3.15.2015

Vivi is TWO!

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On March 12th our sweet little Vivienne turned 2!

She is such a cute girl and we are so lucky to have her in our family. Right now she talks a lot and loves to learn new words. She loves playing with Play Doh and painting. We go to the park almost every day but she doesn’t like the swings, just the slides. She loves having mommy stay at home with her all the time and not going to work anymore. She adores her daddy and giggles the best for him. She runs to him with open arms whenever he comes home from work and its the sweetest thing. Her favorite shows to watch are Curious George and Winnie the Pooh. She eats soup and shredded cheese for breakfast almost every day! Vivi is very courteous and says please every single time she asks something and makes it very hard to say no to her. She’s the best 2 year old around!

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrated her birthday by throwing her a little Winnie The Pooh Party with a few members of our family. She loved it! We ate all of her favorite snacks; Popcock (popcorn), String Cheese, Buyies (strawberries), Veggies and Dip, Mawkgok (Gum) and cupcakes.

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I made a little “2” collage with pictures of Vivi throughout her life. My grandma said that she’s probably one of the most photographed children in the world. And…she’s probably right! What can I say, we are a little obsessed with our Vivi. But, she’s the cutest! We have had so many fun memories with her in the last 2 years and are so grateful we get to be her parents.

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We let her eat her cake all by herself and she wasted no time digging in! She loves cake…what can I say? (She gets it from her momma!)

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Vivi got SO many presents and loved all of them! They will keep her entertained until she is 3, I’m sure. She got a guitar, stuffed piglet, lots of art stuff like paints, stickers and coloring pages and even a big easel for painting! She walks around the house singing and strumming the guitar, its so funny (and loud!).

Happy Birthday Vivienne, we love you!

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2.18.2015

Lyla’s Birth Story

Our sweet baby girl has finally arrived! The process has been quite long, painful and difficult, but absolutely worth it. We are lucky and blessed to have her in our family!

The 3 weeks before her birth, I had lots of doctor visits! Twice a week I had to have ‘Non-Stress Tests’ (NSTs) to make sure my amniotic fluids were high enough and that the baby was doing well. I needed these because with my first baby girl, Ella, my amniotic fluids were very low and it was a scary experience for her and I. Each appointment went well and up until 41 weeks (1 week overdue) Lyla was still healthy. After being overdue, I had my membranes stripped by my midwives a few times to try and start labor. We also tried almost every other trick in book. A lot of them started contractions, but ended after awhile.

On February 4th, my mom and I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan because of these amazing stories! Well, I have to say it worked for me as well…I think! If only because of the major indigestion it caused me. Around 3 am the next morning I started having mild contractions. But, they were different than all my many Braxton Hicks & I knew they were real. I had a NST appointment at 8am and by then they were about 10 minutes apart and still mild. The stress test went well, but my nurse really encouraged me to get induced since I was so big and overdue. Scott and my sister Tiffany were there with me and after talking a lot, I finally decided to get induced. I felt more like I gave in and I even cried a little.

I had prepared so long for and educated myself so much on having a natural birth experience. Scott and I had been practicing and I was so frustrated that my last two births did not go as I wished either that I was so hopeful for one this time around. But, I really knew that it was time for this baby to come and although I knew I was in very early labor, there was no telling how long it would last (Ella’s lasted over 24 hours). I was anxious for her to be here and so was everyone else!

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After deciding, things progressed right away. Nurses came in and got me going on Pitocin and called the anesthesiologist.  I got my epidural put in (ugh) and everything went smooth. I progressed right away and my midwife was very surprised and hopeful that I would have the baby pretty quickly. This was all around 9:15am. They were hoping I would have her before 6:00pm because that was when the supervising doctor was at the hospital (a Dr must be at the hospital when a Nurse Midwife patient is delivering). I could go later, of course, but then they would have to call the on call doctor. Knowing all that was so stressful – why should I care if the doctor has to be on call?! That’s his job…my baby can come when she needs to!

After a few hours, I was checked and already at an 8. My midwife and 2 nurses were there the whole time (as well as Scott and Tiff). The epidural worked magically and I literally barely felt anything. People kept commenting after I posted the photo of us that I looked perfect and that’s because I didn’t sweat. AT ALL. I pushed for exactly 12 minutes and although that was work, it wasn’t difficult. A few minutes before I started pushing, I began to feel major pressure. I felt Lyla’s body make a big shift and straighten herself out. I knew she was ready to be born! That was the most amazing feeling for me! I used a mirror while pushing and I know that is why it went so fast. My midwife helped me so much and I felt like it all went perfectly. She arrived at 3:28 pm on February 5th!

