Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Reality Check

Actual conversation in our house this morning:

Ryan: "Listen, let's just relax, watch a movie and have a glass of wine tonight.  I can break my alcohol cleanse."
Me: "You don't need to break your cleanse, I don't need to drink that bad."
Ryan: "OK...but you're kind of making me want to drink."

Today marks a week since our family has left town, and it turns out this whole two kid thing is no joke.  While we had our visitors it was easy for me to give one of the girls to someone else and focus on the other for a little while.  Whether I was feeding and cuddling Evie or crawling in a tent and playing princesses with Lyla, I knew the other girl was well taken care of and there were no fights for my time. 

Since all that extra attention for Lyla has gone my mornings look more like me running around with Evie in one arm nursing, dragging Lyla to her high chair, cooking oatmeal, force feeding oatmeal, switching Evie to nurse on the other side, getting Lyla's gymnastics snacks and outfit ready, forcing her into a diaper change and getting dressed.  All while Lyla throws a fit about every little detail.

And that's no exaggeration.  That was actually my morning this morning, and also what resulted in the above conversation with Ryan.

Having a testy, strong-willed toddler and a newborn has proven to be quite the learning curve.  But, honestly, even with these crazy moments it's the best thing ever.  Holding another sweet little newborn in my arms is like a piece of heaven on earth.  And Lyla's excitement about her "Evie-sis" is so precious, even if it can be a little overzealous at times.  I'd take the tantrums 10 times over just to do it all over again.

- K

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  After a series of fits I put Lyla's swimsuit on, added a couple drops of blue food coloring to the lukewarm water and let her play in the "pool".  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Guest Post: Auntie Jo

The older I get, the more my definition of the word "home" has broadened. Home is no longer just the place that I live, but all the places I have left a piece of my heart. I never thought Minnesota would be one of those places I'd consider home (let's be honest, those Winters are pretty brutal) but because of two sweet little girls, MN has become as dear to me as my hometown in Colorado.

Since moving to Seattle a year ago I've found it harder to jet off whenever I find an opportunity, turns out being an adult and having bills to pay isn't as glamorous as I would have hoped. But since Kassi was having Everly, there were no ifs, ands or buts, I HAD to make a trip to MN to meet my newest niece. I couldn't wait to see Lyla, especially since the last time I saw her was over the summer when she was still a waddling little baby. Lyla and I have always had a special bond, even in the limited time I've been able to be around her.

I got in on Friday, March 7th, my flight from Seattle left so early that I pretty much only had a nap before I had to wake up to leave for the airport. Lyla was of course even sassier than I remember her and we had so much fun running around Target and playing with "Kevy" and "Car Car" (Kevin and Carlos, what kind of animal names are those anyway?). That girl wore me out and I fell asleep on the couch at 7pm. True story. I woke up around midnight and couldn't go back to sleep, when Kassi came downstairs to tell me that her and Ryan were going to the hospital. I kid you not, she was so calm I had to ask her a few times if she was going to the hospital to have the baby, it just didn't seem like someone that relaxed could be about to give birth. I got a text a few short hours later that Everly Joy had come into the world. I like to think she waited for me to get into town before making her grand appearance.

My mom and I tag teamed watching Lyla until Kassi and Ryan and Everly came home from the hospital. The most exciting thing we did that trip was take Lyla to Build a Bear, which was probably more exciting for me because my parents deprived me of this when I was a kid (not holding a grudge or anything..). But even staying at home in sweats, watching Frozen countless times, and changing poopy diapers, I wouldn't have changed a thing because I was able to spend those moments with my family.

On the last day of my trip, I was thinking to myself "I probably won't cry saying goodbye, I'm too used to it by now", in fact it takes a lot for me to shed a tear. But I sat there in the rocking chair holding little 4 day old Everly, finding tears streaming down my face thinking about how the next time I'd see that little baby she wouldn't be nearly as little. Having so many places to call home is a huge blessing but I also find my heart breaks a little more each time I have to say goodbye to those "homes". Feeling that heartbreak only reminds me how thankful I am to have a family that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Right before I left for the airport, my sister and I had a tear filled conversation (once I start crying there's no going back). I told her that besides my own mom, she's the best mom that I know and seeing her be such an amazing mom to her little girls gave me comfort to know that someday I'll be a better mom because of her. And even though that won't be for a LONG time (emphasis on the word "long"), I'm so thankful for her example. Although we don't get to pick our family, I would choose mine a million times over and this distance only reminds me of that all the more.

