Wednesday, November 28, 2012

36 weeks

Yesterday, I hit 36 weeks.  Up until Monday, it felt like time was going pretty quickly and I was handling it all pretty good.

On Monday, it all started to change.  By 3:30, my hips and thighs were hurting so bad.  All I wanted to do was take a bath.  With scorching hot water.  As soon as Dusty got home, that was what I went and did.  There was no way I could get the water hot enough.  And while it felt great when I was in there, as soon as I got out the pain was back.  Ugh.  All I wanted to do was try to go to sleep. 

Samantha didn't like that idea.  She didn't want to sleep in her bed.  On Sunday, I converted the crib back to the newborn settings and basically explained to Samantha that was she a big girl now and she was going to sleep in her big girl bed like a big girl.  At first, she seemed really excited about it.  Every once in a while, she would throw a fit about it.  Sunday, we skipped the nap for the day.  Which meant that she fell asleep on her way home from Sunday dinner at my parent's house, I was able to get her in the toddler bed by 8:30 and she stayed there until 8 am.

Monday, we skipped the nap again, hoping it would make it even easier to fall asleep that night.  I was wrong.  I ended up laying down with her so she would finally fall asleep around 11:30.  I was exhausted.  I was in pain.  I wanted to sleep.  She stayed asleep until Kaitlyn woke her up slamming the door at 9.

Tuesday was Dusty's birthday!  Happy Birthday!  (And my dad's!)  Samantha did take a nap around 3:30 and stayed asleep until 5:30.  I had to wake her up, it took about an hour to get her to wake up.

Around 3:30 on Tuesday, the pain was back.  Worse almost?  Tylenol was not touching the pain.  I could easily time contractions, but they were not consistent.  They went from every 20 minutes, to every 3.5 minutes to every 10 minutes to every 4.  I just wanted another bath.  Which, is what I did as soon as I got home.  Again, it couldn't get hot enough, it wouldn't stop the pain.  And now, add some cramps in.  And Samantha didn't want to go to sleep.  Eventually, she at least laid down and resting.

Most mornings, I feel pretty good.  If it wasn't for the belly and the urge to pee, it would be easy to pretend I wasn't pregnant.

This morning was not a good morning.  I woke up with cramping and pain.  I wanted a bath.  I started with tylenol, which didn't help.  A hot shower hasn't helped and what kept me going was the countdown to my appointment this morning.  Then, the doctor's office called and rescheduled for this afternoon since he was stuck in surgery.  Ugh. 

The only place that I feel any relief in pain is sitting on "my" end of our reclining couch.  And the relief is minimal at best.

As I was getting ready to leave for my appointment, it was rescheduled again.  One of the drawbacks about having a surgeon for an OB is the fact that there are times he's stuck in surgery.  Of course, the positives are an awesome scar and a lot of faith in knowing that there isn't anyone better to perform my surgery.

So, tomorrow, we will go in and see how 36 weeks is treating my body!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! (A day late) - And 23 days of gratitude

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by the love and warmth of family, friends and a feast fit for royalty.

My goal was to wake up at 6:45, start the macaroni and cheese, get the dough for the rolls rising and make some fudge.  Then, shower, dress, get the girls ready and be in the car with all of our stuff by 10.  Seems easy right?  Unless you wake up tired, want to sleep and put off starting anything until 7:30. 

We left the house by 11:15 or so and arrived at my sisters at 11:45.  There, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents, my sisters, their husbands, my sister's step-son, my brother, his long time girlfriend and our little family.  There was WAY too much food.  Like, we could have all had 3-4 plates and still had left overs.  I'm glad that for the first time ever I didn't double the mac and cheese.

We ate, we joked, we talked, we planned, we took pictures, the girls ran around like crazy and eventually we had to leave.  Everything was beautiful, perfect and delicious.

Next, we headed to Dusty's parents house where we we joined his parents, his sister, husband, our niece, his aunt, uncle and uncle's mother.  Even though we were about to burst at the seams from all the food we'd already enjoyed, the food was too good to pass up.  I'm sure any weight I had lost has been gained back and then some.

The girls all got to facetime with their cousins in Alabama that they miss so much.  Kaitlyn and Camaryn played, fought and played some more.  Samantha played, got into markers and then decided she could not keep her eyes open for even a moment more and eventually fell asleep while the adults laughed, joked and went through Black Friday ads.  It was a great end to a great day.

When we got home, I was so exhausted that I could barely keep my eyes open.  The only thing that could have perfected the day would have been to have a certain "should be 5 year old" there with us, irritating the girls and sticking his fingers in the mashed potatoes.  Matthew is missed beyond what simple words could possibly explain.

I am grateful and thankful that we have all of that.  We have strong families on both sides.  We have been able to give our daughter's normalcy even when nothing feels normal.  We are preparing for the arrival of our 4th baby.  We have been blessed with three children, who have all been born crying, who nursed, who were hugged and kissed.  We continue to be blessed with two living children who laugh and play and giggle and scream.  I am incredibly thankful for our life and those that are in it.   I am grateful for the lack of drama in our lives, the peace within our families and the ability to have good times with those that surround us.

Normally, the day after Thanksgiving is a busy one in our house.  I love me some Black Friday shopping.  I also love spending the day after Thanksgiving  decorating for Christmas.  Having a fake tree makes that so easy.

This year is different.  I have been battling an evil cold, I'm 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  I'm tired. 

On Tuesday, I finished packing my labor bag (minus the cameras), I moved around the car seats to make room for Charlotte.  I washed all of the rest of the baby stuff and put it all away.

Today, instead of doing what we normally do, we decided to shake it up.  I did a little bit of Black Friday shopping, all online.  Which, actually worked out great.  I was able to get the same deals that are in the stores, minus the lines, the crazies, using gas and standing in line.  Then, I used ebates and saved way more than I would have if I went into the stores.  Yay for that!

I kicked Samantha out of her crib turned toddler bed last night and she slept the night in the toddler bed.  Today, I turned the crib back into a crib and raised it for a newborn.  I added the bumper and crib skirt back (don't worry, we don't even use the crib much until after 9 months), and started to put back together the mobile.  There is a piece of the mobile missing.  I need to look for a replacement part to screw it to the crib.

I cooked breakfast.  I cleaned and organized more. 

