Monday, July 24, 2006

Status Report: 2 Weeks

In case you were wondering, Kevin is doing really well. It's amazing how much better he sleeps when Daniel is home. When Daniel was working this week Kevin would stay up for 30 minutes to an hour after eating and then wake up an hour before his next meal time. So I was scraping by on about 4 hours of sleep a night. Last night was his first night off of the week and Kevin slept like...well, like a baby. I completely understand, though. I sleep better when Daniel is home, too.

We weighed Kevin by stepping on our digital scale while holding him, and then again not holding him. He weighs about 11 pounds. Which means he's putting on about a pound a week. Ironic, since that's exactly how much I hope to start losing. Two weeks is the date I set myself to start monitoring my eating again and to get back onto the Weight Watchers plan. Last night, in my closet, I found 2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shorts, and a skort that I fit into again. Yea! No more maternity pants! Today I weighed myself. I'm at 186 pounds. When I started Weight Watchers and became pregnant at the same time last fall I was at my highest weight ever, 206. So, the way I see it, I don't have any "pregnancy weight" to work off. I'm already ahead of the game!

The really nice part is that Weight Watchers gives nursing moms an extra 10 daily points. Not to mention nursing Kevin is like getting a little workout each day without having to get off the couch! Ha! For that matter, even lifting Kevin is a workout. Did I mention that this boy is HEAVY? He eats every 3 hours since we are following the Baby Wise method like we did with each of our other kids. All three of my babies have been speed eaters. I've read that other babies nurse for 10 to 15 minutes per side. Not mine. They are done in 5 minutes per side. No wonder I ache. How he manages to eat enough to put on that much weight while eating that quickly, I'll never know.

Homeschoolers Hanging Out

We went to our church's monthly homeschool fellowship last Thursday. There were an amazing number of kids there! We grilled hotdogs and burgers, but everyone except the cook stayed inside. It was scorching hot outside.

Everyone was talking about the upcoming "NOT back 2 school" party and other events. I've been relieved ever since I found out that in Colorado I don't have to register as a homeschooler or submit monthly attendance reports because my kids aren't 7 years old yet.

We're not very focused on homeschooling at the moment, because we are frantically packing and trying to get the house ready to sell. The realtor is coming tomorrow afternoon. She plans to list our house this week so that she can show it next week while we are in Colorado looking at apartments. We also have our friend, the head construction/maintenance guy at our church, Steve, coming tomorrow night to see about getting started on all the little projects around the house that need to be done to make it sell faster. The list includes:

1. New tile in master bathroom
2. New paneling and baseboards on one side of kitchen island/counter
3. Replace trim over garage door (possibly paint trim)
4. Replace wood, trim, and paneling around exterior of fireplace
5. Hang temporary door on the shed

Danya's First Slumber Party

In Danya's Own Words:
When I got there, I was the only one there because Emma had just gotten there a few minutes after I did! After everyone else got there (9 kids counting Emma) we waited for the presents and then went to play while we were waiting. We played register and mom, and played with Shopping Barbie. Emma was the mom and she had three pretend babies.

Then we went swimming. (Emma's house is next to the neighborhood pool.) Then she opened her presents. She got a Polly Pocket toy, some Cinderella people with Cinderella dresses, makeup, and I gave her a rock and roll Barbie. Someone gave her a boa that had a hole on the side so that she could get inside it and wear it like a dress!

Then we had a makeup party! I put on eye shadow, lipstick, and blush. I also put on some nail polish, but it wouldn't show up. We put a big gob of gooey glitter in our hair. Nicole did it for me. We had pizza for dinner and cupcakes. Then we went to sleep in sleeping bags. Somebody shared a sleeping bag! We were all asleep by 11.

In the morning when we woke up some people played mom and some people played Polly Pocket. We had a sleeping bag slide down the stairs! Emma did it on her belly first, then I did it! There were waffles and pancakes for breakfast. Then Emma handed me a baby doll and put a bottle in its mouth. It actually sucked on the bottle and would cry or giggle when you took it out! Four other people left before me, and then I left.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trash or Treasure?

