Thursday, June 23, 2016

Partying: Another Year

Wow.  It's been a long time since I blogged.  Like this is over a year and a half old.  But I found this in the drafts and wanted to go ahead and publish.  Will be posting much more updated info soon!


All my babies are officially one year older!  Things have been busy.  So busy that it is March and I haven't acknowledged any birthdays or Christmas.

My excuse (and the truth) is that I've been busy.  All at once we fixed up a mess of a rental house and started working on our own (which we had to move out of while they work).  Then throw Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the usual busy-ness, and you might understand why blogging had to take a back seat.  But never fear: let me give you the recap!

We celebrated Paul's third birthday with another tractor themed party.  It was very low key, but almost all the family came out to celebrate, so we had fun.  Leah surprised us all driving a big tractor from the farm and gave Paul a ride.  

Hays and Clara had a joint birthday party.  The theme was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / A Celestial Ball."  Basically we decorated the house with stars of various kinds.  I liked the Twinkle Twinkle theme, Hays really didn't care, and Clara was happy as long as she could dress up as Sleeping Beauty (so it became a "Ball").

So, here's my Sleeping Beauty.  Sewn the DAY OF her party.  Why I didn't just buy a Sleeping Beauty dress?  I don't know.  Well, I do know.   But I'm not going to get into that. 

It was twirly, and that's what she wanted.  Hooray again!

My man Hays was delighted when everyone sang Happy Birthday to him.  Other than that, opening presents and even blowing out the candles wasn't on his radar.  My mom was a big help in getting all the decorations and food put together right at the end.  We had lots of balloons  - some helium, some regular - that really helped to transform the space.

On Paul's birthday, I did manage to get one photo worthy of framing (and Christmas card-ing).  Hooray!  Merry (belated) Christmas!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Growing: Hays update

What has been going on since I last posted?  Well I can happily say we have been enjoying Hays' many laughs and smiles.  Hays may be my best baby yet - he's a good sleeper, he enjoys people-watching, and he smiles all the time.  He's been called "Happy Hays" more than once around our house.

Of course, he's a healthy eater, too.  In fact, Hays at four months is larger than Clara and Paul were at six months.  Longer and heavier.  Whoa.  He was 19.9 pounds on his four-month birthday.  I'm sure he's well over 20 pounds by now.

He is trying to gnaw on anything he can get his hands on.  Literally.  There's a bottom tooth that I know will pop through almost any day now.

Still working on rolling over.  He's trying pretty hard and has done it a handful of times, but not repetitively, so I wouldn't say we've crossed that milestone off the list.

Hays enjoys putting weight on his legs, which besides just holding him (and I just told you that he is HEAVY) means he spends time in the Johnny Jump-Up and Exersaucer.  Thank goodness!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Partying: My Little Pony is Four

Clara turned four just five days after Hays was born.  We've been planning her party for awhile, so we were prepared.  She has been so excited for this party since... well, probably since her third birthday party.

I wasn't going to go all crazy with this one.  Her snowflake party gave me party planning burn out.  But I still wanted it to be special and fun.  She requested a My Little Pony themed party with lots of purple.  She also wanted it to be a sleepover.

We made the cake well in advance and froze it.  We also made cupcakes and cookies ahead of time.  While I was at the hospital, Clara decorated the cupcakes with my parents.  Clara helped me decorate the food table a few days before Hays was born.


Her favorite pony is Twilight Sparkle.  She dressed up as Twilight last Halloween.  Who'd a thought we'd get some more mileage out of that costume?

The idea with the party was that each pony wrote Clara a letter.  Each letter had a special birthday message with an activity for her.

Fluttershy wanted her to go meet an animal friend of hers outside (A horse that our neighbor (and family member, Gail) let us borrow for a few hours). 

Pinkie Pie wanted her to eat cake and open presents.  (This was the majority of the party.)

Applejack wanted Clara to pick up apples like a real pony (AKA bobbing for apples).


Rarity had nail polish and a candy necklace for her at the "Carousel Boutique."

Clara had to pin the tail on Rainbow Dash.

And Twilight Sparkle had a new book about sleepovers (not pictured... instead, I show you a picture of popcorn, which is essential to any sleepover).

Let me just say that the coordination of the letters with the activities was not as smooth as planned, in fact, I might describe the event as a chaotic mix of present opening and eating.  But Clara had a ball, and that's the important thing.

As far as the sleepover goes, Clara and Paul slept in their teepee-tent and sleeping bags.  My mom even joined them in there for awhile before moving to one of the twin beds in their bedroom. A big cheer goes out to her for being such a sport!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hays: One Month

It's hard to believe that this little man is already one month old!

