Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Black and Yellow/Quote of the Day

Ever heard of the song Black and Yellow?

I hadn't.  But it was played at the bowling alley during our Sunday school social back in August.  Caleb and Sarah enjoy singing the chorus from time to time.

**Disclaimer:  This in no way reflects my taste in music...or my approval of this song.

Well, my two little goofballs were singing Black and Yellow today.

And this led to today's Quote of the Day.

I asked Caleb if he knew what creature was black and yellow.

You'd expect him to say a bumble bee, right?

You'd be wrong.

Caleb said this:

"If the people painted grass black and yellow and then a creature climbed in the grass and camouflaged itself, it would be black and yellow."

Well, that's right I suppose.  Correct, indeed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Monogramed Stockings

An update to last year's post about our Christmas stockings...

Last year, we weren't even planning on another stocking!  But my heart was changed by the turning of the new year and God gave us the hope of a baby in one short month!  All that to say that our stocking line-up has increased this year.  Take a look!

A few notes for anyone wanting to make their own stockings:

Start by reading last year's post, HERE.

You'll need:
Red Glitter Felt (by-the-yard in the fabric section), 1-2 stockings per 1/3 yard
White Fleece, 4-6 stockings per 1/3 yard
Black Fabric with interfacing
Ribbon for hanger

I used Baskerville font in size 288 in bold for my letter templates.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today's Highs...and Lows

Let's begin with last night's low.

Norah would. not. go. to. sleep.
9 pm came and went.
10 pm came and went.
11 pm came and went.
You get the picture.
She was up and fussy from 8 pm until 12:30 am.
And finally she was down for the count.

This morning, I was searching for excuses to skip Bible Study.  I had planned to make my return this week after having been out for the summer and after birthing Norah.  And this morning, I wasn't feeling it.  Not even close.  I was tired.  My mouth was still hurting from the cavity I had filled yesterday.  Sarah was being uncooperative.  I had Christmas shopping to do.  The car gas light was on.  And I came up with a few more excuses as I drove home from dropping Caleb off at school.

Then I heard a quiet voice say, "Lauren.  Why are you making all these excuses?  Really.  Are you going to let the enemy keep you from going back to a study that you know will keep you in my word daily?"  I heard it.  I listened to it.  I took it seriously.  And I got myself together and drove to BSF.

Another low as we walked from the car to the church.  Sarah fell in the parking lot and skinned her knee. I tried to carry Norah's carrier while trying to console Sarah, but she was inconsolable.  One of the sweet ladies holding to doors came out to the parking lot to carry Norah into the building so that I could attend to Sarah.  What finally calmed Sarah?  Asking her if she was ready to go to her class and meet her new friends.  What a blessing to have a child eager to meet new friends!

I struggled to decide whether to keep Norah with me during Bible Study or to take her to the infant class.  I ultimately decided to let the leaders keep Norah until she needed to nurse.  It was SO nice to have time to myself without a baby within 2 feet of me.  Ha!

And to end this post with the good stuff...

I asked Sarah, "Where is Jesus now?"  She said, "Cooking cookies."  Oh, really?
Chick-fil-A is always a pleasure.
Seeing new BSF friends at lunch.
Accomplishing the purchase of 5 Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Norah's 2 months!

Norah Elizabeth

2 months old

9 pounds, 9 ounces

21 inches long

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful 2011

Although my body has endured the birth of 3 children, I'm thankful for a husband who says I'm beautiful.

Although I try to control how she "parents" my children, I'm thankful for a mom who always looks forward to visiting me and my family.

Although I don't see her as often as I'd like, I'm thankful for a sister who always makes it seem like we haven't missed a beat.

Although we're only in their home a few times a year, I'm thankful for grandparents who always make us feel at home.

Although I'm overly critical of him and downright bossy sometimes, I'm thankful for my firstborn, my Caleb.  I'm very proud of your sweet spirit and your eagerness to learn.

Although I get tired of her frequent whining and her shrill screams, I'm thankful for my spirited and very verbal middle child, my sweet Sarah.

Although she can't seem to sleep for more than 4 hours during the night, I'm thankful for my healthy, growing baby girl, my Norah Beth.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wet Paint

I've been busy painting...the kids' rooms.

I wanted to do a switcheroo since Caleb's room was a bit larger then the girls' room and I figured that they would need more space than him.

Man!  It's tough to finagle 2 rooms worth of furniture and manage painting in the process.

First, I moved all of Caleb's furniture to the center of his room.  Jadie then patched an endless number of nail holes and a few chunks that Caleb had taken out of the walls over the last few years.  He then changed every last electrical outlet in the room from a regular outlet into a tamper resistant outlet.  Then I finally started painting.  My friend Amanda and I selected "Jamaica Bay" for the girls.  It took me two days to cut in with a brush and roll the walls.

