Stop It, Stop It Right Now!

Josh keeps coming to me, collapsing in my arms or lap, and says with a frown, "Mom, I'm so sad that Kipper is growing up. So sad I want to cry. I want him to stay a baby." I know how you feel buddy.



Sure, it was last month, but these pictures are too cute to pass up.

The boys continue to play well together most of the time. Now that Kip is pulling up, Josh is having a hard time finding "safe" places to play with his cars and trains. He sometimes gets frustrated when Kip tries to play with them and yells, "incoming" so that I know to retrieve Kip. It has given us many opportunities to talk about things that can be fixed, what is really worth being upset about, and the value of people v.s. things. I love watching them interact. It seems like Kip saves his brightest smiles and biggest laughs for his brother. They are already wrestling around together. Boys.


Four More Years

After four years of exceptional service, Josh's first term as our son will end in mere hours. I've been stuffing the ballot boxes in order to satisfy the overwhelming cry for four more years! Imagine what he'll be able to accomplish from ages 4 to 8. Here's to four more years and no term limits little buddy! Happy birthday! We love you.


Don't Drink & Drive

I suppose it is never too early to start talking to my kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. Lay off the sauce and keep your eyes on the road, little buddy.


Moving and Stationary Monkeys

Moving Monkeys

Stationary Monkeys

Whether moving or stationary, they are always silly monkeys.


and photographer

Josh says that when he grows up he will have three jobs:
1. work with his dad at the capital.
2. work at the hospital.
3. work at his pediatrician's office.

Today he told me that he will also be a toy maker. His multiple careers will probably be necessary since he continues to suggest that he wants 20-30 kids and drive them around in a long school bus. Parents in the front, kids in the middle, and babies in the back of the bus.

He wants a big family and seems to understand that such will come with some big bills, too. We've been playing The Game of Life together over the past several weeks - a modified version - and "Josh's rules" include the winner being determined by who has the most kids and every payday you get a gift for your babies after paying for your house. It is precious to see his love for babies and kids.

While on our 2nd plane ride home this week, with a wiggly Kip grabbing at our fellow passenger's magazine, and my stomach growling because airport food isn't on the Kip diet, Josh asked me when God would put another baby in my belly. I tried not to laugh and instead suggested that we invite kids who don't have parents to take care of them into our family. He latched onto that idea fairly easily.

What does all this have to do with a photographer? Well, yesterday while at Kip's acupressure appointment Josh took these portraits. Maybe he'll add photographer to his list of career choices. Ya know, a 5th part time job.


OK Pictures

Our time in OK is coming to a close as we return home tomorrow. Here are some glimpses into our time here. Kip met Memaw, Josh spent many hours in the beloved "G-daddy's chair," we walked to the farmer's market, fed the ducks and geese at park, played with Shadow, went to a church garage sale where Kip liked a rocking horse so much that he lifted it up when we attempted to take him off of it, walked to church, and had many other adventures. The whole time we missed Dad. See ya soon Dad!



Here's a picture of the boys from this morning. We moved Kip out of his infant car seat (sigh) yesterday and now the boys have matching car seats that fit together side by side. They love it. They can hold hands and play with each other while we are in the car. Here's praying they remain so loving with each other.

At bedtime, Josh will give me kisses and instructions for each kiss. I'm not sure where he got this idea, but some kisses have to be kept all night, others need to be lost, others need to be kept forever, etc. Tonight on the way to bed Josh kissed by hand and said:

"You keep that kiss until we are with Jesus. That is a long time!"

Oh, my sweet sweet boy.

The lil' boys and I are off to OKC this week. We're excited to visit with G-daddy, G-mommy, Aunt Liz, Memaw and Shadow. The boys will be spoiled with attention and I have high hopes of being spoiled with a little extra sleep.


Birthday Boys

We have two birthday boys in the house today (and three more on Brian's side of the family - 2 of Brian's brothers and a cousin). One of our birthday boys is 7 months today, while the other is 408 months. We have a treasure hunt planned for the older one. We made a treasure map and cut it into 5 pieces. He'll have to find 5 clues, put the pieces together to complete the map, and then find his birthday loot. Fun.


