Luke at three and a half

Nobody told me that three and a half would be the sweetest time ever, most days at least 😉 it truly is! 

Luke amazes me day by day. He has the biggest love for his sisters, he is a rock. He has great patience for them and a genuine love that isn’t feigned, it’s overflowing from him. Every day I discover how much he takes in—he is so smart, so aware, so thoughtful towards people. He has a great sense of humor and is an incredible imitator. He remembers what you say SO well.. too well ha! 

He loves preschool, he really thrives there. When I pick him up and talk through the day with him, there is so much to say. He picks up on every detail. And the lesson material is locked in the vault of his memory! He has the Bible stories on lockdown and loves to cut with kid scissors and tracing. I am so happy he’s loving this experience so far!

He has also just begun to really enjoy engaging his imagination. He loves to play with race cars and imitate his favorite shows (Blaze, Paw Patrol to name a couple). He also loves to get on his bike and pretend to be the gardener, asking me what area of the yard I need taken care of and then vrooooming his blower all around, as loud and spitty as he can 😉

He still gives the best snuggles and I feel as if it’s getting better as he gets bigger. So much tenderness. Before, the boy couldn’t sit still if his life depended on it, so snuggling was nearly impossible. Now that he’s older, he loves to snuggle at night with me. I look forward to it every day. At bedtime, all is right if he can have snuggles, books and talking to God time..

He loves to eat all his fruits and veggies still, and has an on and off relationship with Mexican food and marinara sauce. He’s always up for strawberries, any baked coffee shop treat, açaí bowls, toast, yogurt and any special drink (almond milk, juice, tea with me..). He is very food motivated but I try to keep it as a once and a whole motivator. 

Gosh I love this boy. Love you to the moon and stars and planets Luke (as we always say!).

Our birth story–Emma Genevieve

Sort of looks like she’s throwing up a peace sign ✌️
Oh this little lady. She gave me a doozy of a pregnancy but I could not ask for a more wonderful birth. I was praying that things would be smooth. We’d had a VBAC with Kate, so as the days rolled closer to my due date, I was nervous I would go late (a large part of why my first birth going towards emergency c-section). We met with our doula Corrie in the weeks leading up to birth and went over natural induction possibilities if it went to that. She reminded us of our last birth (including things I couldn’t even remember!) and helped us prepare for this one. And my heart was set on fire a bit with excitement, anxiousness too, but mainly this huge desire to meet our little girl!

So as the days rolled by and I was coming close to our due date (September 4, Labor Day). I was figuring out ways to relax and give my body high levels of oxytocin, especially at night since I knew my body liked to go into labor at night (which is super common I guess!)—so lots of cuddles with the kids, James, shows that made me laugh or cry, long evening showers.. Two days before my due date, on Saturday, I woke up to consistent contractions, not super painful, but consistent. It was supposed to be the hottest day of summer so I was not looking forward to laboring like this. Around noon the contractions stopped. It went on to be the hottest day ever. Even at 8 in the evening, I was dripping sweat down the back of my neck.. EW. My theory is Emma knew she did not want to labor with me in this unpleasant state! I didn’t have any more contractions that day or the next morning/afternoon.

Then around 10:30pm on Sunday evening, they came.. these were the contractions I knew. Strong, consistent, oof.. the real thing. I started timing around 10:30pm on the dot and as soon as they came, I started making sure my bags were ready. They came every 3-5 minutes and they were progressively getting more intense. Over the next hour, each contraction felt like it was doubling on itself in intensity—this was happening fast! James had been ready at every ache or pain for the last two weeks, so I told him that this time I think we’re working on the real thing so he started getting his ducks in a row too.

I took a long shower right away and was instantly way relaxed. I was taking on each contraction in the bathroom because it just felt like the right spot. Since the kids were sleeping, I had a beach towel that I’d grabbed to stick my face into if I needed to be loud (and I did..). By 11:30pm, I knew that we’d need to go soon. It had only been ONE HOUR. But I knew that I didn’t want to endure these contractions in the car.. just no. By midnight, we were in the car and driving away. We called the birthing center slash hospital on the way and thankfully they had rooms available. We arrived and as quickly as we could, got upstairs and checked in.

