Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Whale of a Time - Quilt (back)

Yes - I'm so far behind on blogging that I'm finally getting around to sharing a special little addition that I made to Lauren's baby quilt.  I posted this quilt back over a month ago and I promised to come back and show you what I made for the back, but then, well, a baby happened and I finally found these pictures on my camera when I was downloading all the pictures from the hospital.

The backing fabric that I used on Lauren's quilt is sort of made to look like paper dolls.  So, I decided to use up some of my scraps and make little clothes for the animals.  I made shirts, shorts, jeans, dresses, crowns, bows etc and I think they turned out really cute!

I know the baby won't be able to play with the clothes for a long time, but I can tell you that Abby loved it.  She played with the clothes dressing the dolls up and moving the pieces around for probably 45 minutes when I set it up on the floor to take these pictures.  I hope the new baby loves this quilt as much as I do....and the little clothes too...they were a pain in the you know what to make!!  Cute idea, glad I did it, but...I probably won't do it again :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Treasure Hunt

When we were kids we spent at least a week every summer up at the lake and I have tons of memories of those trips...from the smell of the woods as you drive down the long driveway, the never ending mosquito bites, the curves and twists in the path down to our little playhouse in the woods and wading in the water looking for clams to make "clam soup" over a fake fire.  It's the things childhood should be made of and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything and I can't wait for my daughters to start forming the same memories.

One thing that I'll never forget were the yearly treasure hunts my Aunt Peggy coordinated for us.  As we grew older we knew that "Up North" meant that we'd be having a treasure hunt and it was one of our favorite memories of the lake.  This year we figured the girls were finally old enough to understand the tradition and boy did we go BIG for them.

The concept is simple.  Peggy would go to the store (probably the dollar store) and bought 10 or so gifts for each of us.  We usually all got the same thing, or versions of the same thing to avoid fighting (smart lady).  Then, one day we'd get ushered out of the house and off the property so the treasuring could commence.  When we were little the dad's probably took us out on the boat or something but once we got bigger the adults just told us to pound sand and scoot for an hour or two.  We walk around the lake, play in the woods, go fishing...anything just to get out of the cabin and away from the house.

The parents would wrap up all the gifts in our individual paper.  See, Peggy would pick out different paper for each of us and our present would be wrapped in that paper.  Then, when we were searching, if you found your presents, great...but if you found someone else's, better keep your mouth shut and move on.  It was part of the fun of it...the secret of knowing you found something someone else was searching for.  We each got a scrap of our paper at the start of the hunt and a bag and we were off to do the finding.  

A few weeks before heading to the lake I asked Joey if she wanted to coordinate a hunt for the girls and she said yes, so we both went out to buy some gifts and grabbed a roll of wrapping paper for each of the girls and we were set!  That is until Grandma and Peggy found out we were doing a treasure hunt.  They were too excited to be left out of the fun so they both grabbed gifts for the girls as well.

Would you believe that we had enough presents to do THREE treasure hunts for the girls?  It was crazy, was like their birthdays.  HA!  The good thing about doing multiple hunts back to back is that by the third time they totally got it.  They knew they were only supposed to find their color paper, they knew there were presents at the end...they knew their stuff was hidden and it was a game.  It was super cute and I'm sure we'll be doing one of these every time we're at the lake for years to come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Up North 2015

Last week we spent a whopping 8 days at my family's lake house in northern Wisconsin.  I've blogged about the lake house before and shared pictures of the lake, house and outhouse, and how special this place is for me so I'm just going to focus on some cute pictures of my family and all the fun we had there.  I've got a few more posts coming about Up North so stay tuned!

 The lake house is pretty small.  Think 2 small bedrooms and 1 bathroom so we took our camper along which we basically consider our own little house on wheels.  This is the first time we camped using it as a family of 4 and I'm happy to report it worked just like we hoped it would!  Abby slept perfectly in her little room, and us in ours while Hazel had the middle section to herself.  She slept in her little rock and play and I was able to get up and nurse in the middle without waking up the whole family.  It was perfect!!  Of course, the noise of the air conditioner helped to drown out the noise so I'm thankful for that as well.  I think most people thought I'd lost my mind when I said I was going camping with a two week old, but we made it work and I'm confident we'll have a great trip in a few weeks when we go camping with the cousins.  Yep, that's right, two camping trip in the first 6 weeks of Hazel's life...we've got this!

Joey, Andy and Kayden were there with us for most of the week and it was great to let the girls have so much time together.  They played so well together and had such a good time.  They went fishing, swimming, drove the Barbie Jeep (without fighting too much) and the Pope Mobile, they laughed and had lots of little secret hiding places where they tucked away for as long as we'd let them.  They were so cute together.

