Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Abigail's Visit to the Dentist

Abigail went to the dentist for the first time and she had a great experience. She loved it! I love our dentist. He is very personable and caring. He did the entire appointment for Abigail, including the cleaning. Hard to find that kind of service anywhere today.

Anyway, her teeth are fine. No cavities. She didn't get x-ray's (we're trying to limit those unless absolutely necessary) so she just had her mouth examined and then her teeth cleaned.

She did great. She was very cooperative and laid very still for the doctor. He addressed the issue of the gap in her front teeth by saying that it might close on its own when she gets permanent teeth or the muscle might need a small surgery to help the teeth close. We'll just wait and see.

The main issue that he addressed was her use of the pacifier. She was still using the pacifier and he told her to try and not use it because it was hurting her teeth. We started that night to not use it and getting rid of it has been slightly easier than I thought.

She's back to not sleeping well (we've been struggling since Noah was born) but she's not emotional about the pacifier, like I thought she would be. She is just having a hard time falling asleep now and is getting us up at least once a night. She was doing that before. However she was starting to improve.

A great first experience for her!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We've had a weird sickness at our house this weekend. It started when Andrew decided he wanted to camp out with Abigail last Friday night. He got the tent set up in the backyard, beds made inside, snacks, and a book to read. They fell asleep for a few hours. Then she puked everywhere.

I was still awake inside so I came downstairs to see what was up and helped with the clean-up, etc. She proceeded to get sick a few more times and ended up sleeping in our room on the floor.

I got up with Elsie at 7 am to let Andrew sleep a little more. She promptly started coughing and gagging and sure enough, spent a few hours throwing up.

And then. . .

She was done. Just like that. I've never seen anything like it. About 20 minutes after her last vomit episode, she walked into the kitchen and pointed at the snacks and whined (her current form of communication). We tried one cracker and it was fine. One cracker led to 10 crackers and a piece of toast and water. She kept saying more, more! Ha!

Amazingly enough, it was the first time Elsie has ever thrown up to my knowledge. She's led a pretty healthy life so far.

They both ate a regular lunch.

Weirdness, I say. Or I just have some very resilient and tough kids.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Noah Blake's Birth Story: Part 2

After Noah was born, my mother-in-law brought the girls all the way up to Dayton to visit us.

Daddy with the girls in the elevator on the way up to the birth center.

Abigail meeting Noah for the first time.

Elsie was just a mess. She had a runny nose and was confused and upset to see Mama with another baby besides her. She really just sat and cried . . . except if a camera was pointed at her. Funny girl. If she saw the red eye reduction go off on my mother-in-law's camera, she would smile and ham it up for the camera. I think you can still see her tears though.

Abigail was instantly an adoring older sister.

"Nana", my mother-in-law, with newborn Noah.

I held Elsie on my lap and played with her to try to make things feel "normal" for her. She was still pretty confused and upset.

My father-in-law works in Dayton and so he met the rest of the family at the birth center after work. He's holding Noah for the first time.

During the birth, there was some confusion as to whether I was a carrier or not of Group B Strep. It's still a mystery. I had tested positive (I think) at one point during my pregnancy but the doctor retested me at 37 weeks and the test had been negative so I didn't end up having antibiotics during labor (yeah yeah yeah for no IV!).

After he was born, all the medical staff was in a tizzy thinking he could have been exposed to GBS even though I had tested negative in late pregnancy. He was born pretty quickly after my water broke, so I wasn't concerned. Procedure stated that he had to have his blood drawn and monitored for infection. They did that before we went to bed for the evening.

During the night I was requesting pain medication from the nurses and they told me that his blood work had come back and they were concerned about infection. So we were supposed to stay in the hospital an extra day.

*A typical stay in our birth center is 24 hours after birth, which is what we did with the girls.*

I was disappointed to hear this news because we wanted to go home but we agreed to stay just to make sure that Noah was okay. He seemed to be fine to me, nursing, sleeping, was fine. The doctor agreed with me that he would have showed some abnormal fussiness or refusal to eat if he had been sick.

Later the next day the pediatrician checked him out again and just said the elevated while blood cells were probably stress from the birth (you're telling me, kid!) and that he was checking out fine now. He still had not been circumcised and so we had to wait until the next day for that - by that point - anyway.

