Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gracelyn – 2 Months Old

(Please disregard that Gracelyn was 2 months old on Feb 1)

Gracelyn, dear sweet girl, I apologize in advance for any extra head bumps or misguided sibling love you may receive before you are able to fend off your brother’s energetic attempts at hugs or sweet forehead kisses. While they are meant-well and done with the utmost sincerity, your brother has the grace of a bull in a china shop. It can all be summed up with: he means well.

You are fitting well into our little family. You do so well at chilling on your own, which is so helpful when brother needs a little extra attention or when I’m trying to make supper. You’ll sit and watch everyone in your bouncy seat or with your head propped up on the boppy pillow. I’m thankful for that. We’ve also gotten to participate in a bible study at church and play group. Everyone always asks if you are always that good. The answer: yes.

You took your first long road trip to Okoboji, IA where you got to spend some quality time with some of your parents dear friends. Big brother went to grandma and papa’s house and you came with us. It was a nice trip and you did awesome at sleeping in the car. You also did awesome at supper out to eat where you proceeded to sleep through the entire thing. Your parents were grateful.

This month you also got to meet some more people. You also got to meet one of my kindest friends, Wendy, when we went to Okoboji. You also got to meet a couple of momma’s work friends and your great uncle Dave and great aunt Cathy. They’re all fantastic people.

Baby girl, you are teeny-tiny. We took you to your 2 month well-child check and you are a little munchkin. You are up to 10 pounds, which puts you in the 14th percentile. For height you are 21.5 inches long (9th percentile) and your head circumference is 39 centimeters (68th percentile). Your brother was gargantuan in comparison.

Sleeping. You are doing great! You will regularly sleep until at least 6 AM and even then I sometimes get grumpy about you being up early. But brother bear and dad enjoy when you are up before they leave in the morning. Typically you’ll take one long snooze, around 3-4 hours, in which you sleep hard. The rest of your naps just aren’t nearly as good. But I’m not complaining, you could be doing much worse. We finally started swaddling you with a swaddle wrap or what Lance calls “a baby straight jacket.” It’s been a good thing.

Eating. You aren’t too bad at nursing. You seem to have gotten over falling asleep while nursing but sometimes you just decide that you aren’t hungry enough to eat on both sides. I’m trying to do some extra pumping so I have a little stored up, but I haven’t been nearly as gung-ho about pumping during maternity leave like I was with Lucan. Simply because pumping sucks. Yep. We’re still giving you gas drops regularly with a side of Gerber colic drops (for the probiotics) and the occasional dose of gripe water. We need to work on improving your bottle skills. You seem to think bottles aren’t what the cool kids are up to.

Wearing. Baby girl is wearing much of her newborn outfits still but is beginning to fit into some of her 0-3 month clothing. That’s exciting for me as this girl has more new clothes than all the rest of us times five.

Milestones. Social: little shy smiles, especially in the morning and just after naps. Loves daddy!

Language: starting to coo a little bit. It’s adorable.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

31 Things in January (better late than never)

So much to be thankful for ...
  1. A delightful lunch out with my parents. Kid free lunches are few and rare.
  2. Target dates.
  3. Maternity leave. I’m dreading March 2 when I have to go back to work.
  4. Friends who have come to visit during the day.
  5. Family time.
  6. A weekend in Okoboji with good friends.
  7. The first massage in over a year.
  8. The return of Downtown Abbey and The Bachelor!! #princefarming
  9. Little voices who say “mommy, I just love you.”
  10. Mommy play dates.
  11. Grandmas and Grandpas.
  12. Church potlucks.
  13. A clean bill of health from my doctor.
  14. Other than a few sniffles, no major illnesses.
  15. Snow (Lance is NOT thankful for snow)
  16. Naps.
  17. Normal days and weeks.
  18. A baby who sleeps.
  19. Visiting a dear high school friend and seeing her beautiful house for the first time.
  20. for doing daily devotionals.
  21. Sweatshirts that feel like hugs
  22. A sweet big brother who loves his little sister
  23. Amazon Prime
  24. DELICIOUS appetizer night at small group where we all loaded up on yummy munchies
  25. Being able to be a part of a Bible study while I’m on maternity leave
  26. Coffee. I broke down and bought a used Keurig off of a FB swap site and am so thankful for it! (I’m thankful enough to want to list it twice!)
  27. Having an understanding husband who didn’t murder me when I had a “small” car accident involving the Traverse and our garage door.
  28. Getting to attend a baby shower for a sweet friend who is expecting twin boys any day now!
  29. A kind sister-in-law and parents in-law who took care of Lu for a weekend
  30. For being brave enough to take Lu and Grace out to eat on our own. It went quite well, surprisingly enough
  31. 13 weeks of maternity leave!!

