Farewell, 2016!

2016 was a great year for us…one of the best we’ve had! We had so many wonderful and life-changing things happen this year, so I had to make a blog post giving a shout-out to 2016. I wanted to do a “Top 10” of the great things that happened this year, but I couldn’t narrow it down enough so instead you are getting the “Top 12 Favorite Moments of 2016!”

#12 – Kinsie was potty trained!

This may seem trivial, but to us, it was a HUGE deal. We dedicated so much time and energy from January through May trying to get this girl potty trained. It was draining and exhausting. We made very little progress throughout all that time, so being 8 months pregnant and completely wiped out physically and emotionally, we decided to give it a rest for a while. Once Brax was born in May, it finally started to click. She saw that Brax was a baby and he wore diapers, so she finally decided that she didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. Hallelujah!

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#11 – Trip to the Cincinnati Zoo

This trip to the zoo was very special to us. The reason we even went to Cincinnati was to visit Ryan, who was on a month-long rotation there. He tried to come home as often as he could, but it wasn’t always possible. When we went to visit him, it had been over a week since we had seen him. It was such a special day together, and Kinsie got to see hippos, so that was a major plus too!

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#10 – Halloween

This was our first Halloween as a family of 4, so we wanted to come up with costumes that we could be as a family. Kinsie is really into the Ninja Turtles, so that’s what we went with! We went to Zoo Boo, the Heritage Lake fall festival, and trick-or-treating as the Ninja Turtles tribe!

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#9 – Kinsie playing soccer

Kinsie participated in her first real soccer league this year. She had practice twice a week and games on Saturdays. It kept us busy, but we loved it! She was often your typical 3-year-old, picking grass and rolling around on the ground instead of paying attention to the game, but we were still proud of our girl and loved watching her play!

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#8 – Kinsie’s Third Birthday

It is always fun planning a birthday party, especially a dinosaur-themed one at the lake! Our girl was in her glory with the lake, dinosaurs, cake and cousins.

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#7 – Beach Vacation

We loved getting to take a trip to Siesta Key. The kids loved the beach and it was SO refreshing getting a break from the cold weather.

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#6 – Harry Potter World

This trip was also very special, because it was the first get-away that Ryan and I had in years. We were in heaven getting to visit Harry Potter World and embracing our not-so-inner Harry Potter nerdiness!

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#5 – Lake Vacation

In late June, we spent a week at one of our favorite places, Heritage Lake. It was so relaxing. Every day we would fish, take boat rides, and more. It was like a vacation, but better because we were someplace familiar and comfortable. I could have stayed for another month.

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#4 – Christmas

My Christmas post is pretty recent, so I probably don’t have to do too much reminding on why this was a highlight of our year. Our first Christmas with two kids was pretty special. Seeing the joy on both of our kids’ faces on Christmas morning (and throughout the Christmas season) will always be one of my favorite things in life.

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#3 – Kinsie Starting School

This was a game-changer in many ways. It seems like my little girl grew up so much since starting school. We absolutely love her school and all the love, lessons, and activities that go with it. We’ve loved the crafts, the songs, the programs, the special occasions and the especially the huge change we’ve seen in our daughter. She is more mature, kinder, more polite, and had made many new friends.

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#2 – Kolly’s Birth

Our second niece, Kolly was born in October, and I was able to be in the delivery room when she was born. It was so special getting to witness the birth of this sweet girl, and we are all so in love with her. She is the perfect addition and the girl tiebreaker to the #5under5 cousin tribe.

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And our #1 moment of 2016 is….

Brax’s Birth

This was by far the best and most life-changing event of our year. This little guy stole our hearts in early May and changed the dynamic of our family and the way we do life, all for the better. His constant smiles and giggles bring so much joy to our lives, and we can’t imagine life without his sweet little self in it. Not only did Ryan and I become the parents of the sweetest little boy, but Kinsie also became a big sister. She is seriously the BEST big sister to him, constantly hugging and kissing him, protecting him, talking to him, cheering him on, and always trying to make him smile. They adore each other and have such a special relationship already. I can’t wait to watch them grow up together!

