Calvin's Birth Story

So, Calvin is totally getting the typical "second child" treatment. Baby book? Ha! And I'm just now getting around to writing his birth story 3 months later. Never mind that Anderson's was written 9 days later. But seriously, he is SUCH a sweet baby! He eats & sleeps great and he's overall just a sweet boy. We are totally in love!

I went unmedicated with Anderson and it was HARD. Very hard. I also had a very difficult & long recovery. Anderson was around 12 weeks old before I began to physically feel normal again. Needless to say, I had A LOT of anxiety about labor, delivery & postpartum healing this time around. In fact, I was anxious about it from the moment I found out I was pregnant & it was something that I prayed about throughout my entire pregnancy and lots of friends & family were also praying. 

I remained undecided about whether to go unmedicated or not the whole time. At my 36 week appointment I was dilated 2cm and of course got excited. But my due date (Monday 07/21) came & went. On my due date I decided I wanted to be induced. My doctor was very surprised since I was so adamant about not being induced with Anderson. But I had eventually ended up on pitocin with Anderson so I knew I could handle it. 

I really wanted to be admitted the next day since my doctor was on call but the hospital was already full for that day so we scheduled it for Wednesday (07/23). My doctor wasn't on call but another doctor that I really liked was on call for that day so I was ok with it.

I was super anxious the night before. Ignorance had been bliss the first time around but this time I knew what was coming...or so I thought. We spent the night with my parents since we had to be at the hospital so early & we didn't want to have to wake Anderson up. 

We arrived at the hospital & I wasn't in labor. It was kind of weird. It was like we were checking into a hotel. They took us to our room & I changed into the ever-glamorous hospital gown. The doctor on call came in & talked about the game plan for the day & prayed with us. He wanted to check me & then break my water & get the pit started. I asked if we could wait on breaking my water & he wanted to know why. I told him I wanted it to act as a natural pain barrier to which he replied, "That's false. No pain no gain. But you're driving the boat so I won't do it but I really think we should." I said I would be open to it but for now I just wanted to wait on breaking it. 

He checked me & said I was barely dilated. I was shocked because on my EDD my doctor had said I was 2cm/70% effaced & a great candidate for an induction. I was really discouraged. 

When the doctor left I asked our wonderful L&D nurse about it & she said this doctor was usually pretty conservative on his measurements & I would do great. So we settled in. The pit was started & we were just hanging out. I was having little contractions but nothing significant at all. We were watching TV & chatting. The doctor came by an hour & a half later, re-checked & there wasn't really any change. I was bummed but not surprised since I wasn't feeling anything.

More than anything, at this point, I was really hungry. That was my biggest concern at the moment. I hadn't been able to eat or drink anything & kept talking about how hungry I was. Our nurse did negotitate a lime popsicle for me so that was really nice & helped pep me up a little.

They were upping the dosage of the pit & I did eventually notice the contractions. It started to get to a point that I was needing to focus through the contractions. Andrew was awesome. He got my essential oils for me & held them under my nose while I breathed them in & focused through the contraction. One thing that really helped me work through contractions with Anderson was to picture myself going up a mountain & then walking back down the other side so this is what I did while breathing in my oils. I started out with lavender which was great but as the contractions became more intense I requested Valor. It really helped me to focus, kept my anxiety in check & was really pleasant. Andrew would rub my feet or hand or lower back through contractions as well as talk me through it. Seriously, he was wonderful.

Our nurse was so sweet. And she was super laid back & let us do our thing, She was good at encouraging Andrew which I thought was really sweet since he needed encouragement too!

The doctor came back around 10:00 to check me & could tell that they had picked up in intensity just by looking at my face but they weren't crazy or anything. I was able to relax between contractions & enjoy conversation. {Very unlike my first L&D experience}.

When he came in he reminded me that we would need to break my water to get things "really going". He checked me & was shocked because I was 5cm. He said he was fine with waiting to break it if I still wanted to wait. He was really pleasantly surprised at how well I was progressing. I asked him about the epidural & if he thought I should or shouldn't get it. Of course he said it was totally up to me but he thought I was a great candidate for going unmedicated & I was already doing great. Then he hit me with, "Just remember transition is coming up & that's when you lose it." 

Oh, I remember transition. And that pretty much sealed the deal for the epidural. I had already gone unmedicated & I knew I could do it. I was doing it now & it was fine but honestly I did not enjoy my last L&D at all. It was so hard, painful & long & I felt totally out of it. I don't even remember if Anderson was crying when he first came out & I don't think I really cried at first either. I was just so stinking tired & so very, very glad that it was all over with.

