Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Noises

Yesterday I was making dinner, and since I was hearing happy baby noises somewhere in the house, I didn't think much of what Miriel might be doing. Chad decided to check on her and discovered this little mischievous girl having a grand old time in the bathroom. We all laughed and now we shut the bathroom door, or at least put the toilet paper roll up on the counter when it's not in use!

busted!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

the dog and the cat

Gavin and Miriel were a dog and cat for Halloween. We took a few photos and visited a few neighbors but didn't spend much time on Halloween other than that. They were super cute, though, and Gavin was excited about being a dog and knocking on doors to get candy. We'll see if he asks tomorrow if he can do it again... (he did last year!). We also saw our friends the Laceys and the Austins and took some photos of all our kids in their costumes together (Ella, Charlie, Miriel and Gavin). Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, so hopefully I can snag a photo of theirs in the near future!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkins

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We went to Kreuger's Farm a couple weekends ago and enjoyed picking out some pumpkins, the corn maze, some tasty treats and the tractor ride (thanks to a gift from our sweet friends the Closners!). Everyone had a fun time and we enjoyed the beautiful, sunny day. I don't really have much else to say about it but I do have a couple photos.

My two pumpkins

Miriel and the Pumpkins


In other news, Miriel is now CRAWLING! She's been at it for about a week and seems to get better (and faster!) by the hour. And here's a funny video of her "dancing" to Gavin's backhoe music.



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Monday, October 11, 2010

Snapshots, for Real

I took these today, so they are real snapshots of life right now. Enjoy!


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Saturday, October 9, 2010

3 years 2 months, and 8 months

I am not going to try to even think about summarizing the 3 months since I last posted. Instead, I just want to take a snapshot of right now. Gavin is 3 years and 2 months old, and Miriel is 8 months old. Gavin, please forgive me for not posting anything anywhere about your third birthday. We really did have a fabulous time celebrating you and we love you very much.


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Miriel is overall still a super happy and cuddly baby, though she's a little crankier than she was a few months ago. She still smiles a ton (although she's not in this photo... sorry!) She has been teething since before 6 months but still has not cut a single tooth. The doctor and I even saw the two bottom middle teeth just below her gums at her 6-month appointment (and she was 8 months yesterday).

Miriel is still totally in love with me. She likes Chad and Gavin a lot, too, but she will always come to me from anyone else and desperately wants me when she is tired, hungry or generally unhappy. She has been up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth for at least a month now, and I keep thinking she is going to take off crawling at any moment. Today she was somehow managing to propel herself forward to get something she was interested in, so we will see how much longer she is (mostly) immobile. She loves her food but is a little particular about texture and not too fond of several fruits. We pretty much don't feed her purees any more and just give her soft cooked foods. We also have to be very careful about keeping her from getting constipated, so although she loves bananas and puffed rice, she rarely gets to eat them. The newest things she likes are tiny chunks of prunes and halves of freeze-dried blueberries.

As far as sleeping goes, Miriel has been taking two or three naps a day, usually a shorter one (or two - about an hour) and a longer one (1.5 or 2 hours). If she takes only two naps then she goes to bed around 6pm, otherwise it's about 7pm. She wakes around 7am. Completely contrary to her older brother at this age, she likes to be set down in her crib awake so she can go to sleep by herself (and we are so grateful). She has been waking at least two times a night (and up to 4-6 for a few weeks recently) to nurse since she was born, but Chad has gotten up with her the last couple nights to help her get out of the habit (and it seems to be working with very minimal crying!). We are not hoping to eliminate night waking altogether just yet, but it would be so nice to be up only once every night instead of two or three times.

I am really enjoying Miriel and love that she likes to cuddle. Sometimes when she wakes up earlier than I'd like in the morning, she will lie beside me in bed and just suck her fingers and burrow into my side for half an hour. (OK, sometimes she claws my face, too, wanting me to open my eyes and interact with her, but I still like it.)


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Gavin is not a toddler any longer and has really become a little boy! The transition happened in about a month, right around the time he turned 3, and we were actually aware of it at the time. His sentences became more complex, his imagination took on another level, he started asking why and how, he grew taller and his face became thinner. (He also started throwing massive, crazy, unstoppable fits. Thankfully, he eventually responded to our discipline and quit after a week or so.) Not that he doesn't continue to mature and grow and learn, but it was very marked then.

