Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

My kids are probably the luckiest kids I know. And, well, I am too. We have Kyle. There's only one of him and that makes us the lucky ones because he is beyond amazing.  I can't thank him enough (and I don't say it nearly enough) for EVERYTHING that he does for our family...for his kids...because of the goodness in his heart and love that he has for all of us. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but for all these big family moments I can't help but think back to his heart surgery- when there was a time I feared what my future would look like and if Kyle would be alive. I think back to that day in the hospital, waiting for news that the surgery was over. Or when I saw him for the first time after the surgery. That paralyzingly memory of him laying there, with all these tubes coming out of him and machines everywhere...it gave me a whole new appreciation for life and for Kyle. So today I want to dote on him because I can :)

Kyle is the kind of dad who willingly will go do the grocery shopping, just so I don't have to because he knows how exhausted and tired I am. He'll even take the girls WITH him to do the shopping just so I can have a break for a bit. Kyle is the kind of dad who makes breakfast, lunch and dinner when I can't, and never once complains about it. He picks up the kitchen, does the dishes and will even pack lunches if needed. (He even remembers to make a special note to put in the lunch box). He's the kind of guy who despite waking up at 4:30am, working all day, going to basketball practice and working on a million things for his team, will come home and pick up where he's needed without batting an eye. He'll give the girls their bath, put their pj's on, brush their teeth, read them books, sing them songs, say prayers with them, scratch their back, and play referee for an hour before they finally fall asleep. And yes- that's just a normal day for him. I can't go without mentioning he also was the dance class transporter once Weston was born, the 5 year old birthday party taker, hand holding parent at the doctor, and would drive out in the pouring rain to get us dinner just so I wouldn't have to drag all three kids with me. He plans Disney trips, schedules fast passes and makes sure the kids have a "magical" experience every time we go. Oh, and he has a giant Barbie Dreamhouse in his office because he wanted the girls to have something they could play with if they wanted to hang out by him during the day while he worked. 

His love for his kids is indescribable. He's the type of guy I always dreamed of, but never knew really existed. He makes parenting look easy, and I honestly couldn't be the parent that I am without him. To be honest...he does so much more for those kids right now than I do, when this phase of Weston's life is so demanding and challenging. Where I lack right now, Kyle is always there to pick up the pieces. He shows our kids that parenting is all about teamwork, because let's face it...parenting is HARD WORK! It's a never ending, full time job that deals with handling every emotion one could feel in a 24 hour time frame. But he makes sure our kids know how much they are loved and how proud we are of them every single day. 

Kyle, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I can't say it enough! Thank you for this life. For giving me the family I always wanted, and blessing us every day with just being who you are. You are what holds this family together and hearing the girls scream "daddy!!!" when they see you pull into the driveway will never get old. Those girls adore you, and I feel sorry for their future significant other because they will never, ever measure up to their daddy...but I certainly hope they will come close. And Weston- I still can't even believe we have a son. The first time you held him I think my heart stopped beating for a split second. It was a moment I envisioned for years- you holding your son, and there it was right before my eyes. Our final and last baby was a perfect little boy, and I can't wait to watch your relationship develop over the years. I know he's going to be your best bud and you are going to love doing guy things with him :)

Father's Day 2017 from Jenna Gilreath on Vimeo.

Happy Fathers Day!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter 2017

We celebrated our first holiday as a family of 5. I'm so glad I planned ahead for the girls baskets because there was no time to go out and shop with a one week old! And yet somehow as prepared as I felt, I completely overlooked getting something for Weston! So the Easter bunny went shopping in his room, and put random items in a basket for him. Kinsley kept saying "mommy, Weston already has this!" and "he already has this book!". It was funny, and yet I somehow had to keep my story straight on why the Easter bunny was giving gifts we already owned. 

My mom had been in town for the week so she made us breakfast while Kyle went to church and I stayed home with the girls and watched them play all morning. We got them kites and they were begging to fly them all morning long. Once Kyle got home they were practically waiting by the door to go outside! Kinsley loves flying hers, and Rylan wasn't patient enough to wait for it to get high enough to where she could hold it and "fly" it.

