Life is A Journey...Come Follow Our's

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday Mr. Quinn!!!

Birthdays are the most special day of the year in my mind.  They are the one day that are truly yours and I want my children to feel the same way about them.  After this year, Quinn is definitely feeling that way!  We started the countdown to his birthday on May 1st by making a ring chain.  Each day he got to rip off one ring until we finally made it to his birthday.  He was so excited to rip one off he'd even ask if we could have dinner for breakfast so he could rip one off sooner!

Per his request, we celebrated all day on his actual birthday (May 18th) with a day full of Quinn activities, a pizza party complete with is choice of rainbow cake, and lots of play time outside.  His actual friends birthday party was on Sunday at (his choice) Jump Zone.  Enjoy the pics!

Making the rainbow cake

Thank goodness Grandma knew how to do it

Waking up to birthday balloons!

Presents too?!?

This is MY rainbow cake!

So colorful and fun!

The fam

The 3 year old king of Jump Zone

The party goers

Quinn and  his best friend Doo-Dah (aka Carson)

Grandma Kristie saying good bye :(

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Quinn-

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!!!  How is it that 3 years have passed so seeminglessly?  It’s amazing how time flies.  Everyone told me that you have to “enjoy them while they’re little because you blink and they are going to prom.”  Now I know it’s not that fast, but still…3 years?!!?  Where has the time gone?

First of all, I must thank you for making me the woman that I am.  You have changed my life more than you will ever know.  You have graced me with so much laughter, so much pride, and so much happiness.  I am so proud to be called Quinn’s Mom…you are truly that amazing. 

The relationship you and I have together is so strong and deep.  I was always told there is something special about the love between a mother and a son and it is so true.  I love you more than words and I know you love me the same way as you want to be with me, never want me to leave, gently touch my face before bed each evening, wait for me to come kiss you goodnight before you fall asleep each evening (even if it takes an hour after we’ve put you down for that second kiss to come), and smile at me.  I pray that our relationship will always be so strong and also that I continue to raise you to be Christ-like – responsible, respectful, compassionate, generous, friendly, well-adjusted, independent, active, healthy, and fun.

This past year, well more particularly this past month, has been full of changes as we welcomed your sister Alana into our family.  I was really worried that you’d struggle with having a new family member, but you’ve taken it all in stride.  You are pretty much like your Grandpa Mel when it comes to dealing with her, not really wanting much to do with her, but very concerned about her.  It’s not uncommon for me to hear “Mom…she’s crying.  Get her.”  Or “Mom, she’s hungry.  Feed her.”  But when I ask you if you want to hold her, you have no interest at all.   You do love her and are anxious to be able to teach her to sing her “ABCs.”  In fact, when she first came home, you and Gigi had been working on an alphabet puzzle.  You took the letter H over to her car seat and showing it to her said “Alana, this is the letter H.  It say huh huh.  You see Alana?  Mommy…she no talk to me!”  I proceeded to convince you that “when she blinks two times it means yes.”  “And when she blink one it mean no!!” you quickly concluded.  You now have a way to “communicate” with her.

You have grown so much physically and academically this year. You are a very very smart boy.  You love puzzles, singing songs, being active outside riding your bike or going on family runs, throwing rocks, chalk, bubbles, cooking with Mommy, and imaginative play.  Every evening you LOVE to “play on your dinosaur bed” with Daddy.  The animals all interact, you wrestle, play duck duck goose together, and build tunnels which always have to have a flashlight because you think it’s much cooler that way.

Every Sunday we go on a “family run.”  You start off in the stroller but by the end are out and running with us.  I will never forget the sound of your voice saying “You can not get me” as you run ahead waiting for us to tag you which is quickly followed with an “I’m gonna get ya” as you chase us back.  You tend to run ½-1 mile and quickly head to the creek to throw rocks.  The bigger the rock the better by the way.

You also love to be outside.  If there’s water, FABULOUS…you’ll be wet in a matter of minutes no matter how cold it is.  Bubbles and chalk are all time favorites as well and you are always wanting to ride your bike.  

You have a “Strider” bike which is a 2-wheeler without pedals.  It essentially teaches you to balance without having to worry about pedaling.  You are really doing well with it – finally picking up your feet and gliding a bit. 

