Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brooklyn | One month


Today I have a ONE month old!  What?!  Say it isn't so...

I'm not really sure how an entire month has already passed us by.  It quite literally flew by this time.  I thought it was fast with Grace... but holy guacamoly... I'm pretty sure EVERYTHING is going faster with baby number two.

Brooklyn is hands down an easy going child.  She sleeps through her sisters playing, screaming and crying.  She is kind of demanding when she's hungry... but otherwise I really can't complain with this sweet girl.  She even lets me sleep some at night... how did I ever get so lucky?!

Your first month quirks...

.You weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces the last time we saw the doctor at three weeks old.

.You came home from the hospital wearing size 1 diapers.

.You are in size 0-3 month/3 month outfits and 0-3 month/3 month sleepers.  You basically bypassed your sisters size newborn wardrobe.  But that's probably only because they've all shrunk just enough to not fit your long body.

.You love sleeping in your rock and play and very rarely take long naps in the swing.  You love naps in peoples arms though.

.You have already had your first bout of illness.  Congestion and a little cough that the doctor attributed to pollen.

.You already put up with so much from your sister - she loves to stack toys in the rock and play with you and she is constantly doing what mommy does when it comes to your care (burping you, giving you your binky, giving you a blanket, etc.).  I just know some day you all will be the best of friends.

.You grunt a lot.  Especially when filling your diaper.

.You have the most beautiful big dark blue eyes right now that can sit there and stare at my face for hours.  I adore it as much as I adore your sweet little sleep giggles and smiles.

.You don't play when it comes time to eat.  You will wake up and scream and let me have it until you've latched.

.You impressed the doctor overnight when mommy's milk came in going from 7 pounds, 9 ounces to 8 pounds even in exactly 24 hours.  You haven't stopped since.

.You just recently really started showing off with holding your own head up on someone's shoulder.  Plus you've started spending more time awake and alert.

Brooklyn - your sweet little face is such a calming factor in my life right now.  When everything else is chaotic I just take a second to truly stop and just be with you and your stares.  I'm thankful for you as I feel you are balancing our family out so wonderfully right now.  I hope you stay calm and relaxed as you get older.  We love you so much sweet thing!!  So so very much.

To read about Grace at one month, click here.

always,
amanda
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hey, it's okay...

Two fabulously grainy cellphone images of my girls doing what they do best... sleeping & playing.

Another day... another dollar'.  Or if you are a stay-at-home-mom... another day... another poopy diapa'.  Whose feeling me?

On this fine Tuesday I'm linking up with Amber over at Airing My Laundry for another round of "hey, it's okay".

So... without further ado...

Hey, it's okay...

...that I started re-watching Gossip Girl.  I'm obsessed and I know it.  I have my dear friend Kara to thank for this time around as our conversation the other night turned into how swoon-worthy Chuck is.  I know I know.. I'm entirely too invested in this TV show.

...to be super thankful Rob's grandparents were able to come and stay with the girls and I while Rob goes away for some fun Army training.  It is a short separation... but one I am glad I don't have to do alone.  Extra hands to hold babies?  Sign me up!

...that we don't know if we will be having more children yet.  So I've been soaking up the sweet newborn snuggles just in case we are done at two.

...that we have lived here since September, but I am JUST now ready to seriously make an effort in the friend department.  This base is just so large... I don't even know where to really begin.

...to have bought something from one of those Chinese trap Facebook ads.  I ordered a swimsuit earlier this month... and don't know when or if I will ever see it... Which may be okay, as chances are it will be like 3 sizes too small because I'm obviously not Chinese clothing sized.

...to sometimes countdown to bedtime.  LOVE my girls TO DEATH.  But also slightly love being off duty.  Maybe just a smidge.

...that I've talked more about my exterminator than is probably normal.  I'm terribly excited that the wasps are gone and any ants don't stand a chance.  Maybe TOO excited.  (This is what my life has come to...)

...to not be watching Game of Thrones or whatever it's called.

