Monday, August 25, 2008

Settling in.

Well, it's been three and a half weeks now since we added little Mason to our family and I can tell that we're all getting settled in.

Georgia, who initially didn't quite know what to make of him or the whole situation, is now fully into loving on the little guy. She calls him "my new beebee" most of the time and loves to kiss, hug and hold him. (The first week or two she was all about just checking him out occasionally, but wasn't real interested in touching him much.) She also must be listening quite closely to what I say because I noticed today that when he started fussing, she immediately said "Hold on, Mason beebee. Mommy be WIGHT there!" Poor little third baby -- even Georgia knows he has to hold on for a minute or two at least 80% of the time. She is working on the whole potty training deal, which given the family circumstances at the moment, is not going all that badly. She is also cutting her two year molars which stinks. (This is actually the reason I'm up at 3 am right now -- not Mason, actually. I think she is FINALLY going back to sleep, but I am not convinced enough to lay back down yet, so I decided to sneak in a little blog time.)

Mitchell is still all about being a great big brother. He absolutely LOVES to hold him, read to him, and try to make him smile. Might I also suggest, as an aside -- if you are having trouble with a hygiene routine with your little might consider adding a new baby to the family! He has never needed so few reminders to wash his's wonderful! Really though, he will put the boppy pillow on and hold his little brother for a long time. And I've noticed that Mason clues right in on Mitchell when he's around -- I'm guessing that his little shadow is already trying to figure out how to be just like his big brother!

Chris is back in the groove at work but I think it's still somewhat difficult to leave us. We all just got so comfortable with being together all of the time. His knee is healing really well and he's working hard on the rehab. His soccer team had their first game today so he went to watch them play. I think it darn near killed the man to have to just sit and watch...he is itchin' to get back in there! I have to give him a little shout out for a great idea that has worked really well for me. When he leaves each morning for work, he puts out what he calls "bird seed". He leaves a cup of juice in the fridge and a little bowl of dry cereal on the kitchen table for M and G and turns the tv to Noggin or PBS or something before he turns it off. Then, when the kids get up entirely too early for me, instead of coming to wake me up...they head downstairs where Mitchell gets the juice for them and all they have to do is turn the tv on. I always hear them get up, but it buys me an extra half hour or so of wake up time. It's marvelous, especially after nights like tonight! I'm hoping the whole DNC in Denver madness isn't too crazy for him this week - he works right downtown in the thick of it. He's so funny - he bought himself some extra stuff at Sam's Club today, "just in case" and is keeping it in his office. So if something goes down, know that my husband will be holed up in his office and able to sustain himself for quite a few weeks with granola and powdered lemonade.

As for me, I have to say that I'm actually doing fine. I just "got my hair did" as my best friend says...and instead of touching up my highlights like I planned to do, I actually took them out and went back to a full head of dark hair. It will lighten up, but it's pretty dark at the moment which still catches me by surprise when I see myself in the mirror, but I like it. My husband LOVES it which is nice -- I have been teasing him that he just likes having a new woman in the house. I feel really good physically and other than the usual being super tired by about 3pm each day, I'm managing with the lack of sleep okay. This week I need to get on the stick with trying to nail down a little more of a schedule with Mason. It's funny that I even say that because I'm a little anal about that sort of thing and I remember writing down the whole when they ate/slept/pooped deal with Mitchell and Georgia for weeks. I did it for about 3 days with Mason and that was because I knew I'd be too tired to tell the doctor about what was going on at his little checkup. Hopefully getting something a little more set this week will help us get off to a good start with school the following week. (Kindergarten, by the way. Kindergarten! How is this POSSIBLE??) I'm also getting back on my exercise horse this week. Starting out slow, but man -- I gotta do something. I am ready to pack 'em up and ship 'em out with regards to the maternity clothes, if you know what I mean. My run with "The Dinner Fairy" is coming to an end, and let me just say -- that right there is reason enough alone to join MOPS. What a gift to have your doorbell ring and see a smiling face holding a hot meal for your family, knowing that they really don't care if you have brushed your hair or cleaned your kitchen for days. Angels. All of them.

Mason, our sweet Mason -- has decided that he would like to grow as quickly as is humanly possible. We took him for his 2 week checkup (which was a little closer to three weeks, actually) and the child had already gained over 2 pounds from where he was when we left the hospital. Yes, that's right...2 pounds in less than 3 weeks. We could tell he'd put on some weight -- not only did he feel heavier, but he developed himself a nice double chin in a matter of days...I kid you not. He is a delight to have in our house and it's a rare thing when he full-on CRIES -- he usually just sort of fusses a bit here and there to test the waters. I've noticed that the fastest way to have him cry his little lungs out is to strap him in his car seat and go where he can't see you...this happens a lot as I usually have to make at least one or two trips to the car before I put him in there. Sippy cups, my purse, big kids, etc. By the time I get back in the house to get him, he's usually just howling. The second he hears and/or sees me, all is well. I'm still having issues with myself and putting the little man down. I just can't. I think he might eventually become stuck to my shoulder...we seem to have developed a little nook there, my baby boy and I. He loves snuggling in there and trust me, I don't fight it.

