Thursday, February 28, 2013

March for Babies- Kick off Luncheon

The March of Dimes is something that has been very close to my heart since my water broke with Matthew.  I spent a lot of time in a hospital bed with nothing to do but to think.  I had 4 channels on the TV in my room and since I wasn't allowed up, I had to depend on nurses or Dusty to put in a VHS (yes, it had a VCR) or a DVD in if I wanted to watch anything that wasn't the news or a judge show.  Weekends were the worst, it was infomercial after infomercial.

Thanks to my mom, I was able to access the internet while I was in the hospital.  I had to have internet on my phone and plug it into my laptop and since this was over 5 years ago, it wasn't as easy or as inexpensive as it is today.  I spent a lot of time on the internet.  I went on a few message boards, searched and researched everything I could think of, was active on a website of women who were going through the same thing in regards to pPROM and I spent a lot of time on the March of Dimes website.  It was such a wealth of knowledge.

I researched and researched prematurity, what it would be like to have a baby born before their due date.  I learned as much as I could about different NICU procedures and medications.  I searched for answers and success stories.  I became active on their side and was able to communicate with other families that were facing prematurity or that had been down that road before.

I knew then that I wanted to be a part of the positive things this organization was doing not only for the community but for babies.  For mothers and fathers and siblings.  For the future of our children.  I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted more research, more answers and more support. 

It stared with a band.  It was created shortly after his death on the March of Dimes website.  It was something little that we could do to make a difference.  It was something that could be done instead of flowers.  It was something we could do.  With Matthew's band, $380 was raised by family and friends.

In 2008, we started walking with March for Babies.  This year, we were beyond honored to be asked to be the ambassador family for our local walk.  Yesterday, February 27th was not only my sister's birthday, or Charlotte's 10 week birthday, but it was also the kick off luncheon.  And I was asked to speak.  My mom and other sister joined Dusty and I and the girls.  My sister recorded it on her phone to share. 

I haven't listened to it or watched it.  It wasn't my finest time.  Charlotte pooped all over me moments before I went on stage, I have either a cold or allergies which left me feeling groggy.  While I don't like to take notes with me to speak, I felt like if I didn't I would have a deer in the headlights moment and ended up relying on them far more than I'd like.  But, I shared his story.  I shared our story.  We shared his memory.

In case the audio isn't the greatest, below the video is my "speech" in written form.

And as always, check out our team page here:  Matthew's Team

Hello.  My name is Denise Miller and I’m proud to be a wife and mother of 4.

In 2004, we welcomed our first baby.  A little girl we named Kaitlyn Reagan.  I can clearly remember the last weeks of a healthy pregnancy and being so ready for her to be born.  As I approached her due date, I tried every old wives tale you could think of to start labor.  3 days after we thought she should have arrived, she was born, screaming and healthy!  Today she is 8 and thriving.

When Kaitlyn was nearly 2 ½ years old, we found out that we were expecting again.  After having such a healthy and easy pregnancy, I expected nothing but the same. In early spring, I was 3 months pregnant when we found out we would be welcoming a little boy at the end of September.  We decided to name him Matthew Jackson. We had regular doctor’s appointments and regular ultrasounds to watch Matthew grow.  Aside from his umbilical cord only having two vessels as opposed to the normal three, he was growing like crazy.  

A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks long.  Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature and usually need help learning to breath, to eat and to stay warm before they can go home to their family.  Babies born before 24 weeks are usually too small for doctors to even try to save and to help grow.  

During the first week of June, I was 23 weeks pregnant, nearly 4 months before my due date and my water broke in the middle of the night.  At the time, most of my experiences with water breaking had to do with what I saw in movies or television shows.  A woman with a very round belly has her water break in a busy store, hails a taxi, goes to the hospital and has a big, healthy baby.

In most pregnancies, once your water breaks your baby is born within 3 days.  Nearly all are born within 12 days.  Unborn babies need to be surrounded by amniotic fluid to grow, for their lungs to develop, to protect them from infection and to allow them to become big healthy babies.  Matthew weighed just over a pound when my water broke.  His lungs were not developed; he had so much growing still to do.  If he was born, it would be unlikely he would survive.  If we decided to try and stop labor to continue the pregnancy, there was a great chance that Matthew or I would develop a life threatening infection.  We decided to try to stay pregnant as long as possible and give our son more time to grow.

