Sleepy

I couldn’t blog last night because I was racing to get to bed by 8:30 pm, and thank goodness I did! Ammon was awake every two hours almost on the dot. In contrast, he has spent almost the entire day like this:

IMG_1713Isn’t timing a funny thing? I would have paid good money for him to do this last night, but an hour ago this felt like a crisis. I was supposed to pick up Lydia from preschool and I discovered both Ammon and Mary fast asleep downstairs.

IMG_1711Somehow I got them into the car and to preschool. Phew.

This morning Little Gym got cancelled, so we did a play date with Chelsea et al.

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Isn’t that cute of Carter and Ammon?

Also, Lydia wanted to hold Ammon all morning. He fell asleep on her.

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Yesterday I managed to get everyone to ballet, only I forgot their costumes for Halloween week AND I forgot their shoes. I felt so guilty that I promised to take the girls out for dinner and a treat afterward. Turns out I didn’t need to feel guilty because the ballet had a costume closet. Oh, well. We went to Cafe Rio and Menchie’s afterward.

IMG_1689 IMG_1698This is also a really cute video of Lydia reading the dinosaur book the Harbucks gave us.

Good to be home

It’s almost midnight and Ammon is awake with me. He has been very alert and he’s been a lot of fun to pal around with. Well, o-k, I can’t really say we are palling around when all he does is grunt, poop, eat, spit-up and stare aimlessly while his head rolls from one side to the other……but hey I still feel like in his own baby way, he is liking being with his dad. Lily and I are continuing this routine where she goes to bed early to charge up before the night-work and I go to bed late and let her take over with Ammon.

Work was pretty normal for me today. I didn’t make much headway on any of my own deals, but I gave some good support to some of the people in my pod and I’m happy for that. I’m definitely noticing the effects of getting less sleep. I call it baby brain. It has happened to me multiple times today where I make long pauses in the middle of sentences because I’ve completely lost my train of thought and I’m searching blankly for what to say next.

Lily had a good day today. She took Lydia for pre-school and felt proud to be loading and handling three kids at a time. It does seem like quite a bit to manage especially considering she is still recovering from birth, but she charging forward. She also did a lot of cleaning and laundry and well all the things she usually does, but that she shouldn’t be expected to do while she is still recovering.  I’m so grateful for her.

We all had such a good evening together. It was very low-key. Lily and I just spent time together chatting and catching up. We ran errands together.  That’s it. It was very simple, but we so enjoyed being together.

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Fatigue sets in

Lily got to bed at 9:10 today. Yay, we are making progress. She barely slept last night because Ammon is confused about when it is day time and when it is night time, but I’m hopeful that Lily can sleep a little more tonight. I’m also a bit fatigued, so I’ll keep this on the short side.

Work was completely normal today.  Lily was quite tired today, but she had some real highlights with the kids. For example, Lydia and Mary both gave Lily repeated puppet shows (click here for one of Lydia’s and click here for one of Mary’s).

We had Cafe Rio for dinner and then we were all going to do errands together, but Mary fell asleep on with her head on the dinner table so I transitioned her to bed. That meant Lily stayed home and cleaned (until her post-labor contractions became too painful for her to move), and I ran errands with Lydia and Ammon. Around 11pm Mary actually woke up and had a night snack with me at which point, I captured this video.

Here are pics from today:

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Sundays are the best

Abe blogging here, trying to help Lily get to bed earlier because she’s often up much of the night with our newborn. I had a friend at work give me some really great advice about how to survive the typical exhaustion that comes with having a new baby. He said that he and his wife would just go to bed at 8 or 8:30 and get 101-12 hours of sleep. Although that sleep was very interrupted as new parent sleep always is, the extra time in bed seemed to compensate and they did not feel afflicted. I’m hoping to pull off something similar, especially for Lily who carries the load at night, but given that it is 10:09 and she just went to bed, I’m hoping she can get even more sleep during nights to come.

