. You can see here how Eli cooperates, and Shepherd switches his little mood on and off pretty frequently. 

We were actually told at our 15 week appt. that our doctor thought it looked like we had a little girl in there, but I couldn't tell a thing from her ultrasound machine, and we wanted to wait until our big screening to make sure before we told anyone, and did any planning. I actually ended up switching doctors at about 20 weeks, and our big ultrasound was our first appt. with her. 

This is at 20 weeks on our way to find out what we were having. Honestly, once you head to that appointment, all major cares about gender go out the window, as I just lay there and pray that everything looks good with our sweet babe. We got confirmation that it is indeed a sweet little girl in there, and were so excited to confirm what our first doctor thought she saw too! This should almost be another post all on its own, but I have prayed and prayed that God would eventually gift us with a little girl. Matthew and I feel an enormous responsibility to all of our children, boys or girls, but there are some differences in how you raise each gender. I have always yearned for certain relationships with my parents that I never got, and I pray I can fulfill those special needs in each of my children. That being said, I pray every day to be able to fill those needs in my daughter's life that I don't think I got as a child, and or as an adult daughter now. I feel like the very greatest thing Matthew and I can do for our children is teach them to love the Lord, and to teach them by SHOWING them everyday how we are willing to put our own selves aside sacrifice for our spouse's and their own well being. Anyway, I am overwhelmed and so so grateful God is giving me the gift of having the chance at a sweet relationship with a daughter.

That being said, I was surprised that I found myself a little sad that we weren't having another sweet baby boy, so I think that just goes to show God isn't through with our little family yet. ;)

Two big boys in a big boy bed! We think the boys will be sharing a room once sister gets here, so we are trying to get their room ready. I'm not sure how Shepherd will do, but I have my guesses. :) I looked at multiple stores before deciding on these metal beds for them, and ended up ordering from Overstock. They are almost an exact duplicate to the Pottery Barn Coleman beds, but a lot cheaper. Maybe PB's are a little sturdier? I can't say, but we are definitely pleased with these for the price. Eli easily switched beds, and now the trick will be convincing Shepherd to stay in one. I have at least until June to teach him to do so! I think my main concern is getting them to not wake each other up. Eli usually wakes up crying his head off at least once or twice a week with a bad dream, and Shepherd has been waking up around 4 or 5 to start his days lately, so I'm not sure how they won't just keep each other up all night. Any tips for sharing a room?

Along with feeling like I have a constant stomach bug, I actually GET a stomach bug every time I am pregnant. This was the worst one I've ever had, and I didn't leave my bed for days. Luckily, Matthew was iced in from work, and could take over. He found me on the bathroom floor a few times, where I was just too tired from constantly running to the bathroom to vomit I decided to just lay down there for awhile. Praise God, no one else caught it...there's not much worse than babies who are throwing up while you are too. :) This little mister above came in after he went to church to check on me. "Can I get you anything mama? Maybe a blanket, or some water...or maybe a movie?" He has watched his daddy take care of me for months now, and loves to help. So sweet.

A result from waking up at the crack of dawn is that he often falls asleep at about 8:30. I usually let him catch a catnap, and then wake him up and make him hang until a real nap a little later. I'm not sure if it's DST or not. He was doing this routine until I started making him nap earlier in the day, and then he went back to a normal 7:00 wake up time, and then Daylight Savings hit, and here we are again. Standing up in his crib around 4:30, with his blanket and water in hand, ready to greet the sun. He usually tells me "I hungee mama...juice, mama!" Demanding little thing. Breakfast and juice at 4:30. He then tells me "I wanna show" and "where e-yi go?" Ummm, Eli's sleeping, brother. Like you should be too. :)

