Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Peanut is 2!

I had my first ultrasound with Brielle at 6 weeks. I remember laying nervously on the bed while they looked around for the tiny little baby growing inside of me. All of a sudden, we saw her darling little flickering heart and the nurse said with excitement, "there is your peanut"! I fell instantly in love and after that, her nickname was found.
"feeding" her babies! She set this up and was feeding them.
2 years (and 8 months) later, our peanut is now a darling, spirited, determined, social, fiery, happy, flirt who loves to play dress-up and be the center of attention! She has quite a BIG personality that is stuck in her "little" body! She has an opinion and she will let you know! She will not be forgotten, that is for sure. But I love that about her. One day, my little peanut will be a powerful woman. She is loud and loves to squeal at an incredibly high frequency, whether she is happy, mad or sad. Truth be told, she will be a powerful soprano one day. 
She LOVES animals!

She loves babies of any form, and is always seen carrying around a stuffed animal on her hip or in her arms! My favorite thing is when she takes a "baby" in her arms, craddles it and shushes while she bounces her knees up and down! AND the best: when she takes her shirt off and "feeds" her baby while making an eating noise. She definitely is observant! She absolutely adores her siblings. She called Liam "Lawmie" and Lydia "La La". They are her favorite! If she sees anyone else other than Richard or I holding Lydia she will cry and cry saying "MY BABY!" until they give her back. It's really darling to see how much she loves her! Her and Liam play together all day (it's finally paying off having them close together!) unless they are cranky and getting on each others nerves...but for the most part they play so well together. 
Her favorite baby...notice it's dressed in Lydias clothes and swimming suit

With her favorite babies! And no the blanket isn't over Lydias mouth. Her hand is under the blanket and blocking her face

She is really big for her age (about the 90th percentile) so everyone is shocked when they hear she is JUST turning 2. She wears the same size show as Liam, just 1 size smaller than him (she is 3T and he is 4T), and a couple inches shorter. For all intents and purposes, they look like twins! And Liam is big for his age too! She is just transitioning out of naps (bummer) which is hard on her and mom. Unless she gets up before 7:30, she doesn't want to nap until 2 and most days, that is too late (can really mess with her bedtime). She eats really well and tries new things. Her talking is really exploding and I love listening to her put sentences together and copy things that people say. We had her off the binky (or "mimi" as she calls it), until Lydia started taking one and she digressed. The doctor says not to worry about it, and I don't want to force things and create resentment towards Lydia. She hasn't had ANY jealously issues, and I don't want that to start. 
This has to be one of my favorite pictures EVER.
She is such a joy and brings so much life to our family. Her powerful personality is so fun, and I love watching it develop new dimensions as she matures. I cannot wait to continue to watch her grow and mature. She can be scary sometimes because she doesn't have much inhibition (like trying to jump into deep pools, running up to total strangers to say hi/sing to them, running into the street to see the dog across the street etc), but I hope that means she will achieve great things later.
She loves: Curious George, swimming, her "mimi", ducks, any animal, her "babies", any kind of sugar, ketchup, juice, dancing, jumping on beds, playing house, dressing up, playing outside, digging in the dirt, any kind of candy, toothpaste, books, anything "pretty", having her nails painted, shoes, playing with water, her "mimi", her siblings, watching movies, changing clothes etc.

The day before her birthday we had a friend party where we had about 17 kids and 8 of their moms over to play! We had a blast! The theme was princess/dress-up and she had a blast! The next day (her birthday fell on a Sunday), we just relaxed, played together and celebrated some more with Richards brother and his family! Such a fun day celebrating our sweet, darling, spit-fire daughter!

Trying to take a picture of her while we relaxed on her birthday...
she wouldn't hold still (surprise, surprise)

"the" look...
testing out the princess dress we gave her!
Loving the cupcakes I made for her birthday!

I love my sweet curly-haired, blue-eyed beauty with all of my heart.
More than I can convey.
She has brought so much joy, life and happiness into our family
and I cannot wait to continue to watch her grow into the wonderful person she will become!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To the rude lady at the hospital.