And January in pictures:
It's so cold outside mommy!

Sister needs a helper. Okay ...
Jessie mistook me for a 65 year-old man at Fareway :(

Polka dots :)

Favorite Christmas ornament - photo by Katie Evans Photography. Ornament by Shutterfly.

Peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. How many things can YOU cram into the title of a cookie?

So tired! But if you try and lay me down for a nap I will instantly awaken.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Hi Mom! I found your secret stash of chips!

After a middle of the night feeding I found Lance encroaching on my side of the bed.

Quick nap in momma's arms.

Looking lovely by way of the ladies of small group.

Car nap after playing hard at Lance's parents' farm. After he awoke he was a hot mess that included slobber and shrieking for 45 minutes in the car.

Big brown eyes.

Enthralled by Wild Kratts and his new marker book from Wendy.


This cat somehow knew I had just washed the duvet cover. Thanks Fire. Glad you found a warm soft place to nap.

Lots and lots of art. Woe to the mother whose son finds his projects in the recycling basket.

Foaming at the mouth.

Little sister doesn't know how lucky she is. She has big brother's favorite green blankie and beloved "Pete the Penguin."

Baby smiles.

Saturday morning, way too early. Scrambled eggs and play dough.

He only eats out of green bowls. It's irritating.


Dad left us to go to an ISU basketball game. We were reduced to selfies for entertainment.

Cherry Berry as a family reward for good behavior = sugar high = sugar crash.

He dropped two gummy worms on the floor and ate them before I could stop him. However I was able to stop him from eating the m&ms that he found in the corner of the couch.

This is my thinking face, mommy.

Take a picture! Take a picture!

10 inches of snow. Church was canceled. Lance deemed this the type of snow that gives men in the sixties heart attacks.

Mushroom spinach focaccia bread pizza for the Superbowl. Def the food of football players.

I bought Lu bath crayons and bath paints for Christmas. Did you know if you remove the "t" from "paint" it spells "pain"? There's a reason for that.

One afternoon I got an itch to organize Gracelyn's closet. It was a stupid idea.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ode to Lance and Nursery Reveal

Lance. My husband. He’s a character. He’s a great dad. He’s intense about supporting his losing sport teams (ie: the Twins, the Vikings and ISU). He’s probably the most honest person I know. Lance is kind and patient (especially with strangers - he has a tendency to think his massively pregnant wife and needy three year-old son are a bit needy). He’ll stop by the side of the road and help push a car off to the side, offer to try and diagnose a problem or simply ask if they need a ride somewhere. Sometimes in the evenings he’ll get home late and I’ll ask him if work was busy or if traffic was bad and he’ll tell me that there was a car off to the side of the road with its emergency flashers on and he stopped to see if they needed help. Lance is that Good Samaritan that Jesus talks about in the Bible. 

Above all, Lance is hardworking. He cares about doing a good job. To the point of anal retentiveness. BUT this does ensure that things are done right (rather than the slipshod way I have a tendency to do things). Case in point: both of the baby nurseries. With Lucan’s nursery, Lance begrudgingly put up wainscoting. It turned out fantastic and is a great addition to the room. Except for the one part where Lucan, as an 18 month old, repeatedly tore off the wall during nap time. Lance meticulously cut out all of the pieces and trim work and made a great baby nursery. This time around I requested a wall of stripes. Lance happily complied (I think he was relieved that I didn’t ask for more wainscoting). True to Lance’s nature, he meticulously taped and re-taped and used his level to mark off the stripes. 6 hours, 4 stripes and 1 wall later, he was done. And it was fab. He’s vowed that he will never do stripes again. Ever. Even when I asked really nicely if he thought it would look to cool to do stripes on the opposite wall. Sometimes you have to know when to stop asking for favors :)
The theme of Gracelyn's nursery is repurposing. Or gray and pink. We repainted the walls gray and did a gray and white stripe accent wall with pink accents.

I really tried to repurpose stuff we already had and spend minimal on things that would make the biggest bang. We reused Lucan's crib, the rocking chair and cushion, the end table, the floral shelf, the dried flower window arrangement and the changing table pad.