Saturday Morning

I ran my fingers over Kip's gums this morning and was surprised to find the tip of his bottom middle left tooth. Kipper has his first tooth - and true to 2nd child form, I have no idea when it actually busted through. When I noticed it I announced the exciting news to everyone else.

Me: Kip has a tooth! When did Kip get a tooth?

Josh: Oh, he got it from Jupiter. Everyone gets their teeth from Jupiter.

After one of Kip's naps this morning I came out into the living room to discover Josh's self portrait. This was a totally unsolicited creation. Josh explained that the green and orange rings are the eye brows, the balls are his eyes and nose, and that the teething ring serves a dual role of his mouth and belly button. I explained to Josh how intuitive that was since both serve as food depots at different times in life. The rest are his arms and body. I don't know why it loaded sideways; just turn your head please.


Moments of Clarity

It is difficult to take pictures of Josh recently. He is a man of action so most shots are a blur. I was able to capture these two pictures this weekend while my parents were visiting.

Sir Smiley

Kip is a super smiley baby. Strangers stop us to comment on our happy one. Amazing considering the months of blood curling screaming he endured. He checked out at his 6 month exam and weighed 16 pounds. For the trivia buffs, he is the same length, 2 ounces lighter, and has a slightly smaller head (1 cm less) as Josh at the same age. It amazes me to see how similar they are physically.

Kip is rolling now. Not just back and forth, but continuous rolling so that he can travel across a room. Today Josh found him under a chair. Kip already seems to be the adventurous type, so we might need to step up our baby proofing soon.


Write Your Own Caption

What is that slice of beefcake talking about? Is he describing what it feels like to hold a beating heart in his hands? Is he lecturing on how to select ripe produce at the grocery store? I guess we could read the article, but making our own caption would be more fun. Give it a try!


the boys

here's a pic of the boys doing boy stuff today (on Kip's 6 month birthday)

You're how old?

Yesterday, a Walmart employee stopped me at the store and asked about Josh and Kip. She was a petite woman and also has two kids of similar age. At the end of our conversation she said, "Can I ask you a question?" Um, sure. She asked if anyone ever asks me if I am old enough to have two kids. Yes, yes, and yes! I told her about the window repairman who came by this week who asked me if I ran a home daycare and about being carded when I buy beer with both kids in tow. She seemed relieved that she isn't the only one with this "issue." I assured her that we'll be happy to look younger than we are when we have grandkids. It was an unexpected but enjoyable moment in the day.

Speaking of looking your age, this kid is looking older lately. It seemingly happened overnight. I'm not sure if I should ask him to mow the lawn or think of reasons why he can't borrow the car tonight. It is crazy!

the monkey goes bananas

Kip has been grabbing food out of my hands recently, so I've been letting him have a taste of some softer foods. Even if he does not actually eat it, the experience of touching and playing with the food is valuable. (Right, Marti?) Josh isn't a fan of Kip's exploration. He can't be within sight of Kip when he is this messy. Hopefully Josh will accept the temporary mess soon so he can stop eating backwards at the table.

The kid is crazy for bananas. You should think twice about eating a banana within his arms' reach. Seriously.


Before & After

Josh has been growing his hair out because he likes it "long and crazy." CRAZY is more accurate! The bed head that we comb through each morning is crazy, too!

Last night Josh wanted his hair to be spiky for Bible study. It took a lot of product to get his long hair to stay up. I joked that he needed some Aqua Net.

Seizing the potential opportunity to have Josh willingly cut his hair, I helped him look online at boy hairstyles so that he could show me what he wanted his hair to look like. The verdict: spiky. I explained that spiky meant that it needed to be shorter so he needed to prioritize long v.s. spiky. Spiky won. Check out the new do.

He loves it - especially putting the hairspray in all by himself. This afternoon he's been running to the mirror to make sure his hair is still spiky. He'll randomly ask me, "Mom, is it still spiky?" Pretty funny.


Kip Update

Kip has had a really good week. Instead of treating Kip for specific food intolerances, the DOM is treating Kip for the essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that we all need to have a healthy immune system and basic body functions. The theory being that you can't really diagnose a specific food allergy until your body is operating as it should. Last Tuesday, he was treated for "Vitamin C."