We've decided that this year, we're going to wait until the 1st of December to decorate for Christmas.  I see no need to rush the Christmas season upon us.  :)  My plan is to decorate on Saturday and then on Sunday we're going to introduce an Elf on the Shelf to the girls for the first year ever. 

I created all the labels for our Christmas Cards and birth announcements.  I have both created and awaiting pictures, and details in regards to the announcements.  I cleaned up my facebook friends list.  I've made sure Kaitlyn finally finished the last of her thank you cards.  I've rested.  I've listened to Kaitlyn whine because I haven't taken her anywhere yet today.

But, it's been a good day.  A good week.  A good Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21 of gratitude

Today I am thankful for school holidays.  Granted, if I worked outside of the house, I would probably not be as grateful for as long as some of them are, or as frequent, but since I do have the privilege of not working outside the home, I love it.

Last week, Kaitlyn went to school Tuesday and Wednesday.  She was off Monday, Thursday, Friday and all of this week for one reason or another. 

Originally, I had grand plans.  We would go to John's Incredible Pizza, we would go to the mall and wander around, we would go to the park and do some 2 and 8 year old pictures, we would meet up with friends, we would just stay busy.  Well.  That simply just did not happen.  While I feel good for the most part, I also feel exhausted.  And I'm grateful that she is just as content hanging out at home with Samantha and I.

Monday of last week, I had finally finished cleaning up everything from Samantha's party, taken Samantha to her check up and came home by 11.  We had some lunch and later that afternoon headed to Dusty's parents (Nana and Papa's) for dinner.  Tuesday and Wednesday were school.  Thursday I needed to catch up on rest, Samantha's doctor appointment the day before totally wiped me out.  Friday, we had Kaitlyn's parent teacher conference (which went fantastically), and to do all the shopping and prepping for Kaitlyn's party the following day.  Saturday was the party, Sunday the girls all went home and I needed time to recover.  Monday, I was still recovering.  And cleaning.  I promised Kaitlyn I would take her shopping with her birthday money if she had her room cleaned by noon.  It was finally finished by 4, and we compromised and just went to Target.  Tuesday, we spent the day at home.  Today, I will run errands and she will go to the movies with Grandma.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Friday is Black Friday.  Kaitlyn really wants to go shopping for Black Friday.  We will see.  On Monday, she'll be back at school.

And she will be missed.  She is so independent and Samantha just absolutely adores her 85% of the time. 

Fortunately for us, she will only have 4 weeks of school before she is off for another 2 weeks.  Then, another week off in February.  Nearly 2 weeks off in March, and their last day of school is May 31st.  When I put it like that, it feels like summer break is right around the corner...  And I am thankful.  I enjoy having her home with us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

35 and 35

Today is one of the cool math days in pregnancy.

It's when I hit 35 weeks pregnant with 35 days to go until my due date. Kinda neat how that works out.

There are 29 days left until her scheduled delivery date. I need to get things ready to pack my bag. I need to set up the swing and bassinet. I need to finish Christmas shopping.

Today is the first Tuesday in nearly 5 months where I do not have to get a shot. I go in tomorrow for a 35 week appointment.

35 weeks is a huge deal to me. Our basic goals in this pregnancy were: healthy baby, reach viability, reach 90% survival rate, avoid NICU time, hit term. And that's it. At 35 weeks, most babies, especially girls, go home with mommy and avoid NICU time. The only goal left on our list is full term! 38 -39 weeks is ideal to me. And 38 weeks is only 3 weeks away!

Despite the worsening heartburn, the tummy aches, the sore back and hips and thighs, the swelling and utter exhaustion, I feel good. We've gotten through the birthday parties, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas shopping is halfway done.

29 days until Charlotte comes into the world...

Day 20 of gratitude

Today, I am grateful for our puppies.

Archie turned 9 in September. In October of 2003, I decided Dusty and I needed a puppy. He wasn't so sure we needed the responsibility. I thought, what are you talking about? It will be soooo easy.

I researched breeds and we decided a beagle would be great! I found someone selling them somewhat locally selling them. They bred their female dog before having her fixed. I told Dusty we would just look at him, wouldn't decide anything. But, if you can turn down a teeny, tiny, beagle puppy, you have a heart stronger than mine!

We brought Archie home on October 20th. At work, 3 days later, I had an accident at work and really hurt my knee. I was off work, not supposed to walk a lot, going to physical therapy and an orthopedic surgeon.

In March, we found out we were having Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was born that November. Archie was one and spoiled rotten. He was curious and not exactly thrilled to have a baby in the house. Quickly, they became fast friends.

Archie had a lot of health problems as a puppy and young dog. He is accident prone, he can open medication bottles and eats them. He can get into medicine cabinets and high shelfs. His stomach has been pumped twice. He has chronic pancreatitis. He is allergic to chicken, beef and grains. Any "fat" in his diet and he vomits all night. He sunburns easily. He thinks he is starving. He is overweight. He is prone to ear and eye infections. We love him. He is our baby.

Given his health history, I understood Dusty's hesitation in 2009 when Kaitlyn asked for a puppy for Christmas. And by hesitation I mean nearly flat out refusal. The "what are you even thinking" look was given many times. And, rightfully so. I tend to make decisions more emotion based while Dusty is much more reasonable.

In 2009 I had 3 miscarriages. Kaitlyn was constantly asking for another sibling. Matthew had been gone for 2 years. Christmas has been such a hard time for me since he died. Because it was such a hard time, I tried to overcompensate with getting her everything she asked for and going way overboard for the other kids in our family. This is something I still struggle with. But, it makes me feel better, and what's wrong with that.

A couple days after Christmas, Dusty's uncle brought up this puppy he couldn't keep. Chico weighed under 5 lbs, soaking weight and fully clothed. He was a chihuahua pit bull mix. Oh my gosh he had the biggest ears and his head was so big for his body his feet when straight in the air when he ate. I was in love. Dusty thought I was crazy. His uncle was on Kaitlyn's side. We brought Chico home that night. Archie had started to age and I thought, what could keep him younger and better than a puppy?

Archie was not thrilled. Overtime, they have become great friends. Chico is far less cute and far more odd looking. The vet suggested braces for his severe underbite. But, he eats just fine and it would just be cosmetic. He wasn't as easy to train as Archie. He weighs about 12 pounds now and has never needed an emergency vet.