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After Lyla was born, she needed a lot of help breathing. They monitored her for a long time in my room and her stats just weren’t high enough, so they decided to admit her into the NICU. I had only gotten to hold her for a couple minutes. I said goodbye to her and as they started leaving I started crying and couldn’t stop. I hated that she had to leave. All three of my babies have had to leave me immediately after birth to go to the NICU or Nursery and honestly it is quite traumatic for me. I know it has a lot to do with Ella’s birth and adoption placement.

My biggest fear is losing another child although of course I chose to place Ella willingly. The loss was still traumatic. Throughout both of my pregnancies after Ella I have deeply feared that I would lose the baby and never have the chance to be a mother. I try so hard to overcome that but it is just a deep rooted struggle I will always have I think. So, when my child was taken away again and I couldn’t hold or care for her, it was incredibly difficult. I didn’t know what was wrong and wasn’t sure that she would be okay, so I was a mess. I have so many dreams and hopes of a picture perfect birth, with my baby skin to skin with me and nursing immediately after and it feels like that will never happen! But, I know its so much more important that they are healthy of course~

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I got to see her a little later in the NICU, and she had a CPAP machine to help her breathe. Honestly, it hurt so bad to see her that way that I preferred Scott to stay with her and let me rest {cry} in my room. I also had to immediately start pumping for her so that my milk would come in since I couldn’t feed her. My family visited and some got to see Lyla,but we could only have 2 visitors in the NICU. I got to see Vivi, who was staying with my mom, but she couldn’t meet Lyla yet.

Needless to say, it was a long few days while we stayed at the hospital, but thankfully our sweet girl improved quickly. I was able to nurse on her 2nd night and she had somewhat of a hard time, but after a few feedings she was great. I spent most my days and nights in the NICU, holding her and feeding her. All the cords she was hooked up to made it difficult to change her diaper and swaddle her, pick her up, etc. But, the NICU nurses were amazing and so incredibly kind and helpful. I trusted them all 100% with my baby but wished I was the one caring for her. I came every 3 hours all through the night, each night;  so I got to know the  nurses well and although they always told me to go rest and let them bottle feed her, I didn’t. I wanted to nurse my baby and give her the precious milk my body was making for her. Its such a special connection to be able to feed your baby and I’m so grateful that I was able to.

On her 3rd day there, I was discharged, but the doctor said Lyla still needed better stats and more successful feedings before she could leave. I desperately didn’t want to go home without her, so I made it my goal to not miss a feeding although I was exhausted and running on 30 minute intervals of sleep. Before and after each time I nursed, they had to weigh her and track how much food she got. That was so frustrating to me because babies don’t always drink a lot or need to drink a lot to be satisfied! I knew she was eating and I wished that could have been enough. 

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Since I was discharged, I didn’t have a place to sleep or rest between feedings, so I asked my cousin Candice if I could stay there throughout the night since they lived close to the hospital. I would feed Lyla for about an hour and a half, drive to my cousin’s home, sneak downstairs and sleep on the couch for about 45 minutes or so and then wake up, drive back to the hospital, scrub in for 5 minutes and wake Lyla up for another feeding. I repeated this 4 times I think. I felt like a crazy zombie person, but it was so worth it when I found out the next morning that because of our successful feedings they were letting her go home!

After a million tests and lots of paperwork, she was finally ours – no wires attached!! Scott and I got to drive her home and take her to meet her sister. I finally got to dress her in her first outfit (pink of course) and wash off her bandage marks, style her hair, put a bow on her head and put lotion on her. Basically, I was so happy to just take care of her, by myself! Vivi was missing Scott and I so badly and we were so happy to be together again. My mom and sister Tiffany took such good care of her and of us, we were so lucky to have them there through it all. We are a happy (tired) family!

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1.24.2015

Without You

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I never thought I’d know how it feels.

It still feels like it can’t be real.

There’s no way he could be gone. I just don’t understand.

He’s always been there. He’s never let me down. But he isn’t here. He’s no where to be found.

I wish he was here to see my next daughter born. But mostly just to hold my mother’s hand.

 

I never knew how much it would hurt. Before, I’d hear of friend’s losses and care, but not understand. We never expect it to happen to us. Our dads are fearless and strong, we can’t picture them vulnerable and sick. But now I know their bodies fail. And life without them can never be the same.