I was checked into the hospital for what would be a 10 week hospital stay.  For 10 weeks, our families took turns helping take care of our 2 year old, I had my temperature taken every 4 hours, I wasn’t allowed out of bed, I had injections to help his lungs develop faster and we had regular ultrasounds to see how Matthew was growing.  Because there wasn’t much fluid surrounding Matthew, there were no promises that he would live through birth.  

On August 6th, Matthew decided he was ready to be born.  His due date was still nearly 2 months away, but he must have wanted to be born before our wedding anniversary the following day .  At 4:20 in the morning, Matthew was born crying.  He weighed in at 4 lbs and 14 oz, 18 inches long with a head full of dark brown hair.  He was absolutely beautiful.

Matthew spent the next 26 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.  He went from having a machine breath for him to slowly learning to breathe on his own.  He received medication to help his lungs develop.  He received another medication to help the small hole in his heart heal.  In those 26 days he went from being fed through a tube to learning how to use a bottle.  He even learned how to keep his body warm without the help of a heated little bed.  At the end of 26 days, at just under 6 lbs, Matthew got to come home to a very excited big sister and the loving arms of his mommy and daddy.  Instead of spending his days in a hospital, he had a vintage fire truck nursery waiting for him.

Once Matthew came home, we had to keep him away from germs to keep him healthy.  We managed to do so and still let him experience the park, pumpkin patch and meet a lot of his extended family.  He loved the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and would tolerate his older sister sharing her books and pillows with him.
With Halloween fast approaching, their costumes were all picked out and hanging in their closets.  Kaitlyn was going to be snow white and Matthew was going to be prince charming.  

On October  12th, I took Matthew to have his pictures taken for the very first time.  He was not a fan of the camera, but in the end it was worth it.

On October 15th, Matthew was 2 and a half months old.  He didn’t wake up for his 2:30 am feeding.  He had stopped breathing. Despite his daddy performing CPR and the emergency care given by the EMTs and Emergency Room team, Matthew passed away to SIDS. 

Once my water broke, we were told repeatedly that Matthew’s outlook was poor.  He likely would not live more than a few hours.  Because of the advances in medicine and research done in pregnancies and premature infants, Matthew lived with us for 70 days.  For ten weeks, he was cuddled, sung too, nursed, had his diaper changed, experienced the sunshine and cool fall breeze.  He saw pumpkins, train tracks, trees and falling leaves.  He forever will be a part of our family.

Matthew’s main risk factor for SIDS was being born too early.  Babies born too early are more likely to die from SIDS, suffer from sleep apnea, have problems with their heart and eyes, have a higher risk of infection and suffer from developmental delays for the rest of their lives.

Since Matthew’s death 5 years ago, we experienced 3 miscarriages before welcoming his little sister into the world.  Thanks in part to the research done by the March of Dimes, we were able to work with our doctors to help Samantha be born full term and healthy in November of 2009.  This past December, we were blessed to welcome another full term and healthy baby girl, Charlotte, into our family.  Today, his baby sister is 70 days old.

The Mission of the March of Dimes is to give every baby a healthy start.  In April of 2008, my family and I started walking with March for Babies.  We’ve continued to walk every year since.  This April, we will walk for the 6th year in a row.  Together, we can help more babies have healthy starts and fewer families go through the pain of prematurity and infant loss. 


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

10 weeks old

70 days ago, Charlotte was born.

She is incredible, sweet and loved beyond words...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

President's Week

For the last few school breaks, we haven't done much.  Which isn't my style really.

For summer vacation, I was so sick with pregnancy I had absolutely no energy.  It took everything I had to just do the basics.  Yes, we went to Washington D.C., but I didn't participate in too much.  I just wanted to throw up.  Or, not want to throw up.

For Thanksgiving break, I was so pregnant I was exhausted.  Again, the energy wasn't there and I had doctor's appointments, Thanksgiving and trying to get everything done before the baby came.

For Winter break, I had a baby.  Yeah, that pretty much made going out and doing things not impossible.

