Monday, June 13, 2016

Vacation Bible School

My friend told me about a VBS going on at the First Baptist Church all this week that her kids were going to. I figured that would be fun for Chloe and Preslie (and Charlotte too, but they have to be 5).

I told the girls about it on Friday and they've been nervously excited all weekend. This morning they came downstairs dressed and ready to go, and the excitement was gone and it was all nerves. 

They weren't happy that they didn't get to be in a class together (they are grouped by their last grade completed) and were so nervous that I didn't know more information about it. (Would they get to play the whole time? Would they know anyone there? Are there snacks? Are you sure we can't be together? Why can't we just stay together?) 

We got them registered and to their assigned classes, and boy oh boy is it hard to drop them off and just walk away. I always just want to sit in the back and watch and make sure everyone is ok. We left Chloe first and her teacher just whisked her away and I didn't get to give her a hug or a final pep talk on how she would have fun, it would be over soon and not to worry. 

Preslie's drop off was a tiny bit better. We found their class and they were all singing songs about God and doing hand motions. I told her it was just like singing time and it would be so fun. Her teacher introduced her to another little girl and we left. 

Maybe the pep talk is something I need more than them, because it's so hard to know if you're doing the right thing! I kept thinking, "I should've lied and said they were in the same grade so they could be together... What if they're not ok and sad the whole time?... What if someone is mean and they don't tell the teacher to get help?" 

Being a parent is hard, and I second guess myself on my decisions every. single. day. I keep thinking surely this whole parenting thing is going to get easier soon, right? But it keeps getting harder instead. 

Walking away from them today I kept reminding myself this is the whole point of being a parent. Situations that cause you and your child to grow. Situations that stretch you and make you uncomfortable. Learning and taking risks - even when those risks are just going without your sister. That's a big risk for them. 

I feel like it's the first day of school all over again! I can't wait until the end of the week when we're all a little bit more confident, stretched and brave. 

Friday, April 15, 2016


Maggie started walking a few weeks ago! She still prefers crawling more than anything else, but if she's near furniture she always is up walking holding onto it. She also loves climbing the stairs and taught herself how to go down them which is exciting! She is go-go-go and into everything all the time. I always said Charlotte was preparing me for a boy because she was so busy and curious but she was really just preparing me for Maggie! Charlee has nothing on this babe. Maggie is constantly into one thing or another. As soon as I get her away from making one mess, she's already made another one. 
She fell asleep in her car seat, so when we got home I got her out and she nuzzled right in. This is why I don't know if I could ever be done having babies! I'll take the mess any day, but I will forever miss the love babies show you when mine don't anymore!! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zoo Day

Today I got to go with Preslie on her kindergarten field trip to the zoo! She was SO excited. And SO excited I was going to come with her. Unfortunately, I was stuck in major traffic trying to get off the freeway into the Dallas zoo. I texted Cody, "I think all of Dallas is trying to get into the zoo today!" And he texted back, "Last year they went to the Fort Worth zoo. Are you sure it's not that one?" So when I finally was pulling into the parking lot, I called my friend Kristi, who was also going. She confirmed - FW zoo. I was SO MAD!! I finally got there after an extra 40 minute drive and THEN we started having a great time! 

Preslie said her favorite was feeding the birds. They have this big bird sanctuary and you can pay to get a little stick with peanut butter and bird seed on it. I didn't buy any (much to the dismay of the other little girl who was with us who kept asking me to buy everything in the place), but we were lucky to find some that other people had left behind. I even got a bird to sit on my stick as it was eating so that was fun! 
It was so funny to listen to the kids as they looked at all the animals. When we were looking at the giraffes they couldn't get enough of the ducks that were in the little pond near them. I didn't hear one thing about giraffes - it was all, "Oooh!!! Look at the ducks!!! Here comes a duck! Why are that duck's eyes red?..." 
With they lions - who didn't do anything! At the end we had to just rush through because we ran out of time. I asked Preslie if she wanted to stay with me so we could go through and look at what we missed and play more, but she said no, she wanted to ride the bus. She's growing up and wants to be with her friends more than her mom! I love that sweet girl!! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Miss Maggie May

No, her middle name is not May, but that is my name for her! It just fits and I'm always saying it!

Maggie is 8 months old today! I can't believe she's so old! (Relatively old, but still.) Cody and I were talking about how it seems like she's really been here forever - I feel like she should be 5 years old by now. But I still want to pause time and have her be my little teeny, tiny baby all the time. Except for the middle of the night. We're sleep training and she is going in spurts of doing fantastic and sleeping all night, to, like last night, screaming for 2 hours straight. That was super fun, by the way. 

