Lucy Elizabeth

 This picture was taken on April17th, the day before Lucy's induction. I was due on April 20th. I tried everything to go into labor on my own the week before this. Jumping on the trampoline, fast walking, pineapple, and more!! As badly as I wanted to go into labor on my own...I also didn't want to be pregnant anymore and we were so excited about meeting our little girl! As far as pregnancies go...the beginning of this pregnancy was the worst out of all of them....but the end was the best! I was still very uncomfortable but nothing seemed quite as bad as in previous pregnancies. I have been going to a chiropractor for 2 months weekly, and it was wonderful!! My back is usually my biggest complaint but I felt great! I also had an inkling that this might be a smaller baby...I just didn't feel like my stomach got quite as big and I had less pain overall. Isabella was 2 and a half pounds bigger at birth and it definitely makes a big difference. The bigger the baby...the more pain...all around!
 April 18th, 2011 at 5:00 am. We were told to be at the hospital at 6 am. My parents had flown in a week earlier and so they were taking care of the other three for us! It was nice and stress free! Not a great picture...it was obviously too early!!!
 Still dark outside!! The hospital is brand new!! It opened at the end of January and it was so nice.The labor and delivery room was huge and we had large windows that looked out at Lake Erie. Too bad it was gloomy and rainy all day! We were kind of expecting the pitocin to work pretty fast and we were hoping for a baby in the early afternoon. My doctor came in at 7:15 to get me going (which I thought was pretty early...sometimes they take forever!!) He said he'd come back around lunch to break my water. The morning went slow...with not much change. I had very painful contractions almost right away. I asked for the epidural at 10am...but so did all of the other girls who were being induced that morning. The anesthesiologist ended up having to call for back-up because everyone was wanting it at the same time. I ended up being one of the last to get mine (no big deal...I could handle the contractions but was having to pee every 30 minutes and it was SO painful on top of the contractions!! I wanted the epidural so that I could have a catheter (sorry if too much info!!)  John was asked to leave while the epidural was placed ( a first) and I really wanted him there. I had no one to squeeze! It hurt...my mostly just the numbing shots. I had three of those because I could still feel too much! I hate the shots of pain that are felt down the back while it's being placed...just uncomfortable. After about an hour I could still feel too much (like the catheter being placed...ouch!) The anesthesiologist came back to see if he could help. I was so afraid that they were going to have to place it again...but he reassured me that everything had gone in nicely. My blood pressure was low so he didn't want to increase the meds but after realizing just how much I could feel he out something else in my line. Within 30 minutes I could no longer move...not a muscle. I'm not sure which was worse to me...feeling pain...or being completely immobile. I couldn't move a toe!! I also started to feel really weak and nauseous.  It took me a few hours to recover! 
They gradually upped the pitocin over a few hours until I reached the max which is 20. When my doctor came in to break my water (around noon) he kind of just put a little hole but I didn't lose much fluid which was unusual to me....I usually feel like I am going to float away.  The next few hours I still hadn't changed...was dilated to a 3 for hours!!! I did progress to 4 around 5 o'clock and when my doctor checked me then, my water really broke!!! I think that was all that I needed because after that things finally started moving. I don't think that my body even realized that my water had broke! I tried resting all day long but just couldn't relax. Finally at 7 o'clock I started to get sleepy and was closing my eyes when my nurse came in because babies heartbeat had dropped. This has happened with all of my induction babies (Hailey and Isabella) and I was so nervous about it happening again. John and I watched her heartbeat vigilantly all day long, praying for it to stay strong. SO, when she came in because of the drop I of course started to get nervous. She said it was probably a good sign that I was progressing in the labor. I started to feel pressure almost immediately (which was weird because I was still completely numb!) The nurse checked me and said that I was at a 9 and she said I'd be at a 10 in minutes. This whole time I am already feeling the need to push and the nurses are yelling at me to NOT PUSH. They are trying to get my doctor but can't reach him. The babies heart beat was back to normal again...and remained that way! Hallelujah!! Finally my doc comes running in) and he said he was doing a circumcision. I'm just glad he made it. In one push the baby was almost completely out but it took a second tiny push and she was born!! At 7:28 pm she arrived! I just kept saying "she is so small, she is so small!!" She is darker skinned like Hailey was (Izzy and Talon were both very fair skinned).
 First picture taken after delivery. She weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. and was 20 inches long! She actually left the hospital at the same weight which the pediatrician told me rarely ever happens. It could have something to do with her awesome nursing skills. She is seriously amazing!! She came out "rooting" and was trying to suck on anything she could while getting weighed and footprinted. She found her hand pretty quickly.
 Just before going up to my recovery room. She nursed for 45 minutes on each side!! Marathon nurser!
 It was so nice knowing that my children were being taken care of. My parents had everything under control which made my recovery in the hospital much easier. John actually works for the hospital and his office is in the building right next to the Women's Hospital and so he was able to go back and forth from seeing patients to visiting me. It all worked out quite nicely!! He usually spends the night with me at the hospital but I really wanted him to go home in case the kids woke up at night (which Talon and Isabella both do quite frequently). I was glad that he was able to get some real rest and get showered and ready each morning. The nurses woke me up all night long and he wouldn't have gotten any sleep! I didn't get good sleep. There are always SO many different people coming into your room. I'm amazed at the variety of people. From pictures to house cleaning and temp and blood pressure checks, and lactation specialist, medical records department. My doctors, babies doctors, etc. They sure do keep you busy! If I tried napping, I would be woken up before I even had a chance to close my eyes!!!
 The kids had been planning on visiting the hospital on Monday night but since it took forever for her to be born, they had to wait until Tuesday.
 These girls were SO excited. Smiling from ear to ear!! They are still always begging to hold her and taking turns has become an hourly thing!
 Welcome Lucy!!