I didn't really realize this until this Tuesday, but Kip became interested in food last week - and not just any foods, but fruits, which are high in Vitamin C. I know he is developmentally at a stage where foods can become interesting, but it is curious that he was totally turned off by me offering him food just to hold and now he is grabbing fruit out of my hands. Last Thursday, he grabbed by arm while I was eating a banana, brought the banana (in my hand) to his face, and sucked on the banana. On Sunday, I offered him a piece of dried pear at church and he has been sucking on dried pears everyday since. It is curious at the very least.

Kip seems to be doing better all around - he's sleeping in longer stretches at night, he's not refusing to nurse or fussing while he's nursing very often, he's in a smaller diaper size as his diapers don't seem to contain dynamite anymore, and he just seems happier. I even ate an egg this week and he didn't have more dirty diapers than a normal day. The proof is in the pudding, if ya know what I mean.

I tried some chicken today. It's too early to tell if he's reacting, but I'm really hopeful that he will not. Maybe it is maturity, maybe it is his treatments, maybe it is something else, but I feel lighter already with the progress he is making. Please pray that it continues.


and exhale...

Sine Die. The end of the 2009 Texas Legislative Session. It is finally here! Well, it will be at midnight tonight. More importantly, it's here and we are all still alive, recognize one another, and willingly give each other hugs and affection. Amazing. God is gracious.

Yesterday, Brian was called into to work (not a shock since he's been working 6-7 days a week for awhile now) to discuss a bill with a senator, so he brought along the whole family. Josh was so excited to go inside the Capital. He has expressed interest in the Capital for quite awhile, especially the pointy part on top, but seemed even more fascinated by it once inside. "It is soooooooo big!" I guess being drawn to the Capital is in his DNA. In the picture, they are looking up in the center of the building.

We visited some old and new faces and surprised one of my girlfriends who is the chief of staff for one of the representatives. Part of her rep's office is an old vault. Pretty cool. The most common question for Josh was, "Do you miss your dad?" It seemed that all the parents there were eager to talk about the kids they had waiting for them at home. Very sweet.

So, we made it! This is the first session where the Governor's bill signing deadline (June 21st) impacts our lives a bit, but the hard part is behind us. I'm not sure I'll be able to stop smiling for at least a week! Brian is back! Dad is home! Well, he will be back after a few naps.


Jumping for Joy

What is Kip so egg-cited about?

He's egg-cited about the progress he's making! I've alluded to my "Kip diet" in previous posts. The poor little guy has "protein intolerance" which in lay man's terms means his digestive system isn't mature enough to digest some (all?) proteins. As a result, when he receives proteins from my milk his stomach cramps, little ulcers form, and he has too many dirty diapers. Through a lot of trial and error and even more prayer we were able to come up with a list of foods that Kip seemed to tolerate pretty well. Over time, as I ate the limited diet, his diapers were fewer, his discomfort subsided, and a big sigh of relief could be heard at our house. His digestive system still wasn't acting "normal" but it was close. Well, that is until three weeks ago.

Out of the blue, with no change in my "Kip diet," Kip started having his original symptoms to a greater degree than ever before. Nearly every diaper contained visible blood. His pediatrician did a CBC and checked him for infections and parasites - all clear and normal. Great news except that it didn't explain why he was suddenly worse. We were instructed to wait for him to outgrow this problem or switch him to prescription formula that he may not tolerate any better. Totally awesome news - on opposite day. Thankfully Kip has stopped having visible blood in his diapers and he seems to be getting over whatever happened, though he is not yet as close to "normal" as he was before.

Knowing what I know (and have experienced) about the gut, the immune system, autoimmune diseases, and Kip's own genetic predispositions, I'm not content to sit around and wait. During his "flare," I talked to the owner at Food for Life who suggested that I call the Wellness Center at People's Rx. I did. People's suggested that I call a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and gave me a couple of names. I'm not overly knowledgeable about alternative medicine, but my ignorance doesn't mean it isn't effective. I did see a DOM during my pregnancy with Kip and benefited from it. After praying about it, I called a DOM and spoke to him about Kip. He recently helped three babies overcome major reflux issues and was eager to try to help Kip with his eating issues.