I got your letter on my car. Yeah, the one where you explained I parked too close to your car, making it hard for you to get out. I especially noticed at the end the big sentence underlined three times and written with obvious anger: "you are an idiot". I am sorry I parked too close to your car.

However, I think if you understood the situation, instead of writing a note to break me down, you would have tried to help. You see, my daughter was bleeding all over herself, crying in the backseat because she had split open her gums. I was a little very overwhelmed with trying to find a place to take her along with my 2 other little kids, having been turned away from 3 different doctors offices for insignificant reasons. The parking lot at the ER was completely packed and I saw that smaller-than-my-car space and took it. There were a million other things running through my head like: "I hope my husband isn't worried when he comes home for lunch and sees the sign I left on the door  because I couldn't get a hold of him in class, saying we were at the hospital," and "I really hope she doesn't need stitches" and "I hope my newborn doesn't catch something scary here at the ER" and "I feel bad for losing my temper at my toddler because I am so stressed trying to find a place to take my bleeding daughter" and "I wish her mouth would stop hurting her" and "its breaking my heart to see her in pain" and "I can't believe we are going to the hospital"... O and I was kind of in a rush considering the fact my little precious daughter was losing blood by the second.

I was fighting a hard battle. You could not have known, all you saw was how annoying it was I parked too close to your car. Yeah that is frustrating and inconvenient. I get it. But that little note you decided to write made my day just that much worse. That much more hard. It was hard to get your words out of my head. I wish I could sit down with you and replay my morning. I hope you could have seen my intentions and understood the situation.

I wonder if your mom taught you to hold your tongue if you don't have anything nice to say. If she didn't I am sure my face when I read your note would have been a good lesson. If she did, shame on you. And because my mom did teach me that lesson, I will hold my tongue and refrain from saying or thinking certain things about you. Because I am sure, considering the fact we were both parked in the ER parking lot, you were fighting a hard battle too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Freezer Meal Journey: Month 2

So earlier last year, I decided that I wanted to seriously tackle freezer meals as our main way of doing dinner. I knew hubby being in medical school full-time and me home with 3 kids 3 and younger would require a lot of planning for life to go smooth. Anyways, last month was my first month, which you can read about here. It was a great success and we have liked all the meals I prepared. In fact some of them are new family favorites we will eat a lot more! The only thing I wish I had done was blanch some of the vegetables before I froze them.

This month I did another big batch of cooking and finished 6 meals doubled. I planned for 8, but once I got everything out, I remembered that I hadn't bought 2 important things that would mean the prep for the last 2 meals would have to wait for another day. With some leftover meals from last month, that is all I needed to last the rest of the month.

The meals I prepared were:
Beef Faijitas
Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
Beef Roast
Spaghetti (my moms recipe, so I will put it on the blog soon, but any recipe would work)
Cilantro Lime Chicken with Black Beans and Corn
Taco Soup (my recipe, that I will also put on soon, but again any recipe would work)
Coconut Curry Tofu
Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Some things I did differently or learned this time:
--I labeled each bag and kept them in the same spot close to where I was prepping so they were together, out of the way and easy to grab.
--Instead of chopping all the vegetables and putting them in different bowls, I cut down on steps and mess and put all the chopped food into the labeled bags right away. I think I used 1 bowl the whole time, only because I had to mix some things in it. This made the whole process SO much faster! This time I made more meals, but it only took 2 hours, compared to the many more hours it took last time. So basically cut out the middle man and just put things straight into the bag!
--Instead of working on several meals at once, I actually did one at a time. This only worked this time because there was no cooking I had to do. Once I finished each meal, I put them in a place away from all the chopping and cooking so it didn't take up space.
--I did this last time, but forgot to mention it, but I kept the trash can right next to me so every time there was something to throw away, I put it in the garbage right away to cut down on mess. Doing this and not using extra bowls etc. my kitchen wasn't that messy! It was so nice for cleaning up afterwards!
--If there are meals that have more than 1 bag, tape them together so you dont forget on baking day. I almost forgot to take out a second bag to un-thaw one night which could have been disastrous.
--Take your meals out to freeze in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours, best 36 or 48 hours.
--Put meat into it's own bag. There probably is anything more nasty than having meat juice mixed in with your vegetables in your refrigerator!
--Like I said above, blanch potatoes, carrots or other vegetables before freezing them if you don't want them to be soggy.
--Keep a list of the meals you have in the freezer, when you made them, where they are (I have a normal freezer and a chest freezer in the garage), way to cook them (if it's a crock pot meal, that is important to note), and any thing you need with the meal like noodles for spaghetti. I have this one on our refrigerator all filled out.

