Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Table By The Window Review

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In "A Table By The Window" by Hillary Manton Lodge, food writer Juliette D'Alisa inherits a cooking table from her grandmother, and as she is searching through the drawers she finds an old cookbook with a photo taped to the dustcover - a photo of a man with a suspicious resemblance to others in her family.  As she tries to figure out who is in the photo, her brother approaches her about starting their own restaurant, and Juliette decides to give online dating a try.  Should she leave her food writing job to open the restaurant with her brother?  What about Neil, the man she met through an online dating site?  What does she really want?

I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't one of those books that left me dying to see what happened from one chapter to the next, but it was enjoyable and interesting when I did get a chance to pick it up.  I think that this makes it a perfect vacation book, because it is easy to pick up and put back down again while still holding my interest!  It was just a nice, cozy, laid-back book, and I liked it.

One thing that also makes this book unique is the recipes the author includes in the pages - gourmet recipes of all skill levels are included at the end of many of the chapters.  I feel like I should keep this book in my kitchen so I can try out some of the recipes!

I really liked the main character, Juliette, and she seemed realistic and relatable.  I'm also very interested to see what she ultimately decides about all the decisions in her life, especially her relationship with Neil! The ending felt really sudden to me, and the plot was not resolved in this book.   I'm looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens!

P.S. You can read the first chapter here, and also check out some similar recipes on the book Pinterest board!

Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

A Sensible Arrangement Review

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A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson follows Marty - as a Texan widow she has decided to leave her old life behind and become a mail order bride for Jake Wythe, a banker in Colorado.  After their marriage she soon discovers that Jake dreams of returning to Texas and owning his own ranch - which is just the life that Marty wanted to get away from.  As their feelings develop for each other and a financial crisis threatens the bank that Jake works at, Marty has to decide whether to tell Jake the truth.

I really enjoyed this book!  All the characters were likable, and the romance between Marty and Jake was really sweet, though subtle in it's development.  I also thought the message of the book was strong as we read about Marty turning back to God after blaming Him for her husband's death for so many years.

The one thing that I have to say is that I feel like a couple of the plot elements weren't fully resolved - through the book Marty's maid, Alice, is being followed and threatened by a Mr. Smitth, who thinks she is in possession of some gold bonds that were lost when her father was murdered.   At the end of the book we still don't know what happened to the bonds, or whether Mr. Smith will be caught.  We also don't get to see how Marty and Jake's life will pan out - will Jake keep his job at the bank, or will they go back to Texas?  I'm thinking (and also hoping) that we get to see what happens to these characters as this series continues?  Regardless, this book left me wanting to read more!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Clyde's Birth Story - Part Two

If you missed Part One of Clyde's birth story, you can read it here!

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I had a couple contractions while we were checking in at the emergency room entrance.  I felt a little funny doing my "he he" breathing in front of all the other patients in the waiting room, but everyone was asking a bunch of questions and they were all excited for us!

A nurse came down with a wheel chair and took us up to our labor and delivery room around 4:00.  We were introduced to our nurse, Helen, and I got changed into my hospital gown (yuck, but I'd rather make a mess of the hospital's clothes than my own).  

Helen pulled out the monitors; I asked if I really had to wear them, and she said they would want to monitor me a little bit up front (which I already knew).  I asked for the wireless monitors so I could move around, and she said they'd get them for me so I didn't have to sit in bed.  It was really important for me not to be stuck in bed, because that was the worst part of my labor with Wyatt, and when I was in labor with Gwen I loved being able to move around.

I was still having painful contractions every 4-6 minutes, and Helen asked what I was wanting for pain management - I told her I didn't want an epidural or anything, I was just going to power through!  She was really supportive.  She warned me that I might doubt my decision around transition, but that it was normal to feel that way.  I was sure I'd be fine though.

Helen noticed I liked to be leaning forward during my contractions, so she set up a table and pillow for me to lean on while they got me set up with monitors and an IV (I wasn't hooked up to an IV, but they put a line in, just in case I lost too much blood afterward or had other complications).  

Derek was really there for me through the contractions, and he held my hand and rubbed my back.  It was so comforting to me, and I was just so thankful that the Lord had worked everything out so he could be there!  It makes the pain so much more manageable when you feel so thankful to just be in labor.

