Great to be 8!

This guy is 8 today!!

He is highly opposed to smiling in pictures.

We never do much on his actual birthday, because it’s so close to Christmas, but we DO have cake, because any excuse to have cake, right? I busted out all my cake decorating skills this year! If by all you mean none. This was probably the easiest birthday cake I’ve ever decorated. Far easier than the one we were reminiscing today- the year he requested a volcano cake with lava and tiny toy dinosaurs, which he insisted be dying in the lava.

Anyway, ta-da! Minecraft creeper cake.

Complete with cake crumbs all around because I take terrible pictures.

Lydia squeezed herself in here and tried to blow out the candles before Will. Apparently he wasn’t being quick enough for her taste. Happy birthday buddy!

And just like that

Lydia turned 2. In February. (Super on top of things over here. Add to the list: haven’t taken her to get her 2 year pictures yet, or gotten a copy of her BIRTH CERTIFICATE.) Anyway, we didn’t do much. Krispy Kremes for breakfast, a couple gifts, some cake. It feels like a big milestone for ME though, because this is the first time we’ve had a kid turn 2 and not already had another baby, or at least one imminently on the way. At this point we have no plans for any more. It’s a new place.

Lydia is hellbent on making sure she’s the last child anyway. She continues to wake in the night, not every night, but multiple times a week. She screams, A LOT. Mostly at me. She still isn’t talking, although speech therapy is definitely increasing her efforts toward words.

She is also adorable, of course. If I ask her for kisses she’ll present her bear for me to kiss. She is a tiny hoarder; she collects random items any time I go to pick her up. Toys go on her tray at meals, she want everything in her crib at bedtime, and getting her to leave the house without both hands full is an impossibility. She has a knack for knowing what is a lovey. I have no idea how she does this, but in a room full of stuffed animals, she can always manage to pick up whichever one is somebody’s lovey. This can be a problem since she doesn’t want to give them up, EVER. (Will has had to wrestle Buster Bear away from her on more than one occasion.) She decided she needed both her lovey and Will’s for her 2 year well visit this week. And Mardi Gras beads, of course. I’d tell you her measurements but they didn’t give them to me! Apparently her pediatrician’s office is switching to entirely electronic, so no more paper with all the info after the visit. She weighs something like 30 lbs, and her height is around the 60th percentile.

Lydia 2 year

She is still very much a mama’s girl. Brian is all the other kids’ favorite. We joke that the 3 of them take less effort combined than she takes by herself. But she’s my girl.


On Monday Kalena turned 7. Seven years old!

Seems impossible.

She is sweet and helpful and she loves her siblings very much. At least when she’s not fighting with them (WILL.) She loves arts and crafts and would make a giant mess with her art stuff every day if I’d let her. Her last day of first grade is tomorrow, and as much as she loves school she’s excited for summer. Her reading skills have improved immensely this year, and as a result she now happily reads to Daniel and Lydia on a regular basis. (She also reads to herself A LOT, but she’s always liked looking through books on her own, even before she could read them.) She is very opinionated. The girl knows what she likes! She’s a happy girl.



Waaaaaaay back in September I had a birthday. We thought that was a pretty reasonable excuse to take the kids to Legoland, so we did! I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little bit (or a lot) encouraging of the kids’ Lego obsession. Yes, they’re sort of stupidly expensive, but they are SUCH great toys. There are some sets I want for myself. (Actually, on a related note, I finally got ahold of this set:

lego institute


photo from

Which theoretically is a Christmas gift for the kids, but mostly because *I* want it. (This is selling on Amazon for SIXTY SEVEN DOLLARS. I hate people who do that crap. I did NOT pay that.))

(On another related note, if you’re a Lego fan, the documentary Inside Lego on Netflix is worth watching)

ANYWAY. We went to Legoland! Here in KC it’s not a full-blown park, just what they call a “discovery center” but we had a lot of fun.



One of the unexpected joys of moving to Kansas for Kalena has been all the Wizard of Oz stuff. She LOVES that movie. Obviously Legoland had Wizard of Oz stuff.



Including all of Oz. That’s munchkin land on the left and the Emerald City on the right. I couldn’t get Dorothy’s house (which goes up and spins around when you press a button) or the Wicked Witch’s fortress in the shot.



Also, an excellent Star Wars exhibit.



And of course everyone had fun playing with the Legos.



Especially Daniel.



So woo! Happy birthday to me.


Y’all, Kalena turned 6 today. SIX!! We’ve been parents for six years now. This hardly seems possible. We celebrated yesterday with gifts first thing in the morning (Legos) and a trip to the mall to spend a gift card from my parents (Disney store.) Then lunch out at her choice, Panda Express. Then a movie while Daniel napped, followed by a trip to the new museum here. Busy day!

