Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pics for Mac

22 months with Mac


Sorry about the tardiness of this post. In all honesty I completely forgot until after your month birthday had past and then figured as long as I was a few days late, I could be a few more. I know you appreciate me focusing on spending time with you girls when I'm not at work though.

You are so smart, such a ham, and so lovable.

It is amazing how much you are learning each and every day. You have started telling us the names of animals in addition to the sounds that they make, you know all your colors, and can identify and say almost all of the capital letters. You are getting to be very good at naming people and you are remembering who goes in which family (for example when we ask you about Dee, you will ask about Doc too). Mommy thinks it is funny that you will listen for the ring tone and try to guess who is calling Mommy. If you are playing like you are talking on the phone you will usually call Dada or KiKi (who you sometimes call Tuh-tah and sometimes call Ki-ki). I think our next big project will be in relation to counting, you will point to items as we count them and will make sounds like you are trying to count. Sometimes we can hear you say six and seven when counting randomly, but we aren't sure. You are saying more and more multi-syllable words and will try to string multiple words together into sentences. It is so shocking to hear some of the sentences you will say or repeat. You have also been doing a lot of singing your own tunes, picking out words in familiar songs, and doing motions to songs (especially The Ants Go Marching and I'm a Little Teapot). Of course your favorite phrase is "read book", you have also started asking to "play blocks", "snack please", and "elmo watch please". I would put Go Dog, Go as your favorite book right now, but you also like many others. It is cute to see what songs you want me to sing as you will make a pouty face and sound if you don't like what I am singing until I change it.

You are a big goober and will intentionally do things to make us and your sister laugh. Anytime someone asks you to smile you will give them a big cheesy smile and wink one eye closed. We have had to delay any picture attempts for a few seconds until you open your other eye! Because of this we taught you the Popeye laugh to go along with your winking. In other ways to try and please us, we are teaching you all sorts of Aggie behavior like Whooping, Horse-laughing, Gig'em Aggies, and Howdy. It is cute to hear you do all of these things, but even you have your limits and will say "nooooo" if you are done showing off. You like to tickle people and like to get in Keegan's face to try to make her smile and laugh. You just look very pleased whenever you are successful in making us happy...which you do without even trying. You love to cuddle up and read books, give kisses, and when we tell you to squeeze in hugs you will put your hands on our shoulders and squeeze them. You are so affectionate to the people you know and love and quickly warm up to others. Two Sundays ago you were moved to the next nursery class at church (you are now a Monkey) and went right in without any problems or complaints. Thank you for making my life that much easier.

You prefer juice to any other drink and will often drink a little slush if we get one for a treat. You look like such a big girl holding a cup and drinking out of the straw. You really like fries, but not mashed potatoes. You have been indifferent about vegetables lately, but not to the point where we are going to start force feeding you. Your spoon skills have definitely improved and you are getting better about not dropping oatmeal or applesauce off of your spoon. Your favorite snack right now is multi grain cheerios (che-lee-ohs) and are still crazy about pasta (esp mac and cheese) and pizza. We often ask you what you want for breakfast and will alternate between pancakes, eggies, and oatmeal. If eating a peanut butter sandwich you will eat part of it, then open it up and lick off all the peanut butter! You are doing very well out of Mommy's care and I love the concentrated time I am devoting to you girls in the evening. Your naps and sleep is wonderful and you are doing great sharing a room with your sister.

MacKenzie, this list is brief compared with all the amazing things you do each day. Our love for you is immeasurable. Thank you for blessing us each and every moment.

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Keegan is half a year


Yesterday you turned 6 months old! Is it possible for you to already be that old? It seems like just yesterday we were finding out we were expecting you and now you are already a real baby! We see you do things and we think to ourselves that you shouldn't be doing that, you aren't nearly old enough, but you are. You are just our little sweet pea and we always think of you as a teeny little baby instead of a girl who is growing and becoming more and more active each day. You went to the doctor yesterday and you weigh about 17.5 pounds and are over 26 inches long (around the 70th percentiles for both), you also barely cried for your shots...such a brave girl!

You are eating solids! Only once a day and only a very little bit, but you have tried cereal, carrots, peas, and green beans. We like to start babies off with veggies so they don't get used to sweet fruit (because then you would only want to eat sweet stuff). You have enjoyed it and will grab the spoon to try and feed yourself. It will only be a few weeks before you are grabbing at little finger foods to try and feed yourself so Mommy is enjoying this time where she gets to feed you, even if it is very messy. With me going back to work you are drinking pumped milk for two to three bottles a day and nursing the other 5 or so. You enjoy nursing, but when you are done you would much rather look around and play than laying or snuggling with Mommy.

