Monday, December 19, 2011
We are in the midst of the busyness of the holidays, as Lauren turns six months old. Time moves as quickly as ever with our third baby. She is wonderfully healthy, weighing in at 19 lbs. 13 oz. and measuring 25.75" long at the doctor last week. I am struck by her sweetness. Not that the boys weren't sweet babies too, but she just seems especially so. Of course, she is quite different from her brothers as a snuggly, cuddly, smiley infant, contrasted with their collective bundle of energy that includes lots of tackling and yelling at the moment. Lauren is entertained endlessly by them and cracks the widest smiles at the craziest of antics. She mostly goes with the flow, hardly ever getting fussy being carted to and fro. And she sleeps. Knock heartily on wood. We joke that she is making a play for favorite child as she often sleeps until 8am or later. We are so thankful for the sweet blessing she is. Stay tuned for Christmas pics . . . if one of us can spare a hand to grab a camera.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Lauren is 18 weeks old today. Earlier this week, at her 4-month (plus 2 days) well baby check-up, she weighed 16 lbs. 14 oz. (90-95th percentile) and measured 25" long (50-75th). She is thriving in every way and is such a delightful baby.
In the last few weeks, she started giggling. Just today, she was laughing at Tobin who was jumping up and down to entertain her. Both her brothers adore her in their own ways. Tobin is unabashedly affectionate with her and while we're in the van, he'll count the number of smiles she gives him from her seat right in front of his. The record is 40! Evan has been known to playfully punch Lauren and otherwise test boundaries related to gentleness--or lack thereof. And he hasn't been quite as interested in her as Tobin is, but he seems increasingly so. Lately, he's been telling other kids waiting with us in the hallway outside Tobin's class that she is "Wauren," his "baby sister" and then leaning into her car seat carrier to kiss her. And he always has to kiss and hug her when heading to bed.
In addition to charming us all, she is wowing us with her physical feats. She's been good at pivoting and scooting on her back for a while, and is quite adept at grabbing interesting things within her reach, like Daddy's napkin or Mama's hair. And then just this afternoon, she rolled over from her back to her tummy! We're enjoying her so much and smiles like this one make us think she's pretty happy with us too.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Tobin, at 5 years plus 2 months, weighs 43 lbs. and is 43" tall, hovering around 50th percentile for both. Tobin thinks it's neat that both measurements are the same number. So does Mama, because it's easy for her sleep-deprived brain to remember. Twenty-five-month-old Evan weighs 28.5 lbs. (50th percentile) and is a fairly tall 35" (75th percentile). I'll remind you that he weighed almost 26 lbs. at 9 months old, so he's spent the last year-plus growing into a much leaner kid. Each boy had to get one vaccination and incredibly neither cried when given their shots. Both are wonderfully healthy in all respects.
Little Lauren weighed 10 lbs. 14 oz. (90th percentile) and measured 21" long (50th percentile) at one month old. Like her brothers did at her age, she's growing like a champ on her mama's milk. As she just passed the 6-week mark, we're seeing smiles and hearing some almost-cooing. Lauren has definitely had daily fussy stretches, usually in the morning and evening but really they could happen anytime a day. At these times, she's been unsettled--not completely inconsolable but also not easily consoled. She'll fuss and won't nurse, so we just try hard to soothe her to sleep. The last few days we've seen less of this fussiness and more happy awake time followed by easier transitions into longer naps. Her fussiness, which I'm hesitant to label as colic, is similar to her brother's except that theirs was more predictably during the evening hours, whereas hers has been at different times on different days. Mercifully, it's only happened for short periods over two or three night times. We're hopeful that the last few days are a sign that she's settling more and more into life outside the womb. I just marvel at the simple yet tremendous blessing it is to have another healthy and relatively easy infant.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Evan turned 2 on June 28, concluding what will now be the 6-week period in which we celebrate all 3 kids' birthdays. With Lauren's birth on June 16, late spring/early summer became an even busier, fun time in our family life. Also, our wedding anniversary is just 3 days after Evan's birthday. Last year we celebrated our 10th with an overnight date. This year we celebrated by taking Lauren for her 2-week checkup and a brief but sweet little date at Starbucks right after with our sleeping babe in tow.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
If you read my last blog post, you will note that Lauren was born just four hours after I posted. Incredibly, that post was recounting Evan's birth story. Here is Lauren's.
My labor with Lauren was fast and chaotic, so I think it's best told with a (loosely recreated) timeline. Also, this is a birth story, and although I spare some details, there will be references to fluid, crowning and the like.
Thursday, June 16, 12:30am - I woke as I did many times a night, needing to pee. When I stepped into the bathroom, I had a small accident on the floor. I thought this might be my water breaking, but was unsure because there wasn't a lot of "water." (My water had not broken spontaneously with either of the boys. ) I told Matt I thought my water might have broken. He immediately got up and started reading on the Internet, suggesting I should lie on my side for about 30 minutes and then get up to see if any amniotic fluid came out. While lying down, I had a few strong, but well-spaced contractions. When I got up, there was no extra fluid.
