ONE MORE MAKES SIX

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I recently got to partner with the lovely Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising to bring to life some creative visions Bethany and I had, and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness with the end result!

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Several months ago, I was looking at the ol ‘gram and stumbled upon a crazy beautiful feed! I soon realized that this was a photographer named Bethany Meysenberg and then realized she lived close by!  Bethany’s photos are so moody and romantic and once I realized she lived close by,  I knew I wanted to work with her!  After visiting, we decided to work together as a creative collaboration, and I am so thankful we did!  Some of the belongings that I value the most are the photographs we have been so blessed with by our sweet friends who happen to be incredible photographers and have chosen to bless us with their passions and talents!

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Photos are one of those things that I have learned to treasure so much.  I don’t think I ever thought too much about photography until my father and sister passed away.  The photos I have help me to keep the memories I have of them and even sometimes remind me of a memory I had forgotten or tell a story I still didn’t yet know about them.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetI am able to share photos with our daughters photos of the Grandpa and Aunt they don’t get to meet in this world.  I get to share my childhood and my memories with our daughters so well because of photos! When I say I treasure these moments captured, I truly mean it.  We’ve only done a few family photo sessions and usually only when we welcome a baby, so about every year:D, but I’m going to try and be more intentional about taking and printing more of the daily moments we capture.

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Sometimes I have been teased for taking so many photos, especially of our daughters feet or photos where they’re not facing the camera, but I know all too well that these moments and tiny details that I love so much, might one day be forgotten if not for the sweet photos that I will have to look back on and remind me.

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The way Norah looks at her little sisters, how she takes being a big sister so seriously; Charlie’s pigtails and the way she almost always has a collection of toys, make up brushes or art tools in her hands; The concentrated stare and little tongue Ada sticks out and presses onto her upper lip while reading and building blocks or how she’s climbing on everything lately; Frankie’s itty bitty toes, her dark little locks and pouty lips; The way our girls jump on the bed and dance together.

DSC_9934The way they look at their daddy with this look that lets me know they understand how treasured and valued they are; And the way he looks at them that reminds me just how blessed I am to be married to such an incredible man! Oh, and Chris’ sexy beard and luscious hair that may be receding a bit more each day:D These are things I don’t ever want to forget…

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Maybe one day the girls will look back and think, “I remember you reading us that book mom!”, or “look at dad and that guitar he still plays!”  I want them to have their childhood captured in photos so that they one day can share their childhood and memories of us with their children and grandchildren.

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Because photos are so special to me, I knew I needed to start printing them. I’ve been terrible at this and have felt a lot of conviction to print more photos as there is just something so special about having a tangible photo to hold. There seems to be so much more life in printed photos.  I recently had some lovely prints made from Artifact Uprising and the quality was amazing!  When I saw these new Flatlay Photo Albums , I knew I wanted to get some of our favorite photos captured by Bethany  printed in one of these. And I am so glad we did!!! This book is definitely a treasure! I already am working on another one!

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The girls and I went through it several times and I maybe just wept because I am so thankful for the blessing that these photos and this book are…

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This book is super special. My Grammy gifted this to the little ladies and it is one of the books they always choose when I ask them to pick out a book to read. In it, Grammy wrote a scripture, one she has written in all of my books that she gifted to me when I was the girls’ age.  Proverbs 3:5-6. My mom saved all of these books from our childhood and recently gifted them to me. Another thing I truly treasure!

So, with that, I’ll leave you with a few more photos! If you live in Kansas and are looking for a photographer, please check out Bethany Meysenburg and if you’re looking to get some photos printed, books made or some unique and meaningful gifts to gift, check out our friends at Artifact Uprising!

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DSC_9697DSC_9640DSC_0158Here’s a little slideshow that I discovered after inserting the photos above:D!

 

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Also, without printed photos, I wouldn’t be able to share these gems with you:D Think of this as a thank you for reading!

(Disclosure: This blog was made possible thanks to a partnership with Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising, but every word is my honest opinion.)

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How we Holiday: Traveling with 4 babes & a little help from Philips Avent

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I love this special time of year! I love the weather and the decor and the music and the smells and the food and the fashion and, especially, the Holidays that gather us together with friends and family! My family is in Colorado and my husband’s family in Nebraska so the Holidays usually mean traveling for us! I remember feeling so overwhelmed traveling with our babe as a first time mom.  I almost always forgot to put diapers and wipes in my diaper bag and I thought I needed to pack the entire baby section from Target as well… Turns out you don’t need all of Target, but diapers and wipes are a MUST! I don’t want to call ourselves experts by any means, but we have learned a few tricks along the way to make traveling with babies, toddlers and little ladies a little bit easier!

So with the Holiday season upon us, we have partnered with PhilipsAvent to share with you a few of our favorite products to take on the road with us to make traveling and Holidaying a bit easier!

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We have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, an almost 2 yr old and a 2 month old. This might sound stressful, but it is amazing! In fact, traveling as a family is one of my absolute favorite things to do!

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The girls love it because they get to watch some of their favorite movies along the way, and I love it because it means sipping coffee, long talks with my husband and listening to our favorite podcasts together while the littles sleep. Car rides are actually one of the most refreshing things to me, so I greatly look forward to road trips whenever we get the chance!

As much as I love traveling as a family, there are a few things that I have found make our trips a lot more comfortable for everybody. I will share with you some of the things we bring in the ol’ swagger wagon and what I pack in my mom bag to make for a smoother ride.

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It seems like wherever we go anywhere, the girls start yelling to the front of the van, “We’re thirsty!” After waaayy too many spilled drinks, we have found these PhilipsAvent Straw Cups work wonderfully! They’re leak-proof, easy to hold, BPA free and the straw doesn’t fall off and get lost in the liquid abyss! The big girls seem to really enjoy them and since they’re leak proof, I’m not afraid to stash them in my diaper bag! Philips has several different leak-proof sippy cup options but the little ladies picked out these sweet ‘matchy matchy’ pink ones.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe big girls are pretty much all set to travel with a drink, some snacks and a little throw blanket, but newborns can be a bit more particular.  One thing we have learned 4 babies in is, ALWAYS pack extra pacifiers! Always! Somehow those bad boys have a way of disappearing. Chris and I used to joke that we should buy stock in pacifiers because we were buying so many! Now we know, put a clip on it if you can, and always bring extras! Frankie really seems to like these Soothies and they are BPA free and have a little hole to slip a pacifier clip through! And let’s be honest… they’re super cute:D

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Don’t worry… I take her bonnets off when she sleeps…

