Thursday, March 27, 2014

A few more of the babe

Last Saturday my old neighbors came for a couple of hours and took some pictures of Vivian at 1 week old. He's an amateur photographer and had purchased some new things when they had their baby 3 months ago and was willing to share his time and talent with us. It was fun to try and figure out how to make the shots work. He got some fun and good pictures out of it.

This week has been good. Full of ups and downs for sure. While my parents left, I haven't really been back into the full swing of things yet. My visiting teachers and home teacher and compassionate service leader brought us dinners Monday through today which was very helpful. I have been surprised at how tired I've been.  Driving into Walter's preschool really does me in. I've always been a bit narcoleptic in the car and being newborn sleep deprived makes me so much sleepier. By the time I go in and come back, I am ready for a nap! Vivian was not very fond of the stop and go traffic we encountered one day, and as she was crying, Walter plugged his ears and said, "It was a lot more peacefuller before we had that baby!" haha.

Edward is absolutely in love with "the baby" as he calls her. He wants to hold her, wants to read to her, wants to show her things. He really just wants to include her in everything. It is so cute. He melts my heart. The other boys love her too and are very gentle with her, but there is just something so earnest about the way that Edward includes her.

I'm trying to let go of the idea that things need to get done and just allow myself to be with my kids while I can. She requires a lot of my attention and I want to give as much love and attention to the other kids as I can so they know I still love them too. I'm glad I have a full month off of lessons still. Not quite sure how that's going to all go down when it's time to start back up, but I know the Lord will help strengthen me and things will work out in the end.

Friday, March 21, 2014

39 weeks 2 days: Announcing Vivian Tess

She's a little swollen from delivery and hadn't been washed off yet.
Well, I never thought it would happen, but I had my baby early!

The quick stats:
Vivian Tess
Born Saturday, March 15, 2014, 4:16am
7 lbs 1 oz
20 1/2 in.

This, my friends, is the long version with lots of details you probably hadn't cared to hear, but I'm going to tell anyway because this is my blog.

It was spring break all last week for my boys. The weather warmed up and we were able to play outside a lot. It was a really good week. Matt had extra time left over from his business trip, so he planned to take Friday off so we could have a family fun day before the break was over. Friday rolled around and the boys had been begging to go bowling, so off we went.  I didn't actually bowl, but I helped Walter and Edward with the ramp.  We let them bowl 2 games and then we went to Taco Bell for lunch. That was our wild spring break fling. =)

I hadn't done a whole lot of cooking or grocery shopping over break, because let's face it, grocery shopping with 3 rambunctious boys ages 6, 4, and 2 is about as fun as poking yourself in the eye with a needle. So, dinner ended up being left over taco bell and peanut butter sandwiches and isagenix shakes with spinach to help round it out.  I promised myself I'd go shopping on Saturday.

Friday happened to be pi(e) day (3.14). Now, I've never actually made pie for pi day, but after I put the boys to bed, I set out to make a blueberry pie since that was the only kind of pie I had all the ingredients for. It was topped with custard and a strudel crumble. It came out of the oven around 10 and I stayed up till 10:30 to let it cool enough to eat some. Yum. It was really good. I got to bed around 11.

40 weeks at home
Matt stayed up gaming, and as he came into bed around 1 am, I was getting out of bed with contractions.  I figured it was a false alarm, unsure if it was really contractions. They were different than what I had had with Edward. With him the doctor stripped my membranes and I had two days of contractions that weren't productive or painful since he was sitting posterior.  Anyway, back to Vivian's birth. Matt plugged the cameras in to charge before he went to bed since they were both dead, just in case. He told me to go back to bed thinking we had 2 days more to go. So I laid there until about 1:40.  At that point I couldn't sleep so I got up and turned on my computer to time my contractions. When I started timing they were about 4 min. apart. Within 1 hour they were hard enough that I was kneeling on the side of a chair through the contractions and they were less than 3 min. apart.