They had me on the monitors for a little while, and then they took them off to give me a break.  One thing I was really impressed with was how attentive the nurses were - once they knew I wasn't going to get an epidural they seemed to bend over backward to think of things to make me comfortable.  Helen brought in a birthing ball for me to sit on between contractions, and she showed Derek this hip-squeezing technique that helped me a lot.  

Derek and I decided to watch a movie, and we picked 17 Again.  I bounced on my ball and we made fun of Zac Effron's haircut and different plot elements (I really do like that movie, but poking fun at it was a good distraction during labor).  When I had a contraction I'd drop down off the birth ball onto my hands and knees and breathe through the contraction while Derek pressed on my hips.  

Helen brought me a towel so I wouldn't have to kneel on the hard floor, and she kept saying how impressive it was that I could get down on my hands and knees so fast for the contractions.  At one point another nurse came in right before I had a contraction, and when I dropped down she though I had hurt myself, but Helen told her that I was okay, that's just what I did when I had a contraction.  The labor was concentrated in my back, so hands and knees felt best.  

I really liked the birth ball, and it felt good to bounce on it between contractions.  Helen asked if I wanted to try some aromatherapy, and she brought in a washcloth with some oils on it.  It smelled really good.  She also offered to fill up the jet tub for me if I wanted to try sitting in the water.  I was thinking about it, but I was worried about getting back out if things progressed quickly (the hospital wouldn't let me give birth in the tub).

Dr. B had requested that she be called when I was checked in, because she wanted to be able to deliver my baby if possible, so she was calling in periodically to hear how I was doing.  Around 5:00 Helen said they'd like to check me, because Dr. B had an event at her kid's school, and she was wondering how close I was.  

One of my requests was to have as few cervical checks as possible - my cervix is positioned so that checks are really painful for me.  But I wanted Dr. B to be there if possible too, so I said that was fine.  I sat on the bed, and Helen checked me - it wasn't as painful as I was afraid it would be.  After a minute she said "Oh wow, you're at 6 or 7 centimeters!"  I think she was surprised I was that far, because the contractions were still really manageable.

I went back to my ball, and after that I started having some blood during contractions.  I could also tell they were getting a little stronger, and I tried to focus on relaxing during contractions so my body could do it's thing.  I had verses written on cards, but I didn't want to dig them out of my bag, so I just thought about the two I could remember then:

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

and 

"Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

During contractions I started thinking on those verses, and it was comforting to focus on the Lord when I was in so much pain.

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Helen was back in the room shortly to put the monitors back on me for a little bit, but I felt like they kept slipping when I got down on the floor for contractions.  I was watching the monitors, but I couldn't tell if they were getting a good read on the baby during contractions.  Helen didn't seem to concerned though, so I assumed it was fine.  They took them back off after a little while.

Derek was still doing the hip squeezing during contractions, but I asked him to rub my back as the contraction was ending too, because the pain was starting to linger a little longer and it felt like it needed to be rubbed out.  I felt so bad for Derek because he came straight from work, so he was in his nice dress clothes during all this - not the most comfortable clothes when you are getting down on the floor with your laboring wife every few minutes!  He was so great during labor though, and did everything he could to help me.

My doctor came in about 5:30, and I could tell she was really torn.  She had an event with her kids from 6:00 to 7:30, and she asked me if I would be okay if she went to the event with her kids.  I told her that was fine, that she should go!  She said "Well, maybe he'll wait until after 7:30 and I can still make it in time for the delivery!"  But I knew at that point that it probably wouldn't happen - I could tell I was getting close.  I asked her if she would come back later though, and she said she would.

I had a couple contractions while my doctor was in the room, and she told me she was so impressed with how I was handling them.  "You could teach laboring classes!" she said.  I thought that was sweet, because you need encouragement like that when you are in labor!  It made me feel like I still had it under control.

Sometime between 5:45 and 6:00 the contractions started stepping up a bit again, and I started doing the "he he he who" breathing instead.  They were still only 4-ish minutes apart, but they became way more intense.  

