Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas!

 

Six weeks and Merry Christmas to our sweet Max! Hard to believe Christmas has come and gone and 2013 is almost done. Ever since having children (and the more children we have), the years fly by. 2013 has been a big year for us - job change, huge move and new baby...supposedly those items are in the top ten for the most stressful life events...truth in that! Max has been the best Christmas surprise we could have ever been given...stress and everything that comes along with it. He is such a sweet, little guy...a Christmas blessing!

 

So, what did week six bring for Max? Well, it brought Christmas! Honestly, Max slept the majority of the morning and early afternoon...and he only had one gift under the tree (not even from us)...so, he didn't miss out on much. No, I don't buy gifts for babies...just don't see the need. He was up for the evening and then had a really hard time going to sleep Christmas night (Merry Christmas to me!)...however, I will not complain because for the most part he is a good sleeper. I just wish I could get better sleep - I normally wake up in a panic thinking that he has stopped breathing...I am total crazy person! He got to meet Gramma Peggy and Papa Dan...very exciting...we LOVE having people come visit (hint hint to my three readers :)). He still has his most awake part of the day at night - doesn't really want to sleep, but he likes to be in the Moby...for the most part - sometimes he screams out like I am trying to cut his body in half. He still gets a bottle of formula every night - I believe this helps him sleep better at night...I would give him a tranquilizer if I thought it would help him sleep better at night...wait a second, where can I get my hands on some tranquilizers?!? Sometimes, the formula at night can backfire a little and it keeps him up a bit...but, still going to push the bottle at night. I wish he was going to bed at 7 - Sam was at this age and then we would wake him up for a dream feed...but not Max..he is most awake from 7 to 10...so much for my "me time"...we did decide to have four kids...my "me time" went away with my body! Max for the most part will remain fairly calm during this time...but he would like to eat A LOT...and no, thank you. Still no love affair with breast feeding...means to an end. Max still has a love affair with Mama - there is something about this early mother/baby bond that is so amazing...and completely draining all at the same time. I do happen to have the most amazing husband in the entire world (no joke...he cooked Christmas dinner all by himself)...so, Jake makes it easy for me to manage the insanity.




Max still doesn't get nearly as much tummy time as he needs...because he still takes FOREVER to eat!!! I think we both are to blame for the forever eating - praying it isn't like this forever because I would lose my mind! He is the gassiest baby ever, but the gas drops help and seems to be doing fine. The spitting up began this week - a couple puke sessions. He also gets the worst hiccups...like all the time...the joys of having a newborn.  Max still has a very weird breathing pattern where he gets into this frenzy...can't figure it out. He is smiling more, but doesn't seem very purposeful about it. He is total pacifier baby - I would be shocked if he drops the paci. He is definitely a Saylor - looks nothing like me...oh, well. He still looks so small to me and I get nervous he isn't getting enough to eat (yes, the eating thing makes me so crazy)...I know he is, but I still decided to start taking a supplement...Galactogil (it is French...not available in the US...no, that doesn't make me nervous...not one bit). Who knows if is works - it is grossly sweet and that is big for me to say since I love myself some candy. At least I don't smell like maple syrup (no more Fenugreek for me). And no, we still haven't moved Sam...Sam is sick...again (I didn't think it was humanly possible to get sick so many times!!!)...so, we are waiting...but it will happen real soon...real soon. The boys still are all over him - it is really sweet how much they love them. Honestly, all our boys are so sweet with each other - yes, they fight like wild dogs...but I know they love each other so much...only a matter of time before Max is running with them. Max is truly our Christmas blessing - a surprise Christmas gift...but those are the best kind!

 

Honestly, Max has made the transition to four monkeys fairly smooth...also, having extra hands around has made the transition smooth as well, but Max really is a sweet baby that LOVES his mommy. I love this little guy so much - I really feel like I am enjoying the newborn stage, but I am not feeling sad anymore...I feel done...family complete...and ready to move on. Nobody is missing - we are all here...now, it is just time to get my body back...wish I could just buy a new one!

 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Beautiful Chaos



Baby boy is five weeks and officially one month! Oh, my sweet baby. Love this little boy. It is hard to believe at times that we have four (FOUR) boys! That is a lot of boys! I am very thankful for each and every one of our boys...God placed Max into our lives because it was exactly what we needed. I have been a reading a book about wanting more (the "only if" scenarios) and placing yourself at the center of the universe versus seeking God's glory and placing Him at the center. So, as I have been doing things I am trying to say things I am thankful for rather than always thinking of myself and complaining...like being thankful for little hands when cleaning up messes, being thankful for full bellies when washing dishes or when the boys are destroying the house being thankful it is just a rental or when watching Homeland being thankful for pirated TV or when Max pees all over the bed in the night being thankful it is on Jake's side or when breastfeeding being thankful for plastic surgery (because no ladies can handle this much damage)...ok, just kidding...but I am really trying to focus on all the incredible blessings I have versus on what I don't have...it may be chaotic, but it is a beautiful chaos and Max adds perfectly to it all.


So, what did week five bring for Max? Well, it brought a big adjustment...Gramma Anne went home (ok, this was a bigger adjustment for me). My mom had been with us for two months...she had to go home. She was a HUGE help...she is missed. Not sure Max notices, but he feels it through me because Max and I are very tight. Max survived his first couple of days of me being solo (I should get a medal). I still think he has a growth spurt like every other day...and every night from seven until ten. That is definitely his AWAKE time...ugh. The difference with Max than our other boys is as long as you are holding him or feeding him, he seems fairly chill. The issue is feeding him for three plus hours is downright exhausting and evil...and just plain wrong...wrong! Breastfeeding has been going fine, but it is ugly - I am an ugly breast feeder...like pigs and hogs fighting all wild...just plain ugly. I am never comfortable doing it - formula companies should use me in ads - women would run from breastfeeding because it is so downright ugly. I normally will end this exhausting feeding marathon with a bottle. Thankfully, Max has no issue with a bottle and I give myself some grace - ain't nobody got time for that...for never ending breastfeeding sessions...too much to take care of, too many snacks to eat, too much smut TV to watch. Max has been sleeping well - this has nothing to do with me...all about God's grace. Honestly, he has had nine hour stretches at night...should I wake him? No freaking way and if my milk supply suffers because of it, then that is God's plan. And, the good news is - he has been sleeping on his own...but still in our room...Jake is still sleeping in the bunk beds. We still haven't moved Sam...it is complicated (not really, but I want it to sound really dramatic versus laziness). We'll move Sam...at some point. Sadly, even though Max is sleeping well, I normally don't sleep that great. Babies make a ridiculous amount of noise while sleeping and I can only sleep on my side for so long with a pillow over my head before I have to go back to my back to sleep...it is complicated (seriously). It will be good to get him in the crib...baby steps. We are still rocking the Woombie - this thing is amazing...no joke. 