So, for President's week, I wanted it to be fun.  I wanted it to be action packed.  I wanted everyone to come home so tired everyday bed time was a breeze and we could easily stay in our routine.

On Monday, Samantha had her first dentist appointment and Kaitlyn had her 6 month check up.  Samantha did absolutely amazing.  I was shocked.  I thought for sure she would be held on my lap, three of us trying to get her to open her mouth and bribes galore.  I braced myself for this.  Nope, she walked into the toddler treatment room, got up on the regular dentist chair, laid back and said "Where's doctor?"  He came in, she opened her mouth and let him check all of her gums, her bite, her tongue and poke each and every tooth.  Then, she let the dental hygienist clean each and every single tooth.  She did amazing.  The hygienist said she's never had someone so young be so patient.  Neither had cavities, both had fluoride treatments and both walked out with far too many goodies.  That was the extent of our "outside of the house" fun.

On Tuesday, Charlotte turned 2 months and had her 2 month check up.  With injections.  She was not a fan.  Samantha was not a fan of not being home.  That kid just loves being home with her stuff on her schedule.  After the appointment we battled the rain to get in the car and went to Chuck E. Cheese.  We used to have so many play dates there when Kaitlyn was little, but Samantha has only been once, on Kaitlyn's 7th birthday.  It was a zoo!!  There was a daycare fieldtrip there with far too many kids and far too few adults.  But, the girls had fun (except when I dared to ask for a picture together...), Samantha made a new friend on the slide, and we managed to leave when there was a break in the weather.

On Wednesday, we headed to the zoo with some good friends.  Kaitlyn was so glad to see her cousin Carmen, and Samantha was thrilled to have Hudson and Isabella to keep her company.  I was thrilled for the company of other adults with Jamie and Cynthia.  We saw everything, the weather was so pretty, they played on the playground and fell asleep the second we got home! 

On Thursday, we started out early again and went to pick up Camaryn for our day of fun!  Together, we headed to Fairfield for my first trip to the Jelly Belly Factory.  If I thought Samantha was happy at Disneyland, I don't even know how I would describe her joy with being surrounded by so much candy!  The girls were SO good.  Kaitlyn ate a rotten egg jelly belly and Camaryn a toothpaste flavored one.  They ate a ton of sugar and we finished up with drinks in the cafe. 

After the jelly belly factory, we took Dusty some lunch before we headed to the mall to have Charlotte's ears pierced.  She cried for a minute, but quickly got over it with some nursing.  The placement is great, but I'm so disappointed that the employee used the wrong earrings.  We confirmed at least a half dozen times that I wanted to use white gold and somehow she used yellow.  Ugh!  I would have probably let it go if she would have been the tiniest bit apologetic.  She wasn't.  Even when I expressed my absolute disdain for yellow gold.  But, what can you do?

We followed up with dinner at Dusty's parents and then a sleepover at our house with Camaryn.  Kaitlyn was asleep within 30 minutes of us getting home, Camaryn not so much.  We stayed up far too late watching cartoons...

Friday was an errand running kind of day. Dusty came home early and we hit Costco, Sportsman's Warehouse, the bank and on and on.  It had been such a busy week that Kaitlyn was out cold by 6:00 PM.  Samantha even went to sleep at a decent hour.

Saturday was birthday party day.  At least, I thought it was.  We had a one year old birthday party for a family friend and Kaitlyn's friend was celebrating her 9th birthday.  Or, so I thought.  I totally mixed up the days, and she ended up going fishing with them and having a blast.  We celebrated little Liam's birthday, went to JoAnn's Fabrics to pick up some things for my sister's baby shower (I have mentioned that I am getting a nephew in 7 weeks!) and then came home.

Today, Kaitlyn went to the birthday party for her friend for real this time.  We had Sunday dinner with my parents and celebrated my sisters birthday.

It was a good week.  Although, I do think Django Unchained maybe should have won best movie....

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Friday, February 22, 2013

2 months!?!?

On Wednesday, Charlotte turned 2 months old.  I'm not sure where the time has gone, but the calendar tells me it has.  I thought time went by fast with Samantha.  But, it does not even compare to how fast it feels like it is going now.  I cannot even describe it in words.