Things started getting more intense pretty quickly. The nurse called for the epidural & they put it in no problem. Seriously, it was no big deal at all. It didn't hurt & everything went quickly & smoothly. I worked through a few more contractions while waiting for it to take effect but I didn't feel like it was doing much. I started to get a little panicky which made it difficult to stay focused through the contractions but Andrew was a great help. Staying on top of my anxiety was definitely the hardest part. Way harder than the physical side of it. 

She checked me (this was around 10:30/10:45) & I was at a 7. Transition. She called the anesthesiologist back & he immediately came in & gave me a "boost". He said I was progressing so quickly I just needed a little more. After the boost I felt GREAT! In fact, I couldn't feel anything. It was awesome. I had no idea when I was having a contraction. I was just watching TLC & chatting. I was definitely still nervous though because I knew delivery was coming soon. The doctor came back in around 11:00 & checked me & I was fully dilated! 10cm!!! He jokingly asked if it would be ok to break my water now :-)

He broke it & they began to tell me when I was having a contraction so I would know when to push. This was TOTALLY different than last time since last time I knew exactly when to push & wanted to keep pushing. This time I had no idea when I needed to do it & I promise the only reason I could do it is because I had done it before. I really couldn't feel anything so I kept asking if I was doing it & if I was doing it correctly. They were all so encouraging & said I was doing great. Well, they were right. 30 minutes later at 11:39 a.m. our sweet James Calvin was born! He was crying & I was crying & Andrew was crying. It was such a sweet, precious moment. One I will always cherish & remember. It was wonderful. I felt so aware & relaxed & "in the moment". I immediately thought he looked like Anderson but as time has gone on he looks less & less like him.

He immediately nursed well & has continued to do so and other than his random sickness at 3 weeks old that included a lengthy hospital stay he has been great! He goes with the flow, sleeps wonderfully, eats a lot & has lots of sweet smiles to share. I healed wonderfully this time & have been SO GRATEFUL for all who prayed for us. It was definitely an answer to pray & I continually thank Jesus for his grace.


Our Summer

Being at the end of my pregnancy in the middle of summertime, with a toddler to care for, has been a little tricky. I never want to go outside. I can't stop sweating. I wake up in the middle of the night & I swear Andrew has turned the heat on. But no, he hasn't. So then I wake him up to turn the fan up higher or turn the air down lower. Or both. But I NEVER want to go outside. This is a bit of a quandry seeing as how Anderson LOVES being outside. I decided we must compromise. Of course we plan swim play dates & he plays in the yard...

...but about 2 days a week we just stay home, inside and he gets to play outside when Daddy gets home. Besides, it's cooler then so it works out. But what's a toddler to do inside when he doesn't want to "play toys" anymore? {I will say Anderson is very good about playing by himself & will "play toys" alone for 30 minutes - an hour depending on his mood}.

I put us on a routine when we moved. Andrew calls it a schedule but I tell him it's a routine because routines are more flexible than schedules. He just rolls his eyes. Either way we've been on our routine for about a month or so now & it's been really great! We obviously do not follow it exactly every single day but on "stay-at-home days" it's been wonderful. 

My friend shared their family routine on her blog & I thought it was great so I'll share ours as well just in case you might be interested.

7-9 - wake-up time / breakfast / TV time
9-9:30 - Table Time {Anderson & I do some sort of "school" activity or craft. Usually centered on a book}
9:30-10 - Snack Time / Bible Time {this isn't super involved. Sometimes I just read a Psalm or a verse or 2 related to an issue we're dealing with. For a few weeks he was really "scawed" of shadows & monsters so I would read verses related to fear}
10-11 - Free play {while he plays I usually do housework}
11-11:30 - Lunch
11:30-12:30 - Free play
12:30 - Music/Listening time {I put on a CD of instrumental music, usually a sleepytime Mozart CD we have, & we talk about what instruments we hear. We'll pretend to play them or he'll bounce around on the couch. I have to remind him we are practicing self-control & to listen. Usually he calms down after several songs & will say, "Wub back me" so I'll rub his back while we listen to the music & he usually falls asleep}
1-4 - Nap time {GLORIOUS NAP TIME}
4-Daddy gets home - Free play / TV time / Dinner prep
Daddy gets home - Dinner / Catechism time {we eat dinner & may talk about a question or 2 from his Baby catechism book he got when he was baptized. Most of the time we're just catching up on our day & don't talk about the questions but we try to incorporate it into our convo}
After dinner - 7:30 -  Free play {Andrew usually does yard work or goes on a walk & Anderson follows close behind. I usually clean up dinner. In silence. Wonderful silence!}
7:30-7:50 - bath time
7:50 - 8:00 - clean up toys {Anderson cleans up his toys, not me!}
8:00-8:15 - family Bible time {this has become a really sweet time as Anderson LOVES it. He sees Andrew picking up the Bible & he'll excitedly say, "Yets wead Bible!" Andrew reads a chapter or 2 from the Bible & we'll pray together. Once again when Anderson sees Andrew closing the Bible he'll quickly clasp his hands together & say, "Yets pway" while he squeezes his eyes closed. It's really so sweet}
8:15 - bedtime {Andrew puts Anderson to bed. He reads him a few books & turns on his "stars" & they look at them together until Anderson falls asleep. I usually sit on the couch & enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream!}