Everything else was fine. We just simply were anxious to get back home and to be honest, a bit bored by that point. Having never stayed 48 hours after a birth before, it was an interesting experience. I longed for the comforts of home and my own bed.

Noah with his Great-Grandma, Rosalie Myers:

Noah with my mom who the kids call "Roro".

And . . . that is Noah's birth story!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Food Blogging Friday - Sesame Seed Cookies

These cookies bring back memories of my childhood. We grew up making these cookies! I never remember having very many other cookies than these until I could bake them myself! :) Ha!

I love to make these with my children and know that the only sweetner they are getting in these cookies is from the honey.

You can tell I took these pictures to blog this LAST summer (as in 2010!). Look at my little darling. :)

First you have to take a big spoonful of honey and eat it. At least if you are my girl. :)

Use natural and raw honey . . . not the cooked stuff . . . that removes all the healthy and good things from the honey.

Yum, trying the dough!

Finished product.

Here is the recipe:

Sesame Seed Cookies

½ cup honey

½ cup oil (I use butter or coconut oil)

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup wheat bran

1 ¼ cup oatmeal

1 cup ww flour

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup sesame seeds

Combine honey, oil and egg. Mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Dough should be stiff; add tablespoon or two of milk if too stiff.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with the bottom of glass dipped in cold water. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Hint: I love to make a sandwich out of these cookies with a little nutella or nut butter in the middle.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Overcoming Childhood Fears!

My daughter has many fears. Bugs, Jack-in-the-box, this stick horse, having water on her face, having clothes trapped over her head, the dark, and the list goes on.

I am really trying slowly but surely to help her overcome some of these by slowly "exposing" her to the things she's afraid of that won't really hurt her.

She's been TERRIFIED of this stick horse for many months so I started slowly. I set it out in the room and just didn't make a big deal of it. She was afraid at first but got used to it sitting there. Then I played with the horse with her younger sister (nothing like peer pressure) until finally she realized it was just a toy and it was FUN!

So this video is really for Grandpa Kurt, who gave her this toy. She loves it now, by the way.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Noah Blake's Birth Story Part 1

Oh my, Noah's birth story!!

The weeks leading up to Noah's birth were interesting. I was super uncomfortable with a very low riding baby boy, a 17 month old and a 3 year old. But we survived. My sister came into town just after my 39th week. Both the girls were born during that week, Abigail at 39 weeks 4 days, and Elsie at 39 weeks 1 day, so I assumed Noah would be similar.

I am SO thankful that she was there to help me out, even though she missed the birth. On Sunday night, May 8th, I had terrible and painful irregular contractions all night long. I think I slept 2 or 3 hours that night. My sister had planned to leave first thing that morning, to return home, but she graciously stayed until after lunch and took care of all the kids so I could rest. I don't know what I would have done without her.

That Monday evening I left the girls with Andrew and went to Walgreens to purchase some Epsom Salts. I had received a tip from a friend that if I bathed with them, it would induce labor. I could barely walk into the store because of my low baby pressing on my bladder. I will NEVER forget that pinching pain but I managed to buy some. I got home and relaxed in a nice bath and was in bed about 8:30 pm.

*Side note here: I have never in my history of pregnancy and birth been asked so many times when my baby would be born. Unless you have an induction or c-section scheduled - let me tell you something - the mother does not know for sure. Labor can start suddenly and at any time. Some of the symptoms I felt when I went in to labor with Elsie, I felt in month six with Noah. So every time things are different. I got so many tips on stimulating labor and I wasn't even overdue!! My heart goes out to those women who are!*

I woke up around 2 am with pretty painful contractions. I tried to wait in bed, as I had with Elsie, and rest but the contractions were regular and too painful to lay still through. I went into the nursery and walked and rocked a bit. I ended up walking Andrew accidentally. I was trying to let him sleep more. Once he knew I was up, he couldn't sleep either so he got up and timed contractions for me. They were still a little irregular but got as close as every 3 minutes.

He sent some work emails, showered, etc., while I relaxed through the early stages of labor. I took advantage of it being early May and did some walking around outside while I labored. Both the girls were born in the winter so I couldn't do that with them.

I think it was around 4:00 am that Andrew called his parents to have them come stay with our girls so we could head to the hospital.