Then I tortured Jadie by having him switch the furniture from one room to another.

Two weeks later, I moved Caleb's furniture to the middle of his new room so I could patch various nail holes and get started painting.  Again, I knocked out the paint job in just two days.  Not bad for working alone with a two year old and a newborn in the house!

I don't have room pictures ready yet, but I do have a couple of photos of the paint colors I selected.  Now you can wait in suspense.  I know you will.

As you can tell, this photo is a little off-color.  That's supposed to be a rich, dusty blue.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Norah's Thang

As some of you know, Sarah had a bit of a thing going when she was a wee little one (actually about 6 months to 18 months or so).

She was a hand twirler.

Oh, I wish I could remember all the things people said she'd be when she grows up (things relating to the hands)!  Someone said she'd be an orchestra conductor.  Someone said an air traffic controller.  Someone said dancer.  Someone said hand model.

Who really knows?  Besides, her "thang" isn't really her thing anymore.  We only see it make an appearance occasionally these days.

Anyway, about Norah.

I've noticed that she has a funny little snort going.  Yes,  a snort.

It's part of her regular fussing routine.  She starts out with quick, deep breathing: in-and-out, in-and-out.  Then she add the snort...in-snort, out-snort, in-snort, out-snort.  So cute.   At least for now :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today's Highlights

  • Jadie and I both told Caleb he was not allowed to turn in his homework today, despite Caleb's pleas to do so.  His handwriting was downright sloppy.  A do-over is mandatory.
  • I got both of the girls bathed and a shower for myself in under one hour.  Holla!
  • Mary and Beth invited me out to lunch!
  • I climbed to the top of the play place at Chick-fil-A to assist a screaming Sarah, only to have her finally slide down once I was to the top.  Every inch of that equipment was GREASY.  Grossness.
  • I swung by 1660 ESPN Radio to pick up two free tickets for Jadie to go to the Baylor Men's Basketball game against ACU.  I thought for sure they'd be gone since they were only giving away two tickets total and it had been announced almost 30 minutes prior.  Score (for Jadie)!  Another evening home alone.  No complaints here.  The game starts at 7:00 pm and I put the kids to bed by 7:30 pm.  True alone time, here I come!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Just so you know, I've been totally selfish lately.
When I think about the plan for the day, it's all about me.
What do I want to do today?
Where do I want to go today?

Let's document this realization...
And hope that getting it out there will help me shift my priorities toward a more balanced approach...
Like considering my children.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Long White Bones With The Skin All Gone

Remember that lovely little song?  

Something about the Ghost of John...
Anyway, we did a skeleton craft for Halloween.  
It was easy peasy.  
I painted the skulls and cut the q-tips.
The kids glued them on while using an example from the internet as a guide.  

I helped Sarah position her q-tips.  But I'll give her the credit :-)

These lovely bones now grace our front door...scaring away anyone who dares to ring our doorbell.

Friday, October 21, 2011

School Library Pumpkin Contest

Caleb's school library is hosting a Pumpkin Decorating Contest.  You know I love creative outlets, so we jumped on board.

A few of the ground rules:
Your pumpkin is to be decorated like a character from a book.
You may not puncture your pumpkin.
Pumpkins may be decorated by the child or as a family.

Caleb chose Clifford The Big Red Dog.

I let the kids paint the pumpkin completely RED.  This was a pretty tame activity, but we did have one mishap.  Dusty (our dog) stepped in a puddle of red paint!  Thankfully we caught it before he exited the tiled area.

I brainstormed about what to use for Clifford's snout and ears.  I settled on foam sheets.  They were easy to work with, but tough to attach to the pumpkin.  I think the slick surface of the pumpkin hindered their ability to stick.

I let Caleb help with the eyes and hair.  We used Sharpie and white paint.  Done.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Budding Artists

Caleb and Collin, a friend from school
101 Dalmatians


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Norah's 3 Weeks Already!

Oops!  I forgot to post her 2 week stats.

Weight: 6 lbs. 8 oz.
Length: 18 1/2 inches*
Head Circumference: 13 inches

*her length is less because the doctor's office takes a more relaxed measurement instead of stretching infants as far as possible :-)

She can already:
Stay awake for 3-4 hours a day (following feedings).
Turn your head from one side to the other when laying on her tummy.
Make brief eye contact.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm a ghost. Boo.

That's what you'll be hearing Sarah say over and over and over on Halloween.

I copied Sarah's Halloween costume from a Pinterest find.   It looked simple enough, and it was.  Except for the skirt.  I can't get the tulle to fluff up like I want it to.  But it's still adorable.

Here's the original:

And my completed version:

Cute, but my ghost face is HUGE!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

Sarah:  "Like a tent in here."