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So there you have it…our favorite moments of 2016. It was such a wonderful year for us. I’m anxious for see what is in store for us in 2017…finding out where Ryan gets in to residency, moving to a new house, Brax turning one, and I’m sure many more adventures…we can’t wait to watch it all unfold!

Cheers to 2016!

7 Month Little Man

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My little man is 7 months old! Now I feel like the months are really flying by because we are so busy. Some days I think that I still have a newborn baby, then I look at him and am quickly reminded how big he is! Our little guy is growing right before our very eyes but we are all loving every minute of it!

Kinsie and Brax are becoming the best of friends. Don’t get me wrong, they have always been tight…but now he is so much more interactive and Kinsie loves that. They adore each other and already have their own little language. I absolutely love their relationship!

Our boy Brax at 7 months…

  • He is army crawling like a beast. He is all over the place and can get somewhere fast if he is on a mission.
  • He has 2 teeth.
  • He weighs approximately 17 pounds.
  • He is finally sleeping through the night again.
  • Trying to change his diaper or clothes is like a wrestling match. I have to pin down all his limbs in order to win.
  • He loves bath time.
  • His favorite things to put in his mouth are his feet, Kinsie’s hair, and the jingle bell that he got from Santa on the Polar Express.
  • He is still SO smiley and giggly.

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We are loving every day with our beautiful babies. We are SO blessed!

Happy 1/2 Birthday Brax!

How is it possible that my baby boy is already 6 months old?! We are so in love with his happy little personality…we just can’t get enough of him. He is such a perfect addition to our family, and I can’t imagine our lives any other way.

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This month, Brax has finally seemed to go through a growth spurt, which he needed. Unfortunately, this means that he hasn’t slept through the night for over a month now, even though he was sleeping through the night since he was about 3 months old. This has made me completely exhausted, but I am grateful that it is happening when Ryan is home. He has helped tremendously by taking the first shift of the night so I can get some sleep! Parenting is all about teamwork! We are hopeful that he’ll get back to normal soon. At least he’s cute, right?

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Brax is OBSESSED with Kinsie. He could be entertained all day just by watching her. He is always smiling and laughing at her. Of course she just soaks it up! She loves entertaining him just as much as he loves her entertainment! I already love their relationship and I can’t wait to keep watching it develop.

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Other stats about our boy at 1/2 year old…

  • He weighs 15 lbs, 11 oz (25th percentile).
  • He is 27 inches tall (70th percentile).
  • He is able to sit up independently for a few minutes at a time.
  • He just popped his first tooth!
  • He has tried a variety of baby foods. His favorite is carrots.
  • He can pivot and turn himself all over the place.
  • He is in constant motion…when holding him, you have to hold on tightly or else he’ll dive right out of your arms.
  • He still spits up constantly. The amount of dirty laundry  (his and ours) he causes every day is impressive.
  • He is always reaching and grabbing for things…especially whatever Kinsie has!
  • He still has blue eyes. However, I don’t think they will stay blue.
  • He is such a happy little boy. We are in LOVE with his smiles and giggles!

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Half Birthday Celebration…

I’ve mentioned before that our family has a tradition of celebrating half birthdays…especially the first half birthday. In order to celebrate Brax’s 1/2 birthday, we had a family get-together with just our immediate family at our favorite place…the lake! Brax had a great time with family, presents, and a cake (well…he ate baby food, we enjoyed his cake!). Brax (just like his sister) isn’t the biggest fan of sleep, and I guess he was too excited to take a nap before his little party, so he was exhausted by the end of the night! It was a beautiful fall afternoon at the lake, and we all enjoyed ourselves!

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Everyone enjoying Brax’s new toys!

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We are so blessed to have this amazing little boy in our lives and we can’t wait to continue watching him grow!

Our 5 Month Boy

Our boy Brax is 5 months old now! I feel like this month he is really seeming less like a newborn and more like a baby. His little personality is really shining through, and he is becoming much more interactive with us (Kinsie is loving it!)

