Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cuddling Sisters

I think it's too soon to say that Christina and Claire are bosom buddies, but at this point they are at least aware of each other.

On Christmas afternoon James was playing with all his Christmas spoils while the girls were cuddling with Brian and me on our bed. Christina was with Brian and Claire was next to me. Christina left Brian and purposefully inched her way over next Claire. It started off very sweet with the girls cuddling with their heads together. As time passed Christina got more "affectionate" with Claire, putting her hand on her face and then soon after her leg and then she tried to climb on her at which point they were separated! 

It's fun to see Christina interact affectionately with her sister. She interacts with James but in a more playful and laughing kind of way, and James is usually the instigator. So to see Christina actively interact with Claire is so sweet. I think they will be close little girls and it will be interesting to see the roles reverse as Claire grows up. For me, the hardest part about caring for Christina is that I always worry about her. It's not the long nights, or the around the clock feedings, or the constant medications. Her physical care just needs to be done, and while it can be tiring and seem difficult at times, I look at these tasks like the Nike slogan, "just do it". What really keeps me up at night (so to speak, because it is her feedings that do!) is wondering and worrying if she is happy and if she will be happy. And I often ponder how James and Claire will be with sweet little Christina when they are all grown up. At such a young age, James has already shown great kindness and patience with Christina that is beyond his years. So I hope that Christina will have forever friends in her siblings, at this point Claire and James. And seeing their kindness to her gives me hope that she will be happy and that helps me to worry less. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Claire's Blessing Day

We blessed sweet little (actually quite chubby) Claire this past Sunday at church. Claire's blessing day was a wonderful day that we spent with Brian's parents. We tried to snap a family picture before church since we were all in our "Sunday Best" because we haven't taken a family photo with Claire yet. But oh man, they did not turn out! For starters, we are not photographers and we don't have a great camera. And then to get all five of us cooperating and looking at the camera at the same time is nearly impossible! And none of us are patient enough to get a "perfect" picture. Brian and I have only a 5 minute limit of patience and the kids only have a 4 minute limit!

This is a complete tangent and I could probably do an entire blog post on the subject, but I think people get so caught up in trying to be and appear perfect all the time (and especially in social media). People make such a fuss trying to impress others they don't even know or often even like! I'm not saying that putting your best foot forward doesn't have any merit, but all the filters, Photoshop, angles, and taking 1,000 selfies to get one photo seems so silly and self-absorbed. I say just embrace the crazy and imperfection and additionally, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" I'm thinking of just framing one of our bad pictures we snapped because that best captures our reality. Okay, ranty side-note done. If you want more on the subject just let me know!

I love this picture the best (the one above)! It just says it all. James looking at the wrong camera, mom not paying attention, Christina screaming, Brian screaming in his head but trying to smile, and Claire just sleeping through it all. This is what life is really like!

This past week Claire had her baby blessing which was given by my husband. In the Mormon Church a baby blessing is given to a new baby to announce their name and to bless them with spiritual and other temporal attributes. Brian felt especially inspired to bless her with a love of service and especially service in her own home.

As much as I could remember, this was Claire's blessing:

Our dear Heavenly Father, by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood which we hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ, we take this infant in our arms to give  her a name and blessing. The name which she will be known on the records of the church and throughout her life is Claire Eleanor Nelson. 

Claire, we bless you to understand the gospel and learn of it. We bless you to grow from your life experiences. We bless you to have the desire to covenant with our Heavenly Father. When you are able, be baptized and take Jesus's name upon you. Act as our Savior did.

We bless you to have charity and a love of service. Strive to be a righteous woman. Strive to keep the commandments and have the spirit in your life to guide you.

We bless you to seek to be like Christ which is possible through the Atonement. Strive to be like him.

We bless you to have a love of service. There will be many opportunities for service in your life. We bless you to love your siblings. You will be blessed as you serve within your own household. 

We give you this blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Night Owl

Our sweet Christina is so fun between 7 pm and midnight. Our little night owl is in her element because it's finally dark. At nighttime her playful personalty really shines through! 