The nurse checked me and I was 4 cm dilated but could be (sorry for this) stretched to a 5 (that totally grossed me out the first time I heard it and it’s my body ha). She continued to admit me and I was pressing through as much as I could with these INTENSE contractions. She also let me know she was going to be off soon so she wouldn’t be with me through this whole thing and she’d introduce me to the next nurse (not so fast my friend). I had my towel still (lol) and was being pret-ty loud, but man, they were weighty. Corrie was there pretty soon after we’d arrived so she and James had already began to help me make it through each contraction.

Meanwhile I was getting an IV in my arm (to my dismay.. former c-section protocol) and my stubborn veins caused me to get pricked SIX times before they got me set up. I’d went potty (pee) at some point and later, Corrie let me know she had thought my water had broken when I did that. Not long after, the doctor had popped in and as she was leaving, she’d asked if I’d said I needed to push or go number two and in that same breath, I was asking if I could go to the bathroom. In the next moment, I had the most intense urge to PUSH. So much so that I think they were worried this baby was going to splash out at my feet! Or at least I was! All I could think about was meeting our little girl! Once the doctor heard this and my urge to use the restroom, she got the nurses moving and everyone got into “let’s do this!” mode.

Mind you, it was probably around 1:20am, we’d only arrive fifty minutes earlier!! I’d uncomfortably gotten on the bed so she could check me and she said it’s a good time to push. My body didn’t feel like it wanted to quite as much once I was in the bed but the urge was still strong enough so with about 5 pushes (I believe..), I gave my all and WHOOSH, Emma made her debut! I forgot how incredible the body feels instantly!! We were in heaven. All I could say was “you’re really here!!”. I had forgotten the sweetness of that initial cry and the elation of seeing that precious tiny squished up face.

I still cannot believe how quickly everything had happened. My nurse (who was supposed to leave!) hadn’t even had the chance to admit me so as I’m holding my new baby, I was answering questions about if we have a cat in the house (lol). Our first few days were so sweet, and Emma has joined our family soooo well. Our kids have so much love for her. Kate cheers whenever she wakes up from a nap and Luke has these silent loving moments with her where he wants to hold her and just look at her. We’re all so in love.. I couldn’t ask for more. Love you little Emma!!

Oh yeah and in case that sounds too pristine, there’s a lot of spit up, poop and leaking boobies. Woop woop!

Kate at 21 months

This darling girl. I have been so terrible at my note taking for these kiddos lately so I’m giving it a good ‘ol college try.. thus, the randomness of the “21 month update” ha. But there’s so much I can say about our sweet, tender, firecracker-y, gorgeous girl. Who is consistent in her ability to make us all laugh. Kate is our little burst of love. Here’s what we’re discovering about her at 21 months 🙂

She is a season of needing a good deal of snuggles, and I’m soaking it up!

More and more words are coming.. her brother talks pretty much all the time (read: without creasing, people!) so I know the amount of language she understands is pretty large, but she’s beginning to be able to communicate her thoughts more and more.

Loves water bottles, water, spilling water and “splashing” and spitting it all over herself, ha. She does not mind being wet!

She loves Emma, truly madly deeply. She loves to squish her nose and hold her and kiss her forehead, head, tummy and back. She is so sweet and explodes with a smile every time Emma wakes up or is around. Such a sweet care-taking-big-sister heart.

I thought she was calling her sister “baby Kate” until the other night, when I realized she says “baby cry” when Emma is unhappy! She also says little things like “it’s ok” to her when she’s upset and makes her voice another octave higher than it already is which is precious.

She loves a show called Blaze and the Monster Machines and has been known to break down we say no, weeping “blazeee” rather uncontrollably. It can drive me a little nuts but I try and remember that it’s pretty hilarious big picture 🙂

She enjoys the thrill of storytelling.. books, people watching, as I mentioned–tv shows, listening to someone’s story. Movie days and book clubs commence!

Loves brushing teeth and washing hands multiple times a day. Loves minty toothpaste. A lot.

We love our baby girl!—who is still, very much, our baby 🙂

Fall reading list 🍂

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Sooo now that pregnancy brain is done away with (and now just onto newborn brain..), I am so excited to dig into some books. I have a list of a few I’ve got out for reserve at the library .. what have you been reading? Have you read any of these?