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Updates at 5 months:

  • Brax is discovering his voice by squealing and squawking all day long.
  • He is starting to have a more consistent bedtime and is (usually) sleeping through the night very well.
  • He still spits up all the time. He doesn’t seem bothered by it though!
  • He is possibly teething. We haven’t felt any teeth pop through yet, but he is slobbering everywhere and chewing on things like there’s no tomorrow.
  • He is starting to get distracted while eating…therefore, he and I usually have to go in another room for his meals (this is a bit harder to do if its just me and the kids!)
  • He is rolling from his back to his belly ALL THE TIME. As soon as we lay him on his back, he flips within seconds.
  • He loves it when Kinsie talks to him and he laughs at everything she does.
  • He has had his first solid foods. So far he has tried pears and peaches and he loves them both. Kinsie loves feeding him his baby food!
  • He is now sleeping in his crib exclusively.
  • He enjoys his Baby Einstein bouncer.

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I wonder how long they will love on each other like this!

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Happy 5 months, my sweet boy!

Kinsie is THREE!

I am in complete disbelief that my first baby is three years old! She is turning into one of the most amazing little people that I’ve ever known…and I know I may be a bit bias, but I’ve heard other people say it too! She is smart, goofy, wild, observant, curious…I could go on and on. Sometimes as I carry on conversations with her, I forget that she is just a toddler. The way her mind works amazes me and I learn and grow with her every day.

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Here are some updates on my girl at three years old…

  • Kinsie is going to preschool 3 full days a week.
  • She is FINALLY potty trained! We started the process last December, and after a few months of little progress and lots of power struggles, I took a break. After Brax was born, she saw that he was a baby and he wore diapers, and she didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. Hallelujah!
  • She is currently playing soccer for Westside United, and we plan to start her back up in gymnastics later this fall.
  • Favorite color: pink
  • Favorite animals: Hippos and dolphins
  • Favorite books: Dino Soccer and Pinkalicious
  • Favorite movies: Rio, Finding Nemo, and The Land Before Time
  • Favorite food: PB&J, pickles, mac and cheese
  • Favorite songs: Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash, Shut Up and Dance with Me – Walk the Moon, Can’t Stop this Feeling – Justin Timberlake, All Star – Smash Mouth, and Happy – Pharrell
  • Favorite TV Show: Paw Patrol, Spongebob Squarepants
  • Other loves: dinosaurs, swimming, fishing, playing with her cousins
  • She knows all her colors and shapes
  • She can count to 20 on her own, and higher with help
  • She is getting much better at learning her individual letters.
  • She is a beast at doing puzzles.
  • She has an unbelievable vocabulary.
  • She absolutely adores her baby brother.

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Birthday Adventures

Ryan was in Cincinnati for a month-long rotation from the end of August to the end of September. He has had very few days off, so most of our interaction with him has been via FaceTime. The kids and I lived with my parents during this time, which was such a blessing, but Kinsie really missed her daddy. On the morning of Kinsie’s birthday, she woke up and was a little bummed that we weren’t going to the lake for her dinosaur birthday party that day (another post for another day), and she was especially bummed that her daddy wasn’t home and that I couldn’t stay with her at preschool for her birthday. I truly believe it was a God thing that Ryan actually had Kinsie’s birthday off, so he drove home for the day, and I took a half day off work. We surprised her and picked her up early from school. I walked in first and she was happy to see me, then Ryan walked in behind me and she beamed and ran straight into her daddy’s arms! We took her to the park for a little while, but it was pretty hot out, so we left and went back to my parents’ house to swim. My mom watched Briggs that afternoon, so Kinsie was in her happy place swimming with her cousin, mommy and daddy. Brax was with Aunt Renata for the day, so it was nice to just have some quality Kinsie time. Later, we took Kinsie to Pizza King for dinner (her request). After dinner, we went to Orange Leaf. Our girl had a wonderful birthday!

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Birthday muffins for breakfast!

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Happy third birthday my beautiful girl!

