Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New home.

I bought my domain and am in the processes of setting up a new blog (one where hopefully pictures will load better.) I'm going to be moving files and changing names, but for now....

www.ourbigscreendreams.com

ENJOY!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

waiting is the hardest part. PART 1

so, most of you know, my husband is a film producer. my husband dreams of making good films, quality films...better said, he wants to make films that the whole family can watch and he wants them to be made well.

when i first met chad he said, "i'm a producer." and i swooned at the thought of him working hard "producing" although i had no real idea of what that meant. i thought he was living the life "producing" these equestrian shows. he said it was God's calling on his life, um ok? (i was living a life full of sin, i didn't really care at that time what God's calling was on anyones life).

turns out producing isn't so much glamorous. in fact, those equestrian shows ended up screwing chad and leaving him jobless right after we met. he always talked these big dreams....i talked to him about finding a J-O-B so he could marry me. (no seriously, that honestly was my only motive).

to clear something up, a producer is the ring leader so to speak. there are many types of producers: line producers, executive producers.... but bottom line, my husbands job is to hire crew, makes sure said crew is working hard and happy, make the budget and make sure he's staying in that budget. of course, every job is different. sometimes he may be more the line (budget) guy. other times he's needed more on set. but you get the idea right... okay..i'll go on.

may 03 chad gets to be a PA on a short film, Cliche. agrees to fly himself out there and work for cheap--realllllllly cheap. say what? i could not understand this at all. why would anyone do such a stupid thing? and what is a PA? oh, a production assistant, that sounds important.... it really isn't. seriously, its like the lowest job. but, he reminded me, "it's my calling" i remember chad working so hard. a lot of nights. he was exhausted but so happy--fulfilled. i flew out to visit him on set....i think he was only gone 2 weeks, but we were young and in love. :) it was my first film set, so that was cool. but when all was said and done, he was back home and looking for work.

in the meantime, chad got his personal trainer certification and put film on the back burner. we got married and in oct 04 he was asked to produce Midnight Clear the short in AZ. the pay was small and he'd have to take time off from his training job, but hey, why not....besides, it's his calling. again, i watched the man work his tail off. he was gone only two weeks. i could not understand WHY this man kept doing this work for so little money. but he was SO happy.

2005 came and went. i was working at SWA and Chad as a personal trainer. he was unhappy and i knew it. he didn't hate personal training, but his passion was film. i got pregnant at the beginning of 05 so most of the year was spent preparing for our sons arrival. he talked a lot about film, but i wasn't listening...besides, we had bills to pay. chad lost a lot of clients moving gyms right after kai was born, so we were struggling so to say (ok, a lot to say...).

March 2006. they decide to make Midnight Clear the short into Midnight Clear the feature. i was home with a six month old baby. we are finally feeling on top of our bills again. i've started a new job.... and my husband comes in and asks me if he can leave for 3 months.

this was a defining moment in my marriage. i had the choice. i could have said no. but this is really what he wanted to do. i knew that he had prayed on it. i understood he thought (yes, HE, not me) this was God's calling. so, i stepped out, in faith...i shouldn't say stepped out, i maybe poked a toe out the door. i hugged my baby and told him to go to New Mexico. I cried A LOT...how was I going to make it!? luckily the film got move to our hometown, so he was only really gone a few weeks...dodged a bullet there. :)

another dry spell through the remainder of the year....back to training. he kept pursuing film and i kept wondering why. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food.

okay, confession, i'm OBSESSED with healthy food blogs. i read them before gossip! gasp!! in fact, the last few days, i've used, "mark all read" for my gossip!

i'm reading these blogs for several reasons, first and foremost they inspire me. these gals eat well, and i'm not talking pick a 100 cal pack over a ice cream, i'm talking LOTS of veggies, whole grains, natural cheeses. but these bloggers also demonstrate another thing, balance. they go out to eat just like the rest of us, but they always order these amazing healthy dishes. sure, sometimes i wonder how high the calories have become for the day, but it always balances out!

i love to eat well, we spend a LOT of time eating healthy in the gundersen home. so seeing ways that other people eat well motivates me. i've received lots of ideas from these blogs. for example, for years i've been buying Yoplait Light yogurt. good for you right? but then i learned about greek yogurt, no fat, high protein....wow. now, i'm not a huge fan of yogurt period. i only eat it because i know its healthy for me. greek yogurt took this to a new level. i don't LOVE it just as i don't LOVE regular yogurt, but the benefits of eating it have me going back for more. and since it takes me longer to eat - i feel more full when finishing it. total plus.

one of the latest trends in food blog world in NuVal. i'm so excited about NuVal. its a scoring system that is posted in grocery stores to help you make smarter decisions about what to buy. the higher the score the better the product is for you. For instance you walk up to yogurt section: Yoplait Light is around 60 / Greek Yogurt in the 90s depending on brand...which are you going to choose?? DUH!

i'm loving the websites that are starting to quote NuVal scores because presently this isn't available in my area. that will change soon, though, as NuVal is coming to United Markets (aka. Market Street) in 2010. Market Street isn't terribly far, but it also isn't close when I'm already packing the whole family. But they price match AND now they will have NuVal scores, so I could see me going occasionally to get familiar with my food. what an awesome at - a - glance tool. i'd really love it if albertsons, kroger, or -gasp- wal-mart would pick this up!

finally, Food Inc., a movie i would probably have rented at some point anyway but did it sooner because of all the bloggers talking about it. when i picked up this film, my husband cautioned, i'd be careful before you watch that. i love to eat. i love meat. so i was afraid this movie would be like the Skinny B***h book that gets you in and then tries to get you to go vegan. (which by the way SB has a LOT of good information - i'm just not dumping the meat! :) ) ANYWAY, so i nervously watch the movie last night and i have to say it was not all what i expected. yes, they showed chicken houses, cattle farms, etc....but the real meat (eh, pun, get it?) of the movie is about what/who is driving our food industry and standards.

i was not shocked by the conditions of the cattle farms, chicken houses, the look of the pork planets, etc. i WAS shocked by most of the information regarding the treatment of farmers and factory workers. i couldn't believe how low food standards, testing and inspection of factories are.. i was amazed and the vicious cycle we are in. and not just meat, corn and soy beans. baffled. especially since chad has family in those industries up north.

one of the more astounding parts was the family who simply could not afford to eat healthy. showed them able to buy enough food at a fast food chain to feed the family, yet that exact amount barely yielded any produce. it stated what chad and i have talked about many times - it is simply cheaper in america to eat fast food than to eat healthy. period. i watch my budget every week to go shopping. we buy loads of meats and veggies, and much less on the "inside" shelves.

the movie had the same impact as supersize me. i already knew the mcdonalds wasn't good for me, i didn't need a movie to prove that point. did i stop eating mcdonalds, no. i still go on occasion, but it certainly pops in my head when we've had fast food several days in a week. similarly, i knew the products we were consuming weren't great. i knew that i didn't really want to know where they were coming from...will it stop me from eating them? no. but i will be more careful in my selections.

we are so lucky to live in a big city where fresh farmers markets are all around. i can, a will, be shopping better for my meats. in fact, it crossed my mind last night just to buy a cow! while there, why not go ahead and get some of the fruits and veggies organic....esp those on the dirty dozen. i have access to fresh eggs, why not take advantage.

knowledge is power. i choose to be informed. i urge you to see this movie.

wow. was that a rant or what??

want to know who i follow blog-wise check these gals out...i have 20, but these are the top four:




Better Bag Of Groceries


Thursday, November 12, 2009

on the road again...