I had this same bubble maker up north last year and the pictures are just too perfect not to post.  #childhoodunplugged

I have a feeling this picture might make it into the wedding montage someday.  Ha!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hazel Frances McGrath - Part 2

Even though I was feeling pretty crappy the day Hazel was born, some very special people couldn't wait to meet her so I had a few visitors that first day.  My mom, Abby, Ellyn and Erin all came to the hospital around 11 to meet the newest addition to the family. After sitting in the waiting room for a half hour or so while I got myself together and tried to not puke, I knew they were bursting at the seams to hold Hazel so in they came.  They didn't stay long and I'm so glad they came!

Erin didn't get to see Abby right when she was born since she was living in New York, so I know this was a special moment for her when she got to meet Hazel on her birthday.

The grandmas were pretty excited too!

I can not get enough of this picture.  Daddy and his two little's perfect.  And Abby tentatively looking at her new little sister....pretty much sums up our life in those first few days!

And Hazel's godfather, Greg made sure he came to visit her on that first day as well.  I knew he loved her a lot when he stuck around as I puked in the bed right beside him.  Not my finest moment, but Greg, big props for that one...huge!!  You are a great guy and will make an awesome Dad someday.  #jointheparentsclub

But these pictures, of Abby's first moments with Hazel will always be some of my favorite.  I can't stand the cuteness!

Thanks to everyone who sent cards, food, gifts and love in those first early weeks.  You are all so sweet to think of us and remind us that we are surrounded by love and support.  I'm grateful for you all!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hazel Frances McGrath - Part 1

Holy cow does time go by so fast?!?!  I feel like this photo was just a few days ago and weeks ago at the same time.  I think sleep deprivation and a week vacation at the lake will do that to you.  Time's been flying past and I'm determined to get Hazel's birth story written down before I forget all the little details!  So I'm going to take it back to the beginning....

Abby was 2.5 weeks early and came in the middle of the night on her own little schedule.  So - I was pretty sure that Hazel would be the same.  Of course, Hazel had her own little plan and it didn't involve being on my she held out as long as possible and we ended up having her on her scheduled c-section day.

The day before her birthday was a Sunday and we had Bradley's third birthday party to attend so I was able to fill my time, and my mind with other things instead of focusing on the impending surgery and how big of a day the next day was going to be.  It was actually really nice to have the distraction.  Sunday night was pretty uneventful and I went to be early figuring it was the last night of decent sleep I'd be getting in awhile and knowing that I'd toss and turn the whole night with excitement/nerves.

Around 3 am I woke up to notice that the power was out.  The power flashes pretty frequently at our house so I didn't think much of it...but it was pouring outside and the sump pumps have been running on overtime and I noticed that they weren't running anymore.  With a finished basement and carpeted floors down there I got a little nervous about the I woke up Ryan to tell him that it wasn't working.  He just rolled over, mumbled something about the battery backup and went back to sleep.  I tossed and turned til 4:30ish when the power was still out and I needed to get up to shower one last time before leaving for the hospital.  The doctor wanted me to wash with some special antiseptic wash before surgery but I wasn't interested in showering in a pitch black bathroom.  Randomly the power came back on just in time which was good because Ryan realized that backups weren't working and we were getting really close to having water overflowing into the basement....phew!!!

I showered and we got on the road to the hospital.  Erin's been staying with us all summer since she's in a show in the northern burbs so we left Abby sleeping and Erin stayed with her.  My mom was heading into our house early that morning and would end up staying with us for the whole week helping with Abby while we were at the hospital and helping me on my first few days home...especially since daycare was closed for the 4th of July so I had Abby home with me as well.

The hospital prep was pretty uneventful and felt like it dragged on forever.  We checked in at the hospital at about 5:30 am and had surgery scheduled for 7:30.  Hazel was born at 7:49 so once things got rolling they went pretty quick.

When I had the c-section with Abby I got sick during surgery, the doctor quickly pushed some medicine to me and I felt better pretty quickly so I made sure to warn the doctor about my past experience and hoped that he could do something to avoid getting sick this time around.  Unfortunately, that was NOT the case.  I was hardly laying down on the table after the spinal tap before I started throwing up.  Ryan came in shortly after and I was just happy to have him by my side and to hold his hand.  I felt terrible and was so nervous for surgery but SO ready to know if we had a baby girl or boy....and get our life started as a family of 4.

