Monday, December 8, 2014

abner is (was) two months!

i had the pics and the collage all made, and then we spent a week in fort wayne, without my computer, so i didn't get this up. better late than never!

abner likes...
sleeping. during the day, more than at night.
being on his belly.
burping and farting. such a boy.
a good back pat.
his hands near his face.
the vibrating feature on the pack n' play.
the shhhhhh sound.
being held upright.
clean diapers. he freaks as soon as he poops!
abner experienced his first processing a deer experience, his first halloween, where he was a winner at the costume contest, and his first trip to the bowling alley! he started to be more awake this month. still sort of unsure and checking things out with a furrowed brow. when he first wakes up he reminds me of a puppy that can't open it's eyes yet. he is how old, and even still. he'll start to stir, move his head around, snarf, cough, stretch, yawn, go from side to side, all with his eyes just barely closed. cutest thing. he is still rolling (freak!) so we can't leave him places (like that table at the bowling alley, we were next to him the whole time) he loves being on his belly, i think it helps his gas issues. still a joy, and pretty mellow!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

on hattie.

i have had many people ask how hattie likes abner, or how she is handling things, if she is jealous.

well, she has definitely surprised me.

i was so scared when i saw those two pink lines. "but hattie is the baby." "she is such a mama's girl." "she won't even be two, how do people do this?" "i need a bigger rocking chair, i can just see the battles now." "she is mine, james will have to takeover this one." and so on. and on. and on. for almost 9 months.

she spent her first night away from me in preparation for bug coming (didn't want our hospital stay to be the first time i left her, and oh hey! while we were gone, you gained a sibling!) as the one that co-slept for most of the first year, it was weird being apart. we survived.

then came abner, and there my baby hattie went. poof, big girl.

she tries to do everything eliza does.

she parrots everything.

she loves abner so much.

she calls him "ammer"

she loves holding him.

she screams when you take him away.

she loves making us laugh.

she became so much weirder. my sil said it's so we don't forget her, middle child and all.

her eyes are killer, and she knows it.

she thwarts all attempts at discipline by trying to make you laugh.

her smile is over the top too. no cheese has been lost.

she is a snuggle bear.

she is definitely not a fan of animals.

she is gaining independence.

she craves personal touch, but only on her time, and never from other kids.

she is a firecracker.

nana jokes that she determines the mood of the house.

i agree.

two people have said the line from kenny chesney's 'american kids' "sisters got a boyfriend daddy doesn't like." will be about hattie.

she spent much of her life not being a fan of daddy. that has changed.

i tried telling him that she is so his daughter. not just in eyes, but temper and stubbornness too.

he is just realizing how cool she is, and jokes about how he is glad we never sold her.

she is crazy.

she is beautiful.

she has impressed me with her big sister ways.

she is my rainbow, and i am forever grateful.

Monday, November 24, 2014

american kids.

had a little photo shoot on veteran's day, and had to share. finding the joy of trying to capture three kids!

before this we went to the school to watch a special program for the veterans. it was so nice! on our way out eliza asked if we could go see delia's brick. i love that she loves seeing it, and when i have a chance to get a pic of all four represented.

Monday, November 3, 2014

abner is one month!

hard to believe he has been here that long already. (he's actually 6 weeks by the time i am posting this) especially since he wasn't supposed to come until the 14th of october.

abner likes...

being on his belly.
being worn in the ring sling.
sucking his fingers or thumb.
our bed.
peeing all over the place. (yay boys!)
laying on the floor.
being swaddled...and breaking free.
music...especially our song.
being burped.

it was a busy month, but such is life for a little man when he has two older sisters. life did not slow down! he has been to story times, target, a campground, to fort wayne a few times, target, a few restaurants, the park, post office, target, birthday parties, church, target. the list goes on. he has mostly been asleep for all of these outings. dude loves sleep. i keep waiting for him to wake up one day, but it hasn't happened yet. he does have more alert periods, but overall, he's sleepy. and grumbly. he grunts all the time. life is rough you know, all that sleeping is hard! he has slipped right into this family, and into our hearts. some of my favorite times are when eliza, hattie and i are crowded around, and the kisses and squeals just escape. he is a lucky little man to have the hearts of us three girls!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

his name.

