Welcome to the world (3 1/2 months ago) Parker Alan!

Our family of five!

I know this is a little late, but better late than never. The last time I wrote I was the mother to two children and now am a mother to three.  What an interesting shift it has been.  The hardest part has been trying to reason with sassy Lydia when I wasn’t getting a full night’s rest.  She wears me out enough on her own and when I was waking up every 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the night to nurse it was really draining me.  But it was all worth it!

5:15 am on Thursday morning May 24 came all too soon.   I figured I wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep because I thought I would be tossing and turning just getting anxious for what awaited us the next day, but I did.  But 5:15 am is too early on any day.  I got up and hopped in the shower and then did my hair in my traditional labor hair-do, the double french braid.  When I went into labor with Brayden I happened to have my hair braided this way and decided it was hands down the best labor hair ever.  It stays put so you don’t have your hair in your face during labor and it looks roughly the same after labor as it did before.  So when I was induced with Lydia I braided my hair and once again thought it was the best hair decision I ever made.  This time I thought about just wearing my hair down, and then realized that would have been the worst hair decision ever so my game time decision was braids.

My nurse Maggie

After getting all checked-in at the hospital we were directed to my birthing room.  My delivery nurse, Maggie, was there to greet us.  Maggie was the best labor and delivery nurse EVER! My mom later told me when we first walked in and met her that she was a little nervous.  She said Maggie looked as if she was going to be a bit of a curmudgeon.  She was far from that.  She knew what she was doing, she was great at keeping me calm and had a great sense of humor.

So step one was getting my IV in and checking my iron levels.  And since I was getting pretty accustomed to having a needle poked in me from all the iron IV infusions, it wasn’t bad at all. All the many prayers worked because my iron level was exactly where they wanted it and so I didn’t have to have a blood transfusion. This lifted a weight off of me right away.  The Pitocin started around 8 a.m.  I had already been having contractions in the few weeks prior, but nothing to write home about.  So about 20 minutes after the Pitocin started the labor pains began.  They were manageable.  I had a room full of people who were my personal cheerleaders. And they were just as anxious to meet this little boy as I was.  Brayden decided to go to school for his last day that morning, but told us he wanted to be picked up early if the baby came before he was finished.  More on this later. My doctor came in and since my labor was progressing he decided to break my water.  This was the most disgusting feeling ever.  I never quite felt this sensation before.  With Brayden and Lydia I was 9+ centimeters dilated before they had to break my water and I already had the epidural so I didn’t feel that gross oozing. Then my doctor left and went in to the office because he had appointments scheduled for the day.  I reminded him that my labors tend to go quickly and that he better make sure he made it back to catch.  Good thing the office was just across the street from the hospital.

Now fast forward a couple of hours and the contractions were getting pretty intense.  At this point my nurse suggested that if I was planning on getting the epidural that it was probably time. I still had a break in between the contractions so I wasn’t quite ready to get it.  Maggie then started reminding me of what I told her about my previous two labors. Brayden came on his own 10 days early and was born in nine hours.  I was induced with Lydia a week early and she arrived four short hours after the Pitocin was started.  My previous labors were quick and intense.  She said 12 other people were in labor at the same time and that she didn’t want me to miss getting it because they were very busy.  I was nervous though.  The epidural is the worst part of labor for me.  With Brayden and Lydia I was completely in hard core labor once I got it.  There was no break in between contractions, they were constant so I was ready to have the relief the epidural would give.  This time I wasn’t quite there yet so I had a hard time giving the go ahead.  I was also nervous that it would slow down my labor.  So after 10 more minutes of the pain, I decided I better go ahead and get it.

So Mr. Anesthesiologist (editor’s note: he’d probably want to be called “Dr. Anesthesiologist”) comes in and prepares for the big poke and I’m fidgety.  He then starts telling me all the risks, etc. while preparing my back and I just tried to tune him out.  I know he has to tell me all these things but can you just not.  During this process, Maggie was amazing. She calmed and soothed me.  She helped me relax even while contractions were happening and the epidural was being placed.  Did I mention how much I loved my nurse?

So sure enough after the epidural made my contractions feel like they were non-existent they actually were non-existent.  My labor pretty much stopped.  This is where I panicked a bit.  I jumped straight to the, “Oh, no, I don’t want to end up with a c-section” thoughts. I was mad at myself for giving in about the epidural because my biggest fear about it came true.  They pretty much went away for about 20 minutes.  It was also past the four hour mark.  I figured this labor would go by just as fast or faster than my last one and that clearly wasn’t happening. Maggie told me to calm down. She also picked up the sheet, bent down a little and yelled at my cervix to start dilating again.  Yes, you heard that right.  She yelled at my cervix.  It was the funniest thing to happen in that delivery room!  I think it also lifted my spirits because right after they upped my Pitocin less than 30 minutes later I was in full on labor again.

Aunt Sarah getting her first look at Parker

Less than an hour later I started to feel the contractions a bit and knew my epidural was wearing off.  I told the anesthesiologist that I wanted him to top me off a little.  He tried to discourage me a little by telling me it wouldn’t work well that it was different nerve endings, yada, yada, yada. But I insisted.  I went through with this epidural and so I wanted it to actually be working when the pushing started. And I knew I was getting close to that because I started feeling more pressure too.  With Brayden and Lydia the epidural wore off before the pushing.  I didn’t want that to happen this time.  This was my third go-round, I knew exactly what to expect.  So he topped me off.  Then about 15 minutes went by and I told Maggie that I had to push now! She calmly told me that I did not and quickly ran to a phone.  Of course she told me I didn’t have to push because my doctor was not there.  But she clearly knew that I did have to push. I was 10+ centimeters and baby boy was coming.  She made me wait, though I kept telling her I wanted to push.  They prepared the room for delivery and my cheering section made their way to the waiting room.  Jay’s Dad had already started making his way to Brayden’s school to pick him up and Lydia went with him.  We thought it would be good to get her out of the hospital for awhile. The usual crowd stayed in the room with me – Jay, my mom, my sister, Kelly and Jay’s mom.  And this third time an addition was made.  My sweet sister-in-law, Sarah, stayed in for the birth of her second nephew.  I did tell her that if she wanted to see a delivery, that I was the one to watch.  I’m not a screamer.  I focus and get the job done.  But, I also told her that if it scared her enough that she wouldn’t want to give me a niece or nephew that she would have to leave. 🙂  She stayed.

