Sunday, December 31, 2017

Our 2 1/2 Weeks in the NICU

It is so hard to believe that we only spent 2 1/2 weeks with our baby in the NICU. In so many ways, it felt much much longer. Jayden was in good hands though and we trusted the staff that helped us during our stay.
Staying away from home for so long was especially challenging but we tried to keep the 2 big kids entertained. We were very fortunate to have my mother-in-law help us daily with our children and my husband had family living in the area. They were a lot of help as well and hosted Christmas for us.
We were gifted (by a complete stranger to our family) certificates to Build-A-Bear with the mission to build a bear for Jayden while he was in the NICU. We all wrote notes to put inside the bear for Jayden to find when he is older. It was the sweetest gift that our family will treasure always. The timing was also impeccable as we completed the teddy bear the day before he had a big test to make sure he had no leaks in his esophagus from surgery. The next day, he passed his test!

Santa came to visit Jayden at the hospital and our 2 other children loved seeing all the Christmas trees set up at our housing site and the hospital.
After learning to drink milk from the bottle, Jayden was finally able to be sent home. We loved our views of the bustling city (quite the contrast from our country views) but it was time to leave that picture behind us and finally start adjusting to life at home as a family of 5.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Bringing our Baby Home

17 days ago, we endured the most traumatic event to have ever occurred in our lives. After giving birth to our 3rd child, he was transferred from our local hospital to a nearby hospital and then to children's hospital about 4 hours away and we were left with more questions than answers. We entered a world of the unknown and found ourselves in the whirlwind that is life on the NICU floor. It would be impossible to come out of this experience unchanged.

In the midst of this hard time and several setbacks, it was not lost on us how beautiful God continues to make life. Kind words and gifts from strangers, our children's sweet embraces, and the outpouring of love and support from friends and family was overwhelming. I can assure you your prayers were heard and answered and the many of you that provided us help will be forever appreciated. God was working incredibly hard on our family's life during this time and bonding is even closer together. Our path crossed with so many other families, some with shorter stays and others with much longer/more complicated stories yet to unravel. Each story gave us insight to how different each NICU experience can be.

It's one thing to know your entire life can change in an instant, it's another thing entirely to live it. Take the time to love those around you and standing beside you. You never know when your situation may change.

After 17 days, we finally came home! It felt long overdue!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Baby #3 Has Arrived!

Last week, baby #3 made his arrival into our world. He came a little early at 37 1/2 weeks but right between when his siblings came (37 weeks and 38 weeks into pregnancy). We are so excited and thrilled he is here.

Introducing Baby Jayden:

Shortly after giving birth, our medical team decided to transfer our son due to having issues taking milk. After being transferred twice, we ended up at a Children's hospital and learned that Jayden did not have his esophagus connected to his stomach. He has had surgery and is continuing to recover in the NICU.

This has been a lot for us to take on as parents as we had no idea there were any concerns during my pregnancy. We are adjusting and helping our family roll through the motions.
We pray for God to provide Jayden and the rest of our family with strength and hope to bring our baby boy to our home soon. 

“I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.”

We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

37 Weeks with a Baby #3

We made it to 37 weeks and I am really starting to feel like I'm in the home stretch. No idea when this baby will make an appearance but we are excited to find out!

I wanted to get a quick update while it was on my mind. I had my first child at 37 weeks and my second at 38 weeks, so this could very well be my last post of my pregnancy.
How far along: I am 37 weeks, 2 days.

Maternity clothes: All maternity clothes and definitely feeling large. I have the waddle going and am feeling more and more uncomfortable by the day.

Sleep: I'm up every few hours to use the bathroom and change sleeping positions. I have to sleep on my sides and have to rotate frequently.

Best moment this month: Payton loves to kiss my belly and hug her baby. That has been so fun to see as she makes sure to tell him goodbye any time we part ways.

This weekend has also been a lot of fun as my mother came to visit. Monte and I went to his work holiday party and the kids wanted pictures taken prior to us leaving. 
These could easily be the last pictures we take before the new baby. It's so bittersweet to think about.

Worst moment this month: I am definitely much more uncomfortable than I have been with my other 2 pregnancies. I have slowed way down and spend a lot of my time dealing with pain management. That has been challenging but I know this won't last forever.

Miss anything: I continue to really miss keeping up with my kids. I can't always go outside with my husband and children or run errands with them like I'm used to doing and that has been challenging for me.

Movement: This baby definitely doesn't move as much as my other two, but he still has a lot of good daily movement.

Cravings: I really haven't craved anything or had any aversions this entire pregnancy.

Queasy or sick: Over the last few days, I have felt very nauseous, but it's so hard to say if it's pregnancy related or not.

Looking forward to: I am looking forward to bringing this little one home and the holidays!

Baby, you can come any time! We are ready and waiting anxiously for you!

I hope you are all having a great Sunday!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

I can't believe by the end of this week it will be December! This year has flown by so unbelievably fast! With a new baby coming, I am guessing time won't be slowing down any time soon for our household.

Since we are 35 weeks pregnant with baby #3, we decided we would not be traveling for the holidays. My husband's family decided to join us at our home this year for Thanksgiving (and then plan to be back for New Year's). Not all the family could make it but we still had a full house with 6 adults and 5 children.

 Payton loves playing games and so her cousins (and aunts, uncles, and grandparents) were asked to play anything and everything on constant repeat. Riley plays until he loses interest and then he ran around checking out what everyone else was doing.