I have decided that Sunday is the best day of the week. I have some very big and intimidating stuff happening at work next week and Lily is going to completely have her hands full Monday through Friday with the extra child and 3 hours fewer of sleep, and yet, today, on Sunday, we don’t think or worry about any of it. We just enjoy each other, get a spiritual lift from church, rest and visit with family. It was just what we needed.

Lily was up a lot last night with Ammon so I was the first out of bed (which is very rare). Lily left a cookbook on the counter with a recipe for double chocolate waffles. I made them and put some berry sauce on-top and they were very very good.

We all spent time in the morning until church. Lily planned on not going because she is still recovering from the birth, but today was the primary program at church, so Lily found it in her to go. It is such a testament to how much she loves Lydia.  Exhausted and still very sore, she just could not miss seeing Lydia say her one sentence in the primary program. And Lydia did not disappoint! You can see her 30 seconds of church fame here. She seemed completely frozen by the spotlight and with the help of a teacher telling her the one sentence that Lily and I know she had down pat days before, Lydia stumbled out the words with all the timidness and lack of emotion or expression that I would expect from my serious, sweet and shy little girl. I loved it and I loved her. I’m so glad Lily could be there.

Back at home we had dinner. I made spaghetti from a box and then I tried to get fancy for a side.  I roasted squash and carrot and then glazed them with a concoction of oil, salt, pepper, basil, thyme and parsley.  It was a bit of overkill with the seasoning, especially the salt which I can still feel swimming in my veins, but it was a nice attempt and Lily was sweet to eat it.

After dinner, we just enjoyed the night as a family. One highlight is that Lydia lost her favorite stuffed cat a few weeks ago and we decided we would dedicate the evening to finding it. We first said a prayer asking God to help us find the cat. After an hour, we had no luck and then I finally found him (“Puss”) and another treasured stuffed cat (“Francie”) in a suitcase that Grandma Cullen had given to the girls. You can see in the picuWe felt very grateful and Lydia was completely happy.

Pictures!

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Lily and Lydia making funny faces, and Mary with her head chopped off, oops. Lily read a bunch of books to the kids after dinner.

Lily and Lydia making funny faces, and Mary with her head chopped off, oops. Lily read a bunch of books to the kids after dinner.

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recipients of all sorts of service

All of our fun Saturday plans (translation: one solitary little plan to go to the farmer’s market and buy apples) vanished in the face of today’s lice-eradication efforts. Sigh.

We did enjoy some time outside with our neighbors, though. And the best part of the day was when Arielle came over to take Ammon’s photos–for free! She wouldn’t let us pay her. I felt so touched. We also woke up to the sound of a ward member mowing our lawn. To top that off, we got a package from the Harbucks with a dinosaur onesie AND the best dinosaur book I’ve seen! Lydia spent an hour enthralled in its pages. We are the recipients of so much kindness these days!!

Lydia spent an entire hour by Ammon's crib this morning. She said he was holding her finger and she didn't want to disturb him by removing her finger. After half an hour Abe got her a chair and she sat there until snack time, at which point she determined that a snack might be worth removing her finger for.

Lydia spent an entire hour by Ammon’s crib this morning. She said he was holding her finger and she didn’t want to disturb him by removing her finger. After half an hour Abe got her a chair and she sat there until snack time, at which point she determined that a snack might be worth removing her finger for.

With our neighbors. They were so sweet and watched the girls while we had the newborn shoot.

With our neighbors. They were so sweet and watched the girls while we had the newborn shoot.

Lice round 3

I stayed at home again today and reflected on all of my blessings throughout the course of the day. That day-long meditation was good preparation for our discovery tonight…I have lice again. I asked Abe to check my hair after dinner, and this time I just went numb when he told me the news.

I am trying to understand what lesson I am supposed to be learning from these repeated infestations. I feel like I take a million precautions already: I clean the house obsessively, I use anti-lice shampoo and conditioner on everyone regularly, and I check my children’s hair regularly. The fact that we keep getting lice makes me feel like God is trying to send me some sort of message. Maybe this is my chance to react in a more measured, mature, and calm manner than I have in the past. Maybe this is my chance to exercise mental self-discipline and focus on all of my blessings instead of this nuisance. Who knows.

