Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcoming Lerah

A week ago today I was choosing patience, making the most of every day with just two kids but feeling about ready to pop. I had read the books, googled the questions and studied all the handouts. I thought I knew how this labor thing worked. Pretty early on Jason and I decided to try a different approach with birth #2 and settled on a hospital delivery with midwives. While most of my mom friends go to midwives because they are all-natural, I'm-tough kinda girls, I confess I only wanted to go because I didn't like some of the results my body endured after an epidural. So, midwives at a hospital with a water birth sounded great though still scary for this self-proclaimed wimpy girl.

On Wednesday, October 15th, contractions came and went through the night sporadically. False labor I kept telling myself. I went to my midwife appointment the next day and when leaving began having stronger, more frequent contractions. Finally I was beginning to think maybe this was early labor. By the time we made it home and got kids in bed I started packing final things knowing we'd surely be headed in that night. What I didn't realize was that my body hadn't read the book I read and perfectly timed ten minute apart contractions looked a lot more like 8 min, 15 min, 12 min, 9 min intervals. But really we were okay, right?!, because everything said head on when contractions were 5 to 6 mins apart. Surely my body would slowly work it's way down those numbers?!

Sometime close to midnight we called the midwife to travel but because I was at around 10 min. intervals she asked me to walk a bit, see if things got closer and call right back. I don't know quite what happened in the next few minutes except that 10 turned to 2 then virtually zero. I called back, handed Jason the phone and, feeling incredibly sick, tried to make it to a trash can. Standing I realized it. Somehow I'd made it through every stage of labor and was now at transition with my body beginning the process of delivery. So long hospital hopes and dreams, hello home birth in the bathroom! 

While Jason and I had read we were not prepared to deliver a baby... so Jason called 911. Local paramedics were close but getting them to our college campus home was a bit tricky, and Jason stayed with me until the last second to run out to flag them down. Never have I ever been so relieved to see a burly, red-headed man in all my life. The EMT assured me he had delivered babies and crouching in our tiny bathroom with a laboring woman, another EMT and a super supportive husband began the ten minute process of helping our sweet little bundle of a girl enter the world. She was perfectly tiny and healthy and was scooped up quickly by Dad who stole her first kiss. Pretty soon after the two medics and a surely traumatized teenage male paramedic moved us into the ambulance where we made the trip to finally meet our midwife who'd been sick with worry when we didn't call back for a long time.

Baby deliverer up front, assistant at my side and traumatized boy pushing

At the hospital they admitted us and cared for me and our 6 lb. 14 oz. Lerah Joy for about 36 hours. So often through this pregnancy we were asked about our birth plan and the hopes we had for how labor and delivery would go. My written plan was simple but now in hindsight I realize how often a birth plan is us trying to control a situation that can often be out of our control. Sure, water births or epidurals or no drugs are fine to plan for, but really, really I think every woman's simple plan is that she safely deliver her baby. If that simple plan is accomplished, she should celebrate.  We sure have!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

She's Here!

Early Friday morning our girl made her appearance in a rather quick, unexpected way! Full story here tomorrow but for now here are a few pictures from our exciting weekend!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Family Photos

My creative juices for post titles are running low these days, huh?! When a friend recently visited from out of state she brought her camera along and asked if she could take some maternity and family pictures for us. We squeezed in picture time between talking and before the Indian celebration we attended. Between Levi and his binoculars (he tried to pull them out for so many pictures) and Reshma's stomach being ready for tasty Indian food, here are some of our favorites she got.

Toward the end of photos and the most genuine smiles we were gonna get!

Our kids true feelings sans binoculars and food...

 He genuinely does this several times a week and even has said, "I love you because you have a baby in your tummy." I take what I can get.

She is such a daddy's girl!

Tomorrow I go for my 39 week appointment. While there are no indications other than that number that Lerah's arrival is imminent, we've been working away trying to get as many projects finished up as possible. We'll keep things updated here as things progress and anticipate that our next photos will be of welcoming our fifth!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Love, Joy, Shingles and 37 Weeks

We are alive and home again after a weekend away. Tiny Tegen #3 is still cozy with no sign at 37 weeks of any early surprises which in our opinion is somewhat unfortunate. 

With Levi we debated and talked names until the moment he was born and we saw his face. With Reshma we knew we'd keep her given name and decided pretty early on her two middle names for their significance. This time, with the third, and the reality of just becoming a family of four only to start preparing to climb to five, we didn't even really talk names until I passed six months and frantically started looking through every website and book I could get my hands on. Jason named some of his favorites, I named mine and none really matched. We love and long for significance with names. There was one name, however, that kept coming up over and over again. Years ago realizing my maiden name wouldn't really be carried on, I wrote it out forward and backward and abbreviated and loved one variation of it. But the one I loved and eventually shared with Jason and he loved seemed a little silly to me. So we searched and searched for other names and every time came back to this one variation. Finally, a month or so ago Jason called us to a decision with both of us knowing this one name was our very favorite.
Lerah- (rhymes with Sarah) from my maiden name
Joy- from Jason's mom's middle name and what we pray she epitomizes
The closest meanings for Lerah we found were of Spanish, Russian and South African origin. Lerato, the South African name, means love. But really our origin is just from a precious line of people we call family. 

I'm at weekly appointments now and the recurring question lately, after measuring a little small, is if I feel that the baby is growing. Confidently I can say that Lerah is quickly outgrowing her space...