Context:  She joined Norah under the nursing cover.  Apparently, she thinks it's a fun place to be!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Columbus Day

This was Caleb's monologue when he got in the car this afternoon.  We found it exceptionally humorous.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

"We don't have school on Monday.  It's because somebody lived a long time ago.  It's Christopher's birthday.  He wasn't looking where he was going and he bumped into America.  The other people thought the world was flat.  Christopher thought it was round.  He bought three ships.  He called the people Indians."

Maybe I should teach him this poem (who knew it was so long?):

IN 1492

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.

Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!

"Indians!  Indians!"  Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But "India" the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.

Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he'd been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.

The first American?  No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.

Adjusting to Life On the Outside

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Norah's Birth Stats & Story

Here are the stats:
  • Norah Elizabeth Freeman
  • September 27, 2011
  • 12:14 pm
  • 6 lbs at birth
  • 5 lbs, 14 oz at time of discharge
  • 19.5 in long
  • 12.75 in head circumference
  • dark brown/black hair
  • Special fact: Her birthday is the same day my daddy died 4 years ago.  So bittersweet.
  • 4 hour, 44 minute labor (we delivered less than an hour after breaking water)
  • no epidural = alert baby and mommy
Praying for:
  • My blood pressure, still working its way back down to normal
  • Stable milk supply for nursing
  • Norah's overall health and weight gain
  • Sleep: these night time nursing sessions are killing me
Just so you're forewarned, I am including as many details as possible.  I want to be able to read this in the future and have the whole story to come back to!

We went in at 7:30 am on Tuesday, September 27 for an induction.  At that point, I was 38 weeks, 4 days.  I was dilated to 4 cm with 75% effacement.  I expected to have the Dr. Rister come in and break my water at 7:30 am, but that didn't happen.  The Labor & Delivery nurse was training a new nurse, so things moved along at a snail's pace.  When the doc came back at 8:10 am, the nurses still didn't even have my IV in.  At that point, Dr. Rister had to go to his office for his regular day of OB/GYN appointments.  Sigh.

The IV insertion was quite an experience.  The nurse in training was sweet and gentle, but she pushed that IV needle into and back out of my vein.  Painful.  Very painful.  Made me jump out of my skin.

Once that was finally over, I had several hours ahead of me until I'd see my OB again.  Sad face.  So, the nurses started my Pitocin drip to get the labor moving along.  The contractions felt like menstrual cramps that became more intense as time went on.  This entire process of labor was annoying.  I know, I'm complaining about something that most women experience for hours on end.  It's just that I counted on things moving a lot faster, because I'd expected to have my water broken before then.

The nurse checked me for dilation around 11 am.  I was dilated to 7 cm and 90 % effaced.  She also noted that my bag of water was bulging.  And so that is what I'd been feeling for the last few weeks.  I had mentioned to Jadie and a few friends on several occasions that I could feel "something" pushing out.  It didn't feel like Norah's head or foot or anything, just an uncomfortable bulge very near to the exit area.  :-)  So that's what it was!  Bulging bag.  What a ladylike term.

Dr. Rister returned around 11:20 am to break my water.  Finally!  This really got things moving, as I expected.  Over the next 45 minutes, my contractions became more painful and I opted for an IV drug called Fentanyl which I could take 3 times at 20 minute intervals.  It may have taken the edge off, but I still felt just about everything.  The nurse checked me after about 30 minutes to check progress.  I was dilated to 9 cm, but she discovered that Norah's head was blocking the remainder of my water from coming out.  She shifted her out of the way a bit, released the rest of the fluid and I immediately dilated to 10 cm.  It was go time!

Dr. Rister came back to our room and told me to start pushing with the contractions.  I couldn't get myself coordinated for the first two cycles.  My body just couldn't figure out how to push.  It was probably due to the fact that I was delirious from the Fentanyl.  Once I got things coordinated, she was out after only 2 pushes!  What a relief!

Norah's birth was much kinder to my body than Caleb's or Sarah's.  I'll be sure to thank her for that later.  She managed to make her way out without the need for an episiotomy or any tearing.  Praise the Lord.  This means that recovery has been quicker and less painful as well.

The craziest thing to me is that today, on October 5, we're still 2 days away from her due date.  How in the world do women make it to 40 weeks?  I've got to give them credit!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Norah's Induction Date Set


Tomorrow's the day!

Jadie and I go in at 7:00 am in order for Dr Rister to come in and break my water at 7:30 am!

We'll see how long she takes to make her debut.  And we'll see how long I can make it without pain meds.  I'm trying to avoid the epidural again.