I kept thinking "He He He Who gives me strength," and "He He He (cares for) who-you" (I know the second one is a stretch, but it worked for me).  I also decided to start standing and leaning on the hospital bed for contractions, instead of getting on the floor, because I thought gravity could help the baby move down.

Derek could tell I was in more pain, and I was starting to get uncomfortable between contractions too.  I was starting to whimper a little bit during contractions in between my breathing, because things just felt different.  Derek asked me if he should call the nurse, but I wasn't sure.  So he made the executive decision to go ahead and call her (I'm so glad he was there, because I just don't think straight at this point of labor). 

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After Derek called her, Helen came right in and watched me through a couple contractions (still 4 minutes apart), and then they wheeled the warmer in.  Seeing that warmer, where I knew my baby would be soon, suddenly made everything so real, and I started to cry.  I wasn't upset or scared, I was crying because I knew he would be here soon and I was excited!  

Derek asked if I was okay, and I just nodded and thought that maybe I was in transition, even though I didn't shake the way I had with Wyatt and Gwen (I felt very slightly quivery, but that was it).  I could tell something was happening.

Helen called the on-call doctor to come in after that, and Dr. A (as we'll call her), stood off to the side and watched for a few minutes too.  At this point the movie had ended, and I was feeling serious between contractions.  I had a strong contraction, and Dr. A asked if I was starting to feel pressure, and I nodded.  It was weird though, because the pressure felt like it was in the wrong spot - it was like his head was pressing against my tailbone.  

Derek asked Dr. A if I should get ready to push, and she said they'd want to check first to make sure I was really fully dilated, because sometimes if the water doesn't break first you might have a little cervix left and pushing against it can cause problems.

The nurses started talking about how I could get up on the bed and hang on the back of it during contractions, but I just remember staring at them from my birthing ball and saying I didn't want to move.  I obviously couldn't give birth sitting there though, so they were trying to encourage me to move between contractions.  

Then I had another one and I stood up to lean against the bed.  I ended up screaming a little bit during that one while Derek was still helping me by pushing on my hips.  As it was ending I said "I can't!"  I didn't even think about the words as they came out of my mouth, I just said them - I think if I was a bit more coherent I would have meant that I can't get up on the bed, but I think my nurse thought I was doubting my decision not to get the epidural.  I wasn't though, the words just came out.

Then all of a sudden my water broke, and it just gushed everywhere (including all over Derek's new work pants - whoops).  It was crazy to me because it felt like a lot of water, and it was startling.  The pressure was still there, and everything felt like a blur.  Dr. A checked me while I was standing there and said we were good to go, and the nurses started helping me up onto the bed.  

They started talking about how there was meconium (baby's first bowel movement) and blood in the water, and I heard the words "placental abruption".  I remember asking a few times if I could push (even though Dr. A had already basically said I could), and I felt like no one heard my question (or I just didn't hear the answer, because Derek told me later that they had said I could).

They got me sitting on the bed.  I remember them setting the bed back, and I told them I didn't like sitting so far back.  (This was the only part of the birth that I wasn't completely satisfied with.  I felt like leaning back so far made it harder to push - I would rather have sat up more, but everything was happening so fast, it wasn't that important to me to insist at that point.)

With the next contraction I went ahead and pushed, screaming in the process.  It was such a weird sensation, because I felt like his head was still pushing on my tailbone.  I pushed a couple more times through that contraction, and I felt his head move down, with the infamous "ring of fire".  Then the contraction was over and I had to wait until the next one.  I remember saying "It hurts", and Dr. A was really sympathetic, and said that she knew this part hurt.  She told me he had a head of dark hair, and that made me smile.

The nurses told me to try to make more of a deep groaning sound while I was pushing.  They said they didn't mind the screaming at all, but making a groaning noise would help focus my energy in my abdomen instead of in my lungs.  It made sense to me, so with the next contraction I really tried, but I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job of it.

Derek kept rubbing my back through the pushing, and told me I was doing a great job, and that he was proud of me, which was really comforting to me.

With the next contraction I pushed and I got his head out.  I kind of expected his body to slip out easily after that, but it didn't.  I pushed and kept feeling him move down, but I couldn't get him out, and the contraction ended.  Derek says that I said "I can't" again (which I have no recollection of), and the nurses thought I was going to quit pushing - but I know that I was thinking "I can't get him out".  It just felt like I kept pushing and couldn't move him down.

