Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three First Smiles

Ruthie has started smiling! She turned 6 weeks today, and over the past week she has seemed to grow up! Not only is she giving us big happy smiles, but she is also really following things with her eyes, holding her head up for long periods of time, and enjoying all of her mobiles. Although having Ruthie as a snuggly little newborn has been pure joy, I have to admit that moving into this phase of maturity and reward is the best. I left her with grammy and Gigi yesterday to run a quick errand, and when I came home I immediately went over to her in the swing, and her whole face lit up in a smile of what I can only imagine was recognition and happiness. That moment is when I captured the photo on the right in the collage above. She smiled ealier in the week for her poppy, and also for our good friend Chalna. She's becoming quite the pro!

We've had mixed reactions from all of our friends and family as to who Ruthie more closely resembles; Hayden or Pierce. Nathan and I both agree that she is pretty much a little dark haired clone of Hayden, but there are moments where Pierce shines through as well. I remember distinctly the first time Hayden smiled - at a rest area while we were driving from California to Texas during our big move. This photo on the left was taken shortly after, during a stopover to visit family in Colorado, at about 5 1/2 weeks old. Then little Piercey is in the middle photo, smiling away at Nathan who is holding him in his lap. At this stage Piercey was a little bit colicky, and I exactly remember the moment I snapped this photo - during a family movie night where we blew up our air mattress to all cuddle up together in the living room at watch Shark Tale. I remember feeling blessed that he was smiling instead of screaming lol! And what a tan, handsome little man he was.

Hard to imagine that we've reached this "first smile" milestone already with our last child. Time is flying and I want to hold onto to every little moment and savor it and file it away in my growing memory bank. I love these sweet children!!

Friday, March 25, 2011


This is what sick looks like in our house :)  His definition of Heaven is his pacifier and giraffe blanky, which we usually only allow in his bed.  However, sick boys are allowed special priviledges, so he's pretty much been a happy camper since getting sick haha.  LOVE this kiddo!

And in other good news, Ruthie's RSV swab came back negative, and her snuffles have pretty much disappeared!  To celebrate, we put her in her big girl bed last night for the first time, and she did GREAT!  Down at 9 pm, up to eat at 3 am, again at 7 am, and still sleeping as we speak at 8:07.  And she looks like such a cute little peanut in her big purple crib.....growing up already.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hey all.  Well my kids are under the weather....unfortunately.  Ruthie may or may not have RSV (her test results have not come in yet), which is a pretty serious respiratory condition for newborns.  She is congested and stuffy, and is on twice daily breathing treatments right now.  It is absolutely horrible to watch your 5 week old be uncomfortable and struggling to catch a deep breath.  Last night I think was the worst of it, and so far today, things have been getting steadily better.  Thank God!  She has a nice, clear-eyed look about her, and she is resting peacefully, without the constant stuffy sounds.  Piercey J appears to have the same respiratory issues (or perhaps allergies), except his has also manifested as a deep, hacking cough.  The treatment for him is also breathing treatments, and luckily his coughing has WAY subsided today and he's in great spirits.  For being quite sick, both of them have been tremendously sweet and good natured.  So far Hayden has remained healthy, and we are praying it stays that way!

One consequence of very sick children is that we have been completely homebound for the past two days.  Clearly this goes against my nature, but I've been trying to make the most of it!  Although the majority of my time has been spent doing laundry, wiping noses (and bottoms), and administering breathing treatments, I did find some time to try my hand at a halter dress that I plan to make for a friend's little girl for her birthday.  My friend Tanya is the queen of all things hand-made, and she was awesome enough to share some patterns she had for various little girl dresses.  I found some scrap fabric, and made the halter dress in Ruthie's side as a dry-run.  My sewing skills are not stellar, and basic things like elastic and ruffles still give me some trouble, but today I think I overcame some of those obstacles.  I'm LOVING sewing, and creating these adorable dresses for about $5 each.  Despite making some pretty annoying mistakes today that required me putting my seam ripper to good use, I still managed to finish in only about 2 1/2 hours I think (naptime and no job = productive sewing time!).  I think once I iron out the kinks, I should be able to make these in less than 2 hours!  And doesn't my little girl look darling, even being sick?!  It's a little big because I made it 6-12 months size to fit for summer.  But you get the picture.

