Monday, July 28, 2014

Noel: 2 1/2 Years Old



Dear Noel,

It's been a long time since I wrote you a letter, dearie, so I figured it was high time I sat down and wrote one to you!

First of all, I'm sorry that you don't have all the same cute photos of your third year that Lane has. It's nothing personal. It's not even that you're the second child. It's that we've been in America ever since you turned two and life has just been crazy all around. I really hope to do a better job documenting some of your likes and dislikes and funny things you're doing, but I make no promises. Because honestly, when I have a few minutes to do things like that, most of the time I'd rather spend the time making memories with you than preserving memories. So play time usually wins out. Sorry, sweetie.


Sidewalk chalk! 'Nough said!

But on to the fun stuff. You, my dear, are hilarious. You are so, so verbal and it's absolutely amazing that you can pretty much hold your own in a conversation. You might start your sentence a million times before you find all the exact words you want to use, but you can hold a conversation with anyone. You could probably hold a conversation with a rock as well. But that's neither here nor there. You like to talk. I think you're fighting for attention and expressing yourself so we pay attention to you. Anyways, you say some really funny stuff. Like when we go outside and it's sunny and you want your sunglasses you'll exclaim, "My eyes are hot!" You say "buh-diculous" for ridiculous and "mead" for "need." And one of our favorites is that you ask us to do things with you "for a few whiles." It's like you've confused "a few minutes" with "a little while" and it's just so stinkin' cute. A lot of the time when we ask you a question you answer ambiguously: "Noel, do you want breakfast?" "I fink…" It's rarely yes or no, it's "I fink" or "I fink so." You've started to say, "That hurt my feelings" when you don't like something that someone's said, and just today when I was telling you that you had to eat one bite of spaghetti (you don't like red sauce) you told me, "I don't like those words." Ha! You're a hoot.

You are very, very emotional. You've always been this way, somewhat, but now that you're emotional and two, it makes for a lot of crying around here. You pitch a lot of fits and whine a lot, and you'll burst into tears because you're in trouble, and then five minutes later when you're still crying and I ask you why, you honestly reply, "I don't know!" through all your tears. You are also slow to warm up to people. You don't like crowds of people you don't know, and you don't really like anyone new, no matter how old or young. After you're around someone for awhile and get used to them then you can be best buddies, but until then you will most likely scream and yell, "Mama!" and run from them every chance you get.


You love the carousel!

Lane is your very best friend. You love to play with her, and you girls are actually getting good at playing together. Lane still drives a lot of the action, but you are usually quite happy to play along. Although you also hold your own a lot of the time…you don't let her take toys you're playing with or tell you what to do when you want to do something else. You have a great imagination and can actually be quite bossy when we're playing with you: you know exactly how you want everything to go and if we're playing "wrong" you will correct us. How a second-born child got as bossy as you I have no idea, but I'm glad you're not a pushover like a lot of second-borns are! And you love Raye…you say all the time, "Raye is so cute!" and you love to "pet" her and snuggle her. You can't wait to play with her.

This summer you've been wearing 3T clothes for the most part. You have some 2T things that fit, but mostly you're just wearing all 3Ts. And you're in a size 7 shoe. You were 36 inches tall and 29 pounds at your last doctor's visit (in April). You tell me frequently, "You're my best mommy," to which I reply, "You're my best Noel." Although really, if we have to call it like it is, you're a daddy's girl. You love your daddy and will choose him over me most of the time. I have my moments, but honestly, you prefer him.


You have really enjoyed swimming this summer.

You love to sing. You know all the words to Jesus Loves Me, the Auburn Fight Song, Glory, Glory to Ole Auburn, Auburn's Alma Mater (can you tell that Daddy is starting you young?), Sanctuary, Bless the Lord, and a host of other songs. You love to be read to and currently love our Pete the Cat book. You also love animals, especially any animal that will let you pet them. So you really enjoy petting Mimi and Papa's cat Ty, and any other cat that will have you.