What I do know is that tomorrow I am calling professional de-lousing services and having them come help us. I don’t know why I didn’t do that when I was trying to de-lousify everything and everyone during my third trimester. But the idea of having to go through all that again while trying to navigate the sleep-deprived newborn stage is simply overwhelming. Hopefully the expensive professionals can help us.

While Abe treated my hair, we started watching the movie Selma about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That, at least, was a high point. I can never think of any movie off the top of my head that feels worth watching, but we somehow discovered this one. So far it is incredible. Too bad we have to be responsible and break it up, but I guess that gives us more to look forward to tomorrow!

Here are three videos.

This one is from Monday when Abe and the girls played “Duck-duck-goose” for FHE. I think it is hilarious.

This one is of Lydia and Mary playing pretend in my room today. They played together the entire day again. I am so proud and grateful for these good girls and their incredible imaginations.

This one is of Lydia holding Ammon. She is enamored.

The girls showed up in my room all dressed up and deep into their game of pretend. They went from explorers and witches to princesses and mommies to kittens and doggies. I love listening to all of their games.

The girls showed up in my room while deep into their game of pretend. They went from explorers and witches to princesses and mommies to kittens and doggies. I love listening to all of their games.

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Gratitude

Today was another recovery day, thanks to the help of Abe and Chelsea. Chelsea picked up Lydia for gymnastics, and Abe took Lydia to preschool. I stayed home, cuddled Ammon, slept, tidied, and made a couple meatloaves. I have been craving red meat–maybe because of all the blood loss? I don’t know.

But at any rate, I traded a meatloaf with my neighbor who gave birth on the same day as I did. She made these amazing maxi pads that she soaked in lavender essential oils, drenched in water and iced. She gave me some a couple weeks ago in anticipation of the birth, and since she had to have a C-section she gave me the rest today. I am so grateful.

Speaking of grateful, I have been very grateful for the food our ward members have given us this week. Two of the meals came from people who are struggling with all sorts of personal difficulties–including financial difficulties. I ate their meals with a full heart. I know how hard it is to make meals for others when you’re on a budget yourself. I can’t remember the last time food has actually pulled at my heartstrings, but these meals have almost brought me to tears. I’m grateful for good and generous people who set such beautiful examples for me.

Here are some pictures from today:

Post-nursing cuddle.

Post-nursing cuddle.

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Mary had fun playing outside today. Lydia joined her after Abe came home and they all biked around the cul-de-sac. It was cute.

Mary had fun playing outside today. Lydia joined her after Abe came home and they all biked around the cul-de-sac. It was cute.

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Sweet day

We are rushing to get to bed, so just pictures from our stay-at-home-and-recover day:

Someone is enamored with her little brother! Lydia looooves Ammon and is so sweet with him. She calls him a "cutie patootie" and constantly exclaims over how soft he is, how tiny he is, and how much she loves his smell. I love seeing them together.

Someone is enamored with her little brother! Lydia looooves Ammon and is so sweet with him. She calls him a “cutie patootie” and constantly exclaims over how soft he is, how tiny he is, and how much she loves his smell. I love seeing them together.

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I took this awkward selfie because I lovelovelove snuggling with Ammon after nursing, and I don't want to forget how sweet that time is.

I took this awkward selfie because I lovelovelove snuggling with Ammon after nursing, and I don’t want to forget how sweet that time is.

We went outside and picked leaves for leaf art because the girls had been inside all day AND because today was gorgeous! I wish I felt up to taking better advantage of this beautiful autumn weather, but leaf art sufficed for today.

We went outside and picked leaves for leaf art because the girls had been inside all day AND because today was gorgeous! I wish I felt up to taking better advantage of this beautiful autumn weather, but leaf art sufficed for today.