so here is the story of abner's's a little more silly than the girls'. (all their stories are here.)

some of you know, james always had a name picked out for a boy. i liked it, but then it became too popular. i really liked the nickname, but it sounded silly with lee for a middle name.

while pregnant, we could not come up with a girl name that we both really loved. i absolutely wanted a vada, but he hated it more than hazel. (which didn't mean hazel could be tossed in as an option.) there was one name we both liked, but it just didn't feel like the one.

as for boy names. i loved abner, and couldn't imagine anything else, but i did try to find one that james enthusiastically (if that's possible for him) agreed on.

we knew that the middle name would be lee, no matter what, boy or girl.

i didn't really want to stick with the j middle name theme for girls, june, jean and jo. (that was never really on purpose) but i didn't want this one to feel left out, if she was a girl. being that this is likely our last child, we had to use lee.

his dad, my ma, he and i all have lee as a middle name. it would definitely be special!

as for abner...well, i first heard it, and liked it at his grandpa's house. is it his grandpa's name? nope, but it was his cat's. yes. seriously. i found my son's name from a cat, and not a very nice cat either!

james had said before that he liked the name clyde (his grandpa's name) but grandpa didn't like it. so that was one of my weak arguments "well, he must like abner if he named his cat that!" ;)

and then i read more about the name. it's meaning, and that it is biblical. not only biblical, but also famous in baseball history. (two very important things!) and i fell in love with it more.

tonight i stumbled across a baby name list on pinterest. i like looking at those to see if any of our names fall on them. it's rare, but sure enough, on this list, there was abner. it said...

Abner: not as common as Abel, but still charming and cool. The meaning of Abner is father of light and derives from the commander of Saul’s army. Abner actually appears twice in the New Testament. If you are a fan of baseball, then Abner might be just what you have been looking for. Abner Doubleday is the man who has mistakenly invented baseball and even if this is a myth busted, you can still use it as a cool stroy with your friends and co-workers. In more recent history, Abner Mares is a professional boxer from Mexico.

so there it is, the sort of silly, way abner got his name. "like grandpa's cat?"

no fun nicknames yet. mostly i just call him mr. abner. eliza mostly says baby abner, but it's the high pitch that she uses that is really sweet. hattie just says baby, or bobby, or pokes him on the nose.

Friday, September 26, 2014

welcome mr. abner lee!

someone was impatient and decided to come early...and fast!

after a whirlwind labor we welcomed abner lee on sunday september 21st at 7:14am.

he weighed 6 pounds 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

i was afraid that he was going to be the one child that would be late, and i was also afraid since hattie was 2 weeks early and still weighed 8 pounds!

he came at 36 weeks 5 days, guessing by his weight he would have been a lot more chunky had he waited!

so here is his story...or a short form of it.

thankfully it happened on a weekend so james was home, otherwise he probably would have missed it!

at my 36 week appointment i wasn't dilated at all, but i was thinning. i had been having random contractions, but nothing major.

i had just finished sewing a bassinet sheet and some pants for the baby. nesting in the form of crafts. i asked james if he could get the bassinet out of the garage so i could get it set up. most of the baby stuff was in the actual bassinet, so he decided to just bring it all in. carseat went out in the car, and with that, he unknowingly started abner's story. i blame him partly for it happening, he just had to put the seat in!

so that night (saturday) i went to bed feeling fine. james and i discussed names a bit more. awhile ago i had mentioned abner and in the same way i won him over with delia he replied "i could probably go for that with a really good back scratch." my brother and sister-in-law joked that he should really aim higher than a back scratch. ;) so i scratched his back that night, and fell asleep thinking, this kid just has to be an abner. we couldn't agree on a girl name, and abner just felt right.