Now that we've definitely decided to move to Denver, CO (just north of there, actually), we have to kick it into high gear. Daniel's company wants us there as soon as possible.

We are trying to pack up everything non-essential in the house and go through some of the things we had moved into the garage last spring when we were debating moving to a new house. It sure is a good thing we decided not to move last spring. I can't imagine how nightmarish this would be if we had just bought a bigger house we could barely afford.

So now we are having to give everything the final question, "Is it important enough to haul all the way to Denver?" This photo is from last spring when the garage was overflowing with what we thought was the "bare minimum" of things we needed. It's funny how now that the move is further than just a few miles, alot of these things became less important. We had a moving sale today and sold quite a bit of this stuff. We made about $100, which will come in handy next week when we head to Denver to look at apartments. Level 3 is sending Daniel up there to train their new techs in the mornings and go house hunting in the afternoons. He's driving so that we can all go as a family. I'll be sure to post a picture when we get back!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Friends and Photos

Stephanie and her kids came over this morning to play and take newborn photos of Kevin. She is an amateur photographer hoping to start a home business. She took really gorgeous maternity photos for us right before Kevin got here. Today she took lots of different poses of Kevin.

She got some cute "nakey" tush photos of him on top of white towels (which he pooped on), and some of him curled up in a basket (with a full wet diaper). Then she discovered our giant teddy bear in Kevin's room, and took some photos of him curled up in the bear's lap. I can't wait to see how they all come out! When she gets her website up and running I'll post a link.

Not-so-Easy Bake

Grandma Nancy helped the girls bake the last of their Easy Bake oven cake mixes on Tuesday. Our neighbor, Sydney, came over to play and got to help make a little cake, too. Her mom, my friend Missy, had surgery recently and needed a little quiet time at home.

Nancy decided to let all the girls mix their cake recipes at the same time to keep them occupied. But the easy-bake oven, which we found at a garage sale last year, only had one cake pan. So the girls had to take turns waiting for their cakes to bake. They got a little antsy and Sydney kept trying to eat her cake batter. By the end Nancy suggested that we "re-garage sale" the oven because it is waay too much hassle. We agreed.

Grandma Got Cooties!

We've been working on clearing the junk out of the garage and deciding what we want to put in our upcoming moving sale. We want to have the house paired down to the bare essentials and ready to put on the market within two weeks.

Grandma has been helping while she's here. Today she found the game "Cooties" in our garage. She and the girls have been having a blast playing the game and just assembling the bugs so that they can play with them. One of their legs got broken, but otherwise the game has held up well. It's been a great diversion for the girls.

Rockin' Science!

This week the girls are doing a unit study on rocks. Having Grandma Nancy here is nice because she does alot of it with them. The three of them went on a nature walk on Monday to collect all different sizes, shapes, and colors of rocks. They also gathered other nature items to make a pretty collage. They sorted the rocks by size, shape, color, and texture. Then they narrowed their piles down to their ten favorites and drew a picture of their very favorite one.

On Tuesday they divided the rocks again with Venn diagrams. Then they measured the length and weight of their favorite rocks. They also used a string wrapped around the rock to find its circumference. They guesstimated whether the other rocks would be more of less than an ounce, and then weighed them on a postal scale to see if they were right. Then they hammered the rocks to see if they would break, and took them outside to see if they would leave a mark on the concrete when rubbed against the ground. We've got more experiments planned for the rest of this week.

Word Power

I absolutely love back to school shopping. Unlike the public schools, we don't have a specific time of year that we go "back to school". We homeschool year round with a few days off here and there. This year we took off about two weeks (okay maybe not that much) around Kevin's birth and are already back to work.

At Wal-mart I found this neat sentence strip chart. The cards that I bought to go with it are the reusable kind that you use with dry-erase markers. We haven't done anything formal with them yet. I just hung it up on the stocking hooks over the fireplace and let the girls have fun with it. Click on the picture to read what they wrote.