You're a good eater. There are, of course, things you don't like, but you're pretty good about eating a bite or two of them. You've started putting the bite of something you don't like with a bite of something you do like in order to "make it yummy." You like almost all vegetables and most fruits (you're not a fan of cherries or nectarines right now). You love to drink milk and I kind of have to force water into you. You also love juice but you don't get it often, so it's a special treat. You also, of course, love dessert and almost any kind of bread or pasta. And cucumbers. Oh my goodness do you love cucumbers! It's the funniest thing to me just how much you love them!


You colored this in April…you were 2 and maybe 4 months. Impressive, I think.

You're pretty good at coloring and painting and artsy things, although I think you only do them because Lane loves them. If it weren't for her I think you'd just prefer to play most of the time. But we've taught you how to hold a pencil or crayon the right way and you're getting pretty good at staying in the lines. You also are learning how to write your name and can do the O, E, and L with no problems, but connecting the middle line in the N gives you some trouble. But you're doing really well.

You know all your colors, can count to 20 (although we need to work on numbering things while you count them), know all your letters and all basic shapes. You've been potty trained for almost a year now, although you had a lot of accidents up until January or so. You've been sleeping in a big-girl bed since December and you rarely get out of the bed. You still sleep with bunny, blankie, and 'raffie (your giraffe). You hate for me to give you pigtails which is so sad because you're so cute in them. You can put on and take off your pants and undies, and some of your shoes.


Your first time to Florida.

Noel, you're a sweetheart. You're very, very two-years-old these days and pitch lots of fits and demand your own way, but you're also very, very sweet and are fairly compliant and obedient. Every day you get a little more independent and it's fun to watch you grow and develop and learn new things. We are so, so glad you're a part of our family.

I love you,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2 Months Old



Dear Raye,

A week ago you turned two months old. You and I were in Texas visiting one of my good friends, so that's why I didn't write to you then. And since we got back life has just been busy. But lest you think that you are third and therefore never get anything the first two girls get, here we go.


Snoozin' in the bed.

This month you have just become even more sweet than you were before. You are such a good baby. Everyone comments on just how good and easy-going you are. You rarely cry anymore unless you are starving or exhausted. Most of the time when I put you in bed all swaddled up you will just lie there and kick your legs and look at stuff until you fall asleep. You don't cry yourself to sleep unless you're just past the point of no return in the tired department.


Snoozin' at the zoo.

A couple of weeks ago you got your immunizations and you were so, so fussy. It just broke my heart because you're never fussy. You were also weighed and measured and you, my darling, are a chunk. You're up to 23.5 inches long and 12 pounds, 13 ounces. You'd gained 4.5 pounds in seven weeks. We had to pack up your newborn clothes and pull out the 3-month stuff already. Goodness. You also took your first airplane ride(s) and went to your fourth state, Texas. You were a champ on the plane and gave me no problems at all.


In the airport waiting for our flight to DFW.

For awhile you were doing really well sleeping at night, only waking up once around 3 a.m., but recently you've figured out how to work your arms out of your swaddle so it seems that that is the reason you're waking up at around 1, and then around 4, and then around 6. I should just break you of the swaddle but that presents us with another "problem": you've found your thumb and hands, and you like to suck on them. And I'm not up for you being a thumb sucker, so you're staying swaddled until I can get you to like the paci better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can break you of the thumb and finger-sucking, since I did it with Noel. We shall see. But if you could start sleeping longer at night again I'd really appreciate it.


You usually start out about like this...


And end up about like this.

This month you started cooing at us and smiling a ton. If anyone will talk sweet to you you'll just grin and coo back. Except Noel…the poor girl loves you to death and always wants to "pet" you and talk to you, but she's just a little too loud and in-your-face for your preference…and you usually end up crying when she's trying to kiss on you and hug you and talk to you. But she'll learn. And you'll develop thicker skin. =) This month you also learned how to use your feet to kick the spiders that hang down over your bouncy seat. It's really funny to watch you carefully lift your foot to kick a spider. We're all impressed. And your umbilical cord finally fell off at five weeks, so you've finally gotten some tummy time. You're still not a big fan, and honestly I don't put you on your tummy as often as I should because it means I have to watch you like a hawk so you don't bash your face when your neck gets tired, but hey, we're working on it. And your neck is quite strong when we're holding you upright. So you might not roll over as early as your sisters did, but you'll catch up to them in no time.