In one word, Charlotte, is amazing.  She's the kind of baby that makes you think you could handle 5 more.  A great sleeper, easy nurser, quiet disposition and a smile that melts your world.

Charlotte has blended into our family really well.  Kaitlyn likes to hold her, talk to her and get her to smile or calm down.  Samantha loves to "hug" her, which means hold her, steal pacis from her (which is funny since she hasn't used one since was 4 months old) and shove the same pacis in her mouth.

Charlotte had her 2 month appointment on Wednesday.  Charlotte's up to 11 lbs and 5 ounces.  She is in the 49% for her age.  Her length on the other hand is out of control.  She's 24.25 inches long, which puts her in the 99% range.  Her head circumference is 38.5 cm, which is at 56%.

She had both injections and oral vaccines.  For the oral vaccine, she did awesome.  She nursed it like it was delicious milk.  She cried when they took it away.  She absolutely cried during the injections, but got over it quickly once it was time to eat.

During the day, she is nursing every 2 hours or so.  Our days begin at about 7:30.  I take a shower, get out and nurse her around 8.  We get everyone ready, Kaitlyn goes to school, when we get home, it's just about time for Charlotte to nurse again.  She likes to lay flat, laying in the middle of the couch is one of her favorite places.  She's started to like her swing a lot.  It can sometimes get us a nice 2 hour nap.  That is, if Samantha doesn't insist on running over and stopping the swing.

Nights are going great.  She normally goes to bed around 10:00 PM and sleeps in her little bassinet until 4 AM.  She nurses, then goes back to sleep by 4:30 and sleeps until 6:30 or so.  Sometimes until 7.  Sometimes she sleeps from 10 to 5, but not as often as the 6 hour stint.

She's growing.  She's 9 weeks and 2 days old.  She makes the most darling little noises and has the sweetest little feet.  She acts like a sweet princess but you can hear her pass gas in another room.  She's just absolutely amazing.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Never-ending has been the theme for the past week or so. 

Since Charlotte has been born, I've kept "up" with the house, but haven't really cleaned.  Laundry is done, dishes are washed, toys are picked up and everything is vacuumed.  But, that's about it. 

On Friday, I decided enough was enough.  It was time to clean.  Anytime Charlotte would let me put her down, I would dust, scrub, de-grease, mop, sweep, bleach and clean.  I normally do all the laundry every morning, but it's been quite a while since I went to bed with the only things dirty or not put away are the clothes we're sleeping in.  I wanted to get there.

Every time I was close, someone would spit up on something, pee on something or finger paint with poo on something.  Samantha decided that she wanted to go on the potty for the day instead of the diaper.  I closed all the doors so she was trapped in the front part of the house.  I had a long, and I mean loooooong talk about where we go potty.  She repeated it back to me, showed me where her potty chair was and told me that was where she would go pee pee or poo poo.  I took off her diaper, she ran straight to the little recliner in the playroom, sat on it and peed.  I strapped that diaper back on so quick...

By the time Dusty got home on Friday the house was nearly spotless.  We left to have dinner at his parents and came back past everyone's bed time.

On Saturday morning, I took Dusty to do some work on a co-worker's house and came home to encourage Kaitlyn to clean her room.  While she was supposed to be cleaning, I finished.  All the laundry was done, everything was dusted, every surface from top to bottom had been scrubbed.  I was happy.  It felt great.  I also didn't want to cook dinner, walk from outside to in or do anything to mess it up, but that was pointless.  As I'm sure you can imagine with three kids at home, it didn't stay perfect for long.

Sunday morning, I realized how happy Charlotte is to be sitting upright.  Since she obviously cannot do that on her own yet, I decided it was time to go out to the shed to bring in both bouncer chairs and discover which she liked better and wash it all up.

They were both covered in mold.  During our one storm this winter, our shed leaked and mold got on the roof.  Dusty had treated it all, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to bring everything out and replace the shelving.  I was heartbroken, but decided to wash it all anyways, then treat it, then wash it again and hope that it was perfectly clean.  Since we had plans Sunday morning, I was running late.  I HATE running late.