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Sometimes, our babies will sleep for the entire trip! While this can be great for the whole family, this breastfeeding mom needs a little relief on the long trips! I have traveled with my double electric pump, but have found that it is much easier for me to just travel with a small manual pump that I can use while we drive. It’s small, doesn’t need a power source, there aren’t a bunch of tubes, it’s discrete, easy to use, and allows me to pump and store a few ounces that I can use to feed Frankie at another time, or use to mix in her probiotics. Oh! And it’s silent, so it doesn’t interrupt our podcasts or the girls watching Elf on a continuous loop:D

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe manual pump comes with the perfect sized travel bottle for collecting a couple ounces of milk along the way.  I try to use glass over plastic whenever I can and so I’m thankful PhilipsAvent also carries these natural glass baby bottles ! I can store any milk I pump in one of these bad boys and feed Frankie with one if I need to!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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I hope some of you traveling mommas will find this little piece helpful for all of your road tripping adventures in your future! I feel like I’m forgetting something… Maybe that’s just mom brain or because I almost always forget something:D

FED80974-657A-44A3-A02C-3E96A15A7A2C.jpegAlso, I shared a detailed rundown of what I bring with me in my diaper bag about a year ago and not much has changed. I added a few new things, but if you’re wanting a few more details about what I have found helpful to have in my diaper bag when we travel, you can check it out at https://amandapahls.com/2017/01/13/whats-in-my-bag-today/

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Thank you PhilipsAvent and, from our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Holiday and Merry Everything!

(Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by PhilipsAvent, but all opinions expressed here are my own, personal and honest opinions.)

 

 

Welcoming Our Frances Grey

I almost can’t believe I am snuggling with a little newborn and already writing another birth story.  I feel like it was just last year that I was writing Ada’s:D Probably mostly because it was:) We are truly so grateful for another beautiful daughter!  I almost cry every time I stop and think about how awesome it is that we get to parent these FOUR little ladies!

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Frankie is 4 weeks old today!!! That doesn’t even seem possible!  We have heard her cry only a handful of times, and that even includes mild fussing!  She is just super content and has the sweetest temperament!  The big sisters are absolutely smitten with her and she loves snuggling with her daddy! Her favorite things include boobs, naps, blankets late night snacking and snuggles galore, so I guess you could say she takes after her dad:) #momjoke. Aside from me being freaked out that she doesn’t poop as much as her big sisters, she might be our easiest baby yet! So, with that, I am so grateful and so excited to share another beautiful birth story with you!

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Ok… So let me start with 2 weeks before we met her.  I started to feel “ready”, even though my original due date wasn’t until the first week of October. I went to see my midwife on the 7th and told her I totally felt like I had dilated quite a bit already.  Before I share more, I should give you a little back story.  My body might be jacked up:D  Well, it kind of is for sure, we’re just not totally sure why.  When I went into labor with Charlie, I was dilated to a 9 before I ever felt my contractions. My water broke and a few minutes  later, 2 pushes and she was here!  With Ada, I was dilated at a 10…for 2 days before I felt my contractions!  SO WEIRD!  I couldn’t really feel my contractions with Ada until my water broke and once my water broke, it was time to push; 4 or 5 pushes later, she was here!  Norah’s labor was the only one that was kind of normal except kind of not either.  You can go read those stories under my birth stories if you guys want to!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnyway, I share this because for some odd reason, my body works a little differently and labor is probably a little different for me than most…  I’m not bragging, but I’m also definitely not complaining! So, back to the 7th.  When I told Rebecca that I felt dilated she kind of giggled at me like she does often. Side note: We love Rebecca like a lot! We’ve gotten to know each other on so many different intimate levels and can joke about anything and everything and it’s just awesome to know your care taker and have your care taker know you so intimately. It makes for such an incredible experience! So she kind of teased me and then I asked her to check me and, yep! I had dilated to a 5, was 80% effaced and all of babies suture lines were feeling just right! I told her I knew I wouldn’t carry Frankie to October.  It was like this weird momma instinct, the same one that told me I was having girls each pregnancy:D

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Ok, so… Jump to two days later and I started having this really weird and specific kind of cramping, which I’ve learned is me dilating.  I don’t really know how to describe it except for I felt it with Charlie and Ada and feel like I was tuned in and aware of my body more than ever this round and as soon as I felt it, I knew what was happening. I started losing my plug and, remember that this is a birth story, but I mean, I was losing A LOT!  I lost more and more all day and continued to the next few days.  This made me a little nervous because I knew I was dilating more and in my previous pregnancies, I lost my plug only days before meeting our daughters.

Rebecca and I decided it was best if I took it really easy, like bed rest style, just to make sure we kept Frankie nice and cozy!  Chris and the girls were incredible during this time!  Actually, Chris was beyond incredible this whole pregnancy.   For those of you who know me, you know about my back… but for those of you who don’t, we have learned that my tailbone is broken 3 different times and in 3 different directions! When I’m pregnant, my tailbone and sciatic nerve basically try to become one with one another…NO BUENO! It is extremely painful and any kind of intervention we have tried has only provided temporary relief.  By the time I was 6 months along, I couldn’t walk some days.  Chris did all of our grocery shopping, prepared most dinners, did laundry when I couldn’t carry any or walk down stairs, and basically carried the many loads that I physically couldn’t.  If you see that guy, tell him what a stud he is!  I’ve always known I was so blessed to be his wife, but Chris serves us girls and I so selflessly and sacrifices so much for us in a way that I can’t even comprehend sometimes. Thank you so very much husband!

When I had to take it easy, he had the girls join him on a mission to help me out and they called themselves ‘team home birth’. 😀 He taught the girls different ways they could help out, and it was just incredible. They started folding laundry, emptying and filling the dishwasher, working harder at keeping their toys picked up AND nobody complained, well, at least in front of me:D They just loved me in such a way that I definitely don’t deserve but am so grateful for! Chris literally got them pumped up to clean:D He is the best, like for real!

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Ok… So, fast forward to the 18th.  Everything was looking great and I was now measuring right about 39 weeks.  I had been measuring ahead for quite some time and I really felt like I was further along than we had initially thought. I was still having that cramping and losing plug and so I ended up asking Rebecca to come visit me and check me.  She came over and YEP! I was dilated to an 8! Everything was looking great, but I was dilated to an 8! She wasn’t at all worried but it is a little strange to dilate this far without having contractions and without having an incompetent cervix.  My body just doesn’t mess around I guess. Rebecca headed home and the game plan was to just wait and see what my body did over the next few days.

The next day I felt so weird. Like, almost scared.  I started to think about what might happen if my water broke because if this labor were to be like Charlie or Ada’s, I would probably have ended up delivering a baby on my kitchen floor by myself.  I don’t feel my contractions until my water breaks, but by that time I’m at a 9 or 10 and ready to push, and my longest pushing record is 6 pushes.  With Chris working more than 5 minutes away and my midwife being over an hour away, I knew if my water broke, this would be an unassisted delivery…Chris and I talked and we both were in favor of us delivering Frankie WITH our midwife over me alone:D

So… I asked Rebecca if she felt comfortable coming over and helping me get labor started.  We weighed the pros and cons and decided that in this situation, this was a good idea. So on the 20th, Rebecca came over at 10 am and here is where the fun begins!!!

