Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Family That Hangs Together...

A week or two before popping having Marley, I FINALLY ordered and received some of our maternity/family photos taken by the uber talented and uber sweet Allison, from Poetry and Prose Photography. I'm finally at that point in our house decorating, where I want to smother our walls in photos... some taken by me, others taken by other photographers so that I might get in some of the photos! I knew when decorating our entry way... or as many call it, foyer... that I wanted to have a bunch of our latest photos hung and for guests/visitors to admire as they are entering our house. Not to mention, it's a high traffic area that we're constantly going "in" and "out... and each time we pass by, I get to be reminded of my sweet family...

I wanted an inexpensive way to display photos that would be changed out regularly. I've used clipboards and wire frames with clothes pins in other rooms (I'll share those throughout the upcoming weeks) and wanted a little bit of a different look. I've seen others who have used vintage pant hangers to display photos or graphic prints, and decided that I needed to try it out for myself. I'm sure you could find a bunch at a thrift store or if you're out antiquing... but for me, my time is limited these days. If you do a general search on etsy for them, you'll see a bunch of shops that sell them. I found a bunch from this one shop, who was selling them for $3.00 a hanger, and decided to jump right on the sale. I love that I'll be able to change out the photos as we grow and change (hopefully that's more so for the girls, than for the hubby and myself)... already, I want to replace 2 of the photos with some of Marley. She needs to be added to the wall, from our newborn session we had with Allison when she was just 10 days old... as soon as I order more prints, that's the plan.

Because the area is a very low light area, we decided to hang our old German window frame mirror (it weighs a TON) on the other side, to create some depth... We picked up the frame from an old antique market in Belgium for a crazy low amount of money (can't remember the exact amount), and then had glass put in the panes, while we lived in Korea. It's been "itching" for a "home", and the foyer was just the spot for it.

Who could resist a reflection full of photos? (If you look close enough, you'll see some Marley spit up on the bottom of my white shirt... yup, right in the middle of photos, the little one decided to gift me with some of her afternoon milk feeding.) 

And to add some bold colors to the mix and to tie in the living room colors, I chose this rug from Target. 

** Some of you asked what the color of our front door is... it's "Aquarium" by Sherwin-Williams, and then is antique glazed. **

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Never Ending Cycle

Anybody else feel like when you look up the word "motherhood" in the dictionary... that the word "exhaustion" should be RIGHT next to it? Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade it for the world... but, I'm finally starting to hit the wall, especially with the low number of hours of sleep that my body is receiving. I'm fairly certain these days, I'm just operating on "auto pilot" mode... in a sort of zombie state of mind... but again, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

These days, I've really been looking forward to the weekends... not that I didn't before, but I REALLY do now. There's nothing quite like having an extra pair of hands (thanks Daddy), some adult interaction, and being able to stay in my pjs as long or as late as I want to. Wait, that last one doesn't apply, I do that during the week. Yeah, I'm that Mom who drops off her child in her pjs (it's a car drop off... so who'll notice me anyways!)

There are so many mornings where I drop Charlotte off at school, get back to the house, and by the time I look at my phone, it's noon, and I wonder where all that time went! Seriously, I think all I do while Charlotte's at school, is feed Marley, change Marley's diapers, rock Marley to sleep, and repeat the cycle. Occasionally, I get to clean the dishes from the night before, throw a load of laundry in (but that won't get folded and put away until another day), vacuum, or possibly sit down to use the bathroom... but, there's never a guarantee on any of those on any given day. Shower... what's that?

The repetitive routine... or never ending cycle of the feeding, diapers, rocking... is something that this sporadic individual is NOT used to... but for this little number, I think I can manage to give into it.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Beacon

Kindergarten... I cannot believe it... but my little girl started Kindergarten today. While I've been praying ALL day long... wait, strike that, ALL week long... wait, strike that, ALL month long...wait, strike that... I've been praying ever since we made the decision to put her into school this year... and I'm sure she's having THE TIME OF HER LIFE right now. A few days ago we went to open house at her school, to meet her teacher, see where she'd be sitting in class, check out the cafeteria and drop off all of her supplies...

Upon entering her classroom, she introduced herself to her teacher, and stated, "I love to learn... let's get busy"... I knew in that moment, that today, her first day of school, was going to be fabulous... 

Today, dropping her off, I asked her if she wanted me to walk her in... and she said, "No, I've got this Mommy..." That being said, I totally held her hand the entire walk from the car to the classroom... maybe it wasn't for her, but it was definitely for me. To see her be so bold and confident and courageous, felt unreal to witness. My little girl... the one whose learning ability I doubted when we first met her, and saw how developmentally delayed she was... my little girl... the one who was practically mute when we first met her... my little girl... the one who was the size of a 1.5 year old at age 3.5 years old... that girl.. my girl, made it to Kindergarten today. We're taking each day as they happen... and focusing on the now. I was a little nervous to let her "go" and not to homeschool, but I think in the end, for now, the choice seems right... it fits. I know many wouldn't agree with our decision... but I feel at peace about it. I was in prayer over her ALL day today... and God kept telling me the same thing... that He needs beacons in the schools to shine His light. I think He couldn't have a brighter beacon... truly. 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

A Day in the Life...

... of a mother of a 5 year old and 1 month old...

Today was the very first day that I did the gig as a Mommy to two sweet little girls, all by myself. The first week Daddy was home... and then we've had 3 weeks of family visiting... but today, I was solo, from 7-5 (well, we got home from the park around 5:30). I wasn't sure what to expect, but figured I'd try and document each and every hour something that occurred...

7:00 am: breakfast with my 5 year old... Vidia, the fairy, had to join along...

8:00 am: morning stretches with my 1 month old... she's a later riser than her sister...

9:00 am: morning chores... dishes, laundry... as much as I can get done before the littlest starts to cry because she's not being held.

10:00 am: painting nails... I promised her colored fingernails for her first day of school tomorrow, and lets face it, it's a way to get her to stay still for more than 5 minutes.

11:00 am: a little fresh air break... 

12:00 pm: normally we'd be having lunch... but because we had 2 massive spitups, aka mucous rockets... we opted for bath time. 

1:00 pm: FINALLY lunch time.

2:00 pm: Some quiet time for Mommy... Charlotte gets to play/watch on the iPad, Marley was napping, and I was busy editing photos. 

3:00 pm: Happy Hour at Sonic stop, on our way to the playground. Charlotte LOVES her 20 cent water with ice... she calls it her "special drink"... the girl doesn't like much but water and milk. 

4:00 pm: At the playground, while Charlotte was having fun sliding, exploring, making friends with everyone that was there, etc.... I was busy taking in the sights of my Marley. She's so entertaining with all the different faces she makes. Sidenote: dare I say that she's actually starting to like her car seat?

5:00 pm: Laying out her outfit for her first day of Kindergarten tomorrow...  

6:00 pm: Dinner from Wendy's... why? Because I COMPLETELY got sidetracked, and forgot to turn on the crock pot this morning... yup, can't win them all. 

7:00 pm: Swings from Daddy before bath and bedtime... 

All in all, I can't complain... it was a great day... it went way better than I thought it would... 

Things not photographed: 2 huge spit ups... thank you Marley Wren, 1 bloody heel from new shoes... sorry Charlotte Wray (at least we broke them in before school tomorrow), and 1 Mommy who didn't shower all day (after this blog post posts, I just might be hopping in the tub to soak). 

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dear Marley (1 Month)

Dear Marley,

1 month... it's been 1 month since you came into this world, and we met you face to face... wow.

