Friday, May 30, 2014

An Update on the Many Happenings in Our Simple Slice of Life

As I sit at my kitchen table, typing this blog post, my 15-day-old son is sleeping in his Boppy pillow on the couch, and my daughter is at the babysitter's house.  My husband is 3 1/2 hours away awarding high school seniors with scholarships at an assembly.

I am alone.  All is quiet.

So I figured I couldn't waste the opportunity to sit down and update my readers (whoever you are - I see how many people read this blog and where those views come from, but I'm not quite sure WHO you are) on what is going on with the Murrays.

HAHAHA!  I wrote those first 3 paragraphs 16 days ago, because as soon as I typed it, the baby started screaming.  Such is my life now, right?!

And I am loving it... I mean, sometimes I'm really NOT loving it.  But I love my babies, and I love being able to be home with them...

Except for the 10 minutes a day... usually only 10 minutes, but sometimes longer, but definitely at least once a day... where life breaks out into mass chaos!

For example, my first day home with both kiddos, Keegan got hungry earlier than normal, right in the middle of me trying to get Emersyn her lunch made.  So, I am nursing Keegan, which means one of my arms is completely full, when the microwave beeps.  I realized that I needed to somehow take the macaroni out of the microwave, drain it, and pour milk in it with only one hand!  I contemplated it for like 2 seconds and realized how dangerous it was!  So I had to put the baby down, which means he started to scream, and then Emersyn started repeating "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom..."  And even though I answered her each time, she never told me what she was going to say.

And then 10 minutes later, Emersyn was eating macaroni and cheese, Keegan was nursing, and I was enjoying the recliner.  See, it was just for a little while.  And the rest of the day was pretty fine.

So life has not only been crazy, but also crazy BUSY!!!

We closed on our new house - yes, the one we wanted so much!!!  It needed a new roof, the ceiling in the master bedroom needed fixed, the carpet needed to be replaced in that room too, Keegan's room needed to be painted because it was the most blinding blue, and I hated the yellow in the kitchen.  And then of course as we started on those projects, we discovered more fun projects, like a bathtub leak into the bottom floor, weird wiring in certain places, a leak that still hasn't been looked at by a plumber, a garage door that stopped working, and kids' writing on the walls in a room I hadn't planned on painting.

And then there is the normal packing up our current home...

And then since my school district is sending all the 5th grade classes to the elementary schools, we had to pack up everything in our classes... and then my husband and I decided that I am going to stay home with our kids for a while, so I had to bring all of my personal items home from my classroom.  It filled his truck and a few things went in my car... so we are going to have to have a garage sale!  There is no way I am storing all of that for however many years I stay home with our kids!

We also made a decision on what part-time job I am going to take.  It is funny how life comes full-circle many times!  I met my best friend, Jessica, in 2003, while we were in college.  And then we were roommates for 5 years after I graduated in the house I currently live in.  Then we married really good friends that went to high school together.  Then we were neighbors for 2 years.  And now, I am going to be babysitting her daughter 3 days a week at our new house!  How awesome is that?!  We always said we wanted our kids to play together and be friends before either of us were even dating anyone, and now we are married to close friends and our kids are going to be playing together on a weekly basis!

Today I am going to officially check out with my principal and turn in all my paperwork!  We are finishing all our little projects, like painting and cleaning and packing.  Then we are moving this weekend!

Life has been super crazy busy, almost overwhelming lately.  But when it is all over, and we are finally settled, I know we'll remember just how simple good life really is.  Faith, family, friends, and just taking care of each other in big and small ways.  Loving and living day to day.  I guess some might say it is boring, but believe me, it isn't!  We love our busy, yet simple life!  We are blessed to be the stewards of these two children, this new home, these jobs, and each other!

We truly are blessed beyond measure, and I thank God from whom all blessings flow!
just chilling at home
reading to little brother
so excited to go skating for the first time!

The "SOLD" sign went up at the new house first, and I was nervous because it hadn't gone up at our current house yet.  And then about a week later, a big yellow "SOLD" was in our front lawn!  I ran out to the street to take a picture immediately!

Out for a stroll

my empty classroom - the 3rd room I have cleaned out... and my last for a while

I'm a month old!!!

slipping and sliding in our new backyard!

grilling our first meal with just the 4 of us at our new home

Monday, May 12, 2014

My First Epic Fail as a Mother of My Son and My Heroic Hunter Husband!