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The first thing she did when she arrived was check me… and I was stretching to a 9!  It was the weirdest thing because I woke up feeling so amazing and had 0 back pain! It was the first morning in like 9 months that I hadn’t woken up in pain! It was like my body was just as ready as my mind was! She measured me once more and I was right at 39 weeks. Rebecca gave me a little contraction encouraging herb that we thought would take about an hour or two to get contractions started, but within 10 minutes, I was having them! They kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger until the point where they almost started to hurt! And then at noon, they just completely stopped. I wanted to cry because this is what happened with Ada and it was so emotionally exhausting! I was complete, as in dilated to a 10, and as soon as my contractions would get going, they would stop.  I did not want this to happen again… Rebecca had me go walk around the yard for 15 minutes, and while I felt a heavy type of cramping, I wasn’t having regular contractions anymore.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWe made some sandwiches, ate lunch together and then I took a little more of the contraction inducing goodness. Rebecca told me she felt like I just needed peace, quiet and rest. We had Ada go with a friend at this point, put a movie on for the big girls and Chris and I came upstairs to our bedroom to rest.

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Rebecca’s daughter came to help assist us and is just amazing! She plays with the little ladies and the girls have grown to love her and Rebecca’s other children so much! Did I mention she has 11 children! All whom she home educates! AND, from what we can tell, they’re totally normal:D Talk about #momgoals!

Rebecca helped get me into bed and into a position that would allow me to relax but would also help baby get settled a bit better.  She asked me to stay put for an hour and almost exactly an hour later, I was having strong, regular contractions and felt ready to get into the birthing pool!!!

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By now, my friend Olivia had arrived and I was feeling ready to go. Norah was SO ready! She had been asking me every day when Frankie would be here and reminded me every day that she wanted to be there with me and cut the venible, aka, umbilical cord:D Once I was in the tub, I started having what I will call “normal people” contractions! They were so strong and powerful and I just knew Frankie would be coming so soon!  Norah and Charlie got measuring cups and would rub my shoulders and pour warm water on my back through each contraction!  Charlie would lay her head by my head, touch her forehead to my forehead and hold my hand. I won’t ever forget it…. It was absolutely precious!

F10Norah would say things like, “take it easy, listen to your feelings, you’re doing so good, relax yourself”. It made us all giggle each time which made labor feel so easy. There wasn’t any stress or tension or fear. Just peace and joy and sweet giggles. At one point Norah asked me if I was having any “uh oh” feelings and proceeded to tell everyone the things in life that give me “uh oh” feelings:D It was the perfect comic relief!  The girls would bring me my water and tell me to take a sip and were just so encouraging! I just felt completely loved and safe.

After being in the pool for about 10 contractions or so, I felt Frankie coming!  I remember feeling more in control of my body than I ever have in labor before.  I felt complete peace and it was so amazing.  I remember holding Olivia’s hand with my left hand, Chris’s hand with my right and knowing we were all about to meet Frankie! I didn’t fight contractions like I’ve maybe wanted to in the past, I didn’t tense up and I just felt more relaxed than I have in previous labors. I began pushing and then looked over at Rebecca and told her I was pushing.

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The last photo Chris captured before welcoming Frankie!

 

I asked Rebecca to support me, which basically just meant make sure Frankie was not coming out with a hand on her forehead like her sister Ada, and I’m glad I asked her to, because she was! One of the things Rebecca does an excellent job at is supporting my lady bits so there is no tearing.  I tore a little bit upwards with Norah in the hospital but have never again had any damage to my lady biz!  I actually haven’t even been a little bit sore after delivering Charlie, Ada and Frankie!  I think some of that has to do with the water, preventative care, but also just how well Rebecca does at assisting, but not unnecessarily intervening with what’s happening during the birth process.

F7After the first push, Frankie’s head was born! I reached down and felt her head and just felt so grateful.  Norah yelled, “I can see Frankie! She’s coming out!” She yelled for Charlie to come back over to the pool, as she had left the room for a moment. I heard her little pitter patter run towards the pool and got so excited! I was on my knees with my arms and head draped on the side of the pool and felt very comfortable.  Everyone was silent, a Bon Iver record playing in the background, which I maybe had Chris play too many times, and I remember just knowing that I would be holding our baby the next time I pushed… A minute passed, and with the start of my last contraction, we welcomed Frankie!

F15As soon as I pulled Frankie out of the water, Norah started crying and exclaimed, “I can’t stop happy crying! She’s here!” When I pulled Frankie to my chest, the first thing I noticed was her super dark head of hair.  A few days before, Charlie crawled into our bed and shared about having a dream about Frankie and that she had pretty, dark hair. Man, she was so right! Talk about happy tears! My heart was SO full! I remember looking at Chris and Olivia and just thinking, “YEAH!!!” I thought I might be emotional this birth with Chris and I feeling like Frankie might be our last baby, but I was the opposite… I just felt so incredibly happy! And I still do! I just feel really content and beyond thankful! That moment felt like a lifetime but also like it went by way too fast!

A few contractions later, I birthed my Placenta.  This time, a little more blood than usual filled the tub and my midwife gave me a look that made me think, “uh oh” in a scooby doo type voice. She acted fast and with a little uterine massage, which I will compare to some kind of ancient form of torture, she had the bleeding stopped! Thank you Rebecca:D

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After that, we all headed upstairs to get cozy in bed and spend some time getting to know one another!  She was, she is, just perfect!  7lbs, 4oz, and 20 inches of absolute sweetness! She started nursing right away and I nursed for about an hour and then it was time for Frankie’s newborn assessment! Everything checked out at Frankie being a full 39 weeks!  Chris went and picked up Ada and I was a little curious how she would act when she saw Frankie had joined us.  She ran into the room and yelled, “Hi Mommy!” Then saw Frankie and squealed, “OOOHHH! Hi Baby!” in the sweetest little baby voice I have ever heard!  She was and is smitten with her little sister!