Your sleeping schedule is changing a little bit. You are taking a 1 hour or so nap in the morning, a three hour or so nap in the evening, and will usually go down for bed around 8 and wake up once to eat before sleeping through the night. Mommy thinks it is funny that when she wakes up in the morning she usually wakes up to find your smiling face peering up in the crib. You usually have rolled onto your back and either have your arms behind your head or your feet curled up in the air while sleeping. You also enjoy sucking on your middle fingers still, but you don't do that all the time. You enjoy bath time and will lay there listening to Dada talk to you while washing all your body parts.

You have been playing more and more and love your exersaucer where you can play and stand up at the same time. You aren't consistently rolling over from tummy to back, but you can do it and you have started working yourself into moving around in circles some. You are getting good at reaching out for stuff and playing with it (Mommy will need to watch her cup more). You always look like you are studying...people, toys, the environment...you are very observant and studious looking...but you also look very relaxed and laid back. You always look at people when they are talking and you like to give them a big gummy smile when they look back at you. You are a very relaxed baby unless you are very tired or very hungry...then you will scream like a wild banshee. Your cry is very piercing and is definitely a girly shriek...I'm glad it is reserved for only a few times here and there. You love to try and talk and will have entire conversations where you are talking to yourself and trying different sounds out. You love for us to blow raspberries on your tummy and in your neck (which is very ticklish) and love for us to pretend to eat your fingers or toes. You are very giving with your laugh when we do these things. You have started straining more against the car seat in the car, especially to look at MacKenzie and to laugh at her. You girls already laugh and talk together, I am so happy to see how your relationship develops more each day.

Keegan you are simply a joy. People love to talk to you and to see your smile and to comment on how big and beautiful your eyes are. They talk about healthy you look and what a good baby you are. We are so thankful for you in our lives.

We love you always!
Mommy and Daddy

Monday, August 15, 2011

Natural Childbirth

This post is about my thoughts on Natural or Medicated Childbirth and what each has done for me...

With MacKenzie my full intention was to go without pain medication, I told myself I could do it, I told myself that pain medication wasn't an option and I poured over Bradley Method books. I practiced some, had Matt read about the method, and prepared myself for a easy childbirth. Fast forward to my labor and after teaching five full days, going into labor at 11 p.m. on a Friday, and being hit with a completely unexpected onslaught of contractions at 6 a.m. with no build up and no relief in sight, and I was done with the idea of natural childbirth (and told Matt as much). I knew I could work through the contractions, but I wasn't sure if I would have the energy to push at the end and I wanted to enjoy the process. I wasn't enjoying the labor like I wanted to and that frustrated me (which was even less helpful). My nurses were slow to help as this was all occurring during a shift change and I was done with trying. We took the intravenous medication first "just to take the edge off"....that was a huge mistake. It did nothing for my pain and made me completely loopy and I felt out of control. I asked for the anesthesiologist to come in and give me an epidural and I felt relief within minutes. I was able to rest for an hour before pushing and woke up rejuvenated and ready to meet our baby. We were able to laugh between pushing and enjoyed the process thoroughly.

For me, having pain medication meant that I could laugh, smile, and be calm during my first child's birth. It let me regain composure, it helped me rest, and regardless of whether my feelings were irrational or not it helped me be in the emotional state I wanted to be in. It helped me reflect on MacKenzie's birth as a positive experience.

With Keegan my intention was to do the best I possibly could, for as long as I could and if I decided to pursue pain management then I would go directly for the epidural. Fast forward to labor and I was progressing well, knew what to expect, and had support of a nurse who instilled confidence in me going natural all the way. She told me that I could go natural because I was already doing it...and only had a little bit longer to go. I was able to focus on working through my contractions because going medication free was my reality. I had about a 10 minute window in which to decide whether I wanted the epidural or not...I went from 5 to 7 cm in about 10 minutes of pitocin and the doctors needed to know what to do. When I made the decision to go medication free I had no way to turn back. This fact helped me immensely. I had to deal with what was coming and did so fairly calmly and just focused on relaxing as much as possible. When it was time to push I felt immediate relief and the pushing portion of labor was way easier than I thought it would be.

For me, going medication free meant a number of things. First, it meant that I was able to immediately get up and move around. I can understand now how women in olden days used to go directly back to taking care of their chores (not that I wanted to...I can just understand how that is possible). I felt less nausea and overall felt physically good (better than MacKenzie). Emotionally it helped me learn what my body was capable of. It helped me learn how I could push myself (not just a baby out) and really work with my body towards a goal. Whenever I run or am working out now, I remember that. And when I am facing challenges I look on them as my reality and something I need to take in stride.