Our second night home began with hope that the night from before had only been a fluke.  My mom and Kyle hadn't got much sleep, and I maybe got 2 hours total!  Our thinking that was perhaps since Keegan had had his circumcision the same day we came home, that perhaps that was why he had slept and not been interesting in eating all day.  But around 11pm, he WOKE UP, and not just awake, but ravenous and angry.  I was completely dumbfounded as to where this baby came from that all the days before in the hospital had slept, eaten, been awake for about half an hour, and then slept more... then repeat.  Each time I thought I got him asleep, he would wake up hungry once again.

Our first full day home was miserable, because I was running on fumes!  I told mom that I had even started seeing things around 3am.  I told her that as I nursed Keegan in the recliner, I saw a small paw reach over the side of the arm of the recliner.  It made me jump, of course, and I was scared that perhaps there was a creature of some kind under my chair.  And there I sat by myself in the dark with a vulnerable newborn on my lap!  In fact, when Keegan was done nursing, I just held him and tried to go to sleep holding him on my lap in the boppy pillow, because I was scared to death of what animal was sitting under my chair!

We may have another very expressive child in the family!

So, as night two at home began, I had hopes that Keegan was just as exhausted as I was.  Unfortunately, I was in a lot of pain in my belly, but he needed to nurse again.  So I put a heating pad on my incision, covered up with a fleece blanket and a boppy pillow, and then laid him over the boppy to nurse.  Unfortunately, I dozed off while he nursed.  I don't know how long I was asleep, but I woke up sweating and feeling sick to my stomach.  Keegan was very hot and deep in sleep.  I stripped him down to cool him off, and he slept through it all!  Usually he screams when we change his diaper or clothes.  I was worried that perhaps the heat would hurt him, and I think that is the reason he woke up an hour later, angry and ravenous.  He started to nurse over and over and over, all night.  I worried that two nights in a row of this might be the beginning of our miserable lives.  It is so strange to love someone so much, but to want to walk away from him because he is so needy.

After nursing at least every 2 hours most of the night, Keegan vomited everywhere!  It was like curdled milk, which made me cry because I knew I had made him sick from the heating pad!  I even felt sick to my stomach at how hot I had allowed myself to get!

But after throwing up, he seemed more calm.  He did cool down as well.  So we all went to sleep, hoping that was the end of the nightmare...

When it was time to feed him again, I came into the living room, started to nurse, and then I heard a very creepy sound!  There were some gift bags beside the recliner that people had brought by the hospital, and even though I had opened them at the hospital, I hadn't organized the gifts at home yet.  One of the bags started moving - or more specifically, the things inside the bag started moving!

Now, remember the paw that had come over the side of my recliner the night before?!  I tried to tell myself that I was just seeing things again.  It was all just a lack of sleep.  But it kept happening.

Before I tell you the rest of the story, I must explain to you how incredibly afraid of mice I am!  When I was first living on my own after college and saw a mouse in my house, I immediately went around the entire house stacking anything and everything on top of major pieces of furniture.  Then I sat on top of one of the piles for hours, paralyzed with fear about what to do.  I am so afraid of mice, I can't even set a trap.  I know that is even dumber, but it is true.  Mouse traps' presence alone is all I need for my imagination to run wild about where mice are and  how many and what they will do.

Thankfully, I married someone who isn't scared by mice in the slightest!  He'll set traps and empty dead mice into an area I am ignorant of all day if he has to, and it doesn't bother him a bit!  This is a God-send in my life for sure!  We have only had a few mice since we were married, and each time he has handled it with ease.

So, since I was stuck in the chair next to what I was sure was a mouse-infested bag right next to my chair, I texted Kyle to come to the living room.  At this point, it is 2 or 3 in the morning, and he had his phone on silent and "Do not disturb"!  So I started to cry and tell Keegan that we were going to have to be brave and run and get Daddy.  I sat there a few minutes, waiting for the courage to get up and walk down the hall to our bedroom...  I knew I couldn't run with a newborn in my arms in the pitch black, but I was scared to go any slower!

So I took a deep breath and got up!  I went as fast as I could while chanting out loud, "Just get there, just get there."

So, I woke my poor husband up and told him.  He came in the living room, took the bag outside on the porch and started to take everything out of it.  I was amazed, as I stood behind the screen door watching, how he took each item and shook it thoroughly.  With each item, I would cringe, waiting for the thing to jump out at Kyle and run.

But it wasn't in the bag.