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Ammon LOVES the Mamaroo and spends hours in it!

Ammon LOVES the Mamaroo and spends hours in it!

Mary pretended to be a cat who birthed a kitten today. Lydia loved this game just as much as Mary.

Mary pretended to be a cat who birthed a kitten today. Lydia loved this game just as much as Mary.

Ammon’s birth!

Since I am soooo behind in blogging, I am going to post some pictures of Ammon first:

Right after being born. We thought he looked a little splotchy and squished, but we loved him anyway.

Right after being born. We thought he looked a little splotchy and squished, but we loved him anyway.

The great thing about having a splotchy baby is that he gets cuter every day!

The great thing about having a splotchy baby is that he gets cuter every day!

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I took this picture this afternoon. I am officially in love with him.

I took this picture this afternoon. I am officially in love with him.

Birth Story

This probably won’t be very interesting to anyone but me…and maybe Ammon when he gets bigger. Here goes the graphic blow-by-blow:

On Thursday, October 15, I woke at 4:15 am from real contractions. I had four contractions eleven minutes apart, at which point Abe was convinced I was in actual labor. I was terrified the hospital would send us home, so I got a blessing that helped me feel confident that I was in labor and would soon meet Ammon. We packed up our girls in the van and headed over to the hospital.

When I got to the hospital, I was 4 % dilated. By that point, my contractions were getting really painful. They were really far apart, though, and so the doctor instructed the nurse to wait an hour before admitting me. I cried at that point because my last labors went so fast that the epidural didn’t have time to help much. I cried again when I found out the doctor on call was the only doctor I didn’t want delivering my baby. Thankfully, our nurse, Julia, was the most compassionate person and reassured me that she knew the baby was coming that day. She said she would make sure I got admitted and that she would speed up the process. She also helped me feel more confident about the doctor.

Julia got everything set up for the epidural and made sure I got admitted within the hour. In fact, she was so on top of everything that by the time they got the epidural in, I had only experienced a handful of the really bad contractions.

After that, my labor was literally a dream come true. I had dreamt two months ago that I gave birth to Ammon without any pain whatsoever, but I dismissed that dream as a total fantasy. But since they got the epidural in so early, this labor ended up fulfilling my dream! I had no pain for the rest of the birth and minimal pain afterward. Because of the epidural, the labor was longer than my previous ones, but the doctor broke my water at 11:30 am when I was 6% dilated, and ten minutes later I was ready to push.

The doctor came in and helped set everything up for pushing. I actually ended up liking her a lot more than I had in my office visits. She had a fun personality that I hadn’t recognized before, and I enjoyed interacting with her. Of course, Julia continued to be an angel nurse and also made me feel so happy and comfortable the whole time. Pushing lasted only a couple minutes, and out Ammon came! It was, like I said, a dream come true.

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We relied on electronics to help keep the girls entertained during the hours at the hospital.

We relied on electronics to help keep the girls entertained during the hours at the hospital.

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I loooooove the hospital and enjoyed all of my time there so much. When it came time to go, I actually felt a little depressed. But we went straight to Gardner Village with Chelsea and her kids for the Wee Witches festival, and that distracted me from my melancholy for a bit.

 

Mary had a big meltdown at the festival and kept sobbing, "I promise I'll be a good listener!" We didn't know what she was crying about, but we suspect she's a little shaken by the arrival of Ammon. That night she had nightmares all night long, once again confirming our suspicion that she isn't as thrilled as Lydia is by Ammon's arrival.

Mary had a big meltdown at the festival and kept sobbing, “I promise I’ll be a good listener!” We didn’t know what she was crying about, but we suspect she’s a little shaken by the arrival of Ammon. That night she had nightmares all night long, once again confirming our suspicion that she isn’t as thrilled as Lydia is by Ammon’s arrival.

IMG_3618 IMG_3614Then I came home and started feeling pretty blue for no reason. The only reason I could identify off-hand was that I missed the hospital. I just loved all of my nurses, I love ordering food whenever I want, and I loved the peace and quiet of those first couple nights alone with my new baby.

