Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labors of Love

I'm sitting around just after finishing up two simultaneous fantasy football drafts and I thought this looked fun. In honor of "Labor" Day I'm participating in a meme that Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer posted. Join in if you're interested....

How long were your labors?
Kid #1, Nonexistent. She was a c-section 10 days early because she was breech and I had low amniotic fluid

Kid #2, Hmmm...when to start counting? Long early labor, but contractions were never further than 10 minutes apart and end up getting almost 2 minutes apart for awhile. Once active labor start it was three hours from 3 cm - 10 cm.

How did you know you were in labor?
Kid #1, Didn't. I had so many Braxton Hicks with her, but never the real thing.

Kid #2, I was so nervous that it was false labor (it was a week before my due date) and I was afraid that I have my mom drive four hours for nothing. Thankfully it was the GROSS TOO MUCH INFO COMING UP PERHAPS NOT SOMETHING YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT bloody show early on into my early labor that was the clear sign that things were progressing.

Where did you deliver?
At the same hospital with both. I had hoped and planned for a birthing center with my first and then VBAC's required hospital supervision as well.

Kid #1, Spinal Block - very freaky - I felt a shock/tingle all the way down to my toes. But it was fine - no issues
Kid #2, I got something the night before to help me sleep (didn't) through the second night of early labor. Nothing after that...

Kid #1 was due to being quite comfortable in her breech position. We went to the hospital 10 days early to try an "
external cephalic version" where the docs would attempt to turn her. My amniotic fluid was too low to try and they figured, "what the heck", let's do the section now. I actually walked down the hall and hopped onto the operating table (as much as a nine month pregnant woman can hop). Kind of caught me off guard!

Who delivered them?
I have no idea the name of the operating doctor. Was not impressed by his bedside/table sides manner. I had the same midwife with me for both kids - just by chance, I go to a practice of at least five midwives and she was on call each time. She was not the midwife I would have chosen from our prenatal appointments, but she came through in the big moment and was really supportive.

Have a happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family Vacation

We had a great week at the shore last week and then came home to a super busy week so I haven't made the time to share about our vacation.

To tell you the truth, my brain feels a bit fried and I don't think I'll do our week justice - because it really was a great time. Right now all I can think of was, we went to the beach, we played lots of Wii, we watched lots of Olympics, we ate good food, we went to the boardwalk, the kids had a blast playing together.

Wow - I took what could have been a long post and boiled it down to one sentence.
You know that I can't leave it at that, so I'll list a few highlights. (you know this will end up being long)

I think all of us would agree that having the four older cousins play so well together made the week so enjoyable. It's hard to know if it's because they're older, or if it's because we had more space, but Ella, Isaac, Catherine and Theo just had so much fun - for over six days straight!

This is one of my favorites of the four of them...I love their reflections.

We got to spend some quality time with the two newest additions to the family, Caleb and Nora. I loved being able to snuggle a little one without having to do any of the diaper changes! Nora is a little wonder baby - starting to crawl at 5 1/2 months in order to keep up with her brothers. She's a happy little one - never seemed to mind being ignored on the ONE occasion (Edited for Chrissie to better reflect the truth!) her mom and dad played Wii. Caleb is an eating machine (he bangs his hands on the table when you aren't quick enough with the goods) full of personality. He loves to make eye contact and then rewards you with a big toothie grin. I think Mike was secretly (or not so secretly!!) hoping Caleb would give me a hard time because Ella was pretty determined to be scared of her Uncle Mike for at least the first year of her life (I remember very clearly the first time we knew for sure her fears were behind her - Sharon, Mike - do you?). Fortunately for me Caleb loves everyone!!

A cute pictures of my nephew and niece..

We had wonderful beach weather. Spent at least four hours at the beach every day except one. Ella was a wild child in the water - going out deeper and deeper each time - practicing her swimming and body surfing the waves. Catherine proved to be a big more timid (as expected) and I think it was mostly because it was never too hot - I think she would have been more excited about going in the water if she was hot. The nice ocean breeze kept us comfortable all week - probably led me to stay out in the sun more than I should have. On the last day Catherine let me take her out pretty far and had fun for awhile. As the waves got bigger and bigger she kept yelling "TAKE. ME. BACK. IN!!" I did - eventually.

My surfer girls....


