Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flights, Family and Fun

We had our much anticipated Gomer family trip to Durango last weekend.  It was AH-mazing.  Loved every minute of it, and we are so thankful to Debbie and Bill for making it possible for us.  Every year they give all of us kids the gift of a weekend getaway (for our birthday and Christmas presents), and this year they have outdone themselves.  In the past we have done winter weekends at cute and cozy B&Bs in the mountains, and we spent one great week at a cabin in Yellowstone, and this year, they rented two beautiful cabins on the shores of Vallecito Lake, outside of Durango, CO, and we were all able to share a weekend of fun and family, making great memories together.

Our trip started with a VERY early morning flight from Dallas to Denver, and then a quick (and beautiful) jaunt to Durango.  Of course Hayden was beside himself with excitement and was just the cutest person ever on the plane.  And Pierce really surprised me with his good behavior (within reason)!  Mr. Independent really wanted his own seat, and he spent quite a bit of time trying to forcibly remove Hayden from his seat by the window, but we managed to work it out.  He was also obsessed with the stickers I brought, and we all de-boarded in Colorado covered head to toe in smiley face stickers.  What fun.



We were on the ground with our rental car packed up by about 10 am MST.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you looked at it), the cabin wasn't available until late afternoon, and the rest of the family (who were driving from various places farther north) weren't going to be arriving until dinner.  So Nate and I just decided, what the heck, we may not be back to SW Colorado for a long time, so we might as well take advantage.  So with the boys sound asleep in the back seat, we hit the road bound for Mesa Verde National Park.  Having done a bit of research before the trip, we knew this wasn't necessarily a kid-friendly place, but we also knew that we don't shy from a challenge, and we figured we'd just see as much as we could.  With two semi-rested boys, we embarked on some short hikes, and stopped at some cool scenic overlooks, and managed to take in the best that Mesa Verde has to offer, and it was spectacular!  I'm not sure how much the boys actually grasped of what they were seeing, but they certainly enjoyed the great outdoors, and being in a place where you could actually stand in the sun and soak it up with pleasure, instead of diving for the closest place with AC.

I wish I could tell you more about the history and culture of Mesa Verde, but unfortunately we were kind of rushed through because our boys were tired, and a lot of things were off limits for the kids.  For instance, we couldn't tour any of the cliff dwellings because they required ladder climbing and things like that.  So we kind of just looked from afar and admired the beauty of the place.  Nate and I agreed that we'll definitely have to go back and learn more at some point when the boys can participate and appreciate.  It's really magnificent that people built structures like this, and lived in such a remote place so successfully. 


We finally arrived at our cabin that evening, and it was so beautiful!  There were a big front porch that overlooked Lake Vallecito, and the boys were thrilled to find a porch swing, which they promptly climbed on with their cousin Brylin.  Hayden remembered Brylin from a few months ago when she and her mama came to take care of my boys while we were in Italy.  He was absolutely thrilled to be reunited, and I could tell he just adores her.  In fact they were good buddies the whole trip.  The rest of the family trickled in through-out the evening and Hayden couldn't wait to give his cousin Cameron a big hug (he too visited earlier this year), and then we got to meet our new nephew, Luke, who is only 5 months old and simply adorable!  His big brother Liam has grown up so much since we saw him last, and at almost 2, he looks like he could be brothers with my boys with his blue eyes and blond hair.  Hayden was rendered completely speechless when Mammaw finally arrived, and instead was reduced to little squeals of delight and a lot of hopping up and down lol.  They share a very special bond.

So all 6 cousins were together, and additionally, three of us daughter-in-laws are pregnant!  Allison is due with her first, a baby boy, in December.  Britt is due with her second, also a baby boy, in October, and of course I am due with mystery baby #3 in February.  This family is growing and it's so fun that we can share this experience together.  

The whole weekend was awesome, and the kids had so much fun bonding with their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, and spending time outdoors.  It was just such a much needed escape, and really Nate and I feel so blessed to have so much love in our lives.  This family is very special and unique, and we are lucky (to say the least) to be part of it.

Brylin likes to do group bathtimes with cousins, but I don't think she realized what a menace PJ could be in the tub!  After repeatedly splashing everyone senseless, I finally gave him the first thing I could grab, which was my brush, hoping he would play with it and get distracted from splashing.  Unfortunately I didn't even realize it could be used as a weapon!  This photo actually looks more dangerous than the situation actually was lol, but I do think their faces are pretty darn funny.

Here are the big boys playing on the shores of the lake.  PJ and Liam kept playing the mud with sticks and then smearing it in PJ's hair.  Boys will be boys!!

The coldness of the water took some getting used (not like the bath water lakes here in Texas), but eventually the boys ventured in and had a blast climbing on the rocks and getting their feet wet.


Hayden learned how to play baseball with a t-ball set his Mammaw bought for him.  Uncle Dan was an excellent coach, and after a few successful swings with the tee, they decided he didn't need it anymore, and just played baseball instead.  Pretty cute!  Little sports guy on my hands.  Look at this concentration!

I'll leave you with just a few random shots from the weekend of the fam.  What a GREAT trip!!!  Miss you all tons already.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Soaring Temperatures

Seriously, why did we move to Texas again?  August heat is UNBEARABLE here.  Or perhaps it's just my pregnant, irritable self that cannot handle it.  But simply the idea of walking outside is appalling to me lately, even if a pool is involved.  Obviously I have two little men who can't be prisoners to their homes, so I have been venturing out as much as I can, but it's super draining for all of us.  I am very happy that we will be gone a large portion of the next month, traveling to various cooler climates, and by the time our travel ends in mid-September it should be in the 90's, rather than over 100 every day!

The upside of living in a very warm climate, with pools and splashparks in abundance, is that my boys have really become little fish.  Hayden is an excellent swimmer and does not require a vest all.  He just takes a deep breath, dunks his litttle head under water, and swims across the whole pool!  He can probably tread water for longer than I can, and he has been learning how to dive down to the bottom (of my parent's shallow end) to grab toys.  Goggles are his new best friend, and he looks so dang cute in them!  Needless to say, this was HIS summer, and he embraced the swimming thing with all of his heart and might, and he's come out as a super little swimmer.  I couldn't be prouder.

Needless to say, Piercey at 16 months, is not quite as advanced, but he has taken to the water with enthusiasm.  His favorite thing are pools that are beach entry style, and he scares the crap out of me by running in and out as fast as he can, with his little chubby cheeks shaking and jiggling, and me fearing he will wipe out at every turn.  But he LOVES it and laughs and has the best time.  Unfortunately, he flat out refuses to wear a vest or water wings, or any type of floaty vest (and by refuse I mean he screams his fool head off uncontrollably), so he's sort of stuck either in the shallow end, or in my arms, rather than freely exploring the pool.  My sincere hope is that next summer he'll embrace the idea of a flotation device and discover his independence in the pool.  Until then, I'm satisfied with looking at his cute little self in his little swim trunks haha.


Well now that Hayden is three, he has to do EVERYTHING by himself.  This sounds awesome, right?  Except that he can't really do everything by himself, and he refuses help.  Even if his arms are twisted three times through his shirt and it's practically choking him, he would rather cry it out alone in his room than let one of us help him.  We are trying to teach him that it is wonderful to be independent, and we are so proud of him, but that sometimes it's ok to ask for help, and that teamwork is essential.  But it's not getting through.  But on a positive note, three year olds aren't afraid of ANYTHING that two year olds are afraid of (like baseball games, pre-school, fireworks, pig races, etc).  We are testing this assertion next Saturday night, as we head to a Rangers game while my brother is visiting from London.  Hayden insists he is going to get a hot dog and cotton candy, and sit next to grammy and Uncle Jeffrey, and he's going to LOVE it.  I sure hope he's right and we don't end up leaving in tears in the first inning, but I'm definitely going in with a positive attitude, and I like that he's doing the same, and facing his fears.

Today I embarked on a sewing extravaganza to make some homemade things for my nephews, and I decided to surprise Hayden with a new pillowcase with some airplane fabric I found on sale.  I am no homemaker, and sewing is not my forte by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I am learning and enjoying it.  So the result was this super cute pillow that of course Hayden treasures.  He is the most appreciative child ever, and I'm so lucky that he doesn't just take one look at toss it aside.  So I was content, and apparently he was too!

So our trip to Durango with Nate's family is quickly approaching on Thursday and no one could be happier than Hayden.  He gets to see his Mammaw, and cousin Brylin and Aunt Britt (who came to take care of him when we were in Italy), and his cousin "Camera", as well as all his other cousins and aunts and uncles and Grandpa.  He also gets to fly on an airplane (although he is upset that it is Frontier and not Southwest, but we can't win them all).  So already last week he had grabbed his new back pack (thank you Chalna!), crammed it full of his favorite toys and crayons, and was wearing it around the house, ready to head off the airport.  Every day is a let down for the poor child as we explain that no, we are not going to the airport this morning, but in X amount of days.  Thank goodness it's only 2 days away!  And not to be undone, Piercey J inherited his brother's old back pack and got to fill his with toys as well.  He's ready!


I'll post again once we get back from our trip to lovely Colorado!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 12 weeks

I haven't posted much about my pregnancy lately, simply because it hasn't been that much fun!  I don't want to post just to complain, but honestly this one has been rough.  Perhaps I am only feeling worse because this time I have two kids, and can't spend much time relaxing or slowly down.  I've felt very fatigued and energy-less, and my mood has been less than stellar.  Of course there has also been the nausea and the food aversions.  Clearly the reward is VERY much worth the trouble, but it hasn't been the most enjoyable two months of my life lol.  Ready to move forward!

But I can gratefully and gladly say that I think the end is in sight (the end of the first trimester I mean), and I am starting to get my pep back.  Just tonight I started working out again, and it felt great, and I'm hoping it only gets better from here.  I'm 12 weeks today, and traditionally I've felt great by 14 weeks, so I'm just biding my time.  I don't think the heat helps much either; it's been in the upper 90's or over 100 for the past month at least, and it's up near 105 and sunny for the next few days.  That kind of heat just makes everyone miserable!  Thank goodness, and I say this often, for my mom's pool!

So I went back to my midwife, Heather, for my first prenatal appointment, which I blogged about a few weeks ago.  The appointment went well, but a few things she said rubbed me the wrong way.  For instance, she didn't remember Pierce's birth at all, and I'm not sure she even remembered Nathan and I in general.  I figured after 9 months of prenatal care, and about 9 hours of intense labor together, it would have sparked a memory!  She also saw on her chart that I had gotten an epidural with Pierce, and asked if I would have one again.  My response was (and I've thought about this a lot) that I would rather not, but at the same time I'm not ruling anything out.  She then said, "well to me why would you give birth with pain if you didn't have to?".  Ummm...aren't you a midwife?  It is about SO MUCH more than the pain!  I was really really turned off by that statement, and it kind of crumbled the image that I had had of her as a proponent of natural childbirth.

I think birth is the most personal thing in the WORLD for a woman, and a birthing mother should be able to be supported in whatever birth method/plan makes her feel safe and happy.  I love love love that we all have this freedom, and I respect every birthing method that my friends and family, and women in general, choose.  But it just seemed clear that maybe Heather wasn't the right fit for me this time around, because she does not share my general philosophy (nor does she remember me!).  Thus began my search for other options.  And that search led me to Inanna Birth and Women's Center in Denton.

I LOVE this place and the women I met there today.  It is a birthing center that is staffed by midwives.  The birthing center is housed in the most adorable little Victorian house near downtown Denton, right across the street from a park with big shady trees, and the inside is very warm, friendly and comfortable.  The prenatal care is identical to what you would receive with an OB.  The difference is the level of medical intervention with the labor and birth.  When you deliver a baby there, it is meant to feel like home, and to be organic and natural, rather than medical.  No bright shiny hospital lights, no blue hospital gowns, no food restrictions, no rules on who can come and go or birth with you.  Just a big room with bright windows, a whirlpool bath, lots of seating, and a front porch.  LOVE IT.  And the best part is that the midwives there are very highly trained and qualified to deliver babies and care for newborns, and they also share my philosophy on childbirth down to the details.  I have no doubt that they, along with Nathan, will provide the support and expertise I need when I deliver this little baby.  

I do, however, have some reservations.  They have nothing to do with my safety, or that of the baby.  There were absolutely no indications that the standard of care at the birthing center was anything less than what you would get at a hospital.  My concerns are definitely more mental and have to do more with the ritual of the experience.  Hayden and Pierce were both born in hospitals, with midwives, and the two experiences, while different in important ways, were very similar in the timeline and the environment, if that makes sense.  The birthing rooms looked very similar, the length of stay was the same, the tests performed were the same, etc.  Even though Nathan and I were itching to get home both times, and just were not comfortable at the hospital for 2 days after delivery, I still am sort of clinging to that experience, because it is the "norm" for me, and I can't imagine birthing my baby and being home 4 hours later.  It just seems alien and unusual (for me).  While the hospital is uncomfortable in many ways, at least you are really forced to just relax - no chores, no other kids to care for, no responsibilities, and you can recover physically, and bond with your new little baby without the distractions of home.  But the midwife we spoke to brought up a good point, and that is that a lot of her birthing moms decide to keep their older kids at grandma's house for a night or two after the birth, so they can still have that transition time with the new baby, and fewer distractions.  I think that might be a nice compromise, although I know I'll be anxious to reunite my new family of 5. 

So anyway, that is where I currently stand.  Nathan and I spent well over an hour today at the birthing center, chatting with the director and midwives, learning about how they operate and what to expect, and having ALL of our questions answered.  We haven't officially decided to switch yet (although we are both leaning that way), and tomorrow I will see Heather one more time for my 12 week appointment.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to really compare the two experiences back to back, and make a decision.  I know a lot of people think I'm nuts for wanting this natural childbirth, but it's just really special to me, and giving birth is just such a gift.  I'm so looking forward to it again!

I'll leave you with some photos of my growing belly!  Getting much bigger much quicker this time!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Baby is THREE!



Well Hayden is officially three.  And that means BIG changes.  Three year olds HAVE to get dressed by themselves.  This is the biggest visible change in our household since August 4th has come and gone.  And this guideline certainly wasn't imposed by overly strict mom and dad, but instead is something that Hayden insists on!  Each morning he takes his jammies off and puts them in the hamper, picks out his own outfit and undies, and painstakingly puts on each piece of clothing, with NO HELP from anyone.  Even if this means backward pants and shirts, and 20 minutes of playtime he'll never get back, it still is so awesome to see him be independent, and continue to grow into a big boy.  And remember, in Hayden's own words, "No don't help me mommy, three year olds can dress themselves!".  Noted :)

On a more serious note, where has the time gone?  My precious baby boy came into the world on a balmy summer evening, at a hospital in Walnut Creek, California, after about 15 hours of labor.  He was gorgeous, and pink, and chubby, right from the start!  For the past three years, he has brightened my days, and provided me with seemingly endless hugs, kisses, snuggles, funny stories, smiles and LOVE.  The kind of love I never ever believed existed before he was born into this world. 

Hayden is charming, and extremely sensitive and intuitive.  Thankfully, he is such a happy little guy, and just enjoys the world around him, just like his dad and I.  At three years old, he is super smart, and says and does things that I never imagined a three year would be capable of.  His power of observation is strong, and you only have to show him something once, and he can remember it, and do it all on his own.  Some of his favorite things are his Cars character cars, his airplanes, his doggies and kitty, swimming in the pool, flying on airplanes, and playing the Wii.  He's busy, lively, energetic, and just FULL of life and spunk.  He makes my world go round!

Happy Third Birthday Hayden!  I love you SO much.


Here are some photos from his actual birthday.  I started the day with a tradition that my parents started with Jeff and I when we were little.  Mom used to crepe paper our bedroom doors, so when we woke up we would have to burst through the streamers.  It sounds silly, but we were still enjoying this tradition in elementary school!  So of course, with Hayden being old enough this year, I decided to start it up.  Funnily enough, after I got done decorating the door at about 7 am, Pierce decided to wake up and was just crying away in there lol.  I kept waiting for Hayden to wake up from the crying, but after about 5 minutes I realized it wasn't going to happen.  So I had to dismantle my doorway streamers partly, dunk in there to grab PJ, and then we waited about another hour for big brother to wake up haha.  At first he was disoriented, and when I told him to come through, he immediately (smarty pants), crawled UNDER the streamers lol.  Luckily I got him to re-think his plan and he ran few couple more times, completely tearing everything done.  SO CUTE!


We spent the morning opening and playing with his gifts.  He didn't like them or anything :)



Then we met some friends at the Dallas World Aquarium - his own idea!  Of course Hayden had a BALL, and was particularly intrigued with the shark tunnel, and I was surprised with how much Pierce enjoyed himself!  He just ran from exhibit to exhibit with a HUGE smile - adorable.

We finished out the night with our standard dinner with Grammy and Poppy at our favorite Mexican restaurants, Christina's (again Hayden picked it - he loves their tortillas!).  It was a birthday to remember!!

And this Pierce, if you couldn't tell :)