Both are work. Both are a huge responsibility. Both drive me insane at least once a day. Both have brought so much joy and happiness into our lives when it was needed. And they have taught our girls so much.

And I have learned to listen to Dusty a little more... Which is why they are our only pets.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19 of gratitude and one month countdown

Today, I am thankful for the sunny days that follow rainy days.

I used to hate the rain. I hated the cold. I hated the gray skies. But, now I have found so much beauty in them. Gray skies and wet days make it easier to cuddle up under some blankets, watch some movies, eat some soup, drink some coco and force yourself to be lazy. There isn't any crazy running around. No insane errands to run and it's totally ok to wear sweats two sizes too big.

The best part is how much it makes me appreciate those sunny days even more. The rainbows, how much more green the grass is and the ease of running errands and getting rid of energy without getting wet.

I'm so grateful that our weather has been so mild (and finally cooled off) that I welcome both the sunny days and storms.


One month from today, by this time, we will be in our car driving o the hospital to have our last little girl. Unless she decides to come sooner.

Considering that in that month we still have Dusty's birthday, my dad's birthday, Thanksgiving and holiday festivities, I have a feeling time is going to fly by.

Samantha hasn't been sleeping at night. On Friday, she battled some pretty severe constipation, which I gave her a laxative for. Which helped her out quite a bit. But, it led to a tummy ache. Which led to not wanting to sleep. During the day, she had a very slight fever, but I attributed it to the flu vaccine on Monday and the belly issues. Saturday, she had a slight cough that got worse through the night and led to only sleeping if being held. That was the night of Kaitlyn's sleepover, so it also led to an early morning. As Sunday progressed so did the cough and the obvious "yuckiness" she was feeling. Last night was more "I will sleep for three hours, then, I have to be held feelings. So, she has been preparing me for the sleepiness nights we're headed towards.

We still have soooo much to do. I need Dusty to bring in the swing, bassinet and huge tub with the last of the baby stuff. All of it needs to be washed and put away. Car seats need to be shifted and installed. My goal is to have all of that ready by the end of the month. Dusty thinks we should wait until the first to decorate for Christmas. Considering I will probably not feel like putting it all away the day after Christmas like normal, it makes sense to wait so I don't get sick of it all.

One month to go.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18 of gratitude

Today I am grateful for vacuum cleaners.  And as much hardwood floor as we do.  It makes clean-up so much easier.  Which makes me so much more rested.  Which makes for a much happier household.  I could not imagine having to pick up popcorn kernel by kernel, or nerds, nerd by nerd off of either floor surface.

I am even more thankful that Kaitlyn is skilled at operating a vacuum (and sometimes a broom) and works cheap. 

Day 17 of gratitude

On day 17, I am grateful for good friends, good family and good times.

We celebrated Kaitlyn's birthday on her birthday for the 17th of November.  It was a rainy day and still we had a house full of friends, family and rowdy little girls ready to par-tay!

I'm so thankful that we're able to give her the experiences, the celebrations, the fun and the memories.  I'm so thankful we're able to make her birthdays so special and make them exactly what she asks for.

Kaitlyn had a great birthday.  She is just beaming from side to side about every aspect of it.  For that, I am grateful.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16 of gratitude

Today, I am incredibly grateful for the "village" surrounding us.

We live in the middle of both sets of families.  30 minutes in any direction and our kids are surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.  I feel so fortunate to be able to give them the gift of family.  The bonds they are able to create will benefit them for the rest of their lives.  They have such a strong support system, a loving foundation with relationships that they will always hold on to.  For me, it is one of the most important things we can and do give our children. 

After the most recent election, if it wasn't for the close proximity to family, I would have absolutely no problem moving out of California.  The taxes are ridiculous, the cost of living is sky high and the traffic is getting more and more annoying each day.  I'm sure we can find the same beauty anywhere else in the country for a lot less, but we would leave these people behind.  And I could never do that.  I could not imagine taking away Sunday dinners with grandma and grandpa (and several aunts and uncles) or weekly dinners with nana and papa (with aunts, uncles and cousins).  It is beyond worth the payoff.

I also believe that because we have so many family members so close, it helps both girls create important relationships with family far away.  They get to hear stories about far away relatives and get so super excited about visiting with them.  And obviously, going back to yesterday's gratitude, facebook helps a lot with that too.

Near or far, I think I speak for the entire family when I say how grateful and thankful I am to have such amazing family surrounding, supporting and encouraging the health and well being of our little ones.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 of gratitude

I seriously have no idea how we're already 15 days deep into this month.  I had to check my blog list to be sure that I did the previous 14 days, for some reason, it feels like I've just slept through them or something.

Today, I am grateful for the internet.  It makes it so much easier to research anything I can possibly think of in seconds.  I have the ability to have a question about whether something is normal and get a pretty decent idea in a matter of moments.

The internet makes it far easier to stay connected to friends and family.  Be it through websites, facebook, emails or just storing photos to share.

I love that if there is a book or an article that I really want to read, I can download it to my iPad and read it whenever I want.  I love that when I'm stuck in the pick up line at Kaitlyn's school and Samantha is asleep, I can be easily entertained. 

I am incredibly thankful that we have the technology available to have advanced past dial-up, that nearly everyone we know and love is easily accessible, and I love to see how much it has grown, even in the past few years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pediatric GI

Samantha had her pediatric GI appointment this morning.

I was super stressed out.  She didn't sleep at all this morning, so I was less than eager about getting out of bed and showering.  Kaitlyn didn't want to wake up and I was trying to wait until the last possible moment to get Samantha dressed since I knew she had no desire to wake up and get out of bed, I mean, off the floor.

When I was still running on time, Kaitlyn hit a glass off the counter and it shattered.  Well.  That was fun.  Then, I was still arriving to the location 10 minutes before her appointment, and discovered that I parked in the wrong parking garage and had a 1/4 mile walk to get to the right office.  Samantha was asleep and I didn't bother using a stroller because I wanted her to wake up.  I was so sore.  And tired.  And ready to throw in the towel.  We got there about 8 minutes late.  We were seen 15 minutes after getting there, when I was on page 6 of 8 on the questionnaire.