We had two great visits to the boardwalk. We try to limit our time there because we know before we know it they'll want to be going every night and we won't be able to have as many late beach afternoons or nights. Much fun was had on the rides at Playland. Thankfully there was no one pregnant this year so I didn't have to go on as many rides - plus the kids are older and don't need us as much. Somehow Chrissie and I each got to experience a fun spinny ride. We had a long wait on the ride I went on and they had spun our little cup/balloon/I have no idea so much that I was pretty dizzy before we even started. Catherine's favorite was the dragon spinning ride (pictured below). Ella's favorite two rides were the high swings (ok, I was a big freaked out by those - there is just nothing underneath you and you are pretty high) and the medium sized roller coaster she went on with her dad.

All in all this trip is about family. It's one of two times all year that I am with my parents, brothers and their families all at once. So no matter what we do, the time together is treasured. This year a good portion of our treasured time (aside from beaching it) was watching the Olympics and playing Wii. It was so much fun to watch the Olympics with my family because we are all sports fans and have tendencies towards obsession so we would really get into each event. We all watched together as Michael Phelps one his eighth and final gold, we watched in disbelief at the seemingly biased scoring during women's gymnastics, we learned the names of the US beach volleyball teams and stayed up way too late watching the men win the gold (I admit, I retired early and woke up enough when Matt came in to ask if they won) and we raised the roof when the US women's soccer team won the gold, breaking a 0-0 tie in the second overtime period. Oh wait - I think Mike missed that one - convinced he could get to beach and back before anything happened. Over 100 minutes of play and he misses the only goal!

After watching all those sports we were feeling competitive so we broke out the Wii. I could and probably will, do and entire post just on the Wii, but for now I'll just say that we had very few injuries - but we did have a few, and I think that everyone (except for the babies) in the house tried it out, including the kids. We learned that Isaac is an excellent Wii bowler and Catherine grunts when she tries to pitch a baseball. None of them were very good at tennis. Ella kept wondering where her hands were. Very good question.

I don't have a picture with our whole group (but I hope to soon, hint hint!) but I figure this is the next best thing. Two wonderful grandparents surrounded by all their adoring grandchildren.

I'm sure there are better pictures - but I just feel this one captures the craziness of six little kids and I love the happiness on my parent's faces - they love this inspite of the craziness! We are all blessed by their love and their generosity to enable us to have a week at the beach all together!

Edited to add....Crystal gave me the idea that this post would fit with the theme today over at We are that Family - head over there to check out more summer vacation stories!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


We're at the beach for a week with all my family. Lots of time in the sun, sand and surf and not much time to blog. If I had my camera cord I would post a few pictures - Ella's been riding the waves on her boogie board and Catherine has been testing out the water more and more each day. We hit the boardwalk last and road rides and had treats. Today it's back to the beach and tomorrow we may head down to a water park in Wildwood.

Hope you all are enjoying your week!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three years old!

On August 12th Catherine turns three. I can't wait for her to wake up in the morning and find out it is her birthday. At this point I don't know who will be more excited, Catherine or Ella. I was baking a cake tonight for her birthday dinner tomorrow and both girls caught a wiff of it and came to the kitchen to investigate. Catherine kept saying, "what's that smell? cake?" pointing to the oven. I played dumb with her and she gave up but Ella persisted on bugging me until I told her what it was for and she was so wired and excited that she had a hard time going to sleep!

Catherine. My baby. I cannot believe she is three. She is such a precious gift to me. Here are some random things about Catherine that make me fall in love with her more every day.

Catherine is so low key and laid back and she makes life so easy.

She is all sweetness and love. Hugs and kisses all day long.

She is so sensitive and does not like it one bit when we have to raise our voices with her. She'll cry and say "don't yell at me ever again".

Catherine can be very timid or very outgoing - it really depends on her comfort level.

She has the best and most contagious laugh. When she gets going, it's inevitable that Ella and I will start laughing as well.

She loves slapstick humor. Someone falling or getting bonked on the head just cracks her up (usually cartoon characters, not real life people getting hurt).
She gets scared very easily in movies (just like her sister) and her arch nemesis is the Chick Fil A cow (like her sister).

She is scared of heights. Sometimes she'll forget at a a playground, but if she is aware that she's up high, she'll be holding on for dear life.

She loves ballet and dance. She is doing worship dance this year with Renee and is always asking when ballet class is. I guarantee a great video with her in it this year. She is the youngest and the shortest and just so darn cute up there.
She loves playing with her babies. Her voice is so sweet and she often whispers that we all need to be quiet because her babies are sleeping.