-Auntie Jo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Perfect Timing

It seems like every time I turn a corner I'm getting a new lesson on letting go of my own plans and timing and (mis)understandings and just handing it over to God, letting him do his job.

I had one of those lessons at the end of my pregnancy.  My doctor had been telling me since my 37 week appointment that Everly would be making her debut early - most likely by the very next week.  While I hoped she didn't come before the end of February for several reasons, the idea of her coming early was both exciting and a huge relief.  This pregnancy was just so much harder on me than my first one.

When each day and week passed with no new baby I had a mix of emotions, but I knew she'd be coming before long.  At 39 weeks I officially went on maternity leave and began willing the girl out, but the same day Lyla woke up with a nasty cough, fever and runny nose.  She coughed so hard that night that she began gagging, which I knew was a bad sign.  I resolved to call the doctor the next morning to take her in.  I thought it was probably just a minor virus, but wanted the peace of mind with a newborn on the way.  The next morning I woke up with a lot of contractions, and I was sure that day was the day we'd meet our Evie girl.  I took Lyla to the doctor first thing and she was diagnosed with RSV, which lead the doctor to ask when I was due.  I told her the following Sunday, and she said I better hope she doesn't come much before that because of how dangerous the virus can be for newborns.

I kid you not I went into that appointment with regular contractions and left with none...and a serious pit in my stomach.  Going from being so excited by the potential of meeting your brand new baby early to hoping and praying she would just stay put, not to mention being worried about your first baby and the risk for developing pneumonia, is a lot to handle for a 9 months pregnant lady.

Lyla and I took the next few days easy, and happily she was on the mend pretty quickly.  But, my girl's close face-to-face snuggles ended up getting me sick too.  Which of course added to my list of worries.

Somehow Evie managed to hang in there until just the day before her due date.  When the hospital pediatrician made her rounds she said that me getting the same virus was actually the very best thing that could have happened since I would be transferring antibodies to Evie, protecting her from any lingering germs at home.

I asked her to repeat that one time to make sure I had heard correctly and sat back, amazed.  Just when I though timing couldn't be worse, it actually couldn't have been more perfect.

Lyla couldn't come to the hospital as a precautionary measure for the other newborns, but that ended up being more perfect than I imagined as well.  Having those first couple of days to really dote on our new addition was so nice.  Staring into those blue eyes and listening to her soft breath, I could have stayed in that hospital room forever.  But eventually we did pack up and head home to our sweet little maniac who was waiting eagerly to meet her baby "Yevie".

Never had my heart felt so full than that moment.  Two sissies meeting for the first time, a new family of four.

There wasn't much that went according to "plan" that last week, but it all worked out even better than I'd ever dreamed. 

- K

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dad's Turn: My Wife, The Baby Machine

Lately I can't help but inundate people with what I refer to as 'pro-Kassi propaganda.'  Every time I turn around the girl is blowing my mind.  From her success at work, to her mastery of nursery design and the culinary arts, she some how manages to not only balance the million things she has to do but excel at every single one of them.  (Just take a look at the nursery that she decorated and blogged about here... that shit should be on Pinterest without a doubt!)

It wasn't until the birth of our second daughter last Saturday, however; that I decided paying proper blog-worthy tribute was in order.

After waking me up once at 11:30 to let me know her "contractions were pretty consistent"  Kassi finally decided at 12:30 it was time to go.  She called the nurse line herself on the way to the hospital and calmly discussed the fact that she had been 4cm dilated for nearly two weeks and that contractions were now less than five minutes apart.

Upon our arrival in the maternity ward of the hospital I answered their question of "How can we help you?"  with a sarcastic "Oh, you know, just figured this would be a nice time for a tour..."  Which in hindsight was a bad idea because they took one look at Kassi standing there with a smirk on her face and ushered us to a small examination room.  Two minutes into said exam the nurse says
"Oh my God, you are dilated to 8cm and we are about to have a baby... let's get you to a delivery room.  I had no idea.  You were just standing there smiling... how tough are you?!"

Thirty minutes after that conversation and 10 minutes after the epidural arrived Everly Joy was here.  And the rapid succession meant that the three pushes it took were pretty darn close to "natural".  At least it appeared pretty natural when Kassi was yelling "I need more pain meds" at the nurse.  A nurse who wasn't phased in the least and responded "There is no time honey, put your feet in the stirrups, you can get a tattoo to commemorate this later."