She did opt to have her cake today though. She also insisted repeatedly that we refer to her as “birthday girl.” Here’s here cake, made exactly to her specifications: purple frosting with orange edges and pink writing, plus three kinds of sprinkles, one for each color.



Okay, she DID actually request that I write, “Happy Birthday Kalena! Kalena is turning 6!” But she conceded to just have a “6” since there wasn’t room for the rest. (Apparently I need to work on my cake writing skills.)


And here’s the birthday girl herself, enjoying some cake.



Happy birthday, Kalena!

Will the 4 year old

Hey! Back in December Will turned 4 and I never wrote about it! Originally he wanted a cake with stars (easy! I can do that.) But then he changed his mind and decided he wanted a dinosaur volcano. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to manage that, but then someone suggested starting with a bundt cake so that’s what I did. Here’s the final product:


I DID have some of those dinosaurs just standing there, but when Will saw it he insisted they ALL be dying in the lava. So. Who am I to deny the birthday boy, right?

We just did his 4 year well visit (when we did Daniel’s 2 year well visit.) He is 38 1/2 inches tall (7%) and weighs 35 lbs (45%). Hilariously this means he’s only 4 3/4 inches taller than Daniel. The pediatrician was like, “Uh, has he always been this short?” And yes. Yes he has. We also discovered at the appointment that he had an ear infection! He seemed fine, but apparently not. When we asked if his ear hurt (because he never said anything about it) he said, “No, it just hurts on the inside!” So I’m not really sure if it ACTUALLY hurt and he just didn’t say, or if he only said that because we were asking. He’s big on giving the answer he thinks you want. For instance, if you ask where Buster Bear is and he doesn’t know, he’ll still tell you somewhere. He’ll never just say he doesn’t know.

At age four: he is still obsessed with dinosaurs. He also has recently developed a love of LEGOs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He loves his siblings, especially Daniel. The other night when Brian was putting them to bed Daniel started crying when Brian left the room and I heard Will say, “It’s okay Daniel! It’s okay, I’m here with you!” Those moments are just my favorite. He likes to remind us that he is “still small” (his words.) Mostly when we are encouraging him to get himself dressed or other “big kid” things. He doesn’t drink milk (unless it’s in cereal) but loves yogurt. He still eats his weight in breakfast foods, with eggs and oatmeal being the big favorites. He’s quite chatty these days which is often very amusing. Just all around a fun guy.


2 years and 2 weeks

Daniel turned 2 on Tuesday! I can hardly believe it. I still think of him as my baby, even though we have another baby now. Anyway, we had his 2 year well visit on Wednesday and here are his stats: he’s 33 3/4 inches tall (45%) and weighs 23 lbs 9 oz (10%). So he’s kind of a tall skinny guy, although I don’t think of him as tall since he doesn’t walk. Daniel does several signs these days including: milk, more, eat, all done, out, bath, book, water, mama, and banana. They aren’t always super clear, but he does them! He signs bath after every meal, which I love. (He definitely doesn’t get a bath after every meal although I’m sure he’d like one.) He is SO CLOSE to walking. In fact, he took a step yesterday! It was just a “let go of the ottoman, step/lunge for the couch” but still. It’s the first time he’s ever done that. His physical therapist said she’s never seen a kid be SO ready to walk and just not walking yet. He still doesn’t say any words, although he does say “ba” or “ba ba” when he signs milk (meaning bottle) and he also says “ba” when signing bath. He’s working on it, but he’s a long way from talking still.

He’s stopped biting so much (thank goodness) but he still does it sometimes when he’s really mad. Or if you try to get something out of his mouth. He continues to throw whatever food we put on his tray which is obnoxious. He used to only throw food when he was done eating, but these days he throws everything you put on there and then cries because he’s hungry. We mostly deal with this by feeding him instead of letting him feed himself. It’s probably not the best solution, but I’m not sure what else to do at the moment. He’s into everything (as most 2 year olds are) and can finally pull himself up onto the couch which is good- yay milestones, and bad- because he can reach a lot more stuff. He loves Sesame Street, a relatively new development since he used to not care about TV at all. He’s an especially big fan of Elmo. He also loves playing with Kalena and Will and gets very sad if they leave him alone. At bedtime he and Will chat at each other and play until they fall asleep. Neither of them likes to go to bed alone. Daniel loves to be read to and will bring books over and sign “book” aggressively until I read to him. We’ve mostly quit bottles, but he still gets one at bedtime and he insists that I give it to him. (He won’t take one from anyone else, but he’ll WAIL away in his crib if you try to put him to bed without one.) He’s quite curious about the baby, and wants to touch her (smack her in the face) whenever she’s in reach. He watches anyone who’s carrying her around, but he doesn’t seem jealous.