During the day she would be happy to just sleep most of the day in her dark and cozy crib. She certainly naps more than most toddlers do (she sleeps about as much as three week old Claire) and we don't totally fight against her natural tendency to want to roll up and nap, but we do encourage her to be awake for some of the day. She has her eating schedule that she's awake for (or at least out of bed! Sometimes she will fall asleep!) We will have cuddle and playtime during the day and then whatever outings we go on she is forced awake. 

But it is just so fun to see her interactions in the evening. She has the widest grin with double dimples that just melt your heart! And if you get her laughing you can often get her in a laugh attack where she is cackling and sometimes even snorts (like her momma!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Claire Eleanor

Claire Eleanor was born on November 6th, weighing 7 lbs., 8 oz. and 19 inches long. She has surprisingly dark hair for how Scandinavian we are! And at first we thought her "tan" was just mild jaundice, but her darker complexion (relative to James and Christina who are porcelain white) is looking to be more permanent. 

She is a professional little nurser and now she seems to always be hungry even just 20 minutes after eating, so it seems she wants to nurse for sport and entertainment and not just nourishment. And with the Christmas season approaching I just keep thinking of the Jim Carey Grinch when he says, "Am I eating because I'm bored?!" as he stuffs screws in his mouth. Anyone else know the reference? Anyhow, at first I was pushing back against giving her a pacifier because of nipple confusion. (Which when I said this Brian thought I was joking and he couldn't believe that is a real thing!) But she does very well with a pacifier to soothe her and she has none of this mythical nipple confusion! 

The toughest part so far has been scheduling the baby girls' feedings. Christina has her tube feeding every three hours and Claire breastfeeds every three hours. Luckily my parents came to town to help out and they basically took care of most of Christina's care and tube feeding so I could rest and focus on baby Claire for the first couple weeks. It was so helpful having them here and very fun since all we did was feed babies, feed ourselves, watch HGTV and play lots of pinochle. Brian must have gotten particularity close to my parents during this trip because on their last night he asked my mom if she still ovulates. Yes, there may be some context to help explain this question, but still I found it a bold question to ask a mother-in-law!

But with them gone my life will be a bit trickier, especially when both babies want me at the same time. But I figure for the next couple weeks (or months) I will just stay in my bathrobe and occasionally venture out into the world! When Christina was born she had so many doctor appointments that forced me to get out of the house nearly every day of the week for the first couple of months. And I figured if I was getting out of the house I might as well shower, put on real clothes, do my hair and makeup since that makes me feel better anyway. I may need something like this again to force me not to be a hermit. But I'm okay being a hermit for the short-term. But if you see me in pajamas out and about come springtime, tell me this is not acceptable! The old Christina would not be impressed! 

Christina has taken some notice to Claire, especially when they are put in close proximity. Christina will crawl over to her and either kick at her or put her hand on her or sort of smack her in the face! I'm sure these are all love touches! So at this point Christina is bigger than Claire and we are mostly keeping them apart so Christina doesn't maul her sister. But soon enough Claire will be the bigger sister in size and we will have to reverse the protecting! 

James just adores Claire and can't keep away from her. He always wants to kiss her and play with her. Which is very sweet! And thankfully James hasn't had any jealousy issues since Claire was born. He is actually quite helpful to me! Some ways he helps is by fetching things for me, singing to one of the crying babies, and putting a pacy back in Claire's mouth. Without James my day would be much harder and much more boring!

Welcome to our family little Claire!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pumpkin Patching

Today is the first day since about March that it has been in the 70's and even some overcast too! And since its starting to feel a little bit like fall, we thought it would be a fun and relatively cool day to go to a local orchard and pumpkin patch. I am a New York girl at heart and I love my fall season. And I especially love a pumpkin patch since my family owns one in upstate New York! 

I've been able to keep sporting the Baby Bjorn throughout this pregnancy to carry Christina but being 37 weeks it's starting to be a pretty tight fit with one baby inside and another on top! 

James had a hard time deciding on a pumpkin. I guess he has not developed his mother's severe decisiveness! His aimless wandering from pumpkin to pumpkin reminded me of my brother Douglas and something he used to say. It's like being a mosquito in a nudist colony. He knew what he wanted, he just didn't know where to start!

Brian and his Mini-Me!

