Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mini Van!

We're officially all grown up now... we're the proud owners of a mini van - aka swagger wagon, aka mom mobile, aka.... thats all I can think of... hmm... I thought there were way more nick names for minivans when I started that sentence! 

I've had a few friends totally make fun of us for wanting a minivan instead of a midsize SUV but I'm not the least bit embarrassed! We started planning for a mini van last year when I was pregnant with Lilly because we realized we would need extra space. I'll admit, since I come from a family of 6 kids I used to judge people who had a mini van for only 2 kids wondering why they'd want to drive that instead of a cool SUV or even a car... I mean my family only drove around in minivans and suburbans because we HAD to in order to fit everyone in! But I now see the error of my thinking.
It's really crowded in the backseat of a sedan when you add carseats and next to impossible to actually sit between 2 carseats! Not to mention going on trips or even trying to take your dog with you to the park. Because even in the SUV the cargo space is taken up by a stroller!

But in a minivan?! 
Cubic space galore!!! 
Cup holders abound! 
Reaghan can climb in and out on her own!
Room for more babies eventually!

We've been searching for something for months! Even going up to Richmond on one occasion to look at a used van. We've worked hard to save a considerable amount in the almost 5 years that we've been married for a purpose such as this and so we were hoping to find a gently used van and pay cash. After much searching (the internet and our hearts) we finally decided to buy new with a huge down payment and very little financed after some negotiating and trading in my old car.
The Honda dealership actually gave us a great price as it was the end of their quarter and had a quota to meet and they had the model we were looking for on their lot in the color I really wanted. : )
We feel really comfortable that with a couple extra payments and being a little more conscious of our spending we'll be able to pay it off in only a year. 

And wouldn't you know? The night we came home with it from the dealership we had a massive storm roll through our area with tornado touchdowns and hail! AGH!
Good thing our garage was clean because we surely did pull that thing in there to save it from the hail! Obviously it can't be protected at all times from everything, but I'm pretty sure my husband would've cried if we'd ended up with a cracked windshield from hail on the first night!

I'm just throwing this picture in here because it was Reaghan's first time feeding Lilly a bottle. She loves being a big helper. Also proud mommy moment - these 2 were both at the dealership with us for 2 hours while we signed all the paperwork and they were fantastic! I came prepared with snacks and Reaghan was allowed to use her tablet thats saved for special occasions and they were great! We even got to practice our new "interrupt rule" that we learned from our parenting class and have been working on at home and Reag did really well with it. Love my sweet girls.

I feel a bit spoiled driving the new van around! It's my first brand new vehicle!
I'm extremely grateful for this blessing and the careful planning of my man over the years to make this a possibility. Hopefully this van will take us on many adventures, give us lots of good memories and even teach these girls how to drive one day. Unless, of course, we all have self driving cars by then. ;)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

See Lilly Grow! {2 Months}

Lilly Jean turned 2 months old on Monday! I can't believe I only have 3 more weeks of maternity leave left. : ( I had to go to a continuing education course this past weekend, so I was gone from my girls from 6:30am to 5pm Saturday AND Sunday, and it was hard! I know a lot of mama's do it, but I'm so glad I don't work full time. I think the sleep deprivation alone would really challenge my ability to be a good wife and mom! It was Mark's first time flying solo with BOTH girls this weekend too and everything went great! Lilly did struggle with the bottle a bit the first day though. We had given her a bottle a few times before and she had done fine, but for some reason the flow was way too fast for her this weekend. Maybe her sucking power has really increased! I ran out Saturday night after the course and bought some slower flow nipples and Mark said she didn't have any problems on Sunday. It's a little stressful to get a text saying your baby is struggling to eat when you're 20 minutes away and stuck in a classroom and theres nothing you can do! It literally made my boobs hurt! haha Weird breastfeeding symptom! Thankfully Mark is super daddy and made it work.

Lilly is definitely out of her newborn stage! She's very alert and animated now. It's bittersweet but of course there's nothing like watching your baby grow.

Here are some highlights from Lilly Jean's second month on earth!

She had an appointment today and weighed 11 lbs. 14oz. and was 22.7 inches long. 66th percentile for weight and 63rd for height. She's outgrown all of her newborn outfits and fits pretty comfortably in some 3 month outfits already. She's getting some squishy baby rolls on her arms and legs and I love it!
Reaghan caught a cold a couple of weeks ago and Lilly picked a little bit of it up. She had a runny nose and even a little cough that lingered for around a week but no fevers. We put the humidifier and snot suckers to good use that week! She is healthy again but now Reaghan has another runny nose - hopefully this doesn't become a regular cycle now that we have 2 kids!