Well, it is and it isn't.  He's already outgrown the newborn clothes.  On to the 0-3 month stuff!
And tonight I put him in a size 2 diaper... whoa.  This guy is growing fast.

There's been a few nights of colicky crying, but a little "Colic Calm" (yes, that's literally the name) before symptoms arise, and me cutting out the gas-a-licious veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale) seem to be helping.  We had one night where he slept six hours straight!  Scared me half to death!

And if you can't tell from the above picture, that's Hays saying, "Okay, enough pictures, Mom.  Get some clothes on me!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Enjoying Hays

Clara and Paul are being so sweet to Baby Hays.  Clara calls herself, "Little Mama."  She's told me that he likes her more than he likes me!

Today I saw Hays smile at Clara - his first "real" smile in my opinion.  He did it more than once and had a genuine happy, content look on his face.

Paul loves Hays too.  He doesn't really want to hold him, but he likes shake his hand and give him little hugs.  I'm proud of Paul for being so sweet to his little brother.

It was wonderful having my parents here for over a week.  No child lacked any attention, no belly rumbled for lack of food.  Thankfully our house didn't lack heat!  It was 9 degrees here one night -- the coldest it's been in 9 years at least!

That did mean that we had a bit of cabin fever that week, or should I say Clara and Paul did.  They NEED to get outside and run!

 Hays has been a very good baby.  Very sleepy - both day and night.  No real bedtime routine as yet, but surely that will come soon.

He's growing well, weighing in over 9 pounds at his two week check up.

We are all adoring this new little boy, and adjusting to all that a baby requires.  And having fun taking pictures of him, too!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Parenting: Hey, Hey, Hays!

Well, after 40 full weeks of waiting, plus one day, our latest bundle of joy has arrived!

And it's a boy!

Joseph Hays Rankin

We're calling him Hays.  Named for his great, great grandfather (Pat's mother's grandfather), Joseph Hays Cooling.  Pat has an early memory of riding the train with his grandmother to Kansas (where she grew up) to visit her parents, so Pat actually met the original Joseph Hays when he was four years old.

As with my other two children, I was induced.  This time it was the day after my due date.  After slightly tearing up when kissing Clara and Paul goodnight and tossing and turning for the four hours I tried to "sleep," Pat and I left the house at 3 am in twenty degree weather to get to St. Vincent's hospital by 5.  We were quickly shown to our room.  Within no time our nurse Teri had me all hooked up to the monitors and the IV.  Initially I was afraid we were rushing things.  Maybe we should have waited longer before deciding to induce.  It seemed Hays wasn't exactly ready to come out because he hadn't dropped very much even at 40 weeks and a day.  This pregnancy was the most comfortable one I've had - I could go a little longer before delivery.  But it was too late.  Things were in motion now.  

The labor overall went very well.  I got an epidural, like the previous two times.  I was bound and determined not to get a "boost" if the epidural wasn't strong enough.  I made that mistake with Paul (and was numb from the belly button down for hours afterward).  While I probably would have gotten a boost (had I not had my previous experience), I was SO glad I didn't.  Yes, I "felt" this labor more.  It felt like labor is supposed to feel.  It was work.  It wasn't excruciating, but pretty uncomfortable.  I pushed as hard as I could and was totally out of breath in the process.  Pat wiped the sweat from my forehead.  I felt the immediate relief as the doctor pulled Hays out and laid him on my chest.  It was such a rewarding experience.

He weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces, which makes him my biggest baby out of the three.
He measured in at 21 1/2 inches, which is half an inch longer than Clara was when she was born.

While I was told over and over that "third babies just slip out," that wasn't exactly true in this case.  Hays had his head turned slightly to the side, like he was trying to get a sneak peak at the world, which did make the pushing a little more strenuous.  With contractions starting at 6:30am, Hays was born at 12:39pm.

Some people say they see resemblances to Clara; others say they see resemblances to Paul.  I have seen looks that remind me of both.  But I think my babies all look a lot alike!  They all had dark strawberry-blond hair, dark blue-gray eyes, and rosy skin.  But the big question is: what does his feet look like?

We're excited to report that his feet seem long and narrow, at least longer and narrower than Clara and Paul's.  We are hoping for off-the-rack shoes for this child!  If you know anything about Pat's difficulties finding shoes that fit, then you understand why we are so excited about Hays'* feet.