I had one HUGE contraction in the car but that was it. I was afraid that we'd be sent home when we got there. It is one of my biggest fears with each of my children. Strange that after three kids, I'd still questioning whether or not I was in labor.

We got there around 5:30 am (I think) and I got checked. I was at 5 centimeters, so they admitted us to the birth center and we got settled in. My labor was still very stalled. I hadn't had a contraction since being in the car and was scared this was going to take all day!

So . . .

I alternated between walking around the birth center and regular L&D ward and emptying my bladder (helps promote the baby dropping and labor). Andrew was able to relax and get in a few more minutes of rest. I was very thankful for this!

I had always wished with the girls that we'd gotten better pictures of the birth center to show people how nice it is. So since my labor was still very mild at this time, I walked around and took pictures of things.


The tub where Noah would eventually be born:

I remember Andrew making many jokes during this time and thinking how wonderful it was to get to spend this time with him. His attention was just on me and was undivided by other things. I guess we need more date nights, huh?! Anyway, it was just fun!

Well, I walked and walked and walked and FINALLY labor started up again. I finally reached the point where I could not walk through each contraction so I started to stay closer to my room.

I noticed (through out the whole labor process but it started early) that if I leaned back and reclined my contractions slowed down and were very mild. If I leaned forward, like on my hands and knees, the contractions came fast and were hard and painful. This meant that I forced myself to be forward during almost every contraction. I knew it would speed things up instead of draw them out.

My contractions started to get serious around mid morning, 9 am or so. Andrew encouraged me to go ahead and get into the bath. I wasn't quite ready yet because I didn't want my labor to stall any but I went ahead and got in.

Relaxing and reclining back in the bath did slow things a bit so I had to get out and walk around a bit.

My darling husband took this awful picture of me during a contraction, which I will graciously share with you. This was after I had tried to be in the bath once.

Things got intense at this point and so I got back into the bath. After that happened, I went into my own little world. I was aware of people around me and goings-on but it was difficult for me to answer. I was so thankful that Andrew seemed to know what I was thinking and guided the staff to pretty much watch and leave me alone. That was best!! I would be a great candidate for going out in the woods to squat and have a baby since I do crave being alone during the process - except the ending.

My contractions at this point were double-peaking. I had been checked again during the process and was only at a 5-6. I was discouraged to say the least. I had no idea how I could continue to handle double-peaking contractions that never let up and still try to progress from a 6 to a 10!

I suddenly felt an urge to push. They checked me again and said I was still at a 7 but the baby's head was very low and that was the reason that I had the urge to push. They broke my water at this point.

I had been asked repeatedly if I wanted it broken and I had refused. My reason being that I had went ahead and had it broken with Abigail. It made labor very hard and difficult and she still wasn't born for HOURS after.)

I labored through a few more intense contractions with pushing and dialated very fast! By this point, the midwife was there, as well as her mid-wife in training, who ended up actually delivering Noah. I was on my back with Andrew holding me up on a waterproof pillow. I was out of control (yes, yelling . . . lots. I could not help it!) and felt that I would drown in the birthing tub were it not for my husband holding me up. They checked me again and said that I still had a little cervix left so I pushed him past the cervix. Three or four more pushes later (and the worst pain you can IMAGINE!) and he was ready to exit.

The midwife was coaching me at this point to not just push constantly but to wait for each contraction. I was able to finally do this at the end even though I thought that the pain was too intense to even feel the contractions (the contractions are pansy pain compared to the exit!).

At 10:59 am I pushed his head out and was able to reach down and feel him. The midwife said "oh, there's his wrinkly little head"). I think (hard to remember!) it took two more pushes to get his body out. The best feeling in the world was when he was set up on my chest. I am convinced that there is no greater high than that. It is one of the many reasons why I choose to have drug-free natural births. We waited for the cord blood to go back into his body before Andrew cut the cord.

After the cord was cut, the nurse took the baby to do some cleaning up and checking and I climbed out of the huge tub (which was a sight, I'm sure) and went to the bed for the rest of the examination and cleaning-up period.

Only a few minutes later and I got to snuggle with this little bundle of joy:

Very tired and blissfully happy to have a healthy baby boy and also to be done with labor!

He weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was right in-between his sister's lengths at 21 1/2 inches long.