The kids and me enjoying the hayride while Brian bought the goods (pumpkins, cider, and doughnuts). I am most excited for the cider! Baby Christina seemed to really like the hayride. I think she enjoyed the movement and bouncing around. She had been crabby most of the outing since she hates to be in natural lighting, but he are mean parents and make her be outside sometimes! When we got on the hayride she finally calmed down and stopped fidgeting and whining. It was a fun family outing and fun to finally enjoy some cooler weather. And probably one of our last family outings before Brian and I are outnumbered! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nesting at 36 weeks pregnant

I am 36 weeks pregnant now and I am ready for this baby to come! I have felt great this pregnancy, but I do feel much older and more sluggish this time around. And I feel ready to reclaim my body since it feels like I've been pregnant for two years (since I basically have been with a couple months off!) 

Brian normally considers me an intellectual equal (and arguably superior) but during this pregnancy he believes I have lost my mind and with it all logic and reason! I will concede that my nesting instinct has taken full effect and sometimes might appear neurotic. But quite ironically Brian has been doing a bit of his own nesting. Out of the blue late Saturday night he decided to rip up our guest bathroom and begin a bathroom remodel just weeks (maybe only days) before the baby comes! So I don't think his argument about my sanity holds very much water...

My doctor seems keen on not inducing me and letting things happen naturally. I do not like this plan. In fact, I hate this plan. I feel ready to be done and would like to plan accordingly! So I plan to will this baby out of me, I just hope it happens over the weekend since that would be much more convenient with Brian's work. If only it worked this way... Oh wait it can! When you get induced! Okay, I'll stop whining now. Maybe I am crazy...

Each day that goes by it has been sinking in more and more that there will be three small kiddos around here! And I fear it is going to feel a bit like having twins because of baby Christina's slow development and needs. This was especially true after stuffing our two new car seats and James' booster seat into the back of our small Ford Escape! Wish us luck! 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Watching the fan

Christina spent much of the morning lying on her back looking at the fan spin around and around. Her eyes were wild going back and forth as it spun. This is note and blog worthy because I've never seen her track something like this before. She rarely even looks at things. So this was a big deal for our little gal! And those little legs of hers are just so cute I could eat them up! But I was mostly worried about her eyes drying out with the fan on and since she doesn't blink or close them, so I just kept adding her eye ointment even more often than usual! And I swear we aren't neglectful about her on the hardwood, she  really doesn't mind it and she never stays on her blankets we lay out for her! And in case you are wondering about those boxes on the left, those are my two new car seats and double stroller for when our new baby girl comes in a few weeks! I never thought I'd be so excited about car seats and a stroller! But I am pretty pumped!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Trip to Oklahoma

I took a last minute trip with James and baby Christina before baby number three is born. I don't foresee myself traveling alone much after we have three kids... So I booked a flight to Oklahoma to see my family and escape the last of the hot Vegas summer.

It was funny to see James meet new people on this trip and hear him talk about himself. He would disclose his full name, birthday, address and other sensitive personal information. I don't think we will be teaching him his Social Security number anytime soon! But I guess if he ever got lost he would be helpful to the police in giving them his information... 

Oklahoma is serious about their football teams and marching bands. James and grandpa went to watch Jenny in the parade and the homecoming game of her high school.

Jenny playing in the marching. Jenny helps keep me current on all things popular culture. She seems to think I'm pretty far behind and old now. She was impressed with some of my knowledge and correct usage of things but her compliments sounded like when she compliments my mom for being up-to-date and those compliments always seem half backhanded!

She informed me that Facebook is now for old people and moms and Instagram and Snapchat are where it's popular now. I told her I did have an Instagram account but that I had only posted one picture and it was 26 weeks ago. She wasn't very impressed! But I have 3 or 4 followers and a couple likes just from that one photo so looking at percentages here I personally think that's not too bad for just posting one picture! Even with that logic she's still not impressed!

We went several times to this delicious Thai restaurant. It was some of the best food I've ever had and I felt badly that Brian wasn't with us. My parents thought James was a funny boy because he LOVES to go out to eat at sit down restaurants and is always very well behaved. James will have a conniption if he even thinks we are going to go through the drive-thru somewhere. He insists on going inside. (I think he may have gotten that from me... I can't help that I like to go inside and enjoy my time and refill my Diet Coke!) And I wish I could say that this is just an unflattering picture of me, but I'm pretty sure I really am that big and ready to have this baby!

