Tuesday, December 31, 2013

G'bye 2013.

2013 was a FULL year and extremely bittersweet. Tough and hard yet monumental and beautiful. I'm a big fan of new beginnings so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's start of a new year. 

This last day of the year I'm spending without my hubby who is back in Bismarck while the kids and I are still in MN. It's been a tiring day, Annalee being so very fussy and helping put four kids to bed (my sister's two are spending the night). I'm about done pumping and I'm going to bed...I should make it to midnight in Eastern time zone so I'll just pretend I'm in SC again. If I close my eyes I can hope for that and not this sub zero freezer!

Welcome 2014!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Where is Baby's Belly Button?

Under Her Shirt!

Thanks, Karen Katz' book, for the wordage. Seriously though, Annalee did lift up her own shirt this afternoon. She's just getting into these phalanges stuck on her arms.

And more photos from the end (last night and today) of my way overloaded memory card. Must.Get.Photos.Organized.

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Bath time in the kitchen sink this morning... cousin Ali helping out!

Hi, blue eyes.
Annalee wearing the clothes I bought Maelee makes this an extra special photo of my kids.


Hospital Holiday.

My sister took my dad to the ER on Christmas Day, shortly after we arrived here in MN at noon. They released him Thursday evening. He had been having these spells that would last for a bit and were quite scary. They are hard to explain but they include slight chest pain, disorientation, sweating, some dizziness, and who knows what else. He had maybe ten on Christmas Day. So they did loads and loads of tests that night and next day.

Praise God nothing serious came up in all the tests. He has some blockage in an artery to his brain that a neurologist is going to look at this Thursday, but the hospital doctor didn't seem too concerned. And in a week he goes to get his knees checked out and will probably get a new one or two of those this spring. It's not ideal timing as they should be enjoying their house in Arizona right now, but it'll be good for them to get this medical stuff ironed out. And overall we are all just grateful for all positive results (even the doctor was impressed with the condition of his heart)! It was a bit hard to see him all dolled up in hospital gear, but then also nice for me to not be the one in the hospital bed this time!

I love my Dad and want him to be around in good condition for years to come. He's got some cute grandkids to love on...


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Waffle Fries!

There are loads of great things about the state of Minnesota. Now that my parents live here along with my sister and her family, we have many reasons to spend time in this state and will most likely do so. However, if we were lacking motivation we are no longer after getting a craving fulfilled at a newly opened Chick-fil-A in Bloomington. This gem is about a 25 minute drive from my parents, right in the heart of rush-hour-traffic hell but conveniently right off 494. We may make it a tradition if we get stuck in traffic (or even if not) on our drives from ND.

We haven't had Chick-fil-A since July and we were so badly craving it. We had breakfast with our dear friends and the place was empty on a Saturday morning. Obviously Minnesotans have no idea they serve breakfast. We stayed so long that we were able to get lunch to go. Two meals of Chick-fil-A in one day is a pretty great day (albeit high on the sodium).

I ate my food before I remembered to take photos to document all the goodness. Later Greg saw a guy take a photo outside the restaurant and then inside was taking a photo of his sandwich. Pretty sure he's a displaced southerner who drove many miles for his Chick-fil-A fix. I get it, dude, I do. It's that good.
Great food and great friends = great day!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Her First Christmas.

Annalee's first Christmas has been an interesting one.

Christmas Eve day we left Buffalo with high hopes of driving to "the cities" (which to all of ND/MN that means the suburbs and all of Minneapolis/St.Paul) to my sisters/parents. I realized a few exits down that I left Annalee's milk in G&G's fridge so we had to drive back to Buffalo for that. And that extra half hour may have really set us back.

The roads were fine but became worse quick as it got darker. And within a half hour I went from thinking we'll make it just fine to calling to see if there were rooms at a hotel. If it would have just been Greg and I, we would have kept going. But with the kids, it wasn't worth it. Annalee was screaming ready to eat and Eli was antsy...the thought of another few hours with them plus the unknown road conditions made it a smart choice. 

Christmas Eve in a hotel felt odd but we had a fun few hours. No close food place was open so we bought pizza from the hotel and I had hot chocolate and a candy cane. We found one swim diaper and Eli trunks in a bag in the van. Greg wore his basketball shorts and those two went swimming for hours. Annalee had an hour of wide awake "happy to be out of her car seat" time. Nothing was typical, traditional Christmas. BUT it was nice to be just us four together, no one else but us made the unexpected sort of sweet. 

We woke up, had good hotel breakfast and headed out. There were a handful of cars in the ditch which made me glad we stayed. The road was a bit icy today but not too bad/stressful. We missed the big, delicious family breakfast that is always with my BIL's family so Greg and I had leftovers for lunch. Then my sister took my dad into the hospital (more on that later).

So our little girl will have quite the story for her first Christmas... but the very first Christmas was abnormal and bizarre so we rest in that.

Joy to the world, The Lord has come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

90 Degree Depression.

Welcome to my 4:15am pumping session where I was curious about the weather so I opened my app that has my two places. This just shouldn't be. 

Thankfully it does look like it won't be this insane cold all week. And really I just care that Tuesday is good driving weather. But come on! A 90 degree difference. What did we do? Noooooooo. 

Sigh. G'night. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Start Your Crazy.