I had one more contraction and gave a couple more big pushes - I kept feeling like I had pushed him out, but then I would realize I hadn't. 

Finally I pushed, and everyone gave a happy shout, and Derek told me to open my eyes - and I looked and there he was.  Dr. A was holding him up right in front of me - his face was scrunched up into a good cry, his little arms and legs flailing around.  I reached out and grabbed him, and just held him.  I remember saying how handsome he was, and telling him how much I loved him.  

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He was born at 6:33 PM, just 2.5 hours after we checked into our room.  Derek told me later that he was born facing up (babies are supposed to be born facing toward your back, ideally), and that explains why I felt so much pressure on my tailbone.  

Derek asked what I thought about his name, and we both agreed that the name we had been thinking about through the pregnancy fit him - Clyde Daniel.  I also loved that he had dark hair, because somehow in my head, a Clyde would have dark hair.

After a few minutes they took him to the warmer and suctioned out his mouth - because of the meconium in my water, his lungs were wet.  They said the meconium was old (they guessed it had happened about a week before), and that the cord had been wrapped around his neck once.  They suspected that he had been stressed out when the cord first got wrapped around his neck, and that might have caused the meconium.

I delivered the placenta, and when Dr. A examined it she found a clot on it and confirmed that the placenta had started to abrupt (separate from the uterine wall), and that was what had caused the blood in my water when it broke.  I asked when or how that might have happened, and they didn't have a solid answer for me - they said it might have started to sheer off in labor.  I also wondered later if all my vomiting the night before might have had something to do with it, but I never got a chance to ask.  I am so thankful though that it didn't seem to affect Clyde at all - aside from some wetness in his lungs, he was really healthy!

She also checked me out and said that I didn't need any stitches!  I had torn just a tiny little bit, but it wasn't enough for even one stitch, so I was pretty happy about that!  The recovery after Clyde's delivery was probably my easiest yet, and that was a huge blessing.

We spent the next hour just enjoying our baby boy - I nursed him, and we called our families to tell them he was here!  I talked to my family right before they put Wyatt to bed, so I got to say goodnight to him over the phone and tell him that he would get to meet his baby brother the next day.  Clyde cried while we were on the phone, and Wyatt exclaimed "That's the new baby cryin'!"  It was so cute.

A couple hours after Clyde was born they moved us over to the mom and baby ward, and my favorite doctor, Dr. B, came by to see us!  She said they had gone out to dinner after the event with her kids, and she called in and found out we had the baby.  I joked about how she missed all my screaming, and she told me again how impressed she was with how I handled labor.  She oohed and aahed over Clyde and gave me a hug.  I was so glad she stopped by to meet him!

After that we settled in for the night.  We decided not to have any visitors that evening and just wait for the next day, and I'm so glad we did - it was nice to get the rest of the evening and night just to rest and recover, and it made me feel more ready for visitors the next day!  We watched "The Strangest Weather On Earth" on the Weather Channel (it really is an interesting show), and cuddled with Clyde. It was just a nice time for the three of us.

The next morning I took a shower, we got Clyde a bath, had his hospital pictures taken, and then it was time for visitors!  My parents came with Wyatt and Gwen, and I was really excited to have the kids meet their baby brother.  Gwen was interested in the baby, maybe a little unsure, but she was sweet about it and smiled at him.  We let Wyatt "hold" the baby on his lap, and he had this huge grin on his face!  He was pretty excited.  My mom told me that he had talked about "going to see Baby Clyde" all the way to the hospital!

We had several more visitors, including Derek's mom and dad, his sister, my sister and brother-in-law, my grandma and aunt and cousins, and our friends Scott and Danae, and Jed and Ashley.  This hospital stay felt a lot more relaxed to me than in the past, I think because the nurses left us alone more.  
On Sunday morning, we decided to go home, and of course it started to snow!  We just drove slowly though, picked up the kids from my parent's house, and went home all together for the first time as a family of five!

The kids have been doing great with Clyde, and we've been trying to make sure they get plenty of attention from us too.  Derek has been working from home this week, so it's been nice to have him around while I try to get used to handling three kids!  

