Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Christmas card time

With Christmas quickly approaching I have finally started work on designing our card for this year. My goal now is not to get them out by Christmas, although I will try, but just to get them out. (I don't think I even sent out cards last year!) And I didn't even have the excuse of a new baby like this year. Anyway, I have yet to attempt the Christmas card letter about the happenings of our family (maybe someday) but have to at least include pics of our cute kids. So I tried to brainstorm the perfect location to snap photos of the kids (I don't want to be included in the picture until I lose some of this baby weight--vain, I know) but because of the weather I decided indoors would be best.

So about a week ago after morning snacks and watching the grinch, I got the kids dressed in their Christmas clothes (a small feat) and attempted to set up a photo area using a plain, blank wall as a backdrop and our flokati rug underneath for a bit of soft texture. I had Kaylin hold Clara while sitting and had Dylan sit next to them. It was hard enough to get them to sit still and all smile and look at the camera at the same time that I didn't even try to do that many different poses. Clara did pretty well but we did have to take a few breaks when she started crying. After many shots (on Tim's new camera!) that I didn't think would be usable, and antsy kids who didn't want to sit anymore, I finally bribed the kids with lollipops, got a few more shots and gave up. I then got some textured pillows and laid Clara down on them and took some cute shots of her by herself. I think I took about 180 pictures total and about 15 turned out well/usable.

Because I was already worn out and semi-over this whole Christmas card thing I knew I wanted to be able to easily design the card online with minimal work and still have a great looking card. So I used Shutterfly to create several designs that I really liked. All I had to do was upload the ones I liked (from Picasa) to Shutterfly, pick the designs I liked, and then drag the photos onto the card. So simple and very easy. The hardest part is picking my favorite design. They have so many different designs to choose from with their photo cards and then they also have beautiful Christmas and holiday cards printed on cardstock that look really nice. We chose several of the Christmas card designs because it's important to us that our cards actually say "Merry Christmas" since Jesus Christ is what this season is about. Another thing that's great about Shutterfly is that they do more than just cards. You can use them to design some great stuff like photo calendars or photo books as Christmas gifts too. I created and designed a photo book for my grandmother from Shutterfly for Christmas that I know she'll love. Anyway, here are a few of our favorite designs:

*Special thanks to Shutterfly for 50 free cards for mentioning them in this post!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tim turned 30 in San Francisco!

Happy 30th birthday to my wonderful husband!
For Tim's 30th I surprised him with a trip to San Francisco! My parents watched the kids (not Clara, we took her along) so that we could enjoy our little weekend getaway just the two (three) of us. (Any of you who have more than one child know that a vacation quickly turns into work when taking everyone along.) We left Saturday morning, getting a later start than I wanted. We went to the Golden Gate bridge where we both walked across for the first time. (A tourist must do!) It was Clara's first time too! We didn't actually walk all the way across, that would have taken too long. But it was fun and we got to see Alcatraz and beautiful views of the city! We didn't really have much time for much else after checking into our hotel and getting dinner. We walked around Union Square a bit after dinner and did some shopping and then headed back to the hotel. On Sunday we spent the day at the California Acadamy of Sciences, a new museum that cost 500 million to build! It was incredible and we were there for almost 5 hours and still didn't see everything! What was really unique was their huge, all living, rainforest that you can walk through, with butterflies flying all around and really unique plant species. They also had a floor that was an entire aquarium! You could walk over it and see it underneath various displays, and you could walk under it and see it above you! Since there was so much to see, we didn't do anything else on Sunday (even with an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings) and drove back to Sacramento to get the kids. We both missed them and all their antics but they had fun with their grandparents. We ended the day with cake and candles for Tim, but didn't get any pictures because our camera died right before we sang to him! Oh well. Overall a great weekend that I hope made my husband feel special and loved.
Tim on the bridge

With Clara. It was a bit windy on the bridge, but the weather was beautiful.

The Golden Gate bridge! It's amazing that we live so close to such iconic things!

Clara hanging out in our hotel room.

We stayed at a little French boutique hotel in Union Square. It was very quaint!

Lunch on Sunday (Tim's birthday).

One of the very unique plants in the rainforest at the musuem.

Huge, disgusting looking spiders that gave me the willies! (Behind glass, thankfully!)
More butterflies.

A giant octopus that "walked" across the entire display viewing window. It was such a neat thing to see, a picture just doesn't capture it.


Clara viewing some fishies.

Is it a plant or a seahorse?

They have an albino alligator there too!

On the roof, which is covered in grass and plants because it is all living!

Monday, November 1, 2010

McQueen and Halloween! (Hey that rhymes!)

This is my Halloween post but I had to add a pic of Dylan's cake that Tim made for his birthday because he did such an amazing job! Dylan loved it and we felt kinda bad cutting into it at his birthday party!

Dylan was so excited about McQueen!

Kaylin at her preschool

Carving into our pumpkins. Although this year was the first year that I did not actually carve a pumpkin. I cut the top off but that was as far as I got. Too busy I guess.

The flower and bee at our church's trunk or treat

Our little pumpkin on her first Halloween

Heading out. Clara was a ladybug but this was really one of the only pictures of her that we got. I guess that's what happens when it's your third child. Sorry Clara.

Trick or Treat!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 years old!

Happy birthday Dylan!
I can't believe two years have gone by already! You are growing up way too fast! You are such fun and full of energy. And now you're a big brother!

I hope you take care of your sisters and I so look forward to watching you grow into the man that God created you to be. I love your sweet nature (my little cuddler) and how well you play with Kaylin. It's so cute watching you play princesses with her but then turn around and get so excited about your cars and trucks.