Like I said, once we got to that point, things went pretty fast.  The doctor asked Ryan if he wanted to peak around the curtain to see if it was a boy or a girl.  He didn't see the surgery the last time around so we were both a little surprised that they asked...but he peaked around the curtain and he said "It's a girl!!".  Not surprisingly, I started crying and just squeezed Ryan's hand.  She wasn't crying at all so the doctor reassured us "She's totally fine, she's not crying, but she's healthy and everything is ok".  It's interesting, because even now, nearly 4 weeks later Hazel really isn't a crier.  She really is a good baby!

Hazel Frances McGrath
7 lb 5 oz, 19 inches
Born at 7:49 am

From this point on I pretty much loose track of time.  I was still feeling sick and threw up at least one more time during surgery.  I was so relieved that she was there and that she was ok.....but I really wasn't feeling well at all and I just wanted the surgery to be over.  At some point between finding out that she was a girl, and being done with surgery, Ryan said he wanted to name her Hazel and I agreed.  Our other girl name was Molly and I'd told him when we went into the hospital that morning that he could pick.  Eventually they rolled me into recovery and I finally got a chance to hold Hazel.  Those are some of the best moments of your life right there and I loved every minute of it.  Sadly though, I was still feeling pretty sick and threw up a few more times during recovery.  They gave me some medicine to help, but it just wasn't work for me.

After an hour or so in recovery they moved me into our room for the next few days.  I continued to be sick all day until about 7pm.  I was throwing up every hour or so and feeling pretty miserable.  In fact, I felt so bad that had I felt this terrible after surgery with Abby I may have considered trying for VBAC this time around.  I was pretty much a mess for that first day.  We had just a few visitors, Abby and the grandparents of course, and Greg, Hazel's godfather, but I was feeling so miserable that I was actually pretty thankful we didn't have a ton of visitors that first day.  I didn't hold Hazel much in those first few hours either.  As soon as I'd get settled with her I'd need to throw up and without stomach muscles and being generally unable to move made it all that much harder.  I was just focused on getting me better so I could bond and snuggle with my new little peanut.

Finally around 7pm I was feeling better and was able to keep some water/juice down.  I was finally on the mend.  We spent Tuesday at the hospital and went home on Wednesday afternoon.  It was a much shorter stay than with Abby.  Part of that was because I was ready to be home with my own stuff and my family and the other part was that I was much less nervous this time around.  I'd been here, done this before and I was ready!

I LOVE this picture.  Abby really is a great big sister.  There were lots of things I worried about in the days/weeks/months preceding Hazel's birth.  I was worried Abby would be jealous of the baby, she's not.  I worried she'd regress into needing/wanting Paci's again, she didn't.  Or that we'd take steps backward in potty training, we didn't.  She's really rolled with the changes and embraces being a big sister.  She loves Hazel and will help in so many ways.  When Hazel starts to cry she quickly comes to tell me and then runs to find a paci for her.  She'll grab blankets and diapers for me whenever I ask and she loves giving her kisses/hugs and "pets".  She's been amazing with all the change and I'm so proud of her.

That being said, this transition hasn't been smooth sailing in every way.  I'm seeing a lot more "terrible 2's" attitude from Abby and she's quick to have meltdowns but we're getting through that.  All the change is hard for her and she's so good with Hazel that I just have to remember to keep my cool, be patient and give her time to adjust to the change.  She's extra clingy to me sometimes and wants nothing to do with me others...she gets a little jealous when I say that need to feed Hazel and tries to climb in my lap too awhile I feed her but I certainly can't complain about both of my babies crawling into my lap to snuggle.

Having two is much different than having one, but my heart has grown in ways that you can't even imagine and I am so happy to be here, in this place, in our lives.  I told someone the other day that my life feels very "full" these days and while sometimes that feels overwhelming, it's never a bad thing and I am so thankful for all the miracles that brought us to this point.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

1 Family x 12 (July)

Now that we're back from the lake I'm finally going to get caught up on this blog!!  Here's July's family picture.  We actually took this on the 4th of July so Hazel is 5 days old's crazy how fast the time flies!!  Can you believe we're a family of 4 now?  I'm still getting used to it and we're going on 4 weeks now.

Up next is a post about Hazel's birth far behind!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

1 Family x 12 (June)

Admittedly, not my personal best photo...but I wanted so badly for our June picture to be one of us as a family of four!!!  Can you believe it?  Hazel is finally here!?!?!  We're 100% in love and Abby has been a great big sister.  More to come in a full post about Hazel's birth and how things have been going at home since we left the hospital, but for now - here's our June family photo.