Best part?!
All the groceries for the 16 meals cost a whooping $170! There were a few things I had already that I didn't need to buy like onions, canned tomatoes etc. But it wasn't enough to make a huge difference! Thats pretty good for 16 meals!

Next month I am going to look for more meatless/vegetarian and whole food meals. Not that these aren't but that is going to be my goal because that is the way we want to start eating. Hope I can find some good ones!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And it's over.

I love Brielle's face! She is in a diaper because I was getting her ready to put her swimming suit on.

Just like that, without much warning, our time of "play" is over.
One day I woke up and realized, that phase of our life is entirely over.

And surprisingly, my emotions are different than I thought they would be.
An aching excitement.
Aching: I am so sad to have that time over, at times it can hurt. My heart aches to think about how my kids will miss their daddy, and I ache when I think about doing this alone, almost entirely without my best friend.
Excitement: Because it's finally here. The day we have been preparing, hoping for and dreaming of for years. Because I am ready to do this thing.
The surprising part, is this is the greater emotion of the 2.

Yesterday, Richard started medical school.

For pretend, because this week is orientation, but it is all day and the same hours as his classes (8am-5pm). So we are starting "the" schedule and he is preemptively studying the massive amounts of books that he has during the hours he plans to do homework. 80 hours a week of class and studying. Boom baby.
So I am on my own. A thing I haven't had to do since he finished his under-graduate degree last year. It's hard to get used to, but I did it for so long, I have fallen right back in place. The adjustment has come pretty natural, which is a huge tender mercy. 

Classes start on Monday, and the real journey begins.
I feel like I am standing in line for one of the really scary rides at a carnival. It looks exciting, and by the faces of those getting off the ride, it looks totally worth it. In fact, they all come over and tell you it is so worth it. However, it also looks scary, just not scary enough to get out of line. You remind yourself, it will be worth it, and you can do it. 

That's exactly how I feel.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Freezer Meal Journey: Month #1

:awkward wave: hi, I am back!
Whew can I just say, it's been crazy?! In the last 3 months this has been the gameplan:
move everything from our storage unit in ID to the storage unit next to our house in WA (24 hour roundtrip)
pack up and move everything from where we were staying in WA to our storage unit (8 hour roundtrip and many days of work)
Stay with family in Boise for 1 1/2 weeks while our house was getting finished (3 different houses in 10 days)
Move into our BEAUTIFUL, new house (WE ARE HOME OWNERS! I am in love with our house) and unpack/get organized/decorate (way too long)
and now...play and enjoy the beautiful summer until my hubby starts medical school in 3 1/2 weeks (way too soon)

So yeah, it's been crazy. Let's just say, I am done moving for the next couple years...

Now that we are caught up with the ultra-fast update, enough about the last few months (although I feel like writing a post about some thoughts on my adjustment to having 3 kids in 3 years, so maybe that is next). A couple months ago, I was thinking about the upcoming...trial...ahem, time of medical school and my fate as a school induced single mom. I came to the conclusion that dinner time, while I love to cook for my family, is the most stressful time of day and sets the tone for the next day (if it is too crazy and I don't have the energy to clean the whole house before bed like I normally do, I wake up behind, and that is no bueno). So if I could change that time of day and not make it stressful, it would make the entire day better! While mindlessly searching studying pinterest one day, I found the solution to my problem! Freezer meals! You do the prep for as many meals as you can in one session and plop them in the freezer so on the night you want to eat them, all you have to do is thaw them and put them either in the crock pot or oven...and that's it! I still get to cook healthy food for my family (one of my passions) but I also don't have awful nights of kids screaming at my feet while I am trying to frantically cook them something for dinner (doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, its no fun)! Heaven sent answer! So I did a lot of research, complied enough recipes for 9 months of freezer meals (no joke) and joined the craze! 

