30 November 2012

if you do nothing else, do this

you need to follow this link HERE and read this. Read it with an open heart and open mind. Read it knowing that these are things that break the heart of Jesus. truly.

all rollled into one

I keep thinking that I will write some posts about my tiny daughter. You would think that writing about life and stage and various milestones at least once a month would not be too much to ask. But apparently it is. The last time I posted it was regarding the first 2 months of her life and she was already 4 months old. Now? Now tiny LG is 6 months old, sitting up unassisted- heck even standing up! Clearly I am behind.

So I am facing the facts. I will not do individual posts about the tiny one. I just wont. I would love to, but folks, it is not going to happen. But I would like something on this blog that resembles at least a decent motherly attempt to publicly announce the marvellous ways my daughter is growing and bringing joy into our lives. So here it is. A post for months 3, 4, 5, and 6...all rolled into one :)

3 Months to 4.5 months
Anything after the first 2 months seemed wonderful! Lg was hospital free, and aside from her regularly scheduled shots, she was doctor visit free. 3 months was easy! Lg started sleeping through the night at 9 weeks, so our schedule was typically a few naps throughout the day, usually on the go as we went from E's school to gymnastics to parks etc... The last feeding was right after bath time around 7pm and she would sleep straight through until 8am. Yes, these 5 or 6 weeks were a very easy stage considering what was before (and what was to come after!!)

At 4 months we had a check up and shots and Lg's stats were:
weight: 12.2 (20th percentile)
height: 24.5 in (75th percentile)
Tiny and tall! We figured you could be a super model, a high jumper or a runner. :)

As for exciting milestones, Lg started rolling over this month. And not just the back to front. Oh no, she was rolling in circles all over the place.

This is also the month that Lowri took her first trip/family vacation. We went to Fort Worth, Texas and stayed with some friends from college. To add to firsts, we also hit up Six Flags to mark the first amusement park and IKEA, because who doesn't love IKEA?!

4.5 to 5.5 months
Talk about a change over night!!! Around 4 months or so, I decided that I was tired of breastfeeding. Some people love it, however I hate it am not one of those people. I understand it is best for the baby, etc.. etc... it has just never been the wonderful, intimate moment that others love. So I was done. Lowri, however, had some different ideas. She refused to take a bottle. WE tried 13 different kinds, with every kind of nipple imaginable. We tried breast milk, 3 different kinds of formula and even a mix. She would not have any of it. I tried giving her the bottle, then Rhys, then my mom. Then we tried Rhys and/or my mom but with me out of the house. Heck, we even let Eleri try to give her a bottle. But no, nothing.

I am not sure if it was just a coincidence or not, but that was around the time that Lg decided that she no longer needed to sleep. Not just sleep through the night, but sleep at all. ever. EVER! Life went from easy naps during the day, with no problem going down, and a peaceful, full night to constantly fighting sleep. every single time. I was up and down between 9 and 10 times a night. It was horrendous. I felt like I was losing my mind. Maybe it is selective memory, but it was worse than when she was a newborn. Lowri just wanted to be awake.

We went to the doctor who suggested maybe she wanted more than just milk. She suggested trying some food. Great, I thought, we will try that. That night I noticed she had TWO TEETH!! That's right, 2 teeth, fully through on the bottom. To all the other mothers out there, the behaviour and sleeping might have been indicative of teething. But Eleri got teeth like they were puffy, soft marshmallows just melting in her mouth. I never realised just how easy Eleri was in absolutely every area until I had another child who was not.

Even with the teeth, we decided to try food. Baby rice and porridge, then carrot, peas, green beans, squash and sweet potato. Lowri gobbled it down! The sleeping improved a little, but not much. Now instead of 9 or 10 times it was 4 or 5 times.

As for milestones, aside from food, Lg found her toes. We would often find her happily pulling away at her feet, in and out of her mouth. pretty cute to watch really. Lowri was still rolling all over the place; I couldn't keep her still at all!

There were quite a few firsts this month too. First food, obviously. But first Halloween too. She was a Dalmatian. In fact, we all were. Grandma and Grandpa (rhys' parents) came to visit and it was LG's first time to meet that side. It was also the first time she had a non family member babysitter. Our good friend Neville watched both girls one night when the Williams' were in town so we could all go to Oktoberfest. She slept the whole time so she was unaware of a non family member babysitter, but it happened all the same.

5.5 months to 6
Somewhere a switched flipped and we are back to sleeping! I don't know if it is the food, the fact we gave up trying to get her to take a bottle and have just settled in to the realisation that I will have to keep nursing, or if it is because we have started wrapping her up really warmly at night so she is toasty warm. Or if it something totally unrelated, but whatever the reason it is wonderful!!

Our schedule is fairly predictable. I wake her up around 7.30am and nurse her. She stays awake until around 9 and then falls asleep in the car seat while I take E to school. She transfers from seat to bed easily and will continue to sleep until about 11.30. I nurse her then we play and go get Eleri at 12. Lowri eats food around 12.30 It is usually porridge and fruit. She goes down to sleep around 2 and sleeps until 4. I nurse her around 4 or 4.30. She has food at 5.30 when we are all eating dinner. She usually has vegetables or a fruit and veggie mix. Then it is awake/play time. At 6.30 she gets a bath and then I nurse her and she is asleep by 7.15pm. She will sleep until about 3am. She wakes up, pleasantly, but wants to eat. I feed her for about 15 minutes and she goes back to sleep quickly. And then I wake her about 7.30am the next morning and thus the cycle starts again.

As for milestones, Lowri is sitting up unassisted. It is awesome to see her tiny little self just sitting there, playing. She is also standing up when she has something to hold on to, i.e. couch, table.. She is not moving around, cruising I think it is called, but she is steady and strong on her feet. This is exactly what Eleri did and then she started walking at 10 months. I am wondering if I will have another early walker on my hands!

As for growth, we had Lg's 6 month appointment and she is continuing along the same lines, tiny and tall. She weighs 14 lbs, 5 ozs and is 25.5 inches tall. 10th percentile for weight and 50th for height.

And that brings us to now. six and half months. I can't believe that my youngest is already half a year old. It goes by all too quickly. I should put some pictures in, but that seems like a lot. So this is it for tonight. Pictures to come soon.

13 November 2012

They should be remembered

Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday. It was the 11th. Today is recognised as Veterans Day in the United States. To me those days are of huge importance. The men and women who have fought to make and preserve freedom, not just in this country, but around the world deserve to be honoured. I foolishly assumed everyone felt the same way. I was shocked and appalled when I was left explaining the significance of Remembrance Sunday and the "11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month". Not only did people not understand the historical significance, but some did not even realise that it was a day to be celebrated. Callously saying "I had no idea it was veterans day" highlights a larger problem with the younger generation. There seems to be a growing lack of understanding, even lack of respect, for the military and those who serve in it. Supporting a war or a particular government administration is NOT the same thing as showing support for the armed forces. You do not have to agree with war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or even war in general to recognise that there are thousands of men and women who have selflessly given their all so people can so freely have their own opinions.
 
Tyrants and dictators across the globe keep millions of people under lock and key. Thousands die every week fighting for basic freedoms and necessities that we in the western world take for granted. It is a privilege to live in a country like the United States or Great Britain. I am not saying they are the best countries on the planet, both have their fair share of problems for sure, but the laws that govern those countries provide its people with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, heck even the right to buy an AK 47 (as was so widely proven at the gun show held in my hometown this weekend) These are liberties that people DIED for you to have. How dare some ignorant person simply believe it is what they are entitled to. You, free people of the world, have what you have because someone fought for it. Those who so bravely chose to fight deserve respect, honour and recognition. I was near tears several times yesterday as I continually came face to face with my generation who seemed to care less.
 