We went over to some family friends for dinner and got to show Mr. Weston to his first group of friends (other than family). He did so well, only cried and woke up once to nurse. The girls had a blast and it was a good day, getting out of the house and having a change of scenery for us all!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weston's Birth Story

They say the last month of pregnancy is the equivalent to 5 years. I don't know if anyone actually says that, but it certainly feels that way. Maybe it's because I was certain I would give birth way before my due date, maybe it's because I had had contractions for so long that I knew I wouldn't last much longer, but I the last few weeks were miserable for me. And every day that came and went and no sign of baby coming, I was depressed. But they say all good things come to those who wait...and a baby will come when they are ready....and well, that certainly is the truth!

Wednesday, April 5th, I was 3 days past due. I had had some pretty regular contractions mostly in the morning, every 12-15 minutes, but would come and go so I wasn't getting my hopes up. I had a doctors appointment that afternoon and was praying for some signs of improvement and that the end was near. I was 3-4 cm dilated, and decided to schedule an induction for the following morning. I really didn't want to be  induced as I've never had to be before, and just the idea of the unknown scared me. I prayed that something would happen overnight and I wouldn't have to be induced. (Be careful what you wish for!) Kyle and I came home from my appointment and the contractions started happening. Every 7-10 minutes apart, and pretty strong. I started feeling hopeful...maybe THIS is it?! They lasted all night and Kyle decided we would have his mom come over in case we needed to leave soon. Well, as soon as she got there they started letting up. Happening every 12-15 minutes apart, sometimes longer. I was getting really discouraged and decided it would be best if I just went to bed and got some sleep while I could. Kyle's mom decided to stay over at our house, in case something happened and was already there regardless for my induction. 

At about 2:50am I woke up to this crazy sharp pain. It was a mixture of a contraction and a really, really bad cramp on my side. I could barely roll over to stand up but forced myself to because I was in so much pain. The second I stood up I felt this pop, and a small amount of fluid came flowing out. I wasn't sure if my water broke (because it wasn't some large gush) or if I had peed my pants. I determined it wasn't pee, but wasn't entirely sure what it was. Then the contractions happened. Intense contractions coming every 3-5 minutes, so intense I was fighting back tears it hurt so bad. After having three consistent contractions I woke Kyle up and said we gotta go! He quickly got out of bed, woke his mom up, and we made our way to the car. 

There was something kind of peaceful about the drive there. Nobody was on the road and we made it to the hospital in 10 minutes. I remember while fighting through contractions, looking out on the river and seeing the Kennedy Space Center and all the beauty of the stillness of the river. I had Kyle call labor and delivery on our way there to give them a heads up (best decision ever!!) and I kind of had this feeling that things were about to get really crazy. I prayed we would make it there in time, that I would be able to get an epidural...but I kind of knew what was to come.

Walking into the hospital and waiting to get sent up to labor & delivery seemed like sheer torture. Every step I took I could feel him creeping down into my pelvis. We finally made it into our delivery room at 3:50am. The contractions were coming and coming very fast. After the usual
Paperwork, sign this, sign that, change into a gown, get hooked up, get an IV going...I got the news that I didn't have time for an epidural. I remember saying "noooooo! Don't tell me that!". I was already 7-8 cms dilated and the pain was coming and contractions were not letting up. Something in me changed at that moment I knew I wasn't going to have any pain relief. I went into this primal woman, survival mode. My nurse was absolutely AMAZING and honestly was the biggest help in getting me through it. I remember when my doctor finally arrived and she asked if I felt like pushing I instantly said "YES!!". And before I knew it I was pushing this baby out. 

You can't really describe what it feels like to give birth naturally. You become this completely different person. I don't think I've ever screamed the way I did that morning. I don't think I've ever mustarded up enough courage and strength to get through the contractions. I don't think I've ever been more proud of myself as I was in that moment. Because despite how bad it hurts, and that "ring of fire" feeling, once the baby comes out it's like this insanely crazy high you feel to finally hold your baby. It's almost like all the pain you just felt instantly goes away. The second I held my baby boy, I was in love. My heart exploded and created this 4th section dedicated just for him. And it finally felt complete. My three babies and my husband...

At 4:42am our son was born. Weston Kyle, was 8 pounds 15.6 ounces (almost 9 lbs), 20.5 inches long. He was our biggest baby and worth every ounce of pain. Less than an hour after arriving at the hospital (half of it was spent doing paperwork and getting ready), our son was in my arms. It all happened so fast, and I remember feeling so shocked at what just happened. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

We were left alone for almost an hour to bond with our baby. It was an incredible experience and a first for us to have so much alone time right after he was born. Nobody came to whisk him away and weigh him, nobody needed to mess with him...it was amazing. The first time Kyle held him was a moment I'll never forget. I could just see them together in a few years, watching basketball, playing golf, doing guy things together and being Kyle's best bud. It was a moment I prayed about for years, to have a son for Kyle, and all my dreams came true that day. 