Still eats like a champ. Usually every 2 1/2 - 3 hours during the day. Sometimes sooner, just depends on her mood! Learning to eat from a bottle really well. She doesn't have a problem with different nipples, will suck on anything you give her lol the flow just needs to be right because she has a powerful little suck! Spits up ALL.THE.TIME. It never fails that I have to change her outfit right before we're getting ready to leave because she's soaked it again with spit up. She's also notorious for peeing in the middle of diaper changes!  

She hasn't had a true "sleep through the night" night yet. It takes her a long time to finally fall asleep and stay asleep at night. The past few nights it hasn't been until 12:30-1 (which meant I got 5 hours of sleep Friday and Saturday because I had to be up early for the course!) but once she goes down she'll sleep for a 5-6 hour stretch. We're working on getting her in a good nap schedule to prepare for my return to work. Today she did great and napped for almost 3 hours on her own at the same time as Reaghan! *happy dance*

Eating. She's started to enjoy laying on her play mat and looking at the mirror and her toys or laying propped up on her Boppy to see whats going on. Likes stroller rides and car rides. Tolerates her swing for about 10 minutes or so.  

Bath times aren't her favorite, especially if she's not submerged in the warm water during Reaghan's bath. That seems to be the only way she tolerates it, but even then its hit or miss. She doesn't like tummy time at all, but is already very strong! The Dr. was impressed with how she could hold her head up when she put her on her tummy today. I think she thinks she's older than she is because she already tries to roll on to her side and push with her legs to stand up. lol 

She smiled for the first time around 6 weeks and this last week or so she has become very animated with lots of smiles, coos, and arm and leg movements. I love watching her kick around when she gets excited, like when I'm about to feed her. Its the best! 

Sibling Love
Reaghan is still the biggest helper. She always wants to hold Lilly and the first thing she asks when she gets up in the morning or from her nap is "Is Lilly awake? Can I see her?" She helps me wash her hair in the bathtub and loves it when I hold both of them on my lap on in my arms. Lilly always turns when she hears her voice and gives her big smiles. I've become slightly obsessed with matching outfits - their entire summer wardrobe will probably coordinate in some way! 

Special Outings/Events
She was dedicated at church on March 26th. She went to her first movie in the theaters with mommy, grammie, Aunt Nin Nin and Aunt Sara and cousin Lindy. She was away from mommy for the first time when Grammie babysat her for an hour while mommy got a massage with friends! : ) 

Her expressions are my favorite. She was pretty determined not to smile in the beginning but Reag and I finally convinced her that we're pretty funny people to hang out with. Funny noises and high-pitched voices are impossible to resist when you're 2 months old. ; )

Friday, March 17, 2017

Toddler Days

So this probably isn't a real exciting post but I love to document these kinds of things to be able to look back on. I know I could do it in a baby book, but this little blog has become my favorite place to post. And now that we have Lilly its so easy to go back and compare stories... like reading Reaghan's 1 month post as I did Lilly's.

Reaghan is 2 1/2 today! We are in the thick of the toddler days with her and while she is a total sweetheart 90% of the time because of her more reserved, quiet, God-given disposition, she's still a toddler. She can whine and cry and sass with the best of them. She is more inclined to whine about things than to throw an all out temper tantrum {I honestly don't know what I would prefer} but the few times she's had a full on melt down have revolved around using the potty {randomly she'll decide she doesn't ever need to poop again} or when we've allowed her to have screen time with her little kindle that we got for road trips. {once it was because she had to stop using the Kindle while she was on the potty -- double whammy! -- and it happened right as a visitor walked through our door to bring us dinner after Lilly was born. It was a humbling moment.}

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lilly's Newborn Photos

I'm the worst at blogging right now. I posted Lilly's 1 month update before I even shared her newborn pictures. Oh Well. Let's just rewind time for a minute and go back to my beautiful babe at just a few days old. She's already getting so big and more alert, {which I love!} but there's nothing like that first week with a fresh baby. That time before its important to start getting into a schedule... when all that matters is lounging around and cuddling and getting to know the sweet new life that's become a part of your family. *Sigh* Nothing. Like it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

See Lilly Grow {1 Month}

Lilly Jean has been with us for 1 whole month as of last Friday!

This month has been so different compared to our first month with Reaghan. 
I mean, the girls are similar in their personalities, but we as parent, are so different this time around.
Less stressed. Less intimidated. More confident. Lets just say I'm not counting how many pee or poop diapers she has in a day this time around. :)

Here are some highlights from Lilly's first month!