We met with a really great nurse and then the Nurse Practitioner that we were scheduled with.  I totally understand that NPs can be just as amazing as doctor's.  And she has been in this particular type of medicine longer than I've been alive.  But, if I'm waiting 3+ months for an appointment, why not make it for the doctor?

Anywho, we went over all the same stuff.  Her diet.  They wanted to know her average diet for a week.  Down to ounces of each food she ate.  Well, had I of known that, I would have kept a list.  But, since I didn't, I guessed.  I mean, does anyone know the exact quantity of food their child eats on a daily basis going back a week?  If so, please tell me how you do it!

She has three possible explanations.  The first is she is just plain stubborn and is holding it because in her mind, it hurts to poo.  This is the explanation that I think makes the most sense. 

Possibility number 2 is that she has a protein allergy.  Possible, but I haven't noticed any difference when I omit dairy or meat for weeks at a time.  So, in my mind, I find it unlikely.

Possibility number 3 is she is experiencing a pre-cursor to Crohn's disease.  But, she doesn't have any other symptoms to indicate that as a possibility.  So, I think that was just a silly thing to throw out there that really shouldn't have been.  It served no purpose.

Rather than doing any testing at all to discover if either of those options are actual possibilities, she wants to increase the stool softener and add in a laxative for a few weeks.  We'll see how it goes.

Day 14 of gratitude

I am so incredibly grateful for the great school Kaitlyn attends.  In a perfect world, she would go to a private school, but there isn't one all that close to us.  And it seems silly to drive 20+ minutes each way, twice a day to take her to school when there is a good public school near us.

Finding Kaitlyn's school was not easy.  Before she started school, I really wanted her to have what I had.  I went to the same elementary school, then the same middle school and the same high school.  The only time I switched schools was to graduate to the next level.  I really didn't want her hopping from school to school.

We loved her kindergarten school.  Her teacher was great, I loved how close it was, her principal was amazing and the school size was fantastic.  It was just really perfect.  Then, the school lost a lot of funding and was one of the schools in our district closed. 

We debated a lot about what school to send her to.  I was tempted to send her to school "O", but I had to get permission from the school she was assigned to, "DC."  After talking to the principal to get permission, he convinced us that the small school size and teaching abilities would be a good fit for us.  Her first grade teacher was awesome.  Dusty said she reminded him of an aunt that had previously passed away.  Kaitlyn loved her and she learned SOO much.  First grade was great.

But, we had some issues with the school.  Little things that I didn't like.  The support staff was not very supportive of the families, school communication to parents was really poor and there was a lot of disorganization.  We talked a lot to the principal about all of our concerns.  We assumed that a lot of our concerns were "growing" pains from staff and students being mixed together from the closed schools and the already established school. 

Second grade started and I was so disappointed.  Kaitlyn finished her work quickly and spent a lot of time with her head on the desk, the teacher's solution for bored kids.  By back to school night, about three weeks in, their spelling words included the words "I" and "and."  Kaitlyn was bored out of her mind.  I was frustrated like crazy and I approached the teacher about it.  She had no idea when the class would be finished with "review" words and moving on to second grade material.  She said she wanted to keep the year as easy as possible for the kids because third grade is so hard.  I argued that it may be a better idea to make a priority of the year to properly prepare the kids...

Needless to say, we started looking a lot at other schools.  I didn't want to waste another week there.  All of the schools were full.  None had room for a second grader, so I began researching home school options.  I knew I could do a better job with her education than what was happening with the school.  I mean, if all she was going to do was review two letter words and have her head on the desk in between 1+1 type math problems, I could so do that.  In less time.  And not have to drive her all the way over there and battle the parking situation.

Luckily, the last school I talked to had an amazing secretary.  I told her I was so close to home schooling, we could not handle the school anymore and it made me so sad to see how bored she was going to school.  She made room for Kaitlyn at their school.  With a teacher that was amazing.  Kaitlyn still goes and talks to her at recess.  She said she was a lot like Kaitlyn in school.  She wanted to help, but she also wanted time by herself to read when she was done with her work.  She helped the other students, she helped younger kids and she absolutely excelled.  She earned two medals this year because of her work last year.  And she loved every second of it. 

This year, she is thriving again.  Her second grade teacher made sure that she had the kids she worked the best with in her class and put her in a class where the teacher is really good at helping kids work at their level.  So, Kaitlyn gets enough free time when she's done with her work to work on higher level learning.

She goes to one of the best schools in the area.  Out of 5500 elementary schools, hers is 2000, moving up 500 spaces since last year, and I have no doubt that it will continue to move up. 

I am incredibly thankful that she is able to get such a great education so close.


Kaitlyn has always been an easy sleeper.  She slept in our room until about 7 months and then we transitioned her into her own room and own crib.  It took less than a week for her to learn to fall asleep by herself.  Since then, she's been a solid sleeper.  Even today, she loves sleep and if she's tired, she'll go to bed.

Samantha has never been a good sleeper.  This is likely my fault.  Since she was little I checked on her breathing constantly.  Like, every 2 minutes around the clock constantly.  I watched her breathing, if she held her breath for too long I would touch her to ensure she was breathing ok.  She hates going to sleep.  I can put her in her crib now at 9 and she would stay awake, just laying there screaming, or reading a book, or playing with her toes until well after midnight.  When it's time to wake up, she cries to go back to bed.  She pleads with you.  She just absolutely hates going to sleep.

A few months ago, we bought Samantha a toddler bed.  We set it up her in her room so she could get used to the idea and to try and make the transition easy.  I figured there was no point in rushing a transition.  I wouldn't use the crib with Charlotte until she was at least 6 months old anyhow.  Samantha has never tried to climb out of the bed, not even when she would scream and fight to get out.  We literally still had bumpers on the crib until 2 weeks ago. 

Samantha's crib has a drawer under it.  Yesterday, she decided to try and climb into her crib.  She used her toys and the drawer to try and climb up and in.  The drawer snapped under the weight or acrobats of what she was doing and she screamed bloody murder that she had a boo boo on her foot.  I found the teeniest, tiniest scratch, gave her some purple juice (low calorie Gatorade, she loves the stuff) and she was running and playing and trying it again a few minutes later.

