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Happy Ten!

Ten years ago on July 22, 2006, under a beautiful St. Louis sky, we said, “I do!”

kate and nate

(I know my wedding dress was plain, but I picked it knowing I would still look back on it with love ten years later.  And I do.  I still love it to this day.)

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Ten years is a big one and it’s hard to imagine us as shiny newlyweds on that day, full of hopes and dreams.  This year, more than ever, so many have come true.

In ten years we’ve had three babies, lived in four houses (soon to be five!), and had six jobs between us.  We’ve traveled, cooked, done house projects, fought (mostly when doing house projects), budgeted, and created a sweet little life together.

One particular anniversary, our seventh one, is particularly meaningful because N accepted his job in Marion on that day.  We didn’t know it then, but it would kick us off on an adventure to moving back to Upland and then give him the experience he would need to get the next one.

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On that anniversary, we had a two month old Bea and now today, we have a nearly two month old Sibby who had the pleasure of accompanying us on our ten year anniversary Germantown progressive dinner.

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My sister actually brainstormed the idea with us in the pool at Rosemary beach and then she and N ironed out the details.  We went to Silo for appetizers (deviled eggs! smoked oyster dip!), 5th & Taylor for soup/salad (lobster chowder), and Germantown Cafe for the main course (filet with mashed potatoes and jalapeno creamed sweet corn).  Oh my goodness, were we stuffed by the end, but it was worth every bite.  The best part was all of these restaurants were in the same strip so we walked to each and the entire meal took us about three hours, start to finish.

It’s a good thing we had so much to catch up on after being apart the whole week!

For dessert, he went to Vegan Vee’s and purchased a delicious gluten free cake.  My parents kept the older girls while we spent the night downtown.  I ended up booking through Hotwire and got a great deal.  When we got there, with the mention of our anniversary and a little “incentive”, they upgraded us to the $400/night suite and brought up champagne…sweet!

For our ten year anniversary, I had a imagined a big trip, perhaps to Europe, or maybe a vow renewal ceremony at our schoolhouse.  This was nothing nearly so grand or memorable, but it was perfect, for us, for now.

Happy decade, babe!

-smk

 

 

 

Things I forget

There are things I forget in between and around the entrance of babies.

I forget that the lack of sleep causes me to forget words often and not remember the punch lines to jokes.  This morning I struggled with the difference between sale and sell and yesterday I wrote “he was a welcome sign” rather than sight.

I forget about the feeling of waking up to feed her, only to fall back asleep before I do and in the midst, dreaming that I already have.

I forget that I am very plugged in to social media right now, as I spend a lot of time sitting in a rocker, nursing.  As the evening progresses, however, I try to stock pile Instagram and blog checks for the 3am feeding.

I forget that I have a lot of time to read right now(in about 7 minute increments), also rocking in this chair.  Some of the best books I’ve ever read have been a companion to nursing one of my babies.

I forget that I feel burdened by constantly putting her needs above everything else but if I’m away from her for too long, my arms begin to ache for her.

And I forget that if she’s’ not in them, I walk around, with a constant nagging suspicion that i’m forgetting something.

-smk

Sweet Sibs, Month One

Sweet Sibs is now one month old (plus a few, but let’s not count our chickens right now).

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View More: http://kimmyhowardphotography.pass.us/sibbym

She is a frequent and efficient eater, evidenced by the more than two pounds she has already gained over her birthweight.  I feel that as my third, she has gotten the best version of me and I wonder how much of a happier baby MG would have been had I just thrown the scheduled feedings out the window and watched her cues instead (Bea was somewhere in the middle of these two, per usual).

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This month has not been without our share of challenges, however, as we spent five days in the hospital treating a suspected blood infection.  During that time, I thought I lost my sweet, easy going baby as she was constantly agitated when awake and would not sleep anywhere but my arms.  She also grew to hate the pacifier as it was constantly forced in her mouth while they poked her with needles and thermometers.  Previously her pacifier satisfied her constant desire to suck….so you can put two and two together why she gained so much weight so quickly.

However, the first night back at home she slept a few hours in her own bed and was noticeably happier.  Just a few days later and we had our sweet girl back; whom I’m happy to report, has reestablished her appreciation of the paci.