We are all amazed by Gloria who has just recently started writing all on her own. We've been working with her over the past year on letter recognition, sounding out words, and hand writing, but she started truly writing on her own just this week. She began by bringing me a letter she wrote. She sounded out all the words she wanted to say and came up with some clever invented spelling. For instance, she didn't remember how to spell "the" in "the end". So instead she used the letter "v" to write "v end" because "v" kind of sounds like "the". She wrote on all the cards closest to her in the photo and Danya did the ones on the other side.

I Love Being Grumpy!

One of the most fun things about being a mom of girls...matching outfits! (And of course, matching grumpy faces!) Danya and Gloria needed new night gowns. Instead of the overpriced ones in the kids' department, I like to shop in the juniors' department and find t-shirts on sale. This time I found two medium sized shirts for the girls at Wal-mart and a 2x for me, which is about the equivalent of a size large in the women's dept.

It's a little snug across the tummy for me, but it does show very well what's left of my baby belly. Give me a few months and we'll see if I can whittle that down. Since we are attempting to sell our house and move to Denver, CO as quickly as possible, I'm sure the stress added to the exercising and nursing Kevin will help me to slim down faster.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Missing: One Tomboy

Where did my tomboy go? Who is this girl that only wants to wear skirts and fancy shoes? When did she go from playing cars with us to always wanting to play "mom" and "dolls"?

Look at her! She's playing house and pretending to feed her creations (collected from the sandbox and cooked on the pretend stove) to little Hope. She's wearing her sparkly new flip flops, her very first pair of flip flops ever, and asked me to put her hair in a pony tail.

Our friends, the Haleys and Glenda's family, came up to visit us and see baby Kevin. Glenda and Eric had a meeting they had to go to briefly while they were in town, so the kids and Christina stayed with us. During that time Cantrell yanked Gloria off the teeter totter (so that his sister could ride), and Gloria didn't even fight back! She just cried and wanted to be held! What happened to my tough girl who used to be the one always in trouble for injuring someone?

I guess she's growing up. I suppose she's becoming a little lady. But wait, she still likes to collect rocks, hang upside down (in a skirt), and climb trees (in high heels and panty hose). Maybe my tough girl, my tomboy, is still there...under the lip gloss and nail polish.

Reagan's 6th Birthday

Reagan had a very cool water party at her house in OKC. There was a kid sized soft tub pool, a slip and slide, and water balloons!

The kids in the pool were a little rough for such a small space. I was worried about the girls, but they handled themselves well. They didn't come complain about it, instead they just grabbed a floaty ring and tried to avoid the worst of the splashing.

What was really gross was when one little girl pooped on the slip and slide. It got hosed off, but YUCK! It was funny watching my girls try the slip and slide for the first time. Danya would walk up, jump directly onto her knees, and then push herself with her hands down to the end. They got a ton of candy from the pinata and were so busy having fun they only paused long enough to eat a hotdog without the bun for dinner.

We gave Reagan some arts and craft supplies in a plastic tub with her name on it. I put her name on with rub-on letters. We also let Danya pick out a beach Barbie for her cousin.

My Side of the Tree

We visited my sister, Aunt Toni, and Uncle Clayton who got hitched a few weeks ago. Congratulations, Aunt Toni! She got to hold Kevin and talk to the girls. We came to pick up the remote for the HUGE television that Toni gave us last week. Toni is always blessing our family with great gifts and trying to think of things we might need. She has a generous heart!
Then we went to my younger brother, Uncle Ricky's, house for his older daughter's birthday party. While we were there Uncle Ricky and my older brother, Uncle Shane, each got to hold Kevin. We're all glad that Ricky is back from basic training in the Army Reserve (or is it the National Guard?) and are praying he doesn't have to go to Iraq. We're also proud of him for taking top honors in physical fitness while he was in training! Way to go, Uncle Ricky!

Panic Attack!

This looks like a sweet picture of little Kevin in the loving arms of his Aunt Robin who is pleased as punch to finally have her first nephew.

In actuality it is a permanent reminder of the terror that raced through my heart as I noticed immediately after taking this photo that my newborn son's legs were rapidly turning a dark ugly purple color. With his breathing problems at birth I instantly feared that he was having trouble getting enough oxygen. I checked to see if he was still breathing, in a panic that he wouldn't be and we wouldn't be able to get help fast enough.