At 8 months old, Maggie...
*Can clap! As of yesterday!! She was sitting on the floor with Preslie and Charlotte and all of a sudden they started screaming, "she's clapping!!" It was pretty exciting and now I'm thinking her first word will be "Yay!!" Because that's all we say to get her to do her trick. 
*Wave, but not on command
*Has two teeth - bottom front two
*Crawls like a mad man
*Pulls up (and sometimes walks along) on all the furniture, and her bed in the middle of the night when she's screaming her head off 
*We've decided she definitely has red hair!!! Sooooo excited about this one. 
*Loves eating everything EXCEPT baby food (but including any and everything she finds on the ground). I think she doesn't like that there is no texture...maybe because the first food I gave her was pizza crust. Whoops. Cody said I'm ruining her. We're working on it. (Fixing her eating habits - not ruining her) 
*Loves her family!! Anytime you say "Hi, Maggie!!" In an excited, high voice, she gives the biggest smiles. Charlotte is the best at it, but I'm still pretty sure I'm her favorite ;) 
*Loves loves loves the swings! Cody put her in the swings a few weeks ago and she would not stop laughing. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen! 

We love our Mags more than anything and are so happy she's in our lives!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Driving to California

We had a pretty great Christmas and holiday! 

Cody had work off for the week between Christmas and New Years, plus the entire next week, so we decided to take the girls and Axel and go to California to visit his family. All his siblings were at his parents for Christmas so he was excited to be with them and it was fun having all the cousins together. 

I was worried about the drive out, but the girls really did amazingly, as did Axel, and we didn't have any problems. I was worried about all the potty breaks we'd have to take along the way, but we only had to stop by the side of the road twice to let someone (or more than one person) out. We stopped at a hotel both on the way there and back to break up the drive and it helped a lot. It really wasn't too bad when we'd leave after breakfast, drive about 3-4 hours, stop for lunch, drive another 4 or so hours, stop for dinner, and drive a couple more hours to the hotel. 

I also decided to put up little paper clips for the girls for a behavior/reward system. They wanted to have their clips up, and if they were being mean or naughty they had them taken down. Any time we would stop for gas, or I just would pick a time, we would get out the "treasure box," which was a big pink basket full of dollar store treasures and candy. If they still had their clip up, they got to pick a toy and/or candy. We had to take down clips a grand total of 3 times (2 for Charlotte - 1 each way and 1 for Preslie on the way there) and whenever it was treasure box time they all had their clips up. They loved it! I think I'll be doing that for every trip we take in the car from now on! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Family Update

Cody: is still working his cute little tush off. I don't know if he ever stops. He is in charge of the Deacons at church, up at 5:15 for work everyday, home at 5 to take care of the girls when I have voice lessons or need help because I'm so exhausted from my day (which is everyday, I swear). He is currently building me an entertainment center from scratch and about 50% done after working on it for one day (it was a lonnnng day of working on it, but still. One day.) He taught the girls how to dive this summer and loves being in the pool with them.

Stacey: is putting my much loved planner to good use. I feel like I have a million +1 things to do everyday and am constantly thinking, " I should blog about that..." but never find the time to actually do it. Trying to balance 4 kids, 2 in school, 1 in preschool, being the primary chorister, on the PTA board, room mom for first grade and kindergarten, having to decorate the bulletin board, keep up with the house, appointments for everyone all the time (doctor, dentist, hair, car, dog, etc)...It's kind of exhausting. I've been trying to eat "cleaner" which means our whole family is eating cleaner and I'm really enjoying it so far. I also started crossfit up again recently and my love for it has not gone away! I still kind of hate all things cardio (the first time I did a 1000m row and after the 7 min it took thought, wow! Ok, great workout...see y'all later...too bad I had 53 minutes left!), but lifting is so good for me. Really, doing any of it is just super empowering and therapeutic. Even though my body doesn't look any different yet, I feel more confident about it already because it can do hard things. And while I'm trying to do those hard things (like 50-40-30-20-10 double unders and sit-ups), I literally am telling myself, "I pushed 4 babies out of my vagina. I am hardcore. Don't stop." TMI? Sorry.