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We can’t quite agree on who she looks like.  I’ve decided it’s a mixture between both MG and Bea as babies.  I don’t see a strong resemblance to either N or I’s baby photos but if I had to choose one, I would say mine.  MG and Bea did not look very much alike as babies, so I like that Sibby seems to be the missing link between them.  She also has her own look though too; but shares her blue eyes and outie belly button with her sisters.

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She does not like baths or sleeping flat on her back.  Her skin is deliciously soft and her wrists and ankles are already forming deep rolls, a tribute to her eating ability.  Her hair is blondish-brown, with maybe a hint of copper at times and in the right light.  Her skin changes daily and seems very susceptible to heat rash and sweat.  She’s become less of a bag of bones when you pick her up and more meaty.  Her head still bobbles around on its turtle neck, but it does stretch out and try to look around occasionally when you pick her up.

Her smile is easily coaxed out and if you’re lucky, it comes with some throaty coos that almost sound like a precursor to a laugh.  She has the most Heavenly smell, a mixture of milk, Mustela, and her own sweet baby perfume.

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Other than the hard five days of the hospital, this month was a dream.  N was around pretty much since her birth as his work wrapped up in the days preceding and his schoolwork wrapped up just after.  The older girls adjusted well to her presence as they had a lot of people to assist their needs (both N and myself, plus my mom for the first week). And their relationship as sisters continued on without any noticeable disruption by baby.  In that way, she has been the easiest baby we have brought home.

My church spoiled us with meals that kept us fed for nearly the first six weeks.  Because of that, and all the help I had, plus the adrenaline that finds me after birth, I was so relaxed and felt well-adjusted fairly quickly into this transition.  It was, in fact, a very sweet time we had before everything shifted.

We love you so much, Sibby.  It’s hard to imagine there was a life before you.  XO

-smk

Hello, Old Friend

Sometimes I feel as though I am the last person I know who keeps a blog.  I know it’s unfashionable to do so anymore (to be replaced, understandably, by much quicker forms of storytelling, such as Instagram and Snapchat—both of which I am a user and fan), I still believe in its value; but I also just as often find myself wondering how much longer will this space still be here for me?  Will my motherhood muse let me continue to tell her stories?  Will I later regret my moments of vulnerability and my lack of control over who and when can peek into my little window?

I guess when I contemplate these things at length (like the ~three minutes a day I get in the shower), I still feel it’s valuable for me to do so, both as a way to relate stories to my family and faithful followers, a catalogue of easily accessible memories for my girls to access one day, and also as a way to stretch my writing muscles and keep them from atrophy.  So here I (still) am, and plan to stay for a while, despite my silence as of late.

Speaking of which, it has been too long since my last update; I intended to share Sibby’s birth story nearly a month ago but we’ve had quite the series of events that interrupted it.  And now  I am just sitting down to write after an absence of nearly as long.  My writing, due to some of these events, has been regulated to snatches of time caught around nap and bedtime when I’m not rocking or feeding a baby.  And now that I no longer have a huge belly to hinder me, I’m also anxious to get back to sewing.  So that is also competing for my creative time that seems to find me far less these days, but is always welcomed with open arms and dismissed with a satisfied sigh.

Honestly, today has probably been the first “normal” day I’ve had with my trio since bringing Sibby home six weeks ago.  N’s summer came to a quick close and not having him around, I often feel like I am barely keeping my head above water; but I AM keeping my head above water and starting to feel some of the benefits of treading by myself.  A rhythm is starting to form and I’m giving myself a lot of grace as I navigate this minute, but very important season.

All that to say, settle in for some stories to come, all of which the microwave forms of social media cannot touch,

-smk

This is what a baby does to me 

I’m writing this post at 5:26am. Not necessarily a godforsaken hour to all of you, but to me it’s just another hour in the day. Right now there are no boundaries between night and day, no hours that are kept untouched from my presence being needed. And in sixteen days, I’ve become totally accustomed to it. Right now, this is my best thinking time.