I am also a total believer in the essential oils and use them all day on Max. Maybe I am crazy (well, for sure I am crazy), but the oils work...I swear. His brothers are still all over him - they love him and fight over who gets to sit next to him. Sam has been known to pull Max all over the ground when he is on his play mat...awesome. Judah lets me know that he can take care of Max and tries to pick him up...off the bed...that won't end well. Now that my mom is gone, Sam knows that when I am feeding Max he can get away with murder - that little boy is so mischievous - it is unreal. Max is getting more tummy time, but probably nowhere near the amount that is recommended...maybe he'll be a super late crawler...sounds fantastic to me. Our problem still is that he takes FOREVER to eat...seriously. So, by the time he is done eating - he needs to go back to sleep. I am not sure who is to blame for the lack of efficient eating - maybe it is me...who knows. I am just hoping it gets faster...like today...because these never ending breastfeeding sessions are gonna kill me! I swear Max is smiling at me - Jake doesn't buy it, but you know why he doesn't buy it...because he is jealous. Max loves me...big time. He just stares at me like I am the most important thing in his world...wait, I am the most important thing in his world. I have started to put away some of the newborn outfits - he can still wear the newborn outfits, but they are getting a little snug in the length. The problem is, he swims in the zero to three month outfits - he needs a tweener size. He still hates to have his diaper changed - he hates to be cold...I now understand why people buy wipe warmers...for reals. I still think he looks a lot like Hugh - Jake thinks so as well...he thinks Max has the Cro-magnon forehead like Hubey did (Hugh likes fine today with his big ol' forehead...hair can do wonders for a child). Only time will tell - maybe Max will be a good mix of Jake and me...we'll see. Overall, Max is doing great - he is sweet and so little...hard to believe how little he is! And, I survived my first few solo days of four kids...now for Christmas break with Jake being home...yay!


We are truly blessed...unbelievably blessed, and undeserving of these blessings. I pray my heart is to give thanks everyday and to laugh...laughing things off rather than freaking out is normally the best solution. I know the days won't be perfect (not by a long stretch), but I can choose my attitude...choose who I worship...self or God. Here is to beautiful chaos and Max's first Christmas!!!


(My computer died...I cannot be held responsible for the formatting issues.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Growth Spurts


Yay for Max - four weeks old! He'll be one month tomorrow...hard to believe it has been a month already! And since he'll be a month tomorrow...it means Gramma Anne is leaving very soon...this next week. She has been with us for almost two months...she has to leave at some point...but it is never easy to say goodbye to your mom, especially knowing this time it will be a long time before I see her again. (I get super emotional just thinking about it...it is my mom and my hormones are crazy right now!) She has been a tremendous help - words cannot describe how incredibly grateful I am...all of us are. I am not sure I would have made it these last two months without her...even with her broken arm and everything! My mom is also the only non-immediate family member that has met Max (Jake's parents come at Christmas), which also makes me a little sad...just a different experience this time around. I loved living near family for so long - definitely took it for granted. I look forward to the day when everyone can meet this sweet boy!


 So, what did week four bring for little Max? Well, it brought growth spurts...or at least I tell myself that due to the constant nursing. I swear he has a growth spurt every other day. Max continues to find lots of comfort in being at the breast...ugh. He just loves me so much (I need to enjoy this time - it is short lived...our boys are Daddy's boys). Sadly, I cannot and will not nurse him all day. He doesn't seem too down with sleeping during the day (sounds like a couple of his brothers...Judah was our only rock star napper). He is showing no signs of colic (praise God) - he does cry...but then again, he is a baby. He is fairly content, but he loves to be held...and is most content when being held...especially when being held and nursing. He has had some longer stretches of sleep at night (as in totally sleeping through the night...I call it a fluke, not reality)...BUT, he still sleeps with me and is really the only way he'll sleep (just talking myself into the downward spiral right now). I blame the c-section for this. It was too hard for me to move after my section, so he just stayed with me...and naturally, slept with me. Now a month in and still going strong...ugh. I know we need to work on this, but he also needs a room, which he still doesn't have...definitely moving Sam this weekend! I have also realized that Max can cry...and he'll be okay. He is not my first baby - I have lots of little boys that need to be cared for in this house...so, as much as I want to lay around with my sweet newborn and hold him all the time...it isn't a reality...not at all.


So, sometimes he needs to be put down and cry...while I fish Sam out of the toilet, or prevent World War 3 between Hugh and Judah, or make dinner for lots of hungry mouths. I hate to see Max cry, but it is a part of life...that only the first born is able to avoid! We are still rocking the Woombie for most naps and nights...sure wish I had bought another one. We tried out a little tummy time this week - he was fine...and his brothers were ALL over him. Oh.my.word...they LOVE their baby brother. He doesn't seem to love the car seat...luckily, he won't be going too many places. He had his first doctor appointment - he weighs 7lbs. 6oz. and I have no idea how long he is because something gets said in centimeters and I lose it...I'll make sure to pay attention at the two month appointment. He is scheduled for a hip ultrasound - I guess they do it for c-section babies, which surprised the doctor because she said it is normally only for breech babies, and we are fairly certain Max wasn't breech at birth. Our doctor said she sees no issues with his hips. He went to church for the first time - he did great (he'll be with us until forever at church since they don't start creche (nursery) until a year-old). I swear he is just itching to smile at me...he just stares at me and opens his mouth so wide...like a smile...or, like a shark trying to eat me. It is hard to figure out his wake time - he still nurses for WAY too long, so I then feel like he already had his wake time, but he also sleeps when nursing...ugh...got lots to work on with this boy! All in good time...this isn't my first rodeo, so I know routines, sleeping, and life after baby come...all in good time...sometimes, you just want that good time to come sooner rather than later. I would have thought by my fourth rodeo that I would have had this thing wired...but that is not the case...and that shouldn't surprise me...it is me...and I do tend to over complicate things...hmmm, something to work on for myself. So, we got some things to work on this week...letting Max cry, crib sleeping, falling asleep on his own, and the list goes on...am I up for the challenge?...no, not really.


So, how am I doing? Adjusting. (Adjusting to life...and to post baby body (yuck)...funny line from Hugh..."So, if Max is now out of your tummy...then why do you still have a baby in there?" (I would like to see him say that after he has four kids...just be quiet.)) Scared about my mom leaving me with all my kids...but realizing I'll survive (or, at least I hope I will). Trying to give myself some grace with the amount of TV and iPad time my kids are having...it won't be like this forever...and I just want to survive...not trying to win any medals. Trying to give myself grace over the amount of TV I watch...I catch up on a lot of American TV while nursing...thank goodness for pirated TV with Turkish subtitles (totally legal here by the way)...the website is actually down right now and to say I am devastated would be a bit of an understatement...just a bit...I need my smut! Honestly, I just want to stay in my house...I am not depressed (I know what it feels like to have the baby blues)...it just seems so much easier to be home and to stay warm. I know it won't be like this forever, but again just trying to survive. I'll be setting some VERY low expectations of myself over the next couple of months...just trying to survive (see the theme). So, here is to survival...and to Christmas!




Friday, December 6, 2013

Waiting...


Mr. Max is three weeks old! Hard to believe it has been three weeks, but it also seems like it has been forever - I think things always seem longer when you lose a ridiculous amount of sleep each week. He seems to be figuring out this crazy life with our family...I am sure he misses the womb like I miss my waistline, but life goes on and it isn't always perfect. I am still figuring out this crazy family (and I won't get a true taste of my new crazy reality until after Christmas when all my help is gone!).


So, what did week three bring for little Max? Well, he is growing - not a whole ton (he is now 7lbs. 2oz.), but we don't make fat babies...we keep all the fat for ourselves. I still feel like breast feeding is going well - I have zero desire to breast feed in public...because I am going to look like a crazy fool...all in good time. He is still a super slow eater and gets super sleepy (just eat and be done already!!!)...praying for some efficiency this next week. My ladies are surviving...but not fully recovered from all the trauma they have to endure. Sadly, I have this ridiculously painful letdown - it is horrible. This breast feeding gig does not come naturally to me (it is for the birds)...not for one second, sadly...not even the fourth time around...even sadder. I am waiting to see if Max will show some signs of colic this next week since now we have reached the third week...the dreaded colic week. He definitely has some gas pains, but the drops seem to be helping (honestly, I am sure some of my food choices are hurting him...but changing my diet seems like the most daunting thing in the world (yes, I am super dramatic) so, not going to happen at this moment). He definitely has his moments when he just wants to eat.all.the.time...it is draining...he is not my only baby. So, he gets a bottle at times to help with his frenzy and I don't worry about it. I am using all sorts of oils on this baby...assuming it is fine...the oils are heavily diluted with coconut oil (side note - coconut oil is amazing). Yes, I am a believer in the oils...why not? (We have been using oils so much that Sam goes and lays down every night in anticipation of the oils...too funny.)