Today I attended the first funeral since my dad’s. It was difficult and I thought about his most the time. My grandfather’s brother passed away at the age of 92, leaving behind a beautiful posterity of dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren that loved him immensely. Comparing his death to my father’s was surprising to me. I often feel annoyed and angry that my dad had to die at the young age of 53, when so many children get to enjoy their parents for so much longer. But today I realized, while listening and seeing each of this great man’s children tell of their memories and love, that age does not change the grief.

He had nearly 40 years longer on this earth, a lifetime to many. But, the impact of his loss was the same on those he loved. I watched as his widow, my sweet great Aunt Edith, walked behind his casket. Her grief was as great as my mother’s, even though she was able to enjoy much more earthly time with him. A lifetime is never enough; our souls always seek for more. I believe that the eternal nature of our spirit is constantly reaching for life and love outside of this world. Maybe that’s why these losses hurt so much.

Our bodies ache for our loved ones and the memories we can no longer create on earth, while our souls are holding on to all the time we had with them and will have again. They know something more. Because of the beautiful things the gospel has taught me, I fully believe that I will see my father again. We will walk hand in hand and never have to say goodbye. He will be in my spirit’s life eternally.

Although I am often jealous when I see families enjoying their fathers for far longer than I was able to, or seeing couples growing old together while my mother adjusts to life as a widow, I know that it is temporary. A spirit’s life is eternal and if we live a life of love, we can live forever. This knowledge is priceless to me; it brings me so much comfort. I can’t imagine not knowing that families can be together forever.

 

For now our hearts and bodies hurt as we miss our father, friend and love~ but someday soon we will be with him again.

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1.12.2015

Nursery #2

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Well, last week was my first full week as a stay at home momma! I have been anxious to put together a ‘nursery’ for our baby girl that is due in less than 3 weeks and so that was the first thing I worked on. It is pretty much done and I love how it turned out!

All of this is in our bedroom (we only have a 2 bedroom and I don’t want her and Vivi in the same room yet), so I was working with limited space. Scott helped my arrange everything and although he has very little room on his side of the bed, he says it works great. Where my head lies on our bed is right next to the baby’s bassinet, so ideally I can nurse and then ‘co-sleep’ easier, without having her sleep in our bed. 

We found the bassinet on KSL.com and I love it! We got it for $50 and it looks brand new. It retailed for $140, so I felt like we got a great deal. My mom sewed a new mattress cover for it, but everything else is original and I think it matches my color scheme perfectly!

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My cousin Candice sold us the beautiful changing table for $30 and my grandpa actually painted it for her after she found it online or secondhand somewhere. I love it! We got the changing pad on ksl.com for $10 and then my mom sewed the cover with the pink polka dot fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. I also found the pillow shams at Hobby Lobby (I already had old throw pillows to fill them). Those will go on our bed once the baby is actually here. The baskets were found at Hobby Lobby as well (50% off) and I painted the gold basket that I already had. I did buy the wooden LYLA letters at Hobby Lobby and painted/glittered them. We still haven’t entirely chose the name Lyla or Isabelle. We are waiting until we meet her to decide 100%!

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The only other items I purchased that I didn’t already have were the lamp and deer head. The deer was 50% off at Hobby Lobby ($30) and the lamp was $20 at Ross. My mom gave me the cute little star frame she found at a thrift store and I painted/glittered it.

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My mom helped me sew our little paper banners together. I have been having major braxton hicks lately and can barely do anything at all strenuous without constant cramping. And by strenuous I mean walking or standing or painting, etc. So just cutting papers while trying to entertain a toddler was a tall order and having my mom’s help was so nice. I cut and she sewed and it was so much easier than gluing or stapling, etc. I can only use 3m hooks to hang stuff in my apartment, so taping really light paper to the walls turned out to be a great idea. 

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For the dresser, we actually got that for free from someone in my parent’s neighborhood a few months ago. It was already a pretty white, but I painted the top with DecoArt’s Glorious Gold Metallic Paint (found at HL for $8.99). It took a lot of coats, but they dried super quick so I was able to finish it in one day. We sprayed it with a sealant spray paint. I used a Gold Leafing pen made by Krylon (found at HL for $7.99) to brighten the knobs and fixtures and also sprayed them with the sealant. I love how it looks and hopefully the people that gave it away never see these photos because they may decide to reclaim it! All in all I spent about $200 on everything and somehow stayed within budget, to Scott’s relief.