 The babies in our house always come with a gift for the other children. Lucy bought Hailey and Isabella a new set of baby doll accessories...pack-n-play, bouncy seat, stroller, etc.
 She brought Talon a set of Lego's...his new favorite!!
 Grandma and Grandpa!! Probably feeling a little wiped out!!!
 We left the hospital on Wednesday April 20th and by then we were SO ready to get her home! It was cold and rainy!!
The first week home has been wonderful. The weather had been yucky and so we are all a little tired of being stuck inside but it has been so nice to be together! My parents are still here for another week which has been exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, my mom and I have both been fight a cold that has us up all night coughing. We've had headaches and runny noses. My mom lost her voice for about 5 days! My throat also hurt really badly!! Between a newborn baby who is still confused about her schedule and not feeling well, I have not slept very much! My mom tries to get me to nap all day long but I have the hardest time leaving the "party" to rest! I know I'll regret not taking advantage of the sleep later! Lucy has been such a joy to have around. She is so tiny and so sweet. I always laugh when I hear other people talking about how "good" there baby is during the first week because I feel like it's hard to really tell until about 2 weeks when they are not sleeping constantly...BUT...here I go! She is such a good baby!!! She loves her binky! She has the tiniest little squeaky cry that just makes us giggle! She does sleep all day long but when she is awake...she is content. I have to tell my kids that she is off limits sometimes just so that she can learn to sleep without being held. I have planned with each of my children to get them used to taking a bottle occasionally so that I can go to a girls night here or there within the next year. SO far so good!! She gets one bottle of formula a day and has taken it with ease! I'm trying to make my life a little simpler...and this will help a ton with that!! My recovery has been the easiest one yet also...also a big benefit of having a smaller baby! I've been engorged for 5 days now...which seems like a ridiculous amount of time. It's hard to move, sleep, nurse. Hopefully tomorrow will be better! 
I go to bed at night feeling so grateful to have this family that I have been blessed with. The overwhelming joy that comes from having children and raising a family is incredible. Thank you so much for all of the love and care that we have been given during this life changing time!! We are so thankful for you and your love and support!!!