Max has been sleeping decently - however, he prefers to securely fall asleep in your arms and then he can be put down...he likes to be held (he is no dummy). I like to hold him...just harder when you have a bunch of monkeys running around. Some nights have been rough - switching those days and nights and wanting to cluster feed all.night.long...those nights are hard...really hard...and weigh heavy on my sanity (and it makes me want to list him for sale on eBay...kidding...well, maybe not). Thankful (Jake is more thankful) we have two sets of bunk beds now since Jake is shacking up with the big boys...Max still shares a room with us since Sam still sleeps in Max's room...what a mess. We are hoping to move Sam this week. I am ready for Max to be in his own room...however, I am not sure it will be a successful move since he is use to sleeping with me. Yes, I know it isn't a good idea...but you know what, Max sleeps and I sleep...seems like a win win at this moment...ask me again when he is twelve and still sleeping with me. My gut tells me his evenings are going to be tough...just like his brothers...I know he'll grow out of it in time. He looks like Jake - so, one of out of four looking me isn't too bad.  I personally think Max is going to look a lot like Hugh with a darker complexion and brown eyes...time will tell (Hugh would love this - he REALLY wants someone else in the house to have brown eyes). His circ is healing - nothing has caused me quite the anxiety as this circ...ugh. I just want it to heal. He hates getting his diaper changed and getting his clothes changed still...pretty sure this isn't changing any time soon. I just realized that he hasn't had any tummy time yet - honestly, he never gets put down when he is awake. Our living space is not the greatest to put him down and then his brothers are so crazy (and his Gramma is so clumsy...did I mention she broke her arm last week?!?), that I am afraid someone will crush him. Probably need to start working on some tummy time. He sleeps in the rock and play sleeper most of the time (I am a believer in the rock and play sleeper this time around). He is not a fan of the swing...sad. He rocked the Moby wrap this week - and I didn't sweat like a pig at prom this time around...thankful for some cold weather...I am normally a hot, sweaty mess in that Moby wrap that I can barely handle it. He seems to be into the Soothie "paci" (not "nuky" like Sammy has - trying to make these two very separate in Sammy's mind). He still gets locked up in his Woombie to sleep - seems to be fine with it...and it is always fun explaining the Woombie to a Swiss person. He had his first real outing this week - ventured to the store with him...made me realized that shopping with four kids is never ever (ever, ever, ever, ever, ever...) going to happen. I guess I am not quite ready to embrace this crazy life (had a little taste of it this week when my mom was at a doctor appointment...crazy doesn't even begin to describe it). Life would be boring if it wasn't pure crazy all the time (at least that is what I tell myself...to keep my sanity!)!


I am tired...like really tired. Like the tired you feel in your bones...and you start slurring your speech (and I am not really drunk...maybe just a little drunk...kidding...remember, no sleep...I am tired and crazy).  I am pretty sure a nervous breakdown is just around the corner (Jake loves those since he is always on the receiving end). I keep reminding myself that this is just a season and a quick season...and my strength comes from the Lord...not my sleep (but sleep sure is nice and I would LOVE for it to return at some point)...and I really do want to enjoy this season. A couple things I have learned with my fourth baby...we don't bathe him and I have yet to bust out the DSLR camera at home...he is an Instagram baby (that is sad...I need to start taking some real pics). I am really (really, really) trying to take each day as it comes...one day at a time (AA words to live by) and not think about when my mom leaves or when Jake starts traveling again...just take one.day.at.a.time. So, here is to today...bring it.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Waking Up...


Well, they said it would happen...that these thirty-seven week babies wake up in the second week...and oh, boy...Max has definitely held true to that statement. He has woken up this second week...yep, he sure has...I kind of (no, I most definitely did) preferred the sleeping week...yes, I did. However, babies wake up...that is what they do...so, we are embracing week two with an awake baby.  And, we love our awake baby...just wish he would maybe go back to sleep just a bit more. In his first ten days of life, I had to wake him for every feeding - seriously, one night I let him sleep for almost seven hours (and yes, I did selfishly for me) and then I still had to wake him. We are not in that honeymoon phase any longer...no, we are not...we are in the wake zone now. He is still very sweet, even when he is awake...but he can definitely cry and is not afraid to make his demands known. No one ever said four kids would be easy.


So, what did week two bring for little Max? Well, besides waking up...it brought lots of comfort in breast feeding (shoot me). Let's be honest - I have no love affair with breast feeding - never have and probably never will. It is a means to an end for me. There is no romantics arounds breast feeding for me...no loving moments, sweet touch, etc...that stuff is for the birds (in my opinion). However, I do feel like it is going better for me than it ever has before - one of the main reasons, a (uh-hum)...nip cream that I have (I had it for Sam as well...but got it long after the damage was done on my ladies...this time around I was proactive...best decision ever). Honestly, this stuff is amazing - it is a prescription and I had my midwife in AZ write a script for me before I left. Every nursing mom should leave the hospital with this cream - no joke. Let's all be honest - Lansinoh sucks. Ok, enough on my crazy nip cream tangent (don't forget - I rarely get enough sleep each night). So, it is going fine...however, Max is EXTREMELY slow at nursing (oh.my.word) and he normally always falls asleep, which makes for efficient nursing so much more difficult. I am fairly certain, it will be the death of me. Also, Max can nurse for an hour and be dead asleep...BUT if anything touches his cheek, he wakes right up and starts rooting again. Ugh. I know he is gaining weight (midwives come to your house here for the first three weeks after the baby is born to do weight checks (check for jaundice, remove c-section staples, etc.)...love this - so much easier than getting ready and taking Max out to his doctor. However, I know the midwife would like to see more weight gain - hoping he packs on the grams (I am so Euro now) this week! So, I am hoping he starts to find some comfort in a pacifier and not my ladies all the time...working on it. I don't want anyone finding comfort in any part of my body - I know I don't! I think this could be a first for my boys that I haven't introduced the bottle in the first two weeks (I wrote this before my nightmare of a night on Wednesday...the bottle and formula have officially been introduced.). We all know that I am not anti-bottle, but I'll be honest - there is no love affair with Mr. Pump either (he would be devastated to hear this...but it is the truth). So, right now I am the lone cow...it is lonely job, but someone has to do it (sometimes, I wish that someone was Jake).  My favorite part of feeding Max is having all the other boys come in and watch (I am sure they'll need years of therapy)...but the best line is from Judah (as he watches Max eat), "You let Max eat your belly!?!" I laugh every time. And then, Judah proceeds to show me his other "belly" (his nips) and normally says, "Do you think Max wants to eat my belly too?" I wish, buddy - so funny. I'll be honest, my crazy is starting to come out this week - been a stressful week and I am certain Max has colic...or, it could have just been a REALLY bad night (like worst night ever as a mother)...or, something I ate that didn't agree with his tummy...who knows?!? What I do know, is that my crazy is starting to come out. Oh, joy. Jake is a lucky guy. Realizing my strength comes from the Lord, and His grace (and His grace alone) will sustain me...hard remembering that on those super hard nights.