Chloe: In first grade and loving it! She loves her teacher, is making new friends, and feels more confident. She still says every Sunday night that she doesn't want to go to school on Monday, but once she gets back into the routine, she's happy. She is playing soccer, taking piano lessons and just started gymnastics. Her coach said (About her and Preslie) that she's very talented, that she takes direction extremely well and is focused and does exactly what the coach says. She said both she and Preslie should be moved up to the competition team within a month. She just started playing the drums and is loving that! She also just lost her first tooth and the second is on it's way out! We're working on standing up for herself and telling people what and how she thinks. She is becoming much more brave and said she saw a girl by herself on the playground and Chloe asked her to play with her and her friends, and I was so proud. She is very sensitive and has a hard time when people around her make choices she doesn't agree with. She's told me a lot of times that people in her class say "Oh my..." So we talked about what you can do in that situation. I told her that if someone is doing something she's uncomfortable with, she can always tell them she doesn't like when they do or say X and see what they say. I told her that by standing up for herself in that way, it just might make the other person more aware of what their doing and help them to make a better choice. She said today that a girl in her class kept saying it, and she said, "I was just about to tell her I don't like when she says that, but I was really scared. So I told myself I would say it the next time she said it, and then she didn't ever say it again." :)

Preslie: is in Kindergarten and loving it...kinda. I think she loves it while she's there, but I thought she'd have a lot easier time than she is so I was a little surprised. She says when she goes in the morning she's sad because she misses me, and I honestly thought she'd be all, "peace out." and be sad to come home, but it's been opposite. However, when she does come home we have about 30-45 minutes of straight heck breaking loose - I think she is so reserved at school and holds a lot of things in - which isn't like her at all...So when she gets home and feels comfortable, it's easy to just have a huge release and we all need to work on that together a little bit more. She also is in soccer, piano and gymnastics. Preslie is really, honestly, talented at pretty much everything she tries. She picks things up really fast and her piano teacher especially was telling me about how impressed she was with her piano talent. She had one song that spanned two pages in her piano book (just one note at a time, easy songs) and Preslie said, "This song takes too long to play both pages one at a time. I'm going to play it at the same time." She played both left and right hand at the same time (not the same notes) and did the whole thing perfectly. Her teacher said, "She definitely shouldn't be able to do that yet!" She also just started playing the guitar and is picking it up super fast.

Charlotte: started preschool and I wish it was more than once a week! She LOVES preschool (once a week for 2 hours) and her little friends there and her amazing teacher. She loves having a space to herself. She adores Maggie and is such a cute little mommy to her. She turns her "baby voice" on as soon as she sees her, and always wants to hold her, see her and hug her. I love having Charlee home with me during the day - she is the perfect little sidekick, always says the funniest things and wants to be a helper (sometimes). Most of the time, she thinks she can't do anything and wants everything done for her. She is constantly saying, "I can't," which is one of my biggest pet peeves and then she gets in big trouble :) The other day we were walking through Target, and all of a sudden she said, "St. Thomas! And another St. Thomas! Another St. Thomas!" I was so confused and asked what she saw and she pointed to Thomas the Tank Engine. I was cracking up :) I also see SO much of Preslie with her. She follows everything Preslie does and has all her expressions and mannerisms down to a T.

Maggie: just went to the dr today - her stats: 25 inches long - 71%, 42.4 cm - 91%, 15.3 lbs - 69% She is definitely our biggest baby and I love it! Her hair is starting to look more and more red and I can't wait until it gets longer and we see its true color. She is a master roller from her back to her front and has rolled front to back a couple times, but not as often. A lot of times she just gets stuck on her tummy and cries :) She has dimples on both cheeks - not super obvious, but getting more obvious every day. She loves being held and wants to be held all the time, which I'm mostly ok with, except for all the millions of things I need to be doing ;) She drinks 5 oz of formula at every feeding - about every 3 hours, and wakes up once at night and only for a few minutes and then is back to sleep. She loves eating her hands and fingers and also her binky - but she doesn't care about it as much as her sisters did.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Postpartum Day 4

When I had Chloe and Preslie, it was easy for me to feel a little right away. I think a lot of that came from all the drugs that were coursing throughout my system when I delivered them. They pumped me so full of so much stuff that it took a long time to work it's way out and it was really hard for me to bond with my new babies. Luckily I've never had to deal with postpartum depression very long - I usually feel funky and weird for a couple weeks at the very most and then things go back to normal.