wow, yall...what a trip. we just got home from three weeks in north carolina visiting Chad. i'm telling you, i know my husband needs me and all, but three full weeks in a hotel with two kids and very little access to a car...bummer. i literally let kai rot on TV.

before i go down that road, let me just point out (more for chad than anyone else reading this), Kai has flown SEVEN round trips - Chad was present one (and, puh-leazzze, it was to san antonio for the day!). That means I'm becoming a PRO at traveling alone with kids. This was Kenlee's second trip....but this was my first trip alone with both since I had people fly with me to Kentucky this summer. Really, the worst thing about flying with kids is security. don't get me wrong, i'm thankful for it, but there has to be an easier way for parents. removing everyone's shoes (yes, even kenlee), taking out electronic (which have to be in separate containers),
stroller and infant carrier both have to go through, then my bad, kai's bag and the diaper bag. Really?? it takes almost ten bins and 5 min for me to go through once its my turn....and then i have to put us all back together again. the whole day i repeated, "three bags, two kids, one stroller..."

my kids rock. i get complimented every time we travel. kai behaves like a champ. (oh, but not always, let us not forget Rochester) he sits and colors or watches his DVD, never makes a peep. the flight attendant on the last flight gave kai a $5 cookie because she couldn't believe how helpful he was to me. kenlee flies great too. normally dozing off but otherwise smiling and giggling at other passengers. my only problem on the last flight was her happy scream. she loud, but happy.... humm...
(sleeping on flight to NC in the K'Tan)

the sets for this film were not close to crew hotel. about 30-60 min in each direction, so there weren't a lot of set visits. besides, who wants to take the happy screaming child on a film set...uh, not me! chad had to be on set and drive actors daily, so...we really didn't see him that much.

luckily, chad scored a great hotel. it was a doubletree suites hotel and we had two bedrooms, living room and kitchen. we still had to sleep with Kenlee...BOO!! she's so loud....even in her sleep bless her heart!

It was long but in the meantime we.....
did laundry.

watched our big brother for HOURS.
ate our toes...
ate sundays...

we did lots...but my sorry iphone photos aren't going to cut it.

while i hated that last week there because i was so ready to get home, i know these opportunities to travel with Chad are going to come to an end once Kai goes to school.

Next up: Michigan or Tulsa, then Michigan again, then ..... please be Texas....


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's finally here.

Shortly after having Kenlee, I went to church just down and exhausted. I laid on the nursery floor and said, "What did I do?" LOL Oh, yes I did!! My friend, Carrie, came over and said, "Amanda, you gave me the best advice ever after I had C. You said, just look toward 6 months....then its cake. And it was....so take your own advice." So I did, I looked forward to 6 weeks, then 12 weeks, then 6 months. And, my friends, it's here. It's finally here.

I must say, its almost as though one day you wake up and your baby suddenly "gets it." You've just come out of the 4 month nap resistant child, you may or may not be beginning solids, your baby is most likely rolling and possibly sitting. And suddenly, life is easier than its been in 6 months.

Kenlee is finally predictable. 6 - 9 - 1 - 6. Wake at six, nap at nine, nap at one, bed at 6. She's the happiest baby. I don't know why but I believe she's SO much happier than Kai ever was. She smiles all the time. I can put her down almost fully awake and she'll suck her thumb to sleep...hardly ever crying. YES! She's smitten with her brother - SMITTEN! I could go on....but the point is....I survived!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cleaning.

We've been getting in a much better habit around the house of cleaning
before bed. There for awhile after Kenlee was born I was just too
tired to fight the battle of cleaning with Kai. This evening after
Kenlee was put down and Cade, Nana and Chad R had left, I put on Peter
Pan and headed to clean the kitchen. I kept hearing distance noise,
but didn't check it out right away.

When I finally left the kitchen, Kai wasn't in the living room like I
thought....he wasn't in his bed room....I walk into my room to see Kai
rounding the corner of my bed with his hands full of various things.
Stuffed dog, shirt, bra...you get the idea. He goes and puts
everything on my big ugly red chair that I love. I ask, "Whatcha
doin' Kai?" "I'm cleaning your room, Mom. Because I love you and we
have to clean ALLLLLL this mess up before bed." Sure enough, anything
that had been on the floor now resided on the big ugly red chair. I
stepped back out and looked in Kai's room...everything was put away.
Looked in the living room...no toys out.

What a sweet sweet boy I have!!

(I'm trying not to think about the fact that I had sorted through some
old clothes just hours before and now I have to resort....)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I love it.

This morning Kai sat eating his oatmeal and gazing out the window as
Chad was finishing up his eggs.
Kai says, "I love it." In a soft -tender voice.
Chad smiles and says, "I love oatmeal, too Buddy!"
Kai, "No dad, I really love my trampoline."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hello, tap tap tap, this thing on??

Ooops. Don't you just hate it when you forget you even have a blog? Uh, whoops.

I never imagined how busy my life could be when being a stay at home mom. Seriously, all the thoughts I ever had about SAHMs while I was a working mom - yeah, SO wrong. I guess that's because when I was working I felt excused when the laundry piled up or dust collected in corners of the house. I mean, hey, I'm working. But now I find that I'm running ever more crazy...it's just I'm focused on different things.

Today, I woke up at 6:30 am. I nursed the baby, played with the baby, made breakfast, ate breakfast, drove husband to the airport, hit up McDs for an iced coffee (a daily stop), napped baby, started one of SEVEN loads of laundry, cleaned kitchen, vacuumed living room, played a nanas, made lunch, ate lunch, bathed preschooler, napped baby, cleaned living room, folded laundry, napped preschooler, NAPPED! (this NEVER happens anymore), folded more laundry, made dinner, cleaned living room, nursed baby, served dinner to family (including nana & nephew), watched nephew while nana ran errands, bathed baby with nephew, played with all kids, nursed baby, put baby to bed, cleaned living room, folded laundry, loved on preschooler, put preschooler to bed, picked up living room,.....now, laying in bed at 8:30 pm.

Now, I am NOT complaining about this day. But when I look at it, I have to laugh at how many times I cleaned the living room and its still a mess. I still haven't put all of the clothes away and NOTHING is organized. I feel like I worked all day, well except for the nap *grin*, but nothing looks any different around here. How is that possible?? Okay, our drawers are more full and the hamper is less full...but as for the state of my home?? Looks just like it did this morning. Will I ever be ahead?? I have such a hard time staying on top of the necessary thing that I feel like I'll never get around to the details. Repainting baseboards, blinds, organizing closets, etc... I mean, if I started any of those projects I'd fall behind in the ones I *have* to get done.

Okay, and maybe I'm slightly moody because I started eating better today. Eating better should make me feel better but the first day or so always feel cruddy. I planned out all of my meals and snacks on SparkPeople.com for the entire week. It's much higher in calories than I would usually eat to lose, but I'm nursing. So, I'm just going to start high and slowly decrease the calories.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Milk

Nursing with a Preschooler around is pretty funny. At first he just stared. Then he asked a few questions like, "Is she chewing on your nipple?" But it never occured to me that he didn't understand that only MOMMY can give Kenlee her milk. Last night when Nana was having a hard time getting Kenlee to take a bottle, Kai says, "Nana, give her some of your milk." Nana replies, "well, kai, she isn't wanting this bottle," Kai, "No, Nana, YOUR milk" Hahaha....Nana then "got" what Kai was saying and explained only Kenlee's mommy could give her milk.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Baby Showers

Having dinner...

Me to Chad and Mother-In-Law: I have two baby showers this month.

Kai: Mom, babies don't take showers. That is so silly.

As if I just suggested the most ridiculous thing ever.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Funny.

