Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Play Time

At six weeks old, Drew is more alert and starting to take in his surroundings.  I recently started putting him on the playmat to look at the toys and various colors.  He seems to like it!

You can only play for so long before getting tired though, huh?

Monday, March 12, 2012


Of course this post is overdue.  What can you expect from a new mom of two?  I had forgotten what a time-suck newborns are...feed me, hold me, change my diaper, wipe my spit-up.  Geez!

Just kidding.  :)

We celebrated Ava's birthday with friends and family a little over a week ago.  The purple party was a success and totally reaffirmed my thoughts that less is more when it comes to kids' parties.  All those decorations and balloons and fancy cakes are for the parents because the kids don't even notice!  (Never mind the fact that if I'd had the time, Ava's party would have included all of that...)

I did make cupcakes, we had grape Kool-Aid, which I promptly named Purple Drank (anyone get that?  anyone?!), purple plates and cups and napkins and a tablecloth, one game, prizes, presents, bounce house, DONE.  Ava enjoyed herself and I think the other girls did too.

"Prize" walk game...everyone wins!  (Hi, Claire)

I was actually able to enjoy myself at the party because there were plenty of family members to take care of Drew.  I'm not sure what I was worried about in the first place about Ava not getting enough attention and everyone acting like sharks around Drew.  It wasn't like that at all.  Maybe those thoughts and emotions were fueled by pregnancy hormones...

Uncle Matt!

This past weekend was much more low-key, filled with lots of playing dress up...

She also watched me put on my make-up and of course wanted some for herself.  After each application, she would ask, "You have sumpin' else for me?"

And finally, we ended the weekend with a visit to my mamaw, Ava and Drew's "big mamaw."  She was absolutely thrilled to meet Drew.  It was awesome!

Now I'm all caught up!  ...until the next round of pictures sit in my camera for a week or more. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Picture Drop-Off

Not feeling up to a full post tonight.  Just wanted to share some recent pictures!

Drew had his first real bath last weekend.  We waited a bit longer than normal because his cord fell off early and his belly button took a while to heal.  Of course Ava was right there helping too!

Look at him gripping the side! (and also trying to find something to suck, hahaha)

After bath time, we just relaxed.  And yes, Ava is in her swimsuit, which she has taken to wearing a LOT lately for some reason.

Tummy time!  Picture courtesy of Jeremy while Ava and I encouraged Drew to lift his head.

Another picture by Jeremy...and the only one I have (besides cell phone shots) of just Drew and me.  THAT needs to change!

Tomorrow is Ava's third birthday party and honestly?  I'm not looking forward to it.  :(  Baby blues have got me down and I haven't put as much effort into this party as I would have liked.  I know it will be fine, Ava will have fun with her friends, and she doesn't need tons of decorations or games to play...and in fact, she really doesn't need this party at all.  When I told her about it, she said, "It's my birthday AGAIN?!"  We talked about it and I asked her how old she was now and she said, "Four."  I corrected her and she exclaimed, "Three AGAIN?"  So...if we'd never had a party, she wouldn't have known the difference.  Problem is, *I* would have known and there wouldn't have been a picture for her baby book, which goes up to 5 years old for birthday parties.  Mommy guilt.  Hopefully I feel better tomorrow...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Drew: A Birth Story

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I battled a condition called cholestasis when I was pregnant with Ava.  I had some itching off and on during my pregnancy with Drew, but it never amounted to much and I thought I would be able to have a full term pregnancy without developing cholestasis.  However, over the weekend of February 4th and 5th, I began the tell-tale itching on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet.  It was so bad the night of the 5th that I couldn't sleep, so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor on Monday the 6th.

The blood tests to confirm cholestasis typically take a week to come back and we didn't have that kind of time on our hands, as this condition can be harmful to the baby past 37-38 weeks.  At this point I was 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant.  My doctor's office decided to treat this as if cholestasis had indeed materialized.  I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound and a non-stress test to see if I should be induced immediately or if we could wait for the next morning.  The ultrasound was completely normal and the tech estimated that the baby was 6 lbs, 8oz.  The non-stress test did not go as well.  The baby had a heart deceleration that lasted almost a full minute, thus prompting the decision to induce that day.  I shakily walked back to my car to drive over to the hospital, completely unprepared for this moment - no bags packed, Jeremy at work, Ava at daycare, and my desire to labor at home for a while gone out the window.

My mom and Jeremy met me at the hospital where we worked out a plan for my mom to get Ava from daycare and take her back to our house.  Jeremy obviously stayed with me at the hospital.  After all of the initial questions and monitoring, I was hooked up to pitocin to begin the induction process.  Thankfully my body was already getting ready on its own; I was 2 cm dilated at this point.  Labor itself was fairly easy.  I dilated to 4 cm about two hours after the pitocin had been started and at that point, they broke my water.  My contractions were slowly but surely getting stronger, but I didn't feel the need for the epidural just yet.  Call me crazy, but I wanted to experience those painful, strong contractions for a little while.  It was what I had hoped to experience on my own at home and I wasn't going to give up the feeling just because I was in the hospital.  I finally got the epidural when I was 6 cm and was having to softly moan through the pain.  I'm glad I waited as long as I did though because with Ava's labor, I got the epidural fairly early and hardly felt the contractions at all.