After having Charlotte, I was on a birth high for a good two weeks. I was so instantly in love, so extremely happy and so proud of myself for carrying, delivering and making this tiny, perfect little baby by myself with no drugs during labor (except pitocen of course) that I had no problems with postpartum depression at all.

I expected to feel the same as I had with Charlotte after I had Magnolia. I was having her naturally, except under even better conditions. I had a midwife this time instead of a doctor who was going to yell at me (like with Charlee), I was delivering at a hospital that was known for their amazing, natural births that are surrounded by good feelings, unicorns and love. I knew no one would tell me I couldn't do things that I wanted to do, and the decision making and planning would be up to me.

After I had Maggie, though, it was hard to have those amazing feelings right away. I think because my birth went so differently than I had planned that right afterwards I was just a little shaken up and it took a while to process emotionally and mentally. The night after she was born, the nurses came in to take my vitals at 4 am, and quickly left. I couldn't fall back asleep for at least an hour, even though both Maggie and Cody were sleeping, because I just kept replaying everything that had happened in my mind. I just needed to process it all and really figure out what had happened. 

That being said, I didn't necessarily feel depressed - again, just weird and different than normal. I was happy to be home and with our whole family. I was happy my mom was there to help me. Maggie refused to nurse, though, which kind of started steam rolling all these very sad feelings. I kept thinking that if she was my last baby, and she refused to nurse, I would never, ever get that chance again. And because I hadn't really nursed Chloe or Preslie, I had only one chance to nurse and I wanted more! Maggie wouldn't even TRY to nurse - I would offer it to her and she would just start screaming. She was hungry, but she still wouldn't even try and we didn't know why. For the first couple of days, I would hand express and spoon or finger feed her, but she was still starving. I didn't want to pump because I feel like that fueled the problems I had had with Chloe and Preslie, but I didn't have a choice. She needed to eat and by day 4, I was completely engorged. So I pumped.

And I couldn't get any milk. 

None. Not one drop. 

I was pretty beside myself. I think I cried the entire day. I felt like everything was against us and nothing was working in our favor and why couldn't we just have one little bit of luck? Why was this happening when this had never happened with any of the other girls? I've always had an over-abundance and I was even thinking this time that maybe after awhile, I'd figure out milk donation because I was 100% positive I would have extra to go around.

Both Cody and my mom tried encouraging me the whole time, that no matter what, we would feed Maggie and she wouldn't go hungry and the rest of our girls had had formula and they were all fine. 

But it didn't feel fine. I just felt devastated. 

We took Maggie to the chiropractor that afternoon. I had had a few other women tell me that because my labor was so fast and intense, she might be all out of alignment and nursing might be painful for her to have to twist and be in different positions. They said a lot of times the baby is adjusted and like magic, they nurse perfectly.

Only the chiropractor said Maggie wasn't out of alignment. At least not enough to prevent her from nursing or cause her pain in any way.

So I cried some more. I cried on the drive home, I cried after getting home. I cried on the phone with three different lactation consultants. I cried after we got home and I tried nursing again, only to be met with screams. I cried when I was feeding her formula. I cried when I was trying to pump and nothing was coming. I cried because I was so engorged and in so much pain and there was nothing I could do. I cried sitting on the bathroom floor thinking about how I was never going to have this experience again in this life and how I shouldn't have weaned Charlotte when I did because I'd never be able to do it again. I cried in the shower when I was trying to get something to come out and it helped a tiny bit but not enough. I cried because the tiny bit of milk that I got to come out was now going down the shower drain instead of to my baby.

It was a pretty draining day.

Then it got even worse.

Around 10:30, we decided to go to bed. My mom had already gone to bed and Cody was changing Maggie. He asked me to get him a diaper from our bedroom. I brought him the diaper and all of a sudden had extreme, sudden eye pain. I thought maybe something was in my eye - even though my actual eye didn't hurt, but behind my eye, in my head. I started going towards the bathroom to see if there was something in it. By the time I reached the bathroom door, my right arm was totally numb. By the time I reached the sink, my right leg was completely numb. I looked at myself in the mirror for about one second until I started calling for Cody to come help me because I couldn't stand anymore.

He quickly came in the bathroom where I was trying to sit/falling on the floor. By that time, I could no longer talk without completely slurring everything. It was so scary. Cody kept asking if he should call 911 and what should he do? In my mind I was thinking - No, don't call 911! I'm sure I'm fine, I don't need 911 - we don't have things happen to us that require 911. But of course I couldn't get any of that out because I couldn't really talk.