Our days of wacky schedules, too much sugar, and loads of family fun have begun. Merry Christmas y'all! 

Side note: can I please still use y'all? It's a lovely word and I hope southerners will allow me the privilege. 

Friday night we went to cousin Ben's basketball game. Then Chris and Lilli showed up. They always bring the energy level up a few notches. Eli normally goes to bed around 8:15/8:30. He finally fell asleep at 11pm. Yikes. 

Saturday night we had a little mini K Christmas which involved yummy food, final advent reading, and gifts. Extravagant gifts, really. Eli got lovely, fun things and a train set. Much, much joy was had with that in the time after by Eli and Lilli and especially Uncle Chris. It was another late night, of course, and in the morning Eli chose to play with his train over eating breakfast first. 

Today the kids and I hopped in the truck with my in-laws to head to Buffalo where we will spend time with the Greats until Tuesday when Greg will pick us up and keep going to MN. Eli just fell asleep in the last ten minutes, past ten o'clock. Yet another late night after a day of family fun!

Hopefully all this mismatched scheduling, apple crisp for dinner (parenting fail), and extra attention doesn't completely spoil the kid!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

I'm Pumping.

The other night Eli was playing with Grandma's Christmas decorations in the living room. She's great at having some kid-approved decor; one nativity is a particular favorite. She also has a little sleigh with red bulbs in it. We were in the kitchen when I heard Eli in there. I looked up to see him next to the sleigh, holding two bulbs pointing out from his neck and making this distinct waah-wah noise. I asked him what he was doing and his reply was "I'm pumping!".

Oh dear, oh my! It was really so hilarious and yet so very sad at the same time.

You see, Annalee won't latch now. We have yet to successfully latch more than once after her little lip tuck. She became a big bottle fan and now really doesn't want a thing to do with the actual milk supply (that takes longer to give her milk than an instant-gratification bottle). Plus we just haven't had the time to really work at it. So that means that I'm still pumping in order for her to get my breast milk.

Every three hours during the day (or four if life gets messy) and usually once in the middle of the night... I'm sitting at the chair hearing the waah-wah of the pump and not being able to be hands-on with either child. It's very, very hard for me to just sit there for twenty or more minutes so often in a day and not be able to pick up Annalee, play with Eli or be available. It really makes it more of a challenge to plan a day. I have to try to pump before either wake up and the whole time I'm just trying to tell the milk to hurry and hope they don't wake up too soon. Then during the day I try to entertain Eli while I'm pumping (or hope he can find some fun thing to do that doesn't involve a screen). Sidenote: This is yet another wonderful aspect of living with Greg's parents. Eli often ends up pestering Grandma, so at least he's not watching TV every time he's waiting for me to pump. Grandma, on the other hand, gets nothing done! But really, on top of the can't-just-go-outside-because-it's-too-blasted-cold-or-too-much-work-to-get-all-that-gear-on, I just feel bad for the kid. "Come on downstairs, buddy, mama's got to pump." and "When I'm done pumping, then..." etc. He's bored.

Plus there is sweet Annalee. I think I could manage this much more if it was just her but even that is hard. She's a baby with no time schedule so it's hard to plan. Sometimes she needs to eat and I really need to pump. Bah! This is where I know I couldn't do it without Greg. When he's not at work, he's able to feed her/hold her/entertain her (and Eli) so I can pump. Plus he usually washes all the blasted pumping paraphernalia which is a big, big help.

In addition to the time factor is my milk supply woes. My body knows it's not her, it takes way longer than it should. I'm trying very hard not to let my milk supply decrease but it's tough. I can't add loads more pumping sessions without pumping taking over our lives. Plus she's eating a bit more now so less and less of what I pump is going in the freezer and more and more is being used. This makes me sad because I know she won't make it to a year with just my milk. There's no way my supply or time will allow it. And the thought of doing this even another three months is daunting. I can't even go there in my brain or I really, really start to loathe pumping. I sometimes have many drama queen moments where I am so fed up I'm ready to whine and pout and quit. These are usually when I'm waking up in the wee early morning to pump when all I want is to sleep.

I will say that sometimes it is a nice break, to force myself to sit down and not be doing something. Sometimes I am grateful for the rest aspect of my waah-wah time on the chair. But mostly I'll be glad to be done and able to do a host of other things during the time I am now using to pump. 

And if you are wondering how I got this typed up... I used the hands-free-pumping bra while typing this during a both-kids-napping-at-same-time opportunity. Any communication I do is usually done while pumping. Sometimes I wonder if nurses or other people I call on the phone understand what that waah-wah noise in the background is...


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paddington Bear.

Since we aren't in our own home with all our bins of stuff, I don't have access to lots of baby photos to compare us to Annalee. However, I had this one of me saved on the computer. And it's a good comparison one since our little darling is often crying. This one shows the hair similarities. And maybe some chunk and short leg similarities too.

And here's sweet Annalee today wearing an outfit family friends gave me when I was born... Paddington Bear vintage style! Fun to get to have this daughter to enjoy these sentimental family things with. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quality Time.

We do hope our house in SC will sell soon so that we can buy here... having our own place will be great for a multitude of reasons. That said, Greg's parents have been so wonderful, so gracious, and so darn helpful these last four months. It's been a gift to us, even if it isn't ideal, and also a gift to our kids. They get spoiled with love and attention and all things grandparents do so well! Eli has a special connection/infatuation with Grandma and Annalee already loves the way Grandpa holds her high in the air on her tummy. This is much of the reason we are back in this tundra, and it's good to dwell on that when we feel like packing up and moving back!


