Saturday, October 4, 2014


Tenley bug is getting so big, so fast! Before conference started on Sunday, we took the kids to the park to burn off some energy. We had the whole park to ourselves, so we put Tenley in a swing, just to see what she'd do. She absolutely loved it! She grinned and shrieked, waved her arms, kicked her legs, and laughed and laughed. One of my favorite parts of being a parent is watching my kids experience and discover the world around them. And watching their amazing daddy take delight in the same thing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Little Things

  • Gray is really into hotwheels right now. Truthfully, both boys are, but Granger's slightly more obsessed than Nash. His latest favorite is picking one to try to "drive". He will spend ten minutes or more positioning himself perfectly on top of the car until he is satisfied that he is "in the car" and can drive it. It's hysterical to watch. 
  • Nash carries around Cameron's old cell phone and loves to tell everyone he's taking their picture. He holds it up in your face and will keep it there, no matter what, until you oblige him and say "cheese!" 
  • At bedtime, we've started doing "pillow cuddles" where I lay down on their pillow with them and we talk about the day or sing a song or tickle. I was playing with Tenley in the playroom while the boys played in the playroom closet and I heard them talking about pillow cuddles. I walked in to find them tucking the dollhouse baby into bed with her mom and pretending to put her to bed. "Night night! Love you!" the works. My heart about exploded. 
  • Speaking of mimicking us as parents...the boys have also taken to disciplining each other, Tenley, and their toys. Gray spanked the characters in his book tonight and immediately said sorry, but they had to go to time out because they need to obey. The other day, I heard the Nash tell Gray they needed to have a talk and I watched them both sit in the chairs in our living room and discuss that we don't poke, hit, bite, push, or spank or we have to go to time out. At least they understand! 
  • Tenley is without a doubt the happiest baby I have ever known. I can't decide if it's just because she's one baby instead of two, or if she really just cries less, but my days are full of baby laughter and singing, not crying. She's a dream.
  • I did "mommy school" with the boys earlier this week. It's going to be a regular thing for sure. It made such a difference! We had a short lesson on A is for Apple, sang songs, counted apple seeds with chocolate chips [which I'm shocked they didn't just eat! They focused so hard!], colored, practiced writing A's with chalk, etc. They loved it! And after school, they played so well together and didn't come looking for me at all! I feel like they felt special and didn't need to whine for my attention. Such a great day. I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

One Step at a Time

I was thinking about a lot of things tonight. Cameron scored advance screening tickets for us to The Maze Runner tonight, but we couldn't find a sitter, so I stayed home with the kids so he could have some relaxed time to himself. Truth be told, I didn't try very hard to find a sitter. I don't mind missing a movie here or there and Cam really just loves movies. Heaven knows his brain works overtime during the day, and a little quiet where his wife isn't whispering in his ear is needed sometimes. And I am finding it harder and harder to enjoy watching TV and movies. It's something I'm actually super happy about. Normally, I have four or five shows I'm watching at any given time. Right now, we are watching ONE. One show. Royal Pains on Netflix. And I watch it with Cameron. I used to put the kids down for their afternoon nap, grab my lunch, head upstairs, waste time finding my show to put on, and veg for a few hours in the afternoon, sometimes designing or working on other projects, but for the most part I just watched. And heaven forbid I was out of shows to watch. That was enough to put me in a terrible mood. It dawned on me today that I have been back from Arizona for over a week now, and I haven't watched a single show on my own. I'm so proud of that. And I intend to keep it that way. Does it really matter if I find out who wins the Biggest Loser or who the next Bachelor is? What will I be missing out on? Plus, I am so filled with this desire to create lately, I hate to be distracted when I get a few hours to work. I have dragon hooded towels to make for the boys, a sheep eared beanie to make for Tenley, more blog design ideas than I can count that I really would love to get out of my head and onto the screen, home videos to compile to DVD, an entire home organization workbook to apply, recipes to try, a garage sale to organize, books to read, classes I want to take, skills I want to develop [calligraphy and font making for starters], my 2013 and 2014 family yearbooks to finish [chatbooks didn't work out for me. Not enough space for journaling], a scripture study workbook course I love to focus on, and the three most beautiful kiddos to mother when they're awake. Never before have I honestly felt that there really just isn't enough time in the day to waste on television or movies. It's so exciting to me to be on an upward spiral instead of a downward one. It's addicting. It's empowering.

After each baby, there is a definite day where I realize the newborn fog has been lifted and I, as a mom, have settled into the new addition to our family. The energy that comes from that realization puts me on such a high and it causes so much positivity in every aspect of my life. The boys were nuts today, but I had patience with them. Nash had a hard time falling asleep and was crying. Instead of getting after him, I brought both Nash and Gray a chocolate chip and we sang a few songs, snuggled, and had a quick tickle fight. By the end of it, Nash called out "night night, mama! Love you!" tear free as I shut their door. Loving, patient mothering is so filling to me. Today wasn't perfect. It wasn't even close. But I am so filled. I love the mother I am today. It is such a hard job some days. It is tiring. It is demanding. But oh, it is rich.