So, Max had his big "C" this week - it is not easy to find a doctor in Switzerland who performs the big "C"...not easy at all. We know it is not something Europeans do and we understand that, but being that his brothers all succumbed to the big "C"...we did it with Max as well. If this was our first son, we would have said forget it. I was nervous about finding a good doctor here to do it since it is so uncommon. Luckily, I found another mom who had asked the question on one of the mom's forum (and she suffered all the persecution so I could avoid it) and she gave me a name of a doctor...a good gynecologist (what the...?!?)...yes, the big "C" was performed by a lady parts doctor...hmmm, just embrace it...chalk it up to the ex-pat experience. He has been doing the procedure for over twenty years and was pretty much our only option - we liked him (he is SUPER French with a handlebar mustache and everything), but the procedure here if definitely different than in the states. So, Max is still healing - should be good in the next week.


His brothers still absolutely adore him and fight over who gets to hold him - even Sam is super into Max (definitely have to keep an eye on Sam around Max...Sam is a little unpredictable).  I am so very thankful that his brothers love him so much. Besides eating (like ALL the time!!!) and trying to sleep, Max hasn't done much - we don't go anywhere and he hasn't had really much planned wake-time. Part of me is itching for that schedule (I read that Babywise mom blog) and then part of me realizes that I am so NOT a Babywise mom and this is my fourth and final baby...and I just need to relax! Oh, so much easier said than done for me.  We are putting Max in the Woombie (love the straight jacket!)...however, not sure it really helps him sleep. We busted out the swing as well - I am pulling at straws for a little peace...and sleep. (I also bust out the wine...helps me sleep...too bad it doesn't help Max sleep.) Max HATES having his diaper and clothes changed (he hasn't gotten the memo that this is life and to stop peeing all over himself). Max is sweet - despite his screaming and shark attack at me for food...he has had a hard week...we all have.

 

So, I really do (honestly) want to enjoy this time...it is my last time and these days are flying away from me already. Max is so little and cuddly...and so needy, and he needs me. Oh, how I need to be okay with being needed...by one more person...one more little boy. God has shown me my ugly heart over the last five years since I became a mom - I am selfish, self-centered, put my needs before others, self-sufficient to a fault...and the list goes on...I pray that God continues to break my heart over my sin and I realize that my calling right now is to be a mother...to needy little boys...who need a mom who loves them with all of her heart, who puts their needs in front of her own, who realizes that being a mom to lots of little boys is passing her by quickly and the time isn't coming back...I pray I can be that mother (it won't happen every second of the day...I am human, but I pray that I am mother more often than not). Thanking God for my house of boys...as crazy as it all is and as sleep deprived as I may be!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Welcome Sweet Baby, Max!

(This was a c-section, so pictures may be a bit graphic.)


Welcome Maxime "Max" Matisse Saylor to this crazy world! (Yep, we went all Frenchie this time around...and if he gets teased because of his name - it only builds character later on in life.) The jungle as we like to call it at our house! Seriously, it is a total jungle...with animals and all...and these animals are vicious at times. We know it is a matter of time before Max becomes an animal as well. Right now, he is just a sweet, little baby...so sweet, love myself a newborn baby! And, I am back to blogging (sadly, I still have so many posts from this summer and fall that I want to get done...luckily, I have an amazing memory so I won't forget anything and will eventually blog about it all...wait, what did I have for breakfast?!?)...blogging every week seems super overwhelming, but the thought of not doing the blog for my fourth baby puts me into this "mommy guilt" spiral that I am sure I would need years of therapy to get out of...so, back to weekly blogging I go. However, I give myself grace - and Max's birth story will be the week one post because we spent most of his first week in hospital anyway. Ok, baby boy...let's begin the story of your first year!

 

Obviously, this pregnancy was a big surprise...and it kept us on our toes the entire pregnancy. Honestly, I have easy pregnancies - I am normally sick as a dog for much longer than "normal"...sometimes even up through thirty-six weeks...oh joy. It was such a blessing this time around to barely get sick at all - it was actually amazing since we were in a very CRAZY season of life. We found out at nineteen weeks that I had a "low lying placenta" - seemed harmless enough. The next week my midwife said it was a full placenta previa - she explained it was an extremely low placenta and she was surprised I wasn't bleeding at all, but all was good - no issues. I would tell people I had been diagnosed with placenta previa and lots of people told them they had been as well - don't worry about it because it will move...actually, it does move the majority of the time...more than 90% of the time. I felt pretty good it would move and all would be normal...and I had no symptoms at all. Well, fast forward...and this placenta is super stubborn and isn't moving, and when it did move a little, the main vessels of the placenta moved to the cervix...so, not good. We made the final decision at thirty-six weeks that we would have a c-section at thirty-seven weeks. With placenta previa, you have to deliver early since going into labor can be life threatening for Mama and baby. I would go into each appointment thinking, "do I really have this?" since I had no issues - but every ultrasound would confirm it...yes, I had it. I felt this same way when Hugh had dysphasia - I would always think, "does he really have this?" (since he had no issues...except he didn't want to drink)...but every X-ray would confirm that yes, he did have it. I realized that God heard the prayers of many faithful saints who were praying for us constantly - so, we praise God that I had no bleeding and no bed rest. In hindsight, this was a very uneventful pregnancy - praise God!


As many of you know, I am more of a crunchy Mama when it comes to birthing my babies - I like to deliver my babies with no meds and not in hospitals. So, a c-section was so far from my vision of a perfect birth...however, what is most important to me is healthy baby, healthy mama. I knew a c-section was my only option, so I embraced it and surprisingly, did very little "Google" on it...which is SO unlike me. The good news about the c-section...we could close up the shop...the baby shop. I had only one tube to remove since I lost my other tube in an ectopic pregnancy years ago...so, it made for an easy decision. So, no - we won't be trying for the girl...God blessed us with four boys...this Mama's heart is full...of lots of boys. And honestly, after this pregnancy - we are done...no regrets (however, I can get emotional at times holding Max being reminded that he is my very last baby...ugh, my hormones are a total mess). We checked into the hospital on Thursday, November 14th for the c-section (I'll be honest - it was a little surreal knowing the day we would have this baby...remember I am a crunchy Mama...no inductions for me). We get to the L&D floor and find out it is "Bring Your Child to Work" day in Switzerland...hmmm. It is not like I am taking my car to be serviced - I am going to be exposed...like all my girly parts exposed and I am meeting a bunch of ten year-old boys who only speak French...hmmm. So, you just embrace it - chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience. We get checked in and we wait for our surgery time (which they have explained may get bumped if an emergency comes in).  I was a bit anxious during this waiting - just the fear of the unknown and the fear of the unknown in a foreign language. We are told it is time for my surgery and they wheel me back - Jake goes another way to get suited up for surgery as well (don't worry - he took a selfie so all can see him in scrubs...nice job on the selfie, Jake).

I am given my epidural which was a little odd - trying to figure out how to get my back in a rolled position with a big belly - not the easiest task. (For those of you wondering, most of the doctors speak great English...however, the anesthesiologists all seem a little on the young side and their English is the most lacking (in my opinion)...this is surprising since this is such a specialty in the US). I was very thankful for my nurse anesthetist - she was fantastic and helped me through the surgery. One of chief surgeons came in during the epidural to talk me through it since my anesthesiologist wasn't really comfortable speaking English. She was great as well and I was very thankful for her. (I know I need to learn the language here - but I have only been here for four months and have many young children...makes learning a language difficult. I am thankful that English is a language that unites the world and most professionals know it. I also have a lot more compassion for people who don't speak the language of the countries they are living in and have to have medical procedures done...it is scary.)


