Or at least update my blog on a semi-regular basis?
It's been a long time. So long, in fact, that I completely gave up writing when I found out I was pregnant all the way back in January.
A lot has happened since then, but for now I'm going to focus on our sweet baby boy who joined our family just two short weeks ago.
Meet Tyler Yates.
Since September 28th I had been dealing with false labor. Almost every night I'd wake up and time contractions for several hours before they'd taper off and I'd fall back asleep tired and frustrated. My mom came into town on September 30th because the last two babies came over a week early we wanted to be sure she was here just in case. But this little guy was happy to stay put just a little longer.
My due date (October 9th) came and went, and right around midnight on October 10th, just minutes overdue, I woke up again to some pretty painful contractions. I figured this was no different than the false labor I kept having. After a few hard contractions they tapered off again and I fell back asleep. Around 2:30am I woke up again, my mind racing. I had never gone overdue. I was tired from the false labor and frustrated my baby wasn't here yet, worried that my mom needed to leave in a week, and hoping I wouldn't have to get induced. But there was one thought that kept coming to my mind: I didn't care when he arrived, so long as his delivery went smoothly.
You see, when I was first pregnant with Tyler I got it in my head that I wanted to have an unmedicated delivery....no IV's, no epidural, just me enduring to the end. I had almost made it to the end during my delivery with Blake before I caved in and got an epidural. He was born just minutes later. I was kicking myself for not holding strong. This time I was determined to go through it with no regrets.
As I lay awake I had this feeling to go downstairs and sit on the exercise ball. I grabbed my phone and read my scriptures as I rocked back and forth on the ball hoping the contractions I felt earlier would start up again. Sure enough, by 3:00am I started to have contractions again. This time they were strong and consistent, and they got progressively more painful. I began walking around my kitchen to help relieve some of the pain, and even knelt down next to the couch if it got to be too much. By 4:15 they were coming hard and fast, just 3 minutes in between. I went and woke Ryan up and told him to shower fast because we needed to head to the hospital. I also woke up my mom to help me time them while I waited for Ryan. By 4:45 we were in the car headed towards the hospital. This was it! He was finally on his way.
We went in through the ER, got all checked in, contractions still coming hard and fast. A nurse then brought a wheelchair and whisked me up to Labor & Delivery. They took me into triage and checked me....7 cm dilated. In the back of my mind I kept thinking how crazy I was to want to do this naturally. I started second guessing myself, but knew I needed to hold strong. My amazing doctor had moved away last year, so I had searched for a new OB and ultimately decided to make the switch over to a midwife group. I knew that if I was going to follow through with a natural birth that I would need that kind of support. By the time I was situated in my delivery room my midwife, Janice, showed up. I had gone through the rotation to make sure I had seen all of the midwives in the group since I would get whoever was on call, and they were all fantastic, but Janice was exactly who I needed that morning. She was amazing! But, more on her later.
In triage I requested a labor tub to help relieve the pain of the contractions, but Janice was worried that I would already be too far along by the time it was ready. Instead she encouraged me to get in the shower. It felt so good to let the hot water run over my back and belly. After awhile I could feel myself bearing down. Janice checked me and I had progressed to 9 cm. My water was still intact, and she offered to break it to help things move along, but knowing how painful the contractions are after that I chose instead to get back in the shower.
This is the point at which I wanted to give up. Mind you, it had only been three and a half hours since my labor started, but it felt like an eternity before I'd be done. My whole body ached and I was trying so desperately to keep my mind focused, but it was taxing. Janice could see the panic in my eyes and offered again to break my water telling me it would all be over shortly after that. So we did just that. She broke my water at 6:50 and the panic set in. Those first few contractions without the cushion of the water were off the charts instense. I found myself gearing up for each one, praying they'd be over quickly. After two or three I felt the baby drop and I was ready to push. Rather than being told when to push, Janice encouraged me to push when I was ready. Pushing made the intensity of the contraction bearable. My hands gripped the sides of the bed and my nurse and midwife cheered me on, telling me how far I'd come, and how close he was to being out. At 7:17am, after 4 or 5 hard pushes, Tyler was here and I had delivered him naturally!