Maggie was crying this entire time and I was mostly just worried about her. I kept saying, "Get my mom. Help Maggie." But it was coming out like - Geeeetttt my mommmmm. Maaaaggggie. Hellllllppp Maaaaaggggggie.

Cody ran up to wake up my mom and was running all over the house, checking on me, then running to see if the ambulance had gotten there, then making sure Axel was outside, and on and on. My mom said she's never seen him run so fast (I don't know if she's ever seen him run anyway?) trying to make sure everything was ok with everyone.

When Cody left to get my mom, I started feeling better and just dizzy. I slowly sat up and just hung out, sitting on the bathroom floor. My mom came in holding the baby and all of a sudden, I started feeling that way again. This time it was a lot worse. My right arm and leg were spasming but I still couldn't feel them, I definitely couldn't talk correctly, and my head and eye hurt so badly. I thought I was having a stroke. My mom helped me lay back down on the ground and I was looking at her holding the baby when I thought, "My poor baby. She's 4 days old and she'll never know how much I love her or ever remember me." Then I looked at my mom and thought, "She is going to have to deal with losing 2 daughters. I never thought she'd have another kid die, and I can't believe it's going to be me."

I was pretty scared, but mostly just sad for everyone else. When I started having those thoughts, I started having a hard time breathing. Then I started freaking out even more. I kept saying, "Help me. Mom, I can't breathe. Help me, I can't breathe." But of course it sounded like, "Hellllllpppp meeeeee. Mommmmmmmma I caaaaaaan'tt breeeeaaathhheee.

Finally the ambulance got there and a bunch of emts. They started asking me a bunch of questions, What city are we in? Who is the president? What's today's date? And I knew them all right away in my mind, but I couldn't get them out very well. Then I started getting scared that I was going to be one of those people that my brain works perfectly, but I can't communicate and no one knows that I understand and I'm just a "vegetable" my whole life and everyone will end up not talking to me and leaving me alone all the time.

Seriously it was a very scary and depressing little while.

Some of the ENT's started asking my mom questions like if I've ever done anything like this before, if I had been drinking, etc. I know they probably have to ask those questions, but it was making me so frustrated. I wanted to say, "Yeah, I do this all the time. I totally have time for this. I just need all the extra attention and I love paying ridiculous amounts of money to ride in ambulances to a hospital that is maybe 2 minutes away."

Of course, none of that was said...Probably a good thing I still couldn't talk at that point.

Long story short, we got to the hospital, I started feeling better again. They did 2 EKG's - one on my bathroom floor and one in my hospital room - both normal. They did a CT scan in the hospital. I was really scared about doing that because I get claustrophobic, but luckily it was just a head CT and I didn't have to go in all the way - but I still kept my eyes closed the whole time. Everything came back normal so they ordered a CT with iodine to look to see if I had had a brain aneurism.

I've watched Grey's long enough to know I better not have, because Derek Shepherd has lost quite a few of those, and if Derek can't save them, I was a goner. I was also scared about the iodine, because my sister had an allergic reaction to that and I really didn't want that to happen to me. They put benadryl in my IV to help with that and then did the iodine. The woman said it would make me very hot and make me feel like I peed my pants. It was so, so weird feeling the medicine go into my IV SO quickly, then starting at my head getting extremely hot and working it's way quickly down my body. It definitely felt like I peed, and I was so scared! No worries, I didn't.

That CT came back normal as well. By this time it's about 3 am and the doctor said the next test was a lumbar puncture. I had been sleeping off and on for awhile and was feeling better, so we said we just wanted to leave. They discharged us with papers saying I had been treated for "A Headache.".... However, because I had the test with the iodine, they said I couldn't nurse for 48 hours.

Start over with the depressed feelings.

We have a friend who is a medical resident who said he thinks it sounds like I had an Atypical Migraine. Apparently they are a lot different than regular migraines and present as a stroke. Luckily I definitely didn't have a stroke and haven't had any of those symptoms since then (except for a headache pretty constantly).

Also, miraculously, the next morning I woke up feeling fine about not being able to nurse. I really felt like whatever is supposed to happen, will happen, and she really will be ok even if she can't nurse. Now, since then, I have still cried about it and it makes me very sad to think it really may not ever work (we still to this day are working on it. She will nurse probably once a day (or less) but for the most part is only on formula. When I pump, I still only get about 1/2 oz - 1 oz. usually only out of one side), but I'm definitely not as stressed as before.


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