Ok, the purpose of this post wasn't to share our routine but there it is. The purpose was to share some "Table Time" activities that we've done that have been successful. I purchased the Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} book at the beginning of the year & love that it does different activities based on children's books. I won't share any of their ideas here since they're copyrighted but I will say if you need ideas definitely purchase the book! It's great! Also, I recently read Honey For A Child's Heart & I think it's my new favorite book. She discusses the importance of reading GOOD books to your children & the wonderful benefits of doing so. She also has a wonderful chapter, Honey From The Rock, where she talks about the importance & benefits of reading the Bible together as a family and it meant a lot to me. In the back of the book she has a HUGE list of recommended books from pre-school to adults. I was so happy to see that many of the books from BFIAR were on her recommended book list! 

Table Time is one of Anderson's favorite times of the day. He loves painting & drawing & writing & helping me in the kitchen. I love being inside. Because I have the air on. And I tend not to sweat. So, Table Time is great for both of us. Here are some of the fun Table Time activities we've done. PLEASE SHARE any fun ideas you have that we can try! Most of "my ideas" have come from Pinterest & I'm always looking for new ideas so please share! 

One of our first activities was based on If You Give A Cat A Cupcake. Anderson loves all of these books. I bought a cake mix to use for cupcakes but couldn't find my muffin tin. I swear some of our moving boxes ate some of our stuff! Anyway, we ended up just baking a cake & putting the sprinkles on top just like the sprinkles on the cupcake in the book.

  It also talked about looking at seashells in the book & I remembered I had collected a lot of seashells last summer in OBX for him to explore later. I dug them out of the abyss that is my craft basket & he loved playing with them. And by playing I mean lining them up, because that's his favorite thing to do with toys. Line them all up.

He really likes the book Where The Wild Things Are which is so surprising to me since he gets scared so easily of things. I actually think this book helped him get over his fear of monsters but I'm not entirely sure. Either way, he likes this book. One morning after reading it we made a crown & he LOVES his crown. It is ripped & falling apart now after being played with for a couple of weeks but for a few days he kept calling it his "King Max". It was cute. But now he knows what a crown is!

Another "hit" activity has been "matching". This is a pinterest idea. One of the things I got for Christmas was a laminator. Lame, I know, but I asked for it & was SO excited to get it & I LOVE having it! I wrote out the letters of his name on a piece of construction paper & laminated it & cut the letters out. I put magnets on the back & put the letters on a cookie sheet. I put one set of letters on the sheet so they spelled his name & he matched the second set of letters under it. He loves doing matching.

One of our fun Table Time activities from this week was a Story Bag followed by journal time. I recently found the book Ask Mr. Bear at 2nd & Charles and he really likes the story. It's simple & sweet & includes lots of familiar items & animals. I collected various props & put them in a little bag & pulled them out as we read the story. He loved it so much & wanted me to keep doing it. Sidenote: I needed a piece of cheese and some milk  for 2 of the props. We have A TON of fake food in his kitchen. But apparently we don't have fake cheese or a fake carton of milk! What?! But not to worry, I did find a fake can of Oxtail Soup and little plastic crackers with fake caviar on them...Oh the woes of yard sale-ing in upscale neighborhoods.