The first few night were pretty rough, but we finally figured out that Clyde likes light and noise while he sleeps - so a couple new night lights for his room and the Sound Sleeper app have seemed to do the trick!  He even went a 7.5 hour stretch the other night, right around his one week birthday, which was such a nice treat after all those almost-sleepless nights.

Thinking back over his birth, I am just so thankful at how everything worked out.  I can really see how the Lord worked through every situation that week and answered all of our prayers!  

-Derek was only two hours away instead of seven hours like he was supposed to be originally.

-I didn't go into labor while I was at work (which was actually one of my worries).

-Derek was able to be there for the majority of my labor and for the birth.

-We made it to the hospital at the perfect time, the nurses were all so supportive of my wish to have a natural birth.

-The Lord protected Clyde through a kind of scary situation with the placental abruption.  

I am just so thankful at how God worked out all the details for us.  It really couldn't have gone much better!  Now we are just enjoying our time with our sweet baby Clyde, and I am so thankful to have my little surprise baby in my arms!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Clyde's Birth Story - Part One

Usually I just post the entire birth story in one post, because I feel bad splitting it up and making you all wait - but for some reason Clyde's story ended up being realy long, so I'm making this two posts instead of one!

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Before I dive into Clyde's birth story, let's go over a few surrounding details, shall we?

As most of you know, Derek has to travel a lot for his job.  Throughout my pregnancy we were pretty stressed out about this, because we knew he was scheduled to be traveling 5+ hours away during the last few weeks of my pregnancy - and my entire labor with Gwen was 5.5 hours!  I was so afraid that if he was gone when I went into labor he wouldn't make it in time for the birth.  We tried talking to his bosses about working from home for a week or two, but they said it just wasn't possible, and we felt stuck.

In the last month one of the clients Derek had to work with rescheduled (thank you Lord!), and we knew he would only be a couple hours away during week 38 of my pregnancy (instead of the original 7 hours away).  I was so hoping to go into labor before the end of that week.  If he didn't come by 39 weeks, Derek would 5 hours away the week before my due date.

By the time I hit 38 weeks I was pretty stressed about going into labor before Derek had to be gone again, and I was trying all my tricks - walking, eating spicy food, etc.  I thought it might have worked on April 7th when I started having contractions - I called Derek and my mom and they rushed home. But the contractions didn't get any stronger, and they were gone four hours later.  It was so discouraging.  Derek and I just kept praying that the Lord would let the baby come before he had to be gone, and that he wouldn't miss the birth.

On Thursday, April 10th, I decided to take the kids down to the mall and walk around a little bit.  Wyatt and Gwen are such good little shopping buddies - they love riding around in our double stroller, and I thought the pushing and walking would surely do some good.  So we walked and shopped, and I bought Wyatt and me a chai latte to drink at this little shop in the mall (well, actually mostly for me, but I let Wyatt have sips).

Right as we sat down to drink it, I got a text from my friend, Danae, saying that she felt like she should be praying for me right then, so that was what she was doing.  I thought that was so sweet, though I was so wishing I could have told her that I was in labor at that moment!  It meant a lot to me though.  We finished our latte, walked a little more, then packed up and went home.

My mom came over later that night - she had stayed with me a couple nights that week since Derek was gone, and the plan was for her to be there on Thursday night since I had to go to work the next day.  I was feeling bummed, because the whole week I was hoping to not be going to work that Friday - I was hoping to be taking care of a new baby instead!  But I had resigned myself to it.

That evening, a couple things happened.  First I got a phone call from Derek - he had received an e-mail from one of his bosses saying that they decided to have him work from home the next week, instead of traveling 5 hours away!  To say I was thrilled was an understatement!  It was a huge "PTL" (Praise The Lord!) as we used to call it!  I was so thankful that the Lord had worked out that detail for us, and that I wouldn't have to stress anymore about going into labor by a certain date.  It was a huge relief.

The other thing that happened was that Wyatt threw up.  It was so sad.  I rushed him to the bathroom and leaned him over the toilet, and he was whimpering. It broke my heart.  Later he told Derek what happened over the phone - he said he "had oatmeal in his tummy" (it wasn't really oatmeal), and that he "dumped it in the toilet".  It was so cute to hear him describe the incident in his own words - he is growing up so much.