Kicking spiders!


Tummy time.

Raye, you are such a sweet, easygoing baby. Everyone in our family loves you and you are such a sweet addition to our other girls. I'm so excited to see you grow and interact with them and figure out your place in our crazy little family.

I love you.
Mommy

Monday, June 23, 2014

Life Lately

When was the last time I wrote a real post on here? I feel like it's been forever. I mean, I love my kids, but gosh, they take up all my free time! But like a friend who's a mommy of six once told me, "If you have one kid, they take up all your time. If you have two kids, they take up all your time. If you have five kids, they take up all your time!" So I don't really feel like I'd have a lot more time if I had fewer children. Maybe if I had older children, but not fewer…

Anyways, life. Life is crazy up in these parts. Here's why:


Playing in the pool at the Memorial Day gathering with Shannon's stepmom's side of the family.

Lane. Ahh, my dear Lane. Smart as a whip and stubborn as a mule. Still. We have moved past the tantrums stage, past the basic disobedience stage (mostly), and now we're in the manipulative shrew stage. This girl tries to talk her way into whatever she wants. She's also getting some sass and attitude, which is not acceptable. So we're giving her a drop of vinegar on her tongue when her mouth says something as nasty as vinegar tastes. Not sure if it's working, but we're working on taming the tongue.


Checking out the fish at the aquarium in Gatlinburg.

Noel. Dear goodness I love that girl but she is oh. so. two-years-old these days. She's super smart and very verbal, but she is so stinking emotional. Hence lots of fits are being pitched in the Scarbrough household these days. She cries when she doesn't get her way, and then she cries more when she gets in trouble for crying from not getting her way. She has become more work than Lane, and that's saying a lot since she's always been the easier of the two of them.


Love the look on her face.

Raye. Well, let's face it. All newborns are a lot of work. Raye is pretty easy-going and mellow but she still requires the basics. I'm so thankful she's a quick eater. Most of the time we can be completely finished with a feeding session in 20 minutes, including changing a diaper and burping her, and even changing her clothes if necessary. She's sweet and calm but she is still a baby, so adding in the unknown of her schedule and needs on a daily basis and it just helps things be a little crazier around here.

Shopping. Since we're getting ready to head back overseas we're stocking up on stuff for the next three years and replacing what's worn out over the last four years. Clothes and shoes for me and Shannon (he actually needed more clothes than I did…I needed mainly clothes to get me through the 10-pounds-heavier-than-normal-because-I-just-had-a-baby stage. But I needed more shoes than him…I've only had one new pair of good shoes in the last four years). Random spices, medicines, kitchen supplies. Sheets and mattress protectors, luggage, and so on. I'm so tired of shopping!

Surgery. About two days after bringing home a certain 8 lb., 5 oz. chunk from the hospital, I developed tendonitis in my left wrist. Of course I didn't know that's what it was until this past Wednesday, when I found out and scheduled surgery for Friday. It was a last-minute decision in order to fix the problem the quickest so we can still try to make it back out of the country by the end of July. I did it without sedation, and am recovering nicely, although I feel a bit like a gimp with my wrist in such a huge splint. I am grateful to have more capabilities than I thought I would, though!


The girls attended Vacation Bible School a couple of weeks ago. In order to earn some money to put in the offering plate I set them to work gathering sticks out of the yard (it has stormed SO many times here this summer…it's crazy how much it's rained!). I think they did a pretty good job for 2 and 4 years old!

Doctor's visits. Since Raye was born we've been to the doctor…too many times. Three times for Raye, plus a hospital visit for her hearing screen (that they forgot to do while we were actually staying there). Twice for Shannon (basic physical and bloodwork). Four times for me (basic physical, six-week postpartum checkup, initial visit to the orthopedic surgeon, actual surgery). Once for Lane (double ear infection and strep throat). And we've been to the dentist, too. Both Lane and Noel have been for a cleaning, and I went twice for the two stages of a crown (gotta say that as much as it stinks, I'm grateful that after four years overseas the only thing that Shannon and I needed was one crown each…not too bad when the only work you need done is to fix old work that's just…old.). Anyone counting? That's eleven visits just to the doctor and four to the dentist in the last seven weeks. And there's more to come: Raye's 6-week check-up and immunizations this Wednesday. Noel still needs the last booster in her rabies vaccination series, and she needs her hepatitis A booster shot. These involve driving almost an hour to the department of health in downtown Birmingham. I'll have a follow-up visit from this surgery in two weeks. And surely between now and then someone will get sick and need to go to the doctor for a prescription. Yikes.