Showing Eli the joys of the wishbone.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I wanted to put this pic on here as proof that Greg and I DID go out without our kids and had adult conversation. Sadly, there is too little of that going on (but this will be remedied soon, hopefully, when we get our own place and we'll drop the kids off at the grandparents often). This was taken at his work Christmas party last night. In a Hummer limo. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights (which were super hard to see through the very small, foggy windows). Then we went back to their office for food and conversation. I know the folks in this photo are older than us but the other side of the Hummer (and much of the other Expedition limo as well) are super young people. And I felt pretty old last night. All these early twenty-somethings with no kids and no responsibilities.

But thirties is the new twenties, dont-cha-know! Plus my sweet little boy just came running at me and is now trying to type looking all cute and innocent pretending to be a "worker of computer"... can't beat that for a reason to feel old! 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Cape On.

I bought this shirt on super clearance (cost me $2) a year or more ago. It has a cape attached to it. I put it on Eli and told him he should fly. For a short moment, I could tell he really thought he could. Sweet boy. I had to clarify it was just pretend.

I know there hasn't been enough of his cute mug on here lately so I'm glad I remembered to take a few shots of him enjoying his pretend flying:


2 Month Cutie.

Took these last week!


Friday, December 6, 2013


This week has definitely been one for the books. Monday was the ice storm (see below's rant). Tuesday evening the snow came. And by Wednesday it was bitter cold. Of course Annalee's two month check-up was 9am Wednesday morning.

And as I was heading out of the driveway, my van got stuck. Thankfully Greg was at home so I didn't have to deal with this on my own. However, I still may have shed a few tears out there and had some choice words for this place we now call home. After five minutes of trying to de-stuck the van, I called to reschedule for 11am. I went inside to feed our screaming child. Greg spent the next hour shoveling and snow blowing the van out. He also went to fill the van up because it was near out of gas (not a good thing). He tried buying salt (to put on the ground so the ice melts) at two places but they were all out. The whole town of Bismarck was out buying salt to lessen the ice rink that is their driveways and sidewalks. Uffda is right.

See the non-ice part where the van used to be parked? The rest = ice.
But I made it to the appointment with both Annalee and Eli. Imagine me holding Eli's hand while he's trying to smoosh his face into my leg because he's breathing in this freakishly cold weather while I'm also carrying Annaelee in her car seat and a diaper bag through the not-yet-plowed piles of snow with my not-still-healed foot. Poor Eli tripped twice and I'm sure it looked like I dragged him a few feet. I felt like doing a victory arm-in-air punch when we made it inside.

After her appointment I had to go to the grocery store with these kiddos. As I was nearing an intersection I just kept thinking about all my friends back in SC and how they surely, most surely were NOT gripping the steering wheel wondering if they were going to slide into the car in front of them as they were driving that day. Nope. But I was! And will be 'til I remember how to drive on this again.

Of course this amount of ice plus all the snow and super cold won't always be here. It will get better. And then a little worse sometimes. But it won't always be this bad. Plus eventually I WILL remember how to live here again and even learn how to manage kids in all this.

That said, if Greg's parents didn't arrive back from China that night, I was seriously considering getting on a plane back to SC. I told them they needed to come back as our reasons for staying here significantly lessen if they aren't around! But they arrived and we stayed inside all day yesterday. Today Grandma and I braved the "feels like -20" weather to bring the kids to the mall. It went just fine but man, that cold bites. So glad for warm cars, warm houses and Grandma!

View from our bedroom window. I wish you could see the wind fiercely blowing the snow!
More posts with some cute kid photos soon!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lip Tuck.

I have so much to write about but blogger wasn't working on my phone and there has not been time sitting at my computer (well, there were a few snippets of time but I did online shopping instead). But I know you may be curious...

Annalee's lip tuck (that's what I'm calling it) went fine. It was super quick (she was gone maybe two minutes). The doctor was awesome and so kind. Sadly Annalee has not wanted to latch at all the few times we've tried since. So I have no idea if it helped 'cause the stinker won't try. We've had limited time at optimal conditions so I'm hoping this weekend we can really focus and try often. The doctor said it was significant enough to cause dental problems later on so it was worth doing regardless if it helps her nurse or not.

Oh how I wish we could have done this right away instead of two months later. Sigh. This saga continues.

I like my milk in a bottle. You?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ice Ice Baby.

This weather is something else. This morning everything had a sheet of ice on it. When I went out to the garbage, I slid the whole way. I needed ice skates! I really don't remember this extreme ice-so-thick-you-can't-even-scrape-it. Too bad Annalee's appointment was today so I had to cart my two kids out in this.

(Insert photo of my iced van. Photo to follow. And update on Annalee's appointment as well.)

While in the waiting room I came up with a plethora of would-be status updates. I started typing them to pass time and feel better. I'll share:

I like ice skating as much as the next guy, but this is taking it too far, Bismarck. 

Nothing like "welcome back to driving in ND" like this giant city-size rink. 

Today I really WANT to drive a zamboni. 

No room in the garage means my minivan was an giant white icee this morning. 