Kai has started to come to me and say, "Mom, itch my back." Then
he'll try to direct my hands and say "this way" "other way"..lol

The other night, 4:45 am, I woke to Kai standing next to my bed asking
my to itch his back....seriously? It's 4 am! Silly kid.

(Side note: His father does the SAME THING!)

Gooooood morning!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Multitasking

Eating breakfast, watching veggietales, checking on kenlee. I LOVE KAI!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Kentucky Horse Park

Kai and Nana!

Kenlee in KY

For never sleeping in her car seat or on the go, Kenlee sure has made
up for it. She's been such a trooper whereever we have gone during
this trip. Here she is doing laundry.

Museum Fun in KY

Kai talking to Kenlee

video

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Only me.

So, I get home this afternoon from a whirlwind morning(whole other
post) to find a box of baby clothes on my doorstep.

The note attached says, "Thought you may be able to use these as my
daughter outgrew them pretty fast. B (Linda's daughter - **insert
address from across the street**)"

Linda, Linda, Linda.... Not ringing a bell. B - hum isn't that Karen's
daughters name...didn't she have a baby in February? look across the
street...oh, Karens address is XX. OMG, is Karen's name really Linda??

Hot sweeps over me. Have called this lady the wrong name for THREE
years?!? She's outside, should I say something??? No wonder she never
hears me when I say her name in public....AK!!!

I ran over and said, "Tell B thank you so much for the clothes they
are the perfect size and season. By the way, your name is Linda?? For
three years I've been calling you Karen!" She laughed, "It's okay
honey no big deal." What, that's it?!?! You never corrected me?? f
course, I don't say that just smile back, finish my small talk and
rush back home.

I'm an idiot!

HOT!

It's so hot outside I don't want to leave the house. I'm actually excited to get to Kentucky just to get out of the 100 degree temps. What's funny is our "cold" front is coming - you know 100 to 96 is a HUGE difference....BLECH!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Birth Slideshow

I can't figure out why the sound is gone from the second half, but enjoy.

Credit : http://beautifulyouphoto.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mom.

I know its Father's Day, but.... in the last 48 hours we've hit a milestone. I guess its a milestone, whatever it is I don't like it. Kai suddenly only calls me "mom" and no longer "mommy." It sounds so grown up coming out of his mouth. Sometimes, if he says it just right, it sounds like a teenager saying, "oh mom" and rolling their eyes. I asked him this morning to call me mommy, he said, "But, why you're mom.":( It makes me sad....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Medium big

In the midst of Kai's meltdown a few minutes ago, he managed to say
something that had me in stitches!

Me, "Kai, you have to be good, you are my big boy, remember?"
Kai, "No, mom, I'm only medium big."

LOL

Monday, June 15, 2009

4 weeks - updates

Wow. Is time flying or standing still? Depends on the day. I'm still not able to make too many complete thoughts without interruption, so I'll do my best in updating...

* Kenlee is an awesome nighttime sleeper. She'll go 10-5 (almost 6) every night. The problem is the hours leading up to that time. Lots of rocking, nursing and praying she'll just peter out! :)

* Kenlee, like her brother, HATES her car seat. Child spends most of the time screaming. I envy the women walking around with these happy children in infant seat. BAH!

* Holy heat! Its hot here in Texas, like, realllllly hot. Unfortunately, we haven't hit the worst yet. Ugh. My poor baby Kenlee has a terrible heat rash (also called prickly heat). It looks just horrible. and is all over her face and neck. It looks fine while she's calm or sleeping, but the moment she wakes up, gets upset or starts nursing...BAM red everywhere. I'm hurting for her. Sadly, the only thing you can do at this age is keep her inside, cool and dry. :(

* Kai, my sweetest boy....well, Kai has decided to get pretty darn ornery recently. I'm talking daily spankings. :( I knew it would come, but its so hard for me. But, eh, I had a little sister and I turned out fine!

* Kai has decided that naps just aren't happening. I think this is mainly due to the fact we aren't getting out and doing much. On days where he has been active, he naps - sometimes - but for the most part, its "quiet time."

* Kai is signed up for a few summer school sessions starting tomorrow. I know he's going to LOVE seeing his preschool friends again. I am looking forward to some time "alone" even if it is just at home.

* Nursing is going well. Its one of those things that you do because you love your child and its best - but it sometimes sucks! I love nursing, I was looking forward to nursing again, but I forgot just how demanding it is. I forgot how confusing it can be, is she getting enough, is my milk making her fussy, do i have enough milk stored, should i go pump right now, is this a growth spurt? and on and on and on....

* Kenlee survived her first Texas storm! :) Wednesday night we had a HUGE storm blow through town. It took out massive trees from almost every house on my street. I have to honestly say, I have never, in 29 years of living in Texas seen wind like that. 80 + MPH wind....did you know you can actually SEE the wind when i blows that hard??? I stood back away from the door windows (which are small and sturdy) so I could at least see some of what was going on (hello, i LOVE storms!!)....the rest of the time i spent pacing the hallway with Kenlee (chad and Kai at church) and worrying how Kai was doing (since he hates storms). I couldn't BELIEVE how long the wind lasted too... We lost quite a few shingle patches and the rest of our fence. It looked so much worse as it was occurring...i saw one of the patches fly from the roof....that was wild. We had no power for 12 hours (which was better than most in my area) and had to stay at my mother-in-laws for the evening. The storms never let up, so Kai, Chad and myself shared a queen bed...Kai only there because he was scared. Kenlee slept in the other room and grunted her way to happiness (next item) and I flew through disposable diapers (another item) and all night long I thought about my freezer stash of milk.... I was never more glad to be home than I was on Thursday....and boy did we all take great naps!

* Kenlee is SUCH a noisy baby!! She's such a grunting/snorting sleeper. So bad, that at just one week, I put her in her room. (Kai slept with us, I believe 4 or 5 weeks) The night we stayed at Merrilee's because of the storm all night long I thought she was getting up just because I heard her snort. I keep the monitors low so I only hear crying at night otherwise, I'd never sleep. Hope, for her future husbands sake, she cuts that out! :)

* Diapers. I like cloth. I don't LOVE it like some people do. It is no easier / harder than disposables. The stink is the same. The biggest difference is the laundry and no blowouts. Yes, I do laundry (for just diapers) every other day. It doesn't take any time at all so I really can't complain although sometimes I want to. We've been four weeks without a blowout. This is huge. With Kai we got pooped on all of the time! Okay, not ALL the time, but enough to remember it. I often don't even know that she has pooped unless I hear or feel it as it occurs. They rock at containing messes! OH, and how can I forget the money. The other night I took disposable to my mother-in-laws and I was amazed at how many I went through. I don't think about the cloth diapers since all i have to do is wash and reload, but every time I pulled another disposable out I cringed! I haven't "saved" money yet per se, but starting this month I will...actually probably this week....if i had a brain I'd do a whole diaper follow up....

First time for everything...

things he says...

had to write it before I forgot!!

Kai runs down the hall, “I have to poop come with me.” Naturally, I go with him. I say, “Okay Kai poop big.” Kai responds, “Yeah, like a LION!” Ummmm....okay. Shortly there after he jumps off the pot...”No poop.” A few minutes later he runs back down the hall, “It’s back, I gotta poop” So we go back to the potty. He does poop and he looks back at it, “Oh, its just a baby lion.” SERIOUSLY?? Who says that stuff??

It was still humorous after the poop.... I wipe him and we leave the bathroom. I’m at the computer paying bills and he starts walking funny, “uhhh, we forgot to wipe.” Me, “no we didn’t.” Kai, “well, I’m still dirty, we gotta go back.” Sure enough....

