Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baby brother’s birth.

I’m two weeks late on this, but Eugene & I are overflowing with joy to announce the birth of our son!

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His birth story is quite a bit different from his sister’s. Although, similar to his sister, he decided to come after I attended a Bible study. Guess the Spirit really moves my kiddos! ;)  I went to a Bible study at 7pm on Monday night. I was having some contractions, enough to where I decided to start timing them. During the Bible study they were anywhere from 10 to 20 min apart and starting to get more intense and regular. The whole day I was feeling a little weird. I told Eugene that I thought I felt off, and I even predicted that I’d have the baby on Tuesday because I worked a LONG and HOT outdoor event on Sunday. When I had big sister, she also came two days after a huge military event I coordinated.

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Like I said, during my Bible Study from 7-9pm, I was having semi-regular contractions…enough that I started to time them. I didn’t really think much of them because I had tons of contractions the last month or so of my pregnancy. It was just normal to have them off and on throughout the day. When I got home from Bible Study, I talked to Eugene a little about our days, then got ready for bed. We laid down around 10:30pm, read a chapter from Psalms together, prayed together, then turned off the light. Eugene usually falls asleep way faster than I do, so try to use that quiet time to have some personal prayer myself. I kid you not – I was praying to God, “I trust your timing, Lord, but if it’s your will, please let the baby come in the next day or two.” During that exact prayer, I felt a pop/small burst, and I knew my water had broken. I told Eugene and he jumped out of bed and began packing. {He isn’t one to pack bags ahead of time…luckily, I had already packed my bag and big sister’s bag.} I told Eugene I didn’t want to leave right away and I wanted time to make sure it was my water breaking. Last time, my water broke around 4pm, and I didn’t have the baby until almost 7am. I didn’t see the need to rush to the hospital just to hang out walking the halls again.

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Eugene’s mom came over to sleep at our house so we didn’t have to wake up big sister. {Thank you, Lori!} I got my stuff together, washed my hair, {yes, I wasn’t about to have greasy hair for 2 days in the hospital!}, and we headed in to the hospital about 30 minutes after my water initially broke.

When we got there, we checked in, and headed to triage. I answered 2,000 questions, and then they checked my progress. The nurses kept saying how difficult it was to tell because the baby was so incredibly low. Eventually they told me I was already at 6 cm and having regular contractions. This was going to be much quicker than the first time!

I asked for a nurse who was comfortable with a birth without pain medicine, and God gave me an absolutely amazing nurse. Complete blessing! Nicole, my nurse, got me on antibiotics {I tested positive for Group B Strep}, and then she kindly suggested a few tips to get the labor moving even quicker – rocking my hips on my birthing ball, moving to all fours on the bed, and relaxing my lower muscles with each contraction. She was helpful but not forceful or overbearing. I cannot praise her enough – she made my whole labor experience so much better than my first!

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My sister and Eugene were there to help me through the painful contractions. My sister played with my hair, got me water {I was ridiculously thirsty the whole time}, and massaged/put pressure on my back during the contractions. Eugene stood in front of me while I would lean all my weight on him and bear hug him with each contraction. He would talk me through them and let me know when the contraction was almost over by watching the monitor. That was really helpful for me to know when each one was almost over. I just remember saying how sleepy and tired I was. I seriously wanted to fall asleep while sitting on the birthing ball. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and I could hardly hold myself up {which is why I wanted to lean on Eugene.} Without Nicole, Eugene, and my sister, I couldn't have made it through the labor and delivery without pain medication or without keeping my sanity! ;)

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My water broke around 10:40pm, and little brother arrived a short 4 hours and 40 some minutes later. Waaay faster this time! It was intense. Very strong contractions, but thankfully I didn’t have back labor this time. That back labor and pitocin last time was AWFUL. I am so thankful that I didn’t experience either of those this time around.

This time around the doctor was already at the hospital, which is a good thing because I transition to being ready to push ridiculously fast. Once it was time to push, it only took 15 minutes or less to meet little brother. I think the labor was easier this time around, but delivery and after delivery was much more painful this time. Perhaps the epidural I got way too late last time actually kicked in ever so slightly to take the edge off of the after delivery part. This time, not so much…I’ll spare you details on that. ;)

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As painful and unpleasant as this delivery was, I had a great labor and delivery. Little brother was surprisingly extremely active through the whole labor so I never had to worry if he was okay. I made it through it as I wanted to, without an epidural. I had an awesome nurse and support, enough time to get a full dose of antibiotics in, and it went much faster this time…without pitocin or back labor! Seriously, God was all over every aspect of baby brother’s birth. Thank you, Lord!

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We are so in love with this little guy. What an absolute blessing he is.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

A quick get-away.

We’ve been really busy. We’re always busy, but lately, it’s been even more-so than usual. Neither of us had time to plan a vacation, but we had ONE weekend in all of June/July/August that wasn’t already busy with some obligation for one of us. I knew I really wanted to go somewhere to reconnect with Eugene, and also to give the little one some special attention before she’s no longer an only child. My hormonal, indecisive self couldn’t function enough to plan a trip, but thankfully, Eugene saved the day {or my summer} by booking a hotel and buying zoo tickets on a Friday night, just in time for us to leave the next morning.

We woke up at normal time {read: early, thanks to a certain two-year-old}, ate breakfast, got our stuff together and headed 2.5 hours away to Toledo. The little one napped in the car, thankfully. So the trip there wasn’t too bad, other than construction. We stayed one night at a hotel that had an indoor pool so the little one could swim, and then we woke up and headed to the Toledo Zoo. {I didn’t know until Eugene told me, but the Toledo Zoo is ranked #1 in the Nation by USA Today.} We stayed as long as the little one could handle, which worked out to be perfect. She reached her max right around 2pm, and we had finished almost all of the exhibits in that 4 hours, so we headed home and she napped before we pulled out of the parking lot!