F59Aside from seeing the extra time mom spends nursing as the perfect opportunity to empty out any essential oils or coffee she can find, she has adjusted wonderfully! Norah and Charlie have done amazing and are two of the best helpers I can imagine! They’re right by me helping me with anything they can. Filling up my water jug, throwing away diapers, bringing me this or that… Norah actually started changing Ada’s diapers for me, but only pee diapers per her request:D

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Getting a little baby holding practice done:D

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I promise she was looking at me! Or maybe staring down those goods:D Either way, she was looking at me!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped with our girls, brought us meals, coffee and extra hoppy beverages, for the prayers, encouraging words and congratulations, for the sweet intagram messages and late night conversations and for everyone who has loved on our family during this whole process!F48

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Chris, thank you for using your sexy man skills to capture this special day, for making all the babies with me and for taking such good care of us! You’re truly the most incredible man I know! Olivia, thank you for doing all of this mom biz with me! I am so grateful for your friendship! Rebecca, thank you for this last 4 years that you have loved me and supported me in a way that I can never say thank you enough for!  You have been so much more than a midwife to us and we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and to be apart of yours! A special thanks to In His Hands Birthing Supply Co. for partnering with us and blessing us with our home birth kit.  Oh! And did I mention we had a GoPro in the tub! The footage is incredible and I’m so thankful to have been able to watch one of my deliveries this way! If you have a water birth, put a GoPro in the tub! Thanks again, Rebecca! So cool!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOn that note, I’m going to go nurse! Thanks for reading friends!

If you are interested in why we choose home birth or would like more information on this topic, please feel free to reach out!

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

You know how sometimes you just have those days where you’re emotional and grateful and looking at your family and wondering how you got to where you are in life?  My Grammy texted me this morning just to share that she was proud of Chris and I and I just wanted to cry because this is the life that I prayed I could have one day but genuinely didn’t think I could have… I don’t deserve it, but I grow more and more thankful for it. Even when I’m tired or stressed or as I listen to our 3 & 4 year arguing over the ideal spot to have their picnic right now… I am just so grateful. The word Redeemed rings in my ears often and when I look at Chris and our daughters, the ring feels more like a shout!

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I’m just feeling extra grateful for that shout today…

My friend Robyn was so kind to do a little extra shoot and capture something we love just as much as baking around this house! Bed Jumping!!! I just had to share these sweet images! Thank you so much Robyn! These are truly the moments I know I will think back on, smile and cry about when they are grown. I hope they will be mothers who will love their children fiercely, that kindness will flow from their hearts and homes and that they will be filled with the joy that comes from watching their babes jump on the bed…and maybe jumping with them when they’re a little less pregnant:D

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Products Featured:

Pajamas: G. Nancy from Baby Donkie 

Momma’s Top: LoveWinnieJames

Photography by RobynBunch

Baking with my babes!

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Hey friends! So, if you have been following me for awhile, you know one of our absolute favorite things to do as a family, is bake together!  When we homeschooled last year, every week we baked/cooked something that coordinated with the letter we were learning that week. It was so fun and it’s so amazing getting to teach them baking skills and introducing them to new foods and such a fun way to incorporate learning into our week!  Some things we made were healthy, some not so much, but all so fun to make together! Cooking as a family is my favorite!  When Dad gets involved I love it that much more!  Chris is an insane cook and these girls don’t know yet just how lucky they are to have a Dad with such amazing culinary skills! #happywife!

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Having a house full of daughters is kind of like a dream come true!  I don’t know that I necessarily ever imagined this, but it is truly incredible!  We joke that we’re going to need to remodel our kitchen soon because our house is full of people who love to cook, including my husband who is the best of the best!  But, we probably really will have to… So, if you want to come help remodel our space, let me know:D

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It is so wonderful watching each of our daughters’ personalities develop, and you can see it so much when we bake.  Norah takes baking pretty seriously and wants to get the recipe right.  Charlie pretty much spends the whole time taste testing anything that falls onto the table and Ada just likes to bang spoons and make messes!

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It’s so fun watching them pick out their aprons, their whisk of choice, choosing which ingredients who gets to put in first and probably most of our recipes get extra eggs because egg cracking is their favorite part, next to dough tasting of course!

When my sweet friend Robyn told me she was flying into town from Phoenix and asked if we would want to do some photos, I knew right away that I wanted her to capture us doing one of our favorite things and do a little baking session! Guys, if you live in the Phoenix area, hit her up for photos!  She does it all and her work is so good! But seriously, she does such a great job at simply capturing what’s happening and makes you feel totally comfortable. So, please check her out if you’re in her neck of the woods! I maybe ugly face cried when looking at these because she did such an amazing job capturing the girls’ personalities and the little moments that make up our time spent baking with one another!

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We usually only get family photos done when we have a baby, so like once a year:D But, seriously, this was such a blessing!  Robyn did a little home session for us after we welcomed Ada and I cherish those moments so much! I knew I wanted to do something to remember this special season with these 3 little ladies before their 4th sister arrives, and this was absolutely perfect!  I am so excited to have those moments as our family of 6 beginning, but this was so very special!

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I imagine what life will be like when they’re in their teens and I get so excited! People make lots of negative comments about how terrible it will be, and I just smile because I know it doesn’t have to be!  I am so thankful to get to mother these ladies and when I imagine those years I imagine more coffee dates, more movie nights, more conversations in our kitchen… I know there will be rough moments, but I know none of those will compare to how wonderful the good ones will be!

A little alliteration for you!  Cooking Chocolate Chip Cookies wearing Comfy Clogs with the Cutest Crew!  See, education, education, education! IMG_6269

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Robyn, Thank you so much for the gift of these photos!  We are truly so grateful!  Check Robyn out at RobynRena.comInstagram and Facebook!

Featured Items

Norah’s Dress: RemieGirl

Charlie’s Dress, which she basically lives in: RyleeandCru

Charlie’s Hair Bows: TheLittleDesignCo

Ada’s Romper: ShopTheRabbitandFern

Momma’s top: LoveWinnieJames

Momma’s Clogs: SandgrenClogs

Some thoughts about Father’s Day & an Interview with my Love On Fatherhood

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Recently, BabyMori reached out to my super hunk of a husband, Chris, and asked him the question, What does Fatherhood mean to you?”  I was excited to read what he wrote because I am constantly amazed at what an incredible Father he is.  We talked in our dating days about wanting two daughters, and now that we’re about to have four daughters, I would have 100 more babies with this man!  On that note, want to have at least 5 more, husband? Just saying… think about it:D

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Father’s Day is one of those days that is bittersweet to me.  This will be the 8th Father’s Day that I mourn the loss of my Father and sister.  While I miss my dad tremendously, I can only imagine how much joy it would bring him to see the way my husband loves me and the way he fathers our daughters.  I know this is what he prayed for me when he first held me.  I imagine him rocking me to sleep and praying for me to have a husband who would love me and our children the way he loved my mother and me. I know that when he dreamt of having grandchildren, he dreamt of them being fathered by a man like Chris.  While I mourn the fact that my dad didn’t get to walk me down the aisle and give me away to Chris and mourn that he did not live to meet his grandchildren (he is about to have 9 now!) or embrace us as we welcomed our daughters and became parents, I know that the things he prayed over me were answered, and in more ways than I think he ever imagined.