My doctor arrived less than 10 minutes later, I pushed once and then heard my doctor say the cord was wrapped around his neck.  I remember asking if I needed to stop pushing and he pulled the cord off quickly and told me to keep going.  I pushed a second time and our precious little boy was placed in my arms.  What a joyous moment! A healthy baby boy. The birth time was recorded at 2:26 p.m.  Though we are pretty sure he arrived about 10 minutes before that. Text message time stamps from my youngest sister to my oldest sister stating the play by play don’t lie.

Proud parents

They cleaned him off and did all the measuring.  He weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long.  After they swaddled him up and I got him back I couldn’t take my eyes off of our precious little baby.  My sister then asked us what his name was going to be.  I forgot.  We still had to name him.  It was a cute little conversation that Jay and I had, we even got it on video.  I told Jay it was his choice and he said Parker.  He looked like a Parker, it fit.  So welcome to the world Parker Alan!  Alan is Uncle Scott’s middle name and in keeping with tradition of family middle names for the older two, we thought it was just right for our new addition.

Big brother, Brayden, holding Parker for the 1st time.

1st time big sister, Lydia, holding Parker.

Another tradition (I’m not sure if you can call it a tradition because it has only been done twice) was when Lydia was born, Brayden was the first to hold her after Jay and I.  Everyone else had to wait.  So we made everyone else wait this time too.  Luckily Grandpa K. arrived with the kids at the perfect time to let them be the first to hold sweet Parker.  They both beamed at him.  He was perfect!  Our family is truly blessed!

After everyone had their chance to love on Parker, the nurses took him once again to give him a sponge bath.  Lydia was watching the nurses very closely the whole time and they even let her help wash him.  She was on top of the world doing her first duty as an older sister. After they finished we were moved to our post-delivery room.  I got up out of bed shortly after we arrived to use the restroom.  The nurse came with me thankfully.  I sat on the toilet for awhile and just couldn’t go and thought maybe I was just being shy because someone was in the room with me, but that was not the case.  I started feeling dizzy and let the nurse know.  I have extremely low blood pressure so if it drops at all I get that queasy feeling. I also have low blood sugar and then couple that with the low iron and it isn’t a good mix.  My nurse came over to me sitting on the toilet and told me that if I was still feeling dizzy that I could lean on her for a minute.  I decided that might be a good idea and laid my head down.  The next thing I know I wake up and am slumped over her knee and still sitting on the toilet.  I looked up at her and said, “I just passed out, didn’t I? ”  She nodded her head yes and then I told her that it felt great to pass out that I was even starting to dream.  She had pulled the emergency chain as soon as I passed out and held me up with her leg.  More nurses ran down and my mom came in to make sure everything was ok.  After that they told me I wasn’t allowed to be super woman anymore and had to have help walking to the bathroom, etc. for a little while.  I was a good patient and listened to them. I felt a bit embarrassed after the whole thing but it is a funny little story that I will always be able to tell now.

We are a blessed family!

The hospital stay was quite normal.  We had great visitors come to the hospital to meet Parker and share in this wonderful experience with us.  I love having the support of so many caring people.  And that support continued even when we went home.  My bible study girls supplied endless meals to keep our family fed and happy and had more and more people come over to our house to meet little Parker. Or Parker Barker which he seems to be called now.  Jay started saying it and now everyone says it.  Brayden has even made up his own variation and calls him Parky Barky.  I’m not a fan of the silly nickname, but even I call him that. It’s catchy!


Parker's 1st Zoo Day

The first few days back from the hospital were fun.  I was feeling great and didn’t feel like being cooped up in the house.  It was Labor Day weekend and Jay and I’s 8th wedding anniversary was also on the Tuesday after he was born.  So we went to the zoo and went shopping (not something a girl who just had a baby should do, talk about depressing) and just had a good time out with the family.

And then the jaundice kicked in.  I noticed he was a bit yellow and mentioned it to my pediatrician when we were seeing her for his first week check up.  She decided to send us to the hospital to get his bilirubin checked.  We had family pictures scheduled so she told us it was no big deal to go get our pictures taken and then swing by the hospital afterwards.  So we did.  After getting his blood drawn for the test we headed home.  We were home maybe 30 minutes and I was about to lay down for a quick nap and our pediatrician called.  She told us she wanted us to take Parker to the hospital to admit him for a high bilirubin count.  Jay asked how urgent it was to see if we had time to arrange for childcare for the older two and she said we should get to the hospital right away.  This made me worry. When we arrived at the hospital we learned his bilirubin levels were extremely high and thankfully we caught it before serious problems could have come from it.

My baby boy

The next two days in the hospital were somewhat of a blur.  I stayed with Parker the whole time as he was sunbathing under the lights and Jay went home to stay with the kids.  I don’t think I had ever been more exhausted in my life.  Parker wasn’t comfortable laying under the lights and on a biliblanket with his makeshift sunglasses wearing only a diaper.  Newborns want to be held and swaddled.  The lights dehydrated him and so I was nursing every hour and a half or so without any sleep.  He was uncomfortable and I was uncomfortable and all I prayed for us was to be able to bring him home.  The most emotional part for me was all the needles.  He was poked and prodded so much for blood draws and IVs.  They had a hard time getting any blood from him and eventually had to take some from his head.  Thankfully Jay was at the hospital at this time and I was able to leave the room.  To say I was physically and emotionally drained from this experience would be an understatement.  But it made me more compassionate to other moms who have sick children.  No one wants their children in a hospital bed and we can understand as parents how terrible this is.  But now I can also somewhat understand just how it affects the family as well.

Poor little guy with his cool shades.