After he threw up he still wasn't feeling well, and I knew I didn't want to leave him the next morning if he was still sick.  Then I started feeling a little nauseous myself, so I decided to call work and tell them I wouldn't be in the next day.  It's a good thing I did, because Wyatt threw up again that night, and my nausea got worse and worse until I was throwing up too. I also had stomach cramps and other unpleasant symptoms.  It was a pretty miserable night.  

I thought that the chai latte we drank must have had spoiled milk or something. It was the only thing that both Wyatt and I had eaten that day.  I remembered Danae's text and wondered if this was why she was supposed to pray for me.

We made it through the night, and Wyatt seemed much better - I, on the other hand, was still feeling pretty awful by morning.  I was still having stomach cramps and felt like throwing up - I couldn't even think about eating breakfast, so my mom bought me a Slim Fast drink and crushed ice from the gas station instead.  I could only get half the Slim Fast drink down.  It was not fun.

I had a doctor's appointment that day.  We decided to head over to my mom's house and hang out there for a little bit in the morning.  My sister was coming over too, and the plan was for us all to head down for my doctor's appointment later that afternoon.  I wanted Wyatt to come to the doctor's appointment with me if it was going to be my last one, because he always got so excited to "listen to the new baby" through the doppler.

I pretty much parked myself on the couch at my mom's house and nursed my cup of ice while the kids played and watched Milo and Otis.  I was not feeling good at all.

My sister gave me weird looks, and I heard her talking to my mom about how she didn't think that I was still feeling bad because of the drink - she thought the nausea and cramps might be early labor.  I brushed her off, because I was pretty sure it was just the bad latte.  The cramps just felt like cramps, not contractions.

But that all changed pretty quickly.

Right around 11:30 I had a "cramp", but it definitely felt like a contraction.  I looked at the clock and waited, and a few minutes later I had another cramp that felt like a contraction.  My mom and sister were getting things ready for us to go, and the cramps kept getting more contraction-like.  I told my mom and sister that I thought we should probably just head down then. 

We all piled in the car, and I was pretty stressed out.  I had been timing the contractions, and even though they were still very mild, they were only about 4 minutes apart!  I called Derek and told him that I thought he should probably leave to come meet us, and he started to wrap things up at work so he could leave.

My doctor had been pretty adamant about me coming in at the first contraction, and even though I had that false labor on Monday, I could tell these contractions were different.  I went ahead and called my doctor to tell them we were coming down.  They said to head straight over to the hospital, since we were about an hour and twenty minutes away, and they thought it might move fast.

All the way down I timed the contractions, and they stayed steady at 4 minutes apart, but they started to get a little stronger.  I started sow-breathing through them.  Thankfully at this point my nausea had faded quite a bit.  I decided I should probably eat something before I headed to the hospital, so we stopped and my mom got me a smoothie.  We arrived at the hospital and parked in front of the emergency room to wait for Derek to get there, with me sipping my smoothie in between contractions.  I was really worried that I would drink it and then throw it up again, but it actually made me feel even better, and my nausea was soon completely gone.

I remember just sitting, chatting with my mom and sister, and then when a contraction came on I would stare at this smiley-face balloon that was tied to a stop sign across the street.  The contractions had definitely gotten stronger at this point, but it was that good, solid kind of contraction pain, completely manageable.  I just stared at that balloon and breathed through contractions.

Derek, in the meantime, was speeding through traffic, frantic to get to the hospital in case my labor went as quickly as it did with Gwen.  Finally he arrived, but I convinced him to go get himself some lunch before we went in.  It was about 1:30 by this point, and I knew the contractions weren't strong enough that we had to go in right that second.

Once Derek had eaten, I got out of the car, and we started to get our bags out so we could get checked in.  But after I stood up and moved around some, the contractions were suddenly way lighter - they were only lasting about 20 seconds instead of 40-50, and I could walk and talk through them, instead of having to breath.  I started to worry that maybe this really was false labor after all, and I was so discouraged.  My mom and sister thought we should try walking around the hospital before we went in to see if we could get them to pick up some, and I thought that was a good idea.   