I would miss a big part of this event if I failed to mention all the help we had with Clara and Paul through it all.  A big thanks goes out to Pat's sister Ann, who dropped everything at a moment's notice to watch the kids for two days while we were gone.  Another thanks goes out to Patrick, who stayed with them the night we had to leave for the hospital, and another thanks goes to my parents who changed their travel plans (and drove the 14 hours straight) to get to Alabama a day earlier than originally planned to relieve Ann.  It was wonderful to not worry about Clara and Paul while we were in the hospital.  When we called to check in, the kids were too busy having fun to talk!

I enjoyed the peace and quiet that I had during this hospital stay.  I really appreciated and noticed the quiet that I had. Yes, they wake you up every 4 hours to get your blood pressure and temperature, but that wasn't terrible.  I had 48 hours where I didn't have to worry about cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry.  My time was spent napping leisurely, reading magazines, and holding (and feeding) a tiny sleepy baby in between those nurse visits.  I definitely missed Clara and Paul, and there is nothing like your own bed, but I really tried to enjoy my time in the hospital as a retreat of sorts, and it was good.

In retrospect, it was great to have the induction procedure and not continue to wait for Hays to come on his own.  Why?  One: Hays probably would have gained another pound and might have been too big to come out the usual way.  Two: The following week we had "Winter Freeze 2014" where Birmingham was literally shut down for three days due to severe ice on the roads.  People were stuck at work or spending the night at churches and schools because they couldn't get home.  I wouldn't have wanted to get to the hospital or back home in any of that mess.

Welcome to the world, Hays!  We're so happy you're here safe and sound!

*Did you know it's grammatically correct to write Hays' or Hays's to show possession?  I had to look it up to be sure because my brain was a little fuzzy on that one.  Grammar Monster says to use just the apostrophe if you say it "Hays" and to use the apostrophe s if you say it "Hays-is."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Planning and Partying: A Diaper Shower and Other Useful Gifts

This is my third child. We also have not found out ahead of time the gender. This makes many people who are very kind and want to give us something for the baby scratch their heads: "What the heck do you get?"

Audra, Brooks' wife, was really thoughtful and threw me a diaper shower.  It was a lot of fun, and what mom wouldn't be excited to gain a six-month supply of diapers?!  Boy or girl, everyone poops. 

As I've been going through things and trying to prepare for this new child, there are some items that have come to mind as being useful for any pregnant mother. Please don't take this as a wish list for me: it's really meant for anyone who is stumped and needs some baby gift ideas that will be helpful to any mom. 

1. Diapers and wipes as I mentioned above. I'm still buying diapers for Paul and he's two. Need I say more?

2. Stain remover and laundry detergent. Okay this seems like a boring gift, but seriously, there are not many items more practical. I run through Shout like it's no body's business.  You could give the mom a splurge with some Dreft (which I never buy because I'm too cheap), or any fragrance-free detergent.  While I'm on the subject, you could make it a cleaning-themed basket with magic erasers, dry cleaning fluid, or other cleaning supplies that are practically essential with children.  (Excuse me while I pause to go "erase" crayon off my wall courtesy of Paul.)
 3. Frozen meals. You pretty much need to be a local friend for this one, but adding a new baby to the dinner routine makes meal prep frenzied, especially when everyone's trying to get adjusted to  a new routine.  Something homemade that can be microwaved or baked straight out of the freezer is WONDERFUL!  I hope to get a few extra things cooked ahead of time.  We're out in no-delivery land, but for those moms in town, you could also get them gift cards to the chinese or pizza delivery place nearby.

Chewbeads (It’s jewelry that looks reasonably stylish but is also okay for babies to chew on)
4. Teething necklaces. I don't own any of these, but they look cool and don't depend on whether baby is a he or she. Mom can be stylish while pacifying the baby. I'm thinking perfect for church or other "please be quiet" times.  The brand pictured above is called "Chew Beads," although I believe there are others.

5. Child or baby-sized clothing hangers. Especially ones for bottoms. Many outfits come with plastic hangers, but if this this a mom with other children, she's using those for her other kids' clothes. Buying some nice hangers is something she probably won't buy herself, although she wishes she did. As an additional item, you could make or purchase dividers that separate baby clothes by size.   There are a ton of tutorials on Pinterest that are really cute.

6. Baby Wash.  I still use baby wash on Clara and she's (almost) four.  Why not?  I often stock up on multiple bottles of the really expensive 'natural' baby wash that has been marked down at the grocery store to half-price (or less).  The fancy stuff really is a treat over the Johnson & Johnson.  You could always throw in a nice wash cloth, bath towel, or tub toy to complete the gift.

What have I left off the list?  Any moms out there have any other practical gift ideas for preggos?