So, I took the side off.  It's a transitional crib, so without the side, it's a toddler bed.  I told her again and again this was like a big girl bed now.  My plan was to let her sleep without the side on it for a week and then move all of her stuff into the toddler bed, and situate the crib for baby.  Then, she would think she was too big for it.  I really did think this would work.  She was just so excited about the bed, and kept asking to take a nap and cuddling under her blankets with her pillow.

Then bedtime happened.

All she did for the first hour was cry.  I tried giving her milk.  I tried finding Kaitlyn's old Dora blanket for her to snuggle with.  I refused to go in her room and she would keep going back to the bed and just crying hysterically.  Every 15 minutes, she would be at the door.  I was staying up to finish washing laundry (which was not bright after staying up the night before to watch Mississippi Burning, and getting only 5-6 hours of sleep), but I was so tired.

Normally, I would be totally fine with letting her cry and soothing herself.  I know that she is fine, I know that she feels love, and I know that she knows that crying gets attention.  But, Kaitlyn has school today and their rooms share a wall.  It just simply isn't fair to her.

At 10, I figured, I would just lay down on the floor next to her.  This seemed to slow down the crying.  She would go 15-20 minutes between crying and the outbursts were much shorter.  On a few occasions she was almost asleep then would almost wake up just to be ornery and cry.  By 12:30 am, I couldn't lay on her floor anymore.  My back hurt.  My head hurt.  My body was tired and I desperately needed sleep.  I kissed her and went into my room.  By the time I was out of her room she was too tired to cry.  And likely, too tired to sleep.

She fussed on and off through the night though.  Not really waking up, just mad, in her sleep.  I checked on her when I got out of the shower at 6 and she was fast asleep, bottom in the air, on the floor, between two perfectly good toddler beds.

Oh my I am going to need a nap today!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13 of gratitude - 34 weeks

Since this is the week of a thousand appointments all over the Sacramento area, I am grateful for reliable transportation.  It may not be the newest, the sportiest, or the prettiest thing on the block, but, it gets me to point A to point B.  And easily.  And without a massive, or any, car payment, with all of us fitting in one car.  And that is truly a blessing some days. I am incredibly thankful that we do not have to rely on public transportation or walk everywhere.  I seriously do not have any idea how people in cities where driving isn't really done do it.  I would go insane having to rely on a schedule of when I can get to from one place to another!

This week, Samantha had her 2 year check-up yesterday, I had my 34 week and LAST p17 injection today, Samantha has her Pediatric GI appointment tomorrow, Thursday is our free day (so I should spend it cleaning and party prepping!), Friday is parent/teacher conference for Kaitlyn and then Saturday is her birthday and party!

Today we hit 34 weeks!  A huge milestone.  I am done with getting p17 injections and I thought I would be done with weekly appointments, at least until I hit 36 weeks.  But, I was wrong.  I get to return next week for my Group B Strep test.  We had originally thought I would go in at 36 weeks to have the test done since I've never tested positive before.  But, I had a couple of contractions while I was there.  And, the last few nights I've had a couple of hours a night with steady contractions for 2-3 hours at a time.  They don't do anything, they don't get stronger and I did the same thing with Samantha, so it doesn't worry me.  Charlotte is also really low.  And since I have a history of preterm labor and delivery, he's worried I'll deliver earlier than my scheduled date, so I get to go back next week. 

My symptoms are pretty much the same.  Heartburn is horrific and every time I think it can't get any worse, it does.  I'm to the point where I almost dread eating.  A few times last week, I woke up in the middle of the night to get sick because of the reflux.  It's awful.  And she's already super low, so I cannot imagine her "dropping" is going to correct anything.  I am urinating more, which is to be expected when a 5-6 lb baby is doing handstands on your bladder all day.  From across a room you can now see my belly shift and feet poke out.  I much prefer that to when they decide to wedge in my ribs.  Dusty says to tickle them to move them out of the way.  But, I don't think she's ticklish, I think she's stubborn because it simply does not work.  I've gained a total of 39 lbs.  Not awful.  My blood pressure is perfect, my uterine growth is perfect and everything else is textbook.

Next week I am going to bring the rest of the baby stuff in from the storage room and start washing it.  It isn't much, the swing, the bassinet, some more burp cloths and swaddle blankets.  I took the side off the crib today once Samantha hurt herself trying to climb in.  She's never tried to climb out.  My goal is to give her a week with the side off to get used to it and then transition her into the big girl bed.  Once she's in the toddler bed, I'm raising the crib back up and getting it baby ready again.  And, I'll wash everything to pack in my "labor" bag. 

Only 36 more days until delivery!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 of gratitude - And Samantha's 2 year check-up

Today I am grateful that our children have such an amazing pediatrician.  He is patient, caring, gentle, flexible and really makes both girls feel comfortable.  I would recommend him to anyone I know.  Instead of just following how he thinks things should be, he's open to hearing other ideas, new trends in parenting and research them.  If you have a problem, he will give some suggestions, and if he thinks of more through the day, he will call with them.  I just cannot say enough good things about this doctor.

I am incredibly thankful that we have him as part of our "village" when it comes to our children.

Today, Samantha was super grumpy for her 2 year check up.  She hasn't slept well the last few nights since her birthday.  At all.  She typically stays asleep pretty good when she gets there, it's just a matter of not wanting to get there.  Then, in the morning, she has absolutely no desire to wake up.  This, has not been fun.

She started off the morning in a pretty good mood.  She had her blankie, new book and was excited to see the fishies at the doctor's office.

She was great for the nurse who took her vitals, height, weight and everything, but by the time the doctor came in, she was frustrated with toys, mad at the book selection, irritated with not being at home and just throwing one fit after another.

Fun times I tell you.  I was only grateful that Kaitlyn could stay home with Dusty, having her "help" when Samantha is in this kind of a mood is plain exhausting.

Samantha has gained some weight.  Woo-Hoo!  She's up to 25 lbs, which brings her to the 27%.  Considering she was under 25% when she was last weighed, I'll take it.  :)  She's tall.  Standing at a 35.75" she comes in at 91%.  So, she's our tall and skinny little one.  Her head is up to 49 cm, 86% larger than other girls her age.  She did not like having that measured and told the nurse she hurt her and gave her a boo-boo. 

