Below: Cole (3 years 9 months), Jackson (6 years) Riley (almost 8!)
We are now 6 months into this family of six thing. It's been a wild and crazy ride but we made it to summer!! PHEW. And look at this little cutie pie! At 6.5 months she's sitting up, crawling and spinning and scooting around, super smiley and giggly. She loves her siblings, hates solid food, and sleeps... okay. She was sleeping through the night until a couple weeks ago when we transitioned her out of the merlin sleep suit, and it's been a little rough since then.
We think she most resembles big brother Cole, out of all the siblings, but I see Riley in her too (which makes sense since baby Cole and baby Riley looked very similar!)
She no longer hates the car, and actually enjoys it! She's pretty easygoing and fits perfectly into this crazy family of ours!
I took her to my studio for these photos and made the big kids sit for a quick photo each. Reallllly quick. Taking 4 kids to my studio for photos by myself is exhausting. It will probably be a year before we do that again!
Below: Cole (3 years 9 months), Jackson (6 years) Riley (almost 8!)
The rest of December looked a little like this...
Christmas Eve. We skyped with Nana and Grandad in New Zealand!
Then we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas Eve festivities with allll the cousins.
Santa Grandpa came to visit!!
Then finally back home to get ready for bed and for SANTA!!!
Christmas was all fun and good until we got hit with a stomach bug, then ear infection, then strep throat..... rough last week of December, but luckily at least Hannah stayed healthy!
Did some quick photos with the cousins!!
Jacky loooooves his baby sister. Wants to hold her and play with her all the time.
Happy New Year! Welcome 2018, can't wait to see what the year brings!
Hannah started to chill out a bit more during her second week, as we adjusted to life at home. The kids still had school so I spent a lot of time juggling a newborn and all the school drop offs and pick ups.
I spent a lot of time with just Hannah and Cole this week, and it's been interesting to watch Cole adjust. He likes to help change diapers, throw away diapers, sometimes hold her, and use her rock n play to park his toys.
I wanted to attempt at least one or two Christmas themed photos with Hannah, although she was not the most cooperative subject for me.
We also gave her her first bath, which she did not love. So it was a very short bath, and all that protesting and crying through it must have worn her right out because she fell asleep as soon as she was all dressed and warm again.
Look I have three other kids too!! Slightly less willing to stop and let me take their photos, so I have to sneak them in. They love to play the piano, and Jack and Riley actually play quite the rendition of Jingle Bells together!
Just a few iphone pictures from our week...
She's so tiny! At her two week check up she was just barely over her birth weight, weighing in at 6 lb 12 oz. and she looks so tiny here!
This guy, my little buddy. He loves his baby sister, but we've definitely seen some not awesome behavior from him lately- very rude and bossy, defiant, etc. Part of it is just that he's three, and maybe part of it is adjusting to this new little human in our lives that takes a lot of our time and energy.
Worth noting- this baby loves the roomba. Dual purpose, cleans the floors, puts the baby to sleep. Win-win.
I am a newborn photographer. HOWEVER, taking your own baby's newborn photos is a lot of work. There's the prep and the set up and the feeding and soothing and posing all while being exhausted and it's just.... a lot. So my friend Corinne was nice enough to come over and take these for me, and I'm so thankful to have them!!
Hannah Reese, 6 days old.
Outtake to give you an idea of the crazy shenanigans and how hard it is to wrangle these kids for photos!
Fidget spinner in one hand, daddy's work ID badge in the other. Don't even care, it's perfect.
I had decided a while back that it made sense for Mark to NOT start his paternity leave right away, since brand new babies don't do a whole lot other than sleep. That was, at least, true for my last two newborns. Hannah, however, had a different plan. She was a pretty feisty little thing, and for her first week all she wanted to do was be held, nurse, nurse some more, and not be put down, and really REALLY not be put in the carseat. So going solo with a high needs baby with 3 other kids with drop offs and pick ups was a bit more than I bargained for, but we did manage to survive!