History is not every ones interest. I realise that. Just because I love it, doesn't mean everyone has to. But to be informed citizens, to be able to fully enjoy and appreciate the things that we are so generously blessed with, we should also have a least a general knowledge of the road that was travelled to allow for the liberties we enjoy daily.
 
Remember people. Remember the past. Learn from it, yes, but remember. And honour those who so courageously paved the way for our comfortable lives today.
 
Lest we forget.....
 
  *Below are 2 excerpts, the first from 2008 and the second from 2009 regarding Remembrance Day. I would suggest you read them and look at the pictures. Not because my writing is wonderful, but because the pictures alone tell a powerful story of the soldiers who fought for freedom*
 
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

It was the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month that the Great War finally drew to a close. And the world would never be the same again. I do not have the words to describe the war. I don’t think anyone does. Even those who fought in the trenches, who watched comrades fall, who came back wounded, destroyed; even they couldn’t find the words. It was worse than any horror imaginable. The roads leading to the trenches were covered with the bodies of dead men and animals, carcases too laborious to move, bodies too numerous to count . The wrecked shells of supply carts and ambulance waggons lay scattered across the fields. entire plains collapsed and barren due to the heavy artillery bombardments. Shell holes made some areas impassable. The unyielding downpour of rain made travel and life even more difficult, creating slimy pits of mud that simply swallowed equipment and men alike as they passed. Even remaining stationary didn’t help. The platforms and make-shift shelters the men tried to build simply crumbled and sunk; more often than not creating additional causalities. It was atrocious. It was hell.

Today is the day we honour those brave young men who fought in those bloody trenches. Today is the day we honour ALL the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces in some way. Be it the front lines, the sea, the air, the nurses station or the home front. each and every person who has so selflessly given their time, effort and sometimes even life for the protection and defence of country, humanity, life, and freedom. We honour them.


I went to the ceremony today at the cenotaph on Whitehall commemorating to the very day the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War. I can not even begin to describe how simply amazing it was. Thousands turned out on this very special of Tuesdays to celebrate and honour the thousands before us who have so bravely served. But today was different. Today was extraordinary. Today Henry Allingham, Williams Stone and Harry Patch all laid wreaths at exactly the 11th hour. Henry and Harry are both 110, Williams is 108. They are the last 3 surviving British vets of the First World War. Mr. Harry Patch is the only, THE ONLY survivor who saw active warfare in the trenches. He served in Passchendaele. (Click here and here to learn more.)

I got to Whitehall nearly 2 hours before the service was scheduled to start. I was determined to have a clear view of the veterans. When I arrived barely after 9am, the street was already filling up. By 10.45 there was not an empty spot of tarmac or sidewalk visible. Thousands had come out to show their respect. When the 3 men were wheeled into sight, deafening cheers and thunderous applause erupted from the crowd. Tears sprang into my eyes and began to pour down my checks. even now as I write this I am beginning to well up. The 3 men were so bravely holding their heads as high as their frail and ageing bodies would allow, gripping their wreaths of poppies. they were remembering. Williams Stone allowed his wreath to be placed on the cenotaph by a member of the Royal Navy, Harry Patch had his placed by a Royal Marine. Henry Allingham refused to give his up. He so badly wanted to lay the wreath himself. but he couldn’t move. he was chocked up, confined to his wheel chair. he was shifting and fidgeting in a futile attempt to place his poppy wreath on the monument. he refused to let go. my tears came even harder. there was not a single eye that was not moist with the heartache that comes only from seeing a once strong, proud, and well decorated war veteran struggle with the simple task of honouring his comrades. He finally released the wreath and it was laid. The imagine of that struggle will forever be implanted in my memory. His determination even at 110, even after 2 World Wars, even after mustard gas poisoning, even after years of hard work, toil, and countless deaths around him...even then he still had his spirit left. he still wanted to be strong. that is true courage. I will never forget the faces of those 3 veterans. It was a honour to see them in person. It was a dream come true.


After the service had ended and the 3 veterans were wheeled to 10 Downing Street, I made my way over to Westminster Abbey. During this time of Remembrance the grounds of the Abbey are covered with crosses, wreaths and poppies. Today, scattered between the rows and rows of make-shift memorials, were numerous veterans spanning all the wars. This must be a proud moment for them. They are honoured regardless of the popularity of the armed forces or of the current war. they are respected. they are looked upon as the heroes they truly are. even more tears fell. I was overwhelmed at the amount of lives impacted by war, both past and current. I have always had a soft spot for the military and I have always been interested in learning more about various conflicts. But today, more so than ever, I was reminded just how important, how truly significant, our war heroes are.



*excerpt from 2009 Remembrance Day...

this remembrance day is eleri's first. i realise that she is just 3 and a half months old and will have no recollection of this time. but its important to me that even from this early of an age she is surrounded by the words, pictures and memories of those who have so bravely served their countries. i want her to remember so that their sacrifices are not forgotten. i want eleri to know, to understand, to care.

I wanted to take her to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. It was focused on the first world war because, as i mentioned earlier, all the surviving British WWI veterans died this year. it didn't quite work out that way, and we ended up staying home. we read poems, sang songs, looked at pictures and observed the 2 minutes of silence at the 11th hour.

and in an attempt to familiarise my daughter even more with great 'war' moments of the past, i read her all the famous speeches i could think of. i

"we shall fight them on the beaches" winston churchill

"a day that will live in infamy" franklin d roosevelt

"sixteen hours ago" (in reference to the atomic bomb) harry truman

"scorched earth" joesph stalin

"the iron curtain speech" winston churchill

"peace for our time" and "this country is at war with germany" neville chamberlin

"the war to end all wars" woodrow wilson

and at the end of president wilson's speech, eleri started to goo and giggle. i think she missed the poignancy that is remembrance day. all she understood was that her mommy was playing with her. and as she laughed, i started to cry. I was struck with the dichotomy of the situation. i was reading words telling of great destruction and tragedy, stories that recounted the most horrific situations. i was reading the words of war to my sweet, innocent daughter. and it broke my heart.

i cried because the men of the two world wars are dying out. i cried because we still have men and woman fighting and dying in wars even today. i cried because someday she may know the pain of loss that comes with war. and she just kept smiling, goo-ing and laughing.

this day will hold a special place in my heart. i will tell her about her first remembrance day. and when she is older, and can actually understand what courage and sacrifice are honoured on this very special day, we will read through the speeches again.

thank you soldiers past and present. thank you for your selfless sacrifice to help bring peace and security to our world. soldiers, you are not forgotten.

3 November 2012

Day 2

Beautiful 80 degree weather in November. It was such a gift to get out with my girls today. Huge blessing!

2 November 2012

30 days of Thankfulness.

Day 1: I am thankful that I live in a place where I have easy and quick access to the Internet. I take for granted little things (as well as big) everyday. But the Internet makes my life easier every day. So to start it off, that's what I am thankful for. Hey, without the Internet, I couldn't be posted my 30 days of thankfulness :)

2 October 2012

Lowri: the first two months in pictures


                                                4 weeks

 
8 weeks
 
 
6 weeks

 
                                                     3 weeks

 


First time in the pool! 5 weeks. She loved it. Little Lg is a water baby without a doubt.