Then I became even more horrified.  If it wasn't still in that bag, that meant it was in the house - anywhere in the house.

I reluctantly went back to the recliner to finish nursing Keegan while Kyle started going through things to make sure there wasn't any food from our hospital snacks in the bags.

And then, it happened.  Even just typing it makes my hair stand up on my arms and neck!  The mouse popped up out of another gift bag and sat, perched on the edge of the bag AND LOOKED RIGHT AT ME!  We made eye-contact, and I TOTALLY FREAKED OUT!  Thankfully, Kyle was still in the room, so I didn't have to go get him this time.  Again, he came over and shook things, opened things, and the mouse was no where to be found.  At this point, I was worried that Kyle was going to think I had lost my mind!  Three times I had seen something in the middle of the night, and all three times no one else found or saw anything.

Kyle started setting traps over by the wall next to my recliner and the gift bags.  I took the baby to our room to put him down to sleep.  He looked so small, sweet, and innocent sleeping in his bed... I didn't know if I could let him sleep alone, but Kyle and I have a strict no co-sleeping policy.  But, of course, as a mother, I also have a "don't let my child be chewed on my animals" policy.

Kyle came in, and we both laid down in bed, while Keegan was across the room in his bed.  I knew he would be fine, but again, my brain would not let me rest in what I knew to be true.  I got the courage to ask Kyle the question that I knew the answer to, but I needed someone calm and strong to reassure me of that answer...

"Is he going to be okay?"  and as I said the words out loud, I burst into tears.  Like sobs.  Like my body is shaking as I cry huge tears that keep interrupting what I am trying to say, "I - am - just - so - scared - the - mouse - will - get - in - his - bed".

Kyle was so loving and patient with my insanity.  He just held me and said over and over, "He's going to alright.  The mouse has no interest in the baby or his bed.  It is going to be okay."  He held me until I calmed down, and then he kissed me and rolled over to go to sleep.

I laid there in the dark, more calm and sure that everything was going to be okay.  But I kept praying that I would hear a trap go off.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally, about an hour later, I heard the loud snap of a mouse-trap I had been waiting for!  And it is amazing how quickly I fell asleep after that!

Everyone was fed, asleep, and now safe.

The next time Keegan woke up to eat, I told Kyle that the trap had gone off.  He came in the living room before me and emptied it.  Then he went back to bed.

I was on cloud 9 then!  I didn't care that I had hardly slept in 2 days!  My baby was safe again!

Of course, then I had to track in my mind how a mouse got into our house in the first place!  I figured it must have come in with all the boxes we had brought in from our outside shed a day or two before the hospital, looking for all our baby things we had kept from when Emersyn was a baby.  I was relieved to realize that it got in from carrying in outside storage, and now it was dead!

Take that, mouse

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Welcome to the Light, Keegan Russell!

Why do people always look so puffy when they get up before 6am?!

We headed for the hospital at 4:45 am on Tuesday, April 29th. We filled out paperwork, took our bags into our assigned room, and I started getting hooked up to IVs and everything else. They came and got me to take me to the O.R. to prep for surgery. Kyle was taken to another area to get into his scrubs, and I instantly felt his absence. I was shaking because it was so cold in the room, and all I had on was that paper gown that ties in the most stupid places. Two nurses stood on either sides of me with warm blankets and tried to hold me still while the anesthesiologist started my spinal block.  We had discussed the issues I had with the spinal block with my first child, and she did a great job making sure those same issues did not occur. But this one seemed to take longer, and the "rub" under my skin of the numbing medicine being shot into my back made my whole backside and hips and legs have a sickening warming sensation.

I will say that having a c-section last-minute is more desirable than having one planned ahead, because I knew more. I knew this time what could go wrong, and they kept over-informing me about what they were doing and what might go wrong. Since I had been through this before with the same doctor, I figured it would be like riding a bike - familiar. But everything seemed new and strange. I became fearful that I was going to die on the table without being able to tell my husband goodbye. I cried quietly from my fears, the freezing temperature of the room, and how sickening my body felt with this manufactured warming sensation running through my limp and numb limbs. I started to fear that I was only warm, not numb, and that I may feel the first cut.

Which I also was critiquing myself for, because I knew that was ridiculous... but it felt so real!

And then Kyle came in, and I was so relieved to see him! I didn't tell him any of my thoughts or feelings, but began to rest. And then I became too tired and groggy, and even though I couldn't keep my eyes open or talk much, I was very aware that I had been more alert during my first c-section. Again, I was worried that I was fading, dying, but left completely unable to tell everyone.

