Saturday, March 28, 2015

two weeks

 I am not a newborn photographer.
But I am Christian's biggest fan, (although Nick would debate that...he's quite the adoring big brother!)
so I made time yesterday to take some pictures of him.

We're averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night (total), he wants to nurse 24/7, and I've come down with mastitis (ugh!),
but still, I'm certain life doesn't get any better than this.
I really mean it.
 Because I get to kiss those velvet cheeks and gaze into those deep blue eyes every day. 
And, he's started smiling.
I know everyone says babies can't truly smile until 8 weeks,
but there's no denying that he's really smiling when he looks us straight in the eyes and grins while we talk to him.

He's a little love.
 And because I've done this before, I know that the sleepless nights,
the endless nursing sessions,
the new-parent brain fog--
all this will end very very soon.

So for now, I'll just be grateful for whatever sleep I can get
and hold his floppy squishy body close, loving his little puppy breaths on my neck.

Happy 2 weeks, little Christian. Mama's so glad you're here.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

welcome Christian

 March 11
11:37 pm
Our Christian Blain decided to join us.
He's a love. All 8 lbs, 12 oz and 22 inches of him.

 His arrival was everything I wanted it to be.  One of the most difficult, intense, spiritual, peaceful, and beautiful moments of my life. I felt loved, supported, and strong. 

And just when I thought maybe I wasn't strong enough, there he was, in my arms,
right where he belongs.

It was a moment of heaven.
 We felt extra lucky because the very day he was born the hospital lifted the visitors age restrictions (no one under the age of 14 had been allowed because of the flu season),
so Nicholas and Ellie were able to come visit us the next morning.

Our family of five!

 It was my sister Sarah's birthday on the 12th (as well as my cousin, one of my cousin's children, and Kent's brother!) 
We were betting Christian would be born on the 12th as well, but he hurried up and just barely made it on the 11th. 
He wanted his own special birthday, I'm sure.

We had to stay a night longer than I wanted to in the hospital (after about 20 hours or so I'm ready to get out of there!) because he was born so late at night and some of the newborn tests need to be done exactly 24 hours after birth....and although I tried, they weren't too excited about discharging us at midnight....

but it ended up being kinda nice to just be there, in the quiet, just the three of us.

When it was time to leave, though, we were more than happy to be out of there. 
The drive home felt kind of surreal; I wasn't pregnant anymore! Our baby is here! 
What a relief!

 And we were so happy to be welcomed home by balloons, a banner, posters the kids colored, and two very enthusiastic older siblings.

 Nicholas adores Christian. He will sit and hold Christian for as long as we let him--he's so sweet and gentle.
He's been the best big brother so far; unbelievably helpful and obedient and just all around sweet.
The afternoon we came home, Nick just kept saying "I'm so happy, we have our very own just born baby!"

Ellie seems so grown up now, I'm always a little sad about how that happens. 
She is so soft and sweet, she especially loves to look at his tiny ears and fingers and toes.
She's been very emotional since we left for the hospital to have Christian; I'm sure it's a huge change in her little life, and hopefully we can help her work it out soon.
 My wonderful mom was here to watch the kids while we were gone, 
and on Saturday, instead of just going home, she packed up the kids and took them with her. 
 I can't even say how much this has helped me and Kent.
Christian is decidedly not a good sleeper so far (he pretty much just doesn't during the night) and I can't even imagine trying to get up and be a good (or even acceptable!) mother for the other kids right now.

They're having fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and in a few days, when I'm a little more healed and hopefully just a teeny bit more rested,
we'll get them back again.

Until then, Kent, Christian, and I are taking it easy, resting in our quiet nest,
kissing velvety baby skin, getting lots of floppy baby cuddles, and sniffing a newborn baby head several times an hour (okay, that's mostly just me...)

Welcome to the world, Christian!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

what to love about the last month of pregnancy

Somehow, almost too fast for me to realize, 
I've gone from this:

To this:

As with Ellie's pregnancy, we found out three weeks ago that I'm over halfway progressed as far as labor goes (so technically I'm in active labor??), and each day I have a moment or two where I find myself wondering, is this it? Is it time?
And then the contractions go away, or I go to bed and wake up feeling just fine again. 

So we wait. 
I told myself I wouldn't let it bother me this time around (I very nearly lost my mind those last three weeks of Ellie's pregnancy,) but really.
This is maddening. 
I'm trying so very hard to be patient and remind myself that my little guy is probably learning some important last-minute things up there in heaven,
but I find myself praying that he'll just learn maybe a leeeetle bit quicker? and come join us?

The problem is, when I have preterm labor scares early on, I feel this urgency to get everything ready for baby. Clothes sorted, diapers bought, crib set up, blankets washed and folded, hospital bags packed, babysitters lined up and on-call, after-baby menu plans made, house deep cleaned, etc. 
Because, what if he comes early? I need to be ready.

And then baby doesn't come early. (Which is great news, of course!)
But I'm ready.
And there's nothing left to do 
but wait.

So, here's my attempt at finding the great things even though I just want to sit around and be grumpy and fat and tired.

My baby bump has become an artistic medium. The children sticker me up nearly every day. We're almost out of stickers.