Baby girl clothes! I love consignment stores...I have been trying to restrain myself...but baby Gap has about the cutest little pieces I've ever seen. I don't love a lot of pink, or flowery stuff, and Gap wins it all. That being said, I've also pulled out all my old smocked bubble and dresses, and I can't wait for them either. I've never had a girl, or a summer baby, and I honestly don't know what teeny tiny infants wear in the summer...diapers? onesies? tiny tank top onesies? Ha- I know we'll figure it out, but so far, I've bought a few long sleeve onesies and some short sleeve/tank top ones, and I have no clue what the little miss will be comfortable in. I'm sure we'll be out in the heat a good bit with two rowdy boys, so maybe just a diaper and a big sun hat. :)

Here's one of our early morning pics we sent to Aunt Leah during a morning chat. In return, she sends us pics of Jack and we grin at his cuteness. That cute boy is only 4 months old and weighs as much as an average 12 month old! I am passing along some clothes that Shepherd literally just grew out of last summer.

There's more to share...we are trying to get this house mostly completed before a third baby takes away any productiveness for awhile. I've been painting and remodeling bathrooms when I feel well enough, and I sat down this morning to plan out our 2015 garden, and we have to get those in the ground pronto. I'll be back to share all that soon.

And last, but certainly not least, would you take a minute to pray for my father-in-law? Most of you probably know, he has rheumatoid arthritis in his lungs, which makes it hard for him to get around and breathe, and a few months ago, he noticed he was even more out of breath and dizzier than usual. He has now been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, which isn't a good diagnosis for anyone...but his lungs are already only working at 40% capacity, and this heart problem means more problems for his lungs and breathing capabilities. He is pretty much on oxygen all the time now, and gets dizzy and out of breath walking to the car, or anywhere. His medicine for his heart is dropping his blood pressure so much, he is occasionally blacking out, and he is pretty much shut in at home. Any major sickness or fall would be pretty dangerous for him, and so he has been staying in during this long long winter. Would you pray for his health in general, and more specifically, for his blood pressure to regulate, so that he can focus his efforts on his heart and lungs? Also, maybe for his spirits? Congestive heart failure can mean a shorter life span, and when you're lungs are already compromised, well, I think it probably makes him feel like he doesn't have all that long to be here with us. Couple that with a long winter inside, while feeling pretty sickly, and he could certainly use your prayers.

He's the best papa the boys have, and we pray he's around for a long time. I have such sweet memories of both of my grandfathers, and I pray the same for our children. We know our God is a great big God, and hears our prayers...we'd certainly love for you to join us in praying for Kyle. Thanks, friends.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Catching Up

Trying to catch up! The last time I actually took a lot of pictures was way back in October, before I got pregnant and incredibly sick. Yep! Baby number 3! We are so so excited, and can't wait to meet this third little blessing in July- our first summer baby. 

Eli warmed right up the idea of another sibling, after months of telling us he only needed Shepherd as his sibling, I was a little worried with how he would react. He did just fine though, and is excited to be "another big brother." He thinks it's a girl, so we'll see soon enough.

Even after taking these THREE tests, Matthew was still asking me, "Do you really think it's right? Does it matter if the line is faded?" Ha! Yes, I think it's very right!

There's the little baby! We have an inkling of what it is...but will find out on Feb. 2nd. Can't wait to find out for sure!

I also know I will get sick when I'm pregnant, but I just truly forget HOW sick I get. I start taking B6 and Unisom at six weeks, and I pretty much have to stay on it for the whole pregnancy. It helps me not throw up AS much, but it doesn't really help with the extreme all day nausea. I just feel like I have a severe case of the food poisoning for weeks on end. I pretty much keep just enough food down to not end up in the hospital. I wake up, lay on the couch, let the boys run around like wild, and go back and forth to the bathroom to throw up all day. Matthew has done EVERYTHING for the past eight weeks or so...cleaning, cooking, transporting the boys, taking care of me, you name it. Without complaining...which is probably what I would do. :) He had to go out of town for about three weeks right before Christmas, and our house just about fell to shambles. Thank goodness we had his parents to come over when they could and help with the boys. Pregnancy just about does me in. I am almost 17 weeks now, and have finally made it to the point where I can get dressed and eat normal food and do normal things like the dishes. :)

While he was gone, my poor Eli had the worst fever virus. He had spent the night at his grandparents, and I got a call early the next morning saying he was burning up with a fever, and wanted his mama right away. For the next week, he pretty much laid on the couch and went in and out of sleep. I hate it when my babies are sick, but I do love the extra cuddles and taking care of them. Plus, he made good company at the other end of the couch for me!