 Overall, the surgery went really well - I had more issues with the anesthesia than the surgery (passing out, severe body tremors, and dry heaving was not on my perfect birth plan). My doctor was great and made the decision to cut me low on the skin, but cut the uterus higher to lessen the risk of blood loss - it would be a bit of a guessing game, but was the best shot for a less bloody surgery. (You see, at almost every appointment and every one we spoke with - they reminded me that they had blood for me in case I needed it...that was so comforting to hear all the time...wait, not really.) I didn't feel anything in the surgery except a lot of tugging - and Jake got sucked into the train wreck (along with the ten year-old boy) and couldn't turn away...and he got some pictures so I got to see insides as well...just what I had always dreamed. Max was ripped out of me at 11:59am on Thursday, November 14th...weighing in at 2.83kg and 48cm (yes, we live in a metric world now)...so, for all you Americans - it is just shy of 6lbs 4oz and 19in.  - our littlest baby, but could have been our biggest boy if he had gone full term. Jake and Max left and they started to finish up my surgery - they came back briefly so I could see Max and they laid him on my face (hmmm...guessing that is a normal c-section thing)...then they left and I was alone...with my insides open where everyone around me was speaking French.


 

Again, another surreal experience - being awake during surgery, but not knowing the language of the people who are operating on you...chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience. The surgery went very well and my doctor didn't have to cut through the placenta, which was amazing since I had an anterior positioned placenta (the baby was behind the placenta...yep, another thing that isn't very common...lucky me) - his cut was perfect on the uterus...just millimeters above the placenta. I asked him (once I was recovering) if the c-section was actually needed (placenta previa can move in the last days of pregnancy)...I needed to know that this c-section wasn't in vain...he said I was back to a complete placenta previa (very rare...less than 1% of pregnancies are a complete placenta previa at birth...lucky, lucky me) and we made the right decision...shoot, the only decision (at times, I am very thankful for modern medicine - these ultrasounds saved my life and the life of Max - praising God for His mercy and grace).





After my surgery, I went to the ICU to recover (that is how they roll here)...and I didn't get to see Max for three plus hours (I am fairly certain in the states that you recover with your baby, but not here...that was a little sad...and incredibly lonely...however, they do bring you a picture of the baby and Daddy...not quite the same, but better than nothing). I can say with certainty that I have no regrets never getting an epidural (honestly, I am not sure if I had an epidural or a spinal block) with my first three babies (and I am not starting a birthing battle - each to their own...epidural, no epidural...who cares).
 


I, personally, hated not being able to feel my legs (like no feeling whatsoever) - what a freaky experience...and I had the moment of "what if they jacked up the epidural and I am paralyzed forever"...yes, totally irrational...but totally freaked me out. After three plus hours, I got feeling back into my legs and could go back to Jake and Max (so, no worries - I am not paralyzed). And that my friends, is the birth story for Max...so different than my previous three births, but God's perfect story for this sweet boy.



Obviously, my recovery is very different this time around - I stayed in the hospital for four days (the Swiss don't boot out the mothers - I could have stayed ten days (shoot me) and regular births can stay up to five days) and I have a fair amount of pain. The care was great - like the rest of the world (excluding the US)...the L&D floor is run by midwives (OBs perform surgery and are not part of normal deliveries).  They spoke the best English they could - their English was much better than my French. Husbands don't stay in the hospital normally, so Jake didn't stay with me - that was a first for us and that was sad.  I felt bad for Jake and he felt the need to be in so many places at once. 



Pretty much everyone we met was horrified by the thought of four boys age five and under...this didn't surprise us (once I actually post about life in Switzerland, you'll understand that this is EVERYONE'S response to four boys age five and under). The food was much better than the states - you don't have as many options, but the food doesn't taste like it was mass produced. However, the food is Swiss...so, one night (before I picked my meals), they brought out a huge white sausage (very common Swiss meal)...make me barf...I still shudder at the thought of it. I was thankful to have a private room - that is not a given here (normally it happens, but not a guarantee)...but the thought of having to share a room after a c-section with someone who didn't speak English would have put me over the edge. The nurses were SUPER intense about making sure Max stayed warm - like dressing him in a onesie, a sweater, a thick sleeper, and then a quilted sleep sack.  I would start sweating just looking at him.  They were much cleaner than in the US with people coming in constantly to clean the room and bathroom...and they forced me to take showers. I am sure I took more showers at the hospital than I did for the prior two weeks at home (no joke). Overall, the hospital experience was fine...obviously, it was very different, but good different...chalk it up to the "ex-pat" experience...and Jake thoroughly enjoyed all the boobie pictures over every inch of the halls (they really push breast feeding here and one way is by adorning the walls with pictures of breast feeding mamas).


I miss being able to just feel like myself (as much as you can after you have a new baby and get no sleep)...I hate being totally useless in my own house. My mom is a saint for being here to help - she will have spent a quarter of 2013 in Switzerland once she leaves. I am sure she won't be back for a LONG time. I am hopeful I'll start to feel better soon. Max is a sweet baby - I don't think he has really woken up yet though and I am not fooling myself thinking this is his temperament quite yet. And my breast feeding woes...maybe this will be a child that I don't have any and I don't whine about it (blah, blah, blah)...we'll see. So far, so good (except for all the common boobie issues that come along with feeding a shark)...except he is a super lazy eater and just likes to sleep. So, we tend to sit for a bit of time feeding. He is super cute and I love him to pieces - we cannot get enough of him and neither can his brothers...lots of love for little Max. He seems to be adjusting well to the chaos - the constant screaming and touching from his brothers (if I was him, I would already be plotting ways in my head to torture my brothers at a later date...his big brothers have not quite realized how incredibly annoying it is to be constantly touched while trying to sleep - of course he is going to open his eyes when you touch him eight thousand times!!!). Jake is having to really adjust this time around. Normally, Jake would be sleeping in the guest room since I keep baby in the room with me (let's be honest...in the bed with me)...but that would mean he would be sleeping with my mom and that would be super weird. So, he is adjusting to sleeping with all the little baby noises. And, I have never woken Jake up in the night to help me (Jake definitely gets up with our boys...but not newborn boys...I never saw the point in it since he couldn't really help (he doesn't breast feed...at least not that I am aware of) and I saw no point in having two exhausted parents...Jake pays his dues once the boys get older and oh, boy does he pay his dues)...so, this time around I am waking up Jake - I need the help since I am still in pain. He is great about it - and if anyone loves their sleep, it is Jake. And, Max cannot get moved to his room...Sammy still sleeps in there. So, we are closing our baby chapter by spicing it up all over the place. And, why not? We did move halfway across the world...right?!?  We aren't doing much since I can't do much, but Max did already have his first shower...we aren't worrying about the umbilical cord thingy falling off this time first...the Swiss are more laid back...here is to being laid back (Jake, did you read that?).



So, here is to my last little baby...my very last little baby (no tears...no tears). I want to enjoy it all...the sleepless nights, the breast feeding woes, the stretch marks, the nasty scar, the crazy hormones, the relentless sweating, the weight to lose, eating like a teenage boy, the needy cries, the sweet cuddles, the tiny fingers and toes, the sweet little nose, the kissable lips, the sleep smiles...and the list goes on. I know in my moments of weakness that I won't enjoy every moment...especially all my body issues, but I pray that I do cherish this sweet boy because children truly are a blessing from the Lord. Here is to fifty-two weeks my sweet boy...the crazy, the chaos...the life you'll come to know! Bring it!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Trip

(This post is mostly words...with a super fun video at the end...feel free to skip the words, but don't miss the video.)