Her health overall was good.  We have her assessment with the Pediatric GI on Wednesday, and we will finally, hopefully, get some answers about her bowels.  Her speech is advanced for her age.  She easily speaks several hundred words, puts them in 3-4 word sentences, knows all of her colors, numbers and letters.  She can count when she wants to and the only two things she cannot do that she should be able to do is: Eat well with a spoon or fork and answer what her name is.  She can eat with a spoon or a fork, but it would be quite a stretch to say she does it well.  And if you ask her what her name is, she will likely just look at you.

We ended it with the flu vaccine.  Ideally, we wanted to give her the nasal spray.  But anytime the nurse tried to get her to sniff, to practice, she threw a screaming fit, covered her face and yelled.  So, she got a shot.  Which caused a lot of kicking, screaming and tears.

Here is hoping she sleeps better tonight and is a tad less grumpy for her tired mommy tomorrow!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 of gratitude

Today I am grateful for the freedoms we have as American's.  The freedoms that I know we all take for granted far too often on each and every day.

I am particularly grateful on this day for those that have put their lives at risk so that we may maintain those freedoms. 

I am thankful to the families that live their day to day lives not knowing if their loved one is ok.  The children whose mother or father are gone for extended periods of time.  The families that move from state to state as duty calls and all the sacrifices they make so that we may have the freedoms we have.

The gratitude I have for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the lifestyles that we enjoy.

The bravery of the men and women that serve this country amazes me each and every day.  I hope and pray not only for their safety, but for strength and peace to their loved ones as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Samantha's 2nd, Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday

Last year, we combined Kaitlyn and Samantha's party.  It made so much more sense at the time.  But, it also seemed unfair to make them share a theme each and every year.  So, this year I decided to let them have their own parties.  Since Samantha's birthday fell on a Friday and Kaitlyn's on a Saturday, I figured they could have them on their birthday "days."

At 2, Samantha has a short attention span.  It may be the last time I get a say in party themes, so I went with her favorite book as inspiration, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  It fits her perfectly.  Kaitlyn is having a Monster High (shocker) themed sleepover. 

Being that I'm closing in on 34 weeks pregnant, gigantic (in my opinion), and exhausted, I had to cut back the normal parties we do.  If we were to invite everyone we want, like we normally do, we have to have it outdoors.  Our house simply isn't big enough.  Last year, I was stressed leading up to the morning of the party because of the chance of rain.  Darn those November birthdays!  I really did not want to add anything to my stress level this year, so we decided to limit each party to 15 invitations, only what we could fit inside, mostly family, and for Kaitlyn's allow her to invite 5 additional girl friends to spend the night.  While we really wanted to invite all of our favorite people, we had to stick to family and the close friends we see on a regular basis.  Or build another room onto the house, which Dusty would not go for.

I started yesterday really confident that I could easily get everything done in time.  I was way ahead of schedule as I started the day, and the day started off well.

Of course, Kaitlyn was determined to try my patience, Samantha refused to take a nap, I misjudged how long it would take to pour brownie mix into cupcakes, and despite my best efforts and staying on my feet for 6+ hours prepping, I didn't quite finish everything I wanted to.  I didn't clean any additional chairs to bring in the house, I didn't get the coloring pages printed, I didn't change my clothes or do my hair and I didn't have everything out by my goal time of 5:45. Overall though, I think it went well.  While I didn't get nearly close to all the pictures I wanted, there was a ton of laughing, giggling, balloon fighting and a shy/happy/grumpy little girl to celebrate!  Next year, we may go back to same day and same time, different themes and hiring a photographer.  Only time will tell.

Now on to the pictures!

Samantha's invitation:

The main food table, off to the side, I had stuff for salad and sandwiches:

The awesome cake my sister made:

And one of the birthday girl with her cake:

I wish I would have gotten one of her blowing it out, this was the best I got, she's just too fast!

She's just too fast and anti-camera these days!

Day 10 of gratitude

Today I have a birthday party hangover.

Samantha's very hungry caterpillar party was a success. Our home was filled to the brim with friends and family. Samantha refused a nap for the entire day. I went back and forth through the day between running ahead of schedule with prepping and running behind. I promise I scaled back, but, sometimes I forget that an 8 1/2 month pregnant belly can make the simplest of tasks much more difficult and exhausting.

Samantha isn't quite as social as Kaitlyn was. She is perfectly content playing in her own world, ignoring anyone saying her name and refusing to smile for the camera.

She had fun playing with friends and family. She was awesome blowing out her number 2 candle, I only wish I would have gotten a better picture of it. I'm also disappointed that I realized this morning that we didn't get a family picture yesterday.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to throw our littlest one a party. The chance to give her balloons to play with, lollipops to eat, friends and family to play with and her own special day.

I am grateful to everyone that helped make it possible in every way.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 of gratitude

Today I am grateful for birthday wishes, magical moments, blowing out candles and making birthday memories we can treasure for a lifetime.

Happy second birthday to our little butterfly Samantha. I am thankful for the miracle she is, her health, her spirit and her laugh.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8 of gratitude

I am incredibly thankful and grateful that I have the opportunity to be a Stay at Home mom. 

Every morning, afternoon and night I get to be with my kids.  I get to be there for doctor's appointments, award ceremonies, shopping trips, to hear about their days, to be an active part of that day and to never miss a first.

It is truly a gift.  It's a privilege.  It's a crap load of work with a payoff far greater than I ever could have imagined.

I am truly thankful that I am married to someone who is not only willing to work like crazy for our family, to be the one we are all most dependent on, but who is also willing to make sacrifices so we can do what is best for our family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We have a surgery date!

My doctor's office has scheduled my cesarean and Charlotte's birthday.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012.  Surgery is scheduled to start at noon, so we will be there at 10:00 AM.  No food after midnight, which is my least favorite part of it all.  I really hope they run on time so I can have a late lunch.  ;)

The girls are going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house while we're at the hospital with the littlest one.

The only thing that would change the date would be if she decided she didn't want to wait that long.  Fingers are crossed that she stays put for as long as possible.  :)

Day 7 of gratitude

Today I am grateful for yummy food.  And not so yummy food.  And food that is good for you.  And food that is not.

There are times when my mind wanders to the families that do not have enough to eat.  I cannot imagine the pain of being a mother and sending your child to bed hungry and not being able to do a darn thing about it.  The thought of families going without food absolutely breaks my heart.