And THAT is why I need new boots, dear husband. Ones that are made of snow tires. 

Huge vehicles. I get that now. 

When you can't walk out the front door without extreme caution, you might be in North Dakota. 

Attention hip doctors: old people need you today. 

My few years hanging out in a curling rink have finally paid off. #whereismyslider #justpretendiamsweeping

So as I'm writing this last one-liner, still grumbling about why we moved back to this dangerous tundra, in walks this chic:

Seriously?? In THIS weather? Those heels! How the heck can she manage the ice carrying her baby in car seat plus a big (albeit cute) Coach diaper bag?! I felt like a big 'ol unstylish wuss. 

I don't know how you do it, lady, but kudos. I will try harder. 


Friday, November 29, 2013

Everybody's Smiling.

Our daughter has finally slept at night. Meaning we have finally slept at night. It was a rough go there for a long while. But she finally went longer than a three-hour stretch in the nighttime and she was finally able to settle, not fuss, and go back to sleep after eating. And the choir of angels sang.

I have hesitated saying anything because it's possible this is just a fluke. But she went from up often to very decent the last three nights. Here's to hoping this is the new leaf we have wanted to turn over. Not sure the reason but we swaddled her again (we tried that last month with no success) but now that seems to be the trick. And by swaddle I mean baby-approved straight jacket.

We also are back on the reflux meds, higher dosage. All her symptoms really point to reflux. The last few days she seems to be doing better so let's hope that's working in her little insides.

I am back on dairy as of the last few days as well. That did not seem to change her demeanor or issues and I was really, really missing chocolate and butter and cheese and milk with my cereal. It was really good for losing weight. However the last few days I think I gained all that back. Nom Nom.  Munch Munch.

Getting her lip-tie fixed has been a bit of a hassle. The lactation consultant last week confirmed it, referred us to an ENT. He was booked solid this week. I called our family practice doctor, talked to the nurse who called and said this peditratician's office could do it the next day. We went to that appointment and the pediatrician said they didn't do lip-ties and called in another pediatrician who was a jerk. I won't go into those details. They referred me to a plastic surgeon. I cancelled that appointment and called the initial ENT's office and begged and they got us in on Monday. The ideal is we will get her lip-tie fixed and she will be able to nurse without me having pain. Fingers crossed for Monday.

But for now, rejoice with us in the fact Annalee has slept well at night and has started to smile more and scream less! The smiles are often for Daddy, her favorite, but occasionally I'll get a few. And soon I will capture a great gummy one where her eyes light up... for now, here's a tongue-filled smile for you:

Hi y'all.

PS - thanks for the cute outfit, Courtney!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


What a great day to pause and be thankful!

The Browns are over today and we are having a low-key but special day together! Yay for being close to family. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


My aunt came yesterday for some holiday baking. It was more like she brought all the stuff mostly ready and did all the work while Eli and I pretended to help. Easiest baking ever!

Eli lasted about five minutes rolling the ginger cookie dough in sugar. It also took all his will to not eat all the dough/sugar or lick his hands every two seconds. Hard concept for this baker. 

Baby Bird?

Popcorn balls!

Here you go...

And she slept the whole day. Somebody needs to tell this kid to sleep at night instead:

Thanks for coming, auntie "ruffie"! So glad for you being so close. 


Friday, November 22, 2013


Our son has an excellent memory. Three times today I was amazed by it. 

On our drive home this morning, he said "I saw two fire trucks." I didn't see any and was about to ask when he clarified "at Applefest, I saw fire trucks. Pink one and red one and another red one." Y'all the Applefest event was in September. And we didn't even spend more than a few minutes staring at the pink (breast cancer awareness) fire truck. We did get up close to the two red ones. Obviously this was a highlight in his short life. 

Later on today he said: "'member Knowledge? Threw sticks in street." Knowledge was our SC neighbor's grandson (quite a name to live up to) who threw sticks into our street the last time we saw him, in July. 

Later he said "Didn't feed giraffes" which is referring to our visits to the awesome SC zoo we frequented. You can feed the giraffes lettuce and they'll eat it right out of your hands with their crazy long tongues. Eli never, ever got on board with that. He did not want any giraffe tongue coming at him. 

And even yesterday Eli said "got scared at Deanna's...scared of airplane." Deanna is our friend who is letting us store our stuff at their house. Eli was super freaked out by the crop duster plane that flew near there when we were there unpacking, in August. 

I'm not sure if it's normal for kids to remember things like this but it's quite entertaining. And a good reminder to watch what Eli sees/hears/does!

This was Eli learning the word condensation this afternoon. Check out Instagram for the video. Love this kid. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lip Tie.

A college friend came over tonight and brought a doula friend of hers (who happens to have two kids very close in age to our two living kids). Their eight week old has had similar issues to Annalee. She asked to look in her mouth and after a two-second look said she's got a lip-tie. Maybe a tongue-tie but she said she's not an expert. Her daughter had both and had them fixed.

I had heard of tongue-tie before somewhere so I was vaguely aware. After my ten minutes of searching online and a few looks into Annalee's mouth, it seems to me she really does have lip-tie (I wasn't able to get a good look at the tongue and I don't really know what to look for there anyway). It certainly would explain my continued pain in nursing and her inability to continually get a good latch and possibly even some of her digestive issues. This friend gave me the name of the lactation consultant in town that diagnosed their daughter so I am going to call her tomorrow and see if she'll meet with us and look into Annalee's mouth.