Thank God that Robin and I figured out that the leg holes on his diaper were cutting off circulation. When we loosened them, his legs started to pink back up. We took off his diaper, a newborn size, and put him in a size one. Within minutes his legs were their normal healthy pink color. All I can say is, thank God thank God thank God.

Lunch with the Grandparents

After we said goodbye to the great grandparents, we went to lunch with Daniel's parents at McDonald's. Grandpa Wayne got to hold Kevin for the first time! Before that he had only gotten to hold Kevin's hand in the intensive care unit at the hospital. Grandma Nancy got to hold him at the nursing home for the first time.

Grandpa Wayne gave the girls quarters to start the train that runs along the track around the top of the store. It was a quick lunch and then Wayne had to go back to work and we had to pack up and head on to Oklahoma City to see more family.

Meet the Moffetts

On Friday, as part of a whirlwind tour to visit as many family members as possible, we went to visit Daniel's grandparents at the nursing home in Stillwater. They figured out that Kevin is their 16th great grandchild!

I miscalculated and wound up having to feed Kevin in the main office when we first arrived, but other than that the visit went well. A woman took pictures to possibly appear in the Stillwater newspaper some time in the next couple of weeks.

Arlene and Joe seemed very proud of their newest descendant!

Bad Mommy

And the award for "Bad Mommy of the Year" goes to...

Jessica! For shooing her family out the door to take a walk so that she could have five minutes of peace and quiet. It seemed warm out when she took this photo, so she told them to keep the walk under ten minutes.

Then she checked the heat index online when they came back 8 minutes later bright red and drenched in sweat. What do you know? It was 101 degrees outside! Yes, that's right. She sent her 6 day old infant out for a walk in 101 degree heat wrapped in a thick baby snugli.

Fortunately, child protective services chose not to investigate...this time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kevin's First Day

Just a collection of moments from Kevin's first 24 hours.
1. laying on my chest right after birth
2. getting measured, tested, and eye medicine
3. first family photo
4. holding hands with Mommy
5. cleaning out the ears
6. muscle man!
7. well deserved rest
8. In nursing room B of the NICU

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All About Kevin

Due to popular request, here are more photos of the center of our universe. He went in for his first doctor's visit today and she said he is doing great. He's gained weight already, passing his birth weight.

For those interested in the delivery story: I'd been having contractions on and off all through Thursday night into Friday morning. At my OB appointment right before lunch, my doctor stripped my membranes again. That increased my contractions and by 2pm they were coming every 3 minutes when I walked around. Daniel, having worked the night before, was exhausted. I about killed him for falling asleep while I was in intense pain, but he really couldn't help it. By 5pm I knew this was IT. So we dropped the kids off at the Millers house and got to the hospital around 6pm.

Stephanie, a friend of mine from Sunday school, came up to help me through labor and delivery. The whole process was much easier this time around. They let me skip the IV and just have a hep lock in my hand. I also was allowed to walk around for 30 minutes and then just have the fetal monitor on for about 20 minutes, then walk some more. What really surprised me was that I was able to breathe through the pain all the way up to the end. I was dilating so quickly that my doctor went ahead and gowned up because she knew he was coming fast. I think I only pushed for 30 minutes at most and Kevin practically jumped out at the end. The whole thing was over before 10 pm. Then I couldn't stop smiling and babbling adoringly to Kevin even though I was still in pain while the doctor numbed and stitched me.

The truly hard part was when they took my baby boy away to the nursery and wouldn't bring him back! I fed him at birth, and then they didn't let me nurse again until fourteen hours later! I absolutely refused to let them stick a tube down his throat to feed him formula. They were afraid he would inhale my milk if I nursed. It was hard seeing him in the NICU, especially since I didn't feel like he had any reason to be there. They finally let us go home on Sunday evening after a slew of tests and two days of observation to determine that he occassionally breathes rapidly and they have no idea why. We just had to promise to bring him to our family doctor first thing on Tuesday. We did that today, and of course he is fine. That's the whole story!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Kevin is Here!