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I miss my dad so much, especially on this day… But the joy that I feel when I see the smiles on the girls’ faces when they model a new dress for their father, or the way the girls soak up the way Chris teaches them how to play a new game or the way they hide and jump out to surprise him when Chris gets home for work… That joy and thankfulness trumps the pain that comes with not seeing my father today.  Chris preached at Church today, so he got there before we did.  When we walked into the sanctuary, the first thing they did was look around for their dad and then took off running for him as soon as they found him in the crowd.  That love they have for one another, that excitement they have as they run to their father and then watching the way he picks them up and embraces them, feeling that same excitement… It’s just so rich!

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So, with that, here is an interview with Chris on what Fatherhood means to him.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you Father’s out there, and for all of you may be mourning any kind of loss of a Father, a spouse or a child, I pray you feel more joy than pain today and that you are overwhelmed with love and peace each and every day you mourn those losses.

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An Interview with BabyMori- What does Fatherhood mean to you?

“Fatherhood is, to me, a gift, a responsibility and a blessing all rolled into one. I get to experience what it is like to have my hands involved in molding and shaping a life, but am also being molded and shaped by my daughters. My eyes are constantly opened to new things around me, in my daughters and in myself.  Fatherhood has shown and is showing me just how compassionate I can be, but at the same time, has shown me and shows me just how truly selfish I am and can be all at the same time. Fatherhood is one of the most fun things I have ever done while also exhausting and frustrating. I think Fatherhood is amazing, but also a weighty responsibility that I want to continue to grow in and handle correctly.  My understanding of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of my Creator has been broadened beyond what I ever thought it would be.

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On a related note, as a father to daughters, I will say that fatherhood has made me keenly aware of the way we, often unintentionally, belittle our female population. As we enter into the last stretch of pregnancy with our 4thdaughter, I am met with many comments about my lack of sons that are increasingly frustrating to me.  Many times the conversation goes this way:

Person – “Wow, your 4th child.  Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?”

Me – “It’s my 4th girl”

Person – “Wow, I’m sorry” or “You must have more patience than me” or “Still don’t have that boy yet?” or “Will try until you get a boy?”

IMG_7078Now, I understand where the line of questioning comes from, but this is often in front of or within earshot of my daughters.  I would love to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely love raising these little girls and in no way feel as though I was left out of something simply because I do not have a son, or that in some crazy way, these girls are of less value to me than having a son. I thank God for these 4 precious girls that I have been entrusted with and cherish the fact that I’m able to be part of their lives, and they a part of mine.  Sure, the novelty of raising a little boy is alluring and I enjoy entertaining the thought of having a little mini-me running around.  That novelty, however, pales in comparison to the blessing of this house that is filled with estrogen.  I want to see the gifts set before me and be diligent to raise strong, productive, useful, and joy filled women. I am planning a small bunker for myself for the future, though, and will be practicing my most intimidating facial expressions and death threats for the boys that will be knocking on my door.” -Chris Pahls.

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To read more inspiring stories about Fatherhood, head over BabyMori and read more in their Journal Series.

Photos By Robyn Bunch, Courtney Unruh & Stephanie Pollock

 

International Family Day: An Interview With BabyMori – Inspiring Lives 14: The Importance of Family, Kindness and Accepting Loss


  • How did you and your husband, Chris, first meet? 

Chris and I will never stop laughing about how we met!  I’ll try and set up the scene. It’s 2004, we’re college freshman, I’m maybe hung over (because #college and I was into poor choices at this stage in my life:D) and I was dressed in what we will call ‘not my best look’. We were in our University Cafeteria, and I’m standing in front of a TV & and literally shoveling ranch dressing smothered cottage cheese into my mouth using a chicken strip as my utensil of choice when my friend came over and introduced Chris and I 😀 I knew him after that as Hot Art Student Chris and he knew me as That Weird Chicken Strip Girl 😀 We didn’t begin dating until two years later, and have been inseparable since, but to this day Chris will joke, “I can’t believe I married the chicken strip girl”. So, maybe not a love at first sight story but it makes for a good story and we will never stop laughing about it. Oh, and I’ve been working on my table manners and Hot Art Chris has only continued to get hotter and hotter:D

  • Life isn’t always kind to everyone. How do you both approach life with such positivity and love?

Chris and I both understand that you can’t take life too seriously.  We have learned to really value the good moments, as we understand it is these moments that will help get us through the more difficult times.  We both value kindness and try to remember that the person honking their horn at us maybe just found out they have cancer, or the mean lady in line at the coffee shop is maybe grieving the loss of her best friend.  We understand that people are hurting all around us and believe we are called to be kind and loving to all people at all times. We both share the belief that everybody has a story to tell, everyone’s story is very valuable and sometimes these stories really just need to be shared and listened to. 2016-04-20 09.17.39.jpg

  • You’ve both lost family in the past, something that can be so difficult to cope with. How has family helped you to find the light at the end of the tunnel?

Chris and I were dating when my father and 17-year-old sister were killed in a tragic car accident.  I kind of lost myself for a while.  I hurt in a way I didn’t know was possible and I was hurting even more deeply for my family, watching them grieve.  I know watching my family and I hurt the way we did was difficult for Chris. I remember Chris not really giving me advice when I was really hurting, but just trying to be there and listen to me when I needed it. He still tries to do this. Please do this for your friends experiencing loss. Just be there for them. Just listen to them. Just cry with them…

Chris lost both his grandparents in the same week and my water actually broke with our first daughter the morning of their funeral so we were unable to attend.  As strange as this sounds, we gained such interesting perspective through this.  Although we will all experience extreme sorrow on this earth, there is still immeasurable joy that happens alongside this sorrow as well. However, sometimes you have to choose which thing you’re going to give more attention to, the sorrow or the joy.

All of us will experience loss and difficulty but we also all get to choose how we respond and react to these difficult times and painful emotions.  After the loss of my dad and sister, I reacted in many ways. Some reactions were good, some were damaging, but in the end, with Chris’ love and support, I went back to school and became a therapist so I could walk alongside people who were going through their most difficult times and be a part of their healing process.  We have learned, though, that you don’t need any kind of special degree to walk alongside people and help; we can all do this every day.

We can take the time to visit with the person checking us out at our your local grocers, we can be kind and buy someone’s coffee behind us in line at the local coffee shop or simply compliment and encourage that sleep deprived mother trying to convince her toddlers why they don’t need that candy that they’re letting the world know they need… You’ll be amazed at the connections and relationships that will form around you if you take the time to do these simple things daily.  Listening to people’s stories and sharing ours can have so much power and impact on the world around us. Chris and I believe we were made for connection and community and these are ways we have learned to join together as a family and connect with others around us no matter what season of life we may be in.