Tonight I am grateful that we are able to continue to feed our family, that our bellies stay full, that we can eat what we want when we want.  I am thankful for our filled cupboards and our crammed full fridge.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6 of Gratitude & 33 weeks

Today's gratitude and hitting the 33 week mark in pregnancy go hand in hand.

Today, I am grateful to be 33 weeks pregnant.  I have been pregnant 8 hours longer now than I was with Matthew.  My amniotic fluid has remained intact for more than 9 weeks longer than it was with Matthew and this little girl has a really good chance of being born healthy and going home when we do.

I am grateful that we have the medical staff that we have taking care of me and this little girl.  Considering that this pregnancy we've been through a lot of bleeding with a SCH and low lying placenta, and there were times once again where doctors thought the pregnancy may not make it to viability, here we are, a month from where many doctors consider full-term.

If that isn't a blessing I do not know what is.

Today I received my second to last injection.  Once of the nurses was so excited.  She just kept saying "only one more and you're there."  I'm sure the rest of the waiting room was really confused by what in the world she could be talking about.

My weight gain and symptoms have all remained the same.  I haven't gained an ounce since last week.  I also haven't lost, so that's awesome.  I go back for an OB appointment next week and I'm still waiting to schedule my delivery date!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holy Busy Weekend Batman

I think that to recover from how busy this weekend was, I need 2 weeks of uninterrupted sleep. 

Friday night, we headed to Dusty's parents for dinner after Dusty got home from work.  Dusty made some yummy tri-tip, the girls played with their cousin and Kaitlyn did a good job of keeping 32 curlers in a ponytail on her head.

Saturday morning, we got ready for Kaitlyn's cheer competition.  She was so nervous that they wouldn't win anything.  Her team didn't place last year and they had been practicing like crazy to get their routine perfected before Saturday.  Kaitlyn was excited that her toe touch earned her a place right in the middle for part of the routine.

The actual competition was ridiculously stressful.  It was at a community college and the night before they changed the time of competition.  It was free admission to the public and about 45 minutes from our house.  We got there in time for Kaitlyn to get her bow in and make-up ready.  And for Samantha to get antsy.  Even though the time of the competition was moved up an hour, it started half hour later. 

It was held in the gym building of the school.  It had two levels of seating, a downstairs and an upstairs.  Since I knew it was supposed to be about 3 hours, I planned on using Samantha's stroller.  I hoped she would nap.  What I did not count on was the downstairs bleachers to be all pushed in on the spectator side.  Hundreds upon hundreds of people had to use one stairwell or one elevator to get upstairs and find a seat.  A bleacher seat.  With no back.  I rushed through to try and get a seat right in the center.  I wanted to be sure to get a video of the girls' competing, I knew Dusty would want to see it and Kaitlyn had already said she really wanted to watch it. 

All of the teams were really good.  Samantha loved the stunts and jumps.  She hated sitting still.  She wanted to go home.  I hated that the other "fans" had absolutely no respect for any team other than the one their kid was on.  Never before had I seen so many people walk in front and just stand blocking the view while people were actually competing.  It was unreal.  In the audience tensions were as high as I had seen at the football games.  Crazy.

About 3 hours after they started, they were giving out awards.  Kaitlyn's division was Advanced Pee Wee (there was also Intermediate Pee Wee, Intermediate JR Pee Wee, Intermediate Midgets and Advanced Midgets).  Kaitlyn's team took third.  The midget squad for her league took 2nd in Advanced Midgets.  The girls cried, especially the ones that walked away last year without a trophy.  They were thrilled.

Then came the headache of a too tired nearly 8 year old, the booth selling "stuff" closing up way too early, me not buying her flowers, and all of us needing food.  By the time we got to the car, got through traffic and home, it was nearly 5 PM.  Considering that we had plans to go bowling that night at 7, it was a mad rush to eat, get the girls dressed and try to get some of Kaitlyn's room cleaned.  My head hurt.  My stomach hurt.  I just wanted to sleep.  But, we did bowl.  Kaitlyn did great.  I was on Samantha duty, and she did pretty good.

Sunday, Kaitlyn's team had a championship game.  Even though it's NOVEMBER, it was still 80 degrees outside.  Making a noon game in the bleachers less than desirable.  But, her team did win.  Kaitlyn was thrilled and ready to strip off her uniform all at the same time lol.  She was over the sun, the crowds, all of it.

We headed over to my parents' house for Sunday dinner and to celebrate my brother and his long time girlfriends' birthdays.  Dusty finished up their bathroom floor (he's been renovating their bathroom for a few months), we had yummy cupcakes and by 8:30, I was ready to go to bed.

We came home and I was able to stay awake to watch The Walking Dead (super disappointed) and Boardwalk Empire (super irritated that the DVR cut off before recording scenes from next week).  I think I fell asleep before my head even hit the pillow!  I'm tired.  But hey, only about 45 more days until Charlotte's tentative arrival day!

Day 5 of Gratitude

This morning as I laid in bed, cuddled under the blankets, Kaitlyn (who is normally impossible to wake up on school days, yet jumps up at 6 AM on the weekends) crashed into our bed and decided it was the morning of a million kisses.

I am thankful that we not only have a house, but that we've made it a home.  It's warm, inviting, lived in and works well for all of us.  Sure, you make walk straight into the house and be greeted by a "play room" with a gazillion pictures on the wall and my sewing area, which may not always be the prettiest, but it's functional.  And it makes us all happy.  The only times doors are really closed is when we're keeping Samantha out of rooms she doesn't belong to and when Kaitlyn doesn't want us to see her not cleaning her room.

We have walls surrounding us, a roof over our head, warm beds, closets filled with clothes, electricity and gas.  I am thankful for our home and all it provides for us.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4 of Gratitude

Today I am thankful for amazing friends.  Friends that are so incredible I cannot help but consider them family and credit them for any strength that those on the outside thing I may have.

Friends are the family you get to choose.  Choosing wisely can make the difference between peace and calm in your life or drama and disruption.  I'm thankful that we've not only chosen wisely, but that the most wonderful people have been put in our lives.  I do believe that everyone enters your life for a reason.  They can be there to lift you up and make life more enjoyable, or they can be there as a test.  Sometimes, it can be hard to see.

