Friday, March 28, 2008

Photography Tips

I have had a few fellow moms asking me about cameras, photoshop (not that I'm an expert by any stretch!!), etc lately...and I have come across a few resources to pass along:

Live view DSLRs. My DSLR doesn't have live view, but man! the photography monster sure would love it. If you're thinking about upgrading to DSLR, one of these might be your best bet. Having image stabilizer would help, too (another thing I lack). Click HERE for the article about them.

Tips from a photographer I admire, Nichole Van. Click HERE to read her blog post.

And my favorite blogger, Pioneer Woman, just enhanced her site with a photography section. I LOVE the way she explains things so that amateurs like me can understand. Click HERE for her website.

Coming up to Breathe

I know I'm WAY behind on posting. Chalk it up to life with three kids.

For Easter we went to Austin, and saw lots of loved ones. We spent Saturday at Chuck's parents' house, and had a steady stream of visitors. It was so fun! Then Charlie & Chance spent the night at Nana & Big Daddy's, and went to the Villareal family party. We went to church that morning then joined them at the party later. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time for the big egg hunt, so my photos aren't very "Easter-y" (yes, I made up a word.).

A few of Saturday's visitors:

"Big Daddy's here"
(Big Daddy)

Aunt Meme
(Aunt Meme)

Chandler meets Great Grandma
(Great Grandma Thier)

One thing I've noticed is how much the little ones of our family have grown.

Remember sweet Liliana? I know I've shown her picture here a few times.
Anna's Shower
(In August of last year)

Sweet dreams, Sweet Liliana
(now)

And I'm sure you know Elijah by now:
Elijah Louis Boston
(May of last year)

Elijah 10 months
(now)

And then there's Kaleb, who's birthday happens to be the start date for my last pregnancy. Coincidence? I think not. ;)

Welcome Kaleb! --
(June of last year)

Getting big
(now)

And then there's this guy:
Lil Sunbather
(3 weeks ago)

The black and whites
(now, he's up to 10.5 pounds!)

Ok, so on to Easter pics...

Daddy bonding

I love how his eyes look green
[Chance's eyes look green, I love it! This is the only pic I got of him on Easter.]

Egg hunted-out
[And here's the only one I got of Charlie, on the way home.]

There ya have it, proof that having 3 kids means less pictures. I'm trying to fight it, but it's just inevitable. Things like blogging and photography are becoming extraneous to things like feeding and bathing the kids...and sleeping. In fact there were 2 days this week that I didn't take a.single.photo! I wish I'd known more about photography when I only had one kid (and had owned the equipment), when I truly had time to take photos!

But I did manage a few photos yesterday:

Chandler

6 little (big) feet

Chandler

Chandler







Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy (Late) Easter

My Aunt sent me this video, I just had to share. Definitely worth 5 minutes...



Happy Resurrection Day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Congratulations Craftons!

One thing I've tried to do on my blog is avoid talking about others. But when we had Chandler a few blogging friends actually blogged about it, and it was SO sweet. So I'm inspired to do the same. Check out this precious-ness:



Congratulations, Stacia & Stefan! They welcomed their third child, first daughter, "Channing Elizabeth" into the world on Wednesday. Channing had a perfect (dare I say, effortless?) delivery, and she is gorgeous! Thanks for letting me come visit and hold her!

Oh, and while I was up at the hospital visiting, I stopped by the NICU to thank the nurses and doctors. The doctor was there that handled Chandler's xrays of his pneumothorax, and he actually showed me the before and after xrays! He described it as "astounding" that the bubble went away so fast. He said the pneumothorax occurs in about 1/1000 babies, and usually they're not that large. Chandler's chest was actually full of air around his lungs. It all just caused me to marvel at God's healing power and grace to us.

Tidbits

So, we're slowly adjusting to life as a family of 5. Here are the tidbits.

First bath

Yesterday Chandler experienced his first bath. The boys thought it was the funniest thing. Chance kept bringing me parts from the breast pump, thinking that they were baby bath toys. Charlie thought the baby brush was for scrubbing, and wanted to scrub his little body clean. And afterwards, as I wrapped Chandler up in the towel, he promptly spit up, peed, and pooped! Ah, the joys of motherhood...

The boys are adjusting well to having a baby around. Chance doesn't even mind that I hold him. But Chance has now become "scared" when we put him to bed at night, and wants one of us to lay with him. I think it may be because he thinks the baby gets to sleep with us (which is partly true). And Chance has become more physically aggressive. He's been biting, pinching, etc... something Charlie never did when Chance was born.

However, Chance has his redemptive side. I have a big ugly pimple on my chin at the moment, which he says, "Bobo" and kisses for me.

My babies

Charlie is an old pro at the big brother thing. He asks to hold Chandler often. He truly delights in him.