Ahhhh....adventures with kids.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Birth Photos

I'll have more later, but here is what I have...

Credit to Michelle Monk @ Beautiful You Photography! (And MAJOR props to her for being able to make it last minute and having never met me!!)


2 weeks....really?

It feels like FOREVER since I had that baby....well forever and yet yesterday.

Things are going well. Its been much more of an adjustment than I was thinking. I know, how could I not know it would be an adjustment, but I just think that I thought since I had done this before it would come naturally...um, yeah, not so. Things are starting to even out some. I actually have worn makeup the last three days...wahoo....now if i could just wash my hair daily! :)

I'm not even what to share here....

** Kenlee slept 8 hours the last two nights. Of course, the 8 hours is preceded by a constant fussy nursing session from about 6-8 in the evening. BUT, its a lot easier to deal with those times this time since I've done it before with Kai AND since I"m being rewarded with sleep.

** Kenlee has a bit of a projectile issue that really threw me for a loop last week. I know, I know, babies do it all of the time. But Kai was tough as nails. Didn't matter what I ate, didn't matter if he burped, didn't matter how long he nursed....NO puking. It started on her 8th day...projectiling after almost every meal. Yes, I know the difference in projectile and spit-up. By Wednesday, with the help of still wavering hormones, I hit rock bottom. I just cried and cried and cried. I think it was because I felt so bad for her and because I was frustrated b/c I knew I was doing everything I knew to do. We had her adjusted twice and finally I took her to the doctor. God bless him, he knew I didn't want to medicate and he was so encouraging....I paid $30 to hear more encouragement and I'm totally cool with that. I have noticed when I have large quantities of dairy (ahem - ice cream) the vomiting picks up...yet, small doses (like cheese on eggs) don't bother her at all. So, I'm watching my dairy intake, holding her upright for 30 min after each meal (exhausting in the middle of the night), and making sure she doesn't over eat (which is hard when nursing but luckily she's taking a paci).

** Kai is adjusting. He's been awesome. Less time outside playing. Less of my attention. I feel like I fail him daily, but I know its all normal here in the beginning. At the same time, on those rough days, he reminds me that all of this passes and is temporary. He reminds me that I'm a good mom despite how I feel. He's started to get pretty defiant during nursing. Its like he knows I can't get up and spank him. UGH!

** Preschool has ended. I didn't realize how attached I was to Kai's preschool....I didn't realize how attached HE was. He was so sad on the last day. I have signed him up for 5 days during the summer, so that's good. BUT, he prays for Mrs Donna and Jacob every night and tells me often he misses his friends. I promise I'll do better about getting him out soon. His preschool sent us a CD of pictures through the year - I LOVE IT! They also sent home a folder of "work" he did from each month. I feel so attached to the school!!!

** Chad is blowing and going with film work. We are SO blessed. The timing may not always be ideal, but praise God that he has been 100% in film making (no training) for a year and a half now.

** Summer is here and I'm sad I haven't taken Kai to the pool. That was my favorite part of last summer. Hopefully in a few weeks we'll have a decent schedule going where I can take Kai....um and wear my cover-up!! :)

** I need clothes, but its so hard because I don't intend to stay this size for long.

** I have two HUGE boxes of maternity clothes I'm not sure what to do with. They range all seasons....do I divide them up?? Do I donate them?? This is my last child. I plan to have my tubes tied at some point this year. What to do?!?!

** Nursing, while not always easy, is such a bonding time. I love it. Pumping, on the other hand, annoys me. While I want to have the milk, being stuck to the machine for 15 min at a time sticks. Even worse when my 3 year old stands there and stares at me.

** AH!! Kai and nursing....yeah, that has been funny. Quotes: "Mommy, why does Kenlee chew your nipple." "Mom, milk just came out of that nipple" "Kenlee needs to eat from you mommy." (PS - who taught my kid nipple)

Okay....that's enough randomness for now!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thoughts on my labor.

So, I have lots of thoughts on labor...birth centers...etc... They keep coming and going, so I'm sure for several weeks I'll continue to post things....

On my labor: I had a great labor, yes. I'm thankful that God delivered just what I needed...a short labor, but wow...it was fast! About 3 hours start to finish. No tearing, perfect baby, great environment and support team. Everyone said I did so good, etc. But why is it I feel so - not dissatisfied, but - Okay, so for months I mentally prepared myself for labor. Like early - active - transition - delivery labor. Like I stated in my birth story, I spent two hours before bed the night of delivery making a playlist for delivery, which I never used. I had a "labor" outfit (sports bra & skirt), which I never used. I had gone through mental imagery every night for months of how I wanted my labor to be. I envisioned myself quiet and in control. I saw myself centered. What I got felt completely out of control, naturally, it appears I went zero to sixty pretty fast. I think that lack of control makes me feel like I failed myself in that area.

On the far other hand, it wasn't near as "bad" as I thought it would be! I had expected much more pain and suffering. And while there was pain and suffering and it is something I have no desire to redo in the near future, I never had that, "Oh my God I'm going to die" feeling. I feel like, while the pain was bad, in my mind I always knew it was for a purpose and was temporary.

On hospital deliveries: Okay, I don't mean to sound judgmental at all here, but can I just say I *TOTALLY* understand why girls in the hospital are getting epidurals?? Remember in my birth story how I said the most painful part of labor way on the bed?? I was on my side in bed and honestly was in the worst pain....and it was MAYBE 5 min!

Well, these girls go into the hospital and are put on all of these machines which require them to stay in the bed....and most of them on their backs. Duh - that's gonna hurt. Then, by being only in the bed, the baby isn't moving down as quickly, so labor is going longer. No doubt in my mind had I been strapped to a bed I would have asked for an epidural....holy tar that hurt!

I have seen some hospital deliveries where the women were allowed to move around and I'm sure that is fine but midwives...let me tell you about midwives....

Contraction log.

Just because I need a place to store it other than more phone.

Oh, iPhone has an application for labor called Labor Mate. It was awesome. All I had to do was press start and stop and it calculated how far apart they were and how long. It even has an average button so you don' have to think about it. It allowed me to email myself the log. I only have the long from the car ride. I had missed several while trying to get out the door so I cleared it. I SO wish I hadn't done that. Even the inaccurate data would have showed how fast things progressed.

4:12 AM Duration: 36.4 seconds Frequency:

4:16 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.8 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 44.3 seconds

4:18 AM Duration: 50.1 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 23.7 seconds

4:20 AM Duration: 49.8 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 28.5 seconds

4:22 AM Duration: 48.1 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 49.6 seconds

4:24 AM Duration: 54.9 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 1.0 seconds

4:27 AM Duration: 59.7 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 59.8 seconds

4:29 AM Duration: 1 minute and 0.5 seconds Frequency: 2 minutes and 16.9 seconds

4:31 AM Duration: 1 minute and 3.7 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 56.3 seconds

4:33 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.0 seconds Frequency: 1 minute and 46.3 seconds

4:36 AM Duration: 1 minute and 4.3 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 3.3 seconds

4:39 AM Duration: 52.0 seconds Frequency: 3 minutes and 30.0 seconds

4:40 AM Last time I clicked it, which was the contraction when I was getting out of the car.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

wow. she's here.

**I started this at 10am yesterday, labor day....I haven't had time to edit at all so excuse all errors but I wanted to get it posted.***

Since I'm still too hyped up to sleep, I'm going to write this birth story out with a baby on my chest. if you don't want o read the nitty gritty...don't read this post. I'm writing it for me so i can remember.

Tuesday, May 12th: Appointment. Having good inconsistent contractions. 80% effaced, 2 cm dilated, -1 station

Thursday, May 14th: Mucous plug starts to come out.