During our first visit with him, he examined Kip, and concluded that Kip wasn't intolerant of a laundry list of foods, but instead his immune system needed to be strengthen in order for him to digest properly. It made sense to me - the major part of our immune system is in our gut; my immune system is whack-a-doodle and Kip is my son; Kip doesn't seem to properly digest breastmilk no matter what I eat. Don't get me wrong, I was still very skeptical, but his diagnosis intrigued me.

Our DOM has treated Kip 5 times now. It is non-invasive, painless, and involves accupressure. To borrow Marti's phrase, "it can't hurt and might help." Last week, the DOM suggested that Kip should be able to digest eggs now. Seriously, eggs? They are one of the most allergenic foods. Anytime I've "tested" one of the foods on the commonly allergenic list he's had a terrible reaction that has taken days to recover from. The DOM requested that I test eggs so I hesitantly decided to test them this weekend when Brian had some chance of being home. (Side note, 6 days until Session ends!) On Saturday morning I ate 4 bites of an egg. Not much, but enough to send Kip over the edge in previous trials. By Sunday afternoon we were still waiting for him to react. Nothing happened. Sunday evening I ate an entire egg. I was anxious, hopeful, and preparing for Kip to scream all day Monday. Again, nothing.

I ate an egg without Kip crying! It is so egg-citing. It is egg-actly what we've been praying for! (Excuse the puns, please.)

To be fair, maybe egg was never an issue for Kip. It was one of the foods that the pedi suggested I remove from my diet early on so I never tested it previously. Or maybe Kip is starting to outgrow his issue, though his day-to-day diapers don't suggest that to be the case. Whatever the explanation, we are so thankful that we had a successful trial and I have one more food on the "green light" list.

We're continuing on with our DOM's treatments for now. I'll post if something significant - good or bad - happens. Regardless of whenever and however God chooses to heal or not heal Kip, we're really thankful for the outcome of our egg-periment. (Sorry, I had to do it.)



Today I took a shower...while home alone with both boys...who were both awake...without having to run out mid-shower, with no crying, and I even shaved my legs!

Granted, the boys were in the bathroom almost the entire time, but the joy from being clean and listening to them laugh together overshadowed that entirely.

After my shower Josh combed and cut (with his pretend finger scissors) my hair before I dried it. He also approved of my outfit. Quite the little helper.

I thank God for the small gifts He sends...the shower. (The boys are big gifts.)


A couple Kip snippets

On Monday night we discovered that one of the contestants on the new season of the Bachelorette is named Kiptyn (a.k.a Kip). Will Kiptyn is a total goon on the show? Will he be a good "Kip" representative? According to a comment posted online, he "is the most handsome and nicest person ever!" It reminded me of my friends who work with kids and how they have associations with certain names. Anyway, my favorite toungue in cheek quote about him is: "...because we all know "Kip" would be a better name if it ended with three random consonants" Rock on. I'm so glad we stopped at K-I-P.

Our Kip continues to show his personality. As I've mentioned before, Kip is a talkative baby. He coos, purrs, and "talks" throughout the day. It is quite pleasant and fun to have him interacting so much. However, recently, he discovered his volume control. Here's a clip of Kip from yesterday when he turned 5 months old. (Seriously, 5 months? How?) I'm predicting some fun times ahead!


Muffins with Mom

Josh's preschool had a Mother's Day program this morning. It was so cute, but a small part of me was preoccupied with figuring out just how we've arrived at the "attending school programs" milestone already.

Josh and his classmates sang songs...

...well, sort of. Josh sings these songs at home but barely cracked his lips open during the actual performance. He did hold up his "September" banner at the right times during the "months of the year" song.

performed a dance with partners...

...Josh was the reluctant partner with one of the twin girls in his class. There was spinning, hand holding, walking, clapping, and knee tapping involved.

...and then the teachers read a description of each mother as described by their child and we guessed which mom they were describing. After your description was read your child gave you a vase that they decorated for you with a picture flower. My goodness, his teachers are so creative and patient. Here's Josh's description of me:

My mom's name is "I don't know." She is 12 years old and has brown eyes and black hair. Her favorite food is apples. I love my mom because she makes macaroni and cheese for me."