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Our boy Brax at 4 Months

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Our sweet boy is 4 months old! He is growing before our eyes and I completely fall in love with him more every day. He is such a happy little boy, and we all just can’t get enough of him. It’s true what they say about the special bond between a little boy and his mama. He completely has my heart! Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough of my heart to share with my Kinsie Kay as well!

Brax at 4 months…

  • He weighs 13 lbs. (10th percentile) and is 24.75 inches long (40th percentile).
  • He can roll from his stomach to his back, and is close to being able to roll from his back to his stomach.
  • He sleeps through the night (most of the time!)
  • He is still quite a spitter…he goes through about 10 bibs and 5 outfits a day because he spits up all over everything.
  • He has a crazy little bobble head. He never wants to rest his head, he wants to hold it up the best he can and look around at everything. He is getting more head control each day.
  • He is SO happy and smiley. He has his fussy moments, but overall, he is as happy as can be!
  • He has started to giggle out loud. It completely melts me.
  • He loves watching Kinsie and thinks she is hilarious.

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As you can see, we all are in love with this little boy!

“Lake-ation” All I Ever Wanted

As you know, I am on summer vacation and Ryan started his 4th year of med school at the beginning of June. Since Ryan didn’t really get time off for vacation, we still wanted to find a way for a “get away” with the kids, so we spent almost a week at the lake in between his June and July rotations. We had an amazing time! It was like we were on vacation, but we also felt very at home. Here are some of the highlights of the trip…

Fishing

Surprised? Probably not! We love to fish and Kinsie has recently hopped on the bandwagon too. We fished off the dock. We fished on the pontoon. We fished near the marina. We fished as often as we could. Ryan had the best luck of all of us. We caught mostly bluegill and pumpkinseed fish, but also caught a catfish, a bass, and even a turtle!

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Swimming in the Lake

We swam in the lake on several occasions. We took Kinsie to the “beach” of the lake, and she was not a fan of the sand on the beach (after feeling the sand at Siesta Key, who can blame her?) but she loved swimming! I’m sure that in another year or two, Brax will be right there with her!

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Splash Pad

We took Kinsie to the splash pad at the clubhouse last year and she loved it, and of course she did again this year. Ryan had to go downtown for lecture on this day, so Grandma Bev, Uncle Nate and I took Kinsie to the pool area. She had a blast and Brax snoozed away!

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Tubing

We took Kinsie tubing once last year during Memorial weekend (one of the busiest weekends at the lake…not sure what we were thinking) and the water was way too rough for even me, let alone our not even 2-year-old at the time. She wasn’t too crazy about it then. We tried it again during the week and she loved it! She wouldn’t let go of the handles for her life, but she definitely enjoyed herself. Brax enjoyed watching us tube from the boat. Again…in another year or two, I’m sure both kids will be little dare devils on the tube like their daddy and Uncle Nate were when they were young!

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Riding on the Boat

This is always one of our favorite things to do. It is so relaxing and beautiful. We spent almost the entire day on the boat one day, and Brax took one of the best naps he’s ever had while on the boat. I joked that he and I would spend the night on the boat so I could get some sleep for once! We loved fishing off of the pontoon and watching the sun set into the lake. One night, my parents and niece and nephew came to visit, so the kids loved their boat ride together.

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S’mores

How could this not be one of the best parts of the trip? Cooking s’mores over the fire on a beautiful evening is always a good idea!

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4th of July Fun

Every year we spend the Saturday of 4th of July weekend at the lake and watch the fireworks from the boat. A lot of Ryan’s family always comes and spends the day as well, and Kinsie had a blast with her cousins running around, fishing, and doing sparklers. We even got to meet the newest member of the family, Ryan’s cousin’s daughter, born 6 weeks after Brax. We all had a great day!

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We had an awesome week. I was honestly really sad when it was time to go home. I didn’t get that feeling at the end of a vacation where you are excited to be home…I could have spent another month there! I am so grateful that we have this beautiful place available to us and that Ryan’s family always welcomes us there. It is one of our favorite places in the world and it  was the perfect little vacation for our family this summer.