Friday, May 15th: Lots of walking at Main Street Days. :) Had lots and lots of stares and smiles. Finished up work in the nursery and took a good nap. Got checked after I called questioning color of mucous plug. Was told "No change" but later found out dilation had reduced some. Having irregular contractions, loose stools, back pressure all afternoon. Ate some yummy orange chicken with my favorite gals (mom and meg) and headed to Target. After hitting up Target, more walking around the gym track while Chad played volleyball. All signs of early labor completely disappeared by 8:30. I spend all night working on a labor play list (**grin**). Bed around 11:30.

Saturday, May 16th
3:08 am - Something felt like it popped/snapped in my body. Whatever it was it shook me from sleep and hurt like crazy. I immediately feel crampy/contractions. I also notice it has just started to storm and am praying Kai doesn't wake up to get in bed with us.

I go potty and realize, "oh THESE are contractions." Lots more mucous now. I sit on the ball for a min but they are coming fast and strong so I yell at chad to run me a bath. (poor guy had only just come to bed!) I get in and contractions are 1 min longer approx 5 min apart....but they are so strong that i have to moan through them. I'm thinking, I can't be that mom that calls too early. Especially because I knew Ann had just birthed a baby earlier in the evening...I wanted her to have her rest. I tell Chad, a few more consistent contractions and then i want his mom there even if we aren't leaving soon. In my mind I'm wondering where the calm quiet labor I was expecting is. The next contractions rocks me and I tell him that this has to be labor and I want his mom there now...I also suddenly realize I *need* to be at the birth center. We call Ann.

Poor thing. I can tell over the phone how exhausted she sounds. I remember telling her "I don't want to do this in the car." Her response, "sounds like you're going to have to" I have two contractions on the phone and hand it back to Chad. I can tell she's saying you need to come in. And then it just went downhill. I was trying to gather everything and all the while am being brought to my knees in pain. It felt like forever until Merrilee got to our house. I go to kiss Kai, but become very afraid of waking him, so I just touch him and hurry out before doubling over again.

4 am - Merrilee gets there and i head straight to the car. Demand the ac on, water, a pillow, then I feel like I'm going to be sick. The rain is pouring and I can tell its going to be a long ride. I'm timing my own contractions on my phone (yes, there's an app for that Labor Mate). I remember my bottom hurting and not wanting to sit. I remember Chad running red lights. I remember the rain covering our street. I remember ripping the seat belt off. At some point I had demanded Chad call Ann and have a bath for me. No way I was getting anywhere but that tub. (I have the contraction log I'll post in a bit from the car ride)

4:40 am - We get to birth center and I can't get out of the car. No way I wanted to walk. I was shaking and felt sick. They helped me straight to the tub. Ah, the tub. My comfort and torture chamber (I kid). Ann checks me after a few contractions and tells someone in the room "8." Two things run through my brain, "How on earth?" and "Praise the Lord."

I don't really recall much about the next hour....or rather I recall WAY too much. I remember lots and lots of moaning. I remember frozen rags that I loved between contractions and hated during them. I remember being told my mom was there and saying, "i don't care" which is SO odd for me. I remember how peaceful it was between contractions and how once one started everyone cheering me on. I don't hardly remember opening my eyes while in the tub. I remember hating having to have the doppler put on even though I knew it was best for baby. I remember exactly when my water broke and what noise I made. I remember contraction after contraction....and then suddenly I'd had a small break and think, "what's wrong."

At some point Ann told me I needed to move positions, either in the tub or out. I had always intended to labor in the tub but knew a water birth really wasn't what I wanted, so after the next contraction I stood up and got out...once I got to the room another one started and I just collapsed. This must have been the hardest part for me. I was SO uncomfortable but I could honestly not will my body to move...everything hurt at that point. They were trying to get me comfortable but it just hurt worse and worse. Finally, I ended up on all fours...which let me say is the ONE position I did NOT want to be in when I had previously thought about labor (funny, I think I'll have to do an expectation post next.)

Pushing. Yeah. I didn't even realize it was time to push until they were telling me. Well, let me say, I realized it but I just kept assuming it was too soon...hadn't we just got there? I could hear the thunder outside and the hushed voices around me. Pushing was exactly what I had expected....my noises were not. :) Thankfully having such trained people around they coached me through even what noises to make. I realize that sounds odd, but it helped. I was holding Chad's hand when pushing and oh my how happy I am that he is strong. Judging on the soreness in my traps and bis, I'd say I wasn't focusing all of my efforts on pushing. I think they said the pushing only lasted 15 min. I was very aware of each movement being made, but each one felt like progress.

5:58 am - I'll never forget her first cry. I yelled, "She's out" cause it sure didn't feel like it. But, she wasn't...just very ready to be vocal (hum, wonder where she get THAT!). Two (?) more big pushes and she was out. My mom rushed into the room. My first thought was, "Is she really a girl?" And everyone laughed. Chad cried. I sat there in amazement that I was holding my baby.

"I did it." That is all I can/could think. After the discouragement of those around me doctors and peers alike....I did it. When I exclaimed in the room, "See a VBAC is possible!" I remember one of the midwives looking at me and saying, "I totally forgot you were a VBAC!"

After delivery they wait until the cord stops pulsing before cutting it....all the while I am holding my new baby. No rushing off to be weighed, no bright lights....just calm. I remember when they were examining me they were using a flashlight. In hindsight, I understand why but that's kinda funny!

Next I was shifted to my herbal bath where I got to bathe Kenlee. This is where she nursed he first time as well. It was so peaceful. Candles, my hubby and my new baby....I get teary thinking about how nice it was.

Following the herbal bath, I got back in the bed and invited my family that had arrived back for the newborn exam. I thought this was especially important for everyone to see how things were done. Ann asked if we had any guesses on weight, I did not but heard some of the others 6 lb 7 oz; 7 lbs....I think we were all a little shocked when we heard 8 lb 1 oz. SAY WHAT??

After the newborn exam, we had breakfast in bed and went through standard paperwork. Sometime Kai got there. I cleared the room and introduced Kai to Kenlee. He wasn't too interested. I mean, he looked at her, but I honestly think he was expecting a toddler! :) Then he was ready to go play with his toys. Ha. Kids!

We finished our paperwork and out the door by 8:15. We drove through the parking lot of Lyndee salon since it was right there (poor thing was the only one not to be able to make it!) so she could see the baby. I was home in my own bed by 9 am - a mere six hours from that earth shattering pop.

Wow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Something I said I'd never do.

Don't they always tell you, "never say never." I mean, especially after having a child you'd think I'd know this. But, in my current trend of doing everything I I always said I'd never do....you know, midwife, cloth diapers...I let someone take pictures of my naked belly.

I must say I have always hated my pregnant body, but after seeing these...I think I've changed my mind. I just wasn't seeing me right... Enjoy...

Oh, and of course, all credit to Keri Duckett Photography








Friday, May 08, 2009

Yea...

I'm so excited! For the last three weeks I've not been experiencing many contractions, which I was beginning to feel slightly anxious about. Like, will my body ever start this process?? It needs to practice.

In the last 24 hours I have been really aware of a change in my contractions. They are coming far more frequently, yet inconsistent. AND they are really starting to get uncomfortable. Not, hold on to something or bend over in pain hurt, but just "gosh, what is that?!?!"

I haven't had time to post yet my reasons I've chosen against induction and interventions...because, well, that's a whole other ball game now isn't it? But, as much as I'm wanting to do something to get this party started, something within me just can't do it. Like, I just really want to see if I can do this all alone. Let my body do what its meant to do.

Full moon tomorrow night, does that mean anything??