I knew from the get go that I would be traveling with three young children overseas by myself...this was not a secret. I knew that I would have months to agonize and stress over this trip...I know, so godly of me. Before Jake and I visited Switzerland for our house hunting trip (and before I knew I was pregnant), I thought to myself - I am kind of amazing and could handle this trip with my boys on my own (this would also guarantee me some type of awesome "I am going to hold this over your head" gift from Jake...because let's be real - traveling overseas (sixteen hours of travel and plane change...and customs) with three young boys (four and under) solo should get you something...I would pretty much be a martyr). Well, then I found out I was pregnant and I started doubting my awesomeness. And then Jake and I did the trip and we did customs after being awake for twenty-four hours straight...and reality set in, I would not be able to do this by myself...customs with three young boys would kill me...actually kill me. So, I did what any self-respecting daughter would do and guilted my mother into making the trip with us. Luckily, she loves me and had never been to Switzerland...so, win for all (at least in my book). My sanity started to return knowing that I would not have to make this trip on my own (however, I am fairly certain that if my mom wasn't able to go...Jake would have come back and made the trip...because he knows I would have made his life miserable reminding him constantly of my martyrdom).



Obviously, this was a BIG trip. Flying anywhere with young kids is a big deal, but international and long flights makes it an even bigger deal. I decided early on (and since I was the one traveling with the boys, I got to make the decisions) that I would buy another iPad for this trip. I am sure some people thought it was quite ridiculous to purchase another iPad for a flight and especially for a child. All I can say is, probably one of the best decisions I have ever made as a parent...hands down. Two boys fighting over an iPad...ain't nobody got time for that. I also bought LeapPads, movies and annoying baby shows with the music that makes you want to pull your hair out, every snack you can think of, candy galore, all sorts of small toys...and a tranquilizer gun (just kidding on that one, but if I could have, I would have).  I was ready for this flight (but no, I didn't put those cutsie little bags together letting everyone around me know that it was Sam's first flight (you know the bags...all over Pinterest)...I have a life and ain't nobody got time for that...and trust me, some Hershey kisses and ear plugs isn't going to get anyone to like a screaming kid for six hours...trust me).  In all of this preparation, the one thing I forgot was that my mom and I each only have two arms...and two of those four arms belonged to me...the pregnant girl (and I found out before leaving that I had placenta previa and needed to not put too much stress on my body...ha). We also had a double stroller to push and a car seat (you know the HUGE Britax ones) to carry on the plane as well.  Oh, and did I mention my mom was recovering from a surgery that she had on her wrist?!? Ugh. We were a total circus. Ok, back to the trip. We had lots of family see us off at the airport the morning we left - it was very sweet and I was a hot mess. Overall, I know God is leading us on this adventure and there is no other place I would rather be than with my husband and boys...but it doesn't change the fact that it is emotional and hard to leave "home" and "family". We asked United if my dad could come back and help us get through security...seeing that I was pregnant and my mom was wearing a brace...and we were a total circus. And United said, "No." United holds a special place in my heart after our whole experience with them...I'll leave it at that. So, we make our way through security and we get through fairly unscathed (I have to remind myself that we are only ten minutes into the trip). We find the elevator and make way to our gate...so, we get on the elevator and the door has a hard time closing...we don't see any issues, so we force the door to close.  And then, whoosh (think of a very dramatic sound)...I get pulled to the ground...that ridiculously long seatbelt strap (by the way, what is the point of that strap?!?) was caught in the elevator door. Yes, the elevator door was smarter than us. This will forever be etched in my head - it was scary...no joke. The boys were all freaked out and scared. It was the perfect way to start our trip...and no worries, the strap survived. So, we head to the gate (a little shaky...but all alive) - and we find out that United does not allow children to board early...shoot me now...but they'll let my mom board early because she is really old (kidding...because she is wearing a wrist brace)...and reluctantly, they let us all board early...thank goodness for my mom's wrist brace. I am fairly certain I would have burst into tears if we couldn't board early. I am not a person who likes to board early, but we had so much gear. So, we board...it is super awesome to board a plane with three small boys, an enormous car seat, ten bags, and breaking down a double stroller. Do you know how wide the aisles on an airplane are? If we had not boarded early, we would have taken out every last person sitting on the aisle on the way back to our seats (and we were sitting in the back of that big bus)...seriously. Honestly, the hardest part of our flights was boarding them. Sam was by far the biggest wild card of the trip - overall, he did really well...he didn't sleep much (even with the dose of Tylenol codeine (yep, no shame here)...but I bet he was feeling good). He had his moments of crying, but they were few and far between (nothing like his brother, Judah, on the infamous flights to and from Alaska)...just glad he had his own seat and was strapped into a car seat. Before the trip, Jake had said to me, "Of course, you'll take Sam out during the flight to give him a break from his seat." It was one of those smile and nod moments for me...knowing full well I would NOT be letting that monkey free at any moment on that flight...that is what the layover was for...I made a good call...a really good call. We were delayed on our connecting flight about an hour, which was a total bummer...because we were waiting in line to board (again, we had the issue with United about boarding early, but I won...sometimes, you gotta go all crazy and win). But, once we boarded and we were settled - all was fine. Judah fell asleep almost immediately and slept two plus hours...of our sixteen hour flight, this was the most that was slept by anyone. A few highlights from this flight: hearing Judah scream from the bathroom when my mom took the big boys (I assumed it was a disobedience issue, but he was just deathly afraid of the toilet flushing), having the worst arm cramp of my life after holding Sam's feet down for ten hours (I cannot control crying, but I can control my kid kicking the seat in front of him), the car seat getting stuck on the plane (that one sent me into a bit of panic - after no sleep for twenty-four hours, I just wanted to get off that plane...they were finally able to get seat off, but it was a nightmare)...overall, the flight went as well as it could have gone. And, for the next five years - I will always get to pick which two kids I want to manage on any flight we go on...and I will be booking my seats with those said two kids in a different location than Jake...fair is fair. And for my mom, she gets a medal.

Once we got to Switzerland, we assumed smooth sailing...except we needed to go downstairs for Customs...seems simple enough because of course it is 2013 and we are in a first world country...so, of course Switzerland would have an elevator...but we were wrong, so very wrong. We had stairs or an escalator....hmmm. We also had a double stroller with two tired children strapped in it, a whiney four-year-old, a massive car seat, and like twelve carry-on bags...ugh. So, I say to my mom, "You get Hugh, the car seat, and some of the bags and I'll get the double stroller and the other bags." And off to the escalator I went. In hindsight, there is always a better plan...but hindsight is only called hindsight for a reason...it is "hind", not "fore". So, I get on the escalator with the double stroller (with Sam and Judah strapped in - thank God) and some of the bags and we go down...and I come within a second of losing my grip on that double stroller and letting it fly down and take out six women in front of us. By God's sweet grace, I was able to bear down and grab ahold of that stroller. That experience was definitely the cherry on top of this trip (thankful I had the double stroller, I am fairly certain my mom would have lost the grip with her wrist...once again, God's grace). Customs was long, but we all made it through - some miscommunication, but with no really issues. And, off to baggage we went...the last step before we could see Jake (yes, in Geneva, you have to get through baggage before you can meet your peeps...shoot me...pretty sure the Geneva airport was thinking of how many ways they could torture me without killing me). We walk into baggage and praise the Lord, we see Jake...best surprise ever (at this point my cell phone was dead and my mom's cell phone didn't work at all...so, I had no idea where Jake was or where we would even meet him so seeing him was awesome). The boys were honestly more dazed and confused than excited, but once they realized it was Daddy and not just Daddy on iPad, they got excited. Our luggage was already there - thankful! So, we could just be on our way...oh shoot...there was no way we were fitting six people and all our luggage in our van...not.a.chance. So, after spending thirty minutes really trying to make it work...I put my tail in a taxi and left my kids...peace out...I deserved this break! The $250 taxi ride to the hotel was only forty minute sans kids...so, it didn't really count. I had told Jake for two weeks prior that once we got to Switzerland, I would be checked out...all done. I would want to sleep and I didn't want to see or hear my kids for at least three to four hours. This was no joke...I was dead serious. Call me a horrible mother, call me whatever - I called myself smart. I think Jake thought I was joking...but once we got to Switzerland, he knew I meant business...serious biznass. So, my mom and I went to sleep and Jake took his spawn...and I slept...glorious sleep. And, we began life in Switzerland...I officially became an "ex-pat"...here is to a new adventure!