 

 

 
                                                     2 weeks

 
                                                     5 weeks

 


Lowri: The first 2 months

The first few months of the tiny ones life were pretty intense. It was all we could do to keep going between tests, hospital stays and doctors appointments. Needless to say, blogging took a back seat. Now that Lowri is 4 months old things have really settled down. I feel like I blindly groped my way through the first few weeks of constant feedings and fussiness and suddenly my tiny newborn is rolling over. Where did the time go?

I would like a record of the first little bit, so I figured some combined posts are the way to go. Better late than never, eh?

To quickly sum up, due to pregnancy complications discussed here, I was induced with Lowri on 12 May 2012. I had a bit of leeway in terms of specific dates, so I choose the 12th. It seemed kind of cool that her birthday would be 12.5.12.  We arrived bright and early at 5.30 am. The entire birth story can be read here and here. Pictures are here.

The first few weeks were normal newborn weeks. She ate a lot, and slept a lot and cried a heck of a lot. From about 4 days on, she put herself on a 4 hour schedule. That is what Eleri did, so it seemed ok to me. Eating every 4 hours gave me time to see Eleri, sleep, eat and pretty much just zone out. Our days looked a lot like this

 
Lowri sleeping and Eleri playing with her toys, more often than not, playing with them on Lowri. But hey, at least she was interested and I wasn't about to squash that.

By the time LG hit 2 weeks things started to get a bit....funny. She was really fussy. She cried for no reason. She was inconsolable. for hours. and hours. and hours. She threw up constantly. Not just the typical baby spit up. Oh no, huge puddles of man vomit that blanketed the walls, floors, furniture and whatever hapless person happened to be in the way. I couldn't figure it out.

Eleri was never a fussy baby. She came out a giant 9lb 7oz and never stopped growing! She ate, slept, smiled and was the easiest baby in the history of man. I had no idea why my new tiny one was the exact opposite. And I had no idea what to do about it.

As the days worn on, I started to wonder if something was wrong. Surely all the fussiness could not just be colic. It seemed unreasonable. My suspicions were confirmed when one afternoon, during a particularly fussy period, she started throwing up blood. Straight to the doctor we went.

She had a fever. She couldn't stop throwing up. She wouldn't eat. She was limp. It was equal parts heartbreaking and terrifying. We were sent straight to the hospital to be admitted for tests and observation. And thus began the second worst night of my life. (the first being the birth of my first child)

They put more tubes and needles in her than could have possibly been necessary. They seemed to take even more blood out of her. Lg was barely 5 weeks old and the poor thing was already being hospitalised. This is my tiny, precious little baby after the first hour in the hospital.

 
The nurses and doctors were in and out all evening and night, taking temperatures, checking machines and poking on my little one. I was hurting so badly for her. She was obviously in pain and I could do nothing about it.
 
 
She was so tiny and so helpless.  We were discharged a few days later but without any real answers. A couple of days later we were back at the hospital. Some irregular blood work showed an abnormally high white blood cell count. They were concerned. Could it be cancer? Not a thought a mother would ever want to entertain. The hospital is only 15 minutes from my house, but the drive back that night seemed to take hours. I could stop thinking about what could be in store for my tiny little one. Praise the Lord there was no cancer.
 
After more trips back and forth, and more tests than I can count, including one in this machine, (yes that is my little baby strapped to that board)
 
 
the problem was determined. Lg has an issue with her intestines and digestive track. To put it simply, it acts like severe acid reflux. With a diagnosis in hand, we left feeling like new people. We could finally help our little girl. We started the medicine straight away and within a few days it was like we had exchanged our baby for a new one. She didn't cry, she hardly threw up, and there was definitely no more blood. She slept, she smiled, she was peaceful and content.
 
 
 
The tiny one will never be classed as an 'easy baby' but once we got an explanation for the fussing, crying and uncontrollable vomiting, she became a much easier baby. The first two months were challenging to say the least. But medicine in hand, moving forward would be a lot easier.
 

10 August 2012

today = fail

 My children began the morning by revolting and getting up at 6.00! That is almost 2 hours earlier than either one of them usually gets up. I told Eleri she had to stay in bed and put the mobile on in Lowri's crib to occupy her. I managed to lay in bed for a few more minutes, but sleep was not possible as all I could hear was Lg's crappy mobile music and Eleri saying "Mommy, mommy, mommy. mommy, mommy, mommy...." you get the picture. About 6.45 I went back up to get them both.

Apparently E actually needed something and was not just being noisy to get up. Her bed was soaked. When I asked why she didn't let me know she needed to go potty, she said "I did. I was calling mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy but you didn't come." Knife through the heart. Pretty major mom fail.

Lg was also not too happy about being left in her bed either. Explosive poop all over. I will never understand how such a tiny body can produce so much poop! After feeding Lg, cleaning up a pretty massive throw up from the walls and couch, getting E dressed and starting a load of laundry, I decided breakfast out was a better plan than in. So off we went to McDonald's. Yeah, I know, breakfast of champions. But it was only 7:45 and I was already at my wits end. I could feel my frustration growing so a change of scenery seemed like a good idea.

Our stomachs full of pancakes, and mine full with some coffee too, we headed out to the zoo. The change of pace had worked, all of our attitudes were better. Until we pulled into the zoo.

Lg started screaming the minute we turned into the parking lot and E decided that this was a good time to say that she didn't want to go to the zoo any more. I should have listened to her and turned back around. But I was annoyed. We had made lunches, packed the bags, made plans to meet a friend and driven 30 minutes to get to there. We were staying put whether she liked it or not!! Not a wise move, mom fail again.

As I explained to E we were staying and tried to get Lg to stop crying, I realised our stroller had 2 flat tires. When your stroller only has 3 tires and 2 are flat, it doesnt make for smoothest of rides. But I put Lowri in and off we went to the zoo. Very awkwardly might I add.

Once inside it didn't go any better. One of the exhibits Eleri wanted to see was closed for renovation, our friend ended up getting there about an hour late (she has a 7 week old so totally understandable) and Lg decided she needed to start crying again.

We made it to the monkey exhibit and managed to find a few sprinklers to run through before we headed to the playground so I could sit and feed while E played. But once we got there, E didn't want to play. This was about the time she also decided she didn't want to wear shoes anymore either. As we were fighting nicely discussing why she had to wear shoes at the zoo, and I am trying to situate Lg with the nursing cover, a 5 year old girl comes over and the next 10 minutes went something like this:

random kid: I like your baby. I have some dolls. I like real babies though. I have a sister. she is not a baby. can i see your baby? why is she under a blanket? Can I touch her? Do you have more than one baby? Why are you at the zoo? Can I touch your baby? Can I feed her? What does she eat? What do you eat? I like fruit snacks. I think I have some. Hold on I will be right back. (kid runs off....kid comes back) Why is your baby under a blanket? Look I have fruit snacks. Who owns this bench? Why is it here? I think it is for big girls like me. I am big. But you are bigger. Do you like babies? Do you like benches? When does your baby want to eat? Can I feed her? I like to feed babies. Do you know baby Greg? He is a baby. I feed him sometimes. You know him? can I touch your baby?

Me: No, you cant touch my baby. She is eating.

Kid: Why? I want to touch her. Why cant I? Why is she eating under a blanket? Why?