Yesterday I did a test run to get out all the kinks before school starts. I doubled 5 meals (because that is all we will need for the rest of the months with vacations etc) and ended up with 10 huge meals! I made:

Here are my thoughts:
--Plan for several hours of uninterrupted time! I tried to start mine in the afternoon and because of constant kid interruptions, I finished at 8:30pm! And that was with my hubby focusing all of his energy into helping with the kids so I could cook! Next time I am going to start as soon as my kids go to bed.
--Except your kitchen to be COMPLETELY destroyed. And all your cooking utensils and bowls to be used. It will be totally worth it in the end (you may have to repeat that over and over again while you do it)
--Start with a clean kitchen and all your bowls/cooking utensils clean and ready
--Write all the cooking instructions and the name of the recipe on the freezer bag before you start and have them organized
--Have water and snacks near by. You will get thirsty and hungry!
--Make a list of all the things you need to chop, thaw and cook (like the chicken breasts) so you can do them all at one time (I had Quinoa cooking, chicken breasts in the crock pot, chicken breasts thawing and I was chopping vegetables all at the same time).
--Before you start, take EVERYTHING out you will need. This helps you realize if you need to get something else before you are too far in to leave.
--Have bowls for each chopped vegetable you will need and organize them according to meal. Keep them together or you will forget what they are for! Basically just stay organized or it won't work!
--Multi-task! If you don't have several meals going at once, it will take even longer.

My goal is to do 1 cooking session a month and make 21 meals (either 7 tripled or 11 doubled) which will allow us 1 day a week to cook like normal and 1 day a week for leftovers. I want to document my "journey" of having this be my main way of preparing our dinners. The successes and the failures! I am sure we are bound to find gross recipes, things that don't freeze well and moments where all the work is worth it! So follow along for the ride! O and I am back on the blog again! No more 3 month + absences until after the birth of our next baby ;) 

...still can't believe that this crazy wonderful morning was almost 3 1/2 months ago! Time goes too fast...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lydia Elise: A Birth Story

9 days ago our sweet, beautiful, healthy girl joined our family.
Such a wonderful little spirit who we are all so in love with.

Her birth was exactly what I wanted and I feel so blessed.
Here is the whole story so I don't forget any details...