After the hour was up, they took Weston to the nursery to get weighed and checked out. I had time to get a shower and cleaned up, and moved into my recovery room. Our room was amazing, had the best view and I remember watching the sunrise over the city. It was beautiful. After a few hours (which seemed like an eternity), Weston finally was brought back into the room and got loved on constantly from there on out.

My mom arrived from Ft. Myers just when he got brought into my room. And then later that day the girls and Kyle's parents got to meet our baby boy. I couldn't wait for the girls to meet him and their reaction to him was more than I could have ever dreamed of. They love him, especially Rylan! Having us all together just made everything in my heart feel complete. 

Because he was on the larger side, weight wise, he had to have his blood sugar tested for the first 24 hours. Poor thing constantly had his heels pricked and still have spots on them. Also, he had a slight heart murmur when they first checked him out. Considering Kyle's heart history, it really worried me, but we were told it's very common and more than likely will go away in the first 24 hours. 

Our first night went exceptionally well! He slept pretty well, and was getting the hang of nursing. All in all, it was a great first night! I barely slept because I couldn't stop starring at him. The next day, Friday, he had his circumcision and was pretty out of it after that. He slept most of the day, and wasn't very interested in nursing, but finally got an appetite worked up.  The pediatrician from the hospital came in, said his heart murmur had gone away (yay!) and if he could get two blood sugar readings above 50 that we could go home that night. Well little man measured well, and we were cleared to go home! 

Kyle and the girls came to the hospital to pick us up and take us home. They were so excited their brother was coming home and so was I! The car ride was so surreal, to see three little babies sitting back there. Three precious faces that Kyle and I created, and all the future memories we would make as a family of 5 kept filling my heart with so much pride. I was their momma. These were my babies.

When we got home, Kinsley gave Weston a tour of the house. It was so cute, and she was so proud to show him everything...especially their playroom. And then we all settled in and got the girls tucked in bed (although they were soooooo hyper) and began this crazy journey of raising our three little birdies. 

Weston, you have filled our hearts with so much love and your daddy and I just can't get over how perfect you are. Your sisters adore you and will probably always be protective over you. You are in good hands with them! You are my dream come true, and truly have completed our family. We love you, bud!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Newborn Baby Baskets For Around The House

I am almost 38 weeks pregnant and holy cow! I swear I blinked and then bam, here we are...just waiting patiently for little man's arrival. And boy do I feel so unprepared, which is totally not like me at all. I was doing pretty well, or so I thought. I thought I had a good head start on things with him, and was trying the "less is more" approach, but then in the last few weeks I started thinking about all these crazy things pregnant women think of late at night when they can't sleep. Ya know, like 

- I guess he's going to have to take a bath....so maybe I need to find something to actually put him in
- I'm going to nurse/pump (UGH), so maybe I should get the pump down and figure out if I need extra pieces for it
- He's going to require diapers so I should probably stock up before he arrives

I literally go to bed every night and tell Kyle all these crazy things that cross my mind that I need to do, and feel so overwhelmed that I'm running out of time to get them done. I know in the grand scheme of things it. don't. matter. at. all. But, for someone who once took pride in being super organized and overly prepared for things, this is driving me insane to feel so unprepared. So, to sum this all up and to end my completely unnecessary ramblings, I've been putting my nesting skills to the test.

Between cleaning everything I can with what little energy I have, and washing and folding little boy clothes, I came across the most genius idea of all time...essential baskets to put around the house for when baby arrives. I totally took the idea from Jordan & Co  and it has helped my sanity in preparing for baby. I put together our own essential baskets for our family room and our bedroom, and of course all the necessities are already in his room so I didn't need to do one for that. 90% of the time I will probably be on our couch, wearing five day old shirts of my husbands that are covered in spit-up and leaky boob juice, and totally looking like a mom who is juggling three kids. So convenience is totally worth every penny in my book!