But I started feeling better and better with each subsequent day at home, and today was really quite nice. It was Abe’s first day back at work, and I woke up praying that I could be a good mom to all three of my kids. I felt blessed all day long, and I enjoyed all of my interactions with each child. It felt like a gift. Plus, my post-labor physical recovery seems to be going pretty smoothly (so far), and that feels like a gift straight from God.

Here are some pictures from the past few days. I can’t remember exactly when each one was taken, but here’s the hodge podge assortment of them all:

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The girls have been very entertained by the clay in the basement. I bought it months ago, but somehow it's as though they just discovered it.

The girls have been very entertained by the clay in the basement. I bought it months ago, but somehow it’s as though they just discovered it.

Pediatrician's office. It's a good thing we all went, because the doctor helped me know that Mary's recent development of a lazy eye should be seen by a specialist. All this time Abe has been reassuring me that it would fix itself because he's had relatives with the same condition, but it turns out that not all eye problems naturally correct. We just hope we caught it in time. The earliest appointment I could make was for October 30.

Pediatrician’s office. It’s a good thing we all went, because the doctor helped me know that Mary’s recent development of a lazy eye should be seen by a specialist. All this time Abe has been reassuring me that it would fix itself because he’s had relatives with the same condition, but it turns out that not all eye problems naturally correct. We just hope we caught it in time. The earliest appointment I could make was for October 30.

Cafe Rio. On Monday we went to the pediatrician, Cafe Rio, and Target. I was soooo done by the end of the errands.

Cafe Rio. On Monday we went to the pediatrician, Cafe Rio, and Target. I was soooo done by the end of the errands.

Eating the dinner Carol Bishop brought us. She was so sweet.

Eating the dinner Carol Bishop brought us. She was so sweet.

Monday night Lucas and Kim visited us. We were so touched by their gesture.

Monday night Lucas and Kim visited us. We were so touched by their gesture.

Corn maze with Ashley and Peter

Today was a full day. We started off at the library where Lydia and Mary can go to the same story time! I chatted with Ashley and Peter while the girls did that together. Then we all headed over to Vineyard’s pumpkin patch. It was my very first time walking through a corn maze.

Had Ashley and I not both been pregnant, getting lost in the maze would have been nothing short of sublime. The weather was gorgeous, the corn was tall and talkative, and the sky was a beautiful shade of blue. Also, I can not imagine a more lovely friend to share the experience with. Ashley is one of those people who basically glows with goodness. But as beautiful as the setting and company was, we were both physically taxed by the experience. By the end, I was very grateful to find our way out.

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Lydia, Mary, and Peter in Tomato Alley. Mary doesn't like tomatoes, so she gave away all of hers. Up until I had Mary, I profoundly distrusted people who didn't like tomatoes. I guess God wants me to know that people who don't like tomatoes can actually be very lovely people too. (Before Mary, I never took the time to figure that out...)

Lydia, Mary, and Peter in Tomato Alley. Mary doesn’t like tomatoes, so she gave away all of hers. Up until I had Mary, I profoundly distrusted people who didn’t like tomatoes. I guess God wants me to know that people who don’t like tomatoes can actually be very lovely people too. (Before Mary, I never took the time to figure that out…)

I really like how you can see the blue sky and corn in this picture. I should have taken more pictures of that thrilling combination, but this is the best I have.

I really like how you can see the blue sky and corn in this picture. I should have taken more pictures of that thrilling combination, but this is the best I have.

IMG_1593After the maze, we came home for lunch before heading out again to the doctor’s office. I am still 2% dilated and now only 60% effaced. I think I might make it to my due date!

After that, we rushed over to ballet.

IMG_1594 IMG_1595 IMG_1599Then it was home for dinner. I made brownies for our FHE snack. (We had a late FHE this week.) Abe and I cleaned the massive mess the girls made earlier in the day, and now I am excited to take a warm shower and start my new book.