More questions than answers, really, but an avenue to explore nonetheless. Click here or here or here if you are curious. I wanted to post to see if any of you folks out there have any experience or knowledge with either lip-tie or tongue-tie. If so, I'm all ears.

Also, this doula friend of a friend grew up next-door to my aunt and uncle in Crosby, ND. Our friend is from there too. Nothing like meeting people and knowing where they are from, where their roots are. I missed that when in SC. Glad for that happy perk of living in ND again... especially as it turns freakishly cold and snowy tonight.


UPDATE: the lactation consultant today agreed Annalee has a significant lip tie. She told us of an ENT doctor that all her folks see here in town but we need a referral from our family doctor before we can make an appointment. We have to wait until Monday to get that referral faxed in, then hopefully we can schedule something for next week?! It would be so great to have less pain when trying to latch...which Annalee hasn't done in maybe two weeks. The lady also gave more tips and things we should change and try to get her back to breast. She then said I get 10 gold stars for all my work in pumping and trying. Anyone know the going exchange rate for gold stars??

Going Away.

Our little man is going through a lot with his sister's arrival and her consistent issues that take much of mom and dad's energy and attention. He's had some very "I'm Two!" moments as of late. We are learning that his love language is probably quality time. IF he gets to spend time with just one of us and we can focus on him for a bit, he is so much better behaved the rest of the day. He even eats better.

Yesterday all I wanted to do was accomplish stuff (oh my that list of things to do is so very long) but I could tell he needed me. So while Annalee was content sleeping (the last two days this hasn't happened as much), we just played around (which since this summer hasn't happened often, thanks big belly and broken foot). Eli just ate up all the attention and that 45 minutes with my (complete albeit tired) focus changed the rest of his day. I didn't realize how difficult having another child would be on the sibling that's used to plenty of one-on-one time. Of course Eli having to "share" us is so good for him in the long run.

Here's a few Eli-isms for you:

The last few times I've had to discipline Eli, he looks at me as he's running away and says "I'm going away!!" It's really funny and it's really hard not to laugh.

This happens numerous times a day:

Me: "Eli, what are you doing?"
Eli: "I'm whiiiining." (said with an extreme whine)

He loves the word beautiful. "What a beautiful day!" or "What a beautiful city!" or "Look at the beautiful fishes!". He really makes you smile and stop and agree that such and such really IS beautiful. Even if it is cold and rainy.

We hear "I want a snaack." and "I want breff-fast" (cereal) often. If only all food was a carb, he'd be golden.

Grandma and Grandpa left for China on Sunday for two weeks. Eli is obviously bummed. But he knows they are visiting family. When you ask "Who are they seeing?" he'll answer "Matt, Jill and COUSINS!" (he says this with excitement). Sometimes he'll name a few of the four, but rarely all four at once (too much for him I guess).

Last week Grandma said Eli's name and Eli corrected her "No - Lovebug". She calls Eli lovebug so much he thinks she should only call him that. Isn't that adorable?

Sweet little boy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tender Tendon.

Wonderful news today. My foot is not broken, it's still healed. My tendons and ligaments are the issue, not healing well most likely due to the pregnancy hormone (still here in nursing) that relaxes all your muscles. I didn't know they could cause pain this long out so I feared the worse. I need to keep my boot on and just let time heal it. 

No cast. No surgery. This great news is well-received! 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Which of the Six.

Annalee had a better night last night! We are still not where we'd like to be, but a longer stretch where she is content by herself is a huge improvement. If she can fall asleep after eating without fussing, that's a big step and she did that twice. Here's to hoping for good things this evening. I have first shift tonight... have I mentioned how grateful I am to have a husband that takes shifts?

Funny thing is if she does improve, we'll have to figure out which thing it is helping her! 

  1. Chiropractor. We are giving it three visits. Her next is tomorrow. 
  2. Thrush Meds. Her doctor last week prescribed them as she may have a slight case of thrush in her mouth...which could be causing some discomfort. 
  3. Probiotics. We gave her one dose of baby ones last night and again tonight... they didn't work for her cousin so we'll see how they work for her.
  4. Eliminating Dairy (me). I have stopped eating any dairy. It can take weeks for it to get out of your system but it should help if she does have a milk allergy. If/when she is better, I'll slowly add dairy back in and see how it affects her. I'll be starting with chocolate. Then butter.
  5. Letting Her Cry Longer. Sometimes she just needs to exercise her lungs. 
  6. Time. I do think she will get better as she matures. She won't be going to kindergarten colicky. Plus she just smiled at me which is awesome... perhaps this means she's feeling less yuck in her life.
I hope she gets "fixed" sooner rather than later, of course. These next weeks could be quite the challenge if she still keeps her mama and daddy up all hours. Since her birth, we've been spoiled with help from Greg's parents (making meals, laundry, housework, entertaining Eli, holding Annalee, etc). Today they left for China for two-and-a-half weeks. So now we'll get a taste of what life should really be like! I wonder how many days I'll be in my PJ's way too late?

Here's this sweetie earlier today wearing the outfit I wore home from the hospital:

Vintage is in.
She has gone from happy to sad in the time it's taken me to post that photo. No more smiles, only a mad desire for a binkie! Drama, drama!