After I put the bouncer covers in the washing machine, we went shopping and planning for my sister's baby shower!  I took the two littlest to the mall after, waiting for Dusty to get done working while Kaitlyn went with her grandma.  Samantha enjoyed her some ice cream, and I did a lot of people watching.  After, I picked up Dusty and went to my parents' for Sunday dinner.  We got home late, put the girls to bed, watched a little TV and went to sleep.

This morning, I put a load in the washer and went to take the load out of the dryer.  A nail polish had made it's way into the washer.  A bright red, chip resistant nail polish.  The dryer consisted of one pair of my pants (which brings me down to 3 that actually fit, which is a whole other blog post), one of my favorite blankets for Charlotte, a sweater of Kaitlyn's, Samantha's minnie mouse and some towels.  I don't really care about the towels, the jeans made me sad- but knowing they are maternity and I really want to be in "normal" jeans anyways made it better, the blanket saddens me and so do the two other things.  I attempted to get the stains out with fingernail polish.  It was working ok until I accidentally dumped the entire bottle on my top.  I sprayed the rest of the stains with stain remover and when to change.  As I walked by Samantha's room, I noticed that Kaitlyn did not put up her tube of toothpaste like she had said.  I knew this because it was rubbed into Samantha's carpet, hair, and on her jammies...

After I changed, it was bath time, during which time, Samantha managed to dump an inch of water onto the ground, Charlotte woke up from her nap, Dusty woke up with a migraine and Kaitlyn decided to use her ipod to "like" every single picture she can find on facebook and instagram.

Soon, we will leave for Samantha's first dentist appointment.  Here's hoping that things slow down after that!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day

This week, we celebrated Valentine's day in our home.  As I'm sure most people did across the country.  We typically keep it pretty simple. There are not any lavish and expensive gifts, no fancy dinners or baby sitters.  It's more of a time to write out mushy cards, share our love with friends and to do cutesy things with the girls.

Dusty is great about holidays.  He surprises us every year with nearly the same idea.  After we're in bed, he plays cupid and we get to wake up to flowers, cards and our favorite candies.  This year, Samantha woke up to a balloon as well.  She loved it.  She screamed "Candy! Candy!" all day, thinking it would get her another piece.  She told everyone she saw "Happy Valentine's Day!" and while she may not have "gotten" what it was, it meant she got candy and that was good enough for her.

The days leading up to Valentine's Day, I had told Kaitlyn that has soon as her room was cleaned we could work on assembling her Valentine's Day cards.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  And while I really wanted to stick to my guns, and normally do, I didn't want to ruin the holiday.  The night before, we went to Walmart to pick up candy to put on her Valentine's and something to take to school for their second trimester birthday party.  Yeah, they were sold out of nearly everything.  The candy and Valentine's that should have lined the aisles had been replaced with Easter candy and bunny rabbit toys.  The aisles were also filled with annoyed parents who had also waited until the last moment.

Eventually, we found some fun dips, picked up the pictures and picked out the goodies for the goody bags Kaitlyn would create for her class to celebrate her birthday.

Kaitlyn's evening continued with the joyful attitude of an 8 year old and the disastrous room of a pre-pre-teen.  It did not make for a fun night, or time to work on the Valentine's together.

After seeing our surprises from Daddy in the morning, I took Kaitlyn to school and then came home to work on her Valentine's and goody bags.  Here are the girls Valentine's:

Samantha has been carrying hers around for days.  Once I finished the Valentine's day cards, I worked on goody bags:

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Once we finished, we picked up some lunch to eat with daddy before heading to Kaitlyn's school for their party.  I thought Samantha would be jealous that they would all be eating goodies and she would be left out.  She was there for seconds before the boys (and a few girls) were lined up shoveling candy and goodies at her.

After the party, it was time to go home, cook up some turkey bacon burgers and watch some TV before bedtime.

Valentine's was a good one.  I think part of it is because there isn't a lot of pressure on it.  We say "I Love You", give hugs and kisses, and do nice things for each other every day.  Sure we have some yelling, some arguments and discipline, but at the end of the day, we don't go to bed angry, lines of communication are left open and we try to make each other happy.  I hope your love day was just as lovely.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


After our last plane ride all together last April, I was convinced I would never travel with kids again, and there was no way I could do it with a third living baby.  Considering Miss Charlotte is here and we not only went to Washington D.C. a couple months after I said that out loud, obviously I only said it out of frustration...