By this point I am losing my patience. My own kid is whining, not playing and pulling on one arm, while this other completely unknown, random kid is pulling on my other arm, incessantly asking me questions!!! I had some questions of my own! For starters, where was this kids mother and why was she not doing anything!!!

Finally my friend and her son came, but E just wanted to watch a movie on my iphone. So what did I do? I gave it to her. By this point we had been at the zoo about an hour and half and only seen the monkeys. Eleri had been shoeless and running around for about 30 minutes and Lowri was annoyed that her feed was continuously interrupted. Eventually both kids were ready to move on and we ventured over to the tigers and lions.

Tigers are e's favourite part of the zoo. They are her favourite animal and she continually talks about them. Our friend wanted to play on the water slide and not see the tigers. So after about 25 minutes together, all of which Eleri spent on the phone, we split up.

We saw tigers, lions, penguins, rhinos and then ate lunch. These are all within 20 feet of each other so we had not really wandered all that far. Then the melt down happened.

You may think I mean Eleri. Oh no, I mean me.

Annoying kid from earlier reappeared and the questions started again. Every other word out of Eleri's mouth was asking to go on the train, reminding me that last time we were here I had promised her a ride that next time we came. Lg had yet to stop crying so I picked her up and she exploded poop and vomit all over herself, me and the stroller. Did I bring a change of clothes? No. About 30 seconds later E said she needed to go to the potty. So here I am, covered in baby junk, with a crying baby also covered in baby junk, pushing a stroller with two flat tires and trying to correct a three year old who is refusing to wear shoes. said three year old was also jumping in every muddy puddle she could find (dear god I am hope it was just mud) and now she wants to go to the potty. Awesome. I said she needed to wait a few minutes.

Did I mention we were in the bathroom not even 10 minutes before that and she had very adamantly refused to go because she said she didn't need to? 

We eventually head to the bathroom, leaving a nice trail of grossness as we go, but it was too late. My child, who has been potty trained since she was 18 months old, and before today hadn't had an accident in so long that I cant even remember has now had 2 today. Did I have extra clothes for her? Nope. Mom fail yet again.

Ensue meltdown.

I was somewhere between volcanic anger exploding out of my mouth and tears of defeat pouring down my face. I put Lowri in her stroller, apologised to Eleri for not having extra clothes and just sat down on the ground, frustrated and dejected. We were finished at the zoo.

Somehow we made it to the parking lot, one shoeless and one screaming. We are home now, thank the Lord, and both are asleep. I am not sure if things could have gone any worse than they did, but now they are quiet and it is wonderful.

27 July 2012

still alive

I am still here. yes, it has been quite a while since I have posted. Over a month in fact. But it has been crazy. I have full intentions of doing complete posts on the new, tiny one, eleri and our latest family happenings.....but in the meantime, here is a quick overview.

-the tiny one is 11 weeks tomorrow. Crazy. In her short 11 weeks she has been in and out of the hospital 4 times, had an IV twice, countless amounts of blood drawn, and I dont even know how many tests done. The poor thing was so ill. But we have an answer, she has medicine daily and no surgery necessary.

she also smiles all the time, has started to giggle and, praise the lord, sleeps between 9-10 hours at night!!

-the big one turned 3 on tuesday! I can not believe that my firstborn little baby is 3 years old! I sound like a crazy, old woman but how is that even possible?

-Rhys has come and gone from his wessding trip to the UK. So glad to have him back in this country!

-I was pregnant at the same time as 3 other of my precious friends. 2 out of those 3 have had their babies. Little Noelle is 5 weeks younger than LG, little Cora is 7 weeks younger than LG and we are waiting  on little Lydia who was due to make her apperance last monday! But when she comes she will only be 11 weeks younger than LG. 4 little girls all within 3 months of each other. Love it!

-My brother is getting married in December; the date was just announced!! super excited!

-My sister-in-law is getting married in April! Again, super excited!

-Rhys and I are all set and booked for our family of 4 to travel to the UK in December. 3.5 weeks in Europe, I am really looking forward to it.

Those are the highlights really....there will be more to come.

8 June 2012

i really should get a membership

Eleri loves the zoo. I mean loves the zoo. We go about once a week on average. I keep thinking one day she will get tired of it, so I have not bought a membership yet. But at this point, the membership would have already paid for itself. I really should get one.

We went today in fact. It is the second time that just us girls have been since Lowri was born. I find that it is an easy outing for a 2.5 year old and a newborn. E gets to run around, play, see animals and generally act like a crazy person and I can be excited with her all while pushing a stroller. It really works out well for everyone. The only problem I have found so far is LG's feeding schedule. It is tough to find her for 30-45 minutes AND try and keep an eye on Eleri.

On another note, I just read through the part 2 of my UK vs US. Man! talk about bad writing. I would like to blame my exhaustion. I am so tired that it is a struggle to keep my eyes open most of the time. I was not aware that a person could actually be this tired. But sadly, that is no excuse. In fact, there is no excuse valid enough to explain the horrendous level of writing in the last post. Some sentences don't even make sense. I have said it before, but I really need to start proof reading.

I also need to start napping. Now seems like a good time to implement that plan.

6 June 2012

The US vs the UK: Part 2

Disclaimer: There are details in this post, like stitches and contractions and internal monitors and underwear and even maternity pads. If you don't want to hear about that, then this is not the post for you!

Before I get into the part 2 of the US vs UK, I feel like I need to mention something. The first part of this story was MY story. It is what happened at MY birth. Awesome if you had a different experience. Sorry if you did not. But just because you had a great experience does not mean that I did. I am entitled to share my feelings/emotions/fears/joys just the same as you are. After posting the first part, I received several negative comments and emails from people who had delivered in the UK and had a positive experience. I am really pleased for those that did. But again, it does not mean that I did. Several of my dear friends have given birth in the exact same birthing centre and had a great experience. They had different midwives and in some cases their husbands were allowed to stay. I am glad it worked out well for them. One friend had a great experience in Scotland and another in central London. But that was not my story. It is nothing against the UK or even birthing centres. The very next blog post I wrote talked about how I was missing the UK. It was just how it happened. So please, get off my back. I am entitled to write about whatever I want. It is my blog. Stop being mean!

With that being said....

5am proved to be a very early start. One that Rhys and I were not quite prepared for. To make it on time to the hospital we needed to leave by 4:45.  Around 4:50 I was still making my breakfast smoothie and the car seat was not even in the car. It would be accurate to say that we procrastinate.

We made it, only 15 minutes late, and started the check in process. Talk about paperwork! Since everything is nationalised in the UK, aside from the maternity  notes you carry around with you during pregnancy, there is no paperwork. You get there, you get a room, done. Finally at 6:10 I was checked in, in bed, with an IV and the pitocin had started. We were ready for a baby!

At my last check up I was dilated to almost 4cm and was 80% effaced. Everyone, including myself, was prepared for a really quick labour and delivery. I was thinking that probably by noon little Lowri would be here. By 11am, the pitocin was up as high as they could make it go and nothing was happening. Nothing at all. I was having contractions, but nothing to write home about. Looking at the monitor, they were really nothing more than tiny, little hills. Rhys and I were watching tv shows, laughing and joking around. I knew that I was 'in labour' but as far as comfort levels go, I was just fine.