Big Brother moment

But I guess it's just Charlie getting older that is causing other disciplinary issues. Yesterday I was so sad as Charlie told his first lie. I caught him sneaking into the cupcakes, and reminded him that he was allowed to eat one (his reward for eating well at lunch), but only one, and to stop sneaking! About an hour later I noticed that both of the cupcakes were gone. I asked him where the other cupcake went and he put his arms up in the air and said, "I dunno. Maybe they disappeared?!" It was all Chuck and I could do to hold the laughs in. Chuck asked if maybe it disappeared into his mouth, and he said, "I dunno. Maybe." I gave him a few chances to come clean, and finally he did. That's the one thing we hadn't had to deal with before, and I was just hoping that somehow he'd always be honest with us...Silly me.

Sleeptime fun

And Chandler is sleeping with us sorta...I'm really struggling with how to make this work. I had resolved that with this one I would do it right, not allow him to sleep in our bed, and feed him on a schedule, in hopes that he'd sleep through the night by 3 months of age. It was easy the first 2 weeks, because he was in the NICU, so sleeping with us wasn't an option. But that was with jaundice, so I think that might've caused him sleep well between feedings. Now that he's home and healed, he doesn't sleep well. I'm starting to wonder if it's reflux, because he spits up often and when I lay him down he kicks and arches his back, like his tummy hurts. So, at night, he wakes up every 30-60 minutes uncomfortable, and nurses every 2 hours. However, if I put him in bed with me, for some reason he sleeps well between feedings, and will go 3 hours. I just don't get it. Maybe I can't figure it out because my sleep-deprived brain isn't working fully. ;) Should I let him cry it out to go to sleep in his crib? Or should I just give up and let him sleep with us, deal with the consequences later? If you have any advice on this subject, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Life in Pictures

With the hectic schedule I'm adjusting to, there's not much to say. But I am working hard to get photos daily, so that's what I have to share.

Daddy's Boy
[Watching Charlie be a big brother again makes me so proud. And he's a daddy's boy these days.]

More Chandler

Checking out baby brother
[Chance is finding brotherhood to be a giddy thing. It'll be awhile before he really takes on the big brother role.]

Checking out baby brother
[But don't get me wrong, he's very excited about "baby Chanwer".]

More Chandler
[They're both very excited, actually.]

More Chandler
[I LOVE Charlie in this photo. Just melts my heart.]

Chandler
[As for Chandler, he's working hard on growing (i.e. eating and sleeping constantly). I wish that was my job ;)]

Bubble Bath
[Today the boys had a bubble bath.]

Bubble Bath
[Can you tell?!]

Bubble Bath

And lastly...
I spy a penny
[Look closely: see the lizard? The boys loved this!]


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Easter

OLPC open

For Christmas I ordered Chuck an XO laptop. What I didn't know is it wouldn't come in until March 14th! The funny thing is, that was my due date. So I can say that Chuck got his baby on that day. :)

This laptop is really cool. It's made by One Laptop Per Child, where it's designed for children in third world countries. It's super durable, has tons of interesting technology, etc. You can even pull on the cord (kinda like a lawn mower) in order to recharge the battery when you don't have electricity. Normally they only take donations, but in December they allowed the public to purchase one with each one donated. What they didn't know is that the public is huge! They had such a great demand, it took three months to get to our order! Chuck's way excited about his XO, and possibly writing programs to donate...

And yes, yesterday was the due date: Happy due date Chandler! It's so weird to think he'd just now be born. How much do you think he would've weighed by now? I'm thinking 45 pounds, 2 ounces. Just kidding. Chandler celebrated the day by getting over his jaundice, and losing the last of his umbilical cord. I really feel like we should throw a party!

Speaking of party...Has anyone else noticed that next week is Easter?! Wow! Time to dye Easter eggs, and go on egg hunts. For fun, I think I'll hide Chandler in the yard and let the boys find him (kidding!!). Whew, all these big events are wearing me out...or maybe it's the marathons of feeding Chandler through the night... Sleep deprivation causes random blogging, I've heard. But I don't think I suffer from it. ;)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is it possible to overdose on photography?!

look, a SP!

So, I guess it was to be expected, but I think I'm gonna take about a million photos this year.

Yawn.

But really, who can blame me?!

Chandler

He's just so cute, with his naked little (big) body!

more sunbathing

Can you get enough? I know I can't.

Funny Faces

Seriously, how can you not take a picture of that funny little face?!

Big Foot

...and that little (big) foot?

Chandler

...and that little (big) hand?

Praying pose

Especially when those hands are in a praying position... You know you'd want to remember it always.

Chandler

And when those hands are always up while he sleeps... You know that's not going to last forever.

Look who else sleeps with his hands up

Well, ok, maybe it would last forever.

But still, wouldn't you be glad you have it recorded?




Or is it just me?


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Play By Play - Not for the faint of heart...or stomach!



The morning started very early for me.

2 AM I woke up to use the bathroom, as I usually did 2-3 times a night, and noticed that my mom, brother, and sister had just gotten in, so I spent some time with them...then I tried to find something decent to watch on tv because I couldn't sleep. :( By 4 am, I was back asleep, unaware that I had set my alarm wrong. I was supposed to get up at 5. But thankfully my uncle called at 5:15 (thinking we'd be in the hospital), and woke us up! Can you tell it's the third kid when you oversleep the morning you are to have him?!