  • Moments are so rare because they come and go so quickly. For you, what family moments will you always hold close?

When it pertains to loss, I will never forget the moment I held my father’s hands or touched my sister’s beautiful face and said goodbye to them for the last time as they laid in their caskets. I can’t help but cry and breathing sometimes becomes difficult when I think of this moment, knowing I wouldn’t see them or touch them in this life again.

However, when I think of this moment, I also begin to think of the many unforgettable memories that made saying goodbye to them so difficult.  I remember the first time I held Bethany in the hospital when she was born and being so excited to have another little sister.  She was such a spunky, compassionate and genuinely unforgettable person. I remember my dad sharing with me, shortly before he passed, the regrets he had as a father and asking me for his forgiveness while expressing his deep love for me as his first-born daughter. My mind is flooded with memories of family game nights, road trips across the country and so many of my dad’s corny jokes that I will forever be grateful for!

I have learned so much from my family and so much more in having to say goodbye to them. Their loss made me realize I will say goodbye to other loved ones before I’m ready to, so I am trying to be more aware of this and hold tightly to the happy moments, especially as a wife and mother.

When it pertains to my family, there are so many memories that will stay with me.  The moment Chris asked me to be his wife, the moment we promised to love one another even through the hardest of times, the moment we became parents and every moment we met each one of our daughters for the first time. Every time we welcome a baby, I look at him and feel the deepest emotion that I don’t even know how to describe.  It’s like, WE did this! You did this! I did this! This is our baby, this is our family.  I think about this feeling and treasure it deeply.

IMG_6767.jpgThere are so many moments, which might be considered mundane, that have become so precious and almost sacred to me because I have learned that forever is a lot shorter than it sounds. Making pancakes in the morning, singing songs in the bathtub, the girls crawling into our bed after they’ve peed in theirs:D  I know these moments are fleeting and I want to hold onto them as long as I can!

  • What does family mean to you and how do you enjoy the little moments?

To me, family is a gift.  I don’t necessarily deserve my family or this life of ours, and yet they have been given to me and I to them… And for that, I am so thankful. There are some days I almost can’t believe how blessed I am! Before we had children, I was such an extrovert.  Now, I’m happiest at home hanging out with our family! I love and look forward to the days where our calendars are empty and all we have to do is to hang out with one another! Movie nights, dance parties, baking and making meals together, playing outside, watching the girls play together… Even cleaning the house is so much more fun as a family! I know my family is a gift and I am so thankful and continue to grow more and more thankful!  I think the best way to embrace family is to understand that it truly is a gift and to try my best to act in a manner that reflects this gratitude.

  • Finally, what does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood.  So much can be found wrapped up into the word Motherhood. Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  Motherhood is a huge responsibility, a new identity, a constant dance of evolving and adjusting. Motherhood brought with it new insecurities, new challenges, new opinions, new fears, new convictions, new emotions, new abilities, new passions, new hopes and aspirations, new relationships, new priorities… To me, there was almost my life before motherhood and my life after motherhood.  Motherhood is not the only thing that defines me, but it is a confounding element that has completely redefined me.

 

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Read more inspiring stories @ https://babymori.com/blogs/journal . Thank you for letting me share my heart @BabyMori!
 Photos by StephPollock & RobynBunch

 

 

Sister, Sister, Sister, Sister: Sisterly Love

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Motherhood is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. There are so many aspects that I never knew existed or never even thought about before having our own children.  One of those things I never really thought about when we were dreaming of children, was what it would be like to get to watch their relationships with one another form and change as they grew.  We planned to have one baby, and now, 5 years later, our 4th girl is due in October:D  Watching these little ladies is such a gift! I can think back to when they were so little and just learning how to use words and communicate with one another…And now they’re best friends, most of the time, and doing just about everything they do with one another!

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I am the oldest of 4, with 2 younger sisters and a brother whom I love dearly.  I also gained 2 brothers and an amazing sister-in-law when I married my husband.  Our youngest sister, Bethany went to be with the Lord 8 years ago when she was 17 and I miss her more than I can express.  Losing Bethany strengthened the bond I have with my sister Heather and has taught me so much about how incredible the gift of siblings can be.

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I have a lot of regret as a sibling. I feel like I missed getting to know my siblings or pouring into them the way I should have… mostly because of my own selfishness… One thing I really want my daughters to understand is that they are precious gifts to one another and their job as a sister is to be selfless, compassionate and a best friend to one another…  I want to model that they are to be understanding and gentle with one another; to hold one another accountable yet give one another lots of grace. It’s easy to get frustrated and judgy with the ones you love most.  I am guilty of this and wish I would have shown my love to my siblings better.  I pray that through what I have learned, these daughters will love and protect one another in such a way that when they look back on life, they can smile and know they always were there for one another and that they will never feel alone in the many stages of life they go through.

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When it comes to the girls’ personalities and interests, all of our girls all pretty ‘girly girly’ but some of their favorite interests include learning, reading, baking, playing with dolls & barbies, playing dress up in princess dresses and momma’s clothes, lots and lots of make believe, playing midwives, doing make-up, building forts, dance parties, making & playing with play dough, painting, coloring, playing tag and hide-and-seek, playing outside and really just doing anything together! Norah wants everything Disney Princess Ariel, Charlie wants all things Princess Rapunzel and Ada likes anything she can throw or chew on:D

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It is truly so interesting how different they are from one another…. Chris and I started talking last night about what it might be like welcoming our fourth little lady, and we couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of four daughters but more so, about Ada becoming a big sister! She is so funny and wild and is going to be so in love!

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To describe them each briefly, Norah wakes up in the mornings like Disney Princess happy! Charlie always wakes up a bit grumpy and hungry and Ada always wakes up way too early and ready to wrestle and play.  Whenever Ada sees her two big sisters in the morning, she squeals with joy and instantly tries to wrestle with them!  It’s amazing watching how much she loves them, how much they love her and how much they all just love one another! My heart swoons thinking about the 3, soon to be 4 of them, growing up together and all the memories they will make together! Norah is our social butterfly, Charlie is our super creative artist and Ada kind of acts like she’s been raised by wolves 😀 I’m so excited to see what baby girl #4 will be like?! Also excited to giver her a name!

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Our two oldest have recently entered the ‘fighting’ stage and they are, surprisingly, very good at it.  One minute, they will be playing barbies, the next minute they’re fighting over who said what and then act as if the world is ending.  Chris and I are working on trying to learn what works best for each of them and that’s an interesting process as well. They fight over who gets to wear what outfit and they almost always ask to be “matchy matchy” which just means dress similarly, so I’m getting smarter about getting them “matchy matchy” coordinating outfits

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Even in the more difficult times, I am so grateful to be their mother and feel so blessed to call these daughters ours! Sometimes I just watch them and smile and take 1,000 photos so I never forget how these moments felt… When they hug and tell one another they love each other, or compliment and encourage one another… all the hard stuff seems to melt away…well, most of the time:D Motherhood is simply amazing and I am so grateful for our little girl party!”