I told Wyatt I was going to go have the new baby, and he was so cute about it.  We said goodbye to them, kissed the kids, and they left.  I was glad I got to spend some of early labor with my mom and sister, and I loved having Wyatt and Gwen to talk to and hug and kiss - I was sorry to see them go, and I was still hoping that this was the real deal.

Derek and I put our bags in his car and started walking around the hospital grounds - but it seemed like the more we walked, the easier my contractions got, though they were still 4 minutes apart.  I was really discouraged at this point, but I think a part of me still knew that this wasn't a false alarm.  We stopped by the bathroom on our way around the hospital, and I took one last belly picture:

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We had just finished our first lap around the outside of the hospital when I got a call from my doctor's office.  It was one of the nurses saying that she had received a call from the hospital wondering where we were (I thought they might be freaking out a bit, considering my history of not making it there).  I told them that we were there, we were just walking around outside because my contractions had slowed down a bit.  It was almost 2:30 by now, which was the time of my original doctor's appointment, so the nurse asked us if we wanted to come into the office to get checked out.  I didn't even think of this before, so I was happy we could at least go there for a quick check!  The office building is right next to the hospital, so we walked over.

We went in and sat in the waiting room, and I noticed that the contractions were worse when I was sitting down.  We were brought back to the exam room, and I started getting emotional because I really didn't want it to be false labor.  My favorite doctor (we'll call her Dr. B), came in right after I teared up.  Dr. B and I have really good rapport, and she asked if I was in pain, and I told her no, that I was just frustrated about the contractions slowing down.  She was really sympathetic and said she would go ahead and check my cervix.  

She told me I was at 4 cm, and I thought that was really encouraging!  I was hoping for at least a 4, since at my last appointment I had been at 2 cm.    She told us we could head over to the hospital, but if we didn't want to go yet she wanted us to stay close while things progressed. 

We told her we had been thinking about going to a movie theater.  This was part of the "birth plan" that Derek and I had discussed before - that we might go to a movie in early labor so we could be close the hospital (since we live an hour away), but not in the hospital.  Dr. B got this funny look on her face and said she didn't know about a movie - she suggested maybe we just get something to eat first and see where we were.  So Derek and I decided to go get some ice cream.

We walked back over the hospital, climbed in the car, and drove two minutes over to Baskin Robbins.  Right after we got in the car my contractions spaced out to 6 minutes apart, but all of a sudden they were more painful again.  

I didn't really want a whole ice cream to myself, so we decided to split one.  I just waited in the car while Derek ran in to buy it, because I didn't want to have a contraction in the middle of Baskin Robbins.

The contractions had definitely taken a step up in intensity just in those few minutes, and I started doing my "he he" breathing through them.  After Derek came back out to the car I made him wait until I had my next contraction to drive back over the the hospital, because I didn't want to be driving while I was dealing with a contraction.  It amazed me how quickly things got more painful.  It happened suddenly with Gwen too, but it still surprised me.

We ate a little bit more of our ice cream in the hospital parking lot, but I knew that we shouldn't wait too much longer to go in.  I was already not looking forward to trying to check in through my contractions.  We finished up, grabbed our bags, and headed in. . .

Look for Part Two tomorrow!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Basket Ideas For Toddlers


 I'm still working on the birth story post for Clyde - I'm hoping to have it up next week!  In the meantime I wanted to get this post up about the kid's' Easter baskets, because I always have so much fun picking out stuff for them.  Stay tuned for more on Baby Clyde!

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I'm really looking forward to Easter this year.  I feel like Wyatt is understanding more and more.  The other day we were talking about how Easter is the day that Jesus came back to life, and he has brought it up a few times since then!  He was also pretty interested in his Easter basket "presents", but I know more and more about Jesus is sinking in too, and that is what is most exciting to me.

Anyway, we went shopping for the kid's Easter baskets the other day, so I wanted to post some of the things we picked out!  The best part is that most of the things I found for their baskets only cost $1 - I like that price!  So here are my (inexpensive) Easter basket ideas for toddlers.


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If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart book - Alright, we already had this book, but I wanted to post it here because it's one of my favorites.  I can't even explain it, you just have to read it.  It makes me cry every time, and I think it's such a sweet little book for an Easter basket, so I thought I'd recommend it now!