At that point (2:40ish) I started getting dressed to go to the hospital and tried to pack up the last of my bag in between contractions. I woke Matt up and told him we needed to go to the hospital. I tried calling our neighbors who had offered to help, but got no answer (of course, since it was nearly 3am). So Matt went over and knocked on their front (bedroom) window like he instructed.  Brother Clarke came out and gave Matt a double high five and said he'd be right over. He got dressed and came over as chipper as could be. We left our house at 3:15.

Because I had 2 previous c-sections (read Dean's story here, and Walter's story here), not many doctors would take me on as a vbac candidate. I found an amazing doctor, Dr. Cummings, an hour from me who specializes in such deliveries. I delivered Edward with him (read his story here) and have been seeing him for this pregnancy as well. So, off we went to the hospital an hour away, passing a different hospital on our way.  I listened to my birthing music on the way with headphones cranked up loudly. My contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. About 15 min. from the hospital I started getting pretty worried. The contractions were coming hard and fast. I pretty much moaned and screamed the last 10 min. of the drive. I knew I was close. While I didn't know it, I was in transition labor. The car was hot. The seat belt was too tight and low. I kept telling Matt to run red lights (he only ran 1 that switched right as we got there). He mostly stayed about 10-15 mi. over the speed limit. He didn't realize how close I really was.

When we got to the hospital, he got out and went in without me (and I was like, "hey, what about me??") to get a wheel chair and let them know I was coming. I got out and walked in and could barely get into the wheel chair because the baby was so low. I was screaming and moaning still, and I think I was embarrassing Matt a little that I was being so loud. They asked how far apart my contractions were and Matt said, "Oh, about a min. Maybe less?"  The lady at the front desk quickly called back to let them know I was on my way, and wheeled me to the L&D while Matt stayed behind to get me checked in. They took me right back to a room where a wonderful nurse April (who also helped deliver Edward) was waiting for me. I furiously stripped off my underclothes and stayed in my skirt and bra. She tried to listen to the baby's heart beat but had a hard time getting anything because she was so low. I was hanging on her, moaning and hugging her. She was awesome.

She had me lay down on the bed to check how dilated I was. I was at an 8 with a floppy lip of the cervix left and my water hadn't broken yet.  When she was done I got up and said I needed to go to the bathroom. She told me I couldn't go sit on the toilet and assured me it was the baby coming down instead. She said to squat on the side of the bed. I did and immediately told her I needed to push! And push I did. She then said my water broke. In less than a minute my wonderful doctor, who happened to be on call, walked in ready to catch the baby. I pushed again. He told me I was really close and needed a good, constant push.  Matt walked in and held my hand from across the bed. I gave him another good push. They said they had her head out but there was a nuchal chord around her face since came so fast, so he got her untangled and told me to give him one more good push. I did and immediately felt a gush, felt her body slip out, and felt such relief.  It was AWESOME!  I heard Matt say, "Well, it really is a girl!"  We got to the hospital at 4:04 and I delivered her at 4:16 am! No tearing, no episiotomy, no c-section, no complications. I was sooooooooo grateful to have my second vaginal delivery after having had 2 c-sections and being told that doctors just won't do vbacs after multiple cesarean sections. I feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful doctor who was willing to let me do what I wanted. He is retiring in June, so I am glad that we feel like we're done at this point. Anyway...

a few hours after delivery after she'd been cleaned up
They had me lay in the bed since I had been standing/squatting by the bed during her delivery.  They laid her on me immediately and it was just amazing. I couldn't believe it.  Not long after they weighed and measured her in the room with me. 7 lbs. 1 oz. and 20 1/2 in. long. My smallest baby yet! =) I delivered the placenta and that was that really. They let her stay with me the whole time and she never left the room. She nursed and latched really well. I didn't get to do that with Dean or Walter being c-sections, and Edward was so sleepy he didn't want to nurse! We stayed in that room with her in a bassinet next to me until after shift change. I didn't have an IV or anything, so they gave me a shot of pitocin in my thigh.