And already I can see your determined (stubborn!) spirit. You can definitely throw a fit with the best of them! Thankfully we don't see that side too often, because you're usually so busy being happy.
You are so special and I'm so thankful for my little boy!

I love you and hope that even though you aren't feeling well that you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A few things I've learned about my daughter so far...

She's pretty darn cute. Especially with those ears.

She's petite.

She likes to sleep. A lot. I'm not complaining.

She takes everything in with her big (yet to be determined on the color) eyes.
She is noisy. Especially at night, while I'm trying to sleep. Even in her sleep. Grunts constantly.
She likes to hiccup.
She wants to nurse all the time.
She likes to poop all over herself right after being put in her carseat or being wrapped up in a blanket.
We've already fallen head over heels.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's pumpkin time!

Fall is here again and I'm loving it! I love the red and orange leaves, cool breezes, and pumpkins on porches. It's become our tradition in October to take the kids to Grandpa's barn in Davis, to look at all the farm animals and play in the hay bales. Tim took the kids without me this year since Clara was only a few days old. I don't think she would have gotten much out of it. The kids had lots of fun, especially Kaylin since she's old enough to hold all the animals now.

Kaylin's favorite part is holding the kittens.

Dylan's favorite are the pumpkins.

Here we are getting our pumpkins in Dixon (a different place than above).

They have lots to do for the kids here, including painting pumpkins.

Our "new" family of five.

Clara's first pumpkin!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clara Lou!

Our second and newest little girl finally made her appearance Wednesday in the early morning. I wanted to finally write down her birth story and share some pictures. Here I am after we got checked in waiting to get hooked up to moniter Clara's heart rate and my contractions. I tried smiling for the camera but I was very uncomfortable, as you can see.

Right after little Clara was born, screaming the whole time. (I'm shushing her, trying to calm her down.)

Here she is, much smaller than our other two.

Proud daddy!

Sleeping peacefully.

Family shot.

The one thing that kept Dylan busy the whole time, playing with his new motorcycle toy in the window.

Kaylin was very interested in helping and adores her new little sis!

Now for the story:

As most of you know, Clara was overdue and we were just waiting for some sign that she was on her way, but there just didn't seem to be any. I was nervous because we were supposed to deliver up in Roseville, about 45 minutes north of us and given my fast delivery with Dylan, I thought there was a good chance that Clara would come quick too and that we wouldn't even make it to the hospital. With all of this to consider we decided to stay with my parents who are only about 20 minutes away from the hospital. We felt better being closer and the kids loved staying at their grandparents but we were hoping that we wouldn't be staying too long and that Clara would make her arrival soon.
We moved in Sunday night, the 26th and by Tuesday, with nothing really happening I was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to come out! I had a doctor's appointment Tuesday afternoon and after my exam (the doctor stripped my membranes in hopes of getting labor started) I felt some mild contractions starting. I wasn't getting too excited though because I'd been having braxton hicks off and on for several days. By Tuesday evening the contractions were starting to get a bit more painful and somewhat more regular so I thought that labor could maybe be only a few days off, if not maybe the next day. I warned my parents and Tim that Wednesday could be the day and while putting the kids to bed I told Kaylin that mommy and daddy might be going to the hospital soon to have the baby.
By nighttime I realized that things were going to happen sooner and that most likely we'd have another middle of the night delivery, just like with Dylan. I tried going to bed but couldn't relax with the contractions, which were about every ten minutes. So I went out to watch some tv to take my mind off the contractions. When things started to intensify I started timing the contractions and by 12:30 they were about 7 minutes apart. I waited about half an hour and decided by 1:00 that I should start getting things ready to go. I got dressed, and i'll be honest, put some makeup on (gotta look good for the all the pictures). I woke Tim up and told my parents that we were heading off to the hospital. We got to the hospital in only about ten minutes (I told Tim to speed things up when I started feeling pressure already). We got checked in, started monitering and got checked to see how dilated I was. (I was a 4 so they told me I was staying.) The contractions were getting pretty strong and close together and I knew I wanted to avoid an epidural but was hoping I would get some IV meds like I had with Dylan, to take the edge off the pain. We finally moved into the labor and delivery room where I was required to lay down so that the nurse could get my iv's started. I really didn't like this because that makes the contractions that much harder to bear and I really wanted to get up and move around a bit. After what was probably a half an hour or so of some pretty painful contractions (I was pretty much screaming through them) the midwife came in to check my progress again. We were all a bit surprised when she checked and I was already a 9 and so she asked if I wanted her to break the water and have the baby. I enthusiastically said yes and so she went ahead and broke the water. She told me that when I felt ready to push to let her know and as she was walking away to get her gown on I yelled, "I need to push!" (Tim later told me that made him laugh because I sounded so desperate.) I pushed with the next contraction and a moment later they were telling me that she was out! I was a bit in disbelief but so glad I was done and that she was out. She was born at 3:10 am, just about three hours after my labor really started going at around midnight.
The nurses put Clara on my chest right away, which was a wonderful experience, even though she was screaming the whole time. I tried to see if she wanted to nurse and she latched right away. We got to hold her awhile before doing a lot of the procedures and I finally asked if they could weigh her because I was so curious after all the months of doctor's appointments and being told that she was growth restricted. She weighed in at 7 pounds and 1 ounce and was 19 inches long, so definitely smaller than Kaylin and Dylan but still healthy. We were so relieved and thankful that everything turned out well and that Clara was healthy. So thanks to everyone who prayed for us and our baby girl!
I will update later on how we're all doing as a now family of five because this post has taken too long to write already!