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Brax’s Birth Story

I have been wanting to sit down and type out Brax’s birth story since we’ve been home from the hospital, but my carpal tunnel syndrome, and just the craziness of life with a toddler and a newborn, have prevented me from sharing his birth story with you sooner. I love reading and hearing birth stories. I love hearing everyone’s unique experience having a child. Even if other people aren’t as interested in my children’s birth stories, at least I will always have them documented so I can remember the details and someday share the stories with them on how they entered the world.

When I went into labor with Kinsie, I was 5 days early, and it is pretty common for women in my family to go into labor early, so I was expected and VERY hopeful that I would be early with this one too. If you had read my pregnancy update posts, you’d know that I was large and miserable the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Even though I was still 2 weeks away from my due date, I was ready in every way to have this baby. Every time I had a contraction, I just kept hoping that they’d continue stronger and more consistent. There were a few times that I thought it could possibly be early labor, but the contractions wouldn’t remain consistent. I kept joking that I just wanted my water to break so I knew for sure that I was in labor. Well, God sure has a sense of humor!

On Sunday evening of May 1, we were at home watching our evening shows and getting mentally ready to start a new work week. I had a pretty uneventful day as far as contractions or other labor signs. I was in a very “nesting” mood all day, so I did a lot of cleaning. That evening, we had a pretty severe thunderstorm, and there were even tornado warnings in the area. My mom texted me that night in the midst of the storm saying she hopes the baby didn’t decide to come tonight since the weather was so bad! Since I hadn’t had any signs of labor that night, I had already come to terms that it wasn’t going to happen that night. I went to bed around 10:15 and Ryan stayed out in the living room to finish watching the Pacer game. I was in bed and almost asleep when I heard a “pop” and then felt a gush. As soon as I realized what was happening, I jumped out of bed so I wouldn’t ruin the mattress, and I yelled for Ryan. When he answered, I yelled back “My water just broke!” Later he told me that when I yelled for him, he just thought I was yelling for him to come to bed. When I thought my water breaking was over, I quickly changed into dry clothes and we called our families, packed up our last minute hospital items, and waited for Ryan’s mom to get to our house to stay with Kinsie. Well, the more I moved, the more I leaked! Ryan made fun of me because I kept changing clothes because I didn’t want to be in wet pants for the 40 minute drive to the hospital. I put a towel in my seat in the car and as soon as Ryan’s mom was there, we were off to the hospital. My contractions started soon into our car ride, and they were intense right off the bat. Even though I knew I was in labor, I timed my contractions so we could get somewhat of an idea of how far along in the labor process I was. The contractions got increasingly stronger each time, and every time I would have a contraction, I leaked even more. I couldn’t believe so much liquid could be held in my uterus! Ryan drove as quickly as he could, until we got behind a police car on the interstate. Mid-contraction, Ryan says, “Here’s a conundrum for you…should I stay behind it so we won’t get pulled over but prolong us getting to the hospital, or risk it and pass them?” If my contractions were closer together than they currently were, he would have definitely risked it…and probably would have been pulled over! As we got closer, my contractions were about 3.5 to 4 minutes apart and extremely strong. There was construction that we weren’t aware of as we got close to the hospital, so Ryan wasn’t sure how to get around it. He was trying to drive, get directions on his GPS, and let me squeeze his hand through my contractions at the same time! When we finally got to the hospital, Ryan dropped me off at the door where I stood there continuing to leak amniotic fluid onto the concrete while I waited for him to park the car. We walked up to the labor and delivery floor, where they immediately got us into a room and helped me change into my hospital gown. I still kept leaking, so until I got into the bed, we had to keep drying the floor. My family was on their way to the hospital and my sister texted me telling me to give her two words to describe how I was feeling at the moment…so I said, “Excited and wet…I can’t stop leaking!”(seriously though…water breaking in real life is SO different than in the movies!)