So, if you locate Josh's mom, please send her to our house.

The sheet with Josh's description included a drawing of me and he wrote his own name (with the what seems to be signature backward "S".) Not bad for my sweet 3 year old!

The "I love my mom because" part was a bit sad for me actually. We took dairy out of Josh's diet a couple of months ago so mac and cheese is no longer on the menu. Will he still love me? Instead of juggling that difficult question, while Josh was in school today, I went by the new gluten-free/casein-free restaurant in Cedar Park and picked up some non-dairy mac and cheese as a surprise for him. I think I need to find a recipe somewhere.

When their performance was over the moms and kids ate muffins and took pictures together. As I said, it was a sweet time.

Next week Josh has a class picture. What? Mind boggling, isn't it? I'm becoming more and more convinced that Kip shouldn't grow up.


Thanks G-Mommy!

My mom - a.k.a. G-Mommy - returned home yesterday after staying with us for nine days. She was a big help and a lot of fun.

Thank you, G-Mommy, for getting up with Josh every morning, bringing me roses, driving here and back home, discovering that Kip LOVES roses' fragrance, cleaning the baseboards and everything above them, washing nearly every dish during your entire visit, giving me a break to get my haircut, reminding Josh not to eat his toothpaste, helping get the boys out of the house while the new roof was put on, trying new foods, sitting in the car with the boys while I ran quick errands, your countless HEB runs, reinforcing our rules with Josh, cutting vegetables (including onions) for me to freeze, taking pictures of the boys, cutting-cooking-freezing 10 lbs. of chicken with me the night before we discovered Kip's doesn't tolerate me eating chicken often, entertaining the boys for hours, telling Transformer stories on demand, introducing Kip to the outside swing, and a long list of other things. We are thankful for you!

B, M, J, & K


Thursday, April 16th

Nothing fancy, just some pictures from today.


Happy Easter

Happy Easter from our little egg heads Josh and Kip!

(My grandma made the eggs, including stands and knitted caps, for us.)



As many of you know, the 81st Session of the Texas Legislature is underway. I know this isn’t big news for a lot of people, but just hearing “legislative session’ makes me cringe. I guess that is a bit ironic when you consider that being the team leaders for two different legislative teams at the PUC was what caused Brian and I to finally speak to each other back in 2001. None the less, “session” = suckfest. The automatic worst 6 months of every 2 years. Hate it, hate it, hate it. By the end of May, Brian and I are always at a terribly low point – physically, spiritually, and relationally. And don’t get me started on the impact it has on the kiddos – newborn and all. Whew!

This go round, I challenged myself to change my perspective. Why should I automatically prejudge and focus on all of the “downsides” of session? How is my being bitter and resentful consistent with being Brian’s helpmate? Shouldn’t I be rooting for him during this endurance test? I resolved that this session would be different. I don’t want May to roll around along with my eyes every time I see Brian. It’s not healthy and I’m sure it doesn’t please God one bit.

All though my pregnancy with Kip, Psalm 37 was extra meaningful to me – do not fret. Fretting only leads to evil. I don’t want to fret. I don’t need to fret. I’ve carried that over into this season of “session” as well.

In an effort to help keep my focus positive, I’ve been keeping a list of things that I am thankful for, that encourage me, or remind me that God is helping us. It’s amazing what a change of perspective can do for the soul. I’m not 100% in my resolution, but I am moving in the right direction. Here’s what I have on my “thankful” list so far (in no particular order):

One cold and rainy day it was necessary that the boys and I go to the grocery store. When we arrived in the parking lot, the closest parking space to the door was waiting for us. We got the same space the next time we went to HEB as well.

The help of a stranger brightens the day. Once, an elderly man waited for me to put the kids in the car and load up my groceries, and then he took my cart for me. I naturally assumed he was going into the store. Nope. He put the cart away, walked to his car, and drove off. When we took our car in for a hail damage estimate, two men went inside the hail damage estimate location to ask a question to ensure that I was in the right place before I parked and took the kids out of the car.

