Sep 22, 2016

Aunt Cesca captures me and Wellington

I love when everything comes together so nicely. 

     I convinced Francesca to snap a few pictures of me and Wellington and the resulting images are magical. We dragged an unassuming stool out the side of my house and plopped it right in front of the massive tangle of vines taking up residence along our fence row.

     She took a few and then told me to move my leg here and my arm there and tilt my chin this way and I obliged because she is good at making me look good. It is impossible to hide all the baby weight and pudge, but she did a pretty decent job and I am very grateful.

 (this perfectly peaceful baby face makes my heart stop)

     Having my sister around during such monumental moments in my life has enhanced those moments and made them sweeter. Her joy and excitement is contagious, she's exactly the individual you want to share big news with because she will squeal and cry and make such a fuss that you cannot help but smile bigger and cherish the news better.

     My boys have no idea how blessed they are that she lives here. I know she brings qualities to their lives that I cannot. She gives them special experiences, teaches them lessons, and buys them clothes. She enforces my rules and breaks them too, as she should.

 (I think this will go in my gallery wall)

     She is an encourager. She will make much of your successes and challenge you through your failures. She is a true friend and companion, someone who will pursue you. Mama and Ty love their Cesca and I am certain Well's will too, it is impossible not to.

(such a little squish, I could kiss him all day)

Thank you for taking these photos Cesca, they are perfect!

Bringing baby Well's home.

Well's second week of life Nana and Poppa came to visit.

(she's the best Nana my kids could have, so selfless and generous)

     We spent more time on the porch and even went to church! Gray wanted a female singer and since I had someone to hold the baby (thanks Nana) I obliged.

(I think my pictures make it seem like this kid can never keep his clothes on)

     This was the week the epic tantrums and meltdowns started. I think the fact that this new baby wasn't leaving, finally hit home. Ty was in desperate need of some extra attention. We even had to stop the car to administer a spanking at one point. It seemed like Gray and I were constantly looking at each other and asking "what have we done?!" If only you could explain to an almost two year old how special it is to have a sibling ...

(I look at these pictures and laugh, he didn't stay skinny for long!)

     He's getting the hang of it now and as that week went on I realized that taking intentional time away from Well's, to love on Tobias, directly translated to good behavior. He needed me to acknowledge that he still had a place, that I still love him, and that I wasn't neglecting him.

     As silly as it sounds it was during this week that I truly realized, parenting is no joke. I was also desperately wishing someone had written a manual. Tobias has had rough moments before then, don't get me wrong, but when you throw another kid into the mix everything gets a lot more complicated!

But, we made it! That week is over. Even though the tantrums and meltdowns continue on, and some days play out like scenarios from my worst nightmares the days come to an end, the weeks pass by and the babies grow up. And when I let that sink in I start praying really hard that God would give me grace on those days. That on those days my children would see Him and not me.

(Our attempt to get a good family picture will continue, Ty will cooperate one day...)

     I want to take every moment and cherish it. I want to model and express with genuine honesty the importance of Christ. I hope my kids leave home knowing what Christ means to me and what living a life for Him looks like. Beautiful, messy, real, full of grace and mercy, full of forgiveness and love. I want them to know that living life to it's fullest means being rooted in the one who created and brought that life into existence. All else fades.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:3-5

Sep 21, 2016

Well's Newborn Photos

     It took me so long to get these taken, I blame the toddler, but it was probably me just being lazy. He was exactly two weeks and totally awake for most of it. Translation, he peed twice, pooped once and cried a lot, good thing he won't remember this session. Not my best mom moment and not my best photography (aka. a lot of noise due to low light), but it happened and I really do love these images. The candid ones toward the end I will treasure forever, I think it's evident that Tobias truly loves his little brother. We all do, he's just the cutest and he has only gotten chunkier! The emoji with the hearts in its' eyes, that is totally me.
     This stud slept a whole bunch for the first four weeks. He started sleeping six-eight hours at night around three weeks which was and is so nice! The struggle has been the days. He bucks any type of schedule and I live on a schedule. My personality craves alone time so that I can recharge and be at my best. So when naps don't sync and I've got a crazy toddler awake and then a cranky baby awake without a break the days get super long. But we are managing and I'm trying to shift my expectations so that the day can happen and I can survive without losing my mind. 
      I am so thankful for all the extra help, Gray generally takes over when he comes home and Francesca pitches in so that we all make it to 8:30. And I have an amazing mother-in-law who drives down for the weekend (such a blessing)! I keep telling myself it is only a season and most days I can really enjoy this phase, you just get those rotten eggs every once in a while that leave a sour taste. Positive thinking people, we can do this! I can do this through Christ my strength! The funny thing is, I am less anxious and truly loving this newborn stage a lot more than when I had Tobias (a fun shift). I understand it can't always be rainbows and butterfly's so I go to bed late and get up early, drink my tea, read my Bible and pray, attempt to keep my house clean, run my diffuser, and visit friends to combat the crazy! He is two months tomorrow, yikes! Time truly flies, it won't be this type of crazy forever ...