He continues to be adorable, and he very much enjoyed his birthday cake.

DSCN7455 DSCN7465


He did get his requested bath after this.

Well, on Tuesday Daniel turned 2 years old, and on Wednesday Lydia turned 2 weeks old! She had a quick weight check at the doctor and she’s up to 7 lbs 3 oz, which is just above her birthweight. Yay! Nursing is going well, (the best it’s ever gone for me) but she’s still getting a bottle (1-2 oz) most days. She likes her swing, hates her car seat, will take a pacifier, and is not a fan of having her diaper changed. She is very alert when she’s awake- reminds me of Kalena. Most nights she has a fussy couple hours where she only wants to sleep on me. Usually this means I don’t get to sleep as early as I’d like, but so far once she’s down for the night she’s down and middle of the night feedings are brief. (Obviously I’ll say this now and then she’ll be up for hours in the middle of the night tonight.) I’ve been taking advantage of having help (my MIL was here right after she was born and my mom is here now) by sleeping in until 8 or 9 every morning. I’m going to be very sad when I have to actually get up in the mornings again. And deal with kids. And make breakfast. Sad, sad day.

Anyway, she also continues to be adorable, if a little skeptical of me and all my picture taking.DSCN7466

And now I’m posting without proofreading because the baby is crying! Sorry!


This ice is delicious

When I was newly pregnant and given a due date of March 1st, one of the first things I thought was, “I won’t make it all the way to March.” Now, I feel like that was a little bit easy to assume since I’ve only made it to my due date once, but right from the beginning I figured I’d have a February baby. And right from the beginning I hoped for a baby born on Brian’s birthday, just for fun.

The Schedule ended up being all for naught as Will got sick on Sunday night with a stomach bug, causing me to cancel physical therapy for Daniel on Monday and my pre-natal visit with the pediatrician on Tuesday. Kalena also came down with an awful cold so she was home from school. We watched a lot of TV and did not much else. I started timing contractions Tuesday afternoon for a couple reasons. First, they were decidedly more intense than the ones I’d been having in the evenings and second, it was the middle of the day. Prior to that my daytime contractions were totally dependent on my activities, these were happening fairly often and fairly regularly despite all the sitting and TV watching. I started timing about 1 in the afternoon and around 3:30 I called Brian to let him know I was pretty sure this was the real thing. Not that I wanted him to come home, or even that I thought the baby would be born Tuesday, just that it was happening and he probably shouldn’t plan on going to work on Wednesday.

When Brian got home Tuesday I went upstairs to our room to continue timing contractions. At that point I was hoping this labor would be like my labor with Daniel, which started in the evening but then quit long enough for me to sleep and started up again the next morning. Around 10 pm the contractions slowed down some, to about 6 minutes apart (although the pattern was never very regular) and I tried to go to sleep around 11. Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep through them, and they were more intense even though they weren’t as close together. Around midnight I gave up on sleep and woke Brian up. I told him there was no way I was going to make it until morning before needing to go to the hospital so we might as well call someone now. So he called my friend (who had specifically offered to come sleep on our couch if we needed someone) and she came over. Brian had, fortunately, thought to alert the kids to the fact that we might not be there when they woke up. I had Brian take this picture while we were waiting to go, at which point he accused me of not being in real labor.


I assured him I was.

We got to the hospital a little after 1 am, got put in a triage room, the nurse checked me and said I was at about 5 cm. So I told her I wanted an epidural. Being tired makes it much harder for me to handle pain (this was very much true during Will’s labor also) and at this point, knowing 12 hours of contractions only put me at 5 cm dilated, I figured why wait? Of course, I DID have to wait, because I’m sure you’re aware, you can’t have an epidural without an IV placed! This was around 2 am, and somewhere in there I met the on-call doc for my practice. I remember feeling disappointed that my doctor wouldn’t be delivering, but mostly caring about when I could get some pain relief. I warned the nurses (AS I ALWAYS DO) that people have a hard time getting an IV in me but they ignored me (AS THEY ALWAYS DO) and the first nurse tried: nada. So a second nurse tried: nope. (Also, both of them dug around in my arm with the needle which I HATE and specifically asked them not to do.) At that point they agreed to just take me to the labor and delivery room and let the anesthesiologist place the IV when he came in. (The anesthesiologist also had to place my IV with Will AND with Daniel.) So off to an actual labor room, and happily, a quick arrival of the anesthesiologist. (One of the benefits they mentioned when we toured L&D is that anesthesiologists are at the hospital 24 hours a day. Definitely glad for that at 2 in the morning.) Finally got an IV placed, roughly 50 minutes after the nurses first started trying. He went ahead and did the epidural then, even though technically they want to get a bag of fluid through the IV first.