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We are very thankful to have partnered with LittleCottonClothes and their Sisterly Love campaign for this piece.  Thank you LittleCottonClothes!

Heidi Skirts and Sidonie Sailor Shirts by LittleCotton Clothes

Knee Socks by RedRoverKids & AtHomeWithAveryGrace

A wonderful new friend & some family photos

Instagram has turned into something that I never imagined it would be.  At the same time, Motherhood is everything wonderful I ever imagined to be and beyond amazing, but it too has surprised me.  Along with the incredible joy, love and everything sprinkles and rainbows are made of, came along some unexpected insecurities, discouragement, doubt, fear, mom guilt and loneliness. Somewhere in between these feelings, busy schedules, 2am nursing sessions, toddler tantrums, 4am nursing sessions, sleep deprivation, trying to adult,  6am nursing sessions and snapping photos, I found myself  in this wonderful community and surrounded by mothers who seemed to understand everything I was experiencing. While Instagram may just be a button on my phone, it also opened up this extra community where even in times when I might not be able to sit with my best friends for coffee, I could still drink coffee and visit with my best friends.  These friends I have made through these little squares have reassured, in my moments where motherhood is rough, that I am not a total failure, I am not doing everything completely wrong and I am definitely not alone in feeling these things.

I was laughing with some friends I have made through instagram this week about how instagram used to just blue blue & orange filters over our poor quality photos of our food:D You guys remember that right?! If I could just give this piece of cheesecake a more grainy vintage look and a sweet vignette or border, it will be perfect!  🙂 However, out of those grainy photos has birthed, for me, a wonderful community full of awesome opportunities and genuine friendships!  While I could talk much more about this, I bring it up to to share that I got to have my first insta meet up with a beautiful friend that came out of these little squares and it was wonderful!!  I can think of at least 30 of you, you know who you are, who I am just certain we will meet up one day soon too!

Anyway, not only did I just meet my sweet friend Stephanie, but she also blessed us with her talents and photographed our family doing one of our favorite pastimes, visiting coffee shops!  She brought along her sweet daughter and we were all smitten with her! For those of you who know her from instagram, she’s even prettier, more kind and more hip than she looks in her feed!  I instantly wished we lived closer and in our conversation it just felt  like I had known her forever!  It was such a fun visit and I just feel so grateful that we had the opportunity to meet up in real life and to have these sweet memories of such a fun day.  Thank you SO much Stephanie and Loyal Coffee!

Here are a few of my favorites!  Well, they were basically all my favorites but here are a couple!

 

Photos By Stephanie Pollock 

Dresses & Romper- JamesVincentDesignCo

Tights-Sawyer&Halle

Bonnet-YarnRepublic

Moccasins-TheLittleDesignCo

Watch- Jord

Boots- Wilcox Boots

Ring Sling- WildBird

Diaper Bag-Fawn Design

Location-Loyal Coffee

Welcoming Ada Lynn

I feel like the only time I blog is when I have a baby, so most probably this will be my last one until next year:D Just kidding…maybe. I really want to be more intentional about blogging, so thank you for your time and patience!

Ok, so it’s taken me almost a year to finish writing this! So, with no further ado, Ada Lynn’s Birth Story!  Ada’s birth story is nuts.  I kind of don’t even know where to begin.  I’ll start with the week before we met her.

Sunday morning, January 31, I woke up and felt so weird.  I was nauseous and dizzy and couldn’t stop cleaning… I was nesting to the max! I called my midwife and she decided to come check on me.  Everything looked great, I was in tiptop shape and I asked her to go ahead and check me just to see if I was dilated at all.  To our surprise, I was a 6!  I wasn’t having any contractions that I could feel so she just told me to let her know if I progressed at all.  We decided that on my next visit we had scheduled for the following Thursday, February 4th, and Rebecca would strip my membranes to get things going.OJ4A1832.jpg

On the way home I started feeling my contractions but they weren’t painful at all. They just felt like I was flexing my abs…  She told me to get home, eat some cucumbers to keep my blood pressure at bay, to get in the bath and lay on my side and rest.  So there I was with my giant belly, my cucumbers, and a nice hot bath… I promise it wasn’t as romantic or pervy as that sounded:D By the time she arrived at was fully dilated!!! Like a 10!!! Like, a 10, 10! What?! How?! I thought I would at least feel some pain by this point?! We were sure we would be meeting Ada any moment.  Well, long story, short… We did not…OJ4A1880.jpg

So, come Thursday I felt great, just very ready to meet our little lady.  The whole drive I just rubbed my belly and kept thinking about being a family of 5 and how excited Norah and Charlie were to meet their little sister!  Norah kept telling me she was going to cath Ada and pull her out, but I’ll talk more about that later!  So Rebecca decided to check me before stripping my membranes and I will never forget the look in her eyes:D She looked at me with these huge eyes and was like, “Amanda! Amanda! How are you not feeling these contractions?! You’re having one right now!” She then looked at her apprentice, looked back at me and was like, “Um, you’re dilated to a 9!”  What the what?! I was dilated to a 9, baby was at  a +1 station and I wasn’t feeling my contractions?!  SO weird.  We decided stripping my membranes would not be necessary and that we would head home and she would head over a little later to deliver Ada that day!!!

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We would fill the tub, drain the tub, repeat…I am pretty sure we tried every midwife trick there is. After trying everything from essential oils, a full bottle of chaulophyllum, a few different herbs, 2 different meds, rest, squats, and even playing tag with Norah and Charlie around the house, nothing seemed to get my contractions strong enough.  Most labor inducing techniques involve ripening the cervix but I was fully dilated so it was like…what the heck is happening?!  We decided the next step would be breaking my water… Welp, guess what?  This didn’t work either!… Like, that bag was so thick we couldn’t pop it. My midwife encouraged me to eat lots of oranges with as much pericarp during my pregnancy as I could to strengthen . We joked that I shouldn’t have eaten that many since apparently it definitely made my bag of waters strong!OJ4A1961.jpgOJ4A1974.jpg

So, after a day full of trying to induce labor, laughter, good conversation, delicious pizza’s sent from a sweet friend in Colorado (Thanks Lacee!) we decided to call it a night.  I remember Rebecca asking me what I felt like I wanted to do and just crying because I was so tired and so confused…Chris held me…Reminded me of how strong I was and that I had this…Rebecca held me and whispered encouraging words to me and then everyone came over, laid hands on me and prayed.  It was amazing.  I felt such peace and security and the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a cool way!  Rebecca, her team, our photographer Courtney Unruh and one of my dearest friends Olivia all set up camp in the living room and said they weren’t leaving until Ada arrived.  Having that many people choose to stay with me and support me was such an incredible feeling.  I felt so loved!