I also wanted to quick share some photos of other little projects I've done recently.  I made this pillowcase dress before Ruthie was born, as my first non-blanket sewing project, and Ruthie wore it on St. Patrick's Day, and looked darn cute in it.  Here she is with her best bud Nolan :)

And finally, I attempted a nightgown for a friend's little girl for her birthday, and I had Pierce try it on for sizing.  He was not a fan of wearing it, but it looked cute haha.  Many problem areas here, but I definitely learned from my first attempt (which is why I did a dry-run with the halter dress - so the mistakes can be on OUR version, instead of the gifted version).  I can't wait to make more!

I'm kind of feeling guilty that I am making all these things for Ruthie, and nothing for my sweet boys, but it's just much harder to come up with "manly" boy things to sew!  I recently found a great blog where they "upcycle" old men's soft t-shirts into great little drawstring lounge pants for little boys, so I am probably going to try that soon.  Lord knows Nate's t-shirt drawer could use some thinning out! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Practicing for Summer

Oh how I LOVE spring in Texas! The weather is fabulous, in the 70's and 80's, the sun is out, and all the buds are popping out on the trees. Even the bluebonnets have made their appearance, much to our pleasure. My mood is immediately lifted when I can walk out the front door without a jacket on, and bask in the glow of the sun without melting or experiencing heat stroke. It's the perfect time of year!

To celebrate the great weather, we decided to gently heat my parents spa, and take a dip with the boys yesterday. I wanted to see if Hayden would regain all his fishy skills, and if Pierce would be a little more enjoyable around the water this year. To prepare for the partay, we purchased some new goggles, and let the boys each pick out a pair. They were quite a novelty as you'll notice in the photos. Lots of giggles and fun, although I don't think Pierce ever actually put his head under water to make use of them!

Hayden was immediately at home in the water, and started diving down to recover swim toys with skill. I was very proud of him. Pierce was extremely timid at first, and just stood stock still on the bench, but before long he was splashing around and playing with the toy boats. It took some coaxing to get him to venture out into the middle deeper part, but once he did, he was super cute as we encouraged him to "kick, kick, kick", and after that, he kept requesting to swim. While he never let go of our hands, I still felt like it was a good first swim of the season, and I have no doubt that he will be following in his brothers footsteps before long.

And let me just say, while it wasn't fun to put on a swimsuit one month after giving birth, it was AMAZINGLY fun to get in the hottub again, and just enjoy the sun and the warm breezes, and to see my boys just laugh and splash and wear themselves out. I can't wait now for summer! Ok ok maybe that is an over-statement. I'll enjoy the spring while I can :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Old Blog

Hi everyone! I decided to update to a new blogger format and say goodbye to Kind of a sad farewell, but I'm keeping all of the old posts available at the following link!

Happy One Month Birthday Ruthie!

Ruthie 5 days old

Ok wow, I cannot believe we are already one month plus into this saga of three kids! Time flies when you are having fun (and totally sleep deprived!). It's wild that we have these two big boys and a little girly. It turns out having a daughter is JUST as amazing and fun as I thought it would be, and my boys are impressing me at every turn with their loving natures toward their sister. Her arrival has been a gift, and it feels like she has been here all along.

Ruthie is such a sweet little girl, and is so peaceful. I should probably knock on wood loudly when I say this, but so far she is my most peaceful, easy going baby, and she rarely gives us trouble. Certainly if she is in my arms she is always happy, but she's also quite content to hang out in one of the many chairs/swings/bouncers we have for her, and observe the wild world going on around her. She is my go-baby, and has already been to the preschool playground many times, the zoo, the botanical gardens, birthday parties, playdates, blastball practices, and many restaurants and shops. Life doesn't stand still for baby number three, and she is excellent at rolling with it. Luckily she is super quiet and happy in the car, and rarely makes a peep.

Little girl is also taking after her middle brother in that she loves to sleep and is a great napper. Right now she's still cat napping in her swing mainly, but she'll just drift gently off to sleep, without any crying or fussing, and without a pacifier for the most part! It's really quite amazing how little coddling she requires. And it's funny at night, but she really just goes to sleep! To the point where it's impossible to wake her up until she wakes on her own to nurse. She is typically going about 5 to 7 hours during her first nightly stretch of sleep, and then she wakes about every 2 to 3 hours after that. But I'll take it! She is still in our room, but my goal is to move her into her own crib within the next few weeks. I'm kind of having a hard time with the thought of her leaving my room, probably because she is my last child, and I'm hanging onto this special phase of life where I can reach out at night and feel her soft head, and hear her little snuffles and squeaks.