After I delivered Edward last time, I passed out probably 6 times over the next 24 hours. The nurses remembered this and made sure to have ammonia handy and an extra person walking me to and from the bathroom the first few times, just in case. I didn't pass out once! It was great. I felt great.

I had been group b strep positive when they tested me at 36 weeks, so because I didn't have time to get the antibiotics during delivery, they had to keep us for 48 hours (which was really longer since I had to wait for the doctors to be discharged) to observe her.

Matt stayed with me until I changed rooms and then he went home to the boys. It was hard not having a phone or a computer or internet access to update everyone. We called my parents at 5:30 am their time to let them know I'd had the baby. They quickly searched for flights and decided it would be better to just drive. So they spent Saturday getting ready, rented a car, and left on Sunday. They arrived on Monday seriously 2 min. after we got home from the hospital. Perfect timing. Matt brought the boys once on Sunday to see us. Edward kept waving and saying in a high pitched voice, "oooooh. Cute. Hi baby." Dean just wanted to rock her and sing "Rock-a-bye baby", and Walter just wanted to see her from a distance, not wanting to hold or touch her. He warmed up and eventually said she was "so cute and tiny" but still maintained a bit of a distance.

It was hard not having internet access or phone or computer to update everyone. But we made it home on Monday afternoon.  My parents walked in my door seriously 2 minutes after we got home from the hospital. They have been SAINTS! My kids have loved every minute of having them here. They have played hard every day. They've helped clean my house, take care of my kids, they've taken care of me, and it has been wonderful.  It was my mom's birthday today and we had fun celebrating together. I am so blessed to have come from such wonderful parents, blessed to have such wonderful and supportive friends and neighbors and ward, blessed to have such amazing kids. I am blessed to have experienced birth the way I wanted to. Blessed to have a wonderful husband. Blessed to know that it doesn't get much better than this.

Edward is her biggest fan among the brothers
A bit of a sleep smile

Happy 65th birthday to my beautiful mom!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baby 4 @ 36 weeks

I missed posting 32 weeks here, though I still remembered on FB. Anyway, the pregnancy is progressing right along. There should only be 1 more picture and that will be on our way to the hospital in about 4 weeks!  I've been feeling pretty good. I got sick at the end of last month and it wiped me out totally for a week and it took me 2 more weeks to recover fully. I tell you, no pregnant lady should ever have to endure a cough for 3 weeks. Life is good. The boys are a handful and sometimes I wonder what in the world I've gotten myself into having a 4th child. But I am excited and I had a sweet and fun baby shower today at my friend Becca's. I felt very loved. I feel like I have finally made some sort of place for myself here. It took me awhile to settle into TX,  but it's feeling more like home with lots of good friends who help since family is not close by. I am very grateful for that.

Here are the comparison photos of 36 weeks:

With Dean in 2007

With Walter in 2009

With Edward in 2012

And Baby Girl in 2014

Technically my belly is measuring slightly smaller with her than with the others...but I'm still looking and feeling pretty pregnant! 

Here are a few pictures from the baby shower today. I forgot to get the camera out till almost everyone had left! Oops. 
These lovely ladies helped make the shower all possible.

My fantastic neighbor from our McKinney house

Another friend from McKinney who helped out with the shower

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Life and Death - You will be missed. You are loved.

My good friend passed away suddenly this past weekend. She was only two years older than me. She had three boys just like me (though they're a little older than mine). Tragic.  She's battled various things with her health and wellness over the years, but it still felt quite unexpected and abrupt.

