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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EIGHT years and counting...

    Today marks a great day in history. Not only was our sweet Channing born on this day last year but on this day eight years ago, Josh and I said, "I do". It was a perfect day. We were married at The Liberty Theater in Puyallup. It turned out to be a beautiful and extremely hot day. Like 90 degrees or something! We had about 150 family and friends attend. It also happened to be the same weekend as Meeker Days, an annual street festival. I think the highlight of the day (besides marrying my sweetie, of course) was walking through the festival in my wedding dress, Josh in his white tux, and everyone saying congratulations. We even were beckoned to the stage by the band that was performing at the time and they had everyone clap for us. I'm not one to enjoy being the center of attention, especially in front of a lot of people, but this was unusually fun. We enjoyed yummy food and fun music (Josh enjoyed socializing while I enjoyed the music=). We stayed later than most and were seen off by our closest friends and immediate family. We then took the hour long drive to downtown Seattle to stay in the beautiful Hotel Andra. On the way we got stuck in a major traffic jam, at 11pm! We found it comical as everyone was honking at us and yelling out the window, "Congratulations" because our car was screaming, "We just got married" thanks to our bridal party. We did make it and the hotel was amazing. Probably the nicest hotel we've stayed in, to date. The next morning we drove to University District to have breakfast with my sister and her husband. Then the four of us went back to our apartment down the street and opened all the presents. It was so fun! Then we left the house in a mess and headed to the airport to start our honeymoon! We flew to the Caribbean to the British Virgin Islands. It was an amazing 10 days! Now we're hoping to go to Hawaii in two years for our 10 year wedding anniversary which also happens to be the year of our 30th birthdays! It will be a great celebration!
    In eight years we've moved to a new town, bought a house, got a dog and three cats, each had new jobs, traveled, had two sweet boys and had our many ups and downs. I love you babe and look forward to many, many more years! <3
Taken on Father's Day 2012 in front of The Liberty Theater during Meeker Days