Anyhow, after we did the story bag a couple of times I showed him his special journal I had bought for him {it's so special it was a whole $0.50 at The Wal-Mart. We keep it classy}. Since he loves writing so much I decided to get him his own journal to write in. I also saw the idea of a pre-school journal on pinterest. I wrote the title of the story we had just read at the top of the page & set out the props in front of him for "inspiration". I gave him several choices of writing utensils & he went to town! Seriously, he would pause, think & then write/draw some more. It was so fun to watch him!

As you can tell from the pictures most days we are in our pajamas for Table Time or even on the couch! So the point is these activities are usually pretty simple so what simple ideas do you have to pass along?


Let's Play The Name Game

You may recall that the moment those two pink lines showed up on the stick, with Anderson, I became a total freak. Sometimes I'm amazed I could still function. But somehow I pulled through. I did many a first-time-psycho-mom things one of which was to go through my Facebook friends list & remove 400+ friends who I thought had the potential of being or one day being a predator. Most of these friends were male (sorry guys, it's just reality) & most I did not know or really care to keep up with anymore. 

Another thing I requested was that Anderson's full name not be posted anywhere. I also asked that family & friends not put all of his birth stats on social media. (1.) Because, who cares? (2.) Because that's a lot of deets on a person just to be floating out there for all the world to know.

But now, I'm more laid back, you know, it being our second time around & all. I'm practically a pro at all of this (HA!).

I love knowing what people will name their children & how they decided on those names so I'll share how we picked the names we picked but first up is Anderson because I never did this for him when I was pregnant.

I just assumed that if we had a boy he would be named after Andrew & we'd call him Drew. In fact, I thought that was his name when we did find out he was a boy but sitting in the waiting room Andrew said he wanted his son to have his own name & he wanted to decide the name RIGHT NOW! Ok, ummm...no pressure.

We did have a list we'd been referencing but I just couldn't imagine he wouldn't want to use his own name when it came down to it. I was wrong. We decided to go with JOHN ANDERSON.

The gospel of John means a lot to both of us. John & Romans are my two favorite books of the Bible and my life verse is in John:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Andrew & I had studied the book of John with our small group & learned so much. Also, there are lots of wonderful Christian men named John: John Piper, John Owen, John Calvin & you know, the Apostle John. 

Also, John means "God is gracious". We both love the name.

Next up was Anderson. It has been on my list since high school. I found out it is my uncle's middle name & I loved it. I thought it sounded so strong & manly & was unique but not weird. Andrew also liked it. When I looked up the meaning we KNEW this had to be his name. Anderson means "son of Andrew". It also has the same meaning as the name Andrew, which is "manly, warrior".

Our sweet John Anderson:

Next up is our coming son, JAMES CALVIN.

James is a family name. It is my grandfather's name as well as my youngest brother's middle name. A fun fact, this baby's EDD is on Stephen's birthday! Also, I have 2 cousins that had babies last year that used James/Jaymes as the middle names. 

Our pastor has also been teaching on the book of James & it has meant a great deal to Andrew. Especially James 1:2-4 which says,

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Calvin is for John Calvin who has influenced our faith & beliefs so much. His ideas have helped me to better understand The Gospel & grow to love theology. I consider it such an honor to name a son after him.

Our precious James Calvin:

We're keeping with the theme of a "J' first name & calling him by his middle name. Stephen said we're turning into the Duggars. Of course, I love it! But really, I have no idea if we'll continue on with this "theme" or not in the future. I will say if it had been a girl she would've had a "J" first name but just because that's the name we both liked but we would've called her by her first name, not middle so it's not something that is set in stone for us & who knows what names we'll like next time around; Lord willing there will be more!

What I want to know is how did you decided on your children's names? Familial? Meaning? Sound?


Lesson #1

For now our plan is to homeschool. Yeah, I know, easy to say & plan & dream when we only have one child & he's just 2 but for now that is our plan. We know plans change & we're open to that. Also, we don't think that there's only one right way to do school. Every family is different & what works for one family may not work for another. We also don't think homeschooling is a more spiritual form of school. In fact, we both graduated from public high schools & so far neither one of us has tried crack. With all of that said we've decided to test the homeschooling waters.

I've known for a while that I wanted to use Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} with Anderson. It uses lots of classic children's literature to form a strong foundation of loving to read & loving to learn. I was debating whether I should start it with him this month or if I should wait until the fall. Well, when we found out I was pregnant I decided to start it in the new year as something fun for us to do until Baby arrives this summer. We probably won't do much, if anything, in the fall so I figured this would be a great time.