Gavin doesn't really sing (although he has started recently and has absolutely no pitch whatsoever!), but he loves music and has such an strong sense of rhythm. For a really long time (maybe since he was 18 months?), he has enjoyed walking around the "circuit" in our house on the hardwood floors, stomping his feet to "play a song." For the longest time it was da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM, with his right foot always a significantly harder slap than his left. Right around when he turned 3, it changed to da-da-da-DUM da-da-da-DUM, with his right foot alternately tapping normally and slapping hard. (This is really hard to explain with words. I should just get the video camera out soon and post a video. It's actually really cute.) The funny thing to me is that he does this every day, multiple times a day. Same with his "guitar" (which is actually a ukelele). I can't think of a day that we have been at home for a decent amount of time that he hasn't played his guitar since he got it for Christmas almost a year ago. (He is actually learning how to strum pretty well now.)

This school year, Gavin and I are doing a little tiny bit of "preschool" at home. We have been learning some basic math concepts (counting and subtraction at the moment) and using the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" for reading. At the moment, he can look at a group of things with up to three items, recognize how many there are without counting them and tell me how many there will be when we take away one, two or three. Also, he sounded out and read his first word (that was not in the reading book) just a few days ago - it was "big." I am really enjoying teaching him and trying to make sure we are keeping it fun for both of us. It is so amazing to watch him learn and absorb new things!

(By the way, these photos aren't really a snapshot of right now because the previous two are from about 3 weeks ago when my parents were visiting and we went on a walk in Discovery Park in Seattle and this one is from a week before that when Gavin was picking flowers for me out of our yard.)

call me "flower man," he says

That's all for now!

As a sidenote, I've started a food/recipe blog. If you happen to be interested, come visit at http://thoughtfulkitchen.com.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We took a few photos of Miriel today in order to get one for her passport (none of these are the passport photo, in case you were wondering). She is such a happy girl!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

She Has Hands!

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Miriel has found her hands! (It actually happened about a week ago, and I took some photos and was going to write a blog post but then got sick, and you know how that goes.) She's enjoying her play gym a lot more now that she can bat the toys around.

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Along with using her hands to grab things, she figured out how to chomp on them, too. And when she figured out how to gnaw on her own hands, she realized that she wanted to gnaw on everything - our knuckles, her rubber giraffe, her clothes... pretty much anything that gets near her mouth.

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At least one person in our household has been sick to varying degrees for the last month and will probably continue to be for at least another week or so. Chad and Gavin are in the beginnings of whatever I am at the end of, which lasted about a week and a half for me. We've been staying home a lot and not doing much. Hopefully that will end soon, as I am getting quite tired of the inside of our house.

But since we've been at home a lot, we decided now was as good of a time as any to conquer the dreaded potty-training! "We" does in fact include Gavin, since he was the one who asked to wear underwear in the first place. It's been about 2 weeks so far, and I am really happy with the progress we've made. He is both peeing and pooping in the potty with only about one accident per day and wearing underwear all the time (even to bed). He is also telling us when he needs to go most of the time, although we try to remember to ask him if we suspect he's ignoring the urge just to keep playing. The pooping has definitely been the harder thing to help him with, but he is learning and is really doing a great job. He has had a great attitude about the whole thing (most of the time) and loves to pick out new pairs of underwear.

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(I promise I did not try to get them both to open their mouths... I only noticed once the photos were on my computer!)

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Gavin took this one...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day

I made this for my mother-in-law for Mother's Day. (And got to have some myself, too.)

Boccone Dolce


I also enjoyed this little sweet treat (and the other one, too, but he wasn't around for pictures).

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Chad got up extra early and made me breakfast (eggs benedict) and dressed Miriel in a cute little outfit that he picked out all by himself. And by "all by himself" I mean that he took both kids to the mall the weekend before and looked through lots of stores just to find something that says "mommy" on it because she has tons of clothes that say "daddy" and none that say "mommy." How sweet is that? (Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the outfit - maybe later.) We went to church and then to my in-laws' where I got to make the aforementioned dessert and play with my camera and lights while doing it. It was a fun day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Miriel's Birth Story

My in-laws had a baby shower for me on Sunday, February 7, and on my way back home I stopped by the hospital where a friend had had her baby that day. I noticed that my stomach was funky and I wasn't feeling all that comfortable but otherwise I was fine. I went home, folded some baby clothes and went to bed. Around 2am I woke up feeling much like I did when I went into labor with Gavin - my stomach was unsettled and queasy, I could (barely) tell I was having contractions, they were about 3 minutes apart, and they didn't hurt at all. I figured it was a good idea to go ahead and get things in order just in case this was the "real thing" (even though it was 2 1/2 weeks before my due date), so we called my mother-in-law to come stay the rest of the night with Gavin and we headed to the hospital. I was feeling very putzy and not really in any hurry, and, unlike my labor with Gavin, things didn't get any more intense on our way to the hospital or during the admission process.