Date day May 2012 in Gig Harbor

Spooner Farms, October 2011

Happy FIRST Birthday, My Sweet Channing

   I've said this countless times, but I really can't believe how fast this past year has gone. I told a friend just yesterday, I think my fast labor with him was predictive of the year to come! In honor of sweet Channing and for my own personal record, I thought I'd revisit that wonderful day that Channing made his memorable entrance into the world.
**Warning: If you are at all sensitive to talk of labor, birth or all that falls into those categories, read with caution.**
   For weeks leading up to his day of birth, I had been having on and off again contractions. Nothing really painful, just at times uncomfortable enough that I thought, "this is it!". I had postponed having my dilation checked until that week before he was born, for fear that I wouldn't be as far along as I had set in my head and that inturn would only have a negative affect on my progression. But on Thursday of that week, my midwife (Susan) and I discussed that it was time to see if anything was going on. To much surprise I was already 5cm! That was more than I could have hoped for! I always heard of women walking around dilated that much (or more) but never really believed it! There wasn't much more Susan could do except prescribe me some homeopathics and recommend the typical natural methods to bring on labor and just wait it out. So I went home encouraged, excited and very impatient. Nothing happened that night and I paid another visit to my midwife that Friday. Again, very surprised, I was now 6cm! How was Channing not being born? Again, some homeopathics were prescribed and more waiting. Though, I can't forget, that all along she was encouraging me to take a dose of Castor Oil for several days. I really didn't want to go that route but was desparate as Susan was leaving on Sunday for vacation and I really wanted her to deliver Channing. I had grabbed a Jamba Juice on my way to the appointment and I already had Castor Oil at home from my labor with Lucas. Why not, right? Susan told me all the tricks to get it down as painless as possible. So I went home and added a dose to the blender, along with my smoothie and forced it down.  My stomach immediately started churning and it brought on more mild contractions but after a few hours, everything stopped. I ended each of these two days with a call to Susan to report any progress but we both agreed that we'd wait until the next day to make a call on what to do next.
   So Saturday morning came, still with no signs for true labor. I was now texting my doula and she was giving me tips on positions to try to bring Channing down more into my pelvis in hopes that he would trigger labor. I also spoke with Susan and she told me to try another dose of Castor Oil. Oy, how I hate that stuff! I honestly can't remember if I did another dose. I don't think I did but maybe I sucked it up. Or rather, sucked it down. Ick! Anyway, I remember calling Susan later that evening, so, so frustrated that I was in this situation again (my midwife with Lucas was also due to leave on vacation. He was born one day before she left.) and not wanting to make a wrong decision. See, I believe my labor with Lucas was slightly forced and it led to a lot of complications that could have been avoided. I was naive and I wasn't encouraged to do what was best for everyone. I just wanted the pain to go away. So I made the decision that I thought would take it away the quickest. In the end, it probably led to the 26 hour labor. So because of this past experience, I was scared to intervene in anyway. But after a long conversation with my midwife, doula and Josh, we all agreed that it was ok to go ahead and intervene. Because I was already so far dilated, my body would most likely kick into high gear and Channing was most likely already in perfect position. So at 8pm on Saturday the 18th of June, we made the decision to go into The Birthing Inn. Our wonderful friend, Alyssa, came to our house to stay with Lucas. We left at 9:40pm and made the 45 minute drive to Tacoma. The drive was so surreal. It was weird that I wasn't in labor but knew that I'd be meeting my baby soon. It was unnerving to know that I would be very uncomfortable soon and not know when Channing would be born. I just wanted to be on the other side of it all. We arrived at The Birthing Inn and got settled into our room. This place is amazing. It has a comforting bed and breakfast feel. The color purple flows throughout and it's always quiet and relaxing, no matter what time of day you're there and even if a woman is in labor. I picked the room I wanted to labor in and Susan got right to work. By now, my contractions had almost faded completely. She began by checking my blood pressure and having me use my breast pump to hopefully get some contractions going. She wanted to break my water during a contraction. She checked my dilation and believe it or not, I was now 7cm! She felt a few light contractions so at 12:15am on June 19th, 2012 (Father's Day AND our 7 year wedding anniversary=) Susan broke my water. I moved to the toilet where I feld more comfortable. For some reason, I like to labor on the toilet. If you read a lot about labor, it's actually recommended. But it's also nice when you have amniotic fluid leaking out of you uncontrollably.=) It took a few minutes for the contractions to pick up and by 12:30am, I was in the thick of it and wondering how the heck I was going to get through this. I labored on the toilet until my bottom was sore from the hard seat and moved to the birthing ball. It was much more comfortable but at this point I could no longer move on my own or focus on anything during the contractions. Josh called in my Susan and my doula, Neva and they stood by me to help me through. It all went by so fast, the next thing I knew I felt like I was sitting on a bowling ball and my body was beginning to push on it's own. I've always wanted to do a water birth, but did not like it one bit during my labor with Lucas. I still wanted to try so I attempted to climb in the tub. I got onto my knees but that was as far as I could go. I was beginning to push full force, though uncontrollably. Susan was now firmly telling me I needed to either get all the way in the water (so Channing didn't breathe air and then fall in the water) or get out but I needed to do it fast. I didn't feel like I could sit in the water so I climbed out of the tub and into the bed. The next thing I knew, I was pushing with all that I had to get Channing out. I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable trying to prop myself up and my arms were getting tired so Josh climbed behind me so I could lean against him. It was amazing to know he was emotionally and physically supporting me and I had to amazing women looking out for me and my baby. Within a few pushes at 1:20am, Channing was out, water gushed everywhere and I was holding Channing. I remember Channing taking a moment to cry. I'm sure it was only seconds but it felt like an eternity. It didn't take long for Josh and I to start laughing at the fact that we were both sitting in fluid. There was a huge gush after Channing was fully born and we both got very wet. The clothes I had packed in the car, in case Josh had to come straight from work at the drop of a hat, came in handy.=) I was able to cut my own cord (not Josh's thing and I'm ok with that), look at my placenta and hold Channing the whole time. I can not say enough about having a birth outside of a hospital. Don't get me wrong, they're there for a reason and I needed one for my labor with Lucas. But if you have a healthy, normal pregnancy, it's one of the greatest treasures for healthy moms and babies. Channing was as healthy as can be and my mom even made it just in time to hear me delivering Channing. She came in a short time after Channing was born and the four of us spent the next 5 hours resting, eating, sleeping and staring at Channing. After many checks on both of us, we were given the ok to go home. We left The Birthing Inn in the wee hours of the morning and headed home to see our other baby. We got home just a few minutes after Lucas had woken up. I'm sure he was quite confused to find our friend Alyssa there and us walking in the door with this mini creature that he had no idea what it was. We greeted Lucas and introduced Channing to him and Alyssa. She just kept saying how odd it was that we left late the night before with Channing in my tummy and now we were back with him in our arms. It was quite odd for us too! Alyssa left and we gave Lucas a toy tool box from some dear friends who also had two boys and knew he might have a hard time adjusting. I don't remember most of that day except I remember taking a long nap with Channing (my most precious memories with both of my boys are napping together) and Josh took care of Lucas. It was an amazing day and the beginning of this whirlwind of a year with two sweet boys and my husband of now, 8 years. It was an emotional year with a lot of difficulties, ones that we're all trying to work through. But what a blessing it has been! God answered some big prayers through Channing. Many prayed my labor would be nothing like my first and boy was it quite the opposite...short and sweet! Many prayers were also said, asking that I would get a lot more sleep than I did my first time around and Channing started out sleeping in 4 hour blocks and within a few weeks was sleeping all night! Thank you, Jesus!
   Mr. Channing, you have brought so much joy to my life and how I wish we could repeat this year so I could soak up every second once again. But I look forward to watching you grow into the little boy that God created you to be. Your constant smile and sparkly blue eyes warm my heart each and every day. I love you sweet boy! Happy FIRST Birthday!
The monthly birth board at The Birthing Inn

Only an hour or so after he was born

Grammy & Channing

Lucas & Channing meeting for the first time

Sweet boys!

Resting after an exhausting day!

Channing's first birthday party

Happy 1st Birthday sweet boy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

11 months old! The countdown is on...

