Thursday, December 27, 2007

Celebration Burn-out

Does anyone else get tired, I mean, tired of celebrating? And I am typically a people-person, get-together, celebrating {especially when food is involved}, kind of gal, but I am really getting holiday-weary. We celebrated with my mom, step-dad, and brother on Sunday. My mom is really the best. She brought over the entire holiday meal {ham with all the fixings} and cooked it and cleaned up afterwards, knowing I would not be able to do it with a newborn in the house. I did manage to make some spiced nuts and these to accompany the meal. {Alicia is to blame for introducing us to the Oreo Truffles. I am addicted!! I am going to make them in other flavors for as many future gatherings as possible!} The hubster, kiddos & I all took our first family photo in front of the tree, as that was the only gift my mom requested this year. {I will post it as soon as I get a chance.} Then, shortly after my mom & step-dad left, my dad & step-mom arrived to spend the nights until Christmas day. My dad did an amazing job of cooking breakfast, an awesome Christmas Eve dinner {prime rib, folks!}, and cleaning up afterwards. This *somewhat*, but not quite, made up for the fact that they let my kids open all their Christmas gifts from them on Christmas Eve morning while hubster & I were still sleeping. I. Was. Mad. But we won't spoil all the holiday cheer by "going there". On Christmas Day, my dad & his wife left in the morning & my sister-in-law arrived with my niece by mid-afternoon. I cooked Christmas Day dinner {roasted chicken, people!} and my sister-in-law got some much appreciated baby time with Sebastian. The girls went to my in-laws to spend the night last night & will be there again tonight, giving me a much needed break. Seriously. Great gift! My grandma & aunt are coming over to deliver gifts and "celebrate" tomorrow during the day {barring a snowstorm} and all the in-laws are coming over on Saturday to "celebrate". All this celebrating is tiring me out. I guess it's the combination of my parents being divorced which doubles the holiday events, added to the in-laws and all the other extended family that we are expected to celebrate with. Christmas for my family lasts, like, half the month of December. And this year, we aren't even traveling anywhere, as everyone is coming to visit us! I really can't wait until after we "celebrate" the New Year and can return to some semblance of life as usual.

Anyone else out there tired of celebrating?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Magic: The Out-takes

Here are the photos that didn't make it into our holiday cards. These are so funny, it makes me want to make a scrapbook {huh? what's that? do I even remember how to do that?} page out of them. Seems like it's just the one child that is having a hard time taking a good photo. Can't imagine trying to get even more children to pose nicely for a picture. Good thing I know how to use Photoshop. I may just have to cut & paste the good poses together!

And, drumroll please, the winning photo:

And here it is all dressed up in the template I designed:

Here's hoping all your holiday photos are filled with love & laughter!

Holiday Magic: Trimming the Tree

I made sure to put up the tree on Thanksgiving Weekend. I wanted to make sure that it got done before the baby's arrival. Of course, half the lights weren't working & required two separate trips to the Wally World. Half the day later, we finally got the tree up & decorated. Take a gander:

::finding the perfect spot::

::she was *so* into decorating::

::daddy helps Sienna to hang a few high up::

::holiday decorating burn-out::

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Big Day

a.k.a Birth Story ~ Part Two

Friendly Caution: If you are uncomfortable reading about dilation or get weirded out by the word "cervix", then just go ahead and skip this post!

So after the deer incident, I wake up Wednesday morning with mild contractions. I didn't suspect anything other than those pesky Braxton-Hicks, but these were accompanied by a backache, giving me the sneaky suspicion that this was the real deal. They were about 10-12 minutes apart, sometimes longer, so I wasn't sure whether this was actual "labor". I called the hubster around 10:30 am & told him I wasn't feeling well. I mentioned the contractions & he requested that I call the doctor's office. I was advised not to come to the hospital until they were 5 minutes apart. {Good thing that God had planned for me to have a doctor's appointment already that afternoon or I would've had an unplanned homebirth.} I told hubby to come home early to take care of me. I rested. I Knitted. I Sudoku-ed. {I *love* Sudoku!}