A rare photo of all of us on the train at Dollywood.

A bit of fun. *I went to the movies for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long without Shannon. I went with some ladies from church and we saw "Moms' Night Out." It was definitely not quite a mom's night out for me since I had Raye in tow, but it was a cute movie and I definitely enjoyed it. *We bought year passes for the Birmingham Zoo and we've taken the girls three times so far. We're looking at taking them again today if the rain will hold off. It's so nice to be able to go for just a couple of hours and not feel like we have to stay all day to "get our money's worth." Even Raye has been to the zoo. *I went shopping a couple of times and got some new summer clothes that will hopefully fit me after I've lost the rest of my baby weight: maxi skirts and a dress and modest tank tops. It's so great to be wearing something other than maternity clothes! *We spent a week in  Gatlinburg on a much-needed vacation: we just swam and let the girls watch a few more shows than usual, ate special treats, spent a day at Dollywood, and just got to be together without other things pulling us in a million directions. My dad and stepmom and sister and her family came for our weekend there, and Shannon's dad and stepmom and the girls' cousin Alexandra came for the rest of the week. It was a good break for us all.


Daddy in the pool with both his girls.

Getting healthy. Shannon's cholesterol is too high, he has about ten pounds to lose, and I have at least ten pounds left to lose, really more like 15. So we're on a diet…lots of fruits and veggies, not many carbs or sweets. It's so nice to feel like cooking, because that last month or so of pregnancy was just miserable and I did NOT want to be on my feet cooking anything. Now I want to be in the kitchen, especially with it being summer and there being lots of good, fresh produce available. We joined a gym and Shannon's been going regularly for a couple of months now, and on alternate days he exercises his shoulders and upper back (as prescribed by the PT he saw for six weeks while we were in North Carolina in response to his injuring his shoulder last summer). I went three times this last week and am doing the Couch-to-5K program. Now that we think we're done having babies I actually see the point in getting back into shape. =)

So there's a bit of what's been going on around here. I'm headed to Texas on Sunday to visit a dear friend and the bigger girls will probably spend time with their grandparents while I'm gone so Shannon can get some work done. After that we'll be mostly just trying to get ready to move back overseas and keep our sanity!

Monday, June 2, 2014

1 Month Old



Dear Raye,

Today you are one month old. I think this has been the fastest month to pass by in history. It seriously seems like just yesterday that I was miserably pregnant with you and begging the doctor to induce me. It's also amazing to me that I have three daughters. Three. My heart is so full, and I'm so grateful for each of you.


Your first time to "Doughnut Friday," where daddy takes the girls for doughnuts. Mamoo was there, too!



You are a very good baby. I bought a sling/wrap to carry you around in so that you can get some good naps in if we're out and about a lot, or if you're just having a rough day with naps. But as of today you seem to be getting the whole nap thing. You fell asleep in your little travel crib, on your own, without much fussing or crying, three times today. Yesterday you had a nap or two in the travel crib where you fussed for about 15 minutes, but you didn't cry or scream like you sometimes do. I will be very happy when we figure the napping thing out, as so far that is the hardest part of having three kids: when you don't want to nap so I just have to hold you or comfort you…it makes getting anything else done (or spending time with your big sisters) nearly impossible. So I'm happy that we're making some progress there. You are sleeping well at night, though, so for that I am grateful. You generally wake up twice in the middle of the night, but this past week you've done a 5.5-hour and a 6.5-hour stretch without eating, so you were only up once in middle of the night those nights. I'm hoping that you follow in Noel's steps and sleep through the night by three months…maybe you'll even do it earlier since you were over two pounds heavier than her when you were born!