...to truly believe "absence makes the heart grow fonder".  I love my husband, a lot.  But I truly believe that when we are apart our relationship grows and we are reminded why we love each other and how important the other person is in our life.  But I do miss his fine self, a lot.

...if you link up with Jen and I next Friday, May 6th, for Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Same questions as last year... find them here.

Previous hey it's okay posts.


always,
amanda
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Month of the Military Child



The month of April is coming to a close.  Rob left to go TDY (military lingo for temporary duty - or in this case, training, elsewhere) yesterday.  It's a short separation.  Thankfully.  But it is just another reminder of this crazy lifestyle we are associated with.

This month, the month of April, the nation takes a moment to celebrate all the military children in this nation.  The kids born into this lifestyle and not given a choice.  The resilient kids who grow up far away from family and friends but somehow manage to make the best out of every situation.

I am the mother of not just one, but two, military children now.  One born in Georgia while stationed at Fort Gordon.  The other born in Tennessee while stationed at Fort Campbell.  The chances of them graduating in the same state they were born in are very slim.  Who knows where we will be 16 and 18 years from now.

Both girls have now gone through separations from their daddy, and it is certainly not going to be the last time either.  They will look back on life and have periods where their parent is missing, but they will carry on in the face of adversity because it will be all they have ever known.

Do I wish sometimes my kids could live down the street from their grandparents and grow up next to their cousins and aunts and uncles?  Yes.  More than anything.  But I know that my children will grow up with a unique set of personality traits and life memories that others may not get.  They will grow up strong - partly because they are military children.

So today... I thank the Lord for these amazing little people who take this lifestyle by the horns and don't look back.  Today, I celebrate them.  Through all the stresses of being by myself with them, I am thankful to have these sweet little girls to help me through the trials of the military life.

Quick snap before goodbye - also true life with a toddler fashion.
At least Brooke nailed it.


always,
amanda
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A name.


With both our girls choosing a name was a serious test of our marriage.  My husband didn't want anything unique or too out there... but he also had no suggestions for what he did want.  So when we found out Grace was a girl we went to the store and bought the baby name book.  I took it home - I diligently highlighted my favorites and passed the book over to my husband.  Rob glanced at it and declared that he didn't like any of the names I did and started reading through the names.

After laughing and being dumbfounded by some of the suggestions, he landed on Grace.  Much to my surprise as it was in fact highlighted, he liked it - and so did I.  So Grace it was.  I knew when I found out we were having a girl that I wanted her middle name to be my mother's, Elaine.  So less than 12 hours after finding out Grace was a girl and not a boy like Rob so desperately hoped and wished, she had a name... Grace Elaine.

When I found out I was expecting again, Rob put a ban on any talk of whether we were having a boy or girl.  He was highly suspicious and even though the sex was already determined, he had decided if we didn't talk about it... it would be a boy.  Wrong, again.  Of course because of this ban we had no names selected prior to finding out her gender.  So the day we found out she was a girl, I again went home to the baby name book and tried to add any names I hadn't the first go around.  Although this time I read names off to Rob for a few days before he decided he liked Brooke.  A name he had previously not liked.

Because Grace had my mother's middle name, we wanted to give Brooke a family name as well.  Monse is a name from Rob's grandmothers side of the family.  She is Puerto Rican and very important to my husband, so after letting it roll off the tongue for awhile, Brooke Monse it was.

Then about two months before her due date, Rob decided he wanted her to have the full version of her name, Brooklyn Monse.  Rob's name is just Rob.  Not Robert.  And to say he may be bitter about it is sort of an understatement.  He didn't want Brooke to think she was given a nickname for a first name like he has often felt in life.  So Brooklyn Monse it was.

I don't know if we will have another opportunity to name a child, boy or girl... which may just save our marriage. Rob and I are both stubborn and know what we want.  So picking a name we both like?  Kind of a challenge.  But so far I think we've done pretty good.

always,
amanda
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Things I am loving.


I am loving...

...when Brooke giggles in her sleep.  Also, toothless grins.