Epidural placed, it’s 3 am, and the nurse and I get to start a fun little game that goes like this: My blood pressure drops really low. Baby doesn’t like that. Put me on oxygen. But my heart rate is through the roof (140s-150s) so the anesthesiologist doesn’t want the nurse to give me ephedrine (which is what they’d normally give to get blood pressure up) so they hunt down something else and give me that. Blood pressure comes back up, baby looks good again, take me off oxygen. Then maybe 10 or 15 minutes later this happens again. Blood pressure drops, baby doesn’t like it, put me on oxygen, heart rate is still high so give me some more of the non-ephedrine stuff. Blood pressure back up, baby looks good, back off oxygen. Y’all I think we went round and round like that for about TWO HOURS. My blood pressure cuff was set to check every 3 minutes this whole time because it just KEPT HAPPENING. Every time my blood pressure dropped I got nauseated too which was fun. Finally my heart rate came down and the nurse switched to ephedrine which seemed to work better. We also repositioned me to to my left side which seemed to help with how the baby was doing. Brian, fortunately, got to sleep through most of that circus. (It was never serious, just a lot of adjusting and checking on things and medicating.) The nurse was great though, and we chatted for a lot of that time.

Anyway, blood pressure finally seems stable around 5 am so I got to nap. Then a little after 6 the nurse came to adjust the monitor, because it wasn’t picking up baby’s heart rate, and checked me. At that point I was at about 8 cm. I was a little disappointed to not be complete, because it meant my lovely nurse wouldn’t be there for the actual delivery since shift change was at 7. However! After the shift change they called my actual doctor and he came over and broke my water around 7:45 am. We laughed because I’d told him at my last regular appointment that I was hoping not to make it to my next one and it was scheduled for 1:45 that afternoon. I joked that I needed to make sure and call his office to cancel. He told me he was pretty sure he could remember to take care of that.

After he broke my water he guessed baby would be there within the hour. An hour later at 8:45 am we were still waiting. But by a few minutes after 9 the nurse checked me and said it was time to call the doctor! Conveniently, his practice is located IN the hospital building so it was just a matter of his walking over. There was a little meconium when my OB broke my water, not enough that he was really concerned, but they did bring in a NICU team for the actual delivery as a result. So while we were waiting on my OB the NICU nurse started explaining why they were there and possible complications from meconium. (Obviously we’re familiar since Kalena aspirated.) While we were waiting I started to feel a lot of pressure (new for me, since my epidurals with Will and Daniel were both VERY heavy. Like, I couldn’t move my legs, let alone feel any pressure.) so the nurse ended up calling my OB again to make sure he was on his way. He was, and made it into the room just a few minutes later, which was kind of anticlimactic actually since then we had to wait on a contraction before I could push. (During the wait everyone guessed boy or girl: the OB and the nurse guessed boy, Brian said girl, as he has all along.) But! One contraction was all it took! I pushed maybe 5 times and the OB held her up so we could see and announced that we had a girl!


(This, by the way, is the next photo on my camera after the one where I’m “not in labor”)

At 7 lbs 1 oz and 18 inches long, she is the smallest of our babies, but she came with a full head of hair just like the rest of them 🙂 The NICU team checked her out and everyone oohed and aahed over her hair and they declared her perfect, which she clearly is.





P.S. That title is for Erin. I texted that in one of my labor update texts because you know what? Hospital ice IS delicious. And my mouth was super dry during labor so that made it even better.

Always somebody’s birthday around here

My sister and her family are here visiting for an extended weekend, and yesterday was my nephew’s birthday! The little guy is one year old now, so obviously there was celebrating to do. And by that I mean cake to make and eat. (Is there another point to birthdays?)

We opted for a dinosaur cake because the older kids all love dinosaurs, and what one year old cares what his cake looks like?



I got the instructions from the Betty Crocker website. It was actually pretty easy.

He was enthralled with his first gift, big boy sippy cups! (Obviously Kirsta was pretty thrilled too.)



In fact, he was so intent on trying to drink out of his new (empty) cups that he needed some help to open his next gift. Luckily Will jumped right in.



The cake was a hit with the birthday boy, of course.



Happy birthday Ethan!