well, he must have gotten the memo because at 2:45am i was woken up with painful contractions.

opened up my app, smiled seeing hattie's record and delia's, started timing and then decided to sit in the bath. of all the times i timed contractions at home, none were this painful. i sat in there about an hour, and when i got up i realized we should head in. as i was walking around they were stronger and much closer together.

called my parents to get them over to sit with the sleeping girls. they arrived around 4:30am and after throwing stuff into bags, we headed in to the hospital.

i am guessing we arrived around 5am. my bracelet has us officially checked in as a patient at 5:39am. (he arrived about an hour and a half later...impatient little one!)

the nurse checked me and i was 4cm and the sac was bulging. perfect! epidural please!

except they were busy, i had to wait for an iv, then wait for one bag to get in my system, wait for the anesthesiologist.

i was growing impatient, knowing that my labor and delivery is pretty quick, and afraid i wasn't going to get one. hattie's birth was very relaxing, and i wanted that same experience. with her it was the one time the epidural worked out like it should. eliza's was too late to be effective. delia's is just a blur. it worked, but the situation was obviously not relaxing.

i was sort of excited about the time. it was almost shift change, and i heard that my favorite doctor was starting. one of my favorite nurses (my sister-in-laws cousin, she was our nurse with delia) was just ending her shift, and she popped in to say hi. we hadn't brought our bags up yet, so we didn't have my camera. she offered to man my phone, and video on her phone. (she said i had to see one of our births, and i had the same thought a few weeks ago. not sure i will ever watch it again, but it was cool to see after. everything just went so fast, there was no time to stop and absorb anything)

after digging around, chasing my rolling vein, the iv was in. we were trying to drop hints that we really needed to get the whole process moving, or i knew there wouldn't be time.

then came the shakes. i could not stop shaking. uncontrollable. i remembered this with eliza, and knew what it meant. they came in, checked, and sure enough, i was at an 8. no time for an epidural, this was happening whether i was ready or not.

after the doctor checked he said he was going to scrub up and told the nurse to get a table A-S-A-S-A-S. my head went straight to something was wrong, and i needed a c-section. so panic mode set in. i had an anxiety attack, and just freaked. even after knowing that i wasn't going anywhere, i was just terrified of delivering all natural.

james was super supportive, and helped calm me down, but they also gave me a shot of pain meds in my iv just to take the edge off me. unfortunately abner was super impatient and he ended up getting a hit of that which made things complicated after.

apparently he was starting to come out sunny side up (ouch!) and needed to be turned. pushing is usually my favorite part, but it was so frustrating this time. i just wanted it to be over. the doctor was trying to get me to breathe correctly, and my mind was telling me what to do, but i just couldn't settle down. i remember him telling me there was a point when i needed to pant like a dog. he would tell me when, and i just could not make myself do it. he kept saying "like a chihuahua think like a chihuahua." and i wanted to laugh, but i couldn't. a few more pushes and he was out, the cord was wrapped around his body from the turn he had to make. (james said he got lost on the way out)

when he came he looked so purple. not crying and so still. i freaked. after losing a child that is something you do not want to see. i was so afraid that something went wrong. james was my rock, and calmed me down. once i heard "he is okay" i just freaked. "HE?! a boy?!" anxiety turned to joy. he was able to be on my chest for a little bit, and james got to hold him, but then they had to take him to check his breathing.

his breathing was fast, and he had a song he liked to sing. a continuous squeak. they said he was doing that because he was trying so hard to breathe. it was the sound of him working. so they took him to the nursery for monitoring. he ended up having to stay there through the first night, and most of the next day. it was hard, but we were able to see him and hold him whenever we wanted. he couldn't try to nurse until the song stopped, and his breathing slowed, but i pumped and he had a tiny feeding tube.

the next day we were finally able to break him free, and let his sisters love on him.