Just like my other babies, I started to have consistent braxton hicks contractions starting around 35 weeks. At my 36 week appointment I was about a fingertip dilated and only 20% effaced, which was disappointing because with Brielle at the same point I was 2 cm and 60% effaced. So I stayed on my feet as much as I could, went on walks, did squats and anything else I could to help me start progressing ahead of time. I would have inconsistent runs of contractions pretty often and at 36 1/2 weeks I had contractions about 5-7 minutes a part starting when we put the kids to bed at 7 pm, I noticed them during the night and they continued through the next day. They got closer together around 3pm and about 4pm, I called the doctor. They said it was too late for them to check me, but wanted me to go into the hospital to make sure I wasn't dilating too fast. I decided to wait longer (it's a 45 minute drive one way) and we went to the park to play as a family and feed the ducks. When we got home, I noticed they spaced out and then stopped. At my doctors appointment a couple days past 37 weeks, I was 2 cm and 50% effaced so we knew those contractions were doing something! At that appointment my doctor said she wanted to induce me a couple days early because 1. Liam was 9 1/2 pounds on his due date and 2. I progressed really fast with Brielle (I went from 5 cm to complete/crowing in 30 minutes) and she didn't want to risk anything since we live so far from the hospital. Like I said here, I didn't think either would happen again, but I wanted to not take any chances, just in case.
However, at this point I started to have some serious doubts about being induced. Even though I was induced with Brielle and it was a very positive experience, I still felt very unsettled. It was on my mind a lot and I wasn't sure what to do. I knew I shouldn't go over my due date, but I wanted so bad to go into labor by myself. I did a lot of research on ways to help my body go into labor itself, but I didn't want to do anything too extreme because I really wanted her to come when she was ready. Also at this point I started to feel very unsettled about getting an epidural. With both my kids it significantly slowed my labor down and in my labor with Brielle, the process of getting the epidural was very painful, and my back hurt for about a year afterwards. 
At each appointment from 38-39 weeks I was more dilated and effaced and they set up my induction date for the 27th, which was 2 days before my due date. That also happened to be my birthday and the only day the hospital had available for a scheduled induction. My doctor said all she planned to do was break my water without using pitocin and expected that to throw me into full-blown labor, because once my water broke with my other 2 kids, things went fast
The day before my scheduled induction, I was still having painful, yet inconsistent contractions as I had been experiencing the past week and I had my last appointment. My doctor said I was 3 cm, almost 4cm and she did as much of a membrane sweep as she could without breaking my water. She said Lydia was at a -1 station (basically the farthest she could be without me in active labor) and hoped that sweeping my membranes would jump start things. After my appointment I went to get my hair cut with my mom and then I went on a 20 minute walk with her afterwards while Richard played at the park with the kids. The walk definitely started some painful contractions, but once again, nothing consistent. I also had a bloody show and lost a lot more of my mucus plug. The rest of the day I spent finishing all the last minute things and spending time with Richard and the kids. We bathed the kids, put them to bed, put the carseat in the car, put our bags next to the door, laid out our clothes and went to bed early. We were supposed to be at the hospital at 7am for my induction, and we were all ready
Of course, Liam woke up twice that night, once to go to the bathroom and another time with a bad dream, and after the first time neither Richard or I could go back to sleep. My mind was running with all the things that would happen the next day, plus Lydia was rubbing her head into my cervix and moving around so much, I couldn't sleep because of pain. Then I started noticing contractions. And they were hurting pretty bad, but still very far apart so I didn't think anything of it, because that had been happening almost every night for about a week. Luckily they were so far apart that I was able to sleep during the breaks. Then all of a sudden I woke up and noticed that they were so bad I couldn't lay down through them, and only walking around and breathing made them tolerable. They weren't coming close together (I would guess they were about 7-10 minutes apart, although I never actually timed them), but after 2 of these contractions, I woke Richard up because the intensity of the contractions made me realize, "this is it". In between a contraction I said "Richard, wake up, I am having very painful contractions and this is it. We need to go to the hospital NOW" I looked at the clock and it was 5:00 am. I felt a huge sense of urgency and Richard could see that, so we got ready as fast as we could. I jumped in the shower to see if the warm water would slow them down. They started getting closer together (about 6 minutes I would guess) and the intensity stayed the same. While Richard got in the shower, I went downstairs to blow dry my hair (pausing to breath/concentrate through contractions) and then ran the kids monitor to my parents. My mom was so excited when I told her we were headed to the hospital! By this point, the contractions were getting more painful and we frantically put all our bags into the car, skipped breakfast and sped off at 5:30 am.