My hero :)
Last time, I had only felt people pushing on my stomach, and I assumed they were looking for the best place to make the incision... But as they were "looking", I heard Emersyn cry! I realized I had been more numb than I knew. But this time, it seemed everyone was talking too much. Again, they were giving me a play-by-play. So as I "felt" what they were doing, they described it. They told me that they saw the baby before they pulled and tugged him out. And from the way they were tugging and pushing, it seemed much harder and longer than with they had with Emersyn. I began to expect to hear that this baby boy was ginormous! I remembered that my midwife had said with my first pregnancy that there was "baby everywhere", and that they had had to tug her out of all the places she had taken up residence. And the over-the-top tugging this time pointed to another, perhaps even a larger child.

Kyle says that it was much worse with Emersyn from the look of things... I still disagree from the feel of things!

"In Italian, the literal translation of "to give birth" — "dare alla luce" — is: "to give to the light"


And then they brought him to us, and they offered to put him on my chest near my face, which I wasn't allowed to do with Emersyn!  It was so amazing to get to "hold" him so soon, even though my arms were still strapped down.  Then they said he only weighed 8 lbs!  8 pounds?!  I couldn't believe it!  Babies just don't come that small in my family!  The doctor joked that you know big babies run in our family "if an 8-pounder was the runt of the family".  Our son was just as long as his older sister, though, and we realized just how long and skinny he was.

There are definite pros to having a smaller baby - 1)I only gained 30 pounds, well 31, this pregnancy.  And at least 1/3 of that was lost at delivery! With Emersyn, I had gained 60!  2)He weighs so little, so holding him and nursing him wasn't as taxing on me as I was sporting a long horizontal line of staples. 3) He will definitely get to wear all of his clothes and diapers we bought.  With Emersyn, she skipped all the NewBorn stuff, because she was so big, and 4)  He definitely is easier to get to eat!  Emersyn was so big that she was never hungry!  It would take us an hour to wake her up to feed her for 20 minutes!  Not this little guy!  He lets us know he is hungry and ready!

But that is also part of the cons to having a smaller baby - 1)He wanted to eat a lot at first when we got home!  All of the time!  As if someone told him there is an eating competition going on - I sure hope it is true, because Keegan and I would win 1st place!!!  2)Even his NewBorn sized things are too big :(  He looks a little silly!  The jeans I had taken  for his "going home" outfit were as big as he was from head to toe... Thankfully the hospital is 6 minutes from our house!  3)  He also looks like an old man, which is pretty cute!  But I am used to rolly-polly babies!  We had to dig for Emersyn's neck; Keegan's is scrawny and visible immediately :)

"Keegan gave" Emersyn a big sister present of dress-up clothes! We had a different princess in our hospital room each day :)
Something I am very thankful for this second time around, though, is knowing more and being scared less - about motherhood anyway.  When we came home with Emersyn, I looked around our 900 square-ft trailer and started to cry at how small she looked in such a big place where no doctor or nurse would be checking in on us... I just knew she was going to die in this "HUGE" place!  Walking in with Keegan was like coming home from any other length spent away from home where you come home with more bags than you left with.  I didn't feel scared or nervous about him being here, and I don't think it was because we only have a little over 800 sq. ft. here.  I have learned about God's provision and protection of our kids.  There have been so many times Emersyn should have been injured and walked away from an incident completely fine, and when that happens multiple times a day or week, you learn that God is always with my kids because I know I can't always be with them!

And on our first night home, as I laid down next to Kyle to collapse to sleep, I said, "What an amazing feeling to know that the last time I laid in our bed, I had a lingering fear in the back of my mind that perhaps I wouldn't live and be able to come home.  I am thankful that God brought me home."

Snuggling with Daddy!
 Keegan had easily slept and ate on a regular schedule while we were in the hospital, but the day we came home was the same day as his circumcision.  Our only guess is that he was exhausted or groggy from his circumcision, because he slept so hard all day... and then our first night home he was AWAKE and wanted to eat every 2 hours!  I slept for maybe 2 hours altogether that night.  And I was afraid that the rest of my life was going to be this sleep-deprived!

The next night was exactly the same... Which is why I am only now posting this blog 8 days after he was born, but I started writing it our second night at home!

A family of 4!
That second night home is a crazy story all on its own, so I'm saving it for the next post!