It was the hardest, but most amazing experience! There was this rush of adrenaline, and I had finally proven to myself that I could do it. I looked over at Ryan and said, "I did it! I really did it!".
They immediately put Tyler on my chest for skin-to-skin and he got to stay there for over an hour. I even got to cut his cord (only after Ryan said he didn't want to).
We were all shocked at how chubby our little pumpkin was. Everyone in the room made guesses as to what he weighed, and Ryan's guess was the closest at 9 lbs. 5 oz. When they finally took him to be weighed he tipped the scales at 9 lbs. 6 oz. and was 22 inches long. My biggest baby by far!
I still have such great memories from the births of each one of my kids, but Tyler's arrival is one I'll never forget. His arrival was hard, amazing, everything I had imagined, and a lot that I hadn't. It was such a sweet and humbling experience, and I wouldn't change anything about that morning.
At the beginning of 2014 I made a promise to myself that I would be better at this whole blogging thing, but I think I may have gotten in over my head. Once again, we are several weeks into January and I have only posted a few things about our new year.
And this recipe is no exception. I have had the pictures in a folder on my desktop for two months, waiting to be posted.
While I try and get my blogging/journaling act together, here is one of my favorite go to chili recipes.
I've adapted it from a Wendy's Chili copycat recipe I aquired a few years back. I even make it with ingredients that are easy to store as part of a year supply. This would be the perfect meal to make in emergency circumstances, and it freezes well too!
2 pounds ground beef, browned and crumbled into pea-sized pieces
1 can (29 ounce size) tomato sauce
1 can (29 ounce size) kidney beans w/ liquid
1 can (29 ounce size) pinto beans w/ liquid
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (4 ounce size) diced green chilies
1 rib celery, diced
1 can (29 ounce size) petite diced tomatoes
3 Tbls. chili powder
1 and 1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups water
In a large pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 10-15 minutes, for 2-3 hours. Serve immediately. Top with sour cream, cheese, and/or corn chips. Cornbread is a great side! If you choose to freeze and use later, allow to cool completely and put in a freezer safe container.
Christmas morning was everything I imagined it would be, mixed together with excitement, craziness, and a whole bunch of wrapping paper. But before I get ahead of myself, let's rewind to the night before.
A new Christmas Eve tradition we have is eating out at Red Robin. When you don't have any immediate family around you improvise on dinner, and for the past three years it's been our go to restaurant. We came home, everyone got in their Christmas pajamas and the girls opened the last few Christmas books that were wrapped up. I had every intention of them opening one every night, but life gets crazy in Deccember and most nights we were either too busy, or forgot all together. It didn't make opening those last books any less special, I even bawled like a baby as I read this one to them. Ryan finished with The Night Before Christmas, and then as the excitement of Christmas morning was building we shuffled them all off to bed, crossing our fingers they'd fall asleep quickly.
We have a strict rule in our house that there is no getting out of bed, peeking, or waking up mom and dad until at least 7:00am. Emma was tapping me on the shoulder at 6:45 to tell me she had been waiting "hours and hours and hours" for everyone else to get up. Funny how 20-30 minutes to a child on Christmas morning translates into hours and hours. As soon as the clock struck 7:00 all three of the girls were bouncing on the bed ready to check out what Santa had brought them.
It was fun to sit back and watch the chaos unfold. Lily spent the majority of her morning opening everyones gifts and just handing the contents to the owner if they didn't belong to her. Blake was content to play with his trucks that Santa brought and he'd giggle as he would try to walk through the paper piled up in the family room. Brooklyn and Emma got electric scooters and couldn't contain their excitement.