My sister and her family also stopped by for the afternoon as they made their drive to family they were visiting. We loved cuddling the newest member of our family and the extra time with them. My niece is about to celebrate her birthday so we gave her the present we got her (a doll and sand art kit) and then my children proceeded to convince her that we should all help her with her sand art kit.
We all had so much fun. My kids decided to turn their sand art into Christmas tree ornaments.  This worked out well because as soon as family left and our house quieted down we decided it was time to set up the tree.
Payton was convinced that both festive outfits must be worn for Christmas decorating. So, she picked out a Christmas themed outfit that she had been dying to wear and Riley put on his Christmas pajamas that were handed down by Payton. We played Christmas songs and had a blast pulling out all of our Christmas decorations.

The kids spend lots of time in the morning looking at the tree and exploring all the ornaments we have collected over the decades.
With a quiet house and nice weather, we decided to head out to our park and feed the ducks. I love freezing time:
The holidays mean so much to us and we enjoy celebrating those we love, spending time with friends and family, and recognizing how important our own little family is to us. Each year, we try to make gift packages for our local friends and Payton has already been planning what she will do this year.

We didn't get to see my parents for Thanksgiving (hoping for Christmas) but we did receive a beautiful package from them with festive turkey hats and some new supplies for baby #3. We loved the thoughtful gifts!
Riley may look upset but this is actually his "cheese" face.

Gobble. Gobble. We hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Princesses, Police Officers, Tea Parties, and an Update on Our Kid's Sharing a Room

We have had a busy few weeks, so I am mostly going to just leave you with some pictures and a few details about what we have been up to. I used to be a lot better about doing weekly recap posts but between 2 kids, pregnancy, and all the other balls in the air I am finding almost no time (or energy to post lately). I hope this will change eventually, but until then, this is the best I can do.

 I have been trying to carve in 1:1 time with both kids over the last few weeks. It's easy to do with Riley since he's up before the sun and I get a few hours with him each day before anyone else rises. Earlier this week, I took Payton to tour the police office with a local homeschooling group. My mother-in-law and husband watched Riley during this time. Afterwards, we decided to take full advantage of our alone time and I took her out to eat. She was obsessed with this disco ball in the background and had to sit right by it. She also took about 100 pictures of it.

 The kids are really into picnics and tea parties. I have been trying to get creative and put together simple, yet fun snacks for them to use at their parties. I used a cookie cutter to make cheese shapes and it was a huge hit and requested frequently now.
 Payton was a princess for the day and had so much fun at this local fundraiser event. She got her hair done, nails painted, tiara, a special tea party, and a royal ball. She loved wearing her Cinderella dress to the event, made plenty of new friends, and danced the afternoon away. I may or may not have shed a few tears at how much she has grown recently. She is still dancing her days away but it looks so much different than it did as a toddler.
 You guys, when you find a friend that will play with your kids for forever, keep them. Seriously, don't ever let them go. They are the best. One of my lifelong friends came to visit us the other day and while we caught up she did anything and everything my little 4 year old requested of her, which mostly meant game after game of go fish. She is definitely one of Payton's favorites and mine, too.
Last month, we officially took the leap and had the kids move into the same bedroom. It's definitely been a transition but overall both kids seem to love sharing a space. Payton has spent a few nights in a different room at her request but then always ends up back into the same room with her brother after a night apart. I'll continue to keep you posted on this transition and how we make it work for us.

Our household is really starting to prepare for baby as we get his room ready and clothes out and washed. We are also contemplating setting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving as we will be hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year. Once we hit December, we will be nearing the finish line for baby so he could really come any time in December. I think it's all coming too fast and we'll have a new little one before we know it.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating My Husband's Birthday

With little children, birthdays are big. They are such an exciting event and kids make it so much fun. My husband's birthday this week was no exception. Payton had been planning his special day for weeks and Riley sang to his daddy the birthday song and practiced saying "Happy Birthday" any chance he could. Both kids made cards and picked out toys they wanted to give as gifts to their daddy. Payton has found a passion for planning a good surprise (I think thanks to my birthday surprise party earlier this year) and is constantly thinking of surprises we should do.

My husband's parents were staying with us so they got to join in on the festivities. I like to make the day extra special right from the beginning. This year, the kids helped me make confetti pancake cake for our breakfast. So not healthy but totally worth it!
Both kids loved putting the sprinkles on the cake and picking out the perfect candles. I made a double batch and threw the leftovers in the freezer. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and will use them as a special Thanksgiving breakfast that we know all the kids will love.
Birthday confetti pancakes. You really can't go wrong. Except for the sugar high and the inevitable sugar crash. That was fun.

My husband took the day off so after spending some time with us he headed off to hunt with his father for the afternoon. He requested tuna casserole for supper and so we made that for him when he returned. We normally make a cake homemade for birthdays and the kids decorate it, but this time I let Payton pick out a cake at the grocery store. Our week had been so busy I didn't know if I could guarantee a home made cake. As long as there's cake, everyone is typically pretty happy.
The kids were so excited to help their daddy open his present, a jig saw. We can't wait to see him put it to good use.

To my husband, I hope you know how important you are to our lives. You work so hard for us and have created a beautiful life for us. We love you so, so much.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Our Secret to Saving Money

If you met my little family of four (soon to be five) out in public, you probably would not think we are that different from any other families.
We love to be outside and therefore spend a lot of our time at the park, community events, and playing in our own backyard. Our two children will fill you in on their most recent adventures or their current favorite topic of the day. My husband loves hunting and fishing. I enjoy reading, baking, and running (although running has taken a back seat since finding out we are pregnant with baby #3).
We aren’t like all the other families though....
We have a bit of a secret in managing our money that goes quite a bit against the grain for many financial bloggers and influences out there. And you know what? We are still doing just fine.
Want to hear our biggest money secret? Read the rest of this post here that I wrote and had posted at Six Figures Under, a financial blogger that I love to follow.
Tell me, what's your secret to saving money?

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