...the million and one kisses Grace has bestowed upon her sister since birth.

...fresh flowers on our dining room table and in our front yard.

...my support system.  Between Rob's family who came down to try and help me walk Brooke out the week before my induction, my sister for helping with Grace so Rob could be at the hospital with me, my family for being here Brooke's first week of life, and Rob's grandparents for coming to stay with me and the girls while Rob goes TDY (temporary duty not at Fort Campbell for our non-military readers) for the first time here soon... I am very lucky.  I may not have many local friends - but I've got family willing to go the extra mile for us, and that is more than enough.

...the swing-set our neighbors let us give new life to as they are moving and their boys are grown.

...toddler sized sunglasses that only cost $1.

...Jackson and April's relationship on Grey's Anatomy.  (I'm only on season 11 so, no spoilers!)

...getting mail that is not a bill.

...feeling more like myself.  I've got the mama flap and everything is still fairly stretched out... but I can bend in half and most of my wardrobe fits again.  Plus I can lift things again.  Insert the hallelujah hands emoji here.

...how Grace has adapted to being a big sister.  Their interactions melt me every.single.day.

...the mama power of being able to calm my babies down, sometimes just by talking to them.

...my husbands new found devotion to our yard and the work required to keep it pretty.  I guess a new riding lawn mower will do that to a guy.

...cleaning during synchronized naps.

...that we get daddy for an extra day this weekend!

Happy weekend friends!



always,
amanda
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Monday, April 11, 2016

Brooklyn Monse: A birth story.

I think Brooklyn's birth story will always start for us on Saturday the 26th.

After a perfectly normal spring day, we ended up in Labor and Delivery two days before my previously scheduled induction date.  While outside playing with Grace... a ball rolled in the street and Grace followed.  She froze on the curb when I told her to stop and when I scooped her up to move her back in the driveway, I fell.  Belly first, with my toddler in my arms.  Every mom's worst nightmare had just come true.

So we loaded in the truck and made the 20 minute drive to the hospital to check on the baby.  Fortunately I felt her moving around while still in the truck... but to say my nerves were absolutely shot by the time I was hooked up to the monitors is an absolute understatement.  But there she was, heart beating away.  The ultrasound showed no damage had been done to the baby or placenta.  So after a few hours of monitoring we were on the way home.

Sunday was Easter and a day full of cleaning and aches and pains from the aforementioned fall.  Rob had to drive to St. Louis to meet my parents and get my sister... so he spent most of the day gone.  Luckily though - even though he had to drive to get her - my sister was able to come to Tennessee and be with Grace the entire day Monday.

After a night of basically no sleep... I called the hospital Monday morning to see when they wanted us to come in.  7:30 am was the answer.  So I took my time cuddling Grace for a few extra minutes and packed up the last few items for the hospital.  Then I woke Rob up with just enough time to get out the door.

The car ride to the hospital was filled with quiet conversation that lulled as we went through the gate and parked in the reserved mom-to-be parking.  I checked in at the front desk and they sent us to the waiting room to wait until our room was ready.


By 9:45, I was in a hospital gown, in bed, with an IV in my wrist (after a failed first attempt... of course) and Pitocin was slowly getting things going.  When we arrived at the hospital I was at 3 cm dilated and about 75% effaced.  But little lady was in the -3 position, where she stayed the entire rest of the process.

The morning was spent watching TV and responding to text messages as they came in.  A perfectly normal day by all accounts, if you didn't know where I was.  Rob left around lunch time to get some food and an energy drink.  Just as he was almost done and headed back, my nurse came in and said the midwife was talking about breaking my water.

Let me take a moment and talk about the amazing nurse I had until 7 pm that night.  At first Rob wasn't sure what to think as she cracked some jokes at his expense right from the get go.  But by the end of her shift, I was sad to see her go.  She kind of filled the mother roll for me and kept me calm when I wanted to freak out.  The whole day she came in and rotated me around to try and get things going.  She listened when I talked, was the voice of reason when I wouldn't listen and had me laughing most of the day.  Of course, I can't tell you her name, because I can't for the life of me remember it... but I can tell you - she made the experience 100 times better and for that I am very thankful.