Her service was beautiful because she was a beautiful person with a beautiful heart. She was a good friend when I desperately needed a good friend. We had our kids in a preschool co-op together for a semester. We had play dates, craft nights, and went out to lunch occasionally. She helped shop for clothes and accessories (a dreaded task for me) and helped me stage my house to sell (I was clueless and she was amazing!). She had a great eye for design and color and beauty. She taught me how to arrange pillows on my couch properly. I don't know if I will ever eat a caprese salad again without thinking of her. She threw me birthday parties and went to girls' nights out, and we had laughs and cries together over serious and not so serious things. She was always very grateful a generous with her praise, and she was a defender of those she loved.  She had strong opinions and shared them freely, and I loved her. I played the piano and sang for her re-baptism into the LDS church not long ago. After I moved, and she moved, we just didn't get together much.  My life got busy, she got a new job, and we weren't in the same stage of life anymore. But that didn't mean that I didn't love her still.

After attending her memorial service yesterday, I've had a few things on my mind.

1. Kindness. Life is too short to be anything but kind to others. Very few people have been called to be judges in Israel. I am not one of them. We have ALL been given the call to love one another. "By this shall men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35 "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Mark 12:31. We are to have compassion for one another. "Finally, all of you be of one mind, sympathetic, lovers of your fellow believers, compassionate, and modest in your opinion of yourselves. Don't pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing. For those who want to love life and see good days should keep their tongue from evil speaking and their lips from speaking lies. They should shun evil and do good; seek peace and chase after it. The Lord's eyes are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers." 1 Peter 3:8-12 Basically, to be happy, we need to find ways to show love more and talk, gossip, and criticize less. You don't know what battles others are experiencing. Don't make their burdens or trials feel heavier because of your actions or words.

2. People love you. Even if you feel alone. Even if you haven't talked with those people in a long time. Even if you're far away from someone special to you. People love you and most people will support you if you can let them and if you let them know you need support and love.

3. Having the ability to think rationally doesn't always mean you will feel rational. I know I honestly felt crazy after I had Walter for about 6 months. I cognitively knew what I was feeling was irrational, but I couldn't just talk myself into feeling differently. If you need help, get help! For some that means leaning on God, a family member, a friend until you're strong. For some it means taking care of yourself through nutrition, exercise, and healthy hobbies. For others it means finding programs or medication that can help restore balance. There will be times in our lives when we are the strong ones, helping others along, but it is ok to be the one who needs lifting from time to time as well. Let others lift you.

4. Because people love you, there will be an empty space in their hearts when you leave this world for whatever reason. You have touched their lives. Some will be affected more than others, but rest assured, there will be a gaping hole in some people's hearts.  My heart nearly broke into a thousand little pieces as I hugged her husband, who loved her with every bit of himself, and her three kids. I pray that the Lord will give them strength to mend their hearts in time. I don't think they'll ever stop missing her, wishing she was at that game or there to help with home work, or there to laugh. That is ok. We are meant to love, even at long distances.

5. Neither you nor I can "fix" someone else.  We can offer love, support, friendship, guidance, and clarity, but each of those are like little pieces in the puzzle of their lives. Sometimes that one piece we offer will be enough to make the picture make sense and make the rest fall into place. Sometimes it will be just enough peace and contentment and motivation to keep looking for other pieces to put together another bit of their puzzle. But sometimes the pieces are scattered far enough, and the process feels so overwhelming, that it is hard for people to see how to move forward to complete their beautiful end picture of this life. That does not mean we have failed. The master builder, the architect of life, Jesus Christ, will help piece together and mend any broken pieces. Sometimes that will come in this life. Sometimes it will come in the next. I echo Elder Holland's words, "With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power. I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.”  Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another.”

6. I know that this life isn't the end. I know that families really can be together forever. I know that while God is just, he is also merciful. I know He can heal hearts and minds.  I know that He not only weeps for us when we make poor choices, but He weeps with us when we are going through trying times. I know there is hope. When there is breath, there is hope. Hope for a brighter day. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for moments of relief. For a fantastic and powerful talk on this subject, please, please read or listen to Elder Jeffery R. Holland's talk Like a Broken Vessel.

This song kept going through my mind before her service, and I was happy to see it was printed on the program!