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Road to midwifery: Change in direction

I had a name. I had a personal reference. Then I hit my boards and the same name kept coming up. Well, several names came up, but my personal reference kept showing up, and we all like to go with someone we know someone else has used.

Ann Crowell
Gentle Beginnings Birth Center

So I google and find a website. Wait, she doesn't look like what I expected. (Sorry, Ann, you just look so friendly!) Then I read Ann's philosophy. First, she believes and loves my Lord and Creator. Second, she believes in the female body and that God created me to do this.

Then I read about the birth center she owns. You see, I'm not a huge fan of my house, therefore I'd never want to birth here. I love that its my home, but its old and I know that the things that drive me crazy now would multiply in labor. So, a birth center was a new concept to me. After looking at the pictures I decide, okay, it isn't a dungeon.. In fact, its kinda light and airy and welcoming.

Chad has been raised on natural things. So, I knew getting him on board for even exploring this wouldn't be hard. But, I didn't want to tell anyone else. I wanted to make a completely unswayed decision. What I still laugh at is Chad's face when we were sitting on the couch that night and I said, "I'm looking at a midwife and birthing center, how do you feel about it?" He said, "are you serious?" and we both knew it wasn't because he disapproved it was 100% "are you my wife?" So, like the great husband he is, he encourages me to pray and seek God about it and that he'd support any decision I made...but it was MY decision to make. (I LOVE HIM!)

I wake up the next morning, drop Kai off at preschool and start my errands, which just so happen to be in the area of the birth center. I called to set-up an appointment with Ann thinking it would be a week or two, but she had an appointment open in an hour. Oh. I didn't even have a list of questions ready!!

My initial interview changed me forever regarding midwives and their practice. Ann must have thought I was crazy. I just came in and threw up all about my past c-section, what was driving me to look into midwifery....I asked questions about fatalities and transfers and babies with problems and do you miss births and and and.......and all the while she sat there calmly answering my questions with a smile. I started to feel really comfortable. She started telling me about how God created me to do this, about how I'm low risk, about how long she'd been doing this.... and God just covered me in peace. I'm not sure it was just one thing that changed me, but suddenly all I wanted to do was have that woman deliver my baby!! We stood up after an hour and she hugged me and said, "good luck in your decision." I replied my decision had been made. :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Road to midwifery: Background

I get asked all of the time what led me to go with a Midwife this time around. This questions normally comes with stares of confusion and concern (ha!) and tons of other questions. Naturally, the sames reactions I once had. This will be long, but hopefully helpful to others.

About five years ago, shortly after I married my husband, my mother-in-law started teaching me more and more about natures remedies. I learned a lot about herbs, our bodies, good digestion and its affect on the body etc. In the last few years, I've become more inclined to try a natural route to fixing something in my body before calling or going to the doctor. Does that mean that is what I always do, no, sometimes you just need a doctor.

So when my OBGYN announced that I'd need a c-section with my son Kai because of his breech position, I did what every other person trusting their doctors would do...I went along with it. I late blogged about this decision **click here** That blog says several things I want to point out. First, it shows my initial disappointment about not starting to labor. Then, it shows how completely fine and in control I began to feel about the c-section. But, lastly, it shows that I realize my bonding with the baby doesn't get to begin right away. I'll never forget when I realized that....I threatened Chad's life that no one could touch the baby (besides him) before we were in the mother baby room...I told him this frantic over the phone one day (is it weird that I remember exactly where I was on the highway when this conversation took place??).

My planned C-Section went as perfectly as they could. Easy, little stress, healthy baby...But there are parts that I have never felt right about. How scared I was when they took my into the OR alone to get a spinal. I remember wanting to cry as I was hunched over thinking, "where is my husband?" How I saw Kai and took a few pictures but then he was wisked to the nursery for clean up. I remember sitting alone in the recovery room because obviously everyone wanted to see the baby and feeling alone. I remember my mom being the only one to come back and check on me while everyone was still looking at the baby. And then, the IV drugs started coming...I remember everyone in my room and me dry heaving in front of my pastor...which really hurt considering my incision. I remember the nurse trying to deal with a drugged me and a sleepy baby for a good nursing session and forcing my boob in his mouth. I "remember" the day, but its all cloudy after I left recovery. I was drugged heavily and saying odd things....which I remember saying even though they were so dumb. I remember the day, but in no way is it clear to me.

What's funny is even after all of those things I can easily remember disliking, I still always swore I'd have another c-section. Why not, was my thought.

Flash forward to 2008. It was becoming increasingly more clear that Chad and I were going to stay self-employed which means self-employed health insurance. We'd been kinda holding out on baby #2 hoping to get better insurance (you know, to cover the c-section I wanted) and, well, the full on fever hadn't hit yet. I remember the day the "I have to have another baby right now" feeling came about. It was right when I was starting to see progress with Kai's speech in April of last year. So, I started calling around to my Dr. and asking questions about prenatal care and delivery costs and then the hospital for average stay costs. See, self-employed insurance will not cover maternity care. They'll cover complications due to pregnancy, but nothing else....NICE. So glad I give them $300/month. Clearly, a c-section was not a option for me any more. I mean, I could buy a car for the going rate of a c-section. I just wanted a baby!

Going rate for an OB in my area for cash customers $3k. Average hospital stay for mom and baby after an uncomplicated delivery $3-5k. Ouch, but not impossible.

My next step was meeting with my doctor (whom I LOVE). First thing he says is, "Great, when you get pregnant will just schedule your next c-section!" Um, wait a minute? So I ask about a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section)....his face turns, "Why would you want to do that??" Okay, this isn't the response I had wanted at all. I mean, I know I was all pro-csection, but...don't I get an option. He finally said he'd let me try, but if anything starts to go awry at first sign its another c-section....oh, and no epidural (what, are they trying to scare me here?!??!). So, we start trying to have a baby. In the mail the following month my OB drops my insurance. Bummer.

Over the summer, while talking to some friends with two young daughters, I discovered she used a midwife. Huh? But she's so young and hip (go ahead, judge, I'm being honest!). Most of the midwife users (who I all love - BTW!!) in know are my church friends (not to mention my crunchy mother-in-law), these are the first people from my outside life that have gone this direction. (not that it matters, but i think the point is I realized it wasn't just for the church going homeschool *crunchy* moms) She's starts telling me about her experiences and how great they were. She'd had a previous hospital birth and said that as nervous as she was about birthing at home (her husband was the original midwife promoter), the experience was far better with her homebirths. Then she explains birthing centers to me. Wait, there is an option that is not at home and not at a hospital?? So, a seed was laid.

Once I'm pregnant, I'm completely excited about having a vaginal birth. Getting to have that experience that I missed the time before is pumping me up. So, time to find a new OB. I choose a DO whom I had heard was much more on the natural side of things. I go in, all is going well, I announce the desire to have a VBAC and again, the tone changes.

Let me interject here, I totally get that some women are not good candidates for a VBAC. Especially those women that may have had an emergency c-section, but remember, that isn't my case...I just had a breech baby, period!

So doctor #2 says, "Well that is fine, if you'd like to try, BUT: no epidural, if you don't go into labor on your own by your due date we'll cesection you that day, and at the first sign of any distress you'll have another csection." Way to have confidence in my body people!! But, I agree.

In the meantime, I start looking for a doula. Heck, if I have to labor without an epidural I'm going to have someone trained in natural labor by my side since you know the doctor isn't going to be there during labor. While looking for a doula everything kept coming up midwives.

Ah, midwives, long skirted, no makeup-ed, hippie ladies who arrive at your home and catch your baby in the dark and leave you, right?!?! It was then that I started to reflect back to my summer conversation with a friend...maybe I should research this a little more. So, I get the name of the midwife she used and get to googling.