You have passed the super-sleepy newborn stage (and let's face it, since you were 12 days late we didn't get but a couple of super-sleepy days) and are alert and wide-eyed and taking it all in. You've smiled a few times this month and cooed at us a few times. You are perfectly content to look around and don't demand to be held all day, unless you're overtired, and then you just want to sleep in our arms. I think that your ideal wake time length is 50 or 60 minutes…you like to be awake and will keep yourself there if we don't get you to sleep in time, but if we get you in bed before the hour mark has passed you seem to sleep better.



You haven't had any tummy time this month because your stubborn umbilical stump just won't fall off. Your neck is strong, though…I can tell from letting you lie on my chest and lift your head, or when I'm burping you and you look around…you have good head control for a 1-month old. I took you to the doctor almost three weeks ago and you had gained 1.5 pounds from your birthweight…you were 9 lbs, 13 oz three weeks ago. Surely you are a good ten pounds now, if not 11. You are a fast eater, usually finishing in about five minutes per side. You have a little bit of baby acne but not too much. You still have a ton of hair. And the general consensus seems to be that you look like Lane (and therefore like your daddy).





This month you've met all of your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents except for your Uncle Sean. You took your first road trip through Georgia (briefly) and on to Tennessee. You got your first passport. You went to the aquarium in Gatlinburg, although you slept through the whole visit. You've had a lot of adventures already. Your big sisters love you so much…they love to "pet" you, and Noel constantly says, "Raye is so teeny." They're glad you're here, as are the rest of us. It's been a wonderful month, and we pray for many, many more with you.

We love you,
Mommy (and Daddy)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Birth Story

The bigger girls are in bed, Raye is snuggled on my chest asleep, Shannon is watching Star Wars, and my mom, who's in town for a few days, is also in bed. I have about an hour before I need to feed Lil' Miss Raye and put her down for the night, so I figured I'd try to type out her birth story before I forget it. Not that this blog has a huge readership anymore, or that I even post often, but still…I want to remember her birth story, as uneventful as it was. =)

On Wednesday, April 30th I went to the doctor for my 41 week check-up. Since the previous Monday I had progressed to "a good three" centimeters dilated and 60% or so effaced. The week before I was 2.5 or so and 40/50%. I. was. miserable. Seriously, on Monday I woke up and told Shannon that I wanted to call the doctor and go in and be induced that day. My joints were (still are) super swollen…my hips hurt from lugging around an extra 45-50 pounds. My hands were/are arthritic at night time…I can barely bend my fingers for an hour or so after waking up. And I was just…you know, 41 weeks pregnant. Or more like 41.5 weeks pregnant. So miserable.


Moments with daddy.

So anyways, I went into the doctor's appointment ready to ask to be induced. I think she would have given me another few days if I'd wanted them, but considering Lane was 17 days late and I was already 11 days past due…I really didn't want to just keep waiting just to be induced the following week. So we went into the hospital on Wednesday evening for a slow overnight induction. I have to give my doctor props for not pushing me into their normal induction schedule…she allowed me to dictate what I did and did not want, and she listened to me. She spent the night at the hospital so I could be induced overnight and didn't insist on the "get 'er done" route that is usually taken with inductions. Major props to my doctor. After being induced with Lane I really didn't want the ramrod of pitocin that produces a baby in eight hours…it was just so miserable. So I asked for a slow pitocin drip and for them not to break my water. I wanted to try it without getting an epidural but knew (from previous experience) that pitocin-induced contractions are worse than natural ones and that I might cave on the epidural. But I didn't care enough about standing firm on the "no epidural" thing to wait for Raye to come on her own.

So we ate some dinner and then checked into the hospital around 6 pm on Wednesday night and got the induction going around 8. It was a very slow, very boring first eight hours. I couldn't sleep because, well, I had an iv attached to me, and I was starving by early morning. Around 5 am when the nurses changed shifts my contractions began to pick up. Shannon and I walked the halls a bit, I sat on the birthing ball, and just kind of breathed through the contractions. I think my doctor came in around 6 or 6:15 and checked me and I was dilated to a 5. She left and we decided to walk the halls a bit, but the contractions were picking up and making me want to stick close to the bathroom, so we didn't walk for long. I think that around 6:45 I told Shannon, "I don't want to do this," meaning, "I don't want to do this without an epidural." I was exhausted and was starting to feel the effects of 12 hours with no food…I was starting to get shaky. And I was doubting my ability to endure labor and delivery knowing how my body responds to low blood sugar and an empty tummy: getting the shakes and feeling like I'm going to pass out. I knew that I could do it without the epidural…I just didn't want to.