St. Patrick's Day 2011

I thought I would introduce you to some of my fabulous Erie friends! I had been wanting to have a Pot Luck Mommy Luncheon for over a month and St. Patrick's Day was the perfect chance!
The Spread! We had some delicious choices!! There are a ton of pictures...and not a lot of text. All I have to say is that I am thankful for these women in my life. Erie is far away from all of the friends and family that we were used to having close to us and good friends are what make Erie special to me. I am so grateful for the memories that we have already made and all of the memories to come. We originally planned on living here for just one year (with a chance of staying longer). We have decided to stay for one more year for sure and probably two more. For now, this is home!
Sarah and her sweet Gwen
Teresa (who we actually had a connection with one of my great friends from Virginia Beach!)
Ashley the wonder woman! She runs miles everyday!! Amazing!!
Darling Britani! And me who is Ohhh so glad not to be pregnant anymore!!
Whatzzzzzzzzz Up Cathy!!!
Lauren is Talon nursery teacher and she is a life saver! He goes to nursery only because of her!! The whole time she was at our house he was asking her (not me) to hold him. She was holding Britani's sweet baby Beckett and he insisted she hold him too by showing her that she indeed did have room on her lap for him!
And Talon is of course in love with Jandi!! He could play with her all day long!
Sweet Lindsay
Thank you sweet friends for a wonderful afternoon!! Also pictured is Staci, Rachel, and Micah! These girls have all done so much for me!!! THANK YOU!!!! There were more wonderful women there also, so sorry I didn't have more pictures!!!


Prego Pictures

Another thing that I couldn't leave Virginia Beach without doing was have Natalie take some pictures of me. That sweet girl took pictures of ME on HER birthday. It was BEYOND windy...like kids blowing away windy! It's amazing that I don't look like I am flying in every shot she took! I was 33 weeks pregnant in these photos. I'm now 38 weeks. And 2 days. I gained 5 pounds just this last week. Ouch.
Thank you Natalie for the awesome pictures!

It's time for an update!

I cannot believe that it has been 2 months since I last blogged. That is a record for me...by a long shot! This pregnancy has seriously whipped my booty and has made EVERYTHING more challenging. I am so anxious to get my body and my life back. A small part of me feels like I will never feel the same again although I know that's not true. It's just after 9 months of feeling so shabby, you forget how you used to feel! I'm going to try hard not to complain anymore...I said I'll try!

Well winter here in Erie has been interesting! It gets beyond cold here...teens and twenties are an everyday occurrence. Snow after snow, after snow, after snow. You start to just expect that it's snowing outside...and it usually is! March and April have been even more dramatic. It'll be in the 40's and everything will melt and then the next day they'll be fresh snow. I can't even count how many times this has happened! We just keep thinking that we've seen the last snow and then BAM...there's some more!! It snowed yesterday...again...melted....again....and we will probably see more of it before summer sticks! This photo cracks me up because they are all playing gaming systems...which is not something that happens around here a whole lot. We are not a video game family...so this was rare. You get desperate when you can't go outside for months at a time!!
I never finished posting about Isabella's 4th birthday. Don't get too excited...the poor girl didn't get much of a celebration but I don't think she even noticed. I feel sorry for anyone who had a birthday within the time of me being pregnant...which was everyone except Hailey. Next years celebrations will hopefully be better! We let her pick out which restaurant she wanted to go to and she's pretty smart...she picked Chuck E Cheese's!  We bought her a big ole cake and she picked out her plates and napkins. I made party bags for the 3 kiddos and we had our own little party! It was a really fun night!
Happy as can be!!

I asked her who she wanted to invite to her birthday party and she said "Jandi's Family!" Jandi is our neighbor and my kids have all fallen deeply for her! She is easy to love!! Her sweet family consists of 3 great children and one awesome husband!! They were out of town for her birthday but we had them over for dinner as soon as they got home. I made the yummiest cupcakes...chocolate chip cream cheese filled with buttercream frosting dipped in chocolate. Yes...they could probably kill someone...but they were tasty!
Hailey's First Grade put on an adorable Valentine's Day program for the parents...she did great! John was able to take a break from work to watch her! We were then able to do crafts with her! I remember feeling so LARGELY pregnant when this photo was taken. It's funny how your perspective changes over time...I am certainly not near as large as I am today!
This was Hailey's 100 days of school project! We had a lot of fun doing this together and her class loved it!
This photo was taken at 10:31 one morning. And this next photo was taken the same day at:
10:35 in the morning. Seriously...weird! Bright blue skies!! Only 4 minutes later! Yeah...there's no road. We got used to that too. At one point we couldn't use our front door because there was inches of ice on our porch. It's not so bad when the sun is shining...it just rarely does that!!