Being a mother is such an interesting experience to me. It is a job that is motivated by such an intense love that there is no possible way you can feel like you've done everything these beautiful little ones deserve. There is always more to be done. However, today I understand that just because I haven't done everything does not mean I'm doing a poor job. I am a great mom because I am trying. I am trying to teach my children to love each other and themselves and their Heavenly Father and Savior. I am trying to help them understand the world around them. I am trying to feed them healthy food. I am trying to exercise their brains and their bodies. I am trying to help them feel secure in my love. But most of all, I am trying. And I really think that's what counts.

I'm surprised at how often I think about the spouses my children will have someday. In my mind, there are three other young mothers raising crazy kids right now and just trying to do right by these little ones that they love. I feel so connected to these other women. And I love them so much for trying day in and day out.

In my kitchen, there's a print I made when we were going through the brunt of infertility. It reads Alma 36:20-21.

 20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

I always thought the pains and the joy occurred at two very separate times. For example, I was filled with deep pain when battling infertility, and it made the sweetness of our children's births completely joyous, marvelous, and exquisite. However, today I have been thinking about how Motherhood operates on the two extremes often at exactly the same time. I can honestly say my heart breaks on a daily basis. But it also swells to the point of bursting in the same day. My heart breaks over my own inadequacy as a mother. It breaks for the world my children are growing up in. It breaks because my children are growing at all, but in the very same moment it swells because they are growing, too! Being a mother is the richest experience of my life. I am so grateful I get to experience this. So blessed. 

Another step forward I made today is when Cam was gone, I didn't make him feel guilty about it when he came home. All too often, I throw a [super mature] fit when Cam is out late at night at a class/seminar/studying/rare guy's night. Like he somehow owes me something now. Grow up, Kristin. Come on, now! Tonight, I encouraged him to go to the show without me. He came home to a happy wife in a messy house. But I was happy. And I think he'd rather have a happy, exhausted wife than a clean house anyhow. In fact, I know he would, which is why I didn't clean it. He operates at such a high level, I sometimes forget he's human. Our life is pretty stressful. We are both pulled a million different directions each and every day. Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only one who deals with a ton of stress. Selfish as it may be, that's the honest truth. Today, I was aware of him. I'm grateful my eyes were opened to that. And I am so grateful he got the chance to relax. 

I'm getting the hang of this wife and mom thing. At least I feel that way today. Which probably means tomorrow will be a humbling day. But if i just focus on the baby steps forward, we'll be just fine. 

I wouldn't trade this life for the world. You can't buy the feeling that fills our home tonight. Everyone is tucked in tight and the peace is tangible because I'm honestly in love with every imperfect bit. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday at the Park

Every Sunday we come home from church and the kiddos go straight down for naps. And they sleep. Sunday naps are the best naps of the week by far. Almost every time, we have to wake the boys up for dinner. Which means after dinner, they have serious energy to burn. So we go to the park down the street and let them run free until we come back home for dessert. Tonight's dessert was a total let down. [Homemade Nilla Wafers that tasted like potato chips, what?! And banana pudding that never set up and tasted...wrong. Whomp whomp.] Luckily, the sunshine, cool air, and grinning little sister made for a beautiful evening nonetheless. [Seriously can't handle the scrunchy-nose grins she's handing out lately.]


Nash and Gray broke the lens to my camera just over a year ago. At the time, we had just got our very first smart phones. And I never fixed the lens because those smart phones could do it all! And I got sucked in to Instagram instead of blogging because it is so convenient. And it is. But convenience sacrifices quality sometimes. And I've also been spewing all my random thoughts at Cameron instead of writing them out and then I expect him to react a certain way or have the brain power to talk things through with me whenever I feel like it. And that's just flat out not fair. Number one, he is not a woman (thank heavens.). Number two, I have a seriously huge amount of random (though quite good) thoughts. Number three, I tend to think each particular thought is SO important at the very moment it pops into my brain. Poor guy.

This past weekend, Cameron found a replacement lens for me on craigslist for $50. Prior to that he mentioned that someone had messaged him on Facebook asking why I don't blog any more. And that got my wheels turning. I love blogging. I love writing. I miss writing.

I'm back.

And I've been playing with my real camera again. With a new model. She's a total babe. [I knew having a girl would be fun, but I had no way of knowing just how fun it would be!]

So let's start over. Hi. I'm Kristin. I design blogs and websites. I eat whole foods. I tend to attract crazy. I post way too many pictures. I love being a wife and mother. I'm a faithful mormon. And once again, I am a good-enough-for-me writer and photographer. Hey-o!