Each life that touches ours for Good, by Karen Davidson
  1. 1. Each life that touches ours for good
    Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
    Thou sendest blessings from above
    Thru words and deeds of those who love.
  2. 2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
    What greater goodness can we know
    Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
    Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
  3. 3. When such a friend from us departs,
    We hold forever in our hearts
    A sweet and hallowed memory,
    Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
  4. 4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
    Devotion to the Savior's name,
    Who bless our days with peace and love,
    We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
Another song I love that feels fitting to include is: Have I Done Any Good?

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.

Has anyone's burden been lighter today Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
But go and do something today.

'Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

May we each use our lives to lift and build rather than tear down. Do good in the world. I love you, Diane, and will miss you. "Till we meet at Jesus' feet."

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 recap and Christmas letter

Here is the Christmas letter I sent out to a few people. I didn't get it sent to everyone I have in the past due to funds, so here it is:

Merry Christmas and/or Happy New Year (depending on when this actually goes out...I was kind of late on the decision to send anything this year).

Edward is getting to be such a big boy! He's just under two and as cute as can be. He, like his brothers, is very verbal and is talking up a storm in a 2 year old fashion. This year he has learned to walk, climb, run, tickle, tell jokes, push chairs to the counter to get just about anything he wants. He has the cutest sense of humor and is generally a very easy going kid. Busy. Very busy. He is determined to be one of the big boys. He knows all of their friends' names and is very aware of and interested in other people.
Extra stuff I didn't put in the letter: Edward is very helpful.  He is in such a fun stage. He is filled with wonder and will say, "Oh cool!" and "WOW!" over things like lights, decorations, painting. When he has and order of operations he'll say all drawn out and slowly, "now" before moving on to the next step.  He greets me every morning with, "Good morning, mommy." and if it's dark out or in a room he'll say, "too dark!" He is my best helper and listener. If I ask the boys to do something, he'll be the first to respond nearly every time. At dinner time when he hears the table being set, he starts calling everyone down.  "Dinner time! Daddy! Dean! Walter! Dinner time!!" He can count to 13 and get all the numbers right, but after that everything turns into 16.  He loves reading books with me and will often bring me books and say, "reading books mommy?" He also loves trucks right now. There is tons of construction on our main high way out and every day he is excited about seeing the trucks and identifying the type of truck. "Mixer! Digger! Mobile Crane! Drill!"

Walter turned 4 this past July. He has been going to preschool this year, and has been enjoying it. He's really taken to Legos and playing on the computer. His favorite games and videos include anything Lego related or Angry Birds. A couple of his big accomplishments this year were potty training and learning to ride a bike without training wheels. His best friend is Dean and though they are polar opposites in many ways and fight often, he constantly wants to do things just like Dean.

Extra stuff I didn't put in the letter: Walter loves a good laugh. He loves laughing at Edward's "jokes" and loves to do things he thinks are funny too. When I tuck him in at night he says (probably 10 times at least, no exaggeration), "Good night mom, I love you." and I have to respond exactly the same way or he gets frustrated and feels like it doesn't count. He hates to be kissed. We got to go to lego land after we got back from Snowflake for his birthday. It was pretty small, but they had fun.


Dean turned 6 in October. He started Kindergarten and is quite amazing academically. He is a great reader and really has a mind for math! He rides his bike to school (with me running beside him) rain or shine. He lost two teeth and broke his arm since starting school. Luckily it wasn't a bad break and he was done with his splint after 6 weeks. He is also very into Legos and he often creates instruction booklets for his own creations.

with his good friend at their Thanksgiving feast
Extra stuff I didn't put in the letter: Dean snaps his fingers all day every day. He's been trying really hard the last few weeks to be a really good brother to Edward. It's like they just figured out that he can actually play and interact with them. Dean will swing him around in circles, read to him, and let him sit on his lap when we're reading scriptures at bedtime. Dean is very affectionate and loves kisses and hugs.