Well - I just went to check on Miss G and she's conked back out so I'm gonna climb back in bed for probably about an hour until he wants to eat again. I'll leave you with a picture of all three of our little buddies and a picture of Mason at 3 weeks.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I went to the grocery store.

Yes. With all three children! (And lived to tell about it, which I think is most noteworthy.)

Seriously, this outing was one of my biggest fears about having 3 kids...which sounds sort of silly...but truly -- I really was worried about it. So, yesterday when I discovered we were in dire need of a few things...I got brave.

It really wasn't bad. My hope was that one of those dumb car carts was available so that Big M and Miss G could drive themselves silly and Little M could ride in the seat part by me. Yeah. Two of them left -- neither of them had steering wheels. (WHY are they still out then??) So, they were walking.

I must admit, I am NOT above bribery in times like these. No siree, Bob. We headed straight to that cereal aisle and I told them they could each pick whatever box they wanted. You should have SEEN their eyes...they were huge and dancing with excitement! (I guess that's what happens when Mommy decides to let something else in the house besides oatmeal, honey nut cheerios and kix.) One box of Fruit Loops and one box of Cocoa Puffs later, we were making our way through the store...and I'm happy to report that it was a successful trip. They took turns grabbing things off of the shelves for me and putting them in the basket, and were equally helpful when I was putting the stuff up on the belt to get checked out! It was -- almost -- fun.

It's funny what becomes a big deal to you as a mom in times like these. I mean, really. It is somewhat sad to me that a simple trip to the grocery store was the highlight of my week. Well, it's a toss up between that and Georgia pooping on the potty for the first time, if that tells you anything.

I'm taking each moment as it comes and trying not to lose sight of the blessings I have under this roof. And the more that I think about it, I'm GLAD that the grocery store outing was such a big deal. It means that I'm right where I want to be doing what I know I was meant to do right now, and that's enough for me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Week One Reflections...

Well, I've officially survived my first week and a half as a Mommy to three children. That right there is a definite plus, don't you think?

My husband returns to work in the morning after three weeks at home with us. It has been just long enough to make it feel like a new way of life -- having him around and just having family time all the time. I am so very, very lucky that he was able to have that kind of time at home with us...I know that. But I won't lie. I'm already getting a little teary thinking about him walking out the door in the morning. We're all going to miss him so, so much. I think it might be a rough morning around here. I think I'll try and focus the kids' attention on doing something special for him though - maybe we'll make some special pictures or bake some treats. I just want to channel their feelings and energy into something that will make everyone feel better at the end of the day.

Anyway - I thought since true reality will hit me tomorrow, I would post a short update while I have the chance. Here are some of the happenings of our big first week together at home.

* My husband has taken a surprising (and completely unprompted) interest in styling Miss G's hair. I'm serious. He came to pick me up from the hospital and very proudly told me that he figured out how to put her hair in a ponytail for the first time. It was seriously cute. Since then, he's taken the initiative and done her hair most days and has even accepted some modeling and coaching from me. Who knew?

* Half of my family thought Mason's name was Nathan. I guess it sounds sort of similar on the phone or something. I believe everyone now knows that it's Mason, but still -- how funny would that be if we got a card or something for Baby Nathan? I giggle thinking about that.

* Georgia has definitely come around to the whole Big Sister and Baby Brother idea. She asks about him all of the time and frequently wants to hold and kiss Mason. The funniest thing to us is that she never seems to be able to see him when I'm nursing. I mean, my nursing boobs are big, but it's not like you can't see him there. She'll walk around all confused looking everywhere and look straight at me and say "Where's my Mason?" See. Now there's a girl for ya - looking anywhere BUT at the boobs. (If any of you watch that silly "Wipeout" show -- which is our new family favorite, by the way -- Chris had me laughing so hard one night. He said Georgia is like that crazy girl from Alaska who couldn't find the pole when it was sticking up right in front of her. It is JUST like that.)

* Mitchell is a great helper, just like we knew he would be. He is so smitten with his Baby Brother. Our favorite is when people come to see us or bring a meal over...he turns into sort of a mini Vanna White. He holds his hands up just like she does at the beginning of a new puzzle and says "And HERE is Mason. See? Here he is!" It's pretty cute. He also reads him books every day - and that gets me all misty. I mean, you just don't ever expect your "baby" to be big enough to read books (and I mean READ books) to a mini-him. Very strange. And special. And extraordinary. And bizarre. All at the same time.

* My husband looks pretty darn hot holding this little guy. What is it about the whole Daddy thing? He is a great Daddy and seeing him in action with all three of our special little kiddos just makes me weak in the knees.