we stayed another night in the hospital, and he had to return once to the nursery for a panic moment by me. they monitored him for an hour, and he calmed down, so we were sent back to our room. we joked that he got a taste of the real world, and his sisters, and he just wanted to go back! his doctor didn't like that episode, so she wanted us to stay one more night. we weren't too happy, but knew it was for the best. he was early, he was doing great, but better to be safe than sorry.

with the girls we were out right after they were 24 hours old, so it was hard for us. a nice break, but mostly we were just uncomfortable and wanted to be home. also felt bad for my parents that were taking care of the girls.

wednesday was his first day home, and he is doing great! we just got back from a weight check and he is back up, and a few ounces over his birth weight. the girls are so in love, and we are too! still can't believe i have a son. and the backscratch must have been good enough. once he was here i couldn't even think of any other name we were considering. he was abner the whole time...sorry james...not wolfgang!

 chilling in the nursery, before the feeding tube was in.
 my men!
you are the best thing.
she went to bed sad the first night because she didn't get the chance to hold him. she wanted a brother so bad!
 attempts at our first family picture.
my tag for the girls is always #firstandthird which makes me think of baseball. chances are he is our last, so now it's #firstandthirdandhome i bought a tiny pink shirt and a tiny blue one and that's how we were going to surprise everyone when they came back to meet bug. dude had other plans though!
hattie is pretty interested in him. she loves to poke him on the nose (a game we always play with her) and constantly points and says "baby!"
no initial on his shirt like his sisters. 1. because we didn't have a name set. and 2. he came too early for me to have a backup plan!

on this side of the natural birth thing, i am singing it's praises. recovery was amazing. i was not happy with it during, but james said i actually complained less this time. ha! maybe it's that i wasn't ready for him, and didn't get my nest all fluffed, but i couldn't wait to come home and just fuss over him, and finish getting things in order.

nervous about life with three kids, but so far he is easy. we'll see how that all changes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

on sisters...again.

when i was pregnant with hattie i was terrified of her being a girl. i was so afraid that it would be harder. the hole from delia would somehow be larger because i would daily be reminded of what "should have been."

at the same time, i wanted a sister for eliza. i wanted her to experience that bond.

everyone guessed that hattie was going to be a boy, so we were more than surprised when the doctor said "it's a girl!"

God knew exactly what was right for us.

and He shows us time and time again.

to see the two of them together? totally melts me.

lately they argue, and fight, but they also love, oh do they love!

as i get annoyed because they are messing around during lunch, i catch james grinning. he says "just look at them...they adore each other."

it is so true, and i thank God that eliza got another little sister.

it makes this picture so much sweeter. knowing that it is hattie she is kissing.

the black and white version is on our fridge and i just smile anytime i see it.

the last few nights i have had to go upstairs and shoo them back to bed. caught them trying to camp on the floor, and share eliza's bed. i told them i didn't mind if they did, they just couldn't be so loud!

well, tonight, they figured it out. and my heart skipped a little when i saw them. just thinking of how much i longed for moments like this. for eliza to have a sister. for them not being able to get enough of each other.
 anxious to see how bug fits into this family. eliza is more than ready for another sibling. she claims she wants a brother. then again, she also claims that she will change every stinky diaper! she is pretty excited to have "two babies to take care of!" 

had to capture some pics of the girls and my growing belly the other day. wanted to make sure i got eliza with this one too. my favorite one didn't turn out perfect, but i love the look on her face and how she wraps her arms around me/bug.
and to compare, how much she has grown. here she is when i was pregnant with delia.
oh eliza, you were made for this big sister thing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

why i might keep the baby monitor forever...

so, the girls now share a room. hattie is still unable to open doors (praise God!) and with eliza being such a sound sleeper, we keep the baby monitor in there.

at first i kept it hidden under hattie's bed. just so eliza didn't know we were creeping on her. then hattie discovered it one night, and when our end started beeping incessantly, i realized she unplugged it.

so i found a new spot, and eliza is aware that we can hear, but doesn't always remember.

like tonight...i got to hear story time with eliza.

as frustrating as they can be. as annoying as it is to remind them that it is time to sleep. moments like this just make you laugh.

i usually only turn it on when i go to bed, but i thought i heard hattiesaying "i stinky." so i flipped it on for a second, and caught this.

i missed a few parts, but she was talking faster than i could type, and i started late. i wish you could have heard the voices she used. and the way she drew out her words to make it sound spookier.