Three newborns later, I love having a newborn in the house. It slows me down to a glacial pace, when I am otherwise a multitasking maniac, desperate to accomplish it all. I’ve been able to savor this pace because it comes with the mindset that if only lasts for a minuscule season. Plus, I spent months preparing for it. Some of the things I set in place run like clockwork without me intervening, others get ignored for this season, and then the remaining tasks get job shared by willing friends and family. And for once I feel totally pleased to accept their help. This is what a baby does to me. 

Other things on my mind at this hour: 

Bea has a cold right now with a wicked cough that I desperately hope the rest of us don’t catch, mostly for the sake of the baby. So far it has been a few days without anyone else succumbing, no small miracle considering the drink sharing that goes on around here. 

It is really humbling to accept a meal from a friend. But, oh, what a gift. The time it took to plan it, shop for it, prepare it, and deliver it just as the dinner bell is ringing…this is not something that goes under appreciated. So far we’ve dined on soft corn tortillas filled with brothy, Mexican spiced chicken , baked chicken on a bed of sticky rice with tender broccoli and cauliflower, and campfire style hamburgers with sides of roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. This week we’ve been delivered thick pork chops with sweet potatoes and apples in a cinnamon infused glaze and an updated Shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes and green peppers in place of their traditional cousins. I want to write all of these ideas down so I can add them to my often rut deepening repertoire.  

One thing I find myself itching for each day is a creative outlet. I’ve lost myself to the baby, with bliss, but I find myself spending nap time online window shopping for new fabric and dreaming up a project list for when my time isn’t as sparse. Thankfully this blog allows me some measure of a creative outlet, and one that is easy to do whilst holding a snoring baby to your chest.  

I also need to get out of the house once a day. An evening walk or an afternoon in the sun is an easy fix for this and ices the cake for an all around enjoyable maternity leave.  

-smk

Sweet Sibs 

One week ago, on May 23, 2016, our third born daughter entered the world at 3:56pm.

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Much to our surprise (after the routine ultrasound the week prior that measured her at 6lbs, 13ozs), she tipped the scales at 9lbs, 2os, and 21″ long.  She is our biggest baby by almost 1/2 a pound but considering that I believed her to be 11 days late, I was expecting her to be over 9 pounds (well up until that ultrasound!)

For the first time ever, my mom was in town for the birth and was able to keep the girls for us while we were in the hospital.  The moment they heard she was born, they hopped in the car and headed our way.  That is one good thing about having your baby in the afternoon vs. the middle of the night (my other two).  We were able to see all of our family the same day she was born and then go to bed!  

The girls were quiet and wide-eyed when they came in.  They wanted to know her name (MG still thinks it’s a little silly), and wanted to hold her right away.  When Sibs started crying, Bea wasn’t sure what to think and covered her ears saying the baby was hurting them.  Such a sweet moment to witness as a mom, when everything comes full circle.

While Mom and N went to get dinner from the cafeteria, MG stayed back with me and watched them put Sibs’s first diaper on and give her a shot.  She never took her eyes off the baby and had a ton of questions.

The girls have really adjusted well to having her home (no doubt it helps that we’ve had family around until today so they’ve had lots of extra attention!).  MG is still very intrigued by her and motherly towards her.  She will lay by Sib and watch her for thirty minutes or more.  She also asks to hold her often and is a very good helper with just about anything I need.

Bea is less intrigued by her but also not negatively affected by her presence.  She keeps me informed when Sib is crying (I think it still hurts her ears).  She also randomly runs over and tries to tickle her, but that is about the extent.  I had a feeling Bea would be a wonderful middle child.  She is so even-keeled that the newest upset to the family dynamics barely registers on her radar.

This week with our newest member has been sweet and blissful.  Sib has been an angel newborn so far and there is not a thing I think could be better.  She reminds me so much of Bea in her mannerisms and shares her looks with both girls in this first week but I know she will soon develop her own character traits (and hopefully I will stop calling her Bea!)

Tomorrow is my first day flying solo with the girls and I don’t dread it at all.  Having my family in town really set us up with a clean house, good meals, and lots of entertainment for the girls.  The house got cleaned again today and we have hot meals coming for the next few weeks.

 

(I’m pretty sure this is exactly how she was posed in utero)

I’m not calculating how much (or little) sleep I’m getting at night and just enjoying my only time to be alone with her.  I count it a win that she sleeps some in her bassinet (and the rest in my arms).