He took off immediately with breastfeeding (often and for long periods of time!) and never looked back. It helps to have lots of experience but he was the easiest breastfeeding baby I've had.

Here is a picture of him in a milk-coma (as we like to call it) in the hospital.

Part 2 still to come . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Elsie Tornado

We have recently had a tornado around our house. The tornado's name is Elsie!

Within the last week she learned how to climb.

It started out with a single step. She learned how to climb up and down. That meant the shoes were all a mess in our mud room.

Then she learned to climb up on the bench drawers in the living room. That meant Noah's diapers and changing table were torn apart and finger prints were on the TV.

Then she learned to climb up on the child sized rocking chair, which makes Mama scared for her safety!

Then she learned to climb up the stairs, which means all of my "going-upstairs" junk that I used to keep on the stairway can no longer stay there.

Then she learned how to climb up on Abigail's bed (but she can't get down) which means the stuffed animals and baby dolls are no longer out of reach.

Today . . . she climbed up on the couch all by herself. That means all of the stuff that we kept away from her on the back of the couch (remotes, kleenex, drinks, etc) will no longer be safe.

And . . . she has a thing for Kleenex as you can see in the photo below. The amazing thing was, this room (the whole house!) was perfectly clean the day before for our appraisal.

My life is different now . . . oh yes! :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Music Class: Elsie

My Elsie Pie is something else. The first time we went to these music classes she clung to me and cried. Now she's the life of the group. You can see the other kids sitting quietly and clapping while my maniac runs around. She enjoys it but boy she's a handful!

Next week is our last week. We have had fun attending even if it is a challenge to do with all three of my kids (I have to make two trips to get all my kids inside because there are too many stairs for Elsie to handle).


Friday, August 19, 2011

Food Blogging Friday - Curried Beef Stew

Finally! Finally! I have returned to food blogging. I do not claim to be good at it but cooking is something I enjoy (and eating too, obviously). I stopped posting recipes when I became pregnant with Noah (a year ago!!) because I was so nauseated that I couldn't think of food and I never really got into it after that.

Anyway, I have lots of new recipes to share.

Here is probably the easiest one I have made in a while. The idea for this recipe came from my mother-in-law. She watched the girls while we were in the hospital having Noah and fixed a version of this for us the night we returned home from the hospital. We had round steak thawed from the freezer so she was trying to use that up. All of these measurements are estimated. I just threw these ingredients into the crock pot and the result is some deliciousness!

Here is is:

1 to 2 round steaks, outsides sprinkled with flour and browned in a pan with olive oil
2 medium potatoes cut into chunks
2 medium carrots cut into slices
1/2 of a large onion roughly chopped (can be big pieces)
1 to 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Throw it into a crock pot and let 'er go 8 hours or so on low! You can adjust the curry powder to your tastes. I may have gone a bit overboard because my oldest daughter claimed it to be too spicy. My middle daughter (21 months old) LOVED this dish. She gobbled it up!

I also cooked some brown rice in the extra liquid from the stew (I had put in too much water) so we served this over rice. Extra yummy. All the juices soaked up in the rice.

When I brought it to the table my daughter asked, "Does it have peas?". What a great idea!! Next time I will throw some peas in at the last minute. They just need to stay in a few minutes to warm up but would become a mushy mess if left too long.

It was a great way to serve a tougher cut of meat to my family. The kids (3 and 21 months old) can't really eat steak yet but this was fork tender and very easy to eat. If you like curry, this is the way to go. So good.

I calculated it to be about 8 points plus for about 2/3 to 3/4 cup scoops, which seem to be plenty big.

Also, please excuse my poor photography skills. That's my husband's department and I'm terrible at it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend and Monday Update

We had a nice weekend.

Got out on Saturday to deliver a meal to some friends at church and to Target. Then I took the kids to watch Andrew's cousin run in a Mudathlon. It looked like so much fun that I'm considering doing it next year. Then our evening consisted of a birthday dinner for my father-in-law. Fun times!

Sunday: we were finally back at church after missing for 3 weeks due to travel and attending another church. It was good to be back. In the afternoon I was able to slip away for a few hours to see a movie, The Help. I was particularly interested in seeing it since I had read the book. My darling husband bravely watched the kids for a few hours while I went.