I am grateful to those that were there, near or far, through our darkest times and sunniest skies.  Without family and friends by your side, the world can be a stressful, sad place.  We are truly blessed.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3 of gratitude

Today, I am thankful for family. Not just the one we've created, but the family that surrounds us, supports us and makes life better.

I am thankful to have the relationships I do, thankful that our girls' benefit from those relationships as well as the ability to be raised by a village. They are surrounded by family that loves them and plays an incredibly active role in their lives. I think it makes a huge difference and an so grateful to be surrounded by such a wonderful family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A month of gratitude- Day 2

Today I am grateful that I married my best friend.  Life is just easier and more fun when there is someone you truly care about that truly cares about you by your side through it all. 

When you're dating, and 16, I don't think you have a realistic view on what "real" life is.  I think you can imagine what adulthood would be like, but most of it is all cheery with bright windows, sunny skies and laughter.  I don't think you imagine it with any hardships, heartache or sadness.  And because you don't think about how that person and you will mesh during any of the three, many times, relationships do not survive them.

I always imagined the perfect life.  You know, the great husband, perfect kids, 2-4, depending on who wins the coin toss, little boys and little girls running wild.  A happy dog, an easy life.

In many ways that's what we have.  We have 4 kids, one just isn't with us physically anymore and one is on her way here.  And they are perfect.  For us.  All kids have their moments, ours are no exception, but they are so darned amazing.  They bring us so much laughter and joy.  Matthew is a constant reminder that miracles do happen, each and every day.  He is a way to remind us to appreciate each and every day and to never, ever give up hope.

We have a perfect dog.  Especially if you take each of their faults and each of their positive attributes and mash them together.  Chico may be a bit odd looking, and on the hyper side, but he is a great listener and mostly patient.  And he's a great guard dog.  All 10 pounds and crooked teeth of him.  Archie is whiny, and prone to needing more vet visits than I'd care to admit, and overweight and slightly lazy, but he is the most loyal dog in the world.  He is cuddly, and thinks he's a lap dog.  If he'd lose 20 or so lbs, he totally could be.  And he is so stinking adorable.

We have all that we have because we have Dusty.  He is a wonderful provider, a strict daddy that is pretty good at getting lots of giggles out of both girls.  He is incredibly protective and always thinking of ways to make them happy.  And it certainly helps that we like the same TV shows (mostly) and find the humor in the oddest of things. 

Today, I am grateful for my best friend, my husband and the man I know will always be by my side.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Yesterday was Samantha'a second Halloween. Kaitlin's second Halloween involved rain pouring down, no desire to go trick or treating and seriously just sobbing after 2 houses. Then, she fell asleep. It was stressful. Stressful enough where if I had to do it all over again, I would have just staged a trick or treating picture and stated home with her passing out candy. I was determined to have a better outcome with Samantha's second.

Kaitlin's school had a scheduled day off, which helped a lot. Samantha got to sleep until 10 and I got Kaitlyn ready. Even though it took forever, I wasn't thrilled with how her make-up turned out, but she was happy and that was the whole point.

I woke Samantha up and got her dressed. I had been telling her all week that if she wore her costume and said trick or treat, she would get candy. The girl who lives for all things sugar fought tooth and nail on not wearing the costume and not saying trick or treat.

We headed to William land park and had the girls' picture taken. Again, Samantha showed her stubborn side. Kaitlyn did great, the weather was nice and Samantha wanted nothing to do with it. The photographers were so patient and did get some cute ones though, and considering I didn't get a one, I was thrilled.

From there we headed to my mother-in-law's work so they could see Nana. She works at a community college and I was surprised by the costumes lol. Samantha was still frumpy. She didn't want to be looked at, talked to and just acted sleepy. I had forgotten to chase my Zantac with some Maalox, so I watched the girls devour some food.

After we headed to Dusty's work to do some trick or treating. We talked about it more and she still refused to say trick or treat.

Luckily, grandma had candy. I told her if she wanted candy she had to say trick or treat. She did. And a monster was born.

Samantha went to everyone's desk with Kaitlyn and said trick or treat and thank you to everyone. Then she destroyed grandma's squishy pig pen, chased Kaitlyn outside and played catch with daddy before we went home.

I let her rest and play, her and Kaitlyn colored while I made dinner so it would be ready when we got home. We had some spaghetti with burnt butter sauce and myzthra cheese. One of dusty and Kaitlyn's top ten favorite foods.

In 45 minutes we hit 4 blocks. Kaitlyn was done, which was fine with be. Dusty had offered to walk her some more while I headed back, I was contracting like crazy and exhausted. Samantha probably would have went up and down a dozen more blocks. Whenever someone didn't open the door, she would say "what happen?" And be ver confused. By the end, she would reach in the buckets when offered. She would insist on carrying her bucket and demand it if we tried holding it for her.

Kaitlyn gave up on her wig after the third house. By the fourth she wished she was wearing a more "obvious" costume. But, she was thrilled to be able to pass our candy. And finally, people knew who she was, Abbey Boninable from Monster High.

Once we were home we ate dinner. Well, Samantha fell asleep eating hers. I tried removing her tray but she would just grab for more, eyes closed and mouth moving so slowly. I put her in her crib and seconds later she cried out for candy. I made the mistake of giving her one tiny pack of junior mints. She had fun smooshing them into the carpet... Then grabbing kaitlyn's crayon and writing on the wall...

By 10, I was beyond ready for bed.

All day today, Samantha has brought me her kitty ears and begged to trick or treat... I'm glad they both enjoyed it, here's hoping next year she grasps the "one day a year" concept.

30 days of gratitude

For the month of November, I'm going to do my absolute best to blog each day about something I'm grateful for.

Day 1 -

Today, the first day of the month when both of our girls' was born, the month that follows the anniversary of Matthew's death, and the month before our third daughter is due to be born, I am thankful for my children.

I am grateful that they have been born to me.  I am grateful that when I need hugs and kisses, there are two sets of skinny little arms that will (usually) wrap their arms around my neck.  There is a scar that reminds me of where Matthew was delivered, a scar that I can normally see easily. 

I am grateful that they call me mommy, even on their most trying days.  I am grateful for the days we spend in our jammies and the middle of the night diaper changes that make everything fully worth it.

I am grateful to Kaitlyn, Matthew, Samantha, Charlotte and the little ones we never met.