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Summer, summer, summer, summer time...summer time.

(Of course, I had the best intentions to blog every week...but you know what they say about best intentions.  And not to make excuses, but Jake was out of town off and on again for almost two weeks; I had sick boys; Jake and I were sick for like two weeks...no joke; I am pregnant (like enormous pregnant);...and I found a way to American TV online...with Turkish subtitles...so, my time has been wisely spent in lieu of blogging.  But back to blogging now...in the past.)

We knew that Jake would be leaving before us to move to Switzerland...and most likely two months before us.  As a mother of three young boys and being pregnant with a fourth baby, hearing your husband is going to be out of town for two months puts you into a dark place...like a place where you start shaking and dreading every minute of those two months.  You see, Jake is a HUGE help...he is not a dad that ever checks out...ever.  He is on the second he walks through the door at night and he is on every weekend, so the thought of managing every day, every meal, every bath time, every bed time...by myself was horrifying.  So, I knew we would need to have some fun over the summer...honestly, I had a moment where I thought I would register the two older boys in almost daycare like setting for half days...yes, I was ready to do that, but Judah was too young...so, back to Mama they came.  Luckily, we have some wonderful friends - we had some friends invite the boys and I to their cabin in Heber in June.  My first solo road trip with my monkeys.  It would be two moms and six boys five and under...yes, we are crazy.  So, we start our road trip...Sam hates being in the car for more than thirty seconds...so, let's just say I knew it would be an amazing car trip.  So, naturally Sam starts crying in the first minute of the trip...and we are all just going to manage...buck up.  I have lots of random things to hand back to Sam to let him play with and most of the items kept him fairly entertained.  We eventually got to point where nothing was keeping him entertained...and...I handed him a tampon to play with...yes, I did.  It was either a tampon or a knife...an item to hold blood or an item to cause blood...pretty sure I made the right choice.  Desperate times call for desperate measures and I don't believe he will be scarred for life by my choices...and it kept him happy.  About twenty minutes outside of Heber, Hugh throws up in the car...he has never gotten car sick.  Of course, he would get car sick while I am single parenting and on a road trip.  It was nasty...but we powered through it all.  And, I should mention that Hugh was completely able to not get a drop of puke on himself...just all over the car...truly gifted that child.  We all made it in one piece.  And, we had such a great time (except for when Judah destroyed the blinds in the guest room...oh, the damage a child can do so quickly).  I felt bad for Ms. Heidi since Hugh was always badgering her to take him for nature walks...that is what you get Ms. Heidi for offering...that one time :).  The boys all had a blast playing together and Sam slept like a champ (obviously, vacations are rated by how well my children sleep).  We are so thankful for wonderful friends who can put up with our crazy.  I wish I would have taken some pics of all our sweet boys playing together...but I didn't.  Clearly, I was not all over Instagram this summer like I am now.



Our next road trip was for Fourth of July to Flagstaff to stay with Jake's brother and his wife...and only one pic from this trip...clearly, I was not all over Instagram this summer like I am now.  I prepared myself in advance knowing the drive was going to be painful...but that we would all survive.  Sam was Sam once again on the drive, but at least Hugh didn't throw up.  So, I would consider it a win all around.  The boys LOVE going to Uncle Jared and Aunt Julie's house so they were super excited about this trip.  It was so nice escaping the Phoenix heat (I don't know if it is because I am pregnant or I am getting older, but the heat this summer was brutal...seriously, miserable.) and going to Flag...it was cool and rainy...so nice.  We were able to enjoy the fire station, play outside, and go to the park...and not die of heat.  We knew this would be the last time we would visit Flag before we left for Switzerland (and honestly, we don't know when we'll be back), so it was great to have the time with Jake's family.



Our third road trip came at the end of July.  Melissa and Troy invited us to Melissa's family's cabin in Pinetop.  Again, I knew the road trip would be brutal with Sam, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  It is funny because our kids are so different in the car - at Sam's age, Judah would fall asleep within three minutes for every car ride...he still can easily fall asleep.  Sam will eventually fall asleep, but it takes a LONG time...and sometimes, it doesn't happen at all.  Anyway, on our way to Pinetop we go.  My nephew, TJ, rode with us so Sam at least had a seatmate...poor TJ.  However, Sam didn't cry as much with his seatmate friend and I am fairly certain TJ had enough of the throw and pick-up the pacifier game...for the rest of his life.  I should note that I followed my brother on this drive...my brother has a few things to learn about people following him...like you don't wait until the last minute to pass people when you have two people following you...just throwing that tid bit out there.  Moving on.



We had a BLAST at the cabin.  It was pretty much the best trip in the world for my boys to stay with their cousins...they loved every minute of it...and Sam slept like a champ.  It was super rainy, but the boys had so much fun exploring the lake, hiking, fishing (My brother is quite the trooper taking lots of kids fishing...and I am quite the trooper for driving super far to get to this fishing location...without any proper rain gear.), playing games, getting dirty, and just being with their cousins.  Such a fun trip with great food (thank you to Troy and Melissa for cooking amazing food...all.the.time...I love it when other people are willing to cook for me...and even better when the food is awesome).  We were so thankful to be able to spend this time with my family before our big move...even if I had to be forced to watch The Bachelor (I won't hold that against my family.).  Sadly, the trip ended on a bad note with Eli when he had a nail go through his foot.  I couldn't even look at it.  He was one tough kid and this time, on the ride home, he got to be Sam's seatmate...and then, Eli threw-up in my car...seriously, what is it about kids throwing up in my car?!?  Enough already!  However, puke and all...the trip was great and one that we will remember for a long time!

 

So, that was the end of our summer road trips.  I really thought about taking a road trip to California with the boys...and then, my sanity returned and I realized I am crazy, but I am not totally crazy.  So, I didn't do California. I'm fairly certain that road trip would have put me over the edge.  I know it would have been a blast, but my sanity won out.  Overall, the trips this summer were great...puke and all.  The boys and I enjoyed everyone's hospitality so much...we are very thankful for wonderful family and friends.  We are going to miss being able to do all of those fun trips now that we live a million miles away, but we are so thankful for the memories!          

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Total Chaos.

(And still in the past.  And, this post has no pictures...so, if you like pictures - come back another time.)