We finished our Christmas by having a lunch/dinner with Ryan's cousins who live in the area. Another one of our favorite Christmas traditions! We left the house in somewhat of a hurry and it was a disaster (I don't use that word lightly!). When we came back Ryan took one look around and asked, "How in the world did our house get this messy?!"
Back in December I took the girls to see the movie Frozen along with a good friend and her daughters. We all loved the movie, but it wasn't until a day or two after that the obsession sank in. I downloaded a few of the songs and Brooklyn would play them over and over again. I'm a huge fan of Idina Menzel, her voice gets me every time, and it was even more so with this song:
It's got more of a Broadway feel to it, which I love!
Since that time we have gone through every YouTube video we can find of clips from the movie. Even Ryan has joined in on the fun. As soon as dinner is over he'll search for a new clip on his phone and then play it over Apple TV while we clean up. His personal favorite is this one:
The girls even convinced him that he HAD to see the movie with them. Needless to say, we've all become a little Frozen obsessed these days. Now we're counting down to it's release on DVD in March.
One of my favorite things about our neighborhood are the tree-lined streets. It's a rare sight here in the desert to see green grass and tall trees, and immediately it was one of the many things that drew me to this area when we were house hunting (but not really house hunting).
The trees usually stay green for a good majority of the year, and then they finally experience "fall" somewhere around mid December and into January.
Makes for some really fun pictures!
Yesterday as I was snapping these images of my kids in the leaves it got me thinking about the new year and how these trees are getting ready to start over, too. The leaves are almost all the way off and in a few weeks they'll start to bud out and new leaves will begin to grow.
It made me grateful for a new year, and a new resolve to work on things I otherwise failed to accomplish or didn't do in 2013. It also prompted me to ask my kids what they want to work on for the new year.....
Brooklyn is going to learn how to keep her room clean.
Emma is determined to learn how tie her own shoes. (Does that say something about my failure as a mother that she's 7 and I still tie them for her?!)
Lily starts preschool in the fall and she is going to work on writing her own name.
And if Blake could talk I'm sure he'd say that he wants to learn how to speak instead of scream for what he wants. Or maybe that's just what I want for him.....
My list is too long to even type out, but I do have a few things I'm working on, and so far so good.
Last night we said our goodbyes to 2013 and rang in the New Year with some age appropriate "bubbly". The girls thought it was the best thing in the world to stay up late (until 10pm) and watch the ball drop in New York, and it makes up for our lack of NYE games, treats, fireworks, etc. We really dropped the ball on that one. No pun intended.
Here's to 2013 and the memories we made......
Blake went from being a baby who had no teeth and didn't crawl, to being a full-on busy toddler who gets into everything. He also proved how unprepared I am to have a little boy when he threw himself off a kitchen chair and knocked out his front tooth the day before Thanksgiving. Boy are we grateful for good friends who happen to be dentists.
Lily still has an adventurous spirit, and is sugar and spice all wrapped into one package. She potty trained herself practically overnight in August and never looked back. She is following in Brooklyn's footsteps by setting up shop on our bedroom floor every night. It's like deja vu. In August she took up dance with her 3 closest friends and loves every minute of it.
Emma has grown in every aspect of the word. She now swims on her own, rides a two wheel bike to and from school, reads and reads and reads, and we can hardly keep up with the clothes she grows out of. She touched the line for the California Screamin' ride in December and braved it....not once, but twice!
Brooklyn said goodbye to her tonsils after it was determined she gets strep too often. She took on the procedure like a champ, and had her first strep-free winter in who knows how many years. Her latest obsession is binders full of stories, songs, pictures, and worksheets that she makes up for her sisters to do.
Ryan and Icelebrated 10 years together in February, and after all that time we still really like each other. We took a little kid-free trip to Coronado 6 months after the fact and spent the entire time talking about the kids. Go figure.
Life gets crazy sometimes. It gets crazier around the holidays. This morning I read this quote that was in Ryan's office and it was just the reminder I needed.
"It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers."