Friday, June 25, 2010

'Round here

We had a little graduation party for Claire, Sam, Annabel, and Cecilia. I didn't do a very good job of officially ending the homeschool year with Claire. We just sorta stopped one day. So I decided, now that I am feeling like a human being again that I should do something official to mark the end of school and the beginning of summer.

So we made the rainbow cake again.

And made hats. Cecilia is going into first grade, so she was the "Queen of first grade"

Sammy, the "King of Kindergarten". He'll only make "warrior faces" for pictures these days.

Annabel, third grader.

And Claire, (now 2nd grade) who, of course, took the hat-making proccess very seriously and did a very detailed job. We had to wait the party (the cake eatting) while she finished hers up. Sammy was not pleased about that.

Also, Luella took her first bottle, which is huge because Claire and Sammy always refused bottles. You know what they say about 3rd children, though. They're pretty chilled out.

My kitchen has turned into the changing table room.

The cradle that Mr. Tad made for Claire has become Luella's favorite sleeping spot. And Claire loves rocking her in it.

The living room has also become grand central station for laundry...

...which has so graciously been done by the Big Guy who is off work for three weeks now to be with us. He's super helpful, but I can tell that he's starting to go through a little bit of an adjustment to the life of being at home all day. He had stopped showering and shaving and started to look a little depressed yesterday so we threw him in the shower and went out to lunch. He's looking a little better now. Here he is looking through the pages of the American Girl catalog with Claire. What a good daddy.

Claire keeps starting new projects. She hasn't done much of her last knitting project, but she started a little weaving loom project, (see thee cardboard thing on top?). She liked that one a lot.

Our garden continues to be an experiment in randomness. The sunflowers, lettuce, and herbs seem to be growing well, and the pumpkin vines look big too. Strawberries, beans, and most of the other things seem pretty struggly. The tomatoes are as yet an unknown, (they bloom later right?). Matt did enjoy making about 3 salads out of "our" lettuce though. He might just quit his job and go into urban farming. Haha.

Certain rooms in our house, like our mud room, are getting out of control again. After so many pre-baby hours trying to get organized, it's all falling apart again. You should see my precious basement! It's all in disaray.

Claire waits for Annabel to be done with summer school each day. Their favorite time of the day is the time between when Annabel gets done with school and the time whe Sam finishes summer camp. They have one glorious hour of "girls only" time.

Aunt Sarah visited again to snuggle the baby and everyone else.

But mainly we spend our day staring at this face and kissing her cheeks. You have permission to kiss your computer screen. We think she's just that precious.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visitors for Wella

 I've been calling our new baby "Wella" lately. As in, the second part of her name, kinda. Like, if you say "Luella" out loud, is sounds like Lu-wella, so I call her "Wella" or, sometimes: "Wella Wella" (said really fast together). Isn't that ridiculous? We agonize over the perfect name for our child and then we give them this silly nickname the second they are born. Well, anyway....

Wella-Wella has had lots of visitors this week! First she had her Grammy and Grandad and of course Grandma and Grandpa and her aunts and uncles. Then she met Brigitte and Scott and Annabel. And then, on Friday, our good friends, the Dischers, came to stay with us for the weekend. They have 10-week-old Julia Rose who we got to meet for the first time (since they live in Dallas). Sammy was completely obsessed with her because she's much more animated and friendly than our baby is at this point. 

We did a lot of hanging out at home and ordering-in food, but one night we ventured out to Stanleys, a local bar/grill that has outdoor seatting and LOTS of outdoor games in the parking lot for our Sammy to play. It's the perfect restaurant for us, actually. They have "bags" and basketball and even a dunk tank, (it was hard to keep Sammy out of that actually). This is Jenn and Ryan, now forever known to Sammy as "Julia's mom and dad".  They are great!

Actually, Ryan is more than "Julia's dad" because he is very high energy and ran around with Sammy a few times at the park and at the restaurant which made Sam very happy. He actually said the phrase: "Ryan really wore me out at the park!" I didn't know that was possible. Here is beautiful Jenn with Julia. Can you believe Jenn had a baby 10 weeks ago? She's stunning.

Here are the kids and Ryan and Matt playing "bags" or "cornhole" or whatever you call it.

 Then, Sunday, we got a visit from our other good friends (from FLORIDA), the Barbars. George and Matt roomed together in college (and played football together) and Leah and I were great friends as well. They have three kids as well, but here are our older two with their older two: Tori and Anthony. They are here for a month for George's work, so we get to see them for a few more weeks. Yay! It's so funny to see a picture of all of our kids together: weren't we just in college a few years ago??? How do we have all these kiddos?
In other new, Wella-Wella is being thoroughly doted on and attended to by Claire, now known as "second mommy". I think Claire would be happy if I took a long trip right now and left her to take care of her new baby sister alone. She wants to be with her every second. I'm really trying to encourage that relationship, so I've given her LOTS of freedom with the baby. Here she is modeling our new Moby wrap!

How cute are they?

I was never a wrap/sling person with our other kids because I've always had a bad back, but this wrap does actually make it seem pretty easy to "wear your baby". It's very "ergonomic" as they say. cute is Claire in this thing!?

