Friday, August 29, 2008

Cool Dudes!

Love it!
The boys were playing in the sprinkler last Saturday while
we worked in the garage.
They are too Cool!

Cloth Diapers

After much research and decision making I have decided to go with cloth diapers. I was nervous about the expense of buying them. Although you save money in the long run it is quite an investment up front. I actually didn't really have the cash available to get as many as I needed so I have continued to put it off.

A few weeks ago I was checking out Etsy, which I do every so often, to see what fun things I could find. I found some really cute cloth diapers. Long story short, I followed the chain until I found a kit that comes with a pattern. It is so much cheaper this way and they are really cute and fun. They are also one size fits all. I thought perhaps this was too good to be true but figured I would buy a kit (which makes 3 diapers) and see if I like them. If not, I'm only out like $30.

I finished my first diaper a few days ago and I am thrilled with the results. I will definitely be making enough to use these all of the time. I figure I will be spending about $10 per diaper and I am planning to make 24. $240 for enough diapers to last me forever! If you think about it I am saving a TON of money, not to mention trash.

The first diaper took some time to figure out and I made a few teensy mistakes but now that I know what I am doing I think I can whip them out pretty quickly. My goal is to be completely cloth diapering by the end of Oct. I am excited!

Here are pictures of Oscar and Griffin in the exact same diaper! It really does work. If it can fit both of my kids then it can fit anyone. Oscar wears a size 1-2 diaper and Fin wears a 5-6 so the smallest and the biggest!

I also wanted to take these pictures with his electrodes on. Many of you don't know that he has to wear these little electrodes all the time now. They are connected to an apnea monitor to make sure his heart rate and breathing remain stable.

Oscar has had some pretty intense reflux issues. All my kids have reflux but lucky Oscar has it the worst by far. Evan is still dealing with it and takes meds every day and with every meal. We always carry tums around for when he says his throat is burning or his tummy hurts.

Oscar is having episodes where the reflux comes up but not out and he stops breathing. It is horrible to watch he stiffens up and arches his back as he tries to breathe. His face turns first red, then purple, then blue and he foams at the mouth. A really, truly terrible thing to watch. All we can do while he is having one of these episodes is hold him upright and try to remain calm as we watch our baby fight to breath. Scary.

He was having these all.the.time. Now he is only having them a few times a week. They happen mainly in the car or while he is sleeping. The monitor gives us peace of mind and we can actually rest. Before we got it I was staying up until 3 or 4am and putting him right next to me. Now I feel fine having him in another room as long as I am close by with the doors open.

He has been on this for about 3 weeks now and they just upped his meds and said it will be at least another month. It is frustrating to lug around but so much better than the alternative.

He is still doing well, though, and is growing and developing as he should. He is such a happy baby and laughs and coos so much. Last night his alarm went off around 1:30am. I went in to make sure he was alright, turn it off and get him off his back. When I looked in his crib after all was well he just gave me the biggest grin. He simply can't help but smile at you. We are really blessed to have such a little sweetheart.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nie Nie Day

In honor of a wonderful family, the Neilsons, today is Nie Nie Day.

Stephanie and Christian Neilson are a lovely couple who were in a tragic plane crash recently. Stephanie (Nie Nie) sustained burns on 80% of her body while her husband, Christian, 30%. They have four beautiful children and an amazing family. You can read about their story here at her sisters blog.

In honor of them and thier struggle, today is Nie Nie Day. Many blogs are hosting silent auctions and I am inviting you to visit one of the following sites and perhaps bid on one of the wonderful items.

You can see many things here at a room somewhere.

Or here at Design Mom.

Enjoy. If you can't bid please keep them in your prayers as their recovery will take months and millions of dollars. They need all the prayers they can get.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Video of Oscar Laughing

In this video you may notice Evan calling Oscar "Knock knock Joke." For some reason he has decided that this is Oscar's nickname. He is an interesting child. He told all these people at church on Sunday, "Yeah, I call him knock knock joke because he is pretty funny and he makes me laugh." I love the way his mind works.


Salvage Grocers

In PA we have these wonderful salvage grocery stores that are run by the Amish. You never know what you will find there but I always come away with amazing deals. Today I got a huge cart load of stuff and only paid $52.31. Amazing!

Plus, I had to put in a few pictures of our gorgeous landscape. I love driving through the farmland and the gorgeous hills. It is breathtaking. What a wonderful place we live in! I took these on the way home from a doctor's visit.

They don't begin to capture the true beauty but it gives you the idea.

My trip to the grocery today was my first outing with all three boys by myself. I haven't felt up to it until today. I really wanted to get out of the house and the Amish grocers were calling out to me. I put Oscar in a sling and Fin in the cart and Evan running around. It was just a little hectic but pretty good for the most part! I just feel good that I have gotten over that hurdle and now think I may try more little outings.

We'll see.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Recap II

The Arrival of
Oscar Elijah Stewart
June 2, 2008

I of course have written that he was born but for my own journaling purposes I wanted to write the entire story of his birth so this may be a long one and it may be a bit graphic for some of you who are faint of heart. So beware readers.

In the weeks previous to Oscar's birth I was having some preterm labor contractions. This is normal for me as I was on bedrest with my first two boys and actually had a lot less contractions and really no huge problems with this pregnancy. It was, however, making it very difficult for me to sleep and when you have two small children to take care of during the day and get no sleep at night you become a zombie.

Sunday morning June 1 I called my doctor and asked if they could please give me a prescription for some ambien so I could get some sleep. They wanted me to come into the hospital and get checked out before giving me the scrip. I did, they saw nothing remarkable. I was having contractions but they weren't doing anything and they were very light at this point. I went home and tried to nap.

Around 4:00 that afternoon Ryan said he would watch the boys and told me to go lie down and sleep, read or whatever. I decided I wanted to see if there was a good movie on tv. The remote had fallen behind the headboard and I did some crawling around and stretching under the bed to get to it. When I finally got it and stood up I had a lot of wetness run out. I honestly thought I had peed my pants. I had slowly been losing bladder control but nothing to this degree. It being so early I really didn't think my water had broken.

I went into the restroom and went the bathroom. I told Ryan I thought perhaps my water had broken. I called to him and he came up.

"Yeah. What do you need?"

"I think my water may have broken but I'm not sure."

"You are a certified doula with two kids and you want me to tell you if your water is broken?"

"I just thought you should know."

"Okay. I'm going back downstairs."

I called my sister and by the time we talked for a few minutes I knew my water had definitely broken. Of course, my contractions were completely stopped at this point. I was trying for a VBAC after 2 cesareans and knew that I had to wait as long as possible to get to the hospital. I did a few things to start contractions and within about 2 hours I was having pretty solid contractions that were about 2 minutes apart.

We dropped our kiddos off and called the doctor and headed for the hospital. I was sitting on the thickest pile of towels and a layer of trash bags. I didn't want to leak anything on the car.

We got to the hospital around 8:30 or so. At this point I could still talk through contractions but I was definitely feeling them. They also felt right on top of each other. I was hopefull that they were making some headway even though it had been only a short time.

No luck. I was making no progress and the doctor wasn't convinced that I could get by without a c-section. We made a deal: If I wasn't in "active" labor (meaning a cervix that is changing) by 7am the next morning we would do a section. I really wanted to do everything possible to avoid this outcome.

He said that I could do whatever I needed to in order to get them moving and even let me go in the jacuzzi tub. His one demand was that I get on the monitor every hour to check 3 contractions and that the baby was doing alright. I had an amazing doula, Brigid, and the three of us started to walk the halls. The labor and delivery floor is pretty large at Harrisburg and by the time we got back to the room I was unable to walk anymore. We moved to the tub.

The tub was my saviour. Man, it felt so much better when I was in there. After about 1 1/2 hours Dana, my awesome nurse, came in to check up on us. I was at a 4! No one expected this and we were so happy. I really felt like I could do this at this point.