-Mama that wants to go to bed but instead has two beady, beautiful eyes staring at me

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Black Powder.


I want things in my life to settle, I want our girl to settle. 

Annalee seemed better the few hours right after the chiropractor Thursday. We were excited. And I didn't realize until later I had pretty high expectations. She had another horrible night. I know we shouldn't have expected it to "work" right away but I surely wasn't expecting her to be THAT crabby. Last night was better as was today but still not as it should. But let's hope we are moving forward. 

It's hard to be six weeks in and still not sleeping. I feel like we should have turned a corner by now. I was told six weeks is the peak of baby crying. Let's hope that's true and she will be less upset soon. This last week has definitely been the worst with her unsettledness. We miss sleep so much!

The lactation consultant RN came again yesterday and she was so kind and sympathetic to our situation. We tried to get Annalee to latch (on my right side where she never has latched) but she wouldn't. We fed her a bottle to calm her. She saw Annalee after feeding being obviously in pain and then told me until we can get her GI issues figured out, that she's just too uncomfortable to latch. Also, I'm still in pain trying so we need to figure that all out too. Once both of us are in less pain, then try to get her to latch. 

She was glad my supply is doing well. I'm grateful because I feel like I'm pumping all the time. The thing starts saying words to me in rhythmic pump sounds. Most frequently is "black powder" and "nap time". I may be going crazy. 

On top of this is my foot. It still hurts, more and more. I've been wearing my boot again and I have an appointment Monday to see what's going on. I try not think worst case scenarios. But a cast or surgery? Oh dear. 

I'd like some chocolate but I cut out all dairy. I hear they make some though so I plan to invest in some soon.This mama needs a pick-me-up!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

10 Pounder.

Annalee hit the double digits in weight at her appointment this morning. 10 pounds. This means she's gaining just fine. Even with all her issues, she's doing well. That, my friends, is marvelous. 

The doctor confirmed I need to cut out all dairy. Please send your best non dairy meal recipes and snack ideas. It's no gluten-free, but learning to cook/eat dairy-free is still going to take getting used to. Annalee's two month checkup is in three weeks so we'll see how no dairy helps her and reevaluate if needed at that time. 

The doctor also gave the encouragement to try the chiropractor so we will fork out the dough for that tomorrow. It'll be do worth it if it helps her even a little. I'll be sure to share. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hurry To See.

If you are friends with me on facebook, hurry on to see a few photos from our ta da Christmas Card Photo Shoot today. I forgot to tell the photographer not to post any until I figured out which one(s) would be on our Christmas card so they could be a surprise. Oh well. Just know if you get our Christmas card (which most of you should, if not, give me your address) you'll be seeing these photos again.

Greg and I both got 4-5 hours of sleep last night and we took the photos this morning. I was pretty exhausted and just hoping to find a pair of pants that fit me (pregnancy weight is still there folks). I wanted these photos to turn out (obviously) most especially because I'm usually not IN photos with the kiddos. I want to make sure when they look back on photos, they know I was there too! From the six on facebook, she got a few good ones in our short session today. I just have to let the whole double chin thing go. At least you can't tell my eyes are bloodshot! Oh vain me... why I'm striving to look so put together when our lives are anything but... well, it's pure vanity. Uff-da.

We really should have had a photo with the piles of laundry, stack of books and toys, suitcases unpacked, uncooperative kids, and me in my new bathrobe. That'd be a bit more accurate! But not as cute or fun to share, eh?

Another reason I was highly anticipating this photo session was to get a good updated us four photo. Besides the hospital, I don't think we've taken another family photo. I was going to have Maelee's bear in the photo but that didn't happen... just know that even though she's not pictured in our family photo, she's still there. Having family to take photos with = a gift.

Have I mentioned I really do love Christmas cards? Stationary, photos... two great things put together! I may not have my own fridge, but you better still send me a card!


UPDATE: Here's the link to the photographer's facebook page that should show you the six photos of us in her Winter 2013 album: https://www.facebook.com/ashleyhavemanphotography

Monday, November 11, 2013


Last year's Welle Girl Weekend was my first. I had missed the one (or more?) previously because of distance living in SC. Eli and I flew up to MN a year ago and he got spoiled being the only boy and only kid. This year we met in Fargo; my dad dropped Annalee and I there while he took Eli the rest of the way to Bismarck to spend time with Daddy (side note: pretty sure my dad won't be offering to take Eli for a long drive anytime soon!).

When we met last year, we had no idea there would be three more girls added to our fun by this year. Besides Annalee and Alexia, Greg's cousin also had a girl (11 days after Alexia in August). It was so sweet to see them together but it wasn't as, uh, relaxing as it would have been sans babies!

Greg's aunt has a really great camera and it was always handy so I used hers and didn't take any photos with mine. Plus my phone has no room for more photos after I went crazy taking video of Eli dancing (hilarious). So sadly, this pic is all I have from our time. I'll share more if I get any later. 

So glad to have married into this and get to enjoy one Great Grandma who makes us all laugh, my wonderful MIL and SIL and niece, an aunt originally from England whose accent makes everything she says sound amazing, the 5th grader FL cousin who seems way older, an aunt that I'll gladly always get along with, the hip fashionista new mom cousin and her beautiful wild hair baby, the cousin who makes us all happy to know her and the Korean exchange student basically adopted and adored. Thanks for a fun two days!