Well, she got something better than a tattoo... she got Evie.  Who is an absolute beauty.  A full head of blond mohawked hair, and the brightest stone blue eyes I have ever seen.  And because of Kassi's resiliency we were out of the hospital in less than 48 hours.

Evie and I got Kas a little push present when we got home as a token of our appreciation but I am afraid that just won't cut it.

How she does all the things she does I will never know... but I am blessed to be witness to them all.  And I thank God every day for the wife she has been, the mama she has become, and for every selfless sacrifice she has made in between.

I love you Kassi Rose... here is to you and our little family you made.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Nursery!

We finally got the nursery done this weekend and I absolutely love it.  When I decorated Lyla's nursery I stuck with pale pinks and whites.  It was so sweet, and I still love it - especially the vintage dresser we just added after transferring the changing table over to Evie's room.  This time I wanted to do a bit more of an eclectic and colorful look, and I'm so excited about how it all came together.

I looked at some nursery ideas on Pinterest and came across one that talked about having an area for their older child to play in.  I thought that was such a cute idea, and incorporated it into Everly's room.  The way Lyla follows me around like a little baby duck I know there won't be many times I can feed or change Evie in privacy, so I'm hoping her very own little reading corner and basket of toys will provide some distraction.  For at least 30 seconds or so.  ;)

Lyla loves the room too, and was so excited to see her books up on the wall.  She climbs in "Yeve's" bed daily and jumps as high as she can and talks about her baby sister sleeping in that room.  It's pretty cute and makes me so excited to see her as a big sister.  She's going to be a natural.

Here are some photos, along with a list of where I got most of the stuff at the end.

- K

Curtains - old, from Anthropologie that I dip dyed
Mobile - Baby Jives on Etsy
Baby Quilt - LWPH Sews
Crib and Changing Table - Pottery Barn
Chair - Babies R US
Nightstand - old from Home Goods that I painted and refinished
White Bookshelves - picture ledges from Ikea
J-O-Y Letters, Sheets, Pink Hamper and Fuzzy Pillow Cover - Land of Nod
 Bunny and Deer Prints, Hourglass and E Hook - Anthropologie
Wood Shelf, Pouf, Small Mirror - Restoration Hardware
Woven Basket, Deer Bookends and Lamp - Target
Colorful Hardcover Books - found the whole set new at Anthropologie but purchased these used from Amazon at a fraction of the price! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ready for Baby!

The last few weeks have been pretty tough.  Ryan and I are both in sales, with Ryan having his sales closeouts every month, making the last few days of every month pretty hectic.   My closeouts are quarterly, and when they line up it's just a lot to handle.  Throw in being almost 9 months pregnant and the doctor saying I would most likely have the baby by the end of the month on top of that?  Kind of stressful.

Luckily Everly hung in there through the end of the month, and somehow we all survived the baby preps, pediatric appointments, vet appointments, OB/GYN appointments, visitors, birthday parties and some really crazy work schedules.  The best part was that the last few weeks really were difficult, but Ryan and I managed to work together and tackle everything.  I don't think there's ever been a time in our marriage that I felt more like a team.  It was hard, but together we made it.

I think we both had a big sigh of relief when Saturday rolled around.  We put the very final touches on the nursery and ran around cleaning and picking up, making sure we really were ready to bring a newborn home.  We even managed to get out for a little breakfast at Panera, which is where we ate on the way to the hospital when I was induced with Lyla.  Sitting there that morning with our two year old sitting next to me in a booster seat, drinking OJ straight out of the bottle like a big kid, with another baby seemingly moments away...I had this feeling of everything coming full circle.

I've finally given up on having everything perfectly pristine and picked up when bringing baby home like I had it last time around.  A puppy and a two year old make every moment about a million times more chaotic than they ever were when we brought Lyla home, and I figured out that this is the chaos that is our life, and will be Evie's too.  It may not be perfect, but it's our home and I can't wait to have her join us.

Lyla and I even got out to see part of Ryan's rugby scrimmage, which completely thrilled Lyla.  As soon as she saw Ryan she couldn't stop yelling "Go, Dada!" and "Dada, Come Back!!!", which is how she tells (demands?) us to come to her all day every day.

Here are some photos from the scrimmage.  I can't get over those pigtails!  :)

- K