1:00am - My contractions continued, but remained irregular. I called the midwife on call at the hospital to describe what had happened. She wasn't convinced my water had broken--thought it was maybe just some urinary incontinence--and told me to lie down and call her back if the contractions came more frequently. The guideline for active labor we were working with was the 4-1-1 rule: contractions every 4 minutes, lasting at least 1 minute each, for 1 hour. Basically, we were just in wait-and-see mode.
2:00am - We called our friend Bryon to come stay with our sleeping boys. My contractions were intense but irregular up until about 1:45 and then they started coming 2-3 minutes apart and I was having trouble discerning much of a break between them. This was the point at which I hardly was able to do anything except have contractions. Fortunately, our hospital bag was mostly packed. I got my driver's license, insurance card and some cash from my wallet and put it in an envelope. I remember asking Matt like 10 times if he'd put that envelope in the bag. I did the same thing about the baby's coming-home clothes. And our toiletries. Matt was the one who had the presence of mind to call Bryon; he did so when I threw up after a contraction. By some act of God, I put on a bra, tank top and yoga pants.
2:25am - I called the midwife at the hospital and told her "WE ARE COMING WE ONLY LIVE 15 MINUTES AWAY." (Or at least that's what I think I said.) Matt urged me to get in the car. Bryon was not quite there, and I hesitated. I then had a huge contraction while on all-fours in the living room. I think this was the point when I started to panic that we might not make it to the hospital on time.
2:30am - After this contraction, we walked out to the car. Again, I feel like it was miraculous that I was able to walk the 20 yards (including 9 steps down) to our car. Bryon pulled up at the same time. I contorted myself into the front seat of our Honda Civic and somehow managed to put on the seat belt. I was sitting kind of on my side and gripped the center arm rest and the back of Matt's head rest when I had a contraction. I was well aware that I was fighting the urge to push. I tried short exhalations during contractions. I think I fought the urge for a few contractions, but then I really couldn't control what was happening. I was yelling the whole way. When Matt told me it would be okay, I said, "Okay, but I still need to yell. And I really think she's coming right now." The main drag between our home and the hospital is NC Highway 54. At one point, Matt looked down and saw he was going 80 mph; the speed limit was 45. I was telling (again, yelling at) him that he could NOT stop at red lights. For those of you familiar with the drive, I am fairly certain Lauren crowned around Meadowmont shopping center, which is 3 miles from the hospital.
2:40am - Matt pulled up in front of the hospital, which is what we would have done even under less emergent circumstances. When he opened my door for me, I had already pulled my pants down to my knees and I was holding her head, trying to lean back. I told Matt, "She's here, and you need to catch her." Up until that point, Matt may have believed I was exaggerating, but then he saw that her head was delivered up to her nose so he put his hand on her. I gave one push and she slipped out, gently into her daddy's arms. She started crying immediately and Matt handed her to me. She was slimy and bloody but perfectly beautiful, and I remember the sound of her crying was absolute music to my ears. I was still sitting in the front seat of the car.
A valet came out to greet us and quickly realized we did not just need to park. He ran back in and at the same time Matt banged on the front window of the hospital so hard that he hurt his hand, trying to alert the staff inside that we needed help. I lost all sense of time at this point. Everything happened so fast. I just remember holding Lauren and looking at her. Matt said it took a few minutes for a team consisting of our midwife, a pediatrician and a few nurses and techs to come out with a stretcher. Everyone was so friendly and reassuring. They helped me get on the stretcher. I was still holding Lauren, and I think at this point I actually felt comfortable enough to maneuver her to confirm that she was a girl.
They wheeled me up to labor and delivery, where the midwife began examining me. They did look at Lauren and gave her a hat and a blanket, but I remember it was so sweet that they just let me hold her. They didn't whisk her away. They knew she was fine. My midwife said something like "When babies deliver that quickly, they're usually perfectly fine. They rarely need us." I appreciated hearing this. I also loved that they waited until Matt made it up to the room (he had lagged behind to get our bag and try to clean up the car a little before handing it off to the valet) to let him cut Lauren's umbilical cord. In fact, it was probably a good 30 minutes before she left my arms and that was only briefly so they could weigh her. As I was holding her, I thought she seemed so tiny. So I was tickled when they weighed her and sure enough, she was a robust 8 pounds, 7 ounces--which is smaller than her brothers but then again she was born 10 days before her due date.
Right now, I am marveling at what a blessing it is to have three beautiful, healthy children. I am also thankful for my sweet, modest husband, who seems perplexed that in the telling and re-telling of Lauren's birth story he has emerged as its hero. Well, here's my attempt to explain it to him. First, he was calm and steady in the chaos that reigned at home during my labor. Everything happened so fast for me and I was so suddenly overwhelmed physically and emotionally, but he held it together enough to call Bryon and get me out the door and into the car. He also got us safely to the hospital very quickly, despite what I recall as my absolutely crazy, panicked laboring (trying not to push) in the seat right beside him. And then finally, when I told him that Lauren was ready to be delivered, he did not hesitate to help me. He remained calm, and he caught her. The first person to ever hold sweet Lauren was her daddy. And though I wish Lauren's entry into the world had been less adventurous, I can't help but think what a tremendous gift the moment of her birth is--for Matt and Lauren, for all of us.