6 mo. pregnant and got 3rd in my category for the Believe 5K

I, Celia, have had a good year. I have maintained the largest piano studio I've had in my life while simultaneously taking care of our 3 active boys. I ran and medaled in a half marathon in February as well as a couple of 5K's this year. I drove the boys to AZ and back (17 hours each way) by myself to see my sisters and parents this summer. While I was there, I found out that I am pregnant again! We are expecting our first girl. I'm not sure it's quite hit me yet what it mea
ns to raise a girl after 3 boys! This pregnancy has been good, but boy have I been TIRED the whole time. Between piano, the kids, running, taking care of the house, and being pregnant, I am just exhausted 95% of the time. But it's all worth it. I have been taking my own piano lessons this year and have loved every minute of it. Music Therapy for my soul. I have become more confident in my own abilities again, and it has benefited my teaching.

Poor Matt. Got leftover b-day cake from Walt this year.
Matt is still plugging away as a software engineer. In May we decided to buy a van to accommodate our projected family growth. We found one in UT through friends and he flew from a business trip in CA to UT to drive it back to TX for us. After a few months of trying to sell our Rav4 and not getting what we wanted for it, we decided to keep that for him since his '97 Neon was not really the best commuting car. We sold the neon, his first car, a few months ago. I imagine he will really appreciate having a working A/C next summer. He is amazing around the house and can fix just about anything. He's also stepped up and helped a lot more with cooking and other housely duties since I've been working more. We were blessed to have his parents, Mark and Kristan (pictured in our card), drive out to visit us for Thanksgiving. It was so great to have family here to celebrate with us. My parents are planning on coming here for the New Year and in March when we have our baby. It's hard to live so far from family, so I'm grateful when we're able to see each other.

I think that wraps it up for us! We're excited for 2014 and what that will bring (baby girl and all)! We hope all is well with you and yours. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 27, 2013

4th baby 28 weeks

Merry Christmas! We have been having a fantastic Christmas break. Posting pics and writing blurbs feels a little overwhelming for some reason, so I'm just sticking to my belly progress for now.

Here's the review of my 28 week pics:
2007 with Dean

 2009 with Walter

2011 with Edward

2013 with baby girl

I've gained a little more weight with this pregnancy than the last two, so that's a little discouraging (especially since I've exercised more), but not much and I'm still able to be active (jogged 4.2 miles today!), so I can't complain. My belly is measuring right on track according to the doctor, so that's something. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

23 weeks + a few days baby 4

 Well, here I am. Nearly 24 weeks. I'm running still, about 3-4 miles about 4-5 days a week. I had been running with the double stroller till about a week ago when it turned cold. Now I've been trying to get up and go before the boys wake up. I've been keeping about a 10 min. mile pace with the stroller and about an 8:30 pace by myself. Better than last pregnancy!

I've been feeling pretty good, but I can tell I'm getting older or just a lot busier than I was during my other pregnancies. I am tired all the time. Like exhausted. I am currently teaching about 18 or 19 half hour piano slots. I am excited to have a week off for Thanksgiving!  Super excited! I love teaching, but I am longing for a bit of a rest. My back feels like it could use an adjustment. My knee was hurting a bit last week and I took a week off of running and got some new shoes. So far so good this week. Did I mention I'm feeling old? I'm glad Matt and I both feel like this will be our last pregnancy. I mean, who knows, but it would take some serious revelation from God to convince me otherwise. =)

I've been looking through girl names. Matt doesn't really feel like discussing it much yet. He never does until the end. My top 4 at the moment are: Marian, Vivian, Jane, and Nora  The only one of those that Matt might even consider without me really pushing it is Marian. Not sure which is my favorite right now. Who knows if we'll even use any of those. Maybe he'll surprise me and come up with something else awesome.

Interested in how I compare with my last 3 pregnancies? Here ya go:

Baby #1: Dean

Baby #2: Walter

Baby # 3: Edward

Baby #4: Little Girl