"jo bear, do you want to me to tell you a story? a spooky story?

once there was a mommy. a spooky mommy. she said "hello. i am a ghost."

a g-g-ghost?!

i am leaving today. to beyond the never sea i shall go. see the whole world is waiting for me. and i will never come back again. but you shall all stay here. it's a long journey. you can come if you want.

i am going to need somebody to watch over the kids.

i want you to count on me.

jo bear, i trust you.

and i will never come back, unless you want to come with me. that is fine. would you like to? or not? because i will be gone many days.

:hear the winding of her hand powered flashlight:

how much days?

ok, i will come with you, we will come with you to have a sleepover.

no, i am going to travel the world. with sunshine and rain.

what is this? dinosaurs. meet the kind of dinosaurs. dinosaurs. dinosaurs. real!

i don't want to see dinosaurs.

will you come with me?

yes, mommy!


i see dinosaurs!

your mother sent you a message. send it back. i can see the world. draw on paper. if you ever forgiven me."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

mysterious ways.

to say the last few days/weeks have been a whirlwind would be a giant understatement.

we have battled some hard trials.
-fought with fleas in our yard...and eliza being their favorite feast.
-learning of a friend losing their daughter at 20 weeks.
-another friend's miscarriage.
-saying goodbye to magglio. my 11 1/2 year old beagle. my first baby!
-back troubles for james.
-leg pain for me.
-car trouble. mostly the air conditioner, but some other minor things too.
-knowing that money will be tight in august because james will be on break from school (meaning no hours at work or gi benefits through the army)

and so it goes...

until sunday. then we were dumped on even more.

through it all though, we have been reminded that there is nothing we can do but trust.

yes, i wanted to throw my hands up. just give in, break down, and cry. i was reminded though that all of us are alive and together. we will survive.

and wow, God has proven his faithfulness time and time again.

so sunday, we packed up for fort wayne. the girls and i were going to stay in the apartment with james for a couple weeks. we know with bug coming in october that we will be spending more time splitting between here and there. we need to be together. for family dinner, for play time, for books and prayers before bed. i need to see him more than on weekends. the girls definitely do.

on our drive up we had a few hiccups with the car. nothing major...or so we thought. then we get about 20 minutes from the apartment and the car (the one we bought in february after finding out about bug, and realizing we'd need a third row) completely died at a light. it wouldn't start back up. we assumed it was the battery. thankfully help (and jumper cables!) were on the way. i didn't pack a lot of toiletries or things we'd just be moving back and forth (pillows, towels...) so we thought we would make it to the store before heading to the apartment.

but even after a few jumps, and a brand new battery. we realized that it was just dead. done. unable to move.
so in came another friend to help unload and haul the things we packed (did i mention we had a trailer with a bed and mattresses too?) those two guys moved everything, and me and the girls to the apartment. carried everything up on one of the most humid nights. all while james sat on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. i could not thank them enough, and i felt awful that i wasn't much of a help. i was just so happy to get the girls in bed, and crash myself. smelly, and with nothing under my head but a toddler pillow!

the next day we woke up to a text from my dad that a tree limb had fallen at our house and ripped the electrical off the side of the house. really? yep, apparently there was a bad storm.
then news of the car came. all it needed would be a whole new engine. awesome.

cue freaking out.

thankfully, more friends came to the rescue. with dinner for us, a van to borrow while they are on vacation for two weeks, offers to fix the electrical so we didn't have to drive back home. people are good. our people are really good!

we finally got to go shopping. pick up some groceries, soap, and those pillows.