My baskets are with the idea that a newborn baby eats, pees, sleeps, SO I wanted to have the basics to take care of all those things without having to move from the spot I was in. So for feedings, I threw in burp cloths, nursing pads and nipple cream, with a change of clothes in case things get a little messy. To take care of changing him, I have a changing mat, diapers, a pee pee teepee (these things crack me up), diaper cream, a baby bum brush and hand sanitizer. And then for sleeping, I have a swaddle in each basket and a pacifier to help soothe him before I maneuver to get off the couch or out of bed with him. 

In our baskets are:
Sozo Weeblocks (which I am so bummed because I ordered a pack that had a basketball in it, but when it arrived it was a football. I guess the basketball was discontinued and they refunded us completely so it kind of all worked out in our favor!)
Wipes (I randomly discovered these at Target a few months ago and have been loving everything about them since)
Diapers (love these Seventh Generation diapers and the print on them is so darn cute)
Baby Bum Brush (I can't wait to not have my finger nails filled with diaper cream! Why didn't I know about this thing before???)
Changing Mat (I wanted something that I could wipe easily, not have to wash every other day and could carry over into my diaper bag. Love how soft the leather is on it)
Burp Cloths (we love the Green Sprouts burp cloths and the Burts Bees Organic ones. They are soooooo soft!)
Swaddle Blanket

All that, times two, is what I have in each of those two rooms in our house. I also put together a postpartum basket that is in our bathroom with lots of pads, wipes, this spray to help cool things off and extra underwear...and then I'll add that amazing squirt bottle they give you at the hospital. That thing is a miracle worker and I wish I had kept it from the girls! I also have a basket next to our chair in our room for pumping, filled with extra bottles, milk storage tubes, nursing pads, wipes and snacks to munch on to cure the boredom of pumping. And then my last basket is our bath basket for the baby, filled with wash cloths, towels, diapers, wipes, soap and lotion, his grooming kit (that has nail clippers, a nasal aspirator, etc..) and a few other odds and ends we may need to get him squeaky clean. If I get around to it, I may share a look at those baskets but I'm starting to run out of time of all the things I want to share in the next two weeks!! Things are getting very, very real!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What's In My Hospital Bag

In case you missed it, I shared our hospital bag for baby boy earlier this week. Today I'm sharing what I'm taking to the hospital for myself. Like I mentioned in that post, reading about what other people take to the hospital is one of my favorite things to read. Having gone through this twice, and now almost three times, I know what I really do need for myself for a few day stay and try to keep it as simple as possible.

With Kinsley, I remember packing everything under the sun: full on makeup bag, hair tools, my own towels, the entire snack aisle at Walgreens, and so much more. And what did I use? Like NONE of it. You would think having had the Nordstrom Beauty counter at the touch of my finger, I would have looked damn good. But instead, if I could burn those pictures I would. I looked horrid. Like to the point it's questionable if I was a new mom, or a teenage boy. WOOF!

With Rylan, I remember taking the bare minimum, and still had too much of some stuff, and not enough of others. I kept my clothing much more "visitor friendly" (cough cough bright yellow pjs that showed every inch of those lovely mesh undies and a giant pad trapped inside when you stood up  like I wore when Kinsley was born cough cough). And I only brought a few makeup items to not completely scare everyone away. It was refreshing!!

Now I've taken what I would or would not have done differently with each of the girls, and compiled my list and packed my bags.

Bag: I got this for Kyle for Christmas, but totally called dibs on it for my hospital bag. It's the perfect size, and fits everything I need.

Clothing: I know for awhile after the baby is born I'll more than likely be wearing that dreaded hospital gown until I know visitors will start rolling in. Nursing bras (padded, no wire bras are my favorite), nightgowns and pajama sets (like this. this and this) that are nursing friendly and don't look to embarrassing when visitors come. I bought myself a pretty robe this time around, because it's an easy cover-up when you're nursing the baby and I wanted something special for myself this time around. And of course, a coming home outfit- although I know I will immediately take it off and put on yoga pants the second I walk in our house.

Extras: Obviously toiletries are needed (a little bit of makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste, dry shampoo, etc..), a pair of old flip flops to walk around in and in the bathroom (because eww...gross!). I'll throw in my wallet and camera when it's time to go and my phone charger because I need my electronic devices and can't fathom having a dead phone.

It really is really, really simple. Like I feel like I'm majorly forgetting something, but I know that I'll be lucky if I even wear all of these outfits I am taking. Keep it simple people, keep.it.simple.