Now that everything is done I am just in countdown mode and trying to spend as much time with Vivi that I can. It will be so much different to have two children and I know I will miss giving her all my attention. I am still planning a VBAC and everything seems to be good to go. I’m down to weekly appointments with my midwives and will get checked out tomorrow afternoon, actually. I hope and pray the delivery goes smooth. Can’t wait to meet our sweet baby girl~

1.07.2015

Mandy’s 19th Birthday!

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My favorite little sister turned 19 on January 3rd! She probably isn’t a big fan of having a January birthday, but I love it because we immediately have something to celebrate and plan for right after the holidays. This year we went bowling together and had a really good time at Fat Cats in Provo.

Vivi was really into it and loved helping us bowl and pushing the ball down the little ramp.

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Tiff dominated us and I struggled a bit since my body is just a little disproportionate right now. After awhile I just let Vivi bowl during my turn and she couldn’t get enough. She is so sweet and makes our lives so much happier. We would be so bored without her! :)

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Mandy chose dinner at the Brick Oven afterwards, where some more family joined us. They have the best homemade rootbeer and of course the pizza is great. Vivi was in heaven going from mine to Grandma to Nene’s laps, eating off our plates. She loves her some pizza- but especially olives.

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After dinner we all met at our apartment to open gifts and have birthday cake~

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Here’s our traditional sibling pic! {Tina was sick}

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Scott told me not to post this next one but of course that encouraged me to even more {even though it really shows how massive I am with this pregnancy}. Isn’t my husband attractive?

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Happy Birthday Mandy!

Thanks for letting all of us celebrate with you~

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We love you!

1.03.2015

2015 is Here!

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We rang in the New Year at my momma’s house and had a good time with my sisters. We started the night off at Red Rock Brewery in Sandy for some delicious food! My mom wasn’t feeling well, so she stayed home. We were thinking of going to Cheesecake Factory, but the wait was insane and it is always over packed. I’m glad we went with Red Rock- it was really yummy and a nice atmosphere.

On December 31st Scott was offered a full time position with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield! So, we were celebrating more than just the new year- a new job as well! It also happened to be my last day at Farmers. We have a lot of changes going on for 2015 and are really excited to see what life will be like with them. Scott will be a Provider Consultant with Regence and help educate hospitals and practices on new Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance initiatives that can benefit them. He is super excited to be done with school and providing for our family. I am amazed that I get to be a full time mom and stay home with my sweet babes. It will be so different, but much simpler and sweet, I think. We are beyond grateful that everything happened when it did- it was a true blessing for us.

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We went back to my mom’s to wait until midnight, watching the ball drop and playing some games. I made a little banner earlier that week, so of course I made everyone take pictures with it! I love this picture of Tiff and Vivi~ she really loves her aunts! One is posing with her, another making her smile.

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I tried to get a good picture of our little family for a ‘Christmas’ card…aka New Years card and I think this is the best one~ However those never got created or sent out, so I’m thinking our baby’s announcement photos will be our Christmas letter this year. I really love receiving all our friend’s and family’s cards, so I want to make sure and keep up the tradition on our end.

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When I reflect back on this year, I can’t help but be ready for a new, fresh start. 2014 was a tough year for me. Life as a working mom was difficult and even when I had an end date set, I felt I couldn’t go on another week or day sometimes and it was a struggle to balance everything. Working from home was a luxury some days but also incredibly difficult on others. I’ve also spent 8 months of the year pregnant and this pregnancy has definitely been my hardest so far. I am very anxious to get some energy back and hopefully become pain free once the baby is born. Scott was gone a lot finishing school and that meant some lonely nights for me and Vivi, not to mention long nights for him. Losing my dad was the toughest thing and his sickness during the first five months of the year was a strain on everyone. Sometimes it feels like every year I age, life only gets more difficult. But, aging also brings more joys, I think.

Last year we also had so many fun celebrations and happy days~ Watching Vivi grow up and celebrating her 1st birthday was so fun. I can’t imagine life without her and I’m so thankful to be a mother to such a sweet, smart little girl. Even being with family and friends at my father’s funeral was a highlight- it has made our extended family that much more important and special to us. I loved our few visits with Scott’s family and feeling their love and support. It has been tough to be away from them while Scott has been in school, but they are so supportive and proud of him. I won’t talk about everything, because I’ve posted about many of our ups and downs already this year; which makes me so glad I kept a blog for another year. Thanks for following along on our little family’s adventures~

Cheers to 2015!!!