This morning we went to our next to last music class. Elsie was a crazy maniac the whole time (I got a video and will post after I download it!) and Abigail loves it. I needed to mail something at the post office so we did that after the class.

Now it's naptime so I'm off to try to accomplish something. Don't know what yet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Michigan 2011

We left for our Michigan trip at about 8:30 am, which was impressive, considering we had to load up all of our luggage and family members by that time. This was our first trip with Noah and he did great!

Here is Elsie on the trip to Michigan . . . riding in style with her shades. It took us about 6 hours to get to our rental house.

We arrived first and the very first course of action was for Andrew to take the girls on the golf cart (provided with the house) down to see Lake Michigan. It was about a 3 minute cart ride or 10 minute walk to the lake.

We discovered a 99-step stairway that led down to the beach. Since I wasn't there for this picture, I'm not sure how Andrew got both girls down those stairs alone! :) It was steep and climbing it was a workout in itself. It was well worth it, though. The lake was beautiful the first few days we were there. Nice and warm with beautful waves. We did quite a bit of swimming.

Unfortunately Elsie did not like the waves, sand, beach, etc. So whenever we took her to the beach she would spend the whole time whining and crying. I'm sure she'll outgrow this by our next trip to any sort of beach!

The girls had so much fun playing with cousins Alex and Isaac. Alex is seen in the below picture with the girls.

My Grandma Fairchild was able to join us on this trip. Her primary activity for the week was holding a sleepy baby. The both look pretty cozy! It was so nice to have her on this trip and I hope she can join us again!!

On the windiest day of the week (why we picked that day, I don't know) we headed down to South Haven to the public beach. It was accessible to my Grandma, since she couldn't navigate the 99 steps to our private beach. We enjoyed seeing wind surfers and the water was nice enough to swim.

Grandma at the beach.

Elsie at the beach. You can't tell but she's crying in this picture.

Abigail and Alex had a lot of fun playing in the sand!

My darling beauty standing at the top of our stairs to the beach. She got braver as the week went on and walked them by herself a few times (with adults close behind, of course).

Sunset on our private beach on evening! So beautiful!!

After our week in the rental house, we headed to Grand Rapids to celebrate my Grandma Helen's 80th birthday. A large crowd of her family and friends gathered for the celebration. Almost everyone is pictured in the following photo (Grandma Fern is holding Noah inside - not in photo). This was taken after a lovely catered meal at my Grandma's retirement center.

The next day we headed to Meijer Garden's for a tour of their gardens and sculpture park. What a neat place! We enjoyed the children's area especially. The girls enjoyed exploring and seeing the exhibits there.

Below my sister Jenny is helping Isaac and Elsie play in the water/boat area.

Elsie is wandering around Meijer gardens.

Then that evening we had a lovely picnic, hosted by my Grandma's daughter, Kathy. She has a lovely home with a newly remodeled kitchen (Sorry, no pictures) that is to die for! This was her beautiful back yard.

I enjoyed watching my nephew, Isaac, try to walk on the sloped lawn. He is a new walker and it was hilarious! He was very determined not to let it slow him down. You can see his attempts in the picture below.

We spent that night at the Calvin College's Conference Center (just like a hotel) and our kids REALLY slept in. Nobody woke up until about 8:45 am!!! Noah, of course, was up a few times at night but everyone really slept great as you can see in the following photos.

Elsie . . .

Abigail . . .

Noah. . .

Then we all enjoyed church and a dinner at my Grandma's church in Grand Rapids.

These are obviously pictures of the lunch . . . not the church service! :)

After lunch we started our journey home. It wasn't easy to travel with our small children but it was worth it! We spent quite a bit of time on the way home listening to crying children (Elsie only napped 30 minutes) but we had a great time anyway.

That's a recap! We had so much fun and it was a blessing to me to be able to vacation with my family - who we do not get to see very often. I hope to be able to do it again someday!!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Michigan 2011

We just returned home from a lovely and wonderful trip to Michigan. We spent the week (Saturday to Friday) at a rental house in South Haven, Michigan and then the following weekend we were in Grand Rapids to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday.

Andrew fixed my computer the night before we left (yeah, yeah) so I'm back to blogging more, hopefully.

I'll try to find some time to post pictures, video, etc.

The kids are growing like weeds and I don't want to miss out on recording their lives. . . crazy as things are around here.