My contractions were so intense at this point that I started to worry that if we waited much longer, I wouldn’t be able to get an epidural. They checked my cervix soon after we arrived, and I was surprisingly only 3 cm dilated. I thought for sure that I was farther than that because of the intensity of my contractions. I told them I was ready for my epidural, and the anesthesiologist came in shortly. When I was in labor with Kinsie, they made Ryan leave the room when I got my epidural and I cried…so this time, I asked if Ryan could stay, and I prefaced it with telling the doctor that my husband was a medical student so I know he won’t pass out or anything! The anesthesiologist said he could stay as long as he stayed up by my face. Getting my epidural was more uncomfortable than I remember, but it was nothing compared to the contractions. It took about 10 minutes for my epidural to kick in and once it did I felt SO much better. At that point, it was 12:30 am and the nurse told me to rest the best I could and she’d be back in to check me in a couple hours. I did try to rest, but between the excitement/anxiety of being in labor, the sounds of all the monitors I was hooked up to, and my blood pressure machine squeezing my arm every few minutes, I really didn’t sleep. The nurse came back in around 2:15 am, and I was dilated 6 cm. She left and came back again about 30 minutes later, and I was dilated 8 cm. This was happening SO much faster than I expected. The nurse went to get the doctor and I woke Ryan up and called for my mom and my sister to come in the room. I was so anxious at this point that I was shaking. I kept having fears that the baby would be too big for me to push out and I’d have to have an emergency C-section. The doctor came in a little after 3 am, checked my cervix and said, “Yep, there he is! Let’s start pushing!”

I got into position and started pushing. Since I had an epidural, I couldn’t feel a whole lot, but I could tell when I was having a contraction and when I felt that I needed to push. Even with an epidural, pushing is still tough and exhausting. As I was pushing, I know the doctor and nurse were saying things to me, encouraging me to keep pushing a little longer, but the only thing I focused on was Ryan because he was counting down for me on each push. This helped me know how much longer I needed to push each time, which was calming and reassuring. After only 3 or 4 pushes, there he was! A beautiful baby boy with a round head full of hair! Ryan cut the cord, and then the doctor placed him on my chest for a minute, then took him to get cleaned off and warmed up. This process seemed to take FOREVER. All I wanted to do was hold my baby boy in my arms and I had to wait. I probably only waited 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes seemed to last an eternity. He weighed a whopping 7 lbs, 15 oz and was 21 inches long…no wonder I was miserable! I was 2 weeks early and gave birth to an almost 8 pound baby! I finally got to hold my boy and admire the sweet face that I’d been imagining for 9 months. I was almost in shock that just 5 hours earlier, I thought I was going to bed like any other night, when really, my life was about to change completely with the birth of my first son.

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By the time I got to my postpartum room, I was delirious. I hadn’t really slept that night and just went through the physical exertion of giving birth, so saying I was exhausted was an understatement. My postpartum nurse was talking to me about paperwork and such, and I could hardly comprehend what she was saying. I finally got to rest for about an hour, then the nurse came back in to check my vitals, etc. I felt a little better after I ate something, and then I was starting to get really anxious to see Kinsie. Bev texted me when she woke up, and they were soon on their way to the hospital, along with Ryan’s dad and sister. We were really lucky that Brax came when he did, because my sister’s family and Ryan’s parents were both out of town the week before, and then Ryan’s dad had to leave again that day for a work trip. Luckily, he got to come to the hospital and meet his grandson before heading to the airport. When Kinsie walked in the room, she looked a little nervous, but she was excited to see us. She was a little hesitant with the baby, and thought he was cool and everything, but wasn’t interested in holding him. Then we gave her a gift from her baby brother. (by the way, any mom having their second child, I highly recommend doing this!) It was a dinosaur action figure and she was pumped! She spent a good 20 minutes playing with the toy and we kept saying how nice it was for her brother to give her that toy, and once that sank in, she was ALL about her brother! A dinosaur toy was the way to her heart, and she’s been hooked ever since! She then wanted to hold him, kiss him, see his toes, etc. We all hung out a while longer together, then Ryan’s family took Kinsie home to eat lunch so we could rest. Mission accomplished…Kinsie liked her new baby brother! My family came back later that evening with my niece and nephew, and Bev brought Kinsie back too and we had a mini birthday party for baby Braxton. We sang “Happy Birthday” to him, and the kids were so excited to hold their new cousin.