At her 2 week appointment she was 8 lbs. 10 oz. but I think she's significantly heavier now. She loves to eat! She's outgrown most of her newborn outfits, especially the little sleepers, which sort of makes me sad because I was so looking forward to snuggling with her in those footie pjs. But we definitely did get lots of snuggles! Size 1 diapers.  

She's been a perfectly healthy baby! No jaundice or weight concerns following her birth. I've been so grateful that we've all stayed healthy leading up to her birth and the month since. There has been a lot of sickness in our area but so far we've escaped it all! Thank you God! 

She is a fantastic eater! I struggled so much with Reaghan in the beginning and had to use a nipple shield for the first few weeks to help with her latch, but Lilly has been a champ from the beginning, She eats every 2-3 hours and when she's hungry she is hungry and will not be fooled by the pacifier! She spits up a lot though! Which is not so fun because I end up smelling like spit up all day long.   

She's still waking up every 3-4 hours. Most of the time she goes right back to sleep but there have been the not so great nights! She's a night owl and usually doesn't fall into a good night time sleep until 10 or 11. She's usually pretty fussy during the evening too and wants to cluster feed a lot so most of the time I don't get to shower until she falls asleep. She takes a good 2 hour morning nap that I use to have "Big Girl" time with Reaghan. I'm learning to be more intentional in my motherhood and not as worried about getting the laundry done. In the afternoon I've been letting myself take a rest during Reaghan's nap time and Lilly usually naps in my lap during that time. I know I'll need to be more productive during nap times soon, but I'm enjoying my time to sit and cuddle my newborn while she's  still a newborn. I don't feel the need to "prove" that I can get it all done like I did with Reaghan. 

Mommy! Using my ergo carrier a lot lately, especially trying to fix dinner. I thought for sure she was asleep the other night but I must've got a little too close because her eyes popped wide open! I think she smelled me!!! She makes her daddy work for her affections. She likes to float in the big tub while Reaghan takes a bath. Loved her swing the first couple weeks but not so much anymore. Loves to be held at all times if possible. ;)

Being put down. :) She's sleeping on my chest now as I write this. 

She has lots of sleepy smiles but we've only seen a few intentional smiles. She cooed for the first time today for me and Reaghan and Reaghan loved it!

Sibling Love
Reaghan has been the biggest helper to me! Gets diapers, throws dirty diapers away. Has gotten very good at giving Lilly her paci when she's fussy. Will hold her in the mornings on the couch while I fix breakfast. She loves to give her kisses and thinks its hilarious if Lilly starts to "root" around on her face. She talks to her so sweetly copying mommy's voice... "Oh honey, its okay." "I'm here honey, I'm right here." "You don't need to fuss, nothings wrong." I love watching her love on her. 

 We've managed to make it to church on time which we were pretty proud of and I'm getting better and better at getting everyone ready and out the door with minimal craziness. *high five*

We're having fun being parents of 2 sweet girls, even if we are ready for bed by 6 on a Saturday night and the soundtrack of our evenings are Disney songs and newborn cries!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lilly's Birth Story

Lilly turned 3 weeks this past Friday! I can't believe I haven't taken the time to sit and blog about her birth story but its just been so much more fun cuddling with her on my lap rather than a computer! But I'm finally ready! So here are all the details that no one has asked for but I know you want to know ;)

In my last pregnancy update I left you getting ready to go begrudgingly make a dinner that I didn't want to make because I wanted to be in the hospital having a baby. All of the start and stop labor I'd had over the last week had left me exhausted and I snapped at my husband when he first got home from work and was a little too short with my toddler when she woke up from her nap. Thankfully God's grace penetrated my dark attitude and I was able to turn the evening around and enjoy it with my little family. After we put Reaghan to bed that night, Mark and I sat on the couch talking and I told him we should just start planning the Super Bowl party because I was pretty sure I was going to be pregnant through the weekend. I wasn't upset saying it either, just resigned to the likely fact. Erin called me around the same time to ask how I was doing and encourage me to just be patient and let it be. She encouraged me to rest and stop trying so hard and maybe even go get a massage or visit a Chiropractor the next day to help relieve stress and relax so my body could work. I was all for the massage idea so when I got off the phone I told Mark that I was going to try and make that happen the next day. I went to bed feeling more content and repeating a verse that God had put on my heart the week before... "He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast on him..." Perfect peace. No contractions since before my nap, but falling asleep with perfect peace.