sidenote to keep in mind - we have had the same pillows since we got married. gross, i know. not as old as The Rock, and i haven't mended them, but i am sure they are filled with all sorts of lovely things. also they were never king size, so our pillow cases are huge. it's been an annoyance of mine. especially with every pregnancy. i just want new pillows, but never seemed to spend money on them. here was my opportunity. i could swap the ones at home with ones i buy for here. except with the car, and the stressful shopping trip, we ended up getting the cheapest ones we could find. not king size, and ridiculously unsupportive. i tried to keep my mouth shut, but man, i did not like those pillows!

so after many phone calls, words of encouragement, prayers and support we finally admitted that yes, we need help. it's so hard to ask for help. it's also so hard to be in the seminary, doing God's work and also trying to raise a family. our church has always been wonderful, and there they were. putting out a call. requesting support through this season of our life. new baby, no car, house problems.

soon it grew to not just our church, and area churches, but our friends, our family, facebook. then it just goes from there, and wow! people are good. a friend from far away requested a gofundme (link because someone will ask!) be set up in our name, and not long after we had enough money for option one of fixing the car. weight? lifted. breathing? easier.

the thing about this support. seeing friends from all aspects of our life. help us out. it just blows me away. i only hope that we can be a blessing to them as they have been to us.

our first donation came from an army wife i met in korea. sadly she lost her husband earlier this year. we drove down to georgia to be there for her. to lend a shoulder and hugs. to know that she was paying it forward, in graham's name, well, that was just extremely touching. i have mentioned before about those friends in korea. how they were all we had as soon as we found out about delia. they were the ones awake, and close by. that bond has proven strong, even as we are all spread out.

just to see God working, and how He pulls all things together, i just can't explain the feeling. humbled. awed. loved.
so, you are probably wondering why i kept mentioning those pillows. well, today we went to chapel with james. afterwards eliza requested a library trip, and i wanted to hit up the co-op to see if we could find some random things that we needed for the apartment. the co-op are things that people have donated to the seminary, and we can go and shop there anytime, and it's all free. clothes, kitchen items, toys, baby stuff, furniture, electronics. you never know what you will find.

today, as my friend said "it's like you put in an order, and God delivered."

the first big find was a chair and a half glider and foot rest. i got one for my birthday for home, but we had no rocking chair up here. hattie still loves to rock, and with bug coming, and hattie being attached to me, a chair and half is perfect!

then as i was looking for kid's books i thought to myself "i just need to stop." flipped through a few more, and found my favorite book as a child. the one i lost. the one my aunt that works in a used bookstore found for me. the one i lost again (too many moves!) there it was. the exact same version.

a dustbuster that i had been eyeing for who knows how long. (yes, as a mom those are on the list of things you eye!)

as we loaded the (borrowed) van up two women were carrying in donations. and wouldn't you know, the first one had two king size pillows. still in the package, which said in large letters "extra firm" i just laughed. shook my head. nodded to james. gave him the eyebrows, and we stopped them before they even walked in the doors to drop them off.

seriously. God. amazing.
new pillows!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

american girls.

it started with eliza at vbs for the morning, a cooperative hattie, those piggies and this picture.
then i couldn't help but turn it into a photo shoot. i haven't edited any of these, but i couldn't wait to share.

 nana asked if hattie could get any cuter. i replied "yep! just add piggies!"

 she is crazy about these sandals...and i am too!

 girl loves her belly.
 and with that, she was done. until after we picked eliza up. she loves this rock, and thinks she is big stuff when she can stand on it.
 eliza wasn't thrilled that they both couldn't stand on it.
 hattie wasn't happy that she had to share her rock.
 this is all eliza. she was born to be an older sister. the way she talks to hattie, melts me.

 they always make me wish i had a sister.

 hattie is pretty smitten with eliza too. although lately she has been getting a little annoyed. :)
 oh eliza, this should be a fun shoot!

 this is her "singing stomp" (stump) she was having a hard time keeping her arms down by her side. girl has flair.

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