Once I had the epidural, the baby began having heart decelerations again.  I had to keep an oxygen mask on for the remainder of my labor.  Six and a half hours after I had been hooked up to the pitocin, I was 10 cm and ready to push!  It took the nurses and doctor longer to set everything up for delivery than it did to push the baby out.  I couldn't feel much because of the epidural, so pushing was just a guessing game and muscle memory.  It didn't take long though...about 15 minutes and 8 pushes total and...IT'S A BOY!

Andrew (Drew) Joseph...Monday, February 6th at 9:05pm, weighing 5 lbs, 11 oz and 19 3/4 in length:
I felt a bit of disbelief that we had a boy.  I had actually gone my entire pregnancy without any inkling as to the sex, nor did I have a preference...until about a week or so before I delivered.  And suddenly I wanted another girl.  Needless to say, it took about a day for me to get used to the idea of having a boy, but once I did, I was totally in love with him!  He and I had a lot of cuddle time in the hospital and it gave us time to bond.  Of course Jeremy was excited from the get-go and now I think it's just perfect.  Our family of four with a little girl and a little boy!

Ava loves her little brother a lot.  She gives him tons of kisses and expresses concern when he's crying.  She talks to him softly and pats his back.  It's adorable. 

Of course, we're still in an adjustment period.  She has definitely been doing things to get our attention - and not good things.  She melts down at the littlest things, stands at her door after we've put her to bed and cries, refuses to do things the first time we ask, and the newest behavior?  Screaming.  Yeah...  We try really hard to give her individual attention:  I took her to her friend's birthday party, Jeremy took her to the Children's Museum, we play with her after dinner, etc.  I'm sure some of these behaviors are typical of her age any way, but adding a newborn to the house has amplified them.  It has taken a lot, and I mean a LOT of patience on our part, and it's hard sometimes to be patient when you are sleep-deprived...but we will get through it!

Obviously I have been having TONS of fun photographing Drew, both lifestyle photos as well as studio shots.  I really wish I had gotten into photography before Ava was born so that I could have taken similar pictures of her...

Is our family complete now?  I don't know.  Jeremy says he's done and satisfied with our two kids.  Me?  I'm undecided.  Some days I think things are perfect with the four of us; other times I think I may want to be pregnant again and have another baby in the house.  Time will tell, and I do mean TIME.  If we end up having one more, it will be at least three years down the road!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's Best For Her

The timing of Ava's birthday and baby #2 is...well, it's not ideal.  Ava's birthday is February 21.  The baby is due the 24th.  Seeing as how labor is completely unpredictable and each baby is different, I have no idea when this little one will make his or her appearance.  It has caused some stress about when to do a birthday party for Ava and exactly how many people to invite. 

Think she's making her invite list?  :)
But I had to step back and think: what's best for her?  I want her party to be about her.  Not let me see the baby, let me hold the baby, goo goo ga ga BABY!  Ava should be the main focus of her own party, right?  So, I've come up with a plan that I think is probably the best solution under the circumstances.

The party date is set: March 3.  It's obviously a week and a half after her actual birthday, but she's not going to know that.

If Baby comes before Valentine's Day, we will have a big party with family and friends.  It gives everyone at least two weeks or so to come visit, see the baby, and then truly focus on Ava during her party. 

If Baby comes after Valentine's Day...we are just going to do a party with a few of Ava's little friends.  Small, easy and kid-focused.

For some reason, I am feeling like a protective mama bear these days.  I know bringing a baby home is going to rock her little world, and although she seems to be excited right now, I'm not sure how she'll feel when reality sets in...

She does take good care of her baby dolls though!
I just want to make sure that Ava is the center of attention at her party.  I also don't want a house full of potentially germy people with a tiny one or two week old baby.  So...decision made.  V-Day cut off it is!

And in case you're wondering, whether we have a big party or a small one, the theme is: purple.  Yep.  Not Dora.  Not princess.  Purple.  I've asked her several times what kind of party she wants and she always says purple

You got it, girl. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


When I was young, I remember being in a church - probably my grandparents' church - and all the little kids were sitting up front.  One by one, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I said I wanted to be a ballerina.  Now, maybe I'm remembering this incorrectly, but it has always stuck out to me that the lady replied, "Oh, you can't be that; pick something else!"  I can't recall what my response was, but I knew in my head that YES I COULD BE A BALLERINA IF I WANTED TO!  My parents had always made sure I understood the age-old saying, "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."  I am hoping this is something I can pass on to Ava.

What do I want to be right now?  A good mom.  But in the midst of a two-year-old-asserting-her-independence, making the right discipline decisions is hard.  I've read countless articles and have talked to lots of moms, but knowing what to do in the heat of the moment is a challenge. 