So just as Rob was getting back the midwife came in to break my water.  I had my water broke with Grace in the hospital, but don't remember much as I was already on pain meds at that point.  This time I remember all of it.  They had hopes it would make my contractions stronger and it did exactly that.  Because of my first delivery experience and really not remembering a whole lot of the process, I didn't take the epidural when immediately offered.  I wanted to feel what was going on for a bit.  I was still able to breathe through my contractions and probably could have lasted a bit longer, but I tapped out anyway.  The pressure and pain was a combination I knew would only get worse.

I believe at this point I was at 5 cm dilated when the anesthesiologist came in to get my epidural going.  So he did his thing and two things happened.  One, he hit a nerve. Two, he hit a blood vessel.  The first was an easy fix by him.  The second was discovered when he did a brief test that made my heart race.  He had to remove it and redo the whole thing.  So I got two epidurals.

For the record, I am not a laboring mom that sleeps when given an epidural.  I shiver uncontrollably and still feel a great deal of pressure, just no pain.  My nurse kept telling me to relax... but I couldn't.

After my legs went numb, my nurse and Rob had me on my side with an exercise ball that was shaped like a peanut between my legs.  This position had me in the most pain the entire day.  Even with the epidural I was feeling insane amounts of pressure and this was the one and only time I cried during the entire labor process.  I was only able to calm down after I was rotated back to my back.

By this point things were advancing quickly.  I was dilated to 9.5 cm, but just like with Grace I had a cervical lip and Brooke was still in a -3 position.

At 7 pm, my amazing nurse was off for the night and a new one came on - along with a new midwife.  They had just enough time to get everything switched over.  My midwife came in to check me and I told her that I was feeling an insane desire to push.  Amazingly enough, she listened... and after checking me through a contraction, she said I could push.  At 7:43 I started pushing and nine minutes later I had a little warm baby placed on my chest.



Happy day of birth Brooklyn!

always,
amanda
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Monday, April 4, 2016

One week.

Somehow a week has already passed.  I thought life went quickly when we welcomed Grace into the world... but I'm already feeling like with number two life is going even quicker.

We are still working on transitioning.  My parents and sister were here until Sunday morning and really helped a lot keeping Grace occupied so that I could tend to the baby and Rob could help me as needed.  I am very thankful they were able to make the trip and be here to help us go from one baby to two.  Now comes the real test of our transition though as we do it just the four of us and eventually Daddy goes back to work and just the three of us.

So far Brooklyn is a fairly easy going baby.  After the first couple of nights in the hospital I wasn't sure because the nights were long and lonely with Rob home with Grace and me doing the newborn gig alone.  Somehow I managed and even though I don't feel like I've slept a wink since she got here... I feel good.

Last week we had two back to back appointments after leaving the hospital.  The first one she had lost about 11% of her weight... they suggested I supplement with formula.  Which was only needed twice as my milk magically came in Thursday night and by Friday she was back up from 7 pounds, 9 ounces to 8 pounds even.  Which makes me want to pat myself on the back.. because hello... I did that.

Anyway... on to the real point of this post (other than to check in and thank you all for the love and well wishes)... more baby pictures taken by Whit from Whit Meza Photography/Black Little Button that I am completely obsessed with.



Birth story to come...

always,
amanda
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Saturday, April 2, 2016

She's here.

I'm excited to make it blog real, and announce the birth of our second sweet baby girl.


Brooklyn Monse was born on Monday March 28th at 7:52 pm weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces and coming in at 20.5 inches long.

Mom and baby are well.  Dad and big sister are happy.



Thanks for all of the well wishes on Instagram and Facebook.  We are so blessed to have this sweet baby girl.


Birth story and more to come...

All of our pictures were taken by Whit from Whit Meza Photography... or Black Little Button fame.  She's amazing, so make sure to show her some love!



always,
amanda
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