After he was discharged from the hospital the next few weeks were filled with blood draws to continue to check his levels and weight checks at the doctor every other day.  And because he is my “drama baby” as my good friend Lori call him, he also failed his hearing test in one ear at the hospital when he was born so we had to go to a hearing specialist and take a longer hearing test to make sure everything was good.  He passed with flying colors of course because our little Parker Barker is a fighter!

He is a sweet, easy-going, healthy, beautiful boy.  And we are so blessed that he is ours.

Growing so much already!

And now just a few more sweet pictures of baby Parker.

Parker came home from the hospital in the same socks Brayden came home in.

I love baby feet!

All three of my babies!

My beautiful Lydia bonding with Parker.

A sweet kiss from big brother Brayden.

Lydia helping the nurses give Parker a sponge bath.


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Tomorrow’s the Big Day…

A lot has happened since my last post. The holidays came and went, we had Lydia assessed and eventually enrolled her at the same preschool Brayden went to, we had a room added to our house to make room for the baby, and I, of course, have gained a bit of weight and officially became an adult when I turned 30 a couple weeks ago.

Night Before My Induction - May 23, 2012

This pregnancy has not been very fun to say the least. The first 22 weeks were filled with way too much morning sickness. And as soon as the preggo sickness started to lift, I came down with the flu. It was one of the worst flu bugs I can remember. During the flu we did find out baby #3 is another baby boy. Seeing a healthy, baby boy on the ultrasound was a happy interruption to all the sickness. But then it came right back in its next form of a terrible cold/sinus infection that lasted well over three weeks. About the time I was finally getting over the sinus infection the uncomfortable stage began. And then I found out my iron was super low. Iron deficiency anemia is no fun, especially when you terribly hate needles. This last month of my pregnancy has been filled with too many IV iron infusions to count. I am getting used to the needle though so that is a positive way to look at it.

And tomorrow, it will all be done. Tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. my doctor is inducing my labor. I’m ready to be done with being pregnant. But it also makes me a bit sad. Jay and I have pretty much made the decision that three kids fills our hearts. So much joy comes with each child and I am truly blessed and happy that the Lord has given us these three children. Of course, Jay and I both know that we are not in control of this life we have been given and the Lord may have a different number in mind for us.

It is bittersweet knowing tomorrow morning will be the last time I feel our precious little one kick me in my ribs. It’s the last time I will have the anxious and exciting thoughts of knowing the baby is coming soon. And it may be the last time my house is ever this organized from all my CRAZY nesting habits. The carpets have been shampooed, the towel closets organized and the whole house has been rearranged.

Lydia's Big Girl Room

Lydia got new furniture in January making her an official big girl. We added a good-sized bonus room upstairs which is now Brayden’s new bedroom complete with new furniture and a NERF basketball hoop above his closet, and Brayden’s old room turned into the new baby’s nursery.

Brayden's New Room

Our office/guest room turned into an official guest room when the huge desk came out and a real bed was added. And a few pieces of furniture were shuffled around the house to make room for the desk to be brought into our formal living room. To say we have been busy is an understatement. The outside landscaping was also tended to complete with new mulch. I’m super proud of Jay for that one. He hates yard work with a passion, but he got it all done because he knew it was important to me.

Landscaping Done!

There are still a few things looming over my head. I didn’t get to cleaning out the game closet or organizing my shoes but it will be okay. The biggest concern I have at this point is the baby’s name.

Baby's Room

Jay and I have came up with a few names we like, but nothing has really jumped out at us. This is a way different situation than picking out Brayden and Lydia’s names. There was barely any discussion about them — we just knew. I knew a little boy named Brayden (though spelled differently) growing up that I babysat for a few times and Jay played Little League with a Brayden when he was younger. We both liked that name so it was a very easy decision. And if Brayden was a girl we were going to name him Lydia (again since Jay and I both liked the name instantly.) So four years later when I was pregnant with our little girl we still loved the name Lydia so again there wasn’t much discussion about it. Jay thinks we need to arrive at the hospital with a name at the ready, but I think I need to take a good look at our new baby boy and see which name will fit him.

Brayden & Lydia the night before the new baby is born.

I can’t believe that tomorrow Lydia won’t be the “baby” anymore. She is such a big girl now. She has completely grown up in these last 6 months. She has started using big words in her sentences and she uses them in the proper context. It cracks us up. I will miss her calling my stomach the “baby belly.” She is going to be such a good big sister. She tells me everyday all the things she is going to do to help with the baby like feeding the baby, reading books to the baby, getting the baby his toys, rocking the baby, and on and on.

Brayden has grown into such a big kid. A six-year-old taking second grade math having questions on his test that I don’t even have the patience to figure out. And with no problem he solves them just fine. He is so smart. And he is so caring. He loves his sister so much and I know he will have just as much love in his heart for his new baby brother.

I’m ready. I’m anxious. I’m excited. I’m overwhelmed. I’m happy. I’m blessed. I can’t wait to meet our precious little one. Please say a few prayers for us tomorrow morning. After having all the IV iron infusions, my iron is still low. Pray I don’t have to have a blood transfusion after delivery and that if I do that I will not be anxious about it. Please pray for the doctors and nurses that will be delivering. Please pray for Jay as he has come down with a nasty cold. Pray the antibiotics will clear up his infection so he will be able to love on our new little boy. Pray for Brayden and Lydia that they will feel the love that everyone has for them during this transition time of adding to our family. And please pray for the baby that he will grow up to be a God fearing man that loves the Lord with all of his heart.

And in keeping this light – pray that Jay and I pick him a good name.

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Tradition, Tradition!

The fam on our annual apple orchard trip.

Sing the title of this post as if you were playing the role of  Tveye in The Fiddler on the Roof.  Which by the way is one of my favorite musicals of all time.  I have in fact been in the musical twice and will audition for it again and again whenever it rolls around.  It is just that good.

If you haven’t seen this classic musical (shame on you) it’s about the traditional roles each family member plays in their Jewish society and breaking away from those roles. I’m all for “coming of age” and women’s rights, etc., etc., but traditions can also be good if left untouched.