The contractions were hurting really bad, but during my break (I think they were about 5-7 minutes apart at this point and never got much closer together the whole time) I started to put my make-up on (we still laugh about this). About 10 minutes into the 45 minute drive, they started to get worse and so Richard called 911 to let them know he was speeding to the hospital and not to pull him over. They told him to call the hospital to warn them so they could get everything ready, and while he was on the phone I had some really bad contractions. He said "my wife is in labor and I am afraid she doesn't have much longer. Please have a room ready. O and she would like an epidural". Once we were about 5 minutes from the hospital the contractions were so bad that I was almost frantic during them, wanting to get out of my seat and walk around and the only thing that made me feel any better was screaming. That was a bad sign. I was desperate to get out of the car and during one of the really bad contractions I screamed "I WANT AN EPIDURAL NOW!" Well  we made it to the hospital in a record time of 30 minutes and I ran in while Richard grabbed our important bags. They had a nurse waiting for us when we got there and she asked if I wanted to stop in the .E.R. for them to deliver me or head up to the O.B. unit. I got into the wheel chair they had ready, yelled "GO!!!!" and pointed forward. They giggled at me and ran me up to the O.B. unit. I had hoped if we got up to the OB unit as soon as possible, I could get an epidural. However, the contractions were so bad and they could tell by how I was acting, it wasn't going to be much longer. 
We got there at a little after 6:00 am, they put us in room 335 and immediately got me on a table to check me during one of the contraction breaks. As she was checking me the nurse said "ummm, I can't find your cervix." I thought that meant I was digressing in my dilation so I threw my head back in defeat and moaned. Richard said "does that mean she is complete?" and as I said "no..." the nurse said "yep, that is exactly what that means. You are totally complete. Honey, you aren't getting an epidural tonight". We were shocked. I had been going through transition in the car...it all made sense now. I was still dressed, so I got into a gown as fast as I could during the break and they started breaking down the bed and getting things ready. I tried to breath through the contractions but it was getting almost impossible. They said they had called my doctor when we called, so she was about 15 minutes away. That was a long, painful wait. But I was so happy my favorite doctor and the one I wanted to deliver me was on call, even though she wasn't supposed to be on call that day. That certainly made the wait worth it.
Once the doctor got there at about 6:15 am, she checked me and confirmed I was totally complete and ready to push. She broke my water and after getting all dressed and ready, I started pushing. This is when I became frantic to be done because I was experiencing pain I had never experienced before. During one of the breaks I managed to say "please help me not tear too much". My awesome doctor said "don't worry dear, I will do everything I can to make sure you don't tear too much". The pain was so bad that I wasn't breathing enough and everyone had to remind me to breath so I wouldn't pass out. At about 6:20 am we were ready to really start pushing (the couple pushes before that was helping her get all the way down into the birth canal because she started at a -1 station) and all of a sudden this beautiful music started to play. We realized it was Richards phone going off for our alarm to wake us up to call the hospital to set up a time to come in and be induced. We all laughed at the irony while they set up the stirrups
Then a little after 6:20 am, I really started to push and her head started to crown. Everyone told me to reach down and touch her head, and when I did, I realized I was close to holding my baby. That helped keep me focused. The doctor coached me through the pushes telling me when to slow down, do small pushes, push hard etc. to help me not tear. At this point the pain was so overwhelming that the only thing I could do to handle the pain, was screaming at the top of my lungs. It was all I could do, and the only thing that helped the pain not be intolerable. I had to go deep into my mind to control myself despite the excruciating pain, and it was an experience I have never had to experience before, and one that is hard to explain. It was so intense, I started to panic and at one point the nurse had to stop me, because she was afraid I was going into shock. I got my breathing under control and everyone said "Mckenna, she is right there! Give us a good hard push and you will be done!" I pushed (and screamed) with everything I had and her head came out, one more push and the rest of her was born. The immediate relief as I saw her little body was more than I can explain. As they laid her on my chest, I was so overcome with happiness that she was here healthy, glad it was over, and so in love.
At 6:33 am1 1/2 hours after contractions started and 33 minutes after getting to the hospital, our beautiful Lydia Elise was born. 
I love that you can see Richard stroking my face. He was such an amazing support.
She cried for about 15 seconds, and then as soon as they put her on my chest and heard my voice, she instantly stopped and just looked around the room and stared at me for a long time. It was the sweetest thing. It was amazing to hold my little girl after dreaming for 9 months what she would look and be like. The doctor said I had a tiny little scrape, and I was so relieved. She said Lydia had a huge head, and was glad/impressed it wasn't any bigger. I held, admired and loved her (and regained my composure haha) for a long time. Then they took her to weigh, measure and examine her. When they put her on the scale, I was so interested to see what it would tell us. The doctor kept mentioning she was big, but I could tell she wasn't as big as Liam. I had thought 8 lbs 14 oz and Richard guessed 9 lbs 5 oz. Well they put her on the scale and she was 9 lbs 2 oz! I was pretty surprised! Another 9+ pound baby! No wonder it hurt so bad!!! And hearing that, I was so relieved that with such a big baby, I only got a "scrape". They measured her and she was 19 1/4 in long and perfect with all their tests. Everyone was very impressed because during all the pokes and prods, she just laid there totally content and never made a peep. She scored a 9 on her apgar test, and was announced a perfect, healthy, big baby girl.
 I was so proud and happy.
As my doctor was leaving we joked about how she was born 30 minutes before we were supposed to start my induction. This girl was determined to be born that day and share a birthday with her mama! Also, she mentioned that I need to make sure I live really close to a hospital from now on because that was too close! She said if my water had broken on it's own, we definitely wouldn't have made it to the hospital. Richard got a little run-down by several nurses on what to do if I don't make it to the hospital next time :)