As for your personality, Quinn, you are very well-tempered.  You follow directions very well, have never thrown a temper tantrum, are respectful, and are very generous.  I always give you two choices when I need you to do something.  If you don’t like the choices you often say “Are those my two choices?  Humph…” then choose one anyway.  You have started to negotiate too which is quite funny and you are VERY exacting.  If Daddy tells you he’ll play with you in 5 minutes, you run to the kitchen and set the timer on the oven.  As soon as that timer goes off, you hold him to his word and playtime must start.  Heck…that was the deal, right?  You also will use that timer to your advantage before bedtime at night.  “Mommy…I set the timer for 10 minutes, o-tay?”  I have to laugh, tell you no, then let you set it for 2 more minutes or so.  Maybe someday you’ll be a diplomat solving world problems with your bargaining skills J

Well Quinn…in a nutshell, that is you.  You are absolutely adorable.  You are a little guy who people comment on your looks, intelligence, and manners all the time no matter where we are.  You are always saying please and thank you, you are very complimentary of people and appreciative of them, you make me VERY proud.  I can only hope and pray that your love of life, worry-free spirit, and love of all of God’s creatures continue throughout your life.  No matter what Bops…you are a dream come true and I love you to the moon and back.

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just because I had to post it somewhere...

...Alana is 3 weeks old and I ran 5 miles in 42 minutes FLAT!!!  That's a pace of 8:24!  So proud!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

She's Here...Alana Marie Pope

Well she finally made her grand debut 1 week late weighing in at a mighty 6 pounds 10 ounces and 18 1/4 inches long.  She is absolutely perfect.  A gift from God.  The perfect addition to our family.

I was so scared about adding another child to our family.  I had heard the horror stories about the older siblings not wanting anything to do with their mothers, but Alana's addition to our family (aside from newborn sleep patterns) has been beyond smooth.  I'd even venture to say that having a 2nd child is a much easier adjustment than just having the first.  When Quinn was born, he challenged everything I knew life to be.  I was a planner who liked to be on the go.  WOW did he make that difficult.  I had to reclaim/recreate my identity and how I did things, but with Alana, I knew to expect to accomplish next to nothing, to set my priorities and to keep them minimal, and to go with the flow a lot more.  Life these past 3 weeks (with mom and Kristie my awesome mother in law for 2 of the weeks) has been beyond fabulous.

Enjoy a few photos and if you're interested, my birth story that follows!

Alana's Nursery

Shabby Chic...LOVE

Alana Marie Pope -- Hours Old

Daddy's Little Girl

Sweet Love For Her Momma

3 Days Old...On Our Way Home

All Set To Go! 

Our Family of 4!!

Quinn Reluctantly Holding Alana

12 Days Old 

Sweet Girl and Her Momma

Born Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11am
6 pounds 10 ounces and 18 ¼ inches long

Alana was due by my calculations on Friday, April 19th and by the doctor’s calculations from the original ultrasound on Sunday, April 21st.  I had an amazing pregnancy which allowed me to work out the entire time – trail running through 35 weeks and running at least 1-2 times per week (4-6 miles at a time) through 38 weeks.  I worked out hard up to her due date and once the due date passed decided just to start walking (mostly). 

I went to the doctor the Tuesday after her due date with hopes of being able to have my membranes stripped to induce labor but found that I was still dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, where I had sat since 37 weeks despite having contractions.  I was fine with this until the doctor started talking about “our plan.”  He told me that Alana was healthy and fine and he was okay with me to wait until 42 weeks but that they only induced on Mondays and Tuesdays which meant I’d have to be induced the following week at 41w3d.  I understood the reasoning and agreed to set up the appointment just in case even though it stressed me out so badly.  The idea of using Pitocin to induce labor ruined my plan of having a drug free labor and meant I’d be tied down to bed…NO THANK YOU!

I decided I was going to try alternative treatments to help induce labor naturally and immediately after my appointment (40w4d) I went to the chiropractor and went to my first acupuncture appointment.  Though they didn’t induce labor, I was finally able to get a good night’s sleep.  Wednesday passed with no baby and Thursday the 26th arrived with me so sad and stressed out that the baby was transverse that I was up at 2:30 in the morning.  I headed out to the gym wishing I could run 10 miles and feel like myself again, but instead jumped on the elliptical for 45 minutes, stopping to go to the bathroom 3 times.  It felt so good to have some endorphins in my body and to visit with friends. 

Later that day, Mom and I took Quinn to daycare and headed out for another acupuncture session and for pedicures.  The lady was so good and thorough with my massage…it was fabulous.  We headed home for a nap and for a 3 mile walk before going to pick up Quinn from daycare.  While at home, the cleaning lady, who is from Ecuador, was telling me that since it was a lunar moon that evening that she just felt I’d have a baby that evening.  She felt my stomach and assured me she was head down and told me to relax and not worry.

We took Quinn to Grandma Celine and Grandpa Vern’s house and I was just not feeling right.  I was irritable and uncomfortable but doing my best to put on a good face.  As soon as we got home, I started bouncing on the exercise ball in hopes her head would help my cervix efface.  I played with Quinn despite contractions that were 8-10 minutes apart just in case this would be the last time I would have only mother-son time.  We tried to go to bed around 10pm and I was determined to sleep through contractions but after 30 minutes, knew that wasn’t going to happen.  I labored by myself, mostly on the exercise ball, until 3am when I woke Brad up.  I don’t think he even knew I was in labor.  I really wanted him to get some rest because if this labor was going to be anything like that of Quinn, it was going to be a long and exhausting day.