36 weeks
37 weeks

These last weeks have been ticking by quickly with all that's been going at our place. A few weeks ago after being bit by a spider and having localized swelling, Jason started developing a rash with strange symptoms which turned out to be exactly what we diagnosed, shingles. After a round of medicine and rest, he's much better. The kids managed to avoid getting chicken pox from his shingles virus but opted for colds instead. On one particular day with Levi feverish and tired of his runny nose, Jason rigged a homemade remedy.

Feeling better and ready for some fresh air with friends
Thankfully Reshma didn't come down with symptoms until days later which meant she felt fantastic for the much-anticipated Indian dance we took her to. With amazing food, a host of Indian college students and Jason's brother's girlfriend to introduce us to people and show us the ropes, Reshma soaked in every moment of the evening. It's hard to see the room full of students dancing but you can for sure see our girl dancing her heart out.


This weekend after a full week and everyone starting to feel better, we packed up and headed for some friends to share an Azerbaijani meal. It's been eight years since we lived there but the food still brings back a flood of memories. Too bad our kids aren't as fond of the stolichny, dolma, mimosa or tandeer bread. This picture makes me smile. Can you see their Azeri food love?!

Finally, on the way back home today we were able to see our favorite newlyweds and share cinnamon rolls, my latest craving, at an IKEA furniture display. 

Tomorrow we have a day off of the routine with unpacking, no school and a new chore chart to implement! Hope your week gets off to a great start as well!

Friday, September 5, 2014

August Pictures

Moving into September, there are a few photos and memories from August we'd rather not forget...or lose! 

This night our kids were entertained for a really long time with games made up using a single roll of tape! 

This beauty caught Levi's eye one morning as we drove by our local consignment store. I told him we couldn't buy it but somehow let myself be talked into stopping on our way back through town since it was still there hours later. Covered in mold and quite nasty, the store was planning to throw it out and told us it was free for the taking. Levi was ELATED and hours of scrubbing later this free beauty is now part of his bedroom Man Cave area much to his dad's dismay.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my profile through a car glass or my shadow from the sun and I'm amazed by the sweet, big basketball hiding in my belly. Our littlest love is 34 weeks developed and the Braxton Hicks, insomnia and growing inability to bend remind me that we are getting super close. We officially have her name decided and will look forward to sharing with a few home stretch pictures soon.

What can we say...we ADORE this guy?!

Opposites attract. This picture is such a case in point.

Here's the incredible, like-minded group that Jason has the privilege of working with this year!

At a recent birthday party there was a full-size cotton candy machine, and we all enjoyed the sweet treats!

Lately this has been Jason's consistent look when he gets home from a round of mowing-- not amused and covered from head to toe.

Our millennials doing their work together this past Saturday. ABC Mouse for one and Rosetta Stone English for the other!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School Days

So whatever happened to that long, school update? Finally we can share all the good that's happened in the last week and a half.

Last week really was an exciting time getting used to new routines and a lot more structure. Reshma was a champ going into her classroom and taking everything in stride though it was hard leaving her for the whole first day wondering if she would be okay. Though she's super outgoing and pretty happy-go-lucky, we kind of expected a call because surely she was overwhelmed or crying or just in need of us. But, she made it through her first day with only a quivering lip as we waved goodbye from her homeroom door.

Levi, meanwhile, was excited for some one-on-one attention and really has loved playing with toys and getting to watch his daily episode of Paw Patrol. We did start Pre-K work in the mornings which has been going swimmingly. He even pulled a History book from the shelf this week and asked if we could read! Forget simple ABCs, our boy wants to learn about Ancient Greece...for a few minutes at a time anyway.

But, while Reshma was adjusting to public school and Levi to being the only kid at home, I couldn't shake the thought I had the first day walking into Reshma's classroom- somethings not right. Knowing where our girl is academically, the middle-schoolesque posters and books and classroom made me think some changes might need to happen. Sure enough Monday morning Jason, Levi and I were sitting in the principal's office talking options. And, lo and behold, this precious school where we enrolled our daughter listened, took immediate action and made some INCREDIBLE provisions to make sure Reshma gets all of the foundational pieces that need to be put into place before any of those huge 4th grade textbooks will make much sense. It's gonna take longer hours reviewing at home, but we are so pleased with the one-on-one attention she'll be getting including some time in a multi-age Montessori classroom! She's taken the new tweaks to her schedule in stride and is loving all of the social interaction and activities. Especially art and library time!

In fact, just this week on a trip to the local library she insisted on getting a "big book" to read like her 4th grade peers, and she's been thumbing through the pages every chance she gets.

Finally that nagging feeling is gone with a lot of gratitude and excitement taking it's place. There's a rhythm being set for the year and what seems to be a great plan that's working well for our kids in this season!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

InstaFriday, Round II

The sporadic post has returned with a few not-so-instagramed pictures and a few non-existent pictures from the last (few) weeks:

Whew! Summertime is wiping me out. Maybe it's because I have a lower threshold for busy, but the last few weeks have felt slammed slap full. 

There was the kids' first movie at the theater compliments of the grandparents while Jason and I enjoyed time away in the mountains...

Followed closely by VBS, dance camp, daily reading tutoring and the beginning of RA retreat all within a week's time...

...and this week full of students slowly arriving, training, food prep for thirty people at meals and some back-to-school shopping. 

Sleepover night at retreat for the kids!

Group hike to a waterfall. This guy was leading the pack on the way back!
Fueling up at our favorite Indian restaurant during back-to-school shopping

And the missing pictures- Jason's iphone going in the lake during retreat, finishing touches on the community apartment, the stack of keys already handed out to students, and touring Reshma's new school then meeting her teacher.

Hooray for routines coming next week even though they involve early mornings. Pre-K at home and 4th grade at public school pictures to come!