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It seemed that we were in the hospital longer than the 2 days because we technically spent 3 nights there since we had the baby in the middle of the night. We were so ready to leave the hospital that Wednesday and be home together as a family. Kinsie was waiting for us at home with Bev, and she was so excited to have her brother (and mommy and daddy) home!

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So here we are now, almost 3 weeks later and still getting acclimated to this new life as a family of four. Sleep is rare and emotions get the best of all of us from time to time, but we are all working together to adjust to our new lives. We adore our sweet little Brax. He fits perfectly into our family. I can’t wait to watch him grow up and see his personality and his relationship with his sister develop. God has blessed us with two beautiful, healthy children and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Now excuse me while I go back to snuggling my sweet little boy…

Introducing Braxton Robert Matthews!

Our precious boy, Braxton Robert Matthews, made his entrance into the world on Monday, May 2 at 3:21 am! My water broke at 10:30pm on May 1, and he was born not even 5 hours later. He was 2 weeks early, but was a whopping 7 pounds and 15 ounces, and 21 inches long. It makes perfect sense as to why I was so miserable near the end of my pregnancy! His sweet face is completely worth every second of discomfort that I went through during the last 9 months.

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Brax is the perfect addition to our family. He is such a good baby, and is absolutely adored by all of us…especially his big sister! My biggest worry was that Kinsie wouldn’t adjust well to having a new baby in the house, and, knock on wood, but so far she has been awesome as a big sister. She is constantly wanting to hug, kiss and hold him. She wants to share all her toys with him and she gets stressed out when he cries and reassures him, “It’s ok, baby…mama will feed you soon!” She is the sweetest sister to him, and I just pray that it continues.

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What we know about Brax so far:

  • He may not be completely aware yet that he is out of the womb. You can tell that he didn’t have much space in there, because even now he is always scrunched into a ball. We try to get him to stretch out, but he always ends up back in a ball!early_may_24
  • He grunts and squeals often in his sleep.
  • He doesn’t look like Kinsie did as a newborn, but more like his cousins, Briggs.
  • He has quite an appetite. He eats about every 2 hours, sometimes more often than that. Sometimes, nursing is the only way he can be comforted. I’m flattered, but exhausted!
  • He has some impressive leg strength…but I learned that early on in my pregnancy!
  • He loves to snuggle!
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How I’m feeling:

I honestly have felt great the last 2 weeks. Even the day after I gave birth, I felt like I could have walked circles around the hospital. I felt so much relief after carrying an almost 8 pounder in my short little torso. The biggest issue I’ve had is with my carpal tunnel syndrome. I was hoping that it would get better after delivery, but it only got worse. It’s been so bad, I haven’t even been able to change my own baby’s diapers or burp him without being in horrible pain. Luckily, Ryan was given a whole week off from his rotation when the baby was born, so he was very hands-on with both Kinsie and Brax during that first week, which was a huge help…but I hated not being able to take care of my kids the way I needed to. I went to a Sports Medicine doctor the other day and got cortisone injections in both wrists, and now I’m slowly starting to feel some relief (which is why it has taken 2 weeks to post this)! Of course I’m also exhausted as every new mom is. Having a toddler who doesn’t nap is really throwing me for a loop when I’m not getting adequate sleep at night, but luckily I’ve had a lot of help between Ryan and our family to watch Kinsie for a couple hours here and there so I can get a little nap in during the day. Ryan says he can always tell by my mood in the evenings if I took a nap that day…just like our toddler!