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Our hotel room had a nice view of the river…

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Not surprisingly, she loved swimming with Dada – mainly jumping in nonstop…

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We walked across the river and enjoyed a nice dinner at a restaurant on the river. {Pardon the blurry phone pic.}

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She was so enthralled with the boats. It didn’t matter whether the boat was moving full speed or docked!

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She and her daddy got some really good time together on this trip. He’s been working some crazy hours lately, so it made my heart so happy to see them get such quality time.

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And here begins the zoo pictures. Quick family photo before we entered the zoo. {BIIG ole belly! Only 4 weeks to go!}

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We got to see them feed the penguins first…

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There was a nice playground right next to the penguin exhibit, so we couldn’t escape without a few rides down the slide “all by myself!” {She’s getting so independent!}

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Since she loves Curious George, I figured she’d like the primate exhibits. She was so focused the whole time, not even smiling, but I could tell she was just taking it all in. Later on, she talked with excitement about how the monkeys were eating fruit and swinging.  

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I like the picture above to the right. Two sets of gorillas in love, ha!

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I have had a longstanding fear of birds, but I faced that fear and willingly walked into the free-flying Parakeet exhibit. I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I survived. ;)

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She loved the elephant exhibit, kept wanting to go back to that one.

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The picture above is her mimicking the horns. 

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I think her favorite exhibit was the seals. It was really the only time she broke her intense focus with a laugh. The seal would zoom by her and she’d just smile and giggle.

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Eugene & I both liked the polar bear exhibit. This guy was so playful and active, jumping off the ledge and diving after a bucket….

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You can tell by her tightening grip around her daddy’s neck that she wasn’t as big of a fan as we were. I guess it is a little scary to see a huge bear flopping around right in front of you!

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The zoo was great. It had an incredible interactive kids area that would have been perfect if the little one were even just a year older. The zoo was reasonably priced, was clean, contained well-communicated exhibits and paths, had lots of places to sit and enjoy a picnic lunch, had a fun playground area and ample restroom facilities {which is important with a potty trained toddler & a pregnant lady!}, and had interactive experiences to enjoy throughout the day. I’d recommend the Toledo Zoo for sure.

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We had a great little get-away, and I’m so thankful that we got to experience it together. I love my family. {So much.}

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flower girls.

I shared pictures from the wedding, but I had a ton of flower girl pics still left to share. So, here ya go – a post full of mint tulle and blonde curls! ;)

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The picture above is just the girls coloring while we waited for photos to begin. They were troopers the whole day; so proud of them!

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Cate was much better at smiling for the camera than my little one. Cate looks angelic to me in the photo below!

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With the beautiful bride…          

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And this one was not staged. They just grabbed each other’s hand and went walking. {Love it.}

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Oh, by the way, my sister & I made their tutu dresses using this tutorial, but we didn’t tie the tulle again for the waist. I just put the ribbon on them the day-of. The dresses turned out to be more see-through than I expected, mainly when the girls would twirl in them or sit down. I sewed some liner fabric {part of a ribbed tank top actually} and had her wear some white spandex shorts too. When they were in the ceremony, you couldn’t tell one bit, but once they got dancing you could definitely see the shorts/lining.

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They made it down the aisle with no tears…and no shoes! {Their shoes gave them blisters.} I’ll take the trade of no shoes for two happy flower girls any day!

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The rest of the pictures were taken after the ceremony.

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Sisters. Cousins. Two sets of best friends.

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This was towards the end of the night – what an ornery smile.

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The girls loved sitting in the big picture window right behind the head table. By this point, I was really picking my battles, plus it was pretty cute to watch Eugene entertain them!

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Once the DJ started playing some upbeat music, the little one got a whole new burst of energy. She was running around and dancing NONSTOP.

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Both girls were dancing machines from the start of dinner until my sister and I pulled them off the dance floor to put on PJs.

I think it’s safe to say they had a blast. I love these little flower girls!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dillan and Kelsey’s wedding.

We spent last weekend celebrating the wedding of Eugene’s brother & now sister-in-law. Eugene was the best man, the little one & Cate were flower girls, and I had a reading in the ceremony; we were honored to play a part in their special day. I took lots of photos {especially of the flower girls}, so I’ll post another blog of mainly just flower girl shots later.

This shot’s a little blurry, but I still love it. Cate colored a picture for Kelsey, and the little one gave it to her. So precious…

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I was so proud of our little flower girls! They made it down the aisle like pros!

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I love it when the bride & groom save the “first look” until the walk down the aisle…

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The weather for the ceremony was perfect, and the rain held off until just after cocktail hour…

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Beautiful Aunties & cousins…

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What a sharp looking bridal party!

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The new Mr. & Mrs…

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I know I’m partial, but I’ve also heard a TON of bridal party speeches {being an Event Coordinator and all}, but Eugene’s Best Man speech just might have been the best one I’ve ever heard. He did such an amazing job – talked about making a list of memories with your best friend, the challenge of being selfless in your marriage, and the ultimate example we have of selfless love in Christ, our groom. {So good.}

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Kelsey’s dress looked just as beautiful inside at night with a flower crown as it did outside with the veil for the ceremony. Gorgeous…

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I’m so happy we stole the newlyweds for a quick pic of the four of us…well five if you count my 8-month belly bump. ;)

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Eugene’s sisters looked gorgeous too. I love these girls!

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Caught a parent pic at the end of dinner… 

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The girls LOVED dancing. That’s an understatement actually. They danced nonstop from dinner time until 9:30 – way past bedtime! I managed to grab a little family photo for our own too. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to tear the little one away from the dance floor!

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