My appointment was at 3:30 pm. We all went as a family, hoping that maybe the doctor would send me to the hospital. I saw Dr. Z. The nurse asked how I was feeling & I told her that I thought I might be in *early* labor. So Dr. Z examines me. She has a puzzled look on her face during the examination. I am thinking, "Oh Great. I am still 2-3 cm or something like that." She informs me that I am "at least" 6 cm, but she can't really tell because one side of my cervix is completely dilated. She asks if there is any chance I can go directly to the hospital. {She told me the next morning that she didn't want to make me nervous, but was really thinking that I better get to the hospital, like, NOW.} We all arrive at the hospital, my mom meeting us there to retrieve the children.

I am admitted & checked by Dr. F {new doctor in the practice if you are following my abbreviations}, who tells me that I am 8 cm. WHAT???!!! This is seriously unbelievable to me. UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE. During my last labor I was at 2 cm and already in a lot of pain. The doctor and nurse kept asking me if I was sure I didn't want anything for the pain. It was bizarre. I wasn't even really in that much pain. I felt like a woman from the Baby Story, just la-de-da during labor. I was positive for Group B Strep, so I needed to have pencilin & waited 3 1/2 hours before my water could be broken. Dr. F thought I would go pretty fast after my water had been broken. I tried pushing at 9 1/2 cm, but with no luck. My contractions were pretty strong at this point, but not unbearable. I did ask for an epidural while waiting to dilate the rest of the way. I didn't realize that the anesthesiologist would need to be called in. Yeah. Would've liked that bit of information a little earlier in the process. I waited. Ten minutes. Fifteen. Twenty. By this time I was feeling like I had to push & really, my body just couldn't help it anymore. Dr. F says, "Go ahead & try pushing." I push & much to my disbelief {and the doctor's too} I feel his head coming out. The bed hasn't been broken down yet. Doc doesn't have on any surgical apparel. She says, "Please wait. Let me get my gown on." as she runs across the room to retrieve the surgical tray. Through my bloody-murder-type scream I tell her I can't wait. She says, "Please at least let me get my gloves on." Again. Body. Just. Won't. Wait. His head is out & with one more push his body splashes out & doc delivers him while sitting on the bed. More disbelief when I read the scale from across the room. Eight pounds, fifteen ounces. I. Can't. Believe. It. Doc shows me her hand & I just have to laugh as she managed to get her hand into the palm of the glove & delivered the baby with the fingers of the glove just hanging off. Funny. Just as amazing is that I need no stitches. WHAT?! After delivering a nearly nine pound baby?!! Amazing. Really. No drugs. No stitches. A nine pounder. God really does exist ~ LOL!

In all seriousness though, I really could see God's hand in caring for me that day. I had many people praying for me & I am sure that that made a lot of difference. I still can not believe that I was able to deliver such a big baby, drug-free & with no stitches. It makes me feel like I conquer the world now. I hadn't set out to do that, but it just sort of happened upon me. My body feels like it has had a much quicker recovery. I don't know if it's just because it gets easier with each child or if it's due to the type of labor I had.

So now you know. It's not that every birth story isn't a miracle in and of itself, but for me, this one really stands out & I am still in amazement over the whole thing. I leave you with this,
"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them." William Shakespeare

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh Deer!