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Hot Wheels cars - Wyatt loves Hot Wheels cars - the other day at the store he grabbed one and was asking me if we could buy it, and I told him we'd have to wait.  So I'm going to sneak one or two into his Easter basket.  I love that he loves these, because they are only a dollar, and such an easy present that I know he'll like.

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Bubbles - What toddler does not like bubbles, I ask you?

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Ponies - Gwen picked out these little pony horses at the dollar store the other day - similar to My Little Ponies, but cheaper.  I want to try to find a couple more for her basket.  This is the first toy that she has actually picked out for herself, which I think is so cute!

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Water bottles - Thank you dollar aisle at Target.

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Fun dough - Or Play Doh, or silly putty.  Whatever you like best.

Flower growing kits - I found these at Target too and snapped them up.  I think it will be a fun project, for Wyatt especially, to water them and watch the flower grow!  Hopefully they actually do grow or it will be disappointing, but if these don't work I have some seeds and some soil in our shed we could use instead.

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Yogurt Melts - I just feel weird about putting too many jelly beans in the kids' Easter baskets.  Plus Gwen can't chew that stuff even if I did want to put it in her basket!  Yogurt melts are a good alternative, and my kids think they are candy anyway.  I just put a few in each of their plastic eggs!

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And I decided to change it up a little and put it all into these:

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Toddler Backpacks - These are Skip Hop backpacks - I had been eyeing them, but I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend $20 a piece on backpacks for the kids right now.  Then I was walking through JC Penny the other day, and spied these on clearance for $6.99 each!  Yes, please!  They only had the shark and the ladybug, but I wasn't going to complain if I could get them for such a good price!  Wyatt has been really into bags lately, and I think he'll love having his own little bag to carry his stuff around.

And Clyde is a little small yet for all this fun, but his favorite thing at the moment happens to be his pacifier - so I finally broke down and got him one of these:

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 He might get to use his before Easter though.


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What are you putting in your kids' Easter baskets?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guess Who's Here!


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Clyde Daniel was born on April 11th at 6:33 PM, weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz, 20 inches long!  

Everything went smoothly, Derek was there for most of the labor and for the birth, and we all are doing great!  Mr. Clyde has been such a content baby so far - he is perfect, and we are so in love with him! 

Thank you for all of your prayers - it has meant a lot to me to know you all were praying.  We feel so blessed to have him here!

Birth story coming soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Watched Pot And All That


Hey everyone!  No baby yet.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I had a round of false labor on Monday.  I had contractions about 10 minutes apart for four hours!  It was exactly how my labor with Gwen felt at the beginning, so I thought for sure this was "it".

I called my mom and Derek and they drove home to be with me.  Around midnight they convinced me that I should try to get a little rest, so we went to bed.  The contractions did continue for another hour and half or so - I know because I'd wake up with a contraction occasionally.  But they didn't get any stronger, and by morning they were pretty much gone.

I have never had false labor contractions before.  I don't like it.  I hope it doesn't happen again.

I've been feeling pretty much normal since then, and instead of obsessing and planning about when I'm going to go into labor, I decided to treat the rest of this week like a normal week.  I'm coping much better now.

I even scheduled some posts for next week even though I had been hoping to start the week off with a baby announcement.  But the watched pot never boils, and if I act like I'm not going to have the baby this week, then I'll be more likely to have the baby this week, right?  At least it seems like that's how it works.

I will say that the false labor mentally prepared me even more to have this baby here.  I can actually picture it now, I can imagine the weight of his little body in my arms, I can almost feel his little head snuggled under my chin.  I am ready.  Now if my body will just cooperate, we can do this thing!

Anyway, now that I've updated you on the littlest little's antics, I posted a couple pictures of Wyatt and Gwen on the photo blog.  I can't believe how big they are getting!  Also, it is so hard to photograph toddlers.  Wyatt's "cheese" face definitely looks fake, even if he does sit still long enough for me to capture it.  And Gwen will still look at the camera and smile, but she is constantly moving.  I chased them around the house for a while to get these!  They definitely keep me active, those ones!  Anyway, hop on over there to see their beautiful smiles.  Also, Wyatt looks so grown up these days.  *sigh*





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