She's also into reading to her baby sister. I can't believe how capable she is at 7 years old! She can hold her really well and supports her head really well and even changes positions while holding her very well. I still usually say she has to only hold her sitting down, but we're trying to give her all the chances we can...especially while the baby is small enough that it is still possible to hold her easily.

And in other news, Wella had her first bottle the other day. My other kids NEVER took a bottle, so I'm trying to see if we can get this one to take it a little earlier, and she did! We'll see though. Either way, she's pretty darn cute with her little hat and baba. Well, Matt is driving Jenn to the airport right now, so this is the first day since our baby girl was born that it will be just our little family together. The house seems very empty!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baby Luella's first few days

Day 1: Being born. That's the hard part.

Day 2: Visitors come to the hospital.
Big sister Claire
Big brother, Sam, who wore his camouflage shirt for the occasion.

Aunt Sarah

Aunt Rebecca
Grandma Harris
And then the mom rests for a minute before packing up to go home.

Grammy and Grandad were waiting at home with a VERY eager big brother and sister who wanted to hold their new baby every second and show her toys and kiss her and do all kinds of things to her. Here, Luella is saved by Grammy who is calm and NOT a wild sibling.

Day 3: Grandpa and Uncle David come to see our new baby.
...and then we're tired again....
....and a little overwhelmed....
...but Grammy is there again and Luella loves Grammy.
Sammy is the ultimate defender of his new sister. This morning he told me that he hates bees. I said: "but you used to say that you loved bees because they make honey and that you only hated wasps." He said: "Yeah, well, that was before our baby was born. Now I hate bees too."
I can't believe we have three kids! My parents had three kids. I'! Wow! Good thing I love them so much. It's funny how BIG your big kids look after a new baby comes into the house. Suddenly Sammy looks like a giant compared to this new tiny person.

Day 4: Grammy and Grandad have to leave and go back to Wichita. They will be VERY missed. VERY. Thanks for all your help mom and dad.

Also, last night, after sleeping only about 20 minute stretches at a time the previous night, baby Lulu slept 5 hours in a row! If only that would keep going! Also, the kids left for summer camp at City Garden for the morning, so it's just Matt, me, and Luella in the house until 1 this afternoon. That is a very strange feeling.

Luella Faye Harris

So she finally came to meet us. On Monday evening at 6:42pm Luella Faye Harris was born. She was 12 days overdue, but worth the wait. My goodness is she beautiful and sweet.

The journey was not exactly as we expected. We had planned on using this special birth center room at the hospital where I was going to do the whole water birth thing. But after coming in to be monitored on Monday, they felt like the baby's heart rate was a little low, and thus started the medical interventions.

I had come in to the hospital to have my water broken which would hopefully get a natural labor jump started, but before they could do that I needed a few hours of an antibiotic in my system, so we waited around with little happening until the hospital nurses did a little check on us and found that the heart rate was dipping a bit lower than they were comfortable with. I don't know if it was the stress of worrying about her or if it was from the exam I'd had at my midwife's office that morning, but suddenly I went into labor all by myself...and it was pretty hard labor.

But I also had an oxygen mask,IV fluids, and fetal heart rate monitors on, so I couldn't go into the alternative birth center; I had to stay in the regular part of the hospital hooked up to everything. I also had to stay on my side the whole time in case the baby was laying on her cord. But such is life. You can't plan everything! So there I was, doing it "naturally" but with no hot tub or ability to move around or change positions. Yuck. It was no fun.

I mainly held onto my oxygen mask with one hand and onto the side of the bed with the other hand crying and saying things like "it wasn't supposed to go like this!" and then wincing with the pain of the contractions. It got more and more intense until 6 pm when they decided I'd had enough antibiotics in my system and they could now safely break my water. Then the party really got started.
Can you see the back of Matt's shirt in this picture? Blow it up if you can't see the words. That was not planned. He wears that shirt from his football days all the time, but how funny is that!

I was 8 cm by then so it didn't take long. She was born less than 45 minutes later to, quite possibly, the most relieved woman in the world. I can NOT believe that women do birth naturally and then choose to do it again the same way! I suppose if it could have been in the birth room in a hot tub it would have been a little better, but I'm not sure it would have been THAT different. I mean, pain is pain man. And this was painful.

But I will say it SURE makes you feel the greatest relief and joy IN THE WORLD when that baby finally emerges and you're done. And, without the effects of the epidural, she was definitely an alert baby. We kept her with us for a long time. I fed her. We looked at each other. We discussed how insanely crazy the last few hours were. She agreed. I could tell.

And then we gave our orders to the nurse who wanted to weigh her in the nursery: no hep B shots, no eye drops, no bath with that weird chemically soap that they use at the hospital. And so Matt went with them to the nursery and brought her back to me quickly. She weighed 7lbs, 13 oz, (the exact same as Sammy had weighed). And she's perfect. She looks a LOT like Claire. But she's definitely her own little self. We adore her and we're so happy that she's just finally HERE! Thanks for all your prayers for her arrival. She was worth the wait.

**** These pictures were taken by a dear friend of mine, Jamilla Yipp, who was an INCREDIBLE photographer to have present at our birth. She was discreet and kind and even helped me through a few contractions when my midwife had to step out of the room for a moment! You can see all her great photography on her personal website: and if you want a birth photographer in the Chicago area, give her a call. She's awesome! *****