I have the greatest hair right now. So thick, so shiny and soft. Every day is a great hair day, and it won't be like that after the baby is born and I start losing it by the handful.

We're taking advantage of our last days (for a season) with children who are flexible (no naps!), easy to get out of the house, and can be out and about without supplies.  We've gotten cupcakes and donuts, gone out to eat several times (double awesome because then I don't have to try and think of what to make for dinner), met Daddy for lunch during the day, and enjoyed running errands on Saturdays without having to haul a diaper bag or sippy cups along.

My house is super clean most of the time, because I go to bed each night wondering if this is going to be "the night," so I clean as if we'll have to call one of those babysitters over at 2 am.

Also? The nesting hormones make me a crazy woman.
I find myself cleaning baseboards with baby wipes, scrubbing the corners of our showers, constantly organizing toys and books, deep cleaning and vacuuming the van, folding all blankets and clothing in all of our closets, and taking the vacuum completely apart so I can scrape out the grime with toothpicks (not even kidding....crazy, I know.) 

The kids have learned how to be super helpful around the house, and I'm loving it. They will happily (most of the time) clean up their messes, vacuum the floor, help me mop, and fetch things for me.  They are so sweet, and they seem to understand that my body hurts, but that it will be better soon. For this, they're much more patient than their mother. 

I'm oddly claustrophobic when I'm pregnant (and only when I'm pregnant), and having all three of my children all stuffed together around my middle just about makes me scream.  I've gotten good at taking deep breaths and pretending like it doesn't bother me, 

and on the plus side, I haven't been cold a single day this winter. It's been an extremely mild winter, anyway, but even on the cold days I've been great, and usually my fingers and toes are perpetually icy in the winter.

And most importantly, I've been able to recognize how my relationship with Heavenly Father is deeper, closer, and more instantly connected when I'm pregnant. I've learned that He is right there, my heart is softer and my spirit needs Him more.  

So, while I really want to have this baby any day now, while I love my son and ache to meet him and hold him in my arms (and not have him smashing into my hip socket),

I'm going to try my very best to see the beauty in the last month and just be here, one day at a time.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

sunday snapshot

So I've figured out my writing funk of the past nine months.
Read on if you're interested in the deep thoughts of someone 38.6 weeks pregnant. (Feel free to skip to the brain feels very disjointed tonight, so I'm about to ramble.)

I learned long ago that I am chatty when I'm happy, quiet when I'm not.  My sister is the same way.  You can tell how happy we are simply by how much we're saying. (For the record, Sarah is happy more often than I am.)

Several people have commented on how they like to read my blog because it's always positive. 
My life is not always chipper (I'm a mom!), but I typically only write blog posts when I'm feeling chatty,
which is when I'm feeling happy.

Being pregnant with two other young children who depend on me is wonderful, but also very draining.
By the time the kids are in bed (when I'd usually write blog posts), I'm way too tired to be chatty.
And so I don't write.

Long story short, this blog needs some added pizzaz.
Here begins my Sunday Snapshots series.

On Sundays, I'll be sharing a picture from my past, and what it makes me think of:

Summer, circa 1995 (96?)

I was eight. (nine?)

Our summers, springs, and falls were spent outside, playing, digging, exploring, creating, running. Sidewalk chalk, swingset, sandbox, mud pies, finding bugs, melted popsicles, picnics on the grass.

Gotta love how my brother is rocking those hot pink swim shorts. His lanky body reminds me of Nicholas right now.

And my sister looks a lot like Ellie to me.

I love seeing the tablecloth my mom set up on the folding table for our picnic--because it's something I would do, and I like thinking that I'm becoming more and more like her.

The flowers in the front of the house make me happy too.  My parents rented that little house (I think it was like 600-700 square feet?) for seven years. 
The windows let in frost in the winter and didn't open for ventilation in the summer. We had mice, holes in the foundation, wasps nests in the walls, and a water heater that needed it's pilot light re-lit nearly daily. One tiny bathroom, tired flooring, brown striped wallpaper. It was an old, run down, worn out house with a landlord who kept raising the rent.
But as a child, I didn't notice any of that.
(Except the wasps...I do remember my brother getting stung once when he jumped on the couch.)
My parents worked so very hard to make it a happy, clean, safe home for us, and to provide for us with what little they had.
My dad took great pride and care in keeping the yard neat and clean, and my mom worked endlessly in her gardens, growing food and flowers. 
Growing up there, all I knew was love, safety, and happiness in those tiny walls.

The faded red slat fence around our neighbor's backyard has a big presence in my memory. Vines from their garden would often grow through the fence and we'd find a pumpkin on our side in the fall. They also grew chives and I loved to pick them, just to smell the broken stems.

Alongside our house were two big lilac bushes. They were beautiful in the spring, heavy with periwinkle blooms.  

Our house was just two blocks away from Utah's theme park, Lagoon. They used to have a little mini zoo there too, and every night in the summer we could hear the screams of people on the roller coasters, the booming voices of the contest announcers, and then, after the park closed, as I'd lay in bed I could hear the roars of the lions late into the night.

I didn't realize how unusual it was to fall asleep to the sound of lions. I was too busy planning the next day of sprinkler-running, picnicking, and pretending to find fairies living behind the lilac leaves.