Little Fire Everywhere, Celeste Ng .. I follow Reese Witherspoon’s book club so I’ve been following her posts on Celeste Ng and I’m excited for when I finally get my hands on this one! I’m 74th in line so I may end up buying this and downloading it if I’m too antsy!

We are called to rise : a novel, Laura McBride .. This one I’m reading on recommendation from Fran and I also saw it on Goodreads and it just seems timely given the state of our country at this time..

The Essex Serpent : a novel, Sarah Perry .. I wrote this one down after an NPR interview I heard this summer because that’s my timeline these days. Anyways, a little bit of a thriller, this one.

Theft by finding : diaries, David Sedaris .. This one comes on recommendation from Annie B Jones (an Instagrammer bookstore owner) and this looks like the perfect set of genius essays I am always pining for.

Stay with me, Ayobami Adebayo .. this is one of those that you don’t really want to read, but you also know with all your heart you want to. Mainly because I’m sure I will weep through most of it. Deep breaths.. another recommendation by Annie B Jones 🙂

Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead ..  I will also be reading this on recommendation and Fran’s review has me very excited. Also, Shipstead is only 30. What.

Wild, Cheryl Strayed .. James is reading this for a course he’s taking so I’m going to read along too 🙂

Bits and pieces

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Septembers in Santa Cruz are usually lovely. It has felt a little too hot still for my bones but the mornings and evenings are becoming the slightest bit cooler and breezier, a sort of haphazard breeze that throws leaves around in our yard as the sunsets begin a few minutes earlier day by day. Beach traffic slows down and everyone seems to be busy with the buzz of school, activities, studying at a coffee shop, getting home for a game, hauling kids to a soccer game, etc. We are busy with some of these things, but are mainly focused on acclimating to life with a new baby, “our” baby as Luke and Kate say.

While on the topic, this last week was my first full week of taking a whack at our new ‘normal’ after Emma’s arrival. We did an outing to the doctor, I took Luke to preschool, showered a total of three times, washed an absurd amount of clothing, fell asleep on the couch for what felt like hundreds of cat naps. I usually detest cat naps but maybe when your body is in survival mode, it makes do with a ten minute snooze.

The idea of going anywhere with all three has borderline frightened me but little by little, we’re gaining ground! Luke’s little positive self has helped keep perspective for me.. when I asked him how he felt about an outing with the three (and admitted freaked me out), he said it sounds EXCITING. Thankful for three year olds who remind me to relax and have fun (and we did!).

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The other day we went out for a late afternoon soccer sesh and ran around the field (& apparently without making a dent in Luke’s energy level!?). Kate ran back and forth screaming and Luke hoped with every fiber in his being that we would chase him incessantly, and that we did. There are so many teaching moments throughout the day with the ages that they are right now, so there’s nothing that makes me happier than just unbridled laughter with them. I need to remember that.. they definitely don’t have as much trouble as I do!

In other news, I’ve consumed a fair share of Trader Joe’s cookie butter sandwich cookies and dark chocolate toffee (thank you honey). TJ’s definitely has the market for fall treats, perfect for my postpartum body to not return to normal in a timely fashion (dang). 

Also, anybody following Jeopardy these days?? There’s a hilarious fellow winning a BUNCH of money and he must have some crazy photographic memory. He also gives Alex some flack which I love because Alex can be so snooty.

We are deep in Dodger baseball land as of this evening so we’ve got plenty of emotional aides to support us during the games–empathizing family and friends to text, squishy pillows to yell into, and plenty of pizza and popcorn to consume as needed. Go Dodgers!

Emma is one month!

I am so thankful for this sweet girl who, aside from some seriously painful toots over the last few days, has given us a gentle welcome back to newborn phase! A few things about her.. 🙂

She is already almost 10 pounds, yeah! She is an amazing eater! There have been some seriously drop-the-mic bowel movements. 

She is about to squish out of her newborn clothes yeah girl! Also sad. 

Loves her tummy sleeping. 

Loves hearing the voices of her siblings, dad and grandma!

Gave us a few real smiles so far, trying to capture one because those toothless little grins are the tops.

Pregnancy favorites

I’m in the end of days! Well, hopefully. I’m 39 weeks as of yesterday so hoping she is ready to meet us now. Having one come early and one come so late really messes with your mind. My friend told me this morning her third was the latest, so WHO REALLY KNOWS but either way, put a fork in me I’m done! I thought I’d try and jot down some things I’ve loved having this time around.