First family outing was at 5 days old, we went to watch Cole's preschool Christmas performance! Cole was not impressed by the whole thing, the big kids were bored at first then amused at the number of kids scream singing during the show, and Hannah slept the entire time.
With the big kids at school, most of my days this week were spent with these two :)
Jackson adores Hannah and wants to hold her and kiss her and be near her all the time. It's pretty adorable.
I think this was our first successful school drop off, just me and the kids. Hannah did not love her car seat, so we may have to rethink the way we get to school in order to avoid a screaming baby, but she did okay for most of this trip. She does love any sort of carrier, so that's probably the preferred way to do all the drop offs and pick ups.
The kids' school is half a mile from our house, and I attempted to walk there with both the little kids to pick up Jackson one day, and the walk itself was fine, my body felt fine, but the stroller situation was... no good. Baby slept the whole way but this thing is SO hard to push when the big kid is much heavier in the front. So that's not going to work in the future, so I'll have to keep thinking about the best stroller set up for our usual walks to and from school.
Hannah spent much of week one attached to me- wanting to be held, wanting to nurse constantly, and not being the most chill baby haha. But she was certainly pretty darn cute!!
When you have a December baby, you buy ALLLLL the Christmas themed baby things. Of course.
Overall, week one of baby's life involved lots of snuggles, a bit of crying, tons of selfies and phone photos, and HOURSSSSSS of nursing. So many hours. :)
We're back! This long neglected blog is up and running again (I hope) now with the birth of our newest babe- Hannah Reese, born December 3, 2017! So what better way to start than a birth story :) So let's start from the beginning...
So I woke up in the middle of the night/early morning with cramping, which had basically been happening over the last 4 weeks so it wasn't anything too special. Not painful, just annoying. I eventually got up and out of bed and came downstairs to watch TV on the couch. It just so happened that my kids were at my parents' house for a sleepover, so we were kid free! At some point I decided to see if there was any pattern to the cramping, and there sort of was, but nothing super regular or special.
We started watching the Stanford women's soccer team play in the NCAA championship on TV, and at this point when I remembered to time cramping it seemed like maybe they were 4-ish minutes apart? But so hard to tell because it was so mild and not a very clear start/stop, so who knows. But I was under strict instructions to get to the hospital ASAP when in labor so I was conflicted. Didn't feel in labor at all, but also didn't want an unplanned home birth. So around 11am we decided maaaaybe we should get ready to go.
We got in the car and headed out to get sandwiches for lunch. Then we stopped at Starbucks for coffee for Mark. We drove to the hospital and.... sat in the parking lot. I couldn't bring myself to actually go inside! So we ate sandwiches in the parking lot at 11:30-ish, then decided this was silly, so we got out and walked around around the hospital. As we walked down and back up a hill, I realized (1) contractions were actually 2.5 minutes apart and (2) I had one that was actually kind of painful and (3) I was feeling more pressure in my pelvis. NOW we were ready to go in.
So just before 12 we strolled into the hospital to get checked in. The nurses didn't seem to believe that I would actually be admitted, since I was very calm, not in pain, and didn't LOOK like I was in labor. So I went to triage and got checked, and was 5-6cm. Woohoo, baby time! So we headed over to our room right around 12, where I got hooked up to an IV in attempts to get antibiotics for being GBS + (I knew there wouldn't be time, but.... protocol). I then had to be on the monitors for 30 minutes to check baby's heartrate, which meant laying in bed, which was not ideal at all, but fine. After the 30 minutes was up I asked to get unhooked so I could use the bathroom. I had finished one round of the antibiotics so I was allowed to unhook from the IV and use the bathroom. Well, as soon as I stood up I knew there was not long to go- and as soon as I made it to the bathroom I REALLY knew.
Once I came out of the bathroom and back to the bed, my nurse told me she was going to leave us alone and to call her if I needed her. Well about 30 seconds later I pushed the call button to tell her I felt a lot of pressure, so she came right back in and sure enough- 10cm and ready to go. She got the doctor, who happened to be right outside the room. The doctor came in and said just to let her know if I felt the need to push, and she'd come back in. Well I told her that need was NOW, so she got all ready to go. And then one push and she was here, at exactly 1:00pm on Sunday December 3rd!