    This is a few weeks of now, it's just one week until Channing's big O-N-E and just days until his big bash! I'm busy working on decorations, sweets and yummy food all while keeping up with my busy 2 1/2 year old and chasing Channing who has gone from hardly walking to practically running in just a few days! I can't wait to celebrate my sweet Mr. Channing, though I wish time would slow down some. Here is my precious boy on his 11 month birthday!
Anything to keep him sitting still...snacks it is!

He's saying, "Mmmmmm"

Love that my boys have amazing blue eyes!

And finally, a preview of the cuteness that awaits Channing's FIRST birthday party!

Tonight's Dinner...Minestrone Soup in the Crockpot

    It's been quite a while since I've posted so I thought I'd send you a recipe we tried for dinner tonight. It was so simple and so delicious! I found it on my favorite food blog, She has simple, delicious, mostly healthy with a few diet splurges thrown in because who doesn't like to spoil their tummies sometimes!
    This recipe I only slightly changed. I added kale, did not add noodles and did the final cooking in the crock pot. I first sauteed the sausage, then added the vegetables until softened. Then I dumped everything in the crock pot (Along with my homemade chicken stock! Also done in the crock pot.) I cooked it on high for a few hours and then low until dinner for about 5 hours total. We enjoyed this with a side of garlic-parmesan toast and salad. So here is the link...enjoy!

Baked Bree's Minestrone Soup

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My baby is 10 months old!

     How did this happen?! Ten months have passed and it's become a blur. Channing is close to walking, eating new foods every day and is so full of character. He is not a newborn, almost out of infancy and well on his way to becoming a toddler. He can now stand up on his own and today he started clapping once he's stable. I think he started doing this because Lucas and I would yell, "Yay!" and clap every time he stood on his own. Now he gets so excited himself and celebrates with us. He took two steps last week and is working on three. His food list is getting longer by the day and the only thing he has tried and didn't like is avacado. He's still the smiliest baby ever though he has been a bit fussier these past few days and drooling buckets so hopefully teeth will follow soon. I've already begun prepping for his big FIRST birthday party and admittedly, stressing out a little as it feels like it's right around the corner. But we have decided to go much smaller this time and hopefully will continue that trend for birthdays to come.
So wait no more, the adorable TEN month old Channing!

Showing off his standing skills

He loves Lucas' sippy cups. He has proven that younger siblings learn from the older ones. He has been stealing Lucas' sippy for months now. (FYI- It's pink because I ordered a set from Amazon and the picture did not have a pink cup. Oh well.)

He's becoming little boy! But still as smiley as ever!

Watching big brother outside

Sweet hands that will soon be covered in dirt and not baby soft

Monday, April 9, 2012

He is Risen!

Easter 2012 (8)
    We had a great week celebrating Easter! Lucas is at the perfect age to go on Easter egg hunts and it was so much fun coaching him through it.

   We started the festivities on Wednesday at the YMCA. Our friends have a membership for their two year old daughter and the Y opens up the egg hunt to non-members. The toddler room where the egg hunt was happening was packed full of kids and parents and it was difficult to keep my eye on Lucas, being the busy little boy that he is! The kids played for the first 30 minutes then they had circle time where we were led in songs.
He loved this "ball" pit and spent most of his time fearlessly jumping in it!

Happy boy playing with the big kids!

Funny picture of Lucas trying to climb out of the pit
    Then we hunted for countless eggs! Lucas had a harder time actually looking for the hidden eggs so we found an area where the eggs were all over the floor, in the open. He loved this and quickly caught on and soon had his Thomas Train basket full of eggs!

Channing's first egg hunt

Showing me what he got...a gecko that he called "Co" which is his word for bug

I think he looks a lot like my brother Josh in this picture

    Easter day was full of activities and we didn't stop until 10pm. We began Sunday morning as usual, with church. It was a difficult time to attend church because the previous week had been our beloved pastor's last week. We were hoping to attend a great service that would distract us from our "new" church but it turned out to be very disappointing. The guy in charge had a musician come in that basically performed and wasn't that good. He did the hokey pokey! I know, we couldn't believe it either. But thankfully it was over in an hour and we did a quick egg hunt after church. Here are the highlights...

The only picture I got of Channing at this egg hunt, couldn't get one with his eyes open because it was so bright!
    We rushed home after the church egg hunt, ate lunch and then hit the road for my grandparent's house near Centrailia. The car ride down was very pleasant and it was a beautiful day, something that is so rare for an Easter in Washington. The boys slept most of the way and Josh and I enjoyed the quiet and a frappacino.=) Lucas had a blast with the egg hunt at my grandparent's. They have a beautiful property and he was the only kid to do the hunt so he really got spoiled.

He wasn't too sure about the bug. It took a lot of convincing to get him to put it in his basket.

Caught him mid yawn=)

One of my favorite pictures ever!

There are few pictures of me with either of my boys. Love this!
    It was a great day celebrating Jesus' resurrection! We had a yummy dinner and lots of treats. So many in fact and mix that with a long car ride, Lucas got car sick 10 minutes from home.=( It was miserable and this wasn't the first time so we will have to be careful about road trips. But overall it was a memorable Easter!