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One of my favorite things about home birth is the wonderful atmosphere and comfort that comes with just being in your home.  There was no rush, no other women needing tended to and no agenda besides my comfort & Ada and I’s health. At one point in the day we all got starbucks and just hung out visiting by the birthpool:D Everyone involved had a wonderful sense of humor so the atmosphere just felt fun and relaxed the entire time. Rebecca’s team was made up of her two oldest daughters, (she has 11 children! #Goals) and her Apprentice, Angie.  Her girls played with our girls and watching the incredible relationship that these teenage girls shared with their mother made em so excited for the relationship that my girls and I will share one day!3

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I mentioned above how badly Norah wanted to help or at least witness the birth of Ada and I wanted this so badly too, but it just didn’t happen. After such a long day, we decided that maybe it would be best for Norah and Charlie to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the evening so Chris and I could get some rest and wake up ready to go!  I was super bummed, but also felt like we needed to do it this way.  The next morning I woke up, still dilated to a 10 and was beyond ready to meet our little lady!

 

Just like the day before, we tried all kinds of things until I was just so ready!  We were determined to get my water to break so we decided to go to the bedroom and make it happen!  Everybody huddled in my bedroom, I think at this point there were 8 of us, and when I was having a hard contraction, I was told to push! A few times of doing this and my water BURST! Like, sprayed me in the face and everyone around me kind of burst.  I remember laughing, and then getting a contraction that was like the mother of all contractions!  Up until this point, my contractions were almost painless. I would have a few minutes of some painful contractions followed by hours of nothing… It was emotionally so strange and draining because they would start to get a little more painful and I would think, “this is it!  Here we go!” and then nothing. But this contraction, I knew she was coming and FAST!

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I asked Rebecca and Chris to get me downstairs and back into the tub.  I got in and there was another huge contraction!  I was on my hands and knees and reached down and could feel Ada’s head.  I remember Rebecca asking me to roll over and I was like, “Nope! Not happening!” She rolled me over herself and told me to push!  Now, this was my third labor and I feel like after all this work and being dilated to a 10 for so long pushing would be so easy, but I’ve never had to push like this.  Charlie was 2 painless pushes but this was like, no matter how hard I pushed, I felt like I needed to push harder!  So with every fiber in my being and an amazonian style of screaming, I screamed and pushed and then… Rebecca told me to slow down!  Slow down?! Ada was finally right there and I had to slow my pushing down?!OJ4A2412.jpgOJ4A2417.jpg

This is another area where I am so incredibly thankful for the extra time, care, consideration and attention that you receive with a homebirth midwife.  Rebecca realized that Ada was coming out with a Nuchal hand.  It’s not what it sounds like. Her hands were great! This just means that she was crowing with her hand on her head with her elbow bent out wanting to exit at the same time as her head!  Think Burt Reynolds 1972 centerfold style.  She was just wanting to arrive with extra class but this class is not so great for your lady biz, and we realized this was the reason my pushing was so dang hard!!! Rebecca used her sweet skills and gently pushed Ada’s hand and arm back while having me slowly push and I am happy to say that no vagines were hurt or torn in any way during this delivery!!! Woot woot!!! Thanks Rebecca!  After that, I reached down and with one more push, pulled my sweet little Ada out and onto my chest!OJ4A2650.jpg

I then remember something really special. My mom was there with me when I delivered Norah and Charlie but timing was a little off on this one and it didn’t work for my mom to be there this time. Sorry Mom! However, my best friend was there with me the entire time!  I remember looking down at Ada again and looking up and meeting eyes with Olivia, both us with large tears streaming down our faces.  And here I go again!  It’s hard not to get emotional when I think about my friendship with Olivia.  She is a true blessing and I’m just so thankful for her!  I was there as she delivered her son Aymos at home and I remember looking into her eyes as she held her son for the first time and just feeling so proud of her and so amazed with her strength and the beauty of birth.  In that moment, I knew how much she loved me, how proud of me she was and how much wonder she saw in me giving birth to Ada as well!  It was just a special thing that I’ll never forget. Thank you Olivia!OJ4A2678.jpgOJ4A2697.jpg

I will never forget the sensation or that moment when each one of my ladies first laid on my chest!  Reaching down and picking your own baby up and out of yourself and up onto your chest yourself in a sensation that is truly incredible! I exclaimed, “You’re here! You’re here!”  I remember kissing her, looking at her hands which were so small in comparison to her sisters, and looking into her face and just being in awe of how perfect she was.  Her pouty lips, her dimpled chin, her soft brown hair.  I remember looking  at Chris and smiling and having this funny sense of relief and while he didn’t say anything, in my head he was laughing and saying, “finally!”:DOJ4A2707.jpgOJ4A2770.jpg

After cuddling with Ada awhile, we got out of the tub and got settled in our bedroom. Our room was set up with all the necessities you might find in a hospital except way cozier! By this time, Chris had gone and picked up Norah and Charlie. I was so bummed they weren’t there when I delivered but looking back to the screams I screamed with the last few pushes, it was probably for the best! I was on the bed nursing Ada as the girls rushed in screaming, “She’s here! She’s here!”Norah jumped up onto the bed, put her hand on my  cheek and said in the sweetest little voice, “I really wanted to pull her out… BUT YOU DID IT!” She was so proud! Her and Charlie huddled around us just smiling, laughing, and cooing about how much they loved their new little sister and how cute they thought she was! OJ4A2844.jpgOJ4A2845.jpgOJ4A2852.jpgOJ4A2856.jpgOJ4A2884.jpgOJ4A2888.jpgOJ4A2923.jpgOJ4A2938.jpgOJ4A2957.jpg

Then we just got to cuddle up and love on one another while we watched all of Ada’s vitals taken. OJ4A2973.jpgOJ4A2975.jpgOJ4A2976.jpgOJ4A3003.jpgOJ4A3050.jpgOJ4A3039.jpgOJ4A3064.jpgOJ4A3105.jpgOJ4A3119.jpg

I am so thankful for this incredible family of mine and for all if the incredible people who took part in lavishing us with love and care while we welcomed our sweet little Ada Lynn!OJ4A3188.jpg Thank you so much toTruly You Midwifery Services and to everyone who prayed for us, encouraged us, supported and loved us throughout our pregnancy and welcoming Ada! This was one of the most incredible days of our lives.  I can hardly believe that Ada is almost one.  It doesn’t seem possible that this much time could have passed already.