As much as I wanted this baby to come earlier, it is clear to me that she is easier for the wait.  Her size helps her sleep and eat well and be all around good-natured.  The timing worked out really well with my mom being in town, celebrating Bea’s birthdayMG’s preschool graduation/dance recital (I didn’t have to miss any of them!), and of course N going into the summer which means a much more relaxed schedule and finally being done with his coursework.

My recovery has been, once again, as easy as can be expected (thanks, in part, to the huge load lifted by my family and N!).  I rejoiced when all of the swelling finally went down this week and I think you will understand my pregnancy woes when I tell you that one week post-partum and I’m down 30lbs (I think half of that was water!).  Part of the huge amount of fluid goes into her birth story which I hope to share soon, as well as her name blog.

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But right now, I’ve got three hungry girls waiting to be fed!

-smk

Baby Name Game, Clue #10: the final cards

Clue #9

Okay no matter what, this will be the final baby name clue until the big reveal!  I promise I will also do a follow-up post to explain the meaning behind her name and these clues.  If you are confused by them, don’t worry!  They were intentionally written that way for a reason.  That being said, a few of you have submitted some REALLY good guesses so I am ready to finally be able to talk about it.

Clue #10: Both parts of our name have a lot of nickname potential and we chose one that is very uncommon

Bonus hint: None of our names are place names (that I’m aware of), there are countless book characters with these names (but not the two of them together, I don’t think), and a portion of our name would pass the test for royal baby names.

Nine Months

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Well today is officially my due date and I honestly never thought I’d make it to this point (especially since I calculated my due date to be more like a week ago!).  Everyone says the third child is a wildcard and I’m definitely buying into that.

Truthfully I’m glad she didn’t come today or yesterday so that I can be present for Bea’s birthday.  And…the further away from this date we go, the easier it will be to celebrate both girls in the future, I’m sure.  I had a long appointment yesterday with my doctor and the whole workup (ultrasound, NST, etc). I’ve mentioned before that I’ve carried some anxiety with me throughout this pregnancy and it was nice to get some good feedback. Ever since then, I’ve been feeling more positive and peaceful than I’ve felt this entire month.  Not only has this month been tough physically (you should see my bed-rolling-over-skills :)), but also mentally (being ready to go at any moment and yet having to wait for an unknown length of time).

My parents have both been here and my mom is staying for the duration.  It certainly relieves some stress knowing we can leave at a moment’s notice without having to arrange childcare for the girls.  Bonus: we’ve been eating like kings and my house has never been cleaner.  Plus the girls are doing well with all of the extra attention they’ve been receiving.  It is tempting to just live like this for a while!

After seeing the doc yesterday, it made it all the more clear that the end is in sight and I should just enjoy this time I have left with the girls and N before things change…permanently.

We did get some good answers at the appointment for why my body seems prepped for labor but it hasn’t happened yet (i.e. tons of Braxton Hicks and other early labor symptoms).  The baby is floating around and high in a lot of fluid (on the higher end of average).  She is presenting posterior, so not exactly favorable for engaging and starting the process.  The best we can hope for is for her to turn face down before my water breaks and then it should go (hopefully) pretty quickly after.  I’ve been given some good tips on how to get her to turn so I’ll be working on that as much as possible in the upcoming days!

It was fun to see her on the big screen again, although she was too big to get any good shots of her face.  When the tech first pulled her up, she commented on what a big baby she was based on her chubby cheeks and arms (this is totally expected since my other two were upper 8’s!), but then when she did the measurements, she came more in the 6-7lb range.  I know these late ultrasounds can be very off size wise but I was still surprised to hear that and I am certain it is at least somewhat inaccurate.  The best part of the ultrasound was when she said, “it looks like she has a ton of hair!” and then pointed out some hair waving around on the back of her head.  I never know if I’m going to get one with hair or not so this was especially comforting to hear-ha!

Any day now and sometime in the next two weeks I guess all of these mysteries will be revealed!  I’m starting to find some fun in the anticipation of it and I think it helps knowing there is a definite end in sight.

(Final name clue to come tomorrow)

-smk

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