I had decided long before even getting pregnant this time that I would not have an epidural this time. I knew that any intervention would add to the chance of me getting a c-section.

The next few hours were grueling. It was, to say the least, extreme pain and effort. Ryan was amazing and was willing to do anything to help. He put on a bathing suit and got in the tub with me. Brigid was wonderful also. She was a l&d nurse for 20 years so her knowledge base was huge and a huge help.

I want to try and explain the feelings I was having. It was the most trying physical experience I have ever been through but I can honestly say I never thought about giving up. I knew I could do it. At one point I just looked at Ryan and said, "Please give me a blessing." He immediately put his hands on my head and gave me a wonderful blessing of comfort. It helped immensely.

The worst part of all of this was when I had to leave the tub each hour to get checked on the monitor. It was on fire, intense, pain when Dana would push on the monitor on my lower pelvis to get Oscar's heart rate. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I felt frantic and a bit out of control at these points. I just couldn't get on top of it. As soon as she would let up on the pressure I was able to focus but in those brief moments all I could do was beg for help, and I did.

It is difficult to put into words this experience and how it felt. Towards the end I was so quiet and during the contractions I felt like I had left my body. As hard as it was, I was able to handle it. I think it was also the thought of what I was doing it for that made it possible.

I did get sick several times and I could tell this worried Ryan. It was hard to keep it in control when I was vomitting during a contraction it would cause me to use those muscles and it felt like they were working against each other. It was pretty awful.

The next time I was checked I was at a 7. I think this was around 1 or 2am or a bit later. My memory of time is a bit off. Around 2:45 I was at a 8-9 and I began pushing around 3:20.

At the very end I couldn't get back to the tub. The contractions were right on top of each other and I was so exhausted I can't even find the words to explain. They suggested I take a teensy bit of stadol that would only stay in my system for 45 minutes and would just take the edge off. I decided to do it. Ryan and I were able to sleep for about 20-30 minutes and when I woke up I was literally being held up and told to push. I was just so out of it that I didn't realize that they were telling me to push and putting me in position.

Things got pretty out of control at this point. My nurse was frantic. I was bleeding heavily and she was so scared that I was going to rupture or that I had already begun to rupture. My doctor was not there yet and she just kept saying, "There is so much blood. You have to get this baby out, Ruth."

I kept saying, "Could you just give me a minute, please?" I really felt like I just needed everyone to back off a bit so I could take a few deep breaths and then I would be focused and I would be fine. That wasn't happening so I just snapped out of it and started to push. I was surprised at how painful this part was. In a lot of readings they say that the pain becomes a burning numbness. I agree with the burning part, I was on fire! I do not agree with the numbness. It was crazy bad.

Everytime I pushed I thought I was going to rip in half. I wanted to be able to see him crowning and take it slow. This just wasn't to be. He came flying out on about the third or fourth push and just popped right out onto the bed, which there wasn't time to take apart. The doctor didn't make it in the room for the birth and Dana delivered him to her dismay and delight. I knew I was pretty torn up because I felt it when he came out. It was such a relief to see him lying there on the bed. He was so beautiful. Ryan was able to cut the cord before they realized that there was something not quite right.

They took him over to the warmer and started working on him. He wasn't doing too terribly so they let me hold him for a brief moment before taking him up to the nursery. I wanted so badly to hold him and to nurse him. My dream was to hold my goopy baby and nurse him immediately. It just wasn't to be. The doctor showed up and sewed me up. Ryan and I were able to rest there for about an hour before being taken upstairs to the recovery floor.

I was so sad not to have my baby in the room with us. It felt like the entire reason for all the hard work was not there. The entire time I was going through it I kept thinking of the reward of being able to see him born and hold him immediately. I didn't get that but I was feeling better and well enough to go see him in the NICU and that was a blessing.