Talon has become slightly obsessed with Dora the Explorer. He is the first of my children to actually get hooked onto one show. This is actually Diego...which is SOOOO not the same thing to him but sometimes it's the best I can do. We actually started recording them and now we have Dora coming out of our ears!! Lucky for us, he has decided that Agent Oso and Umi Zoomi are alright too. We needed a little variation. The other kids just moan and groan when Talon is watching TV because they are so sick of his usuals. We have probably been watching too much TV...also going to blame it on the winter weather!
Our children did not need MORE candy on Valentine's day so I went a little skimpy this year. Isabella got the fuzziest GREEN (her most favorite color) blanket for her birthday and the other kids loved it (John and I did too) so we decided to get them all one. Since Izzie already had one she got some special dress-ups. Hailey also got a shirt and both the girls got new sparkly shoes.

I have wanted to go back to Virginia Beach to visit all of our favorite people ever since we moved!! The timing just never worked out until February. We picked a week that John was super busy at work so that he wouldn't miss us quite so badly and I took Hailey out of school. I drove with all the kiddos the 10 hours and it was actually not bad at all. Talon watched Dora (the same one the entire drive) and the girls watched their own movies. We only stopped three times for about 10 minutes each stop. We emptied bladders...I changed Talons diaper...and then we'd be on the road again. I stayed with my favorite family The Burton's for the first half of the trip and stayed at the Village (our old apartment complex) with Natalie the second half. The picture above are some of my besties from highschool. We only saw them for about 20 minutes but still glad that we saw them!
I couldn't go to VB without getting our haircuts from Jill!! Talon totally fell asleep in the middle of his new do! He is usually screaming so it's pretty funny that he was able to relax enough to actually fall sleep. Nap times were thrown out the window on this trip so the kids just kind of crashed whenever they stopped moving! He already needs another haircut...it grows so fast! I love how the girls hair doesn't have to be cut constantly. It's one of those things about boys that is kind of a pain to me! If I knew how to do it myself, it wouldn't be a big deal...but I love it clean and I just can't keep up with it!

Poor Isabella didn't even have a chance to get comfortable before she zonked one afternoon!
We played a lot of Wii. Specifically Dance Wii. I don't even know what it's called, maybe Dance Revolution?
Really...we played a lot of it!! Hailey and Isabella totally loved it!
Natalie's birthday conveniently happened to be while we were staying with her. I was so glad to share this special day with her! Josh stayed at home while our babies all slept and we went out on the town to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate her! There were about 10 of us there...it was so fun to get together with these girls. I miss them so much!!
We just laughed our heads off and ate until we were going to pop!!!
This guy was seriously singing his HEART out for Natalie. He had a table full of ladies to impress and he did awesome. I think it was a little embarrassing for Nat...but what a show! 
I didn't take near enough photos of this trip...and I have more to blog about it and promise to do it within the next few days. My goal is to get all caught up before the baby comes!!

Family Scripture Study at our house is always exciting. John's mom bought the two little ones their own tiny scriptures (with the cutest little cases) for different holidays and they LOVE them! They are snuggled up in Isabella's bed thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Hailey is a full on reader. She loves to read the scriptures and amazes us with the words she can pronounce! So proud of her!!! It's really been a funny thing as we have gone through the process of her learning to read. It was kind of a stressful thing to me (although it probably shouldn't have been since I have my degree in education and taught lots of kids how to read). Glad she's accomplished this huge thing and can't wait for all of the learning yet to come!!

So seriously...look for more posts soon. Maybe even tonight!!