And this is my Tenley. She's new here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Birth Story

From before she was even conceived, drama has surrounded this little girl. Her frozen cycle was all sorts of stressful with incorrect syringes, forgotten medications, postponed appointments, etc. Then at 10 weeks, she hid from three different midwives just trying to find her heartbeat which took almost an hour to track down because she was ping ponging around in there. Considering her track record, her labor and delivery were par for the course.

It started Wednesday morning at 2:30am. Granger woke up with a nightmare about a train. He was sobbing at the top of the stairs. I went to tuck him back into bed and Nash was awake as well. I had a foreboding feeling to really soak them up a little before I went downstairs, so I kissed and cuddled and tucked them back in. Gray started crying again about 10 minutes later and Cam went up to comfort him. I laid in bed and couldn't fall back asleep. I was getting really annoyed at not getting the rest I needed and it took me a while to figure out I was so uncomfortable because I was having contractions. They woke me up constantly over the next two hours so I decided I should probably time them and just see what was going on. 7 minutes apart. 1 minute long. It was so exciting to be able to predict them and watch my body regulate the tightening! I could literally count down to when the next one would start. That had never happened before. I texted my mom and analyzed things for a bit with her. I really cherish that one on one time I had with her that morning. I was so grateful she was up and willing to talk things through with me.

Cameron woke up for school around 5 and I told him I was having contractions, but that they weren't deep and painful, just regular for the first time, so he left and told me to keep him posted. Earlier in the week, I had contractions all night long but as soon as the boys woke up they went away, so I decided to wait until the boys woke up to see what happened. I went to get them out of their room and I could hear Gray waking up Nash. "Hiii!" "NO." "Hi Nash!" "NO." "Nash! HI!" "NO." It was so funny. Nash takes after me. He loves his sleep. Gray is my early riser. I had another contraction outside their door. That was encouraging to me. My body knew I was about to enter mom-mode for the day and it was still contracting. I went in their room and they were so cheerful! I gave them a few kisses, breathed through a contraction or two and got them dressed. Changing their diapers was really hard. And then I had two solid contractions 5 minutes apart. And then I had one 2 minutes after that.

I told my mom. And she told me to get Cam home. If they were coming this quick, rush hour could be a problem. They still weren't terribly difficult to get through, but they were regular and consistent. I called Cam. And I texted two of my best friends to see if they could take Nash and Gray. And I texted my midwife. Her advice was to get out of mom-mode as fast as possible so my body didn't shut off the contractions. Within 30 minutes, Cam was home to take the boys to a friends' house and contractions were coming every 6 minutes consistently with a double peak after every 5 or so. My midwife sent us on a walk to try and deepen them and help things progress. During the walk I could feel Tenley get lower and lower. It was exciting to me. Contractions kept coming! I remember the trees and birds and sky looking so vibrant. I loved holding Cam's hand and breathing deep and just enjoying the sunshine with him. It was just what I needed.

After about an hour and a half I needed water and my legs were really tired. We went home and I laid down for a minute. And contractions all but disappeared. I was so discouraged! I texted my midwife to let her know and she suggested nipple stimulation. 30 minutes. Horrible (at least I thought they were at the time...), hard, contractions coming every 2-3 minutes by the end of it. After the thirty minutes, they kept coming on strong and my midwife said to come in to the birth center. This was about 2:30 in the afternoon, so we're talking 12 hours of early labor at this point. As soon as we got in the car, I didn't have a single contraction for 20 minutes! It confused me completely. Didn't I know my own body? Cameron had me say "She's coming and she'll be here soon." over and over again to try and conquer the mental block I seemed to be having. The very first time those words came out of my mouth, I had the biggest contraction yet. My midwife still wanted me to come in to see if these contractions I was feeling were helping me progress at all. And they were! I was a 3 and 60% effaced. That helped. I liked knowing SOMETHING was happening.

We were sent home to take another walk (which didn't help near as much as the first one) and take a nap. I had wimpy little contractions every so often.  I didn't time them. And they didn't seem regular anyway. My midwife, though, had said "You are definitely in labor. It's just early in the game and we have a lot of work to do." She mentioned that Tenley would most likely be born in the next 48 hours. I didn't understand though. Does that mean that I just have to sit and wait for my body to fake me out again? I was pretty discouraged. And I was panicking about my boys overstaying their welcome with friends [they weren't. My friends are AMAZING, but rational thoughts were not my strength at this point.] I had decided we would go pick up the boys, put them to bed at home and see what happened the next morning. Before that, though, Cameron arranged for my chiropractor, Sarah, to come to our house and adjust me and do some acupuncture to get labor going again.

She arrived at 7:30 with another friend. She adjusted my back first. It helped relax me and get rid of a lot of the anxiety I had been experiencing that day. And then she adjusted my hips. My right hip was really hard to get. As soon as she did it, I sat up on the table and said "I'm going to vomit." and left the room. I didn't