When our water heater had a gas leak, we were able to get it repaired quickly. When the plumber arrived to install the new water heater, he discovered several things that needed to be changed to bring our 25 year old house up to code. He completed that work and refused to charge me anything above his original quote that only included the new water heater installation. He wanted to keep his word. What an awesome example for our boys to see.

Josh can make Kip laugh and smile like no one else can.

My wardrobe contains hand me downs from no less than four friends.

Brian’s late nights at the Legislature were few and far between during the first 2 months of session.

The boys and I have not been sick with a cold or virus since Kip’s birth despite it being the season for those sorts of things.

Kip sleeps. He gets up to eat, of course, but he always goes right back to sleep. No middle of the night parties for Kipper. Even on his worse "no napping and screaming in pain all day" days, he sleeps come bedtime.

Josh incorporates all aspects of life into his imaginary words. For example, he told me that the Decepticons (Transformers) live in Oklahoma because “Jesus put them there.” How cool that he applies the truth of God as Creator to play. BTW, he says that Jesus is easier to say than God and since God is Jesus and Jesus is God, then he will just call God Jesus. Oh, how do you explain the trinity to toddlers?

Although I loathe playing Transformers, Josh is relentless in including me. He hasn’t given up on me.

Josh says he wishes there were two of me. (I’m taking that as a positive.)

Josh says he needs to keep growing so that he’ll get big enough to hold me. (Should I prepare a mom-sling?)

We have numerous friends who care about us, pray for us, offer an ear to listen, and eagerly help when we humbly admit that we need it.

My dad mows the lawn and cleans up our yard when he visits.

My mom is coming to stay a week with us later this month. Help is on the way!

We seem to have figured out which foods aggravate Kip’s gut. Though it is a laundry list, there are foods that I can eat and he doesn’t scream in pain. I am thankful that we have identified his issue so early, that it can be managed so that his gut can heal, and that I feel really healthy eating the “Kip diet.” As I did with each round of the diabetic diet, I’ve learned more about nutrition, discovered new yummy recipes, and begun cooking from scratch – something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t made time to do. Now it is a necessity. Our whole family is healthier thanks to the path Kip has led us on.

The boys have an awesome pediatrician.

When the HVAC man left our backyard gate open and Shadow ran out, he found Shadow and put her back in…while it was raining.

Josh’s preschool occasionally sends home snapshots of his day.

Josh helps me cook.

Josh sings to Kip, especially when Kip is upset, and Kip loves it!

Kip is generally a smiley baby who doesn’t mind being passed around from one set of loving arms to another.

The hail storm – what a sight to see, none of us were hurt, our insurance claims have been easy to deal with thus far, we’re getting a new roof, the kiddos have been great during the car/house estimate, repair, and contractor appointments thus far. There’s a whole list of praises wrapped up in there.

One day when I was feeling especially in need of some quality one on one time with Josh, Kip and I went to the “farm day” at Josh’s preschool. Kip slept in the stroller under a tree while I was able to get in the caged area with Josh and play around with him alone the entire time.

When I was driving home from an HEB 20 minutes away from our house quite stressed, God heard and answered my prayer. Let me paint the scene for you. Kip was having a food reaction, he had not nursed in 4 hours, and he had a very dirty diaper. Josh pee’d his pants in HEB. Brian’s arrival time that evening wasn’t looking good. The trunk was full of groceries. I wasn’t really sure how to do everything that needed to get done once we arrived home or even what order to do them in. Once home, Kip was asleep in the car and remained asleep long enough for me to get Josh in the bath and the groceries put away. When he woke up I was able to focus on caring for him while Josh played in the tub. Brian made it home just as we were reading Josh’s bedtime story. All was well.

Josh loves his preschool and is busting through his own personal social barriers there. Kip and I can rest and play together while Josh is at school.

Due to the “Kip diet,” we can’t eat out. Nearly every time we’ve tried he’s had a terrible reaction. I confess I have spent a fair amount of time stressed about eating – what to eat, when will I be able to cook it? Even more, how am I supposed to cook from scratch, take care of two kids, keep the kitchen somewhat clean so that cooking is possible, get to the grocery story to get fresh food, and oh, maybe shower every few days? It’s quite the pity party at times. I am thankful that I can recognize and choose to stop the spiraling thoughts. I’m thankful that I make the right choice on an increasingly regular basis. I’m thankful that Brian often cleans while I take a shower or run to the store in the evening.