This wild child pretty much had free reign of the house while his mama and brother were sick and daddy was out of town. One of his favorite activities is pulling EVERY pot and pan out that we own and "cooking" with me. He had also now mastered the sound of throwing up, after watching me do it multiple times a day. He will run and get his sippy cup and offer it to me while I throw up. "He (here), mama."

One night, his grandmother was bringing them home after watching them for me and tripped on the sidewalk while holding him. They both crashed to the ground and she happened to land on top of him. His sweet face got pretty banged up, but he's really a tough little thing, and after a doctor visit the next day, he was all cleared to keep playing.

I honestly don't know how Eli got to be such a BIG BOY lately. He is officially a little boy. These are his favorite jammies, and although I don't love character clothing, he has these pi's and a spiderman t-shirt that he loves, and I love that it makes him so happy. He is such a funny kid...and SO much like me. He is shy, and silly, and really deserves his own catch up post, b/c he does so many things lately I want to remember.

My two superheroes on Halloween. Again, with the Spider-man, and he hadn't even seen the movie. He just loves the thought of him. It was a freezing cold night, and we went over to our friend's new house to have dinner and do some trick-or-treating.

A couple nephew pics before I got pregnant and sick. I love being in Franklin with Bennett and Sawyer, and love seeing these boys all get together and play. I pray these cousins will grow up hanging out and being more than cousins...real friends. I have lots of great memories with my cousins, and love to see Eli and Bennett and Shepherd rough house and play together now. Leah had Jack in October, making that baby boy number five for the Bills' side. He is precious, looks a lot like Leah, and is the fattest of all them so far. :) Leah was a rockstar and barely made it to the hospital in time before delivering Jack without even so much as a tylenol...crazy. I told her if I never got sick, and delivered babies like her, I'd have about ten kiddos. :)

There's so much more I want to remember on here- I'll have to make it more of a habit to blog now that I am feeling a bit better. We are ready for spring around here, and I have two wild little boys who are meant to be outside a lot more than they can be right now. Their mama has been no fun and we all are looking forward to some sunshine and fresh air here, hopefully soon.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bit by bit.

Learning to be grateful for the mundane.

Mother's Day with my sweet boys.

Late spring garden...and a cute baby.

Joy is dirt for a little boy.

Sweets and gifts are one of his love languages.

Early summer garden- just got the tomatoes in here.

So proud of his first carrot! 

Kitchen project phase one.

I love subway tile.

Books and Legos..all day, every day.

This summer has been good to us...This was our first summer in our new home here in Franklin, and everywhere we turn, there is a project to do. We had our first real garden here, and loved it, and dreaded it. It is a lot of work to save all those vegis once they started coming in, but so worth it. I want to do a separate post on this--Eli has LOVED having a garden, and we have learned so much already!

Matthew started another new job this summer- same company, different position, and that has been a learning curve for us...different hours, and almost a "demotion" to gain a "promotion" in the future. Being a grown-up comes with a lot of decision making, but we have been having lots of great discussions on praying that God is leading our lives, and not the lure of promotions, more this, or more that. What is God's plan for our family? What do our steps now show our children later? Who are we serving? Lots of good talk!!

I have been trying to have a "just get it done" attitude with projects. There are so many great ideas out there, that I can spend way too much time looking at what others have done, and then there are just too many options for me to choose a path. I want to just do it! Paint the trim (again), hang those pictures, donate all the stuff, sew the outfits, etc. Right now I am focusing on taking our bathrooms from 1976 to present--I've been paralyzed by finding the "perfect" mirror and "perfect" lights..and frankly, now I'm just buying something that works and moving on! :) It feels good to get some stuff done around here!