We also went to this gas station/burger joint off Route 66 called Pops. They have thousands of different kinds of bottled soda from all over. They even had several sodas from the nostalgic Stewart's bottled in New York. 

James and grandpa playing some "Robot Table Tennis". They are a pretty cute duo!

On our way home after our very fun trip!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birthday Suit and Very Hot Baths

I took this picture back on Christina's birthday right at bedtime. She is fresh out of the bath and in yummy white pajamas. There is something just so delicious about a baby that is freshly fed, bathed, (in her case medicated), lotioned and ready for bed! And she of course assumes her favorite yoga pose! 

Strangely, baby girl likes very hot bathes. I obviously don't let her enjoy them as hot as she would like as to avoid overheating! But like me, I can tell she likes a scalding hot bath. I discovered this because I tend to have her take baths with me because it's difficult to have her use a baby bath since she can't hold up her torso or head. So one evening, I had drawn a fairly hot bath for myself (to listen to my Dave Ramsey podcast, my nightly ritual) and then figured maybe I'd just quickly bathe Christina too. I put just her feet in to see how she would react to the searing water. A smile ensued and relaxation took over as I dipped her deeper and deeper in! She is such a cute and funny little girl! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Year

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since our sweet baby Christina was born. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago. It has been a wonderful year with our little angel and we are so amazed with her progress since we weren't even sure she'd survive the first year. Now she is a (relatively) strong and thriving girl! She still has many challenges and always will, but she is happy and comfortable and that is what is most important to us.  

When we contemplate on this past year we have learned and grown so much with Christina. In reflection some of the things we've learned:

To find joy in very small accomplishments and milestones

As morbid as it may sound, but just go to sleep and hope she's still alive in the morning, and if she's not that's okay

The respite of good friends is important

Find humor and take light of things

Don't be surprised to receive doctor bills nine months after date of service

Keeping your marriage strong and romantic is important

It's good to get out of the house and still do normal routines with the kids

Get a good group of doctors but don't let them push you around

Lots a medical knowledge, some doctors legitimately thought I had been to medical school

Be comfortable to talk and be blunt about Christina's condition so others are more comfortable around her

Don't get offended by comments of others and children really do say what they think, but I find that refreshing

I'm always surprised at the people Christina takes a liking to 

I'm also surprised at the people that just adore her and find her genuinely beautiful 

James' favorite primary song to sing is called I Will Follow God's Plan. Since having Christina this song has had new meaning to me. Every life has a purpose and is of value. Even that of a severely handicapped little girl. Her life may differ from most others but it is still a gift and a blessing. We are all God's children and He loves each of us. 

My life is a gift; my life has a plan.
My life has a purpose; in heav'n it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth
And seek for God's light to direct me from birth.
I will follow God's plan for me,
Holding fast to his word and his love.
I will work, and I will pray;
I will always walk in his way.
Then I will be happy on earth
And in my home above.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

These two kiddos are my favorite!

 Watching James and Christina play is the cutest thing! They mutually have fun with each other. Anything James does she finds hilarious and entertaining! Which is very helpful since I will assign James to play (babysit) with sissy and keep her happy so I can shower and do my makeup or wash the kitchen floor, etc. 

You know when you are in a bad mood or stressed about something and there are a few things that can lift your mood. For me it is taking a bath with a Diet Coke and listening to Dave Ramsey, or looking at the picture below! She is just so darn cute and bashful!

And my sweet baby James, who isn't a baby at all anymore, is just as fun as ever! Such a big boy who wishes he was going to school in the fall, too bad for him he has to wait until 2015. I'm just glad I get a year more to enjoy with him!

Baby girl gets around on her knees sometimes, but lately she has been popping her bum in the air like downward dog and walking around with her head on the floor! She's even started attempting to lift her head, but it's not too easy for her. She learned that she can rest her chin and face on her arm to look around a little better. 

And she loves blankets and stuffed animals in her bed. I will put one or two in there and she will reach around until she finds one and cuddle with it. I've tested her and moved them away from her and she will move to find it! She's such a little cuddle bug!

Miss Chris has been adding some more teeth to her mouth and with that has come a crabby girl. At church this week she was so out of sorts but still very dolled up! I did manage to get her to smirk a little, she was resisting though! Oh and those dimples!