I had mentioned when I was first admitted that I wanted an epidural. The nurse said to wait until I had started progressing and the contractions were stronger so that way it would work during the delivery. That made sense to me, so I didn't really push the matter again. I figured that I would know when the contractions were actually strong enough, so I would just wait until then.

The doctor came in just after 11 and broke my water. I said that I was hoping for a baby by noon. He said at the rate I was going, he was hoping for a baby by noon the next day!! Seriously? I was crushed. When the doctor and nurse left the room, I broke down. I was sobbing to Rhys that everyone kept saying it would be so quick and it wasn't. I had mentally prepared myself for a fast labour and that was not happening. As the day wore on, I quickly realised that while I was mentally prepared for the birthing part of Eleri, I had not done the same for Lowri. Partly because I was freaking out about other things, but partly because I just assumed it would be super quick. That assumption made the rest of the afternoon difficult. Because it was not going quickly, I was discouraged. Rhys did his very best to keep my spirits up, but it had already been over 6 hours and I was no further along than when I was admitted!

The nurse came back in several times and still nothing really. The contractions were getting slightly stronger, but nothing that I thought was unmanageable. About 4pm, the nurse removed the external monitor and said they were switching to an internal monitor to really check the contractions and the baby. On a scale of 1 to 100, the contractions needed to be consistently close together and measuring between 70 to 100. Right now they were close together, but around 40. Again, breakdown. Why wasn't this baby coming!!!???! With the internal monitor, the doctor said that whatever showed on the machine was extremely accurate. Aside from me, it would be the best indicator to know when the baby was ready and when to get the epidural. Ok, I thought, I will just wait.

But then, oh man! One minute I was laughing with Rhys and the next minute- pain. Serious pain. The monitor was only registering contractions around 40 or 50. But I was really struggling. I kept saying to Rhys that I must have become a pansy. How did I manged to birth a nine and half pound baby naturally only two years ago, but couldn't even manage the early stages of labour now?! I was only at 4cm for goodness sake! She just checked, I wasn't dilated any further at all!! I had always considered myself to have a pretty high pain tolerance, but clearly I did not. I couldn't even make it through a few, mild contractions. I remember very clearly sitting int he bed, looking at the monitor and telling myslef it was a good thing that I didn't want to go naturally this time or I would have been really disappointed! It was intense, but because I didn't want to get an epidural too early, I just closed my eyes, laid down and tried my best to calmly breath through each contraction.

After about 30 minutes of what I thought was pretty intense pain, I told Rhys I couldn't really take it anymore. Inside I felt a little broken. I wanted to be strong and hold out until everything was really progressing, but I just couldn't take it anymore. I wanted an epidural now regardless of what the nurses said. He went and got my nurse and when she came in she said that the doctor was on his way back up, but that he wanted to turn the pitocin off and give my body an hour to just rest. Then  the plan would be to start it up again and see if we could trick my body into going into labour. Fine, I said, but please can I have an epidural now? We debated this for a few minutes and finally as a last resort she checked me once again. Her mood completely changed.

The internal monitor had shifted ever so slightly.

From 5 to 5:30 I had gone from 4cm to 10cm. She left the room to call the doctor and I told Rhys I need to push. He was actually on the phone with my mom telling her that nothing was happening. He quickly changed his wording and got off the phone. They called a surgeon in who was on her way to preform a C-section and she quickly gave me an epidural shot at 5:40. Rhys says that they gave me a 'token epidural'. The shot was a tiny syringe and they only put half of the contents into one side of my back. That is not what was described to us as an epidural. But we were cutting it a bit close on time. I kept telling them I wanted to push. They kept saying no.

I asked how long until the epidural kicked in. The nurses hemmed and hawed for a bit, saying it should kick in a few minutes but I would have the full effect in 15 minutes.

The doctor came in, put his gloves and suit on, told me I could push and 9 minutes later Lowri was here. Too bad 9 minutes wasn't enough time for the epidural to kick in. The epidural that I had asked for ALL day. The epidural that everyone kept telling me to wait on. The epidural that meant I would not have to go through natural childbirth again. That epidural that didn't have enough time to work. Yeah, that one.

Lowri came out perfectly. Breathing, screaming, normal colour and so tiny compared to her sister. A light 7 lbs and 2 oz, and 18.5 inches long** But that is actually a pretty good sized baby for being a month early. Could you imagine how much she would have weighed if she had been allowed to stay in for another month!?!

While they were cleaning the baby, the doctor was giving me stitches and I could feel every single thing. Stitches without anaesthetic is not awesome. Even though I had had an epidural, they had to give me local anaesthetic for the stitches because the epidural had not kicked in yet. Awesome, it really was a pointless shot. (a pointless shot that cost me $208, but that is another story all together) During all of this, nurse came over and said that in all her years of being a labour and delivery nurse, she had never seen someone react to birth the way that I did. She said she had seen people scream, cuss, cry and not speak at all. But never, in her 14 years, had she heard someone calming turn to their husband and say over and over again "this is really uncomfortable" Apparently that made sense to me. I remember looking at Rhys the whole time. I remember telling him, over and over again, that it was really uncomfortable. But hey, it was! It hurt and I wanted my epidural!! However by this point, some 20 minutes after Lowri was born, my epidural had kicked in so we all had a good laugh about it.

One nurse took Lowri and cleaned her up and another couple came and quickly went to work cleaning me and the bed and changing everything. Because my epidural was in full effect, I really couldn't move. But they did everything and it was amazing! Rhys said that in the 30 minutes after giving birth, I received more help and attention than I did the entire time I was in the hospital in the UK. I was in a fresh gown, with clean sheets and all bandaged and wash up in no time at all. The nurses then wheeled me from the labour and delivery room to post room.

oh my, it was like a hotel. The hospital maternity ward had recently been renovated and everything was brand new. Big, spacious rooms with a bed for Rhys. Nice, comfy bed for me with electronically adjusting foot and head rests. As many pillows and blankets as I wanted. Plus a nurse on call for me at any moment and a separate nurse from the children's hospital on call for Lowri whenever. I could just phone over to the nursery and they would come and get her, bringing her back to me whenever she needed to eat. That was a wonderful service for the night time.

One of the most wonderful things was the 'products'  I remember being unsure about what to bring with me underwear and maternity pad wise in the UK. What I brought was uncomfortable and not really the best. This time around they provided everything. These giant underwear things, pads, cream, mini bath tubs for you to sit in. It was so nice and easy. Everything was right there at your finger tips. Plus, I was 100 times more comfortable as a result.

I had my own bathroom, Rhys could stay, we had access to food (that was pretty decent) whenever we wanted and I had visitors come, whenever I wanted. (and they brought me yummy food like Panera.) The nurses were so sweet and took time to answer all of my questions. And did I mention that Rhys got to stay. yeah, that was the best part. Plus instead of leaving after just 12 hours, we stayed in the hospital for 2 days which was really nice. A little break from the normal routine before jumping right back in, but with an extra person this time.

The two experiences are really incomparable. They are so night and day different that it is laughable. Yes, I had a better experience in the UK, but that really had nothing to do with the birth and everything to do with the aftermath. Ok, maybe not nothing. My labour was shorter this time and I only pushed for 9 minutes instead of 4 hours. That makes a big difference. But overall, the care and conditions post-birth made baby #2 MUCH easier than baby #1. While I am really pleased that I had a baby in London, I am so thankful that I had this one here. In mere days I was up and feeling fantastic. Now, 3 weeks on it is like nothing ever happened.