Pregnancy clothes and brands and items seem to change SO FAST! Things I had with Luke (and Kate!) are already out of production and on to the next company, next trending brand, etc etc. And that’s only two to three years. My favorite maternity leggings changed materials on me (the comment section of that item was hilarious, people were triggered to say the least). So, while they’re here, these are my faves!

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Sibling love

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IMG_2447.JPGThese pictures make me so happy. I love watching this brother-sister relationship unfold. Oh Luke and Kate. Sometimes they totally play together—sharing, hugs, cuddles, basically the sweetest moments that make you wonder how in the world there’s that much love inside their hearts for one another. Luke loves to hug Kate (we have to help him that he doesn’t yank on her head..) and Kate, well she is the queen of little gentle kisses.

Then. Other days.. Kate hits Luke (who initially laughs) and smacks him until he becomes super upset (not understanding why he’s not laughing anymore), he won’t share his tent with her, they angry grunt at each other during dinner, etc. I would say it’s more sweetness than it is strife, but growing up solo (no full siblings in the house, that is..) as I did, something that’s often on my mind is how to make room for those foundational moments of sibling love.

Their siblings are the first they will learn to love through thick and thin. Things we help them know at this time (I hope) will be signposts and bumpers for future friendships in life. And, most of all, I pray they will find incredibly deep friendship in one another, and hopefully not solely on how nuts mom or dad are 😉 Though, I’m sure that’ll be somewhere in the mix.

Either way, I savor these sweet moments of love (especially if I capture one!)..

Pregnancy update 38 weeks!

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We’re in the home stretch!! I feel huge and can’t wait to meet her. Luke was late and Kate was early so we know it’s ANY day and that is sometimes the most excruciating part.. when?! Trying to enjoy time with the kids before life makes a major switch up on us. Luke is excited and asks every day if she’s coming today. Kate is more unaware and just knows the baby is in my tummy (and apparently hers too, ha). We did finally buy some diapers so there’s that. I even packed my hospital bag this morning, boom! I have a couple other things in my online shopping carts to get but haven’t but the bullet yet and verdicts still out on whether we want to buy a bigger car (yikesss), but meanwhile we are updating our car seats so we can fit three across. I hear fitting three across is a short lived pipe dream, so I guess more to come on that one..

The hormonal feelings are intense with this one. I am definitely trying not to evaluate too many larger life decisions in the midst of my current state! .. I have had many moments where it all sinks in—the last days with Luke and Kate as they are, at this age, with life like we’ve known it. I felt this so strongly with Kate’s coming too, and was so worried about my time with Luke and what that would look like once she came. It wasn’t like I thought (thankfully!) and once the fullness of life for all of us took over, I found that I didn’t “miss out” on anything with him like I’d worried about! Their relationship has added to one another and at the same time, made me appreciate my individual relationship with each one even more. I think I read somewhere that your heart just grows bigger, and I would say I experienced that. But meanwhile I’m still soaking them in 🙂

HOW FAR ALONG: 38 weeks

SIZE: A watermelon! Sounds about right. 

SLEEP: Varies. Lots of bathroom breaks, also a migraine here and there and then just the fact that I literally cannot get myself out of the bed and must roll out because of the beached whale status.

SYMPTOMS: Once it’s at this point, what isn’t a symptom?! I’ve got back pain, nausea from time to time, leg cramps, thigh cramps, hugeness up there, crazy pelvic pressure down there, swollen feet, contractions after days on my feet. 

FOOD CRAVINGS: Salads with celery, carrots, purple cabbage, tomatoes, seeds, blue cheese and rotisserie chicken all shredded up, dressed with olive oil and balsamic. And a big hunk of bread. To be exact 🙂

STRETCH MARKS: Yes but apparently my body was too used to stretching and only a couple have appeared.

MOVEMENT: All the time! The kind where she’ll kick me in the right spot and I will instantly have to pee. 

NAMES: Emma :)! We are still landing on her middle name but have sort of put it on the back burner til we meet her and see what we think!

CAN’T WAIT FOR: Sleeping on my tummy, not swelling, going in a hot tub!