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12.27.2014

Christmas 2013

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This year we got to spend Christmas with my mom and most my family besides Jared. It was supposed to be our year with the Schlegels, but we opted against travelling this late in my pregnancy. My favorite part of Christmas, besides all the festivities leading up to it, is Christmas Eve. It feels so magical and everyone is excited and happy. Notice how picture perfect my mom’s house is. It takes so much work, but makes everything so special.

We all got to enjoy a delicious dinner made by my mom. Our tradition is steak and shrimp, but this year we opted for a roast instead. My dad usually cooked the steak and shrimp and we definitely missed having him around for that and I’m sure my mom missed his help. It is strange to celebrate without him, but also makes perfect sense. He loved Christmas and our traditions and although it will never be the same, we felt his love and spirit with us because he has made our family what it is. To be honest, it still feels so surreal that he is gone. Its like he is just away for a little while and will walk in and join our conversation or our card game someday. Sometimes I think time passing will just make it more difficult and ‘real.’ We never expected to have to spend Christmas without him and that hurts, but gratefully we have so many wonderful memories together.

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This year I volunteered to make a Christmas Eve dessert! I had been wanting to make a red and white cake for awhile and thought this was the perfect occasion (yes, these are the kinds of things I think about). We usually just put together a plate of all the homemade goodies we’ve made but instead saved some room for this red velvet and cheesecake cake! I used this recipe with a white chocolate buttercream of my own creation (aka I don’t remember how I made it or what I put in it). I was really happy with how it turned out and everyone said it was good. Win win!

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After reading the Christmas story and singing lots of carols and Christmas hymns, we got to open our jammies! My mom is the best and still buys us grown folks Christmas jammies and we all look forward to it!

Here are the matching ladies: (I was a little too large to fit into ‘normal’ PJs, so I got a beautiful robe that I love)

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Like usual, we all slept over and made an agreement to not wake up until at least 8 am. Even Vivi complied, yay!

We had the best surprise in the morning: SNOW!!! It hasn’t felt like Christmas because the weather has been ugly and pretty warm for Utah, so we were all amazed that we got a White Christmas! It felt pretty magical. We all woke up somewhat together and got to look through our stockings. Ever since we’ve been married, Scott and I have only given each other stocking stuffers and kept a low budget. I think its great because it causes us to put more thought into our gifts. Stockings were always my favorite part any way and my mom still adds things to ours making it even more of a surprise. Vivi loved her stocking and grandma and ‘Nene’ added lots of goodies to it!

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Before opening the gifts under the tree we all enjoyed a delicious breakfast of sticky buns, sausage, egg casserole and probably a lot more I’m forgetting. We eat well at my momma’s house!

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Vivi’s gift from Santa was the Curious George Tea Set above. She loved it! She is so sweet and petite with it. We always have to lay a towel underneath because her water pouring skills are lacking, but she has lots of fun giving everyone ‘drinks’. She got a ton more toys from both grandmas and ever since Christmas she has played a lot more on her own because of all the fun things she got- so I am very grateful! We all got so many amazing and thoughtful gifts and as usual I felt way too spoiled. I am always amazed at how giving everyone is and I don’t know why I deserve it! {There are no  pictures because we pretty much have a rule that we don’t have to be photographed or look presentable at all on Christmas. I definitely stayed in my robe all day.}

Vivienne was so excited to see all the snow outside and we didn’t even change her out of her pajamas before we let her go play in the ‘ice’. She ate a bunch and made a tiny snowman with her daddy. Ice is her favorite food, so this was pretty much a dream come true for her and has been ever since.

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My grandparent’s stopped by for a little while in the morning and opened their gift from all their daughters. It was a Smart Phone! Pretty much the best android on the market right now and my grandma has been wanting one for awhile. My sisters have spent time teaching her and she is doing great with it. I am impressed by her desire to stay up to date on technology~ I know she does it all to stay in touch with her family, even though it can be difficult. My grandparents are so great; we love them so much.

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Like most families, we spent the day lounging around, eating homemade goodies, enjoying our gifts and playing  lots of games. We did leave the house at night when it started snowing again and went on a ride to see some lights. We went for at least an hour and although Vivi was tired (I fed her snow from the top of the truck to keep her happy) we saw some pretty amazing light shows that people had put to music. But,  the tree in my mom’s back yard is still my favorite~ lit up and covered with snow.

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Merry Christmas to you and yours~