Anderson LOVES books. LOVES LOVES LOVES them. He wants us to read him books all night long. We eventually have to tell him no more books, it's time for bed. He then cries & pitches a little fit for "mo' bookths" & sometimes we even have to spank him. I'm like, "What kind of mother spanks her child for wanting to read more?!" Not that that's what I'm actually spanking him for. More like for having a disrespectful attitude but you get my point.

Lambert even says in the intro that this is not a cirriculum that is going to help your pre-schooler do math work sheets & accounting & physics at an early age so that they can be a star student & wow The Masses. No, it's a cirriculum that is designed to instill a love of reading & learning but ALSO to teach parents how to teach.

Well, I certainly learned the first lesson this week!

We already have 6 of the books on the list. I spent a long, embarassing, undisclosed amount of time creating mini lesson plans. Basically just to make sure I was prepared & had the supplies on hand that I would need. Also, I loved the planning. The chart making, the list making, the whole thing. It was fun.

See, we're not doing rocket science over here.

So Monday arrived along with some tummy troubles. I wrote the day off to couch-laying & TV-watching & napping. Lots of napping. I didn't really worry about not doing that day's activities. Afterall, this is a perk of homeschooling right? Flexibility. 

So Tuesday morning was met with a much happier pregnant tummy & hormones more in check. Except all of my previous planning had not gone into action & we didn't have some of the supplies we needed. After a while I got us both decent enough to get to the store to gather some of the supplies and while I was there I picked up some things for dinner too because hey, I was feeling ambitious.

After Anderson's nap we immediately read the book for the week. He seemed to enjoy it enough so I told him all about a fun craft we were going to do while I got all of our supplies laid out. He was giddy with excitement.
 "Oooo! A cwaft!"
"That's right, buddy! A fun craft!"
"Pate! Pate! Pate!"
"Ok, just a minute. Mommy has to open the paper plates & then I'll show you what we're going to do."
"Pate! Pate! Pate!"
"Here just hold this plate for a minute while I finish getting everything else ready."
Satisfactorily, "Paaaaaaate"

The book of the week was Ezra Jack Keats' Snowy Day. The craft was to make a mixed media piece of artwork that resembled the ideas of the mixed media used in Keats' book. First we were going to cut up bits of tissue paper, glue them to a paper plate & then use water color paints over the paper & see the effect.

Well, I couldn't find the daggum watercolors. Maybe I threw them away in a cleaning frenzy. He had mixed up most of the colors anyway but stil I thought I had them! Maddening!

Ok, forget the water colors. We'll just practice cutting & gluing & talk about how the paper bits were like snowflakes. All unique & different.

Scissors are apparently not as easy a tool to use as I thought they would be. He was just frustrated with not being able to cut and quickly became bored. So I handed him the purple glue stick.
"That's right. Can you rub the purple glue on the plate?"

I showed him how to use the glue stick & it was an instant hit. I then showed him how we were going to put our paper "snowflakes" on the purple glue on the plate to make some pretty artwork.

"Look, can you put the snowflakes on the glue?"
"Yes, put this piece of paper on the purple."

I set the glue stick to the side which was a big mistake.

"Puuuh-ple! Puuuuh-ple!! Puhhhh-ple!!!!"

So I decided he could just be the glue-sticker & I would put the paper on the plate. Soon he discovered the pile of tiny pieces of tissue paper just sitting in front of him on the table. It obviously looked appealing as he picked up a big handful & threw it into the air. Uncontrollable laughter followed.

I tried to re-direct his attention to the task at hand. But he would not be diverted. He continued to gather up the paper & throw it into the air laughing hysterically & saying, "I make a mess! I make a mess!"

I, thankfully, quickly abandoned our craft plans & joined in the laughter. 

Lesson Learned: go with the flow. Sometimes "the student" has more fun with a pretend snowpile than a snowy craft. And remember, he's 2. So there's no pressure.

Andrew arrived home & asked Anderson where his craft was. Yeah, about that....

The few bits we had glued to the plate he had ripped off to add to the pile that he was throwing all over the kitchen. In the end, he enjoyed the book & had a great laugh. And even though my plan wasn't accomplished we still had fun together.


This Time Around

We are so excited, thrilled, joyful, grateful, lots-of-good emotions about this new baby!

I will say, this pregnancy has been different than the last time, for sure.

Last time I was a total freak and quite frankly I just don't have the brain capacity to keep up with all of the "rules" and guidelines I followed when I was pregnant with Anderson. We're pretty much in survival mode.

I need a nap. << this sums up my thoughts & feelings right now.