I’m thankful that 3 and a half only lasts six months until 4 hits. I’m sure Kip’s birth and the change in Brian's work schedule have contributed to Josh’s behavior, but this 3.5 years phase has been a challenge. I could be so insecure if I listened to all of his “advice” on how I “should” do things. Geez!

Sometimes Brian surprises me with breakfast before he goes to work in the morning.

I have been remarkably healthy.

I shouldn't be surprised at the abundant list of blessings, but I am. I'll keep the list going as we press on till the end of May. Sine die, baby!



It is certainly not all sweet moments like this one, but it is nice to capture shots like this to look at on the less deliciously candy-coated days.


More than meets the eye

Josh is very imaginative. We spend our days in alternative worlds that he has created. He assigns a role to everyone at our home whether they are eager to participate or not. In fact, I'm a bit concerned about Kip learning his name since he is called Kip just about as much as he is called Jake, Petri, or Ratchet.

This week, we're having a new HVAC system put in. We've has 2 different crews come through installing this and adjusting that. Today, Josh decided that we (Kip, Josh, and I) were Autobots and the 2 men working were Decepticons - Starscream and Lugnut, specifically. For those of you behind in your Transformers knowledge, the Autobots and Decepticons are sworn enemies both trying to find the All Spark, which happens to be hidden in our kitchen.

Since Josh remains fully in character, I feel the need to explain to strangers coming into our home why my son is growling at them and shooting his laser or stinger or whatever his chosen character's special talent is. (I'm already in too deep in this boy stuff!) Today, I casually mentioned what was going on to the workers. One guy understood and laughed (that would be Lugnut), but Starscream wasn't very interested. You should know, Starscream is an African American man of good size.

So, early this afternoon Starscream needed to do something in our kitchen, at which point Bumblebee (that's Josh) yelled, "Oh no, he's gunna steal something in the kitchen." Yelled loudly and clearly. Awesome.

Now, if Starscream had been attentive to our storyline, I wouldn't have been too concerned, but since he wasn't in the know, I immediately feared that he thought my dear 3 year old is a racial profiler. I felt a bit awkward.

Fortunately, I did get the chance to explain the role he was unknowingly playing in our day and thanked him for his hard work. He'll be back tomorrow. Hopefully the Transformers war will rage on without us as we pretend to be dinosaurs or dogs or something.


3 months ago...

Three months ago today, our sweet Kip was born. I never got around to posting his birth story, so here it is. The following talks about my cervix quite a bit, so the "TMI" crowd may want to skip down to the next post.

We arrived at North Austin Medical Center at 6:30am, on Friday, December 19, 2008. It was a cold, foggy and wet morning. We checked in at the front desk and were escorted to admissions. The admissions staff then took us up to the labor and delivery wing. Our induction appointment was at 6:45am, so we had to wait while the nurses changed shifts. I changed into a gown and rested in bed while Brian rested on the couch. We waited and waited and waited.

Our nurse introduced herself, we completed a 3,000 question survey (and commented on the inefficiency of said survey, especially since nearly all of the information had previously been submitted to the OB’s office and during our previous visit to the same hospital a month prior), and an IV was started. It was already 8:30am.

Around 8:40am, our midwife from the OB’s office came by to check on us. She empathized about the hospital’s slow pace and encouraged the nurse to get things moving. The midwife examined my cervix and broke my water. A loose 2cm, 50% effaced, and Kip was at -1 station.

One of the highlights of the induction was the opportunity to get labor started naturally before Pitocin was administered. The midwife planned to return around 11am. Until then, we were encouraged to do whatever we could to get labor started on its own. Brian and I put on our shoes and began walking laps around the labor and delivery wing. We walked and talked and laughed and received comments from the nurses whenever we passed them. Some asked why we were walking; others commented on our fast pace; and still others thought I should be in bed. Every 30 minutes we had to monitor Kip’s heart rate and my contractions for 5 minutes. There were some contractions – most 6 minutes apart – but they were not progressing in strength or consistency. We walked for a couple of hours at which point we decided to stop. I needed to conserve energy to make it through labor, especially since I had been on the diabetic diet for so many weeks and was starting off hungry. We returned to resting in our room. Although labor didn’t begin naturally, I am very thankful that we tried. Walking about with Brian was one of the highlights of the day.