I wanted to write an update with how the little miss is doing when life settled into some sort of pattern. But it hasn't. We stayed in MN longer than planned, then Annalee and I went straight to Fargo for the annual Welle girls weekend (Greg's mom's side of the family) and we arrived back in Bismarck last night. Plus Annalee hasn't gotten into a schedule yet and is still struggling with something (yet unknown) so it's hard to update that!

I had an appointment scheduled with the baby chiropractor this week but we are going to put that off for yet another week. The reason is I think her problem is milk issues so I want to explore that further.  She's been having green frothy poops which is an indicator of fore milk/hind milk problems plus when I went back to dairy after 9 days with none, Annalee was really struggling. Pumping confuses all that, of course, so a call to the doctor has been made. Hopefully we can come up with a plan, some trial and error to figure out what works or maybe she'll just grow out of it all by the time we figure it out! I will say we have tried different things (oils, reflux meds, etc) with no great success. It also is hard to know if there's no immediate result. Oi. 

I'm still pumping but I try to nurse on one side at least once a day. Sometimes she gets it, sometimes not. It's still quite painful, who knows why I'm so sensitive, the nipple shield has helped slightly (just used it twice thus far) but the pain is more internal or something. It's also hard to make the time to try when so many things need to be in place (her hungry but not starving, me full but not engorged, neither exhausted, no Eli impatient in the background, etc). But I am determined to keep trying especially since I think nursing could help her issues (getting milk less quickly perhaps!?). 

So that is what I can say for now. It is incredibly hard to see her so upset and unsettled...wondering if she's in pain and how to stop it. We love her regardless!

Our little lioness...check out the matching 'do:


Thursday, November 7, 2013

1 Month Cutie.

Posting this a bit late, but posting nonetheless!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Knew.

I knew that having an older child would most likely mean my baby would get sick earlier (and more often) but I wasn't expecting it so soon. Graciously, Eli was never sick until he was older (10 months?!) and bigger. Annalee is only a month old and already has a cold. Sigh. 

Sunday I was going to post about how I thought we were turning over a new leaf with her after two fairly decent nights this weekend. Then, sadly, we took two steps backwards. Last night I was up until 3am with her. 3am! And then again at 5:30. She's congested but so far no other symptoms. Eli has a runny nose (and my throat hurts) so it's definitely just one dumb cold. I know it's no biggie but to this tired mama who doesn't have her middle-of-the-night helper husband, it seems quite overwhelming with everything else I'm trying to figure out with Annalee (more on all that later). 

Someday we will turn over that leaf. Someday I will not be exhausted. Someday the big bro will get a mama with energy again. And someday she'll smile for real and not just in her sleep!


Monday, November 4, 2013

#3 Birth Story.

She's a month old! I wrote most of this a week after Annalee was born, wanting to write all these way-too-many-details down before I forget and it is all foggy in my memory. Some of these birth story details will go in "Annalee's Story" which I'll post on a page on here, a summary of my pregnancy and her arrival (!!) just like I have for her siblings. But for those of you that want details, here you go!

The night before our induction date I barely slept I was so anxious and excited. I called the labor and delivery phone number at 5:45am to get the go ahead that we could come in. Instead I got the "I'm sorry but there is no room in the inn" sort of speech and I was so bummed! I also immediately started asking about my shot which I was supposed to take around 8am that morning and battled my case as to why they needed to fit me in! They told me to wait and they were going to try, and I should hear by 10am. So the next three hours I was all in a tangle, wondering if today would be the day or if it would be tomorrow or the next and wondering if she was going to make it through.

I told Greg to go to work so he went in around 8:30am. I think the nurse called me back around 9:15am with the green light that we could come in! Oh I wanted to hug that lady over the phone! Greg rushed back and we headed to the hospital to deliver our third baby.
It was snowy cold.

We got situated in our room and waited for my doctor to come in and evaluate things. It took him awhile but as soon as we had her hooked up on the monitors, my mind was so much at ease. They had to poke me a few times to get the IV in (bad red-head veins) but I didn't care. I had one last chance for natural labor... I know what contractions look like on paper so I was willing them to be there when I looked, but even I know they were pretty mild. When the doctor arrived and checked me, I definitely wasn't labor ready but enough to start Pictocin (labor inducing drug). They got that rolling sometime around 11am I think.

The afternoon was pretty low-key... I kept thinking we'd have baby that afternoon since that's how it went with Eli but we didn't start at 5am this time plus this doctor was different and didn't do things as quickly. Our nurse was great and we saw her often as she upped my dosage of Pictocin every 15 minutes or so. I didn't start feeling much until mid-afternoon. Everyone that came in said I was smiling too much so I couldn't be in pain. And that was mostly true, but mostly I was just so relieved to be there!

I had to wear compression socks. Here I am so excited to not have to labor with a boot on... and I have to wear old people socks!