Only a few hours later I was woken up by a contraction around 3am. Nothing crazy and I was able to fall back asleep. About 4am I was awakened by another contraction and this time this one was MUCH stronger. I could feel it in my low back and thighs and it lasted a good while. I could tell this one was different. This was the intensity level that I had been waiting for. I told myself if I had another one that strong I would wake Mark up and let him know... sure enough 11 minutes later it came again and was even a little stronger than the one before. I stayed laying on my side and breathed my way through it and then woke Mark up. I told him if one more came like that then it was go time! A little less than 10 minutes later the third one came and was so strong I had to get up on my hands and knees to breathe through it. We got up to start getting ready and I noticed it was 5am - I smiled remembering how my water had broken with Reaghan at 5 in the morning! Funny how I was starting labor at the same time of the day! I called Erin to come sit with Reaghan and when I called she said she was actually already awake and didn't know why but hadn't been able to fall back asleep. (I love including these little details because I feel like they are the intimate ways that God takes care of us. He had her prepared.) Before we left the house I had 2 more contractions that stopped me in my tracks and caused me to lean on something for support or get on my hands and knees. I'll admit I was getting a little nervous that I was going to start feeling the urge to push before we got to the hospital, thats how strong and painful these puppies were coming on and they seemed to be getting a little closer together each time! It was hard to breathe through them sitting in the front seat of the car on the way to the hospital and we had to wait for one to pass after we parked before walking inside.

It was 5:55 when we stopped at the desk to check in. I was so frustrated that they wanted me to fill out some paperwork because I had already pre-registered. Isn't that the point of pre-registering? Mark said I was little short with them and I'm sure they thought I was being overly dramatic as I leaned on their counter to breathe through a contraction while a lady holding out a clipboard waited for me to sign the papers, but they didn't know I was already towards the end! When they finally got me into a gown and in the triage room the nurse checked me at 8cm dilated and 100% effaced and little miss Lilly already at the +1 position! You should've seen Mark's face when they said 8cm. Eyes as wide as saucers! He came over to hold my hand, shaking his head and said "we're having this baby soon, aren't we?" He was so relieved to be at the hospital. With all of my prodromal labor he was afraid I was going to wait too long to go in and have the baby in the car or something haha I just told him "See? I knew exactly when to come!" He just rolled his eyes. : )

I had to have an IV for antibiotics because I was GBS+ again and they said told us they didn't want labor to go to fast because they needed to give me a second dose of antibiotics again in 4 hours. I nodded my head but I knew there was no way Lilly was waiting 4 more hours. Laying in the triage room with the IV while being asked a million medical history questions (hello! sharing the details of my grandparents cancer history isn't exactly easy with contractions happening every 4-5 minutes!) I started getting a little light headed so they had me lay on my side. I definitely felt better and they said Lilly's heart rate was better in that position too and strangely enough I really just wanted to stay on my side even when they got us to the labor and delivery room. Laying on my side isn't exactly how I thought I'd labor but each contractions was zapping my energy and I felt so exhausted after each one that I just wanted to be able to lay my head down and rest. I did try to sit on a ball at one point because it had really helped me with Reaghan's labor but as soon as I sat down the pressure increased 100x over so I was like NOPE! and back into the bed I went. I was way past the point of walking and sitting on a ball. In hindsight I maybe should've stayed standing or at least gone on my hands and knees but on my side Mark was able to rub my back and put pressure through my SI joint which really helped and I could really rest after each one. I thought I had had back labor with Reaghan but I had no idea what I was talking about then! With Lilly each contraction brought so much pressure through my low back that I'm pretty sure I strained something. My back hurt so bad the first few days after her birth. At one point it felt like she wanted to come out through my low back! It was unexpectedly painful. Which sounds dumb when you're talking about childbirth because hello, of course its painful, but Reaghan's labor pains didn't even compare to these!

A little before 7:30 I started to feel the urge to push. I told the nurse, who at that point was still entering things into the computer and had pretty much been in the room the whole time just getting things ready and probably not expecting things to progress so fast. She checked me and I was 9 1/2 cm so she called the Dr to come in. Unfortunately when I flipped on to my back to get ready to push the next contraction took a while to come so while we were waiting the Dr went ahead and broke my water. She noticed some meconium in the fluid so had to call the NICU nurses to come in to check on Lilly after she was born just incase. When the next one finally did come the urge to push definitely wasn't as strong. I kind of did a little baby push and the Dr looked for the baby and then looked back up at me and asked if I was pushing. I said "sort of"... and all the nurses and the Dr were like "What?! Girl, push next time!" I wanted to explain that I wasn't really feeling the urge to push anymore but at the same time I was really ready for the pain to be over so when the next contraction came and I felt the little urge I went ahead and pushed harder and I felt Lilly drop fast! I also felt myself tear! With Reaghan I pushed for about an hour and it was a very controlled stretching, burning sensation as she gradually came. With Lilly, after giving more oomph with the second contraction, BAM! there she was crowning and also still very sunny side up. The Dr said to get ready because we were going to have a baby with the next contraction and sure enough I pushed 3x with the next contraction and Lilly was born into this world at 7:42 am! A little less than 2 hours after arriving at the hospital.