* Can I tell you that I had forgotten just how much these little newborn people poop? Really. All. The. Time. Mitchell has gotten a complete kick out of the two times that I've gotten mega peed on. I thought he might have an accident himself the first time - he was laughing so hard. It got even more giggly when Mason started pooping on the changing table. I'm still trying to remember to cover that little fire hose with a washcloth every time I take his diaper off. I got out of the habit with Miss G.

* Mason is just about as sweet as he can be. I am finding it very difficult to put him down, not because he's fussy but because I know all too well how quickly it goes and how fast they grow. Right now, one of my very favorite things on the planet is true -- his little teeny bottom fits right in the palm of my hand when I hold him. *sigh* I just adore that. He is a complete snugglebug and I think that I might be setting myself up for trouble in the future, but I don't care. I am gonna hold and snuggle and love on that baby boy all I can.

So. There ya go. Just the tip of the iceberg but some of the latest happenings and learnings at our house. We are happy. We are in love. We are beyond blessed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

We have a baby!!

And it's a.............

very long story.

The labor -- well, the labor is its own little ball of wax. Nothing major, just long. And by long I mean 3 days of very little sleep and lots of contractions. We did end up being induced the night before, which was not fun for me at all. I wouldn't change a thing though, as it's all gone the way that I know it was supposed to.

Actually, as I was laying in bed Wednesday night, fighting through some very painful contractions for the third exhausting night in a row, I started to get discouraged. I started to doubt myself. I started to question the way it all was going. I started to cry and swirl negative thoughts around myself.

Then I realized what I was doing and heard my husband's voice in my head...he had been saying all along that we were going to be positive. We were going to say positive things. We were going to have the positive experience that we wanted. (When we were walking the halls of the hospital at 3 am Wednesday morning before they sent us home...I told you the labor was its own story...I told him that I was positive I wanted to go home and sleep.) He was asleep on the little pull out sofa bed in my room and had no idea that my sleeping pill had worn off when I started diving into my little negative pool. But I looked over at him and just knew he wouldn't stand for it -- if I woke him up to tell him what I was battling through -- and he would be right.

So. I made a decision to just knock it off and I went back to my word for the year. Trust. I made that the focus of my prayers that night. Trust in myself and my body. Trust in my husband. Trust in the doctors and nurses caring for myself and my baby. Trust in our family to care for Mitchell and Georgia. Most of all, trust in The Lord and His plans for all of the above.

My decision to meditate on and pray for the trust I so desperately needed to give myself over to resulted in a huge surge of the strength, hope and encouragement that I so very much needed at that time. It's the best thing I could have done for myself, and you know what? Things started to turn around shortly after I made that decision.

As long and drawn out and painful as my labor was, my delivery was equally as quick, painless and wonderful. I can honestly say that this was the best delivery of the three and that I would do it all again in a heartbeat without a second thought! One of my favorite things is that while we waited for the doctor to arrive (yes, I had to sit and breathe through some contractions and fight the urge to push!) I decided that I wanted Chris to tell me who this baby was. So, when the doctor finally arrived, I told him that I wanted it to be my husband who announced the news about it being a girl or a boy. That was a great decision -- it was so wonderful to hear the joy and see the delight in my husband's face as he pumped his fist and yelled

"Yes!! It's a boy!!"

I remember just crying and laughing, all at the same time and being about as full of happiness and gratitude as one person could be for the healthy new life that we were welcoming into this world and into our family.

Mason Lawrence arrived at 12:33 pm on Thursday, July 31st. He was 7 lbs, 12 oz and a lengthy 21 1/2 inches long. He has a head of black hair and is as sweet as can be. My mom made the comment this morning that we'll need to label all of the newborn pictures or we'll get his and Mitchell's mixed up -- he is the spitting image of his big brother. Well, except that Mitchell was totally bald. But put a hat on them, and it is a pretty striking resemblance.

We are beyond thankful that he is a healthy little man. Believe me, I don't take it for granted that we were able to stroll out the doors of that hospital with our baby boy just days after his birth. As we waited for the elevator to come, I said a special prayer for all of the mommies and daddies in this world who don't get to do the same thing, and an extra special prayer went out for those people in my life who have had very different endings to their own birth stories.

As I rode in the car after leaving the hospital, hand-in-hand with my very best friend in the world, we remarked how different our journey home has been with all three kids. The first time, I honestly couldn't believe they were letting us go home and wondered how they could be so certain that we could keep him safe and healthy without help. The second time, we were bathed in pink, marveling at how much things had already changed and how we just couldn't believe we had TWO children. This time, we left feeling happy and relaxed, grateful and proud. It was like the thing we never knew was missing was in place, and we were the last ones to know how good it would feel.

Well, Mason is beside me and starting to squirm around, which means he'll be ready to eat (again) in a minute. I'll leave with some pictures of our magical little guy and the very proud family into which he was born.