The homestretch...

Well, I'm here. Kenlee is still baking nicely away. I'm due in 12 days, but what does that mean really?? I'm huge and uncomfortable, but what else is to be expected at this point in pregnancy, right?

I'm overall doing okay. Sleep has been the worst thing affecting my life at this point. I'll have like three or four really horrible nights of sleep and then one rock solid night. Heartburn or just general discomfort seem to be the biggest two culprits.

This morning, Kai woke me up as usual and we spent about 30 min cuddling, dozing and watching cartoons. When Chad got up to make his breakfast, I rolled over and fell asleep. Probably the best hour of sleep in weeks. I missed my BSF today because of it, but it was SO worth it to me.

Saturday I'm having some maternity pictures taken. I swore I would never do it. I hate my pregnant body, BUT I have been convinced and now I'm kinda into it. I hope to be able to say, "These were taken days before you were born."

I have decided that this baby can come anytime after the tenth (like I have a say!). I want the pictures to be done. I want my midwife assistant, Abby, to be in town. I want to enjoy Mother's Day with both my families. I was saying the 12th because that was my hair appointment, but Lyndee was kind enough to do it early for the pics...so now I don't have to wait anymore.

I swear I will write my blog on my road to midwifery. I've been meaning to do it for months and I really want to have it done before the birth because I know I'll have so much more to write after the birth. I just can't decide where to start... Do I start with my last c-section? Do I start when I found out I was pregnant?

And honestly, typing isn't easy anymore. I don't know how to hold my computer! HA!

Friday, March 27, 2009

ABCs

My child who never wanted to talk....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shower pics....

I have a friend giving me more, but here is Lyndee's post and you can see some of the cute things that she did...

CLICK HERE

Great new snack....and other food things...

I am very happy with my current weight gain in this pregnancy. As mentioned before, I gained 60 pounds with Kai, and with 8 weeks to go, I'm just sitting at 30 lbs. So...there is NO way I'll hit 60 again - YAY!!

To celebrate this "lack" of weight gain (I should say lack of *excess* weight gain), I've decided to start making some recipes that I know once this baby comes I won't be able to eat. I star recipes that come across my google reader, bookmark sites or save emails all of the time. Most of the time these recipes are not "diet" friendly so I can't make them at home. If you don't know, my husband will not eat something that I can't provide nutritional data for...no, I'm not kidding. SO, since I know that I'll head straight back to Weight Watchers in about 3 months, I'm making these recipes. Luckily, some aren't as good as I was expecting....others are toooooo good!

I've been following a high school friend via her blog for awhile now. Recently, she started posting her menu plans, which I LOVE! (who doesn't need weekly ideas??) Then she started a food blog which I also love. Have I told you how I love food?? Anyway, she posted this great recipe for a snack mix for kids (and adults). I just tried it and it makes a TON and the good thing is it takes Kai awhile to eat out of his snack bowl since he's digging for his favorites first. Enjoy!
- 12 oz honey roasted peanuts
- 5 cups rice chex
- bag of m&m's
- 16 oz pretzels
- 14 oz box cheese-its (parm & cheddar were GREAT!)
Mix together and store in airtight container.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SO. BLESSED.

My sister-in-law threw me possibly the prettiest shower I have ever been to yesterday. I have to say that originally I wanted nothing to do with a shower. I always heard that you don't have second baby showers. It wasn't until I found out that I was having a girl that I okayed the shower. I'm hoping that she'll post pics of everything that she did or that someone gets me pictures soon because words can't describe it.

What did I get? Mainly clothes, which I very much needed. I also scored a beautiful car seat cover, double stroller, second video camera monitor, iPod dock, diapers, wipes, sheets, decor, um.......I'm forgetting SO much. I love everything, very very few returns this time around and those that I am returning are mainly because of size/season issues.

I think what caught me most off-guard was the outpouring from my friends and family. I literally "needed" nothing and told them all that if they asked, but still the fact that they wanted to come and bless me is SO humbling. I'm so thankful. SO thankful that I finished all 45 Thank You notes in record time this afternoon because I want to make sure each person really knows how wonderful they are. :)

Will update this with pictures when I get them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Naps.

So, for you parents, when did your child finally drop the nap?

Slowly but surely our naps are disappearing. No one values nap time more than I do, I swear. When Kai was a baby, I was regimented about nap schedules. As he grew older, I have continued to enforce nap time, even if it means leaving places early or not going at all. Yes, I believe sleep is THAT important!

Up until about a month ago Kai was still taking three hour naps. Yes, some days were harder to get him to GO to sleep than others, but if your child finally falls asleep and sleeps that long, clearly they aren't ready to give it up. Some time in February, Kai drastically cut his nap in half to an hour to an hour and a half MAX. AK! To make matters worse, the only way I can get him to go down is to lay with him until he falls asleep. I swore I would NEVER EVER do that, but I was/am so tired from being in late pregnancy, it is worth it to me to at least get the nap.

Today, Kai napped for 30 min. Ugh. I'm so not ready for this stage to end and even more so because of the arrival of Kenlee!!

Spring Break!

What a week!!!

Spring in Texas is wonderful. I have been LOVING this weather. Highs in the 70's all week and nothing but sunshine. Yes, I LOVE a good rain (esp. TX spring storms), but this weather is fantastic. Last weeks cold and rainy seems like a distant memory!

I think I appreciate the nice weather more and more as Kai gets older because it means more and more time outside. We have been outside at lease 5-6 hours ALL WEEK!! I'm amazed that we've done it, but its been great. Usually, I get bored, especially with being as big as I am right now and not being able to "play" as well. But, since Kai as at the age where he can run around and handle all the playground equipment, we are good to go! Luckily, I have met a lot more stay-at-home moms and that has really helped, too.

My favorite day of spring break had to be Wednesday. We went to MiMi and Poppy's (my parents) house to play outside. M & P's house is always relaxing for me and fun for Kai. They have this wonderful "side yard" around the driveway that is gated. So, I get to sit back on the lounge chair and Kai can play play play. Wednesday, I was sunning my belly while Kai played in the sand box and the *gasp* the pool!

But, even after all the fun we are having, Kai keeps asking when he gets to go back to school. :) I love how happy he is there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kai-isms

Okay, so Meg is always posting her daughter's -ism's and I love to read them. So, hear are a few things heard recently in my house.

While praying one night after a hair cut: "Thank you Jesus for my hair because it looks so cool."

"I want to hug that girl." When wanting to hug my big belly. (MELT!!)

Tonight in bed:
Kai - "I'm not handsome"
Me - "Yes you are!"
Kai - "No, I'm not handsome right now. These aren't handsome clothes these are PJs."
Me - "Well, I think you are always handsome"
Kai - "I'll be handsome again tomorrow"

OMGosh - how can I not think of anything else???? This will possibly be the most updated part of my blog.

Speech

*** I started this blog on 6/23/08; Wow and ooops! This is a long one, but I want to record it. I'll probably edit the heck out of it later.

Ah, where to even begin. And WHY OH WHY did I not document it all?? Excuse me if this get long and winded, but its close to my heart today (well, everyday, but today its really on my mind). I feel so guilty it wasn't documented because its been all so amazing.

At 2 years old, Kai said 'mama' 'dada' and 'nana' and never consistently. His favorite word was "eh." If we were to try to get Kai to say a word he would shrug away and get frustrated. So, he wasn't even attempting verbal communication outside of "eh." Being two and not communicating is frustrating for all parties. We were frustrated that we couldn't understand his desires, he was frustrated that we couldn't understand him, he melted down frequently (because of not being able to communicate). I was hard to discipline during that time...how do you differentiate between tantrum and frustration?!?