Once we were in a birthing room, the nurse hooked me up to the heart rate and contraction monitors. My contractions slowed down during the monitoring and the baby's heart rate was not all that great (a little high and without the preferred rhythm), so I rested for a while and continued monitoring. At some point fairly early on they checked me for dilation and I was at 4cm (I had been at 3cm a few days before at my last OB appointment). While I rested, my contractions pretty much stopped. Since I had tested positive for Group B strep, I needed to get an IV so I could have a couple rounds of antibiotics before delivery. The nurse tried a couple times to no avail, so she called in IV therapy, who did an awesome job and put the IV in a much more convenient place on the outside of my left arm. At some point, Chad and I both rested for an hour or so.

After about 30 minutes of walking and contractions every 3-4 minutes again, we put on the monitors and discovered that the baby's heart rate was actually much higher. I was pretty worried at this point and was convinced I would end up with a C-section, even though my doctor was not really even suggesting it (I am so thankful for an awesome OB). Even though I really did not want a C-section, I Really, Really did want a healthy baby and was mentally okay with and even thankful for the possibility. The nurse gave me some fluid through the IV, just in case the high heart rate was because of dehydration. (By the way, during much of this I had to pee about every 5 minutes. Very irritating when you're hooked up to a mostly-stationary machine.)

My doctor visited around 8am and said the heart rate pattern was indicative of the umbilical cord being around the baby's neck, possibly wrapped more than once, but assured us that many babies are born vaginally this way and most likely everything would be fine. I needed to stay hooked up to the monitors, though, to make sure her heart rate didn't get any worse and hopefully it would even out and get better. We agreed that he would come back around noon to see how things had progressed and break my water if needed. So after getting a round of antibiotics, I tried bouncing on the birthing ball and nipple stimulation to try to get my labor started again and my water to break. Sometime during this waiting period, Gavin came in for a few minutes to visit and Chad's mom's best friend, Mary Kay, stopped by for a little bit.

I had been praying much of the time but was still worried about the continually-high heart rate, especially since I wasn't having any more contractions but it was still high. Somehow, though, when I started bouncing on the birthing ball a sense of peace came and I stopped worrying and was able to truly put the whole situation into Jesus' hands. Not too long afterwards, the baby's heart rate dropped a little to the just-a-little-too-high range (similar to what it had been when we first got to the hospital) though the rhythm remained the same. Later I learned that many of our friends and family were also praying for us during this time.

When my doctor came around 1pm (he was a little late), my water still had not broken and I was only half a centimeter more dilated. We had a good talk about what was going on and decided that this baby definitely needed to be born sooner rather than later. He recommended that he break my water and then I get a small amount of pitocin to get my labor going again. Active labor would push the situation one way or the other - most likely the baby's heart rate would get better and I would have a natural vaginal delivery, or possibly it would get significantly worse and I would have an emergency C-section. He broke my water, and the nurse gave me about an hour to see if labor would pick up naturally. It didn't, so at 2pm she gave me the smallest dose possible of pitocin. My first "real" contraction (meaning it hurt some and I could tell the contraction was productive) came around 2:15pm, and I was so incredibly thankful. The nurse upped the pitocin to the next notch to get the contractions to be regular and they started coming around every 3 minutes. I think she turned off the pitocin after that but I'm not sure - I pretty much zoned out into labor land soon afterward and don't remember much of what happened around me.

After a few regular contractions I decided the birth ball was the best place to be, so I sat there and leaned back on Chad. He rubbed my lower back during contractions and was generally calming and reassuring. I found that vocalizing in a low sighing hum really helped me get through the contractions. They were painful but I was doing fine and able to relax through them to keep the pain as minimal as possible. I could feel the baby progressing downward past my tailbone and truly was so happy to be finally in labor that I appreciated the pain because I knew it was productive. The baby's heart rate dropped a little more into the "good" zone, too. I remember actually talking through the last third or quarter of a couple of contractions, and one particularly intense one that looked different on the monitor screen.

[Please note that the rest of these events might not be quite in order since it was definitely a blur.] After an hour or so (?), I had to use the bathroom and was feeling more pressure and overall ickiness. Right around the same time I felt like bursting into tears, and I told Chad I was pretty sure I was about to go into transition. The nurse checked me when I came out of the bathroom and I was at 7cm, so she called the doctor to let him know. I started having very intense and close-together contractions and knew transition had begun. I was sobbing through the contractions but also knew that it wouldn't last long and was actually still doing just fine. Transition lasted maybe 20-30 minutes and then my body started pushing. The baby was coming fast, and nurse told me to try to keep from pushing since the doctor wasn't there yet. I (kind of) did for 2 or 3 contractions, which were still only a few minutes apart. I knew I couldn't keep the baby in any longer (and certainly didn't want to) and the nurse called other nurses in for support. Just then, my doctor walked in and my body was quiet for a couple minutes. The next contraction started and I reached down and felt the baby's head crown with my hand. A few seconds later she was born at 4:45pm.