Speaking of working out, both labors and deliveries have given me empowerment in another way. I alternate back and forth between doing weight machines for a few weeks and free weights for a few weeks. I felt a little hesitant to workout on the free weights a few months ago. This is a legitimate feeling with the onslaught of men working out in that section of the gym. They sweat, they usually wear funny clothes, they lift incredible amounts of weight, and the kicker for me...they make sounds that no person should make when working out. I have a really hard time with the grunting and howling these men utter as they lift. It really is intimidating to me. I started to turn away from the free weights and work out on the machines instead until I thought to myself..."No! You have been through childbirth. TWICE. And one of those times was without pain medication. That is something none of those men can say. You have just as much of a claim to be up there." And I confidently walked over, picked up my little weights and did a grunt and howl free workout. So an additional thank you to Mother Nature for giving me that too, I feel honored to have experienced that twice and hopefully...one day...no this is not an announcement (we have enough going on right now thank you)...we will experience it again. And when we do, we will see how things go and go without pain medication as long as we can...and go straight for the epidural if we want it!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


A lot has happened in the past week...but it all started last Wednesday...

Wednesday night: We went to our good friends, The Roberds, for dinner. Allen and I first met when I started teaching at Cy-Ridge. He also taught on my team as a World History teacher and became Team Leader my second year. We ended up moving down the street from him and enjoyed visiting and growing a friendship between our family and his. Allen is a lot like me and is definitely like the big brother I never had. At dinner they let us know that they are moving back to Utah in the next month to couple of months. We are very happy for them and that this means better opportunities for them as well as more time with their families. They will definitely be missed however and I may have been more than a little sad to hear this news. In the course of talking about their move Allen talked about putting in his resignation at the school and we laughed about the fact that if I wanted a job then it was available. Matt and I talked about it more at home, but decided that a number of factors were working against us and maybe this wasn't the best timing. We both privately thought about it a lot more and thought about how we could make things work if I was to return to school.

Monday afternoon: I get a call from another teacher on my team asking if I was interested in coming back. We talked about it for awhile and I decided that Matt and I should really commit some prayer time and discussion to the possibility of me returning to work. We sent out a prayer request to our ABF and talked to some family about what this would mean from our family. We did feel strong support and love from so many of our friends and family and we are extremely thankful for that. We also looked at every angle and possibility. We didn't let ourselves get too excited about the positives and didn't let ourselves get too down about the negatives. We thought about it, reflected on it, and prayed on it.

Tuesday morning: We talked some more.

Tuesday afternoon: We talked some more. Then we decided that just because a few co-workers might want me for the position that doesn't mean that I am a shoe-in for the position, there are a number of factors that could play into hiring for the district. So we placed things further in God's hands and told my would be new Team Leader to throw my name out there and see what happens. We also began to inquire about childcare and started preparing ourselves for me having the position because we knew it would be easier to get out of working mindset than to put myself into it. I got a call back later and was told to call the school to set up an official interview.

Wednesday day: I called and set up my interview and prepared to do my best feeling confident that if this was supposed to happen then it would.

Thursday afternoon: I arrive for my interview, sit quietly while the Associate Principal and Department Chair finish an interview for a different position, and go through all my wonderful talking points in my head. After our obligatory greetings I sit down and wait for all the tough questions. I am told this is not an actual and official interview, they just want to go over a few things with me. We chat for about 15 minutes, tell me they are happy to have me back and that I should try to come in next week for Orientation. I am instantly relieved on the job side of things, I am excited to teach again and happy about what this means for securing our finances and maybe providing Matt with the chance to pursue an advanced degree. I immediately feel overwhelmed however about all the things at home that need to be taken care of and all the details that need to fall into place. As I walked out of the school I began to cry, not out of sadness for working, but just in an uncontrollable wave of emotion at all the stress I was able to let go of and all of the new stress I would be taking on at the same time. But the facts remain...We are assured that this is the path we are meant to leave, feel so happy about being in teaching again, and glad for such an amazing opportunity (in this economic climate it is almost unheard of to be offered a teaching job like this in this manner). I feel confident that it will make me a better mother and wife as it will force me to focus and concentrate on them in an attempt to "make up" for the time spent in the classroom. I have been so appreciative of this time home with the girls and teaching is truly a great profession for getting to spend time with your own children as well. I am not sure how long this "stint" will be, we are taking things as they come.

We really appreciate everyone's help, support, and prayers and will continue to rely on that this year. I am sure you will get to hear some amazing stories and hopefully some funny ones too as I endeavor to educate 180 15 and 16 year olds this year!