Finally around 4pm or so, the pain started coming in much more startling frequency. With both Maelee and Eli, I was given an epidural before any real physical pain started. This time I labored with pain for around two hours, the last hour being really rough. The reason for that was that the nurse told the anesthesiologist that I wasn't in enough pain initially. He then got called to the ER and was tied up there for a long while. Also it was about supper time and we figured I should eat first (after epidural you aren't allowed food). With Pictocin, you go from nothing to WHOA baby really, really quickly and is said to be more intense than natural labor. Greg can attest that I was in pain. The contractions started coming two minutes apart and I spent much of it with my head resting on his belly, holding his hands and using him to brace for the coming wave of pain.

I was scared about doing labor without an epidural if it was going to be that hard for a very long time! So I was all about when the anesthesiologist arrived and got the epidural going. And I can say wholeheartedly that it was the best epidural experience! With Maelee and Eli I couldn't feel anything. My legs were completely numb and I couldn't move them AT ALL. I remember with Eli the nurse telling me when I was having a contraction. I had no idea. And therefore it was extremely hard to push with no feeling!

This time the epidural started working but I still had movement in my legs. I could still feel when I was having a contraction, but they were less intense in pain. We had no idea how long I'd be in labor from this point and the Pictocin was still doing it's thing. I remember telling one of the resident doctors that checked in on me that I hadn't felt any major pressure or need to push yet. I think they checked me around 8pm when our new nurse came on shift and I was around 5cm. I guess you typically go 1cm per hour. Well, I went 5cm in less than one hour. By close to 9pm I was ready to push and I definitely felt pressure. The nurse came in, I told her, she checked and went into overdrive mode! She definitely wasn't expecting me to go that quickly. Our doctor was at that moment in surgery. Not great timing. The nurse first made sure he knew I was ready, then she stopped the Pictocin and started getting the room ready for delivery. The baby nurse showed up then expecting to just drop off the baby cart and supplies... she never left until after Annalee was born!

After what seemed like awhile, the doctor showed up (he let another doctor finish up his c-section so that he could come). He had two residents with him (that I had met previously, nice UND med students). They got all ready, then me all situated, ready to push... aaaand contractions slowed down. Way down. To like every six minutes. And of course I'm having to joke around because there's nothing like being that uh, exposed, to five medical people (doctor, nurse, baby nurse, two residents, and one nursing student - all approved by me to be there) and just be waiting. So they started up the Pictocin again, after a few awkward pushes. And it didn't take long for that to kick in and finish labor!

Again, I loved the epidural. I could feel when I needed to push and once my contractions sped up again, it didn't take very many pushes to welcome Annalee into the world. 10:25pm. I remember watching her come out, alive, and the next thought in my head, which I voiced was "She looks like Eli!" She came right to my chest and I talked to her, welcoming her to the world, calling her sweetheart and rejoicing over her. She cried more than Eli did but was not wailing. They started wiping the white goo off of her and eventually I let the baby nurse take her.

It was a really great experience. Very calming, even with all those people in there. I won't say it was a barrel of fun, but it was enjoyable and pleasant. Not a no-drug, all natural, the way it was designed... but the end result trumps all that. The doctor worked on me, I had one minor tear, while I watched Annalee get weighed and assessed a few feet from me. Greg was right there watching over her, wearing the same sweatshirt he had when both Maelee and Eli were born. I finally told him to get the camera and he took the first photos of our girl as she came back to snuggle with me.

I loved those moments, so precious and full of joy and just like with Eli's birth, a big sigh of relief. She was alert which was fun. We were amazed by her hair, her tongue, and her cuteness, of course. The baby nurse pointed out that she had blisters on her hands from sucking them in utero. She had passed all her tests except her color and her crying weren't as good as they'd like... but that was the same with Eli so I was not worried. Greg was able to text our family and post on the blog. Since it was quite late, we didn't text anyone else but probably should have, there were so many anxiously awaiting her safe arrival with us!

Sucking hard on her hands!

Annalee stayed with us for a few hours. She latched on right away and started sucking (not realizing she had a bad latch and insane sucking ability) and stayed that way for a long while. We then gave her up to go get cleaned up. We rested for a bit and then she joined us for more bonding time. Normally family would have been there, but it was the middle of the night so it was just us three. Very sweet. Plus at Sanford you don't switch rooms once you deliver, you get to stay right there. Nice!

Truly a bundle of joy!
Our sweet girl was born October 4, 2013 and even that is a gift, she has a "4" in her birth date, just like all our other April babies. She was the same length as Eli at 19 1/2 inches. And she was the biggest of all my babies at 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

I can't wait to see how her personality develops (so far, very dramatic!) and what color red this hair turns out to be! Oh Lord, thank you for allowing us to raise this girl of yours.


Sunday, November 3, 2013


Hi from MN!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fireman and Fireball.

I had a cute monster costume for Eli but it got put in storage. Whoops. Thankfully Grandma has a costume box and had this hat and coat to go with Eli's boots (and I added some yellow duck tape to pants for more flair). Additional bonus is the fact Eli is a big fan of fire trucks so he easily got on board with being a fireman. 

And of course I wanted the siblings to be themed... and a little flame red headed fireball seemed quite fitting! I have a better pic on my camera but these are from my phone:

However I had another costume for our girl since I couldn't just let her be a little flame...and I found this for $5 this week at old navy. Sweet little owl!

This is how close big bro likes to get, guess he doesn't know to stay back from fire! Ha!

Actually Annalee did really well today, much less screaming. It could be because she's getting held a lot or she just really likes MN. We shall see!