The boys are turning out to be excellent with her. In fact, they argue over who gets to hold her first, and they love to "help" by putting in her paci, and they frequently tickle her to make her happy (not sure that works!). One of the most wonderful moments in our new routine occurs at bedtime, when Hayden requests that all of us get into his bed to read a book. One night when Ruthie was about 2 weeks I told him she was sleeping and he'd have to make due with the rest of us...and his response was, "but mommy, I love family time, and we need Ruthie for family time". LOVE HIM! So sweet. So now, even if she is sound asleep, or hungry, we still bring her in and we all read and sing songs together as a family. And Pierce is constantly concerned about her whereabouts. One night he slept over at Grammy's house, and when I came to pick him up in the morning, he tore past me, saying, "mommy where Hoofie go?", which is what he calls her. Then when we found her in the carseat he just lit up with a big smile and hugs for her. I'm so proud of them both as big brothers.

And just one last point - dressing a girl is JUST as fun as I thought it would! I love walking into her room, opening the closet, and dressing her in all these adorable outfits that I stared at for so long when I was pregnant. The coordinating bows, and tights, and's just too much. And she has the prettiest heart shaped lips, and chubby cheeks, and lovely big blue eyes. LOVE.


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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ruthie Is Here!

I am proud to annouce that Miss Ruthie Eileen Roberts joined us on February 16th, after a beautiful, quick labor and birth. She was born into water, with a lilac candle burning, and with her grammy and daddy there to welcome her with me. She is lovely and perfect, and my biggest baby yet.

Here are the details of her birth if anyone is interested. It might be too much information for some (seriously don't read it if you are not into birth stuff), but I wanted to write it out when it was fresh in my mind.

Yesterday I arrived at the birth center at 11 am for my regular weekly appointment. When my midwife, Kathleen, checked me, I was 4 cm and 50% effaced, which was encouraging to her. She felt if I worked at it, I could definitely get labor going. So she swept my membranes, and sent me on a regiment of pumping and walking to get things moving. My mom and Hayden joined me, and we walked the pretty paths through Texas Women's University, on a beautiful warm afternoon. While it was super fun to spend some time outside with my big boy, I wasn't feeling very encouraged about labor. Contractions were coming, but they were irregular and not very strong. So I was pretty surprised when Kathleen checked me again at 2:30 pm, and found me to be 5-6 cm, and 80% effaced. I still was feeling very little pain, and was not at ALL convinced that I was in labor. She was, however, pretty firm that I go get my things and my husband, and come back to have a baby. As I left the clinic, I was debating whether I would even go back (I really wanted to NOT go this time until I was sure I was in active labor), but on the drive home I had a series of much stronger contractions, close together, and I decided that I wanted to meet her, and I might as well commit to this whole experience and make it happen. I was trusting my midwife that my body was ready, and with that in mind, I called Nate to meet me with our things, and we went to have a baby.

It was bittersweet to leave Hayden and Pierce at that point, and know that when I came home, they would have a sister, and life would be utterly different forever. I felt myself getting very emotional about bringing this baby into the world, and I was also feeling my anxiety level rise at committing myself to the birth itself. As is typical for me, I was questioning my decision to go to the birth center, and denying myself any potential pain relief, and I was just starting to get nervous and fearful in general. I knew that these powerful negative emotions had hampered by birth with Pierce, and I had a good talk with Nate on the way to the birth center about how I was really going to focus on keeping my anxiety level low at the birth, and we discussed how he was going to help me. That conversation I think was key to having a successful birth experience, and I'm grateful to have a husband who really listens to me and supports me.