a.k.a. Birth Story ~ Part 1

Technically, IT hit US. On Tuesday, December 4th, season six of the TV series 24 was released on DVD. Once hubster remembered this fact, he was on the horn with our nearest Blockbuster reserving us a copy of the first two DVDs. Of course the weather was.....blizzard-y. Nonetheless, we all piled in the car and trekked the 7 miles to retrieve the DVDs. This is *so* reminiscent of last winter when we were driving through snowstorms to various Blockbusters to rent the 24 DVDs. We didn't mean to get hooked on Jack Bauer, it just sort of happened. Hubster casually mentioned wanting to see the show, so we rented season one. I barely paid attention to the first few episodes, as I was in The Knitting Zone, but finally, I couldn't help myself. But, I digress. As we were traveling down the road, we suddenly spot "a six-pack of does", as hubster puts it, near the opposite edge of the road. We weren't driving too fast, maybe 40 mph. He starts honking the horn. The first doe darts across the road. The rest of the does start to follow. Hubster tries to manuever the car between the pack & is somewhat successful. He makes it in between the first and second doe, but we don't quite clear the pack and that second doe slams into the rear door of the driver's side, right where my two-year old was sitting. I shriek. Hubster tells me to stay calm. I say, "You probably killed him!!" Hubster tries to convince me that the deer just has a mild concussion. My Braxton-Hicks get stronger at this point. The rest of the way Sienna keeps asking various questions about the BANG-BANG {the noise the deer made when hitting her door} and whether or not Sebastian would be scared of it. We get the DVDs and watch the first two episodes. {Wayne Palmer as president? Whoda thunk it??} The next morning, I woke up in early labor.

We blame it on the deer. I can't actually say that "we hit a deer" because, like I mentioned before, technically IT hit US.

P.S. Welcome to my newest reader Mon who has been reading from the beginning and commenting on old posts! I will answer your cooking question as soon as time allows biggrin

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just stopping in.... present our newest addition!

::Sebastian Judah::

::weighing a whopping 8 pounds 15 ounces, measuring 21 inches long::

::big sisters Tatiana & Sienna are so proud::

We are all at home and doing great! I will share more about his grand arrival as time allows.
It really was miraculous {not that all births aren't}, but this one, for me, was especially special. Blessings to everyone who prayed for us before, during, and after the delivery. Thank you for covering us in prayer & lifting up my hands when I was weak. God is so good!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Reindeer Games

Thanks to Saralyn for providing this little diversion while I am still "waiting". I *love* Christmas! It is definitely my favorite time of year. So here goes:

1. Do you put up a real tree or artificial? Artificial; We have *never* put up a real tree. Too much hassle.

2. When do you put up your tree? Normally around the first weekend in December. I usually do most of the decorating, so whenever I'm feeling froggy. This year though, we all put it up together on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

3. When do you take down the tree? After the New Year

4. Do you like eggnog? If yes, spiked or not? I don't dislike it, but would probably like it better if I tasted it homemade instead of store-bought.

5. Favorite gift received as a child? I honestly don't know. I remember getting two Cabbage Patch Dolls & the game Mall Madness that I was really excited about.

6. Worst Christmas gift ever received? Hubby's first gift to me while we were still dating. He built it up to be something wonderful, something I needed, and something that would make me think of him whenever I used it. I, being the woman that I am, was hoping for something sentimental. It turned out to be a cordless phone. We laugh about it now.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? I like the Miracle on 34th Street remake with Dylan McDermott. And I'm not sure if you consider it "Christmas-y", but Rick & I both really like The Family Man.

8. Have you ever recycled a present? Yes! Mostly gifts for the kids...

9. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Really fancy or comforting meals like Prime Rib or a big Ham with all the trimmings. Gingersnaps always leave me feeling festive too though.

10. Favorite Christmas song? don't have one

11.Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crowds & the over-commercializtion of a Holy-day {especially among "Christians"}

12. What you love most about the holiday? I do appreciate all that Christmas represents, but I also really love the festiveness of it all, the opportunity for family traditions, gathering close with loved ones, decorations, music, and Christ's Spirit in it all.

13. How many reindeer did Santa have? 9.

14. Best Christmas memory? The childhood excitement of Christmas Eve and the delight of waking early to find my stocking full of goodies ~ Me too, Saralyn!

15. If you could have one Christmas wish what would it be? That Christ would come to the hearts of all my loved ones ~ Ditto again.

I can't wait to see what ya'll enjoy {or dislike} about Christmas as well! So I will tag Alicia, Beth & Erin! Happy Reindeer Games!