Below: Me right before I pushed her out, and me about 3 hours later!
She basically nursed right way, and we got a few hours to spend just the three of us before moving over to the recovery room. Because I didn't get the full dose of antibiotics, that guaranteed me a 48 hour stay in the hospital so she could be monitored.
When she was born I was shocked at (1) how gooey she was (my other kids weren't covered in that much vernix! and (2) how much hair she had, definitely the most hair of all the kids at birth!
She weighed in at a whopping 6 pounds 10 ounces, and was 19 inches long. A little peanut :)
I felt really really good after her birth, so I really can't complain much. However, this little peanut was FEISTY. She literally wanted to nurse constantly, and seemed to barely sleep in the first 36 hours of her life. Therefore there was not much sleeping done by me either, and Mark couldn't really stay to help because he had the other kids and he had some work commitments that could not be moved around. So the hospital stay was not as full of peaceful dreamy bonding as I had hoped.
My super feisty wee babe, just 24 hours old, making a stink about being put down and not being able to nurse for a few minutes.
The big kids were pretty excited to meet their baby sister, and were bummed they didn't get to bring her home with them that night :)
I was able to sneak in a photo of her asleep not in my arms :)
My mom brought Jackson and Riley to come and see her on day 2 and Jackson brought me a picture. Our first family portrait!
Finally, after just shy of 48 hours, we were able to get this baby girl dressed and ready to head home!! Ready to start our life as a family of SIX!
This was a fun filled, long day in the sun! Definitely the best weather we had the entire trip, so we had to take full advantage!
Mark and his dad went golfing in the morning, so I walked with the 3 kids to the local playground where they played for almost 2 hours. We walked back home for Cole's nap and a little down time, before heading back out to the beach! We walked about haldf a mile down so we could go where the river meets the ocean, which was fun for the kids :) They all LOVE the ocean and the beach so so much.
We even got grandad in the ocean! Although he got suuuuuper sunburnt with that sleeveless shirt!!
Cole liked to run into the wave and try to jump over it just as it hit, and the stomp and splash repeatedly.
Jack spotted the seagulls and is about to go run after them :)
Again with the seagull chase, this time by Cole.
Once the kids had had enough of the ocean we walked a few minutes over to this playground where it was finally warm enough to play in the splash pad! Take note of Riley about to get dunked in the 3rd picture below:
After all that excitement, we got the kids cleaned up, ate dinner, and then I forced everyone to go on a mini hike so that I could get a couple of pictures at our favorite hiking spot. What a mission! The kids were so exhausted but yet energized at the same time after a long day of fun in the sun.
Gettig photos of the three of them together was.... challenging.
Coley's face in most of these photos is priceless. I love that little two year old so much :)
Apparently daddy was being SO FUNNY right behind me. Or at least Cole thought so.
WINNER. Thanks Nana for snapping this one! Then two seconds later Mark smushed Jack's foot and it was all downhill and tears from there. Oh well!
Quick stop down at the beach for a quick photo with Nana!
And that's it! Tomorrow is the last half day of our vacation, and we will be headed to the airport for a long flight, then back to the US we will be!!
We got some good afternoon weather today!! Nana took the big kids to the beach while Cole slept, this photo below is right behind our house, I'm standing basically in the backyard at the gate down to the beach to take this picture.
Riley and jack and Nana made a little river and a volcano, and I kept catching jacky dancing around like a crazy person. Kid likes like the beach!
Wind blown cutie!
Me: "Jackson, smile!"............. fine, I'll take what I can get.
Soooo pretty today. Can't beat the beach on a nice (ish) day!
We had our New Zealand Christmas celebration today with Nana and Grandad. Since we won't get to see them for actual Christmas, we put up the tree and celebrated and opened gifts today instead.
Mmmmmmm dessert! New Zealand pavlova, my FAVORITE.
And Cole's favorite- green jello with sprinkles. Ha.