 I recovered the pillow you see in the rocking chair with a remment I found at Hancock Fabrics. It cost something like $3.50 and took me 15 minutes to sew. The gray knit blanket was a baby shower gift from my small group friends.


The dresser/changing table is actually the dresser that goes with Lucan's bedroom set. But because this dresser is bigger and Gracelyn's closet is filled with my clothes (yes, I know) we decided to use this dresser in Gracie's room. The changing table pad is from Target. The pink polka dot curtains are supposed to be blackout curtains. They aren't really. They're from JcPenny. I had fallen in love with some from Pottery Barn Kids (go figure everything from PB kids is fab) but they were more than double than what I spent at JCP. I think I spent a total of like $60 on curtains, which was one of the bigger expenses for Grace's nursery.

The laundry hamper is from 3 Sprouts, purchased off of Citrus Lane. I guess a partial theme is pink polka dots :) Lance thought it was ridiculous that Grace needed her own laundry basket because Lu already has one and so do we. Am I the only person where everyone had their own dirty clothes hamper? I just imagine everyone's clothes in a heap in the corner without one.

My favorite thing in the nursery, hands down, is her crystal raindrop mobile. It's so pretty and girlie.  For the longest time I was just going to make a simple mobile because I was too cheap to order this one. But my mom really wanted to buy something "fun" for Gracelyn and we both decided this fit the bill. I ordered it from the etsy shop, the Mobile Maven. We ordered it on Black Friday and got a killer discount from being a FB follower. Love, love, love.

Oh this pink elephant. I purchased this elephant probably eight years ago in hopes that someday we would have a daughter. God heard my wish. The shelf was an impulse purchase made at the Container Store pre-budget. This is the first time we've actually used it. The vase is repurposed from IKEA.

I purchased new pink and gray sheets from Target on sale. The crib skirt, which is hard to see, is just a plain white, three tiered skirt also from Target. The sleep sheep is from Lucan's days and was a dollar at a garage sale.

Aren't Lance's stripes pretty and very well done? Yay Lance!
The circle garland I made from pink and gray paint chip samples and a circle punch I borrowed from my boss. I sewed all the circles together with just a long stitch on my sewing machine. Easy- peasy because all I can sew are straight lines.

And lastly this is a dried floral arrangement I made back in my 4-H days. Really, all I can take credit for is arranging the flowers as my dad sanded and did the crackle painting of the window. But that's neither here nor there. If you ask most 4-H parents, they would admit to "helping" their kids with their projects.
This concludes the grand tour of Gracelyn's nursery. Consider yourself toured :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gracelyn's Birth Story

Labor and delivery.

If there is one thing you can count on about birthing a baby is that you can’t count on anything (is that an oxymoron?) Seriously, the only thing to expect is the unexpected. With Lucan’s birth, I arrived at the hospital at 10 cm, missing my epidural and pushed for four hours. AWFUL. At my 39 week appointment, my doctor was asking me about Lucan’s delivery and when I relayed that tidbit to him, he put it at the top of my chart as a warning to whichever doctor was on call for this baby. It was a good thing that he did too. But we’ll get there.
Per my SOP, my plan was to work up until the very end. I asked my doctor at my 39 week appointment if he thought I would make it to my due date. His guess was no, but it was a very reluctant no because there’s nothing so inaccurate as a due date. Because I went into labor with Lucan on my due date, I really had zero guesses as to when baby girl would make her arrival which caused all of us much trepidation. There was part of me that hoped I would have her over Thanksgiving while all our family was in town and we wouldn’t have a last minute scramble to find care for Lucan. But of course that wasn’t the case.