We arrived at the birth center around 5 pm, and just set to walking on the TWU campus again, and when she checked me at 6 pm, I was nearly fully effaced and 5-6 cm, but still experiencing very little pain. My mom had planned to come up to join us after giving the boys dinner, but I called her and told her not to rush, since things were moving so slowly. In fact, I debated throwing in the towel and just heading home for a bit. Oddly, after that, immediately things got much stronger! We walked through dusk to evening outside, and I found myself having to shut my eyes and concentrate through each contraction, and I would put them at about a 6 out of 10 in terms of pain. I was still completely handling the pain, but it was obvious now that the labor had some momentum. My mom joined us at 7 pm, and we put the Counting Crows on the CD player and just bounced on my birth ball and quietly talked. At 7:30 my midwife and I made the decision together to go ahead and break my waters. She felt that it would really speed things along, and I totally agreed. With both of my previous labors, I had had my water broken at 6-7 cm, and had a baby within 3-4 hours. I also knew that committing to having my water broken would mean a much more painful and intense labor. I had thought about this dilemma many times leading up to labor, and had debated the whole quick/intense vs slow/gradual labor. I am an impatient person, and wanted to meet her, and with my midwife backing the decision, we went ahead and broke them!

Like both previous labors, WOW, things took on a whole different character IMMEDIATELY. The first contraction after my waters were broken was long, strong, and extremely painful. At this point I had to start using some of my coping skills. I found myself chanting and humming the sound "OM" with each contraction, while I leaned over the bed and Nate and Kathleen put counter-pressure on my lower back and pubic bone, and quietly encouraged me. I was having the bath-tub filled at this time, and just kept telling myself that soon I would be in the water, and it would make things feel better. The chanting and humming also gave my brain something else to concentrate on, and helped keep me focused. The contractions were just one right on top of the other, and so painful and strong. But I reminded myself that it was GOOD, and meant things were progressing and I would meet my baby soon. I tried not to fight it and tense up.

I got in the tub at about 8 pm and immediately felt some relief. My midwife had me lay on back and I really just relaxed my body through each contraction, and chanted, and felt happy to be in the hot water. By this point we had turned Enya on the CD player, everyone was just quiet, the room was dimly lit, and there were lots of candles burning, including my very favorite lilac candle that I had brought from home. Compared to my other births, it was just such a calm environment. My midwife must have known I was close based on my vocalizations and the timing of the contractions, because she told me to start gently pushing if I felt like it, and to just listen to my body, and in the meantime, she was moving around the room preparing things. I felt like that was a good sign, and that perhaps I was getting close, even though such a short time had passed from her breaking my waters.

Finally I felt a strong desire to push, and she asked if she could check me, and sure enough I was 9 3/4 inches dilated. On my next contraction she had me push, and the lip went away, and she just calmly told me that the baby was right there and as soon as I was ready I could give it all my power and I would have a baby. This was at about 8:45. It had happened so quickly once she broke my water! While I felt relief at how quickly I had dilated, I was also nervous about pushing. I hadn't pictured myself giving birth in the water, but there was NO WAY at that point that I was getting out. The contractions were immediately on top of each other and I felt immobilized with the pain, and didn't want to disrupt my focus. So water birth it was!

I started pushing, and without an epidural, I could feel everything as she moved down. I felt her crowning very clearly, and just told myself that I had to get through it and I pushed with all my might. Her head came out and my midwife had me pause because she had the cord wrapped around her neck. Finally I was able to push again and her shoulders came out and she was on my chest - in only 3 pushes total! It was so amazingly and blessedly quick. She didn't cry right away, but was obviously very pink and healthy (except for her head, which was very purple and swollen and bruised from the quick trip out). Nathan was able to cut the cord, and she then she cried a very healthy cry!

It was just such a different kind of birth experience, and I am so thankful for how easy and quickly it all happened, and for how healthy our little girl is. We didn't weigh or measure her for awhile, but when we did, we found out she was 8 lbs 14 oz, and 21 1/2 inches long. This is almost exactly what Hayden was - just 2 oz heavier. My midwife checked her all out and proclaimed her 100% perfect and healthy. What an amazing blessing.

We were able to head home immediately, and she was able to meet her big brothers the following morning. Hayden was over the moon with excitement about her, and immediately asked to hold her, which he did with great pride. He kept kissing her and was just the perfect big brother. Pierce wasn't quite as thrilled, but he did want to check out all her "silly" body parts, like toes and ears. It was fun to see them all together, and to be a complete family for the first time.

Our little girl is a great nurser, and is quite hungry! She's adorable and plump and perfect!