Name: Kevin Tyler Young Elliott
Born: Friday, July 7th, 2006
Time: 9:42 pm
Weight: 8 lbs 15 oz
Length: 20 1/2 inches
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

We're home! Everything went well. Kevin spent a couple of days in the NICU because he was breathing too rapidly sometimes, but he seems to be fine now. He's a big healthy boy and looks just like his Daddy. I'll write a longer post when we aren't all so sleep deprived. Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kevin is DUE!

Today, the fourth of July, is Kevin's official due date. I've had a few contractions, but nothing regular. I guess he doesn't believe in being punctual.

He's been more active over the last couple of days than he has been in more than a week. It's making me a little nervous that he could be moving into an incorrect position. Last Friday he was head down, ready to go. We'd appreciate prayers that he stays put instead of doing backflips like he's done previously during this pregnancy.

My next scheduled doctor visit is Friday. I really hope I don't have to go. Hurry up, Kevin!

Happy Independence Day!

We decided to drive down to celebrate the 4th with family since labor didn't seem to be imminent. First we stopped at four different fireworks stands to find the best deals on daytime fireworks. We bought everything on wheels...literally. We got semi trucks, tractors, aircraft carriers, rolling turtles, race cars, dragsters, dragons, and of course TANKS!

It's a family tradition from the time Daniel was young to have tank wars. We also had races, including a set of tractors lit by Daniel and his Uncle Terry. Terry's tractor went backwards and Daniel's caught fire and burned to ash and a puddle of plastic. Grandpa Wayne was attacked by a fire breathing dragon that went off course and shot sparks into his sandals where he was crouched on the ground video taping! The kids each got to launch a daytime parachute and try to catch it out of the air as it came down.

By three pm the windless scorching hot day suddenly changed. Dark clouds rolled in, lightening appeared, and the wind became fierce. We scooped up the last of the fireworks and ran inside just as the first rain drops hit. We missed most of the rain as we drove home, though.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Time Obsession

As we've been timing contractions on an almost daily basis, the girls have helped out by writing the times down on their dry erase boards. Sometimes they are hard and consistent and other days they are consistently erratic. I can't tell you how tired I am. Tired from the pain of contractions, the nights of broken sleep, and the constant walking to encourage the onset of labor.

What's especially strange is when the girls get excited to see me clutching my belly in agony. "Yeah! Mommy's having another contraction!" My fingers, calves, and feet are swollen to the size of sausages and they are rejoicing.

We've tried everything imaginable to encourage this baby's arrival. He seems determined to teach us all patience. Tomorrow is his due date, the fourth of July, and he's already about 9 pounds according to the numerous ultrasounds I've received. I'm praying fervently that he comes on his own because I do not want to go through being induced again.

In the meantime Daniel helps me put my socks and shoes on and we continue to walk endlessly. My belly seems to grow exponentially by the day. Daniel's buddies at work every day he comes in continue to ask, "Are you still here? No baby yet?!" No, no baby yet. That's been my standard response to family and friends who call almost daily. We'll let you know.

Summer Reading Champs!

Danya and Gloria completed the summer reading program at the library! They were amazing. We'd go to the library and they would each sit down with a stack of books and read them out loud to Daniel and I.

After reading 20 books each and visiting the library 4 times they received a medal, a book of coupons, and a giant inflatable fish. They've already used some of the coupons and accidentally popped one of the fish. Danya also was able to enter the drawing for an unspecified prize. Gloria was excluded because she hasn't officially completed Kindergarten yet. She took it in stride, though.

We are so proud of both of them! They definitely love reading and worked hard to finish the program quickly.

Grandma Helps Out

A week ago I was having contractions consistently 4 minutes apart for over an hour and we thought, "This is it!" So we called Daniel's parents to come watch the girls. We didn't end up going to the hospital because the contractions slowed down and then stopped not long after Grandma and Grandpa arrived.