She loves to tell us how silly we are. All throughout the day she tells us "you're so silly." I'm really not that silly.
She loves to dress up and loves wearing my shoes. I was wearing a pair of wedges the other day and she so badly wanted to put them on because she wanted to make that "clomp clomp noise".

She does not like to have her hair brushed - which should be obvious throughout the pictures. But she loves her long hair and loves to push it behind her shoulders and shake it out.

She is still a very picky eater. Peanut butter and jelly is her all time favorite food. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday meal and she said "peanut butter and jelly"! I convinced her to go with chicken and french fries instead.

She loves to cuddle. Today I was trying to get her to come outside with me but she said "no, I'm sleeping with daddy." I admit I was a bit jealous of him!

She is a peacemaker. If she has a toy that Ella really wants and Ella is getting upset (pretty typicaly scenario) I'll tell her that we have to take turns and give her a time limit for sharing. Almost always, she turns it over to her sister, gladly, before I have to make her. She has such a beautiful generous spirit about her and I hope to continue to nurture that.

She is tough. She'll fall and clearly hurt herself and bounce back very quickly.

She loves to read. She'll sit quietly and flip through books for a long time. She even likes to get my books and flip through them (sigh...after her mother's heart). Recently she's shown a lot of interest in the atlas and will "read" that in the car.

She adores her sister and loves to play with her. Ella and Catherine are so different yet they fit so well together and are always teaching each other. Catherine starts preschool this fall and I am so glad that they will get to go into school side by side - I imagine I might be just a tad bit emotional watching that!

Well I'm going to have to wrap this post up because Matt just told me he saw a mouse run across the dining room floor and I have lost all ability to concentrate!

Happy Birthday Catherine - it's been a wonderful three years getting to know you and watch you grow!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

You know it's been one of those days

On occasion I have rough days with Ella. She pushes me to my limits with the force of her will - over and over again.

The other day after a long afternoon the girls finally settled down to watch a show on Noggin. I wasn't watching with them but I could hear the little Noggin theme song being sung, which promptly lodged itself in my head for the rest of the day.

I was going around the house singing it to myself and at one point I stopped and thought (or perhaps I said it out loud, you really never know) "hmmm...that just doesn't sound right." I'm losing my noggin today??? OH. It really goes "I'm using my noggin today" -that makes much more sense and seems the more appropriate activity for our kids.

So that's how you know it's been one of those days...when you adapt the lyrics of songs to fit the way your kids are making you feel ... I'm losing my noggin today!

P.S. - Just for the record, today was not one of those days. It's much easier to share about it after the fact!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Adventures in picture taking

This past weekend we headed down to Chincoteague VA to spend time with Matt's family and celebrate his mom's birthday and his parent's 40th anniversary. It was a short visit, but we had a great time and really made the most of it. I've only been to Chincoteague a few times, but it is really growing on me and I enjoy it more and more each visit. It's so different from what I'm used to at the Jersey shore and I love the slower pace and the smaller crowds.

Even though we only had two nights there, we had a point of organizing family pictures on the beach. It was definitely quite an adventure!

After a group photo, we got some pictures of the cousins on the dunes.....

Yeah, I know- they're a pretty cute bunch!

Then we got some sister pictures....

Sophia couldn't stay away and joined Catherine for a few shots. The four kids got along so well and love their time together so much. Sophia loves having a younger one around and her and Catherine spent a lot of time playing together.

We could only keep their attention for so long. There was another presence that was drawing them away....

Soon they were all captivated by it and were contemplating dipping their toes in the water. Catherine looks so tall because she is the furthest away - still not sure if she wants to get wet...
Dipping their toes in quickly became this....
And this.....don't you love the look of joy on their faces?

Catherine even braved the water, although most of my pictures of her are her running away as quickly as possible!

While our kids were drenching themselves in their dress clothes, we figured we'd be boring and stay dry and instead just have our picture taken.

The kids had so much fun just being silly and crazy. Of course it wasn't enough for Ella to get wet, she had to roll in the sand so her dress was weighted down with pounds of sand. That was fun afterwards.
And finally....nothing special, except check out the look on Ella's face...
To me it says "am I really gonna get away with this?" Very typical Ella! Lucky for her, she was!

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