This little boy has been in this world for less than 2 weeks, and already I don’t remember what my world was like without him. I feel like I’ve had a Braxton-sized hole in my heart my whole life and it has finally been filled. God knew that we needed him, and that he belonged to our family. He is already teaching me to be more patient and enjoy him and his sister while they are still so little. My favorite time with him is after I’ve nursed him when he snuggles right up to me in his milk coma…and while sometimes that snuggle session doesn’t last as long as I want it to because Kinsie needs me or something else needs done, I still catch myself staring at him just admiring this beautiful little creation that God has blessed me with. My heart is more full than I ever thought possible. My grandma (who is the mother of 7 children) always said, “Love multiplies, it doesn’t divide,” and she is absolutely right. My love has only grown, not only for Brax, but for Kinsie and Ryan too. I love them more and in different ways now that Brax is born. It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve seen Ryan hold a newborn baby, and I have fallen in love with him all over again watching him hold and love on our baby boy. I have seen more kindness and compassion in Kinsie in the last 2 weeks than I ever knew she had, and it makes me even more proud of the little girl that she is becoming. God has blessed me beyond what I could ever deserve, and I just pray that I can keep raising my kids to know and love the Lord, who is so good to us!

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Stay tuned for Brax’s full birth story soon!

Easter Blessings

We had a great Easter Sunday celebrating with family and friends. As you already know, Kinsie gets really into holidays these days, so of course she was all about Easter eggs and bunnies. While all of that is good and fun, since Kinsie is able to understand so much more now, I tried really hard this year to help her learn why we really celebrate Easter. I tried explaining how Jesus died for us, then came back to life…but it is hard to explain that to a toddler when they don’t really know what death is yet. So instead, we just focused on the idea that we celebrate Easter because Jesus loves us, because she understands that concept, and loves the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” I really feel that society gets way too wrapped up in the “eggs and bunnies” part of the holiday, that they forget (or may not even really know) the true significance of Easter, and I want Kinsie to understand that significance at an early age so she always knows it as she grows up.

When Kinsie woke up in the morning, she was pumped to see what the Easter Bunny got her. She got an Easter basket with a personalized dinosaur placemat, Olaf tattoos, a magnetic building set, a new set of stamps, and Ninja Turtle bath toys. As you can see in the picture below, she was pretty excited, and even had to take her new bath toys to church with her.

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After an awesome sermon at church, we went to my parents’ house for Easter lunch and an egg hunt. Ryan’s parents and brother were out of town for Spring Break, so unfortunately they didn’t get to join in on the festivities, but we still got to be with Ryan’s sister Megan and her husband Tim, Aunt Renata and her family, and Ryan’s grandparents. We also spent the morning with my parents, my sister’s family and some family friends. After lunch, the kids had an egg hunt. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day!

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After the egg hunt, we went to Ryan’s aunt’s house for some family festivities with his mom’s side of the family. Like I mentioned in my last post, Kinsie has pretty much given up naps, but she’ll fall asleep easily if she rides in the car late in the afternoon. She fell asleep on the way with her Easter basket clutched tightly! Even once Ryan got her out of the car, she was still passed out! Once we got up to the house and she heard all her aunts and cousins, she woke up refreshed and joined the fun.

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Kinsie loved getting to play with more of her cousins and have another egg hunt. Ryan’s cousin even dressed as the Easter bunny (even though it was probably the creepiest Easter bunny you could imagine.) Some of the kids were terrified! Kinsie was definitely skeptical, and she would only go see the bunny if I went with her. We had a great time catching up with Ryan’s extended family.

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We really had a great day, and the weather was beautiful throughout most of the day. Kinsie loved getting to find eggs with all her cousins and friends. Throughout the day, I would even ask her why we celebrate Easter and she would say “Because Jesus loves us!” So even with all the hoopla, I still accomplished my goal this Easter! While Easter is the main day we celebrate the incredible act of love that Jesus did for us, really this is something we should celebrate every single day. Whenever I sit and really reflect on the crucifixion and the resurrection, my mind is completely blown. I know that I need to do a better job each and every day of reminding myself of the love that Jesus has for us, and the hope that the cross has given us. If you want to see an awesome Good Friday and Easter sermon, I would highly recommend the sermons from my church home, Traders Point Christian Church. The links of the sermons are below in case you are interested…

TPCC Good Friday Sermon

TPCC Easter Sunday Sermon

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Happy Easter from the Matthews’ family!