Nothing can take away from the experience of my first child. It is such a unique thing. I was so proud of myself for doing it naturally. Now, after number two, I am even more proud of myself of labouring again without anything and pretty much birthing a second child without pain relief. At least this one was only seven pounds instead of nine and half!!

Looking back, even though the two experiences were so different and even though the first time really was traumatic, I am so incredibly blessed. I have two wonderfully healthy children. What more could I ask for? I feel like I have experienced both ends of the spectrum, from one extreme to the other. But it makes for a good story. I am just glad they are both over and I can hang out with my little ones!



**As a side note, I think they measured her incorrectly. We went to the doctor 3 days after she was born and they measured her at 19.5 inches. Did she really grow an inch in 3 days? hmmm, probably not. So I think she was actually 19.5 born.

3 June 2012

the tiny one

The tiny one is 3 weeks old. I can't believe that she is nearly a month old. But on the other hand, I can't believe that she has been with us that long. She is so tiny and so perfect and such a wonderful addition to our family.

As far as updates...

Tiny one is growing! she is 19.5 inches long and weighs 8lb, 2 oz now. an entire pound since she was born!

She eats every 4 hours during the day and 5-6 hours at night. I am SO pleased that the doctor said I could let her sleep at night. It was tough waking her up, making her eat. But ah, it is glorious when she goes 6 hours and I get almost a normal amount of sleep.

Lowri is fitting right into our lives. We are already out and about. My girls and I have already been to Target (serveral times) out to dinner, over to friends houses and even a trip to the zoo! A note to remember in the future....do not plan to go to the zoo right when the baby needs to eat. Hard to fed the baby AND watch a 2 year old during summer time at the zoo!

I gained 17 pounds during my pregnancy with LG. I have 7 left to lose. But, I was about 10-15 pounds heavier than I usually am when I first got pregnant, so I have about 17 pounds to lose instead. But overall, I feel great and am quite pleased with post pregnancy Kristina.

It is hard having 2 without Rhys around. We miss him desperatly and cant wait until he comes home!!

And now, pictures!!


 She was not too happy....


Only a few minutes old!






First family picture of all 4 of us! Tiny one is only 30 minutes old


me and the tiny one!


bathtime with daddy




sand time with sister




First Sunday to church, 2 weeks old. Matching big sister




And a few of big sister eleri...









withdrawls

There are lots of things I should be posting about instead. For example, part two of my US vs UK thoughts. I should also do an update of the tiny one who is 3 weeks old today, life with 2, like with 2 AND a husband overseas, and countless pictures. But instead I will post about my heart and mind and how I am going through withdrawal.

I think the word withdrawal makes like of the emotions. I am genuinely struggling with wanting to be here. I am desperately wishing that we were still in London. I love my kiddos, I love our house and our space and I love our friends, church and life here in Tulsa. I love being so close to my family. But the past few days my heart has been aching for my UK home.

Maybe it is because I just had another baby and my emotions are all over the place. Maybe it is because the last place I had a newborn was the UK, so I am comparing the two and reminiscing about the past. Maybe it is because Rhys is over there right now and I wish we all could be there together. Or maybe it is even all the talk of the Queen's Jubilee and the bit of me that wishes I was there because I love all the pomp and circumstance.

or maybe I just miss it.

But whatever the reason, my heart is sad. I have been looking back at all my pictures from our 4 years over there and I will admit, I have been crying. Just a little though, so don't judge. It was such a happy time for us, and it was so hard to leave, that when I look back I struggle to remember any of the bad things.

Sure the flat was tiny. And yes, everything was really expensive. But we had so much fun! and we had such amazing friends and such an incredible community. Looking through the old pictures I am flooded with some of the best memories of my life. and that makes me miss it even more.

so that's where I am today. Hurting heart and missing the UK.

24 May 2012

The US vs the UK: Part 1

In the weeks leading up to the birth of Lowri to say that I was nervous would be an understatement. It's funny because looking back I was not really nervous at all about Eleri. I knew my options, or lack thereof, and I had genuinely convinced myself that it would not be that bad. I read books on natural childbirth, went to classes,watched videos, and then read some more books. I really felt prepared.

The truth of the matter was simple. On one hand I could have as much pain relief as I wanted. But an epidural also came with a stay on the 'ward' side of the hospital. Two to a birthing suite and then 6 women plus their babies to a room. The UK does not have a fancy nursery for babies that you can call whenever you want and they will come get your child. Nope, baby stays with mom 100% of the time. Or, on the other hand, I could have a private room to give birth in, a private room to stay in and a private bathroom in the birthing center. But no pain relief. Ok, I take that back. 'Gas and Air' was offered, which is nitrous oxide, but i could never grasp the breathing/sucking on the mask, carrying the big tube around and dealing with contractions. To me it was an easy decision. Private room. Birthing center. Natural birth. Not a question.

But this time around was different. Because of the complications I knew I was going to have to be induced a month early. It made sense that if I was going to be medically induced then there was really no point in going natural after that. I may as well opt for the epidural. So that was my plan. Easy right? You would think that after giving birth to a nine and half pound baby naturally I would have no qualms about an epidural on what was almost guaranteed to be a much smaller baby.

But I was scared. Really scared.

It was one third scared of the unknown and two thirds terrified of the aftermath. I had no idea what an epidural would be like. Would it work? Would I feel anything? Would I have back pain or headache issues afterwards? I didn't know what to expect and that was making me nervous. But mostly I was having serious anxiety about the hours and days following the birth.

I had no idea just how traumatic Eleri's birth had been to me until Lowri's got closer. When I looked back, I thought about the labour part. Granted that was not the most fun I have ever had, but it was manageable. So I had convinced myself that whilst it was different in the UK, it wasn't really all that bad and I had been just fine.  But it was what happened afterwards that really scared me. E was born at 8:08 pm.  Hospital visiting hours were over at 8. They let Rhys and my mom stay for about an hour afterwards. They brought in tea and toast, because that is all you are allowed after birth, and when we finished the midwives said it was time for them to go. I had gone through 22 hours of labour in the most interesting, and painful, positions possible. My baby came out dark purple and not breathing. She was breathing by this point, but still fairly dark in colour. My arms were so weak that I could not pick her up. I was bleeding profusely- quite possibly from having to walk down the hall to get stitches and then walk back to my room. I had already soaked through my sheets twice. I was mentally, physically and emotionally spent. And now my husband and mother were being told to leave and here I was alone. Alone with a baby that wasn't even 2 hours old.

I love Eleri so much that it hurts, so hear my heart when I write this- that first night alone with E was without a doubt the worst night of my entire life. She screamed and I couldn't calm her down. She wanted to eat and I couldn't get her to latch on. I fainted twice when I got up to go to the bathroom. I bled through my sheets again, and when I called up to the midwife desk to ask for new sheets, they brought some in, put them on a chair and said I could change them when I got a chance. I couldn't do it; I tired, but my muscles wouldn't work. I laid in bloody sheets all night. (to be fair, they did change them about 6 the next morning when they came in and slipped in the pool of blood that had gathered under my bed)

I was terrified and exhausted and all alone. I did not have a clue what to do. I called Rhys and my mom countless times, but there was nothing they could do. Visiting hours were over and they were not allowed back in. The midwives were understaffed and had to see to the women giving birth. I was completely on my own. I know I have blogged about this before, but at one point Eleri was crying so much, and I was so broken and at a loss that I summoned every last bit of strength I had, picked her up, and walked around the room, sobbing and reciting Bible verses to her over and over. I couldn't think of anything else to do. I was miserable.