I grew up with many traditions, though they weren’t actually dubbed a “tradition.”  They were just things we always did and expected.  The tooth fairy always brought a silver dollar for the loss of a first tooth, we colored Easter eggs together every year, without fail on Christmas morning we would be woke up to the brightest light in the history of man that was attached to my dad’s video camera. I’ve carried on all of those traditions, except for the bright light which we haven’t needed since Brayden is the one waking us up super early in the morning to go open presents.

Brayden & Lydia 2011

So now that Jay and I have our own family we have started our own traditions. Things such as measuring the kids at the doorframe, having them open a new book and pajamas on Christmas Eve, and my favorite fall tradition- visiting the apple orchard each year.

When Brayden was a year old we decided to visit the apple orchard near my parent’s home in northwest Indiana.  It is such a great place to have lunch, shop, pick apples, and talk to Peter the Pumpkin Eater.  We had such a wonderful time that first year, we’ve made the trip back every year since. It has become a staple in our fall line-up.


We take the whole family along with us.  And this year, baby Kaden had his first

Grandpa finding the best apple.

experience apple picking too.  I love how my dad (AKA Grandpa F.) gets really into the picking.  He searches high and low for the perfect apple.  He’ll break down the tree just to get one perfectly round and juicy apple.

Fall used to be my most dreaded season until I had children.  I hated the fact that the leaves were falling off the trees and it was becoming so brown outside.  The change of the weather and the cold rain didn’t make it any easier to adjust to.  But since we have started doing these fun activities each year I’ve started to anticipate the return of fall.

Besides the apple orchard, we also visit the pumpkin patch.  And in our case a place that has pumpkins and lots of kid activities without a real patch.  I crack up because they just throw pumpkins that they had shipped in into a field.  No vines to detach or rows to walk through.  Plain and simple it’s just grab and go. Nonetheless we have a great time visiting every year.

Another fun tradition we have adopted is the annual cotton ball Santa poster that Grandpa K. makes for the kids.  Starting at the beginning of December Santa doesn’t have a beard, but each day the kids each add a cotton ball anticipating the arrival of Christmas.  So by Christmas morning Santa is complete.  Brayden looks forward to the cotton ball Santa each year.

Putting cotton balls on Santa's beard.

And that is what I think traditions are all about.  Looking forward to the fun moments with your family.  And we’ve had lots of those moments during this fall/winter season in our home.

What traditions do you celebrate in your homes?

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And Along Came Three…

Let me first premise this post by saying I have written it in stages.  Mostly because I wanted to get it all down, while also keeping it close to the vest for awhile.   

Yes, this is a giant pickle on a stick! And yes, I am pregnant!

Sunday, September 18 –


 I’m pregnant!  Yes, I am pregnant!  So many emotions are running through me right now.  I’m excited, but trying not to be overly excited yet. I’m nervous.  I’m scared we aren’t quite ready for another child, though having another child wasn’t a mistake. I’m happy. Truly and utterly happy. 

I started having this sick feeling while watching football on Sunday afternoon.  And it wasn’t a sick to my stomach sort of feeling since the Colts lost yet another game, but it was a weird sick feeling.  I can’t really describe my pregnancy sickness, but if I had to – it is like having the stomach flu, mixed with a little dizziness, but the most telling is the weird “sickness” feeling I get in my mouth.  And when I am pregnant, I am super sick.  With Brayden and Lydia the gross “morning sickness” better known to my body as “all day sickness” didn’t subside until around the 22 week mark. Having the “I feel like I am going to vomit and lots of times actually vomitting feeling” isn’t much fun to have for over 5 months straight.  But the end product makes it all worth it.  I tell friends often I would rather give birth than be pregnant.  I used to dream about how fun it would be to be pregnant.  I would imagine myself wearing these adorably cute sundresses with my belly protruding, but I never imagined myself with my head in the toilet. That is what we should remind teenagers of when speaking to them about sex ed.  Let them see what will actually happen to their daily lives even before the baby arrives.

So anyway, I started feeling sick so decided to take an at home pregnancy test.  After I took the test I walked away from it for a couple minutes because I really didn’t expect it to be positive.  Well sure enough it was positive.  I took another one for good measure and sure enough that one too was positive.

The reason I am not telling so many people and posting this on the blog right away is because I experienced two miscarriages in between having Brayden and Lydia.  They were devastating.  I was emotionally drained having two miscarriages in a row and so Jay and I waited a year before trying again.  And then along came Lydia.  Our beautiful, sassy little girl.  And not that I didn’t appreciate the blessing Brayden was, but I truly appreciated the gift from God that each child is. 

I want four children.  Jay has a differing opinion (though it didn’t differ from mine until we had kids and he realized just how much work they are and how much they cost to raise.) Jay would be okay with just having two, but he is compromising with me and agreed on three. And that in turn means I am compromising with my undiagnosed OCD and getting over the even number of children thing.  Though I do tease Jay that I hope I get pregnant with twins, because he can’t tell me to put one back.

So now the waiting game starts.  My anxious thoughts if the pregnancy will be a success started the minute I found out I was expecting and I’m sure will last well past the first trimester. I am trying to stay positive.  Thank you Lord for this awesome blessing!

Monday, September 19 –

I called my doctor this morning and went in early for some bloodwork.  I hate bloodwork.  I have a very embarrassing story of me passing out at a blood drive where I wasn’t even giving blood.  Needles and me just don’t mix.  But over the years I have learned to deal with needles.  I have learned to not mentally exhaust myself over it.  If I just don’t think about the needle being poked into my body (because in all reality it really doesn’t belong there) then I do just fine.

The bloodwork was done to track my hCG and progesterone levels. Both of which are doing great at the moment.  I was given an hCG level of 40 and a progesterone level of 22.

Thursday, September 22 –

I went back for some more bloodwork to check my levels again.  The hCG level should double about every 48 hours.  Mine was at a 130, so it is increasing nicely.

Monday, September 26 –

I went to the doctor again this morning to check my hCG and progesterone levels.  My hCG levels went up to an 880.  This level has increased significantly.  And my progesterone level is at a 19.  I asked the nurse if my progesterone level decreasing should be a cause for concern and she said that the numbers will fluctuate a bit.

I am not supposed to go back to the doctor until I have my early ultrasound on October 20th.  This four week waiting period feels too long to me, especially after I learned my progesterone level went down a bit.  The nurse didn’t seem concerned but after having to take a supplement of progesterone while pregnant with Lydia I see the need to ask about it again.  So I will probably call my doctor to discuss this more.

My hCG level went up considerably.  Sometimes this is associated with pregnancy with multiples.  The joke in our house (since Jay only wants three) is that I will just get pregnant with twins and he can’t tell me to put one back.  If I do indeed find out I am pregnant with twins I will first – laugh in Jay’s face and second – cry.  Because good Lord how do I take care of two at a time. 

So now the waiting game continues and it is making me even more anxious.  I think this is God’s way of reminding me that it is all in his hands.

Tuesday, September 27 –

We told the kids that we are going to have another baby.  We felt that Brayden (and Lydia though she doesn’t quite get it) should know before we tell some of the family. We have dinner scheduled with some family on Thursday evening so we wanted to let them know before that. 

Brayden was surprised and excited.  He quickly suggested that we should make a list of boys and girls name and take votes on which is the best.  So of course we let him know that Mommy and Daddy will be choosing the name, but that we would love to hear his suggestions. 

Lydia at first said, “No, Lydia.” I think she was telling us that she was the baby.  I was nervous how this would go, but then she started saying, “baby sister” over and over again. Brayden prefers a baby brother and Lydia prefers a baby sister, so I guess one of them will be happy. Jay and I don’t have a preference for one gender or the other.  We are just praying for a healthy baby.

Jay tried explaining to Brayden (in the best way possible for a 6-year-old) that sometimes babies can get sick inside mommy’s tummy and that we are praying that that will not happen.  We always feel informing our kids about situations, even before they may or may not happen is a good idea.  Our kids seem to need to understand what is happening in order to be okay with something.  So in this kind of serious moment of explanation Brayden says, “So, babies can like spit up in your tummy?”  Of course daddy’s can’t explain things as well as mommy’s can so I told Brayden that sometimes babies just don’t grow right in the belly and don’t become full babies. This made more sense to him.

Wednesday, September 28 –

My doctor called me about my concerns for my progesterone levels and the fact that I won’t be in for any check ups until October 20.  He is putting me on a supplement just because of my history.  He would rather me feel comfortable and not worry about my levels.  He is also ordering bloodwork for me again.  He wants to check how my progesterone levels are fluctuating. I really like my doctor.  If anyone ever needs an OBGYN suggestion, I have one for you.  He listens to my concerns and is very friendly.  He also makes time to check up on me and I think that helps make him a great doctor.

Thursday, September 29 –

I went back to the doctor today to have my blood drawn once more.  My hCG level went up to a 2,627.  Thankfully the numbers keep increasing as they should.  I won’t be back in again until my early ultrasound that is scheduled for October 20.

We met with Jay’s family this evening to tell them about the baby.  They were all very excited. 

Friday, September 30 –

I received a phone call from my doctor’s office at 8am.  My doctor had a chance to look at my labs and decided since my levels were over a 1,500 hCG that they would do an ultrasound just to make sure their was a present sac.  So I quickly called Jay who turned around from heading into work and then jumped in the shower.

The ultrasound did in fact show a healthy sac.  A good pregnancy.  Praise the Lord!  Then my doctor changed my next ultrasound to make it right at 7 weeks.  He wants to see a heartbeat sooner than later.  Did I mention before that I love my Dr.? So my early ultlrasound is now scheduled for October 14.

Wednesday, October 5 –

My anxious thoughts are subsiding a little.  I am starting to feel really sick.  This is such a blessing.  Though being sick isn’t fun, it let’s my brain rest assured that I have a healthy pregnancy happening.  Praise the Lord!

Friday, October 14 –

Ultrasound day!  A precious little heartbeat was seen and heard via the ultrasound.  We are so blessed.  The baby is measuring right on track. After the ultrasound I got in with my Doctor.  We chatted a bit and then scheduled a 10 week appointment.  We hope to hear a heartbeat through the doppler next time.

Wednesday, October 19 –

 Though I love this beautiful gift the Lord has given us…I truly and utterly hate being pregnant.  My doctor prescribed me Zofran a few weeks back to help with the nausea.  It’s a medication they give to chemo patients to help subside their nausea.  It is supposed to block the action of serotonin, a natural substance that can cause nausea and vomitting.  Sadly, it isn’t working.  I feel sick 24 hours a day and have vomitted a few times already. Usually when you have the stomach flu you feel better after vomitting but it doesn’t work that way for me. I hope I can get some relief soon because this miserable feeling is really wearing on me.

Tuesday, November 1 –

 I’m starting to get really down about this sickness thing.  It’s hard to function everyday.  Chasing after a 6-year-old and mostly a 2-year-old when you feel like vomitting makes you feel like vomitting even more. I told Jay that I am officially throwing in the towel on having more kids.  I don’t think I can do this again.  I feel like life has been sucked out of me.

Tuesday, November 9 –

 My family and I just went through a very stressful weekend.  My Dad was in a car accident where he passed out while driving, veered off the road, hit a tree, a telephone pole, and another tree.  He was air lifted to a hospital that specializes in traumas.  I was at a friend’s wedding and ran out to make the three hour drive, praying the whole way that my Dad was going to make it through. Thankfully my Dad is doing good.  He is pretty banged up, but he is going to be okay.  Life really is a precious thing.  From the first moments and into adulthood.  Thank you, Lord, for keeping my Dad safe.

Thursday, November 17-

I had an OB visit today to listen for the heartbeat.  We were able to hear that beautiful, fast beating while also hearing our little one move around in there.  We are so blessed.  I also found out I have a little hernia above my belly button.  He said it may get worse as I continue to get bigger.  Let’s hope that is not the case.  And let’s also hope this sickness starts to subside as I hit 12-weeks tomorrow. I’m moving right along into my second trimester very soon!!

Sunday, November 20-

I’m ready to let everyone know I am pregnant.  We’ve told close friends and our family and asked them all to pray.  Now I am asking all of you to pray with me and my family for our new little bundle of joy that is due to arrive on June 1.  We are excited to be adding to our family and that means a lot of adjusting.  Adjusting physically – getting our home ready to accomodate another person –  and adjusting mentally.

And now that I’ve moved through the first trimester, I’m hoping to kick this “all day sickness” really soon.

Belly pictures to come….

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Belated Birthday Blog for Brayden

6th Birthday Cake

I’ve been catching heat for some time now for not writing a blog about Brayden’s 6th birthday. It was a month ago, and — as Brayden recently learned — he is now 6 and 1/12 years old. Billy Crystal once did a bit about his mother continually counting his age by month. So, in the words of Mr. Crystal’s mom, Brayden is now 73 months old.

If that seems like a lot, it is. Seventy-three months BEFORE Brayden was born, I was preparing to enter my junior year…of high school. So life change quite a bit in 6 and one-twelfth years.

Opening presents

Not only have I grown (mainly outward), but Brayden has grown from a tiny little baby that Shayla held in her palm for pictures shortly after he was born to a kid who Shayla now struggles to lift. When Shayla cleaned out her closets a few weeks ago, she found an old, orange Super Mario Brothers T-shirt she used to wear in college. Brayden wore it the next day like it was tailor-made for him.

We celebrated Brayden’s 6th a couple of times. The first was at the Circus birthday party, where family and close friends celebrated both kids’ August birthdays. But the second celebration was a first: a sleepover party.

Happy 6th Birthday, Brayden!

Brayden invited four friends (two neighbors, one buddy from his 1st grade class, and one preschool friend) to come over after school one Friday night and sleep over. Needless to say, Mommy and Daddy were a little nervous. Surely some kid was going to get scared, or sick, or injured and I’d have to make a 3 a.m. drive to Clarian North.

Thankfully, none of that happened. The kids ate hot dogs and mac and cheese — Brayden’s chosen birthday dinner for two years running — for dinner, ate cake, and spent a good amount of time playing Star Wars outside. Before long, we brought the kids inside with a bribe of popcorn and “Despicable Me”.

Playing Star Wars

The kids were in their sleeping bags by 8:30 or so watching the movie. We paused it about an hour in so they could brush their teeth, and then they finished out the movie.

Everyone was asleep by 10:30 p.m. (10:30!). I feel like we should put on a seminar about how to run a slumber party.

The kids left the next morning and Brayden was as happy as I can remember him being. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of sleepovers in my day, but I’ll always remember the first one, and the 72-month old who made it happen.

Brayden & his 1st sleepover friends.

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Of Bikes and Bravery

August 21, 2011

Have you ever had an attribute ascribed to you that you didn’t deserve? Something happened once so it got stuck?

Like my in-laws say that I’m scared of midgets. That’s completely untrue. Sure, one time while walking in the dungeonous basement of the Indiana Statehouse, I was startled by a midget. Sure, maybe I gasped, flinched, and turned to walk the other way. But it was only one time!

The same is true with riding a bicycle. I never learned to ride one as a kid. There are probably several reasons, not the least of which was that we lived in the country on a dangerous road. And we were so far away from any friends, we couldn’t bike to them if we wanted to. Plus, I didn’t really want to. But Shayla taught me how to ride a bike in college, so the “Jay can’t ride a bike” rumor is (now) completely untrue.  It just took me a really long time.

So when I tell you that it took Brayden a whole summer to learn to ride his bike without training wheels, you may think that’s a long time. But let’s keep it all in perspective.

Brayden, like me when I was a kid, is our more cautious child. He loves swimming, but gets nervous putting his head under water. He loves playing with his neighbors, but usually won’t go past the first limb when they climb trees. And when it came to riding his bicycle, he was a little scared. More than a few of our practice sessions ended in tears. Not because of a scraped knee or elbow, but because Brayden was too scared to get up and try again. He wanted to ride, but reallyreallyreally didn’t want to get hurt. Potty training was a piece of cake compared to bike riding.

On the day he actually rode for the first time, I was going to play nine holes with a friend. I told Brayden that if he rode his bike, he could come and play too. I didn’t think that carrot-and-stick would have much of an effect, but I was certain of it after he refused to even get on the bike once. Even after the fit ended and he gave it a go, he pushed his breaks while Mommy was helping him balance — a move that caused her to turn her ankle (Side note: I think I can say this now that we’re in “we’ll laugh about that someday” territory, but if you ever wonder why our kids overreact to minor injuries, watch Shayla stub her toe).

Mommy's injuries

But after a few more runs with me, as Shayla watched from the sidewalk, Brayden pedaled on his own about 30 feet before coming to a smooth stop in the grass. We cheered, and Shayla cried (I think from pride, not the ankle), and Brayden beamed.

And he's off!

I don’t think much of the success was related to our golf incentive. I think it was just a product of a lot of practice and confidence and trust built up slowly over the summer. Brayden learned that sometimes the scary things in life are completely worth doing.

Truthfully, we probably learned something about parenting as well. We ran the gamut of emotions and tried as many methods as you can think of. But whether it was golf or just a lot of practice, we learned that the most important thing is that patience pays off.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, The Little Couple is on.

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The Birthday Party

The party spread

A few weeks ago, we threw a bash to celebrate Lydia turning 2 and Brayden turning 6.  The nice thing about having your children in the same month is that you only have to throw one birthday party! 

But the challenge of having two different genders is the party theme.  We can’t do princesses because Brayden would organize a strike in the front yard and we can’t do a Star Wars theme or Lydia would probably cry her eyes out and think the world is ending.  So a gender neutral theme is necessary.  So this year we chose a carnival theme because who doesn’t love eating junk food and playing chintzy games? And that is exactly what we did.

Popcorn, Peanuts, Jones Soda and Candy Galore

We had all the staple foods you would find at a fair: hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos, cotton candy and popcorn.  We had plenty of sugar to go around.  I apologize to all the parents. I’m sure all the kids left on a sugar high. One of Jay’s cousins joked with me and asked, “Is the grand prize a shot of insulin?” 