I went into work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Monday morning and worked a normal day. When I went to pickup Lucan from daycare at 4:30 I was starting to have “twinges.” Then at 5:30 pm I called Lance and told him not to dilly-dally around work and to get his butt home. Of course at this point I was finishing up supper and trying to finish packing the last of our stuff to take to the hospital. Lance scurried home and I told him that he needed to text our friends to come and watch Lu. Then I told him that he should call my parents to let them know that they would need to come back to Des Moines tomorrow to pickup Lu from daycare. We finally got a hold of our friends who were going to watch Lucan and scooted off to the hospital. I had a hard time leaving our house in a mess (I really wanted to clean up the supper dishes and change the sheets on the guest bed) but in the midst of contractions I knew better.
My OB had told me that second babies always go faster than the first ones so if I wanted my epidural to not wait around at home like I did last time. Lance called our OB’s office to let them know we were headed into the hospital and to also find out which doctor was on call for the evening. Going to a big practice, I had no idea which doctor would be on call when the time came. I was delighted to find out that it was actually a doctor I had seen before – Dr. McEntaffer. When we arrived at the hospital around 8:45 pm there were three of us who were checking in all at the same time. The nurse asked how far apart my contractions were and said that based on that info I still had awhile. In my head I skeptically commented that we would see. One of the other “women” (she was 18 but I suppose if you’re going to have a baby you get to be a “woman” and not a girl) was fairly frantic. I later found out that she had been into the hospital six other times in false labor and wasn’t actually in labor that night either. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the girl because if she was frantic in false labor, real labor was not going to be good. 

They finally got me settled in a room and finished the check-in process. The nurses have to ask what your highest level of education completed which I remembered from the last time. But this time I had the sense of humor to ask what that had anything to do with having a baby. The nurse had no good answer for me. At this point Dr. McEntaffer arrived, asked me a few questions and then checked me to see how far dilated I was. She had commented that when she was reviewing my chart she had seen Dr. Osborn’s note about me arriving at the hospital dilated to a ten and knew she needed to hustle her buns to the hospital. She was surprised to find I was dilated to seven based on how well I was taking contractions. We talked about my birth plan because Lance had left the camera in the car and had already made one separate trip and inadvertently my birth plan had also gotten left in the car and Lance was not about to make another trip.  I was still on the fence about the epidural because I knew I was capable of having a baby without one and because I knew that my hospital bill would be cheaper without one (Lance later told me that the money reason was not a valid reason to forgo the epidural). The doctor advised me that she thought that if they broke my waters I would go fast enough to not need the epidural. So I bravely went without. Famous last words.
Fast forward an hour and a half. Lance tried to get a cup of coffee. Instead he received a death glare from me and was told he could drink odorless water. After she broke my waters, labor started progressing a lot faster and contractions started hurting more. A lot more. Not enjoyable. Then it came time to push. Pushing sucks. Plain and simple, sucks. I know I’ve heard from other women the act of pushing has been a relief because they feel like they’re finally getting somewhere. Let it be said, I am not one of those women. After two pushes I started panicking. Panicking that I couldn’t do this. Fortunately my doctor swooped in and said that I would not be pushing for four hours with this baby, that I would push four TIMES. She wasn’t quite right, but that was the motivation I needed to meet my daughter. One more push and Gracelyn Elizabeth made her way out into the cold, bright world. APGAR score of nine!

But we’re not quite done yet.
There was quite a bit of bleeding that continued after Gracelyn arrived. To quote my doctor, I was “gushing” blood. A lot of blood. They checked my placenta to make sure it was intact, but they couldn’t pinpoint why I was losing so much blood. So they gave me two shots of something, one in each leg to help stop the bleeding. I also got three bags of pitocin. This was in the midst of being stitched up from my second degree tears. I didn’t remember the stitching hurting so much with Lucan. But it was at this point I used a couple of expletives. But the thing that was the worse: uterine massage. It’s one of the things they do to help decrease bleeding. Don’t be fooled by the word “massage” though. It really just means the nurses are basically punching you in the stomach. It hurts like a bee-otch. And when I say hurts like a bee-othch I mean it. This is coming from the lady who has done two natural childbirths. I was fine with the world until they started my “massages.” Sadly I had almost three hours of being punched after I delivered Gracelyn. Three hours of massage at five minute intervals is no picnic. During the punching period I gripped Lance’s hand for all I was worth. Lance thought I was going to break his fingers.

Finally at 1 AM they released me from the labor and delivery floor and let me go down to the Mom and Baby floor to recover. But my fun wasn’t over. Somehow the nurse thought 1:30 AM would be the perfect time to go through a hospital questionnaire. It wasn’t. Lance was super ticked. He just wanted sleep. We both wanted sleep. I would have thought sleep would have came naturally to my poor exhausted body, but with all of the nights antics sleep would not come. I was awake until 6 AM, tossing and turning and praying in vain for rest. And that is the story of Gracelyn’s entrance into the world!                                                                                                                                                    
First moments in the world.


Dr. McEntaffer and us girls
The following photos were taken by my coworker, Crystal Newcomb - check her out at