Our midwife was delayed and returned around 12:45pm. We decided to begin Pitocin to help labor progress. She encouraged me to eat some lunch and nap before active labor began. I called room service and ordered chicken noodle soup, cucumber slices, and sugar free Jello. This was identical to my diabetic lunch at least once a week during the pregnancy. The nurse started Pitocin at 1:15pm. After lunch, I got out of bed and swayed and paced as far as the IV and monitor cords allowed so that gravity could help Kip move down.

The contractions began, progressed in intensity, and labor was moving along. I was able to relax through the contractions and enjoyed resting and chatting with Brian and our midwife between contractions. I paced my breathing with the sound of the IV pump. At 3:31pm, our midwife checked my cervix - 4 cm, 90% effaced, and Kip remained at -1 station. She also checked Kip’s position and suggested that I change positions to my hands and knees, leaning on a birthing ball, because Kip was posterior. The midwife, applied pressure to my lower back during contractions. Later, Brian took over. (Thankfully, Kip rolled over prior to his birth.) The contractions kept growing.

Later in the early evening, I switched to a seated position with heat on my back, and our midwife checked my cervix again - 7cm, but able to stretch to 9cm. We were really close. The contractions required a lot of concentration at this point, however, they were only “unbearable” for about 5 seconds during each one, so I counted to 5 in my head whenever we reached that section of a contraction and internally celebrated as each one passed.

At this point I knew that Kip would not be born in time for Josh to come up to the hospital that evening. I was a little sad as it was the first day of Josh’s life that I did not see and talk to him. Brian called my parents and let them know that Josh could go to bed and should plan to meet his brother first thing in the morning. Labor continued.

Up until the last thirty minutes, I was really relaxed throughout labor and carried on a conversation or joked around between contractions. However, once transition hit, I was focused on getting Kip out so that labor could end! When it was obvious that my mood changed, our midwife checked my cervix again – 9 cm with a lip on the top – and felt to see what my cervix and Kip did during the contraction. She could hold the lip of my cervix back and Kip would move down to 0 station during the contraction. I asked her if we could begin pushing and she agreed that everyone could get the room ready and then we could push. I didn’t feel the overwhelming need to push that I experienced during Josh’s birth, but I mentally needed to change my task.

Our midwife manually held the lip of my cervix out of the way for a couple of contractions and then the remaining lip disappeared. Finally, the end was near. As I did with Josh, I couldn’t look. I kept my eyes closed and focused on pushing. Our midwife did an amazing job of directing my pushing – small push, stop, bigger push, stop, another small push….. Fifteen minutes of pushing and baby Kip was born. When Kip was placed on my belly I immediately said, “I’m so glad that is over!”

Kip was born at 7:15pm. Ten hours after my water was broken; six hours after the Pitocin was started. (Josh was born 6 hours and 44 minutes after Pitocin was started.) Kip weighed exactly 7 pounds and measured 19.5 inches long.

With both births, I have been amazed at how quickly the overwhelming, “I think I might die, yes, one more second of this and I will die for sure” pain immediately subsides when the baby is born and is replaced with an overwhelming peace. The contrast is Indescribable. I’ve experienced the same thing when we’ve miscarried. Once the miscarriage is complete, the pain is gone, and it is almost as if a veil is lifted and I can see colors with new brilliance. (Of course, a birth is more satisfying and joyful than a miscarriage.) In my opinion, that peace, a renewed closeness with Brian as a result of our intense team work, and the baby are all prizes for running the race. I consider both birth experiences a gift. I think about them often. I’m amazed at how God designed my body. I’m amazed at how God has used the births to teach me that through Him I am stronger than I perceive myself to be, that the pain and difficulty of circumstances on earth are temporary, and that hard work often returns great joy. Praise God for using these experiences to add to our joy and wisdom and hopefully further mold us into His Son’s image.

The boys

Here's a few pictures of the boys from the last couple of months. You may have to turn your head on a few. I haven't flipped them.