Both of our daughter's names have family connections. Lauren is the middle name of both my mom and my sister Ashley. I've just always liked it and, though a lesser consideration, we also think phonetically it goes well with Tobin and Evan. Lauren means "crowned with laurel," which we think is appropriately regal for our girl. And finally, as a form of Laura, it is a feminine form of Lawrence--in memory of her Granddad, Charles Lawrence "Larry" Smith, who we miss so much and know would have been delighted to meet this little girl. Lantrip is my mom's maiden name. Mom has two brothers and three sisters, so Lauren has an abundance of Lantrips in her life who she will get to know and love.
And here are some pictures of Lauren's first day with us. More can be found at our Flickr site.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
So I catch myself looking (staring) at Tobin's face sometimes and studying how much it has lost almost all of its roundness and how his features are more refined. He is so much more my boy than my baby now. While there is some sadness in letting go of that part of who he is, there is much joy in watching him experience life. Throughout the past year, Tobin would randomly and somewhat frequently say, "Mom, I just really like being four." Or "Bein' four is really fun." And hearing him say that always made my heart swell with gratitude, because on a very simple level that's all I want for each of my kids--for them to be happy.
By extension, this past year in Tobin's life has been fun for all of us. One of the biggest additions to our family life was preschool. Heading into the school year, I fretted a bit about how my somewhat shy firstborn would handle the new social experience. His school year ended last week, just a day after his birthday, and I can unequivocally say that it was a wonderful experience for him. He loved school and would often remark on the way home, "Today was my best day of school yet, Mom!" He made some fun friends, quoted his teacher Miss Julie as an authority on many issues and learned many valuable things like "Nobody's perfect, Mom. Except for Jesus." This particular lesson was relayed to me one evening as the counterpoint to my contention that Tobin's pace in picking up toys left something to be desired. (Touché, son.) I just can't imagine his school experience having been more positive.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
As part of the day, we had hot dogs and watched other kids hit. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon. Thank you very much for supporting T's fundraiser this year. Enjoy the video of his hitting.
Monday, April 04, 2011
That said, in the last few months I've realized how special my relationship is with Evan, in a different way than it is or has been with T. We play a lot of the same games, but Evan is bossier (hilariously) and more stubborn than T was at that age. He's a bruiser, and plays rougher and with a fuller head of steam than T did (probably due in large part to T's influence). The difference really stands out in the music-play we have developed. Frequently, when I get home from work, Evan points to me then to the stereo in the living room: this is our cue to dance together. I scoop him up and we dance to music I have on my iPod or phone, played through the stereo. At first, any song would do. As we've honed our dancing (and giggling) skills, his taste has become more specific. We've even made a playlist called "Ev" to be ready for dance time. He especially loves a couple of songs on the Black Keys' record Brothers, which I take as a good portent. In the last few weeks, he's added singing along to the music while we dance. His eyes are electric, his fists pump, and he bobs his head while he laughs and sings along.
When we're not dancing, Evan and I enjoy playing music together. He strums my ukulele, dances, or sings along with me while I play. He says "guhtah!" when he sees the guitar case in the closet. He points to the electric guitars I have hanging up and enjoys pushing buttons and turning knobs on the amps. He loves to play his Aunt Sarah's old Yamaha keyboard, usually on max volume. This isn't to say that Tobin hasn't been interested in music--if you're reading this I'm sure you remember his rendition of "Blue Suede Shoes," but Evan plays more intently and reacts to music more strongly than T. We were watching a video of B.B. King on Youtube last night. Evan squinted his eyes closed and shook his head rhythmically along with King's guitar solo. He feels the music.
I wanted to make a video to share his enthusiasm for music with you, so I pulled clips together from the last few months. I think you'll see that even in that time he's changed the way he plays and the attitude he plays with. As much as I enjoy this video, I warn you that it falls well short of communicating the energy and intensity he brings to playing. His development of this independent interest has been a delight. Music was the interest that my dad and I shared most strongly. When Ev plays, I think of my dad a lot, and am thankful for the musical house I grew up in. And I'm thankful for Evan, who is doing just fine being himself despite his sometimes-fretful dad.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Later in the same week after his first practice, he participated in an opening ceremony for the whole Little League.
He had his name announced when his team was recognized. His response was "That's the first time I've heard my name on a microphone."
He has wanted to spend more time hitting off the tee Grandma got him for his 4th birthday and plays a lot of baseball-like games inside (sometimes involving golf, football, and basketball elements--it's a lot like Calvinball).
On Saturday, he had his first game, an entertaining affair against the Rangers. Each side gets three outs or 5 runs. The game goes on for about an hour, which was enough for three innings of controlled chaos. T's coaches are nice, and do a good job of trying to teach skills while emphasizing fun and provide positive reinforcement. You can tell from the video below that T had a pretty great time.