I love traveling.  I like being new places, seeing new things, trying new foods, visiting with people and not having to worry about all the "chores" of day to day life.  Considering that Kaitlyn is 8 and has been to Disneyland twice, Las Vegas 4 times, Buffalo, NY, Washington D.C., Illinois, Niagra Falls, San Antonio Texas, Alabama 3 times, Colorado Springs, and Reno and San Francisco more times than I can count, I should be a pro at traveling with children by now.  You would think 20,000 miles later, I would have it figured out.  Many trips were with Samantha as well. 

The problem is, there are parts of traveling I hate.  I hate packing.  I hate unpacking.  I hate feeling like I'm forgetting something.  I hate predicting what we'll need once we're there.  I hate flying.  I hate going through the security check points, I hate feeling confined in a car or on a plane.  I hate the waiting to get there.  I hate waiting period.

For Christmas this year, my parents wanted to do something different.  We all have too much "stuff."  Our girls included.  There is very little they do not have.  You could go into any toy store, throw a rock and hit something in one of their bedrooms or the playroom.  With Kaitlyn, the same could be said about electronics.  They are spoiled and we're quickly running out of room.  In addition to some gifts this year, my parents gave the gift of a family vacation.  To Disneyland.  Kaitlyn has been beyond excited since then.  Samantha has adamantly said she does not want to go and Charlotte goes where the milk is.

On Thursday, my parents drove with my youngest sister and her husband.  They took Kaitlyn and Samantha with them.  My other sister, husband and stepson flew a couple days before us to visit with family on his side and my brother, his long time girlfriend, Dusty, Charlotte and I flew down that morning.  Security was troublesome.  I was flustered.  I was tired.  Charlotte did a great job on the flight though, cried for a few minutes but slept for the majority of it.

We arrived around lunch time and the car travelers arrived shortly after that.  Thursday was spent resting and relaxing.  Our room was great, it was one of the Kid Suite's at the Hyatt.  The girls had their own room space with bunk beds.  They both loved it.  We had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack and went to bed early (at least us girls did) to go to Disney the next day.

Despite the hail and rain on Friday, the girls had fun.  Samantha was in love with the princesses and Winnie the Pooh.  Kaitlyn went on all the rides with the grown-ups and was so thrilled to see her friends Savannah and Sawyer (I was too!), Charlotte nursed every couple of hours.  The next day was spent at Universal Studios and on Sunday we came home.

The trip was fun.  It was work though.  I do not think I realized what extra work having a newborn with us would add.  She wanted to be held and fed, changed and held some more.  But, it was worth it.

Since being home, we unpacked, did 5+ loads of laundry and are desperately trying to get back into a routine.  I'm not sure if there is a point in getting to a routine with Kaitlyn having next week off...

I found myself saying "no more traveling for at least a couple years" on the way home and already I'm planning our next trip.  Funny how things work...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Six Weeks Old

This week, Charlotte is 6 weeks old.  I'm 6 weeks into recovery from the cesarean and life is getting closer to normal every day.

Charlotte is doing great.  She's growing like crazy.  I weighed her at 10 lbs 2 oz and 23 inches long.  She is SO long.  Like ridiculously long.  She no longer looks like a newborn.  She looks like a baby.  She has so many different expressions, most involve her eyebrows moving in one weird way or another.  She's also officially our only baby with an "outie" for a belly button.

This week, I scored an awesome new k'tan baby carrier for a great price.  Charlotte and I are learning together.  With her length (and strength) kangaroo carry is a little difficult.  We've tried the hug carry too, but after an hour or so, she was way over it.

Charlotte is starting to have more time awake.  I try to do as much tummy time as possible, but she is usually determined to end it.  A few times she's rolled over from her belly to her back, which scares he heck out of her.  And once she's rolled over from her back to her belly, which scares the heck out of me.  Kaitlyn and Samantha were both over 3 months old when they showed any desire to roll over, so this is new for us.