Fortunately for us, Grandma Nancy decided to stay with us anyway. We got to enjoy her help and her company for a whole week through the ups and downs of on-again off-again contractions and long walks to try to "walk the baby out". I never had full time help with my other pregnancies and didn't realize just how great it can be. I've already asked her to please come to Colorado next year if we manage to get pregnant again.

Did I mention we are planning to move to the Denver area this October because of Daniel's job or that we'd like to have our fourth child next year so that Kevin will have a buddy close to his age?

The Reading Tree

To encourage the girls to read, we've been keeping track of the books they've finished with a reading tree. We write Danya's books on the leaves and Gloria's books on the flowers. These are books they've read entirely by themselves. Danya's had to be chapter books.

Once Gloria finished reading 30 very easy reader books and Danya completed 20 chapter books we gave them each a surprise. They got playdough tools that we found at a teacher supply store. Each pack had a rolling pin, beveled pizza cutter, and other neat little toys for making shapes and patterns with their playdough. The girls really seemed to like them.

Now that their tree is complete we're discussing options for the next thing to hang on their door. We might do a reading train, with each book title written on a piece of the train or possibly a race track with titles written on cars.

Teaching Tennis

Danya convinced me to buy kids' tennis raquets recently. So Daniel and I took her to the local high school's tennis courts. We had her practice hitting tennis balls up against the wall for a while. Then she tried hitting balls that Daniel served across the net. Finally she practiced serving and actually managed to get it over the net several times. They actually volleyed the ball a few times!

Danya got a little frustrated with having the two of us both trying to teach her how to play at the same time, but enjoyed playing and says she wants to go again. Daniel and I spent a few minutes playing before we left, letting Danya shag balls for us. Unfortunately I jumped for a high ball and overstrained my muscles a little. I decided that maybe being 9 months pregnant, I should postpone any more tennis practice for a while.

VBS: Arctic Edge

This was Danya's first year of VBS and she loved it! She came home excited every day singing new songs and doing the motions that accompanied them. She learned some great bible verses about courage and trusting God.

The only negatives were the rough behavior of some of the other kids. She was a bit shocked to see a boy body slam another boy, for instance. Overall, I think she handled it well.

She helped collect coins all week for missionaries and even gave some of her own savings. She really has a heart for missions and giving to others. We were very proud of her. She also thought it was pretty great that the girls beat the boys in raising money. Girls rule!

Father's Day Kisses!

Father's Day was a little strange this year since Gloria was still at Grandma's house. Daniel opened his presents in the morning, including his very cool Snoopy shorts from Danya.

After church we drove to Stillwater to pick up Glory. She looked like she had grown 3 inches while she was gone! She was healthy, happy, and seemed somehow more grownup and independant. I nearly cried. Where had my baby girl gone in only a week?

We went out to eat with Daniel's parents and gave Grandpa a shirt that read, "One Cool Grandpa". Giving him a shirt has nearly become a tradition in the past few years. When we got home Gloria got to pick out a gift for Daniel. She chose a patriotic shirt that had his birth year, 1976, on it. He's worn it several times already. It's strange to think that any day now Daniel will be a father of three!

Incredible Cousins!

A few weeks ago we got the opportunity to play with the Maxwell cousins at Incredible Pizza. These kids seem more like best friends than cousins when they get together. I love that they share everything without a second thought. Danya was eager to use her game card for rides and games that her cousins could play with her. It was pretty cute when 3 of the girls all crammed into one tiny virtual roller coaster ride together!

The big surprise of the evening was when Aunt Robin told us that cousins Jason and Rhema were spending the week at Grandma's house and that our girls were welcome to join them. Danya couldn't go because she had VBS that week, but Gloria jumped at the chance. We were completely unprepared. She had no clothing packed and had to immediately get in the van with her cousins for the hour and a half drive if she wanted to go. Fortunately she is about the same size as her two cousins, so she was able to borrow their clothing for the week.

Gloria has never spent the night anywhere without Danya before. This was a big step for her! It was hard on all of us having her gone for an entire week. By Wednesday I was missing my baby girl sooo much that it was hard to think about anything else. When she got back we just couldn't stop hugging her.