Ava has gone through a hitting phase off and on the past year.  She doesn't hit her friends at day care; she hits us.  It almost always happens when we are trying to get her ready for bed.  I know it's been a long day; I know she doesn't want to stop playing; I know it's a way to express the feelings for which she doesn't have words.  But how to deal with it is another story.  We have tried time-outs: she comes back from time-out and hits again.  We've tried threats: "Okay, hitting means straight to bed!"...but then we still have to finish putting jammies on and brush her teeth so the consequence is not immediate.  We've tried holding her hands and not letting her use them for a period of time, explaining that we don't hit and since she hit us, she can't use her hands right now. 

And, I admit, I even tried hitting her back.  Just a small tap on her head, but she cried.  I asked her if it hurt and tried to explain that it hurts me when she hits.   She went to bed, I came downstairs, and sobbed.  Yep, never doing that again!

We make her say sorry and then have a hug, but the next night, she'll be at it again.  I'm not sure what the magic answer is in this hitting situation.  Not to mention, an added challenge - not just to the hitting thing but to disciplining her in general - is that Jeremy and I have different patience levels.  This presents a whole other challenge.  I want to maintain a calm but firm demeanor and I strive for that in most situations where she is acting out.  Jeremy has a harder time with this and from talking with friends, it seems that most men do.  They are quicker to lose their tempers and it's harder for them to understand she's only two years old

I'm sure these are challenges that a lot of parents face.  I know each age is going to bring on a whole new set of behavior issues and that we are constantly going to question ourselves.  But that's good.  If we didn't question our decisions, I would be worried.  And for now, we'll continue to read articles and talk to other parents!

If you have any suggestions about this hitting situation, feel free to share!  I'd love it if you left a comment directly on my blog so that others who may be in the same boat can read it (whereas if you leave the comment on Facebook, not everyone can see it).  Thanks!   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pregnancy: Week 35 Random Thoughts

I've had a few pregnancy-related things on my mind lately and decided I'd share them here.  If you've been pregnant, perhaps you can relate.  If not, here's a preview of things to come.  And if you're a dude...please just sympathize if the woman in your life is currently carrying your unborn child. 

1. Asking a pregnant woman to give a urine sample past about...oh...30ish weeks is a total joke.  Tiny cup to pee into + huge belly = can't see what you're doing one bit.  Hence the pee that inevitably gets on your hands every.single.time.  At least urine is sterile, right?   

2. Speaking of pee, I've been doing that a lot these days.  Combine doctor's orders to drink a lot of water with a baby who likes to sit on, punch, and kick my bladder and you can bet I'm rushing to the toilet about every 30 minutes, which is quite inconvenient at night...  Not to mention this urge to go, go, go, only to dribble, dribble, dribble once I'm there.

3. "Get as much rest as you can now before that baby comes!"  HA.  What rest?  Besides the fact that I'm up peeing every half hour, there are baby belly dance parties at 3am, hormones raging through my body that think I'm okay with only five hours of sleep, and hips that ache after lying in one position for more than 10 minutes.  I think our bodies try to prepare us for the newborn days, but I don't need preparation!  Let me sleep now! 

4.  Rolling over in bed.  Getting out of bed.  Add a huge, beached whale to the picture.  That pretty much covers it. 

5.  You know what's good?  Chocolate.  Cookies.  Ice cream with chocolate sprinkles.  A Pinterest board with over 20 desserts to try.  I wouldn't say I've had many cravings this pregnancy, just...preferences.  With Ava, I craved root beer, movie popcorn and...desserts.  This pregnancy I went through a cinnamon phase, but now I'm just all about desserts.  I don't CRAVE them.  I just want them.  It's not the same, I tell you!

6.  Nesting instinct?  My nesting instinct is that I want someone else to do all the work.  Well, technically someone else SHOULD be doing all of the work since I am supposed to be on bed rest...

7.  Oh, bed rest.  I'm so glad mine is not restrictive.  I've definitely tested the waters a few times - hello, trip to Once Upon a Child.  My contractions have not gotten worse and I haven't had to go to the hospital again, so I think I'm good as long as I continue to take it as easy as possible...with a couple outings here and there to maintain my sanity!

8.  Last week my OB said the baby was breech.  I looked up all kinds of funky techniques to do at home to try to get the baby to turn.  I shined flashlights in there, used cold packs, boosted my hips up with pillows, and inverted my body on the stairs into a downward-dog position.  The baby has definitely moved, but I'm not sure WHERE.  Kicks and jabs mostly come on the top of my belly, which would indicate a head-down position, but I still sometimes feel movements on my bladder/cervix area.  And it is NOT comfortable.  I think this kid is doing acrobatics in there...

9.  Thank you to the waitress at Northside Social restaurant for telling me that I am tiny.  Most people like to say, "Are you sure it's not twins?" or "I bet you're gonna pop any day now."  There should be at least one class for everyone on HOW to talk to pregnant women.  How easy is it to just say, "You look great!" or "You look so cute!" 

10.  I'm ready.  Ready to meet this baby.  Ready to find out if it's a boy or girl.  Ready to introduce Ava to her new sibling.  And yet, I'm also trying to cherish the little kicks and jabs, even if they do hurt sometimes.  I will probably miss my belly once it's gone.  I'll miss Ava being my only baby.  I'll miss those 5 hours of sleep!  But...I'm ready. 

Ava's ready too.