Three girls! Lane and Noel meeting Raye for the first time.

So I asked for an epidural. The man who gave it to me was so nice and calm…it was really nice after the one I had with Lane where the lady talked on her cell phone and made me sign the consent form while going through contractions. I got the epidural around 7:15 and was feeling much more relaxed within 10 minutes or so. Honestly it was just so nice to not notice how hungry I was. Shortly after receiving the epidural I did, true to Michelle-in-labor fashion, throw up. Granted it was only popsicle that came up, but still. I guess I'm just one of those women who always puke when in labor.

My doctor came back around 8:30 and I had dilated to a 9. She broke my water and went to get her scrubs (or whatever) on and by the time she came back I was a 10. I pushed four times (the whole time the doctor and nurses kept commenting on what a good pusher I was, which was a little strange…) and our little Raye was born at 8:49 am on Thursday, letting out a cry the second she was completely out of me. The doctor's first comment was something like, "Wow, this is a fat baby!" And she was a chunker for me at 8 pounds 5 ounces, but she was also really long, almost 22 inches. The doctor put her on my chest all slimy and gross and we just stared at each other for a few minutes. She was very congested sounding so after a few minutes they took her away and ended up suctioning two teaspoons of amniotic fluid out of her stomach. The doctor stitched up my small tear, Raye began to nurse, and Shannon's mom and stepdad came with Lane and Noel at around 9:30. My epidural wore off and we went up to the recovery floor at 10:30 or so.


First moments with Raye.

We got to go home on Friday afternoon…later than we had hoped, but I guess it was actually earlier than most women who deliver at this hospital do. Policy is that you have to stay 24 hours, but they want you to stay 48. I was ready to go home on Thursday evening but of course that's not allowed. So we stayed. We actually got a decent night's sleep on Thursday evening because we were so exhausted from being up all night the night before, and the nurses only bother you once every six hours after the first 12 hours. So it ended up being a blessing in some ways that Raye was born so early in the morning…it made the nighttime much more bearable!

And that is the story of how our youngest peanut came to join the fair. It's been a good 12 days since she joined us. A tiring 12 days, but good ones. And I am so glad to not be pregnant anymore.


First family-of-five photo…horrible as it is of at least two of us!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Introducing...



Leah "Raye" Scarbrough
May 1st, 8:49 a.m.
8lbs 5oz, 21.75 inches long



More details to come later, but for now let's just say she's nursing well, pooping well, and so far the most content and quiet baby we've ever had. Mama is exhausted and Lane and Noel are ready to come home, but everyone is so glad baby sister is finally here!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

40 Weeks (third time around…kind of)

Here we are again. 40 weeks. I had really hoped that this one would be like Noel and come a few days early, but no dice.

So here I am with swollen hands, swollen ankles, and +50 pounds. Yes, I gained another 3 pounds last week, some of which is probably water weight and some may have been my clothes (it was a good bit colder at my appointment this past week than it was the week before), but still…I'm not relishing this huge weight gain.


40 weeks and a day or two. Easter Sunday, 2014.

The only good news about this baby being late is that I had time to a) get my hair cut for the first time in 14 months, and b) get a pedicure for the first time in five years [side note: the man pulled out something that looked like a bottle opener but must have actually been a heavy duty shredder/razor to use on my calluses. Embarrassing.]. And now chances are very great that all of our girls with have birth dates with a "2" in them…Noel was born on the 12th, Lane on the 22nd, and now this one will probably have a "2" as well. I'm picking at straws here, people. Don't laugh at me.

So that's life at 40 weeks. I'm done. I ate 2/3 of a pineapple yesterday and may go walk a couple of miles later today in effort to move this baby along. No such luck so far. Today would be a good day for her to be born…it was my great-grandmother's birthday…just sayin'…