I seriously put this party together at the last minute.  My work schedule had been super crazy in the weeks prior to the party so I had to plan, shop and decorate basically in a matter of two days. Good thing my parents and my sister came down a night early to help me with some of the preparations.  The only thing that I actually spent a bit of time on was my popcorn cupcakes.  My mom and sister are saints for helping me make those adorably cute little things the night before the party.

Popcorn Cupcakes

The only thing I asked Jay to take care of was the games.  And in true Jay fashion, he put it together in the hour before the party.  If I had the time, I would have taken care of all of that part too and spent a little more time on it.  But even though the Bozo buckets didn’t match and there were only like four rubber duckies to pull out of the water, the kids still had fun. Aunt Sarah, Uncle Scott and others helped us “man” the stations and the prize table and the kids just played away while I ran around taking pictures.

Lydia playing the carnival games.

Brayden with his cool face paint that Aunt Kelly did.

After the game playing we sang happy birthday and ate a bunch of cake.  And then we let the kids open their presents.  Everyone seemed to a have a good time and that’s the most important part.  Jay and I recently saw a show called Outrageous Kid Parties.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  It’s about mom’s who spend ridiculous amounts of money on these outlandish parties for their children. 

Singing Happy Birthday to Brayden!

Singing Happy Birthday to Lydia!

Jay always says I put way too much into the birthday parties for the kids, but I disagree.  I don’t even come close to the crazies in that show.  What they need to realize is that for kids to have a good time you don’t have to hire a band to write them an original song, take them to the spa and spend $2,500 on a cake that looks like a guitar.  Just grab a few tin cans, have a bunch of cheap junk food and invite your best friends and the kids will have the time of their lives.

Lydia opening presents

Brayden opening presents

Happy Birthday party Brayden & Lydia!

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The Tooth Fairy Flew

Brayden's first day of school - 1st Grade - 8.15.11

It has been an unusually busy summer. A summer we thought would be all relaxation.  And before we were even able to start, it all came to an end today as Brayden walked out the door headed to his first day of 1st grade. Of course I was “that mom” and busted out the camera, taking the traditional picture in the kitchen getting ready to head out the door.  I trailed behind Brayden, with Lydia in tow,  shooting pictures as he walked to the neighbors’ house.  Lydia insisted on getting her first day pictures taken too while wearing her backpack.

Lydia insisting on being in the "first day" photos.

 A lot of growing up has been happening in our home lately.  Lydia turned two, Brayden is going to school all day, and just a few short weeks ago Brayden lost his first tooth. It was a very exciting day.

Look at the hole in his mouth!

Brayden had been working on that tooth for quite sometime.  We wiggled and wiggled and wiggled some more until it was basically hanging by a thread.  When we are at Great Papaw’s house for a picnic with the family, Brayden was eating and said, “Mommy, my tooth is really loose now.”  So I grabbed a napkin and pulled at his tooth and it slipped right out. At first I don’t even think he realized that it was no longer in line with the others.  But when I showed it to him, he got super excited. 

Great Papaw and Brayden

 It was a special day losing his tooth at Great Papaw’s house with a bunch of the family there to see.  Later that evening when we were home and getting ready for bed, Brayden made all the preparations for the tooth fairy.  He put his tooth in a Ziploc® and carefully placed it under his pillow.  Then he got right in bed, because he was told the tooth fairy doesn’t come until you are asleep.

Placing his tooth under his pillow.

As a parent, Brayden losing his tooth was just as exciting as when I lost my first tooth.  It is neat to have all those same feelings of anticipation and excitement like a kid again, but this time being on the other end of things. 

The tradition in my family is that the tooth fairy delivers a silver dollar when you lose your first tooth.  So I felt it was neccessary to carry on that tradition.  But of course I wasn’t prepared and Brayden had to go and lose his tooth on a Saturday afternoon when the banks were already closed.  But don’t worry, the tooth fairy is smart.  The next morning Brayden awoke to a $5 bill and a note that read:


It’s been a very busy night!  Lots of kids lost their first tooth, and I ran out of silver dollars.  Take this extra dollar to the bank and they’ll give you a new silver dollar!


The Tooth Fairy

Excited about the tooth fairy coming.

He looks adorably cute with the small hole in his mouth.  A few other teeth are now loose and will be gone before we know it.  Hopefully this Christmas that famous song will ring true in our household.

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Liddybug is 2!

Lydia saying she is two while holding up four fingers.

I’m not sure how it has been two years since Lydia first graced us with her presence.  It feels like just yesterday I was swaddling her tight. Then I blinked, and now we are putting her to sleep in her “big girl” bed.

On Friday, Lydia officially became a big kid in our house. We don’t wait until 3 or 4 or 5 to officially declare our children “big” kids.  We start them early.  Lydia started taking responsibility for things a few months ago like walking up and down the stairs the correct way, taking time-outs and even going potty.

Getting her ears pierced.

And do you remember this debate?  Well, she did turn two, and Daddy made good on his promise. So Lydia got her ears pierced!  She was such a good girl.  I have always explained to my children what is going to happen in stressful/scary situations.  I think that is the best way for them to relax a little instead of springing things on them causing them to freak out.  I explain what is going to happen at the dentist and pediatrician. I even explain boring/uncomfortable situations to them.  “This is going to be a lot of waiting around and will probably take awhile, but I need you to behave and stay quiet and it will help us get out of here sooner.”  So ear piercing was nothing different.  I told Lydia that it is going to feel like a pinch when they pierce her ears.  I even demonstrated this to her and squeezed her ear lobes to show her what it would be like.  She knew she had to sit real still and so she did.  The aftermath was one little “ow” and about 10 seconds of crying.  As soon as she saw herself in the mirror the crying stopped and was quickly followed by her saying “pretty.”

Mommy & Lydia right after the ear piercing.

We made a whole day out of celebrating turning 2.  First we had her 2 year well visit at the doctor’s office.   At 27  pounds, Lydia is coming in at the 63rd percentile.  She is hitting 36% with a height of 33 1/4 inches.  And of course if you are a part of Daddy Jay’s family, your head is ginormous.  Lydia came in at the 86th percentile with a 49cm head circumference.