Truly it was an amazing experience to be able to have this natural birth and to feel each contraction. I was lucky to have a doctor who let me move around as I wanted to and an amazing doula. I can't say enough about how much Ryan helped me also. He was just simply the most wonderful, loving, and helpful husband.

Funny story. At one point I was in the tub and Ryan was in a funky position to help me. He asked me if I would like to change positions. I asked him why he wanted that.

"Well, I'm just really uncomfortable."

"Perhaps you should breath through your pain. Deal with it!"

In the end it was the most difficult, amazing, wonderful thing I have ever done. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Summer Recap I

Lake Tobias
May 24,2008
Griffin's Birthday

For Memorial Day weekend as well as to celebrate Griffin's 2nd birthday we decided to go to one of our favorite PA spots, Lake Tobias. It is a really amazing wild life park that we discovered last year and will make it an annual tradition. We love it. It is the best kept secret. It is cheap and just great for kids.

In addition to the regular zoo animals they also have a safari ride that is beyond all expectations. They cut the top off of a school bus and paint it in camouflage and take you around acres of land full of exotic animals. It is amazing!

The animals are so used to people that they come right up to the bus and will eat right out of your hand. At times it is a bit disconcerting but it is still simply wonderful to get that up close with them. You can feel the fuzz on the Elks antlers. I love it!

The petting zoo portion isn't too shabby either. They let you right into the large pen with all the animals running around and you are just right there with them. Evan's little friend, Natalie, fell in love with a baby goat and carried it around with her the whole time. It was so cute.

I loved the baby bears the best. They were playing with the balls and splashing around in their little pool. They were so cute. I was still very large and pregnant as I thought I should document here for posterity's sake.

Griffin, Griffin, Griffin....what a funny kid...

I can hardly believe that he is 2! He has been through some tough times in those two short years. His issues with his ears has caused him so many troubles. He is still in speech therapy and is doing extremely well with that. His language skills have come so far this summer.

The first thing you notice about Fin is his joy of living. He is excited about everything and isn't afraid to show it. He is loud and rambunctious and sometimes just plain crazy. He is a risk taker and an adventurer and really dislikes being held back from something he wants to do as I find out daily.

He can also be so soft and cuddly and when he loves you he loves you with all his heart, soul, and body. No one is more excited to see you than Fin and no one will give you a bigger or better hug!

Those eyes and those dimples are way to adorable and when you are trying to be firm with him he will plant a big kiss on your lips.

He is obsessed with his favorite characters and is constantly talking about "whightening bean" (Lightning McQueen), "Mickey", and "Boots". Cars are his favorite thing in the world and Lightning is his favorite car. So cute.

We love you so much Griffin!

Stories I don't want to forget

We all decided to go to the grocery store one Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago. It is quite an undertaking for us. We have one cart with the baby and Griffin and then another cart for groceries. Evan is walking around helping us put things in the cart. By the time we were finished Oscar was so hungry he was just wailing. I told Ryan I would take the two little ones to the car and he and Evan could check out and meet us in the parking lot. Evan announced to the cashier in a not so soft voice the following:

"My mom went to the car to feed the baby because he was REALLY hungry. My dad has fed the baby a few times but it is my mom's job. My dad feeds the baby with a bottle but my mom feeds the baby with..." A hush fell over the crowd..."her belly button!"

Ryan said you could hear laughter throughout the entire store.

A good friend of ours, Michelle, took Evan out to dinner with her son. They were discussing restaurant options and Evan had a strong opinion about every place. She asked him if he was going to be a restaurant critic when he grows up. He answered, "Yes, and a dad and a scout and a prophet." He then told her that prophets are boys and he is a boy so he is going to be one!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Too much!

I have too much to blog about and not enough time. I think about doing it every day and really do plan on doing a recap of the entire summer. We have missed so much. I never even did a post for poor little Fin's bday. I will do it! We have had a fun, crazy, hectic, scary and wonderful summer and I want all of you to hear about it and see the fun pictures.

Soon, I promise, soon.......

I'm not fat for my height. I'm short for my weight.