Rhys stood outside of the ward doors for about 2 hours the next morning buzzing, asking to be let in. When he was finally allowed in, they released me to go home- almost exactly 12 hours on the dot after E was born. I could barely stand, let alone walk but I somehow managed to hobble to the car.  Once I got home, I was so shattered from the birth and that first night, that I was pretty much useless for weeks. Literally weeks. I struggled to do anything, I was an emotional wreck. I had nightmares about waking up alone, with just the baby. I even struggled to want to be around E for a while. I was traumatised.

Obviously things evened out and most of the horrid details of the aftermath were shut away somewhere else in my brain. But as the birth of Lowri got closer, those memories came flooding back with such a force that I nearly lost it.

Rhys and I talked about it constantly; how all of the things I was fearful of were circumstantial. He would be allowed to stay, the room would be private regardless, I would not have to bring in my own sheets, towels, pillows etc... There was a nursery for Lowri if I needed a break, the bed was not a metal frame without a mattress at the head, and the nurses in the US actually helped you with things like bleeding and sheet changing. I knew all of those things in my head, but I had a hard time believing that. I made Rhys promise multiple times a day that he wouldn't leave. And I packed extra things in my hospital bag just in case it wasn't as glorious as everyone said it would be.

Rhys told me to stop comparing the two. But the only other place I have given birth is the UK, it was the only experience I had to fall back on. The more I thought about Eleri's birth (aftermath) the more I feared Lowri's.

But the day came regardless. 12 May, 5am sharp at the hospital to be induced. It was a strange feeling, but also an completely unavoidable situation. The baby had to come out, and soon. So here I was, facing labour, delivery and recovery once again.

10 May 2012

Lowri's Room

Lowri's room is done, more or less. The only thing that is really lacking are pictures on the wall. Maybe Rhys will hang those tonight. Or maybe it will be a few more weeks. But regardless, the majority is finished and here it is!
This is the view when you walk in. The dresser was actually my dresser in middle school. Getting lots of use out of that! Since LG's room is also the 'guest room', we decided to get a pull out couch so that when our international family and friends came to stay, there would be room. It is a surprisingly comfy couch. Plus, I love the look.


The bedding is Pottery Barn, Brooke. It was Eleri's bedding when she was tiny. Well, it still is Eleri's bedding, she just has the 'grown up' version on her big girl bed. I love this bedding. As shallow as it sounds, one of the reasons I wanted another girl was so that we could re-use this bedding.
 

Here is a close up of the monogramed L pillow that matches the set. Again, love it. The little doll was one of E's favourites back in the UK. It is from the most amazing baby store, Mama's and Papa's. E so generously donated her doll to 'baby sister wow-wi'.


Our house was built in 1984. The man who lived here before us bought the house brand new in 84. He was a Marine for almost 30 years and when he retired from the Marine Corps, he became a police officer. He retired the year before we bought the house from him. He was single, never married, had a giant German Shepherd and never updated the house. What is the point of the background story? To point out just how outdated and unkept the house was. It was a single man, and a hardcore 'man's man' at that!

Lowri's room was by far the worst. Ugly carpet, outdated paint colour that was chipping and folding closet doors that were broken and missing a few pieces. Something had to be done. But doors are so expensive. So we opted for an expandable curtain rod and some light, white curtains. Done. LG's closet problem fixed.


One of the first things I did when we found out we were having another girl was to go through Eleri's clothes. We pulled everything out of boxes, rewashed and put away. I am so very thankful that we did that because as a result, I have bought nothing for LG. Well, thats a lie. I bought her a new 'coming home' outfit. But other than that, nothing. In my head I knew I had gone a little crazy buying things for E, but because our flat was so tiny, whenever E outgrew something, we shipped boxes to either Wales or America. Because of that, this is the first time that Eleri's clothes have been out, all together, in one place.
 

uh, yeah. we are pretty set in terms of clothes for our next 8 children. (so long as they are girls!) Hanging are 0-9 months. the big tub on the floor is 9-18 months. Seriously, I went overboard. The moral of the story is to keep clothes in one place so you know what you have. Or to not spend so wasterfully on clothes. It is sad, I know. But at least I'm being honest about the closet. (and never buy us clothes!!)

Here are a few of the things that will be up on the walls. (Hopefully by tonight.) Below is a hand carved, wooden light fixture. One of my closest friends in the UK has Danish family. When we went to visit Denmark we got to know her aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Copenhagen. They are wonderful! Seriously, amazing people. My friends uncle is an incredibly talented wood carver. He makes everything from furniture pieces to things such as this light. I made a comment that I really liked the light fixture and he took it upon himself to make me one. As a complete surprise he carved it in Denmark, packaged it, and brought it with him the next time he flew to the UK. Amazing! I love it so much and even though it wont work as a light because at the moment it still has Danish plugs, I love the look and the story. Up on LG's wall it will go.
 

And this will go above the changing table to add some colour.
 

There you have it. That is basically the room. We plan on hanging a set of 6 or 7 pictures above the couch along with the Danish light, and then it will be complete. But it is pretty much there now. Which is great because little Lowri Grace will join us on Saturday! Only 2 days away!!

6 May 2012

less than a week

In just 6 short days I will be able to hold little Lowri Grace in my arms. I am pretty excited about this for several reasons, mostly because my body is so very tired of carrying her around. I dont remember pregnancy being so uncomfortable with Eleri. And that is even with almost 30 weeks of constant throwing up. But as they say, every pregnancy is different and that has proven to be very true in my case. The two could not have been more different. It has been busy the last few weeks and I suspect it is not going to slow down any time soon. I turned 30, had a great birthday dinner with some dear friends, went to an Artic Monkeys and The Black Keys concert, had another amazing birthday dinner with my family and then yet another meal out with some other great friends. My mom also watched E a few nights in there so Rhys and I could have some time and sleep in as late as we wanted. We took E to the zoo as her big special treat before Lowri enters the mix. That child could go to the zoo everyday if we would let her. She loves animals. I finished Lowri's nursery (pictures tomorrow) and am working on packing my bag for the hospital. So yeah, busy. Then after saturday we have a new tiny little person to look after and that, I am sure, will be crazy in and of itself. But I am thrilled that it is only 6 days away. I cannot wait to see the little miracle that is my precious Lowri Grace. I can't wait! oh...and because the experience of birth int he UK is SO different than here, I am a bit unsure what to take in my hospital bag. What did you guys take with you? any adivce is much appreciated.

26 April 2012

on being a mom

there are lots of articles out there at the moment about motherhood, how to parent, what it means, making the most of every moment, giving yourself a break etc..... Today I came across this article. I loved it. Having kids is hard and wonderful. I really appreciate the perspective this author takes. Below is my favourite little bit of the article for those that dont click the link. (although you should. its a short article and its great!) "Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work."

9 April 2012

pregnancy...

I only have 4 weeks left. Which is crazy and awesome all at the same time. You really forget how large and uncomfortable you feel the last few weeks.

Aside from the big post explaining the issues and a few posts here and there, I have not really had a lot to say about this pregnancy. I think some of that is because it is more complicated than I would like. But I think mostly it is because it has gone by so fast. I was only sick for about 15 weeks. I have had a 2 year old to keep up with and the joys of moving into a house and settling in. I may still have boxes that are unpacked, don't judge me.