Grandma & Lydia at the zoo.

Baby Kaden's (and Aunt Kelly's) first zoo visit.

After that was over we took off for the zoo.  Daddy even made the visit with us. He took the day off work to celebrate with us.  Grandma  and Grandpa Foley and Aunt Kelly and baby Kaden made the trip with us too.  We had a great time!


After the zoo we hit up Chuck E. Cheese, where the other set of grandparents and Uncle Scott and Aunt Sarah joined the party.  After Chuck E. delivered the cake we sang happy birthday to our “big” girl.  She then was super excited to get to the games and ran straight for the pony ride as soon as we cut her loose. Lydia is completely and utterly girl.  She is the stereotypical Miss Priss.  She loves playing with babies and getting a bow in her hair.  She loves playing dress up and putting on pretend makeup.  I’m sure one day she is going to ask to have a real “hee haw” for Christmas. What’s that? You don’t know what a “hee haw” is? In Lydia’s world, “hee haw” means “horse”. I have no idea where she came up with that.

Lydia riding the "hee haw".

Her talking has become even more nonstop.  You can’t always understand her.  But for the most part, Brayden and I can translate pretty well.  At night when I put her to bed she insists on “girl talking”.  But her girl talking is extremely funny.  She gets about an inch from my face and whispers to me.  But she doesn’t say any real words while whispering. It’s all mumbo jumbo.  But she laughs because to her she has said the funniest thing ever mentioned before.

Lydia being silly with Uncle Scott & Aunt Sarah on her birthday.

The big girl bed transition has been a piece of cake.  We read a book as normal in the rocking chair.  Then of course she says “one mah tah“.  But recently, to daddy’s chagrin, it has become a more distinct “one mah time.”  So we move to the bed and read it once more.  Then it is “nigh nigh book”.  We girl talk, I pat her for a one minute and then I kiss her goodnight and close the door behind me.  She hasn’t gotten out of bed yet.  And she still sits by herself  in the morning looking at books before she is ready to get up.  The very first night, Jay and I were sitting downstairs and we heard a loud thunk upstairs.  So we both sprinted up to Lydia’s room.  She was on all fours next to her bed, but I think she was still asleep.  So I just picked her up and put her back in bed.  I then proceeded to put pillows next to her bed just in case she tumbled out again.  But other than that, it has been a smooth transition.

Getting into her big girl bed for the first time.

And the potty training…she is basically doing it herself.  Before she turned two she was already sometime telling us when she needed to go.  We just a few days ago started making it a point to take her more often.  I’m sure she will be trained before the month is over. It is completely true that kids will only start using the potty when they are ready.  And until then, it isn’t worth the fight.  The nice thing with Lydia (and maybe it is a second child thing) is I never had to fight her with it. I wouldn’t say I had to fight Brayden, but he wasn’t ready for it until just before he was two and a half. So with him I was pushing for it, with her she is pushing me with it.  I’m okay with that!

Hand in hand.

Lydia is copying everything Brayden does.  She sings and dances his Lollipop Guild song from The Wizard of Oz, plays with all his toys in the exact same manner that Brayden plays with them and is always following him around.  She insists on holding his hand more than mine when we are out and about.  She adores him and still calls him “Bray Bray”, even though she is completely capable of saying “Brayden”.

With the age of two came even more independence.  She wants to do everything on her own.  It is a struggle to get her to hold my hand when walking in a store.  It is a struggle to get her to let me help her brush her teeth or her hair.  It is a struggle to get her to let me help her up and down stairs. It is a struggle trying to help her into a chair.  She just wants to do all these things by herself.  “No, I do dat.”

Happy 2nd birthday, Liddybug!

But the one thing that isn’t a struggle with her is getting her to give me a hug and a kiss and hearing the words “I love you”.  She is the sweetest two-year-old. She is super loving and very polite.  She says please and thank you 99% of the time and even tells herself “welcome” after saying thank you. I live for the hugs and kisses.  And the girl talk.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Liddybug!  I love you!

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One More Time

Brayden & Lydia - May 2011

Post written by Daddy Jay –

I’ve never been able to pick out a favorite age for kids.

I know it’s not 0-3 months. Yeah, those little babies are cute and all, but you gotta bring something to the table. Giggle? Roll over? You’re waking me up at night and making me change fifty diapers a day. Give me something!

And it probably won’t be middle school. The 12-13 year age range is a lot like 0-3 months. Only change out “waking me up” to “arguing with everything I say” and “making me change your diapers” to “being obnoxious in public”. Other than that, it’s exactly the same.

So if you’d ask me at any point in the last six years what my favorite age is, I’d probably say “this one”. It’s true for Brayden because he’s turning from little boy into cool kid. But I want to focus for a second on Lydia, who turns two in a matter of weeks.

Almost-two Lydia is precious to the extreme. I can predict nearly everything she’ll say all day long, but I just love hearing it come out of her mouth. For example, when she wakes up in the morning, I know she’ll say “Eat.” I’ll put her in her chair and she’ll say “Buckle!” And then she’ll make sure I don’t forget anything by announcing what I need to get next and pointing to where it is in the kitchen: “Chee-yos!” “Dink!”

"One mah tah"

But the best thing that Lydia says is “One mah tah!” It’s what we grown ups pronounce as “One more time,” but Lydia’s version is superior in every way. From the pacing, to the lilt, to the wagging finger, it’s perfect. Sometimes she says it after putting together a puzzle or getting tossed up in the air, but I can always count on hearing it after her bedtime book. We can never read a book just once before bedtime. Change the diaper. Get the blanky. Pick a book. And read it twice.

I’m a pretty smart guy. I can remember the routine. But Lydia reminds me every night after the first read-through of the book du jour, “One mah tah!” It’s the best.

I’m a writer. A words guy. So I usually try to fix the kids’ grammar so they don’t fall into poor habits when they grow older. I correct pronunciation when I can (“Brayden, ‘then’ is different than ‘than'”). But in 50 years, when President Lydia is rehearsing her inauguration speech, and says she wants to read it through again, I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t come out “One mah tah!”

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