You have rocked our world in more ways than one little girl... Just when we think we have 1 thing figured out (like your sleep schedule, or your cries, etc.) you like to switch it up on us... you know, to keep us on our toes. You are a spitfire dear one. You sure like to "tell" us when you're not enjoying that pee pee diaper (seriously... within 2 minutes of tinkling, you want us to change you), or when you need more to eat PRONTO, or when you have gas... at first you used to go from 0-10 in less than 10 seconds... and now, I think it only takes you between 2-5 seconds flat. But once we've figured out what it is you're "telling" us to do, you're as content as can be.

You love just being held, and honestly, it's alright with us. You'll sleep for a little in your rocking bassinet... but for the most part, your favorite place to sleep, is nestled in your Mommy's arms. Some of the longest lengths that you've slept at night (5 hours), have been on Mommy's chest... it's just your happy place.

In this 1st month, family and friends have travelled hours to see you/meet you... and snuggle you. So far you've met both sets of grandparents, Tante Tini & Uncle Mike and your 5 cousins, Uncle Joey, Aunt Courtney, and Uncle Georg & Tante Chris... you don't know it... but you were spoiled BIG time during those 3 weeks... they love you so much.

You also met your pediatrician, Dr. Wilbur for the first time... and I must say, we're impressed. He's a gentle old fella' who seems to have that "house call Dr. " feel. He's wise, and often answers Mommy's questions with... "You gotta trust your mother's intuition"... He believes in us... and well, we have kept you alive for 1 month! You've gained back the weight you initially lost, and then some... and have grown 2 inches... I'd say, you're doing just fine. We love seeing all your rolls and dimples and folds come alive on your body... you're filling out, and that means we're doing exactly what we're supposed to do... and you're doing exactly what you're supposed to do. We work quite well, together, as a team.

When you're awake, and alert, we can't help but stare into your eyes. Oh they're HUGE... and innocent, and we love how they're just taking in everything. We wonder what color eyes you'll have... we're hoping for green, just like both Mommy's and Daddy's.

Oh and that hair... don't even get us started about your hair. It's definitely unruly like Mommy's... with that bit of curl. You have Daddy's "widow's peak", and cow licks in the front, just like his. Each day your hair seems to get lighter... but thankfully the thickness remains.

Those long fingers... we're positive those are Mommy's long fingers... but those bent in pinkys... that's actually a Daddy trait that you inherited... both of his pinky fingers bend in as well... we're so happy that you and Daddy can share such quirky traits. Also, let the record state that in your first month, you mastered the "Live long and prosper" Star Trek greeting (the second shot, after the close up of your fingers).

Your belly umbilical cord/clamp fell off at day 4... and your Mommy freaked out. She thought that it would take many more days than 4 for that thing to fall off... but thank goodness for Google... according to the forums, it's not that unheard of for your cord to fall off from 3 days onward. As long as it's kept dry... realistically it can happen at any point... no set date... and oh look... your belly button is pure perfection.

Every time Mommy looks at your feet, she remembers how you used to kick her in her ribs constantly... and it is no surprise that it used to feel like you were bruising her from the inside out. Those flipper feet are ALL Daddy... and we can't wait to see what you'll use them for... secretly Daddy's hoping for a swimmer.

Oh how we adore seeing you and your sister interact. For right now, you just look at her strangely... but really, she looks at you in just the same way. She LOVES checking to see if you made a mess in your diaper, and is always willing to help. She doesn't understand why you cry so much (we've tried explaining over and over that it's how you communicate)... and repeatedly tells you, "Marley, stop complaining..." It's going to be fantastic watching your relationship with her grow over the years... and the best part... is that Mommy and Daddy have front row tickets to that performance. It's going to be entertaining, to say the least.

Marley Wren... in this first month... you've changed so much... you need to slow down. Just like we did with your sister, we're trying to savor each and every moment with you...

You sweet girl, have brought so much joy into all of our lives (along with a countless number of sleepless nights, but whose counting?) ... we will never stop thanking God for you...


Daddy, Mommy and Charlotte
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Little Girl, Our Marley Wren

July 17, 2013... a date that's engraved in my brain... for life. Even though induction was scheduled for the 16th, the little Miss, still had to make things happen on her own terms.

When I think back (wow, it's nearly been a month!)... it still feels like a dream... nothing is 100% fresh in my mind anymore... because all I can focus on, is my little one, and her cuteness. But what I can remember, I shall try my best to document in this post... more so for me, to look back on... and to share with Marley Wren when she's ready to hear her story.

Tuesday, July 16th at 8:00 am, I was admitted into the Children's Hospital of Oklahoma to start my induction. After getting checked in, we were welcomed and settled into our labor and delivery room by our sweet nurse, Anna... who wanted us to refer to her as "Anna Banana" if we were so inclined to. We were greeted by my midwife Dusti, and asked what our "birth plan" was. Hmm... birth plan. Hmm... the hubby and I looked at each other and laughed. So many people have shared "tid bits" along the way, and expectations... and in the end, I knew I didn't want to go into labor/delivery with a "plan". What we knew, was that we wanted to have a healthy girl by the end of this delivery. We had no plan, and shared with Anna and Dusti that we were as open as we could be, that we wanted to go as natural as possible, but if our little one's life was in jeopardy, that we weren't opposed to whatever they needed to do to "get her out". My only request, was for "delayed cord clamping". I wanted to have direct skin on skin as soon as she was out, and wanted to delay the cord cutting, so that she could receive as much oxygenated blood as possible, before the umbilical cord stopped pulsing. Now, let the record show, I'm not making fun of anyone who has had a "birth plan"... it was just something that wasn't for "us". Everyone that knows me, knows that I'm a free spirit, sporadic kind of gal, who would rather adapt to the situation at hand. The last thing I wanted, was to feel disappointed if something started to veer away from my birth plan. After all, one way or another, she was "coming out"...

At around 11:00 we were settled into our room, and was hooked up to an IV and pitocin drips... I was actually having some mild contractions before we were even at the hospital, but they become steadier and stronger once the pitocin started. When my midwife did the first "check" to see how much I dilated... I was told some news that I hadn't heard before... that she could feel built up scar tissue from my previous miscarriages, from the D&C's, and that I hadn't dilated not even a centimeter. She started to "massage" the scar tissue to try and break it down some, to help with my dilation, and in a matter of moments, I went from no centimeters... to 1 cm... to 2 cm... to 3 cm... to 4 cm. I kid you not. She broke down all that scar tissue, and was able to kickstart my dilation. I was hopeful... the contractions started to get a little more frequent and intense...

I started off on the ball, and bounced for an hour... lots of rocking and swaying, even though she was already "super low and in position"... and then did a little walking. Around 5:00 pm, I started bouncing again... and when I stood up to start walking again, around 5:30 pm, my water broke... but wait... it wasn't like a gushing feeling... in fact, at the time, I wondered whether or not I had tinkled my underpants or if my water broke, because the liquid just started to dribble down my leg. I sent my sweet hubs out of the room to fetch Anna to come in, and check what had just happened... and as I waited, more and more water started to trickle down my leg... surely I couldn't have had an "accident", this had to be my amniotic fluid. Sure enough, Anna took a test with a strip of paper to determine whether or not it was urine or fluid... and it was my fluid. As I continued to walk the hallways, my water continued to make its way out. You hear stories for some women of how it's this gushing flood of water... and for others, their water doesn't break until they're in the "pushing" zone... but for me, it just sort of leaked out of me slowly... but boy did it bring on some serious contractions, stronger and longer.

I spent the better half of the next 5 hours laboring in the tub, walking and bouncing... My labor and delivery nurse Anna's shift was over... and I was handed over to Allison, who was just as sweet and caring. She had only been a labor and delivery nurse for 6 months, but she did awesome.  Always made sure I felt comfortable enough, had enough popsicles, brought in extra pillows... and at around 11:00 pm, I was ready to be checked again.

With how tough these contractions were, taking the breath out of me, I was sure, after 5 hours, I HAD to be dilated to at least 6 or 7 centimeters... but when my midwife came in to check, she shook her head in disbelief... "I think it's only 5 cm ... maybe 5... definitely 4 cm still.. maybe 5...", she said.  UGH. Not the words that I wanted to hear... 5 hours of laboring hard, and I barely even made it a cm... I was overcome with doubt in my mind, discouragement that I'd be able to do this without being medicated... I had labored for nearly 12 hours, with only clear liquids in me, and still wasn't even halfway there with dilation. I looked over at my hubby... and he must have seen how upset I was in my eyes. I told him that he needed to decide for me, because I didn't want to have a "control" issue... I didn't want my selfish reasons to get in the way... he answered, "Karen, you've already proved to me how strong you are... if you get an epidural, you'll still be a hero in my eyes... and you can still push her out, it's just going to give you "some rest"..." I shook my head in agreement, and my midwife 100% supported our decision, thinking that it was wise that I try and "catch some rest". She believed that rest was what I needed. She hoped that "magic" would happen during that rest, and that she would check on me a few hours after the epidural was administered, to see if I progressed a little.

Two gentleman strolled in moments later... my two anesthesiologists that were pretty comedic. They bantered back and forth so much, that I barely even noticed what they were doing (since I was still trying to breathe through contractions). I felt a few "bee stings" in the mid section of my back, and some pressure, and all of a sudden, it was done. My legs became numb... my toes stopped wiggling, and I was able to only feel pressure in my tummy throughout each contraction. relief. amazing relief. And with that, I was able to sleep for a few hours. Around 3:00 am, I woke up from a dream in sheer panic... I'm not sure why I freaked out so much, but at this point, my legs and toes were completely pins and needles, that it was almost "scary" for me... I could see them, but I couldn't move them. I immediately ran Allison's bell, and questioned her... "How am I going to push this baby out of me if I can't feel my legs?" "Am I supposed to be able to wiggle my toes?", etc. She reassured me that it was exactly what I was intended to feel, so that I could rest... but that if I wanted to have a lower dosage for my epidural, that she would call the anesthesiologist. Minutes later, one of the guys from earlier walked in... I shared the same concerns with him, and he reaffirmed that my legs would regain feeling all over again as soon as the epidural wore off. I asked him to lower the amount that was being administered... and he did... that way maybe it would wear off sooner, rather than later. At 5:00 am, I woke up with a strange desire to be checked again, and asked Allison to find Dusti... it was as though my body knew it was ready... even though at the time, I didn't know.

Dusti came into the room close to 5:30, and when she went to check me, she was completely startled and caught off guard. In the 5.5 hours that I was under the epidural's influence, I dilated 5+ cm... because she was able to see my little one's full head of hair. I was THERE, and ready to push and meet our little one. Both Dusti and Allison went into "Go" mode, getting the room prepared/ready for delivery... and by 6:00... it began. At first my sweet husband had all intentions on staying up by me, holding my hand, and encouraging each and every push through the contractions... but when Dusti asked him to hold my left leg in a squat position, he knew where he needed to be. He watched through each and every push as she inched her way out... 15 contractions later... at 6:38 am, our little one, Marley Wren Davis entered this world...

She was immediately placed on my bare chest, and once the cord was done pulsing, my husband was able to cut the cord. They suctioned her passageways out while she laid on my body, and let her snuggle with me, skin to skin for nearly 30 minutes, while they stitched me up (I only had minor tearing). They then took her over to "clean" her up, measure her, and take her footprints.

Our little Marley measured in at a whopping 7 lbs 11 oz, just like her Daddy did when he was born, and 20.5 inches long. She completely stole our hearts the moment she laid her eyes on us...

To say we are smitten... is an understatement... who wouldn't want to munch on those scrumptious little lips? This sweet little girl has been our little miracle, and blessing...  I've been a little absent from this blog... but, just know it's because these last few weeks I've been busy smooching on this sweet baby girl... our little girl... our Marley Wren. 
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