They put this beautiful, squalling baby on my belly for a few seconds as they cut the cord before the NICU nurses took her over to the table to assess her and clean her up a bit. She was perfect so I got her back quickly. As the Dr. cleaned me up she said I had a 2nd degree tear which really bummed me out because I was hoping to avoid tearing at all this time. But with her coming so fast and uncontrolled when I pushed, and being sunny side up until she twisted as she came out, I guess the tearing was inevitable.

Thankfully when I got her back on my chest she started nursing quickly and easily. Such an answer to prayer! I kept thanking God out loud for answering that prayer because I had really struggled with Reaghan in the beginning.

When they measured her she weighed in at only 7 pounds 8 ounces and 21 inches long! So little for being 6 days over due! I couldn't get enough of her little smushed nose and face. The poor girl had been trying to come for over a week and had started to run out of room in there!

We got to spend a couple of hours having skin to skin time and bonding time with daddy while we got moved in to our recovery room.
We've had the privilege of bringing babes into this world together twice now.
Grateful for the beautiful moments we don't deserve.
Grateful for his love.
This is my favorite picture of her little newborn self.
Swollen and smushed from delivery, but so, so perfect.
My mom, dad and Erin brought Reaghan up to meet Lilly a couple of hours later. Mark went out to get Reaghan to let her come back first and her face was so precious when she walked in. Her eyes bright with anticipation and smiling from ear to ear. I hope I can always remember that moment. My heart melted watching my big girl walk in. She got up in the bed with me and Lilly and she instantly fell in love. She couldn't stop touching Lilly's face and she was being so very gentle. We gave her a little present that "Lilly" got for her and she was very excited about it!

After a while Erin and my parents came back. They brought us Chic Fil A breakfast and a beautiful bouquet of Lilly's. :) My mom helped me shower and I couldn't believe how good I felt! Other than being tired, getting up and moving around wasn't nearly as daunting as it had been after Reaghan. I think the second time around your body isn't as traumatized by the whole event since its done it once before? Thats my theory anyways! The rest of the family came up a little later as well as Mark's family and everyone got to meet sweet Lilly Jean.

Also, we got a celebration steak dinner courtesy of the hospital that night. I mean it was still hospital food so the steak was a little over done, but how fun is that?!

We got to go home Sunday morning before lunch and my parents were waiting for us at home with Reaghan. I was so happy to finally be home with both of my girls. It was so hard having Reaghan leave the hospital each day and she had a couple of meltdowns when she had to leave mommy. After cuddling with Reaghan for a bit Mark and I went to take showers and lay down for a nap while my parents watched the girls. That 2 hours of sleep was heavenly. I'm so grateful for my parents being there to help. Call me crazy, but we totally invited our brothers and sisters to come over that night to watch the Super Bowl! Mark pulled down the big screen, everyone else brought the food and I sat on the couch with Lilly while people brought me everything I needed. I was tired, but it was fun!

Matching "coming home" outfits!
Because every pair of brand new sisters need to have matching outfits.
The last 3 weeks have had their ups and downs as we've adjusted to life with 2 kids, but the ups far outweigh the downs! After the first week Lilly got into a good sleeping pattern at night and while Reaghan has wanted a few more cuddles than usual, she hasn't been jealous at all and has been my right hand helper! Always so willing to get me a diaper or a blanket and is on paci patrol 24/7 whenever she hears Lilly cry. It only took me 2 hours to leave the house the first time I tried to take both the girls somewhere due to having 3 newborn wardrobe changes, one caused by a blowout happening just after buckling her into her carseat... but I've shaved that time down a bit AND I took both the girls all by myself to run a few errands yesterday and it was a success! Don't laugh. It's a harder than it looks.

Lilly loves to be held and loves to eat. She also loves to spit up everything she eats and then want to eat again. She's got blonde hair and dark eyes. She loves when I place her in Reaghan's bath. She opens her eyes whenever she hears Reaghan's voice. We love everything about her and we're so grateful she is here and healthy. I'm still in awe sometimes when I realize I'm a mom of 2.

What a beautiful life I'm getting to live.