Prayers are appreciated!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
~Thomas Edison

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby #3: 38 Weeks

Mary, Courtney, Stephanie, Amanda, Kelly, Me, and Beth
(from our Fall Girls' Night: Sept 20)
How I'm Feeling:
READY!!!  When I get still to go to bed or nap, I feel painless contractions and downward pressure.  These are unfamiliar for me and they scare me to death!  I'd much rather be in the hospital than to have the possibility of going into labor at home/in the car/at church/anywhere but the hospital!  Keep in mind, Sarah was in quite a hurry once the doctor broke my water.  She came only 51 minutes later!  I can't imagine having less than an hour to get to the hospital if my water breaks on its own!

Baby Center says:

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.
Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Picky Eaters

These tips from Mayo Clinic sound logical to me...and I can see I may need to reconsider some of my methods.

Taken from this children's health article.

I wonder if any of these tips would work for Jadie, too?  Or if not using these techniques when he was younger has led to some of his selectivity when it comes to food?  I guess I'll never know.

No. 1: Respect your child's appetite — or lack of one

If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

No. 2: Stick to the routine

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Provide juice or milk with the food, and offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice or milk throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

No. 3: Be patient with new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

No. 4: Make it fun

Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

No. 5: Recruit your child's help

At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

No. 6: Set a good example

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

No. 7: Be creative

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.

No. 8: Minimize distractions

Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary foods.

No. 9: Don't offer dessert as a reward

Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week — or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.

No. 10: Don't be a short-order cook

Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn't eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.
If you're concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's growth and development, consult your child's doctor. In addition, consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats for three days. The big picture might help ease your worries. A food log can also help your child's doctor determine any problems. In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight — but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Baby #3: 37 weeks

Can you even believe it?  

3 more weeks until my due date?

***My BP today was 130/80 and I'm still at 3-4 cm dilated as well as 75% thinned.  We're staying pretty steady.  I did bring up the induction conversation, just for the sake of Jadie scheduling vacation.  We decided that we'd try to wait until 39 weeks as long as my BP holds where it is.  Norah is measuring 35 weeks and the doc said she's got her head really buried low.  That's a good thing for delivery, but it also explains why I sometimes feel like she could just fall right out!*** I have a doctor's appointment for a check in about an hour.  Maybe I'll remember to let you know how it goes.  By the way, I was dilated to a 3 and 75% thinned at last Tuesday's appointment.  You can tell how good I was at sharing that.  So, don't get your hopes up about an update after today's appointment.

I'm feeling pretty good, but my clothing choices are dwindling.  I'm much more comfortable at night; praise the Lord for hearing my prayers and answering with relief from pain and soreness during the night hours.

We've been praying for God's timing with Norah's arrival as well as a quick and pain-free delivery (or as painless as possible).  Sounds crazy, but God tells us to ask in the name of the Savior.  We trust that he will take care of all of the details and we'll have a sweet baby girl and a recovering mommy in no time.

Here's what Baby Center says about this week:

Your baby is now considered "full term," even though your due date is three weeks away. If you go into labor now, his lungs will likely be mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb. (Some babies need a bit more time, though. So if you're planning to have a repeat c-section, for example, your practitioner will schedule it for no earlier than 39 weeks unless there's a medical reason to intervene earlier.)
Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Technology Tickets

So, I saw this idea somewhere...probably through Pinterest, considering it's my new addiction.  I cannot find the source now, but here is the scoop.

I printed these tickets meant for DIY lottery scratch-offs.  I wrote "30 minutes" on each one.  I laminated them at Mardel.  I made holders for them by cutting, then folding scrapbook paper in half and stapling up the sides.  Then I used painter's tape to mount the holders. Done.

I wanted Caleb to be more aware of his TV/Wii/Computer time, so I printed out tickets worth 30 minutes each.

On Monday after school, he will receive 10 tickets (5 hours) for the week.  He keeps his tickets inside the cabinet of the entertainment center.

I keep his spent tickets on the wall behind the TV.

To use his tickets, he hands one to me and I start a 30 minute timer.  He knows to turn off whatever he's doing when he hears the timer or that he has to give me another ticket.

I have set a 3 ticket maximum for any given day and I reserve the right to refuse technology time for the day.  This might be due to other activities, behavior at home, or behavior at school.

So far, I love how it's working out.  He's much more aware of the amount of time he's watching TV and I haven't heard any whining when it's time to pull the plug.

But then again this is only the 3rd day.  We'll see how long this works so beautifully.

I may consider giving 12 tickets on Monday instead of just 10.  Also perhaps extra tickets for rewards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

Caleb: "We should pray for that baby."

Oh, what a tender-hearted young man we have!

To give you some context for today's quote, he said this while watching a commercial for Cook's Children's Hospital.  The commercial was featuring the neonatal intensive care unit.  Caleb's eyes were glued to the screen the moment he saw babies.  He really have a soft spot for newborns.  And that's a great thing since we're expecting one so soon!