SO here is a quick update. I have 4 weeks until I give birth. I feel large and very uncomfortable. More specifically, I want to eat anything that is salty, I cant get enough coffee which is bad. I restrain myself to 1 cup a day, but I would drink 17 pots if I thought it was ok. Yes, 17 pots exactly. It hurts to walk more than a few feet. I constantly feel like Lowri is just going to fall out she is so low and even though I have only gained 16 pounds, hardly any of my maternity clothes fit me. I think it is because I am carrying Lowri so low that the shirts simply do not cover.

People say every pregnancy is different and its true. This pregnancy could not be more different than Eleri's. Even if you remove the complications, they are still night and day. It has been fun, and I do enjoy being pregnant, but I have hit that point where I want to not have a little human inside me. I cant wait to hold my new little daughter. I cant wait for Eleri to meet her little sister. And I am really looking forward to running again.

So there is the update. I have only taken a few pictures this time, completely different for the millions I took last pregnancy, so here are the 2 pictures I have.

25 weeks


32 weeks


So there it is. the first and last real pregnancy update with pictures. I should be off to clean the house, but instead I am going to take a nap.

4 April 2012

on cooking

I hate to cook. There I said it. I feel like a staple in the stay at home mom's life is cooking. Trying new recipes, providing healthy fare for the family. Especially with the big hype around organic food, whole foods and even growing your own food with various gardens. blech. I simply can not stomach any of it.

I am not a gardener, nor do I want to be. I mostly shop at Walmart or Target because that is afforable us to right now and I do not like to buy things intentionally do not buy things if they say organic because it annoys me. Prepare yourselves for a rant...

Technically EVERYTHING is organic as the REAL definition of organic is: having carbon based molecules in the molecular structure. All food is carbon based, therefore all food is organic. Even McDonald's. If you mean pesticide free and other things, which i think most people do, fine- change the definition of the word organic or find a new word!!

Rant over.

I do not like to cook. I LOVE to eat, but I hate the process of getting there. I am quite proud of myself when I try new recipes and make food that is unique and tasty- but man, I HATE actually getting to that point- the cooked food point. Did I mention I hate cooking?

When we were first married and both working Rhys cooked the majority of the time. Why? because he actually likes to cook. He also likes unbelievably large portion sizes so he would cook enough for 6 people just to make sure he would get enough. When I was pregnant with E, I was SOO sick that I could hardly get out of bed- he kept cooking. But when I became a stay at home mom, I felt like there was no viable reason why Rhys should work all day and then come home and cook a meal. After all, I was home, not doing a whole lot, so the least I could do was cook.

I used to pretend I liked it. But I dont. And now that we are in our own house, living by our own rules, it is a massive struggle for me to cook. I wait until the last possible moment I could possibly start dinner and then grumble around the kitchen while I gather things together. I drag my feet so much during the cooking process that most days we end up eating at least 30 minutes later than we should. Which means E is not always pleasant at meal times. My fault? without a doubt.

BUT I HATE COOKING!!!

I was given a crock pot for Christmas which I use A TON. Some people say that makes meals bland. I say add a few jalapenos to the recipe and bland no more. Or course you have to like hot food.... good thing we do! Most of my crock pot recipes are from pinterest. and whether the recipe says you can or not, the meat goes in frozen. So far, everything has come out wonderfully.

Maybe some day I will like cooking. But I doubt it. If I ever win the lottery, or come into expendable income someway, I will have no reservations about hiring a chef to make all our meals. I will clean up after said chef, no problem. So long as I am not cooking.

Which is what makes this week so great. Monday was taco salad. Easy, quick and I am craving all things mexican or tex-mex this pregnancy. Tuesday we had frozen lasagna. Healthy? of course :) I bought the party size so we could have left overs tonight. Then my mom called and said we were going out to eat for my grandma's birthday. woo hoo! No cooking tonight and leftovers tomorrow. Rhys is off Friday so apart from Monday, no cooking all week!! I love it!

So if you guys out there have any awesome and super easy crock pot recipes, let me know. My family will thank you!

2 April 2012

stealing a post....

a post from an old, dear friend.....

22 March 2012

some brain vomit

In 7 weeks I will have 2 little girls living in my house. That is both crazy and wonderful.

I am beyond exhausted. Seriously. Maybe I just dont remember being this giant and tired and worthless at this point in my last pregnancy, but man! It is a struggle to do anything.

I never sleep. Ever. I am lucky if I get 2 or 3 hours a night. I slept just fine right up until I had Eleri, so I am not sure if it is pregnancy related or not. But sadly sleep alludes me every. single. night. (hence the exhaustion)

Lowri's nursery is STILL NOT DONE! I am not sure if we could move any slower than we are, but at this rate her room will still be full of boxes and storage stuff until she is 2!

Eleri is getting really excited for Lowri. She asks almost everyday if Lowri can come out of my tummy and play with her. I am pretty sure E thinks that her baby sister is going to come out 2 and just like her. She is in for a big surprise. :)

Any kind of food I eat makes me feel sick. Nothing sounds good, even chick-fil-a. It's sad really, because I like to eat (normally) and it really sucks that I cant eat anything.

Maybe that is why I have only gained 13 pounds. I feel pretty ok about that. I mean,I still feel like a giant pregnant woman, but it's nice to know that at least at this point, the weight is still managable.

My plan is to wear my wedding dress for our 5 year anniversary. I will have a 3 month old. Realistic goal? Probably not. It took me 9 months to lose all the baby weight from Eleri. But then again, I gained more than 13 pounds. we shall see.

Wales won the Grand Slam last weekend. Woo Hoo Welsh rugby!! Thanks to our wonderful sling box we could watch it live. E is still walking around saying 'Go Wales' it's pretty darn cute.

I started working 28 February. It is 2 days a week at a preschool. I only work the hours that E is in school so I dont miss out on any time with her. It is a nice job, but again, I am exhausted. I will work up until 3 weeks before Lowri is born. It is hard working and being a mom. I dont feel that I can class as a 'working mom' because it is only 2 days a week from 8.45 to 2.15. Hardly strenuous hours. But it does leave me in awe and wonder about the mom's I know who work full time AND parent full time (Silvy, you are AMAZING!)

I LOVE the friends we have in Tulsa. Not quite at the point to say that I love tulsa, but the friends that we have made are incredible. I would never have imagined we would already have the community that we do. I love it.

I do not like to cook. I dont. I put it off until the very last minute every single day. Which means we end up eating a lot later than we should, but I simply do not enjoy cooking.

Eleri likes to say the prayer before our meals. She usually says "Dear Jesus, thank you for the food, amen" but last night she switched it up on us. "Dear God, Thank you for feeding me, Amen." We asked her where she learned that prayer and she answered "Jesus" Apparently, my daughter and Jesus are in direct communication regarding prayer. As it turns out, they pray that at school, but her little answer was SO sweet.

Whenever we go somewhere, E always wants us to buy double of everything, "one for me and one for wow-we" I love that she is thinking of her little sister.

British mother's day was last Sunday and Rhys got me the most amazing gift. I will take a picture and post it. Seriously, it is beautiful. Also, I really like that we celebrate British mother's day AND American mother's day. After all, I am both. Too bad for Rhys that Father's Day is the same day in both countries.

I am tired and going to nap now. Apologies for spelling and grammatical errors. I am not proof reading or spell checking. good night :)