Around 4:30 I called my doula, Jessica King and decided that even though my pain levels were low, my contractions were close enough that she’d make the 45 minute drive up to Bella Vista.  She arrived at the perfect time because the coping mechanisms I had been using (hanging over the exercise ball and sitting on the toilet, crazy enough, mostly) were starting to no longer work.  Jessica and Brad worked wonders together keeping me comfortable using all kinds of different strategies from deep leg massages to foot massages to hip presses and squats for the next few hours.

I remember telling Jessica around 7am that I felt like I could throw up.  I had read in my Lamaze book that when you near or enter the transition phase of labor that nausea sometimes accompany it.  Because I had just read it, I figured it was the power of suggestion rather a true feeling of nausea that I was feeling.  I “knew” there was no way I was any further dilated than a 3 or a 4 because with Quinn my contractions were so much more intense and when I went to the hospital with him, I was only a 3 or a 4. 

Quinn woke up shortly after 7am calling for me.  I, remaining calm, went to get him, cuddled with him and carried him out to the living room with us.  I just really wanted him to be around and also did not want to scare him at all.  He and I have such a strong relationship and he is genuinely concerned for me all the time that I knew I could very easily traumatize him.  That said, I was extremely collected and calm throughout my entire labor.  We watched a little of the movie Cars with me excusing myself a few times because “my belly hurt” and around 8am decided it was probably time to go the hospital. 

The drive to the hospital was nowhere near as bad as our ride when I was in labor with Quinn.  Don’t get me wrong, the contractions were intense and about every 2-3 minutes apart but I was able to lean against a hard ball in the small of my back and it made them very bearable.  When we were halfway to the hospital the app that Brad was using to time contractions on his phone alerted us that we were “entering transition.”  I just scoffed at it knowing there was no way I was that far because I was feeling too good.

Much to my surprise, once we arrived at the hospital they checked me and told me I was at a 7!!  I could not believe it.  I was really tired and knew that this was a crucial moment because if they told me I was only at a 3 or a 4, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue enduring the contractions for 8-10 more hours.  At a 7 though, I did a quick calculation and realized that I’d have my baby here in about 3 hours!  I had a sudden burst of new energy and knew I would make it!   I called Dr. Schmitz to tell him and I could tell he was surprised by how far along I was.
While the contractions were much more intense, I stayed very positive, polite, and calm.  I kept reminding myself to “relax your brain, relax your body” – a phrase I had been telling myself for months would be my mantra.  I worked on letting my stomach hang out.  Jessica and Brad were amazing and my nurse Stephanie was so supportive of whatever experience I wanted to have sitting on the floor, finding me a squat bar, etc. 

At some point around 10:15am, I told Jessica that I felt Alana’s head.  She screamed for Stephanie who came in and checked me and to our amazement, I was at a 9.5!!  They called Dr. Schmitz who arrived very soon after.  He told me I could handle the contractions in any position I’d like but that he’d prefer me to push on my back because it would be easier for him to help prevent tearing and for the safety of the baby during delivery.  I had no problem with this at all and quickly geared up to start pushing.

Pushing was so painful but I kept reminding myself that it was “pain with a purpose.”  I knew that it would be short lived and that my sweet baby girl would be in my arms in no time at all.  No cursing – just a loud “FUDGE” to express my pain levels – and the end was in sight.  I pushed once or twice and felt Alana crown.  Dr. Schmitz instructed me to push but I told him no, that I couldn’t.  There was such a burning sensation that I was certain I was going to rip really badly.  I knew I could not push.  I waited through 2 contractions with Brad and Jessica pushing on my hips with strong counter pressure and finally was told that this baby was not going to come unless I would bear down.  I pushed one more time and out came the most perfect baby girl I had ever seen.  Dr. Schmitz put her directly on my stomach, waited for the cord to stop pulsing, and she got all cleaned up and I learned that I need NO stitches (SCORE!).  My prize was here, I could not believe it.  My legs were shaking like crazy.  It was quite scary but I later learned that it was the effect of the adrenaline burst that accompanies labor.   All I knew was that our lives had been changed and this baby girl was mine.  She was beautiful with a head full of hair, olive skin, and a crazy level of alertness.

I later learned that Dr. Schmitz was key in orchestrating my perfect birth story.  He had hand selected the perfect nurse for me who was with just me my entire labor.  He knew my birthing plan and did everything he could to make it a reality.  He had told the nursery nurses “this is what she wants and this is how we’re going to do things so get on board” I was later told by one of the attendants.  I am so incredibly grateful to him and the nurses at the hospital.  My labor experience was better than I had ever imagined and my baby girl was more perfect than ever as well.