She is also starting to lose her hair more.  The back and top just pouf out and the front is now looking more like a bald baby.  Dusty says it looks like she's wearing a wig for a "mafioso" costume.

When Matthew was home, Kaitlyn always wanted to hold him.  I regret that I was so hesitant in letting her as frequently as she wanted.  I was scared of her germs.  I was scared that she would drop him (even if I was right there, holding him too), I was scared of him getting hurt, him screaming, his O2 stats dropping, his getting fussy, or just not ready to let go of him.   She did get to hold him and lay with him a few times, but I wish we would have crammed more times in for her to hold him while he was here.

Because of that, anytime the girls ask to hold Charlotte, I give in.  With Kaitlyn, it's usually twice a day; once before school and once before bed.  Neither time for very long.  She is great at getting her to stop crying if she is in her car seat or the rock and sleep in the living room.  Samantha on the other hand, wants to hold her constantly.  Several times a day she'll run up to me, her hands stretched out and ask in her soft sweet voice "hug her?"  When I say yes, she jumps on the couch, arms out and ready.  Every single time, she does the exact same thing, she looks at her and says "Awww, 'ittle baby sooooo cute!" and kiss her, or try and blink her eyes against hers, or try and get her to lick her cheek.  You know, because to a 6 week old, anything that feels like skin just might release milk if you try...

To Samantha, she's one of the greatest things in the world, right up there with big sissy, chocolate milk and monsters.  She wants to help her stop crying, thinks nursing is gross and is the biggest paci thief I've ever met.

Samantha was a great sleeper, for about a week.  For a week, she would go to sleep at 8:30 and wake up at 8.  She would sleep through the night, she would wake up refreshed, she wouldn't nap and she'd be mostly happy.  Then, her body adjusted to it.  Even without naps, she started staying up later and later, until we were back to her staying up until midnight or 1 am.  Without a nap or a break all day.  I started letting her nap again.  I figured, if she's going to stay up that late anyways, I might as well have her be happy during the evening hours and not so crabby.  She has some new molars in the back.  I can verify the bottom two, but she will not let me see well enough to check the top.

She's as mischievousness as always.  This week she's emptied a bottle of shampoo, a tube of toothpaste and decorated her room with macaroni and cheese.  This girl is not above going through the garbage for a chance to get into something.  Her language is impressive.   Her manners are excellent, always saying please and thank you.  She is quickly learning when to say Sorry as well.  She has started saying "No Way Jose" quite often, and mimicking every single thing she hears.

Kaitlyn is quickly entering her "I want to make everything three times harder than it has to be" stage.  Oh how I hope it's a stage.  She goes back and forth between rolling her eyes while stomping her feet and demanding to get her way to being sweet as can be a moment later.  If the teenage years are any worse than this, I'm scared.

She's doing great in school.  Above grade level in academics and quickly mastering long division.  Even after I took her calculator away.  She actually tried to convince me that using a calculator makes you learn more.  Once you see the answer, you know it forever.  Yeah, I didn't buy it either.  She wants to do everything like her daddy.  She wants to eat lemons for breakfast and follow it up with cabbage salad for lunch.  She's a proud member of the 21 club at school and is determined to be a famous actress and singer.  Or work at Target because they get discounts on toys and DVDs.  Most days she's nearly late for school because she insists she has to wear gloss, only she isn't allowed to, and rushes into the bathroom and comes out to say that her lips always look like that.  Yes, they always look pink and super glossy.  I must be crazy to think it's gloss.  This is what she tries to convince me of while rolling her eyes and stomping those feet of hers.

I'm doing well.  Adjusting to sleeping in 3-5 hour shifts and then functioning the next day.  I'm looking forward to going back to cloth diapers in about a week and a half.  I only have 18 more pounds to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Which, I can't wait to get to because I am so sick of maternity jeans.  My incision is still pretty tender, but I'm ok with it most of the time.  I've finally lost enough of the pregnancy weight where I can wear my wedding rings again.  I have my big check-up on Monday, so fingers are crossed everything has healed correctly!

Right now, we're gearing up for our trip to Disneyland, working on ideas for Valentine's day, planning our March for Babies fundraisers and wondering how time is able to pass so darn quickly!