So, we found out in early March that we were officially moving to Switzerland.  So, naturally I went into crazy purge mode - finally my opportunity to get my husband to go through his twelve bins of photos (half of which are pictures of scenery...I mean, really...like eight hundred photos of scenery...I love my husband and all his crazy pictures).  And, our neighborhood was having a big garage sale...perfect.  So, I was ready to ditch everything - I told Jake that I didn't want to bring anything that wasn't going to make it out of the box.  We (I) decided it was time to ditch our baby gear - we were three babies deep and although we hadn't ruled out a fourth baby, we knew the timing to have another baby during this major life changing move wouldn't be the best time.  So, we ditched the majority of our baby gear...even my beloved "brest friend". As someone was looking at our stroller, Jake says to me, "Doesn't this make you sad?  Selling all of our baby stuff?"  And my answer, "Not one bit."  So, there went our baby gear.  A couple of weeks later, my cousin had a baby (sweet baby Luke...love him) - and at Easter I got to love him lots.  There is nothing sweeter than a newborn baby all cuddled up on your chest...love it.  So, Jake says to me, "Doesn't this make you want to have another baby?" And my response (as I am enjoying my third glass of sangria), "Not one bit."  I was feeling really good about where God had us - our three boys (shoot, I still had a baby - Sam just turned one in March), a huge move, and just figuring out life...and I was known to say (when asked about having a fourth) that, "I would rather die than be pregnant right now."  So, the night after Easter I turn to Jake and say, "Do you remember when my last period was?"  And his answer, "No."...hmmmm.  (Well, honestly...I wasn't worried...there was NO way I was pregnant.  You see, a few months earlier I had decided that once I was done nursing, I would manage my own fertility and not go on birth control.  When I told my sister-in-law this amazing plan, her response (while laughing), "You are never going to be able to do it.  Call me when you are pregnant."  Whatever - I was totally going to be able to do this.  If anyone could manage her own fertility, it was me.)  So, Tuesday morning after Easter while I am cleaning I remember that I have some pregnancy tests and I am going to take one to just give myself some peace of mind (while knowing I was totally not pregnant).  Well, that "T" line showed up immediately...I was indeed pregnant.  This girl, who was managing (or mismanaging) her own fertility was pregnant...two months after finishing nursing...after we had decided to do a more permanent form of birth control (however, we both knew I could totally manage my own fertility)...this girl was pregnant...and moving halfway across the world...with no support network...that girl was pregnant.  So, yes, when I found out, I fell to the ground and started crying.  I couldn't believe I was pregnant - honestly, there has never been anything more shocking in my life...no joke.  So, after I have a few minutes to stop shaking - I text Jake - "Call me." and he replies with - "I am in a meeting." and I send back another text - "Well, I still need you to call me."...and then the black hole.  So, I give him five minutes and I send another text - "Like get out of your meeting and call me right this second."  And, then he calls...finally. So, I tell him I am pregnant...enter shock, but he also responds with, "Well, we said we always wanted four kids."  Ok, not helping...not one little bit.  (Ok, side note - I asked Jake what did he think I wanted with my texts since he wasn't calling me - he says, "I thought something was wrong with one of the boys."  Ok, good to know - hard pressed to get Jake to call.  I guess at least he trusts me...hmmm.)  So, I then call my mom - again, total shock.  And then I call my sister-in-law...who doesn't stop laughing for the first ten minutes of the call.  So, here we are...having baby number four.  And, we know God's timing is perfect...and we know He has a sense of humor!  And, we will welcome total chaos come November...let's be honest, we are already in total chaos.

And fast forward a little bit in this story...we are having baby BOY number four!  Yes, we are meant for ALL BOYS.  We were very thankful that this pregnancy started off very easy - I was sick, but not nearly as sick as I was with the first three (and especially Sam...the thought of being sick until thirty-six weeks while doing this move and single parenting it for the summer was enough to sink this girl).  We found out at nineteen weeks that I had a complete placenta previa (which just means that my placenta covers the cervix).  Of course I Googled it (love me some Google) and had a bit of panic - not so much with needing a c-section, but the thought of bed rest...half way across the world...away from ALL of our family and friends...hmmm...that was going to be interesting.  However, I read that 95% of the time the placenta moves and isn't a big deal at all - awesome.  I had lots of people tell me that were diagnosed with placenta previa and by twenty-four weeks, the placenta had moved.  Great news.  Due to the move and insurance issues, we decided to wait for another ultrasound until after I moved.  Thankfully, we found an English speaking OB and had an ultrasound three weeks ago.  Well, sadly to say - no movement...still a complete placenta previa...sad.  And, I might have cried when he told us - it just all feels so overwhelming.  Thankfully, they are way more chill here and don't do mandatory bed rest (the States pretty much require it if you have a complete placenta previa) - they wait to see if you have any bleeding, which thankfully I haven't had any.  So, we'll do another ultrasound at this week - we are very hopeful the placenta will move.  We really aren't too worried about it all - this condition is rare to actually have at delivery, so we just wait and trust in God.  I would be lying if I said the whole bed rest thing doesn't weigh in the back of my mind, but we know God is in control and His plans are better than our plans.  And, as of right now - I am not on any type of limited activity - we didn't ask and my OB didn't offer - ignorance is bliss at times. 

So, here is to preparing for total chaos come November!  (And no, this baby will not be Swiss - this baby will be all American.  And yes, he can still run for President one day...even though he won't be born in the States...in case anyone was wondering.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

And, We Have a Graduate!

(Yes, we are still in look back mode...going to be here for a bit.  And, not quite sticking to my once a week posting...baby steps...baby steps.  When you don't blog for many months, there is a lot to catch up on - and just because you don't blog, doesn't mean life doesn't happen.  So, back to the past we go...)

Yep, back in May, we had our first graduation celebration (hopefully, the first of many - because if preschool is the only one we have, it would be a little sad...and now that we are in Switzerland, we can't even bank on kindergarten graduation (they don't do those here, which to be honest I am okay with that as I think these preschool and kindergarten graduations are a bit silly...Hugh happens to love them since we give him gifts))...Hugh graduated preschool!  Originally, we weren't going to have him graduate since by US standards, he is not officially a kindergartener, but by Swiss standards he is...so, we graduated that little boy to bigger and better things!


Honestly, he enjoyed preschool...well, as much as Hugh can enjoy anything that I make him do.  He did make some friends...three...the trouble maker, the mean girl, and the kid who didn't speak English...for those of you who know Hugh, you can totally see this and you just have to laugh.  You know, I am glad he found some peeps...glad the first two won't be friends for life, but how much trouble can preschoolers really get into?!?  According to Hugh, a lot - his trouble maker friend was quite a trouble maker.  Our son is a total creature of habit and LOVES routine, so every Tuesday and Thursday when I would pick him up - he would be sitting in the EXACT same spot - at the snack table and on the rug.  It didn't matter if his friends sat elsewhere - he would be in the EXACT same spot.  I asked him, "Why don't you sit with your friends?" and his reply, "Because I have to sit in my same spot every time."  Of course you do sweet boy.  Oh, my sweet boy.  We didn't expect preschool to teach him much, but it did help with his writing.  He scored a 100% on his exit exam...go Hugh.  He enjoyed doing all the crafts because we all know I am the mom who buys all the items for all those fun crafts and then you hear me say, "Ain't nobody got time for that."  And honestly, I do have time for it...just so dang lazy (and hate cleaning up messes...I feel like I am constantly cleaning up messes)...sigh.


We are thankful he had this experience - we were never planning on preschool for our boys, but the Tempe program was cheap and in hindsight, we were so thankful we did it since now he is in school and the preschool program gave him a little taste of school.  Congrats, graduate!  We love you so much and thank God for you everyday!