Sep 20, 2016

Wellington Gregory Cato - Hospital

He wasn't budging.
     From the beginning this boy was trouble. At 34 weeks he had flipped himself from right side down to wrong side up. He was breech until 37 weeks and I can't express how relieved I was when he finally turned. I would pay for those chiropractic adjustments ten times over if it means helping the baby into the right position! Then at 40 weeks he was still riding high. I had only dilated one centimeter and after two membrane sweeps and two times drinking the nastiest concoction we were faced with a decision. He seemed quite content to continue his stay in my belly, so the induction was scheduled.
     On Friday, July 22nd, at 6:30 am, at 41 weeks, we walked into the hospital with no intention of leaving until this little boy made his entrance. I was all sorts of anxious and fearful. I really really hate needles and it might sound funny, but my reasoning for going natural has more to do with that fear than any other convictions. An induction with IV's and augmentation medicine sounded awfully scary, but at the same time I was counting my blessings that we had avoided a scheduled C-Section.
     We got to our room and I had a chance to grill my nurses and my midwife with all my questions and for the moment my fears were assuaged. I got dressed in the backless, shapeless hospital gown (much more embarrassing when you are conscious and not in the throws of labor) and then the sticking began. I tried very hard not to pass out as they went back and forth between my two arms four or five times trying unsuccessfully to find the "right" vein (of course that would happen to me), one of the worst parts of the day. Once that was settled and the fetal monitors were in place I was given a small dose of Cytotec at 8am. Contractions started but didn't really progress much over the next four hours. When my midwife checked me at 12pm and I had only dilated one centimeter more we opted to start pitocin.
     Once the contractions started with the help of pitocin there was no going back. It got harder and harder to concentrate and manage the pain. One of the toughest things for me mentally was trying to gage whether or not I needed an epidural. With Tobias, I went into labor naturally and by the time I got to the hospital I was seven centimeters and with my fear of needles I was determined to avoid an epidural at all costs. But with this one, I had heard bad things about pitocin and how different it made contractions feel that for me meant all bets were off.
     What I wasn't counting on was how positive and determined Gray would be. See he'd done this before, and he knew what I could handle and what it meant to me to go natural. He was at the same time my labor coach and doula. I didn't realize how desperately I needed both those roles until he was filling them and then some. He was truly amazing, cliche, but I couldn't have done it without him. On the rare off chance that someone else got to help or advocate for me my midwife was there. So involved and completely on my side. She was especially helpful when it was determined I wanted to get in the water but was sadly put in a room without a tub. The nurses for some reason didn't want to move me, too much of a hassle, but Gray and Kim wouldn't stand for it. So a blow up tub was brought in and filled up while I camped out under the shower. For me, water during labor is a life saver!
     Both Gray and I got into the tub and we weren't there long before I felt the overwhelming need to push. Everybody rushed in, my midwife included, and after pushing four times Well's made his way into this world letting out a lusty scream. Hard labor started around 3pm and at 6:47pm little man arrived, 7lb 10oz of pure perfection, 20in long. A very different experience compared to when I had Tobias and honestly so much easier. It is so hard to describe that moment you finally birth your living child. Glorious, beautiful, so full of love and hard work, weighty, precious, joyful. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a mother twice, he's graciously written my story and I am so grateful.

Tobias meeting Well's for the first time.
 I think all of the attention scared him, he ran to Poppa for comfort.
 Easing into the idea of his new baby brother.
 Holding baby Well's, it lasted for about 5 seconds. Then he was dictating who else should hold the baby, he's always wanting to be in control!
 One of many family photo attempts, toddlers in pictures, who thought of such an idea? :p
 He moved on to the snacks.
 Popi and Mimi
Poppa and Nana
He really needed a haircut ... love this little boy to pieces!
Thank you Auntie KK for all the beautiful photos.