Chandler

We still made it to the hospital by about 6 AM and by 6:45 I had an IV going and was ready to get the party started. But my doctor wasn't there yet, and they couldn't start the pitocin until she came in. So Chuck and I actually took naps until 8:30! (Once again, can you tell it was kid #3?!).

8:30 Pitocin started
9:30 Epidural started
10:30 MIRACLE #1 - My doctor (Dr Arya) was checking me before breaking my water - which was just about to happen on it's own - when she noticed that his hands were above his head. If my water broke then, we'd have to do an emergency c-section because his hands can't come first. Dr Arya did a sonogram to see that both hands were above his head, like he was in a diving position. She somehow managed to get him to pull his hands down before breaking my water. That was a scary moment where we knew God was protecting Chandler.

And about the water that broke...it amazed the doctor and nurses how much there was! They said he was in a swimming pool! So we may have a little water bug. hehe.

Oh, I was 3 cm before we broke that water, and instantly a 4-5 afterwards. My body doesn't usually dilate until the water is broken, so I'm willing to bet I was a 3 before we came in that morning.

By 2:30 PM I was fully dilated, and we noticed his heartbeat dropping with contractions, which indicated that the cord was being squeezed. Thankfully it wasn't too bad, that would've been another reason for an emergency c-section. Just before we started pushing, Dr. Arya noticed Chandler was not in the right position. He was facing up instead of down, which means lots of pushing unless he turned. So Dr. Arya got out the suction, and attempted to turn him as I pushed. Unfortunately the suction wasn't working very well, so it popped off 3 times. At that point she didn't want to use it anymore, and it was up to me to get him out. It was a good epidural - I could feel contractions and tell how to push.

Hey Mom!

By 3:23 PM he was born (less than an hour, yippee!), not facing down, but sideways, with the cord pretty tight around his neck. Dr. Arya cut the cord and handed him over to the NICU team. They were there because his heart rate had been dropping with the contractions. They immediately gave him oxygen to get him breathing, at which point he would breathe and moan instead of scream. That was a bit worrisome. Somewhere between the cutting of the cord and his first few breaths he had breathed in too much, causing a small hole in his left lung, which leaked a large pocket of air into his chest.

Chandler

Chuck stayed with him as he was taken to the NICU and put on oxygen to help with the air bubble (it's called a "pneuma thorax" (sp?).

We had a wonderful crowd of family in the waiting room...in fact they were moved to a different waiting room for being too loud...makes me so proud! :) LOL That's my family!! Unfortunately, most of them didn't even get to see Chandler because he was in NICU. Chuck was able to bring the grandparents in one-by-one to see him.

Angie's first visit to see Chandler

At 8:30 PM I finally got to see Chandler in the NICU. I was told that he couldn't nurse until the air bubble was gone...and he may even have to have a feeding tube until then :( The doctors were thinking it'd take a week.

At midnight they xrayed him, seeing that the air bubble was large, but thankfully not enough to collapse his left lung.

MIRACLE #2 - At 4 AM I went to see him, and afterwards pumped for the first time...and got a large amount of colostrum. So I brought it back to the NICU, and the doctor was nearby when Chandler started fussing, so he told the nurse to try dropping the colostrum in his mouth by drops. Chandler drank the whole thing down, then passed right out. So the doctor looked at me and said, "Why don't you come back in 3 hours and we'll try nursing."

8 AM he nursed for the first time, and did great! The nurse said that it was amazing that the bubble didn't seem to interfere with his breathing. What I loved about it was that I got to hold him for the first time!

Chandler

11:30 Another feeding, and this time Chuck was allowed to hold him as well.

MIRACLE #3 - Noon - they re-xrayed him, and amazingly: NO MORE AIR BUBBLE!!

10 PM They xray again just to confirm that the bubble is gone...then allow him to join us in our room! Out of the NICU, woohoo!

The boys check him out

The next day, Monday, we had lots of family visit, and the boys got to hold Chandler for the first time. It was definitely a moment I'll treasure forever.

Tuesday, 4 AM he was tested for jaundice...and it was high, so he went back into the NICU to go under the lights. And there he stayed until 6 PM Wednesday, at which point we were allowed to go back home.

Wednesday- Friday we were at home and Charlie and Chance were in Austin.

Thursday we retested his jaundice - it had come up 2 points.

Friday we retested again - it had come up 2 more points, to 17.4 - so it was back to the NICU.
He was under lights from Friday afternoon - Sunday morning. He left the NICU with a level of 9.6.

Going home again

We were so excited to return home and finally have all 3 boys under one roof! :) And I have to brag on Chuck here. This time has been very draining on him, yet he's never complained, and has stuck by my side. The futon in the hospital was not very comfortable, and I often offered that he could sleep at home, but he always stayed with me. And there was no internet in the hospital, so he spent a lot of time in complete boredom. He's my rock, that's for sure.

Anyhow, since we've been home, we retested the jaundice Tuesday, it was 13.6
We retested Wednesday, it was down to 11.
We retested today, but haven't heard yet what the results are.

So there ya have it, "the rest of the story." Things definitely could've been much worse, and I SO appreciate the many friends and family who've let us know they're praying for us. As you can see, we've needed and seen God's healing hand at work in Chandler's precious life!