I had long suspected a problem, since about 15 months but I was always told to wait until two, especially since Kai is a boy. It was very easy to notice that he was falling behind, but my doctor never seemed to worry. Kai was also excessively drooling. I'm not gonna lie, it was (is) gross. If he bends over, it FLOODED out.

At two we finally received a referral to Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). We received this referral in September. In October I had our first meeting with Agent #1. She came out and did a long evaluation of Kai's behaviors with me. This was a written eval just to see if he qualified. While answering the questions, I couldn't believe the signs we missed. Although its been two years I remember reading the "excessively drools" "over-stuffs mouth" "gags while eating" and wanting to cry. I remember thinking, why didn't anyone tell me? Why didn't I trust my instinct.

At this initial evaluation, Kai was accepted to the program. The next step was to set-up a full evaluation with him present (he was not at the first meeting). This second meeting would determine the level and intensity of services to be provided to Kai. Agent #1 set-up the second appointment for 3 weeks later. Argh! I was just ready to get started! She suggested I start learning a few signs to try to get Kai to communicate.

That night I started using the "more sign." It didn't take long before Kai was using it (like think MAYBE 2 days). Not only was he doing the sign, but he was saying "mo." WHAT?!? Just like that??

The day came (last week in October) for our full evaluation and I received a called that Agent #1 was suddenly taking leave and we would be being seen by two other Agents for this meeting. It was so upsetting to me that we had to completely re-explain our situation. What a waste of everyone's time.

At the meeting we received referrals for regular ECI therapy (bi-weekly), speech therapy (bi-weekly) and occupational therapy (monthly). ECI requires that you see one of their therapists, hence the ECI therapy. Speech, um, duh we knew we needed it. Occupational was for the drooling and low facial sensitivity symptoms. We were told that Kai was talking/communicating at a 12-18 month old level at 27 months!! However, language comprehension was at the 3 year old level.

Then all was quiet. For a MONTH I waited for them to process paperwork and set-up times; which was even more difficult because I was working 4 days a week. Agent #1 was to be my ECI therapist. Can I just say we never saw her again and leave it at that? We went through THREE agents between Mid-November and beginning of January. Being seen bi-weekly, plus holidays, you do the math....I was basically just getting to know the Agent before they were replaced. But that isn't all that important....RIGHT?? Let's get back to SPEECH!

My speech therapist calls me the weekend after Thanksgiving. Two and a half months after getting my referral. We schedule for that week. Of course, I feel so hopeless at this point because basically all I have spent two months doing is telling people why we are where we are.... Does know one else realize we are losing time??

Jen starts coming to our house every other week. I squeeze as much as I can out of her at every meeting. I'm listening to everything she's doing during these times so I can do them when she's gone. This is honestly where I wish I had blogged the whole thing so I could remember what all she did. Our focus was first to get Kai to talk...to try to makes sounds...to attempt ANYTHING vocally. After that our goal was to form those sounds into direct words. (I'm sure there is very technological terms for what I'm describing, but forgive me its been a LONG time).

She didn't come often, but somehow between the first week in December and the 2 week in January, she gave my son a voice. Yes, we had all been working on it, but something during that time click and Kai started trying.

By the time Kai and I pack up to live in Florida for the month he has about 32 solid "words." I put words in quotes because to most people they didn't sound like anything. To me they were words...sounds that he associated with objects and used on a consistent basis. My job was to encourage the use of those "words."

I have several very specific things I remember happening in Florida. It was the first time since Kai was six weeks old that I had been with him 7 days a week. I worked so hard stressing all that I was saying, communicating, etc. I'll never forget the day we were driving to the gym and he looked at the window at a strip center and said, "castle." I wouldn't have believed it had I been alone, but my friend was in the car with me was just as shocked. This word was the first unprompted word Kai ever said. It was the first word that I don't remember teaching him. Still give me goosebumps.

Another very important thing I remember in Florida still makes me cry. We were enjoying another wonderful day at the park when a kid, maybe 4, came up and was playing along side Kai. He asked Kai his name, but when Kai responded he couldn't understand him (and in his defense it didn't really sound like Kai). After the back and forth for a minute I finally stepped in and said, "His name is Kai." The kid looks at me and says, "Why does he talk like that and why is he drooling so much that's gross." I wanted to shield my sons ears and run away. I wanted to smack the other child (yeah, i said it), I wanted to cry... This couldn't go on much longer. It wasn't fair. Why my kid??

I called my ECI Agent #3 to tell her I was returning and ready to start services back up...and honestly to get some encouragement. Well, Agent #3 was no longer with ECI. This did it. I called the management, I called my speech therapist, and finally I called my doctor. My only other option was to start Our Children's House by Baylor. ECI was free, OCH not so much, and when you need to be seen weekly, that adds up, but I was at the breaking point. I wanted results and consistency.

I met with Agent #4 and my speech therapist while prepping to meet with OCH. The good news was, while away Kai doubled his vocabulary. The bad news was, non of it sounded right. ECI therapist ONLY come to your home, so after a while it became hard to get Kai to focus enough on his speech.

March we switched to OCH. Consistent, once a week (although they wanted us to come twice a week), therapy at their facility. At the first meeting I saw the difference. They forced Kai to work. The first task was to get his B sounds down. B's sounded like Gs. I've never seen him so upset. It was heartbreaking watching him get so frustrated, looking at me like "why are you doing this to me" wishing I could do it for him. I went home that day and cried o my mother-in-law. Why my kid??

We kept up the therapy. It slowly but surely started getting easier. Kai started correctly naming objects, started making appropriate sounds. In May he started putting two and three phrase sentences. The day even came where I actually waited in the lobby while he went in alone.

In June, I quit my job to stay home. Suddenly Kai exploded with talking. I'm talking overnight using three to four word phrases. He'd say things that Chad and I never knew he knew....the child could count to ten but couldn't say it! He knew the name of every train in his train box, he knew the majority of colors....things literally flowed from his mouth.

On the 28th of June, the day I started this blog entry, I walked into therapy and asked that Kai be reevaluated. I just suddenly had this feeling that we were up to speed. Kai met or exceeded all of his goals. He was speaking right on target and able to nail all appropriate sounds. I was floored.

After 7 months of therapy: 4 at ECI and 3 at OCH - we mastered our goal.

When Kai entered preschool in September, I was nervous. I was still scared about other kids and what they might say. That fear wasn't helped along when they moved Kai up a class (from old 2's to younger 3's). But, I'll never forget the day Kai's teacher told me that he was so smart and chatty. She also made a comment about how clearly he speaks. I had to laugh and then tell her about the delay. She was shocked and said she'd never guess.

Today, when I'm driving and my sweet child will not stop talking I have to remind myself how long I prayed for that. I cherish each phrase that comes out of his mouth. I still get super excited when he tells me stories. I will never forget the road to get where he is.

Changes...

It's so funny how time changes a person. I was rereading my cloth diapering blog thinking, people probably think I'm insane. Then I was thinking that my next post would be about midwifery....which would REALLY have people thinking I'm crazy. Not that either of those is "weird" in and of themselves, but if you have known me even for 5 years, you'd know how strange it is that I have converted.

I used to pride myself with the medicine cabinet I had. You needed a drug to fix something chances are pretty darn high I had it. If I didn't have what I wanted, I'd call the Dr. and get it called in. Today, I call the healthfood store down the street or check my Prescription For Natural Healing book.

Just funny how we change...

Now seriously, if I decide to homeschool (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with it - just not Chad and I's thing), please call and check on me. :)