The umbilical cord was indeed wrapped around her neck, twice, but she was perfectly fine. She had Apgar scores of 9 and 9. My doctor placed her on my chest and I held and cuddled with her. A few minutes later Chad cut the umbilical cord, which was huge (maybe as big around as a silver dollar?) and barely fit in the clamp. My doctor said that her giant, healthy cord was the main reason she was fine despite the double nuchal. She latched onto my breast right away and sucked for an hour straight while I delivered the placenta and was stitched up (I had a third degree tear).

Chad brought Gavin in from the waiting room so he could be the first (besides us) to meet his little sister. He loved seeing her and was so sweet. We went home from the hospital on Wednesday after an uneventful stay. Miriel was nursing well and I felt pretty much fine (although I did keep taking ibuprofen for a little while). We have adjusted well, I think, to having her as part of our family, and we all love her very much.

Out of the whole thing, the worst parts for me were the two failed IV attempts and once when I got a little too much antibiotic concentration in the IV and it burned going in my veins. I'm sure those were bad moments partially because I was worried about Miriel and definitely not relaxed while all that was happening. The contractions during transition were really not high on my I-want-to-do-this-again-tomorrow list, either, but it was totally different because it felt natural and somehow good even though it was painful. Oh, and getting the local anesthetic in order to get sewed up afterward was certainly not fun. It was such a different experience than Gavin's birth - easier physically, but harder emotionally because of the waiting and worrying. I was more coherent and significantly less exhausted when Miriel was born, though, and felt like I bonded with her much more easily and quickly. It has also taken a lot longer for me to heal from tearing than from the episiotomy I had with Gavin - Miriel is 12 weeks old and I am just now almost healed (it was a fairly bad tear, though).

The best parts were certainly holding Miriel in my arms and feeding her the first time. But other things were good, too - the feeling of peace as I bounced on the birthing ball and truly trusted God for the health of my baby and whatever happened with the birth, my thankfulness and relief when that first "real" contraction started, the satisfaction and even happiness I felt that my body was doing what it was meant to do as the contractions came. Even an hour after Miriel was born, I remember thinking to myself and mentioning to someone "This wasn't so bad - I could do this again." (That was not the case an hour after Gavin's birth - I distinctly remember thinking "I'd bet I'll think that this wasn't so bad in a few weeks, but right now I really don't relish the thought of repeating this ever again.")

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For Mimi and Papa

My parents sent Miriel and Gavin some cute outfits recently, and I put the little dress they sent on Miriel today and snapped a couple quick shots (don't look too closely - a couple are a bit blurry).

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Fabric Softener

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... makes my husband look like this (and worse), all over his body, for at least a week. And apparently it feels worse than it looks. Ugh. Somehow when I purchased the all-natural, 4-ingredient, new laundry detergent (Ecos) I didn't realize that the coconut-based "softener" in it was the same thing that he's allergic to in Downy (which is, by the way, mostly made out of a derivative of sheep, cattle and horse fat). Unfortunately, we've had the new detergent in our home for a few months, and I used it here and there before we ran out of the other detergent last week and then did 5 loads of laundry in the new stuff. That means I have no idea what actually got washed in the Ecos detergent, and now I get to wash everything in our whole house, twice, with second rinses and adding vinegar, to make sure there is no residue on anything. At least now I'm pretty sure of what it is that he's allergic to (the actual "softening" ingredient - quats) and I will make sure to avoid it at all costs from now on!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Smiles!

We hope you had a wonderful Easter full of the love of Jesus and the celebration of His wonderful gift of life! Unfortunately we weren't able to make it to a church service today because Gavin has a cough and runny nose, Miriel has a cold, and Chad broke out Saturday night with a nasty rash from an allergic reaction to our new laundry detergent (after we had finally gotten all 5 loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and mostly put away - ugh). We did get to enjoy time with family today, though.

Miriel is full of smiles lately (see the photo at the top of the page) and likes to make adorable cooing noises every once in a while. She's not even really upset with having the cold (yet, at least), just sleeping more. We are so thankful! Gavin continues to be full of fun and energy but has been a little more difficult lately, probably due to his top 2-year molars coming in, his cough and generally not getting enough sleep because of those things.

Here are Gavin and Miriel sporting their Easter garb!

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