The kids came later that evening and I was so curious to see how they would react, especially Brielle. They both walked in and when they saw her, they both got this super loving, tender look on their face and just watched her. Then they both got super excited and fell instantly in love. Even though Brielle is only 18 months, she was very soft, gentle and loving towards her. Liam held her for a long time, kissing, stroking and hugging her. He is head over heels in love with her and wants to have her next to him as much as possible. His new favorite thing to do is kiss her and just stare at her while stroking her head. No joke. Richard went home with them to put them to bed and as he left I warned him, he couldn't pull a Matthew Crawley, and had to come back in one piece. He minded me, and we enjoyed the night not sleeping cuddling our baby girl.

I have about 15 other darling pictures of him loving on her. So hard to choose from.
Holding brothers hand
The next afternoon we left the hospital because we missed our babies too much to wait longer, I hate sleeping at the hospital and I felt fine. As soon as we walked in the door Liam came running over and the first thing he said was "where is Lydia?!" The kids loved on her for the rest of the day and were so excited to have her home. They have been so sweet with her and Liam always wants her next to him. Whether he is eating or going to bed (we have had to have several talks with him about how she can't sleep in his bed with him). I am so glad they are both so soft and sweet with her!
3 days old
My recovery this time around has by far, been the best. I left the hospital with no pain meds and never needed them once I got back. By about 4 days postpartum I felt back to normal (of course except very tired from midnight feedings) and healed. My bleeding is pretty much gone and my stomach is almost back to normal (I get so stretched out that normally I still look about 3 months pregnant for the first week or so haha). I have lost more than half of the baby weight at 1 week postpartum as well. So really, it's gone so great. Nursing has been good, except she has a crazy strong suck so I am pretty...sore. And she eats a lot, so like my other kids, my supply is HUGE. That isn't so comfy...

In almost every way, her birth was exactly what I wanted.
I wanted to go into labor on my own: check
I wanted to labor as long as I could before going to the hospital: check (but no choice on that...)
I wanted to not need pitocin: check
I wanted to do it natural and not need the epidural: check (but again, no choice on that)
I wanted to go a little early and definitely before my due date: check
I wanted her to be big, but not too big: check
I wanted my favorite doctor to deliver me: check
I wanted to not tear: check (well my doctor didn't consider it a tear but in her words, a "scrape")
I wanted the least amount of interventions and pokes: check
I wanted to push for less than 15 minutes: check (it was about 10 mins)
I wanted a fast labor: check
I wanted to experience drug, needle and intervention free birth: check
I wanted a healthy baby girl: check

I had this conversation a lot with Richard about wanting the above things, but didn't think that would be possible. I am so grateful it worked out the way it did. It was the most intense and painful 1 1/2 of my entire life, but worth it. And the fact that I was doubting whether or not I should be induced and have an epidural  for a couple weeks before, was a big tender mercy, because I was hoping for that, rather than being disappointed it didn't work out that way. 

She is such a great baby! She never cries, unless she is starving and it is only a cry or two. When she is hungry she just grunts and roots around (which I swear she does all the time). She loves sleeping anywhere...her carseat, swing, bassinet, someones arms, you name it. She eats every 2 hours day or night, which is hard, but I am glad she is getting a lot of milk and my anti-bodies because Brielle has been sick for the past couple days :( So I don't refuse her when she is hungry (plus we love our babies fat! haha) or put her off. The transition to 3 has been much different than I expected. I will write more about that later. 

Truly, it was a wonderful experience and I am so glad she is in our life. 
She is only 9 days old, but I already feel like she has been in our family forever and I don't know what we did without her! 
Like I have said so many times before, we are addicted to having babies. 
In fact, a couple hours after she was born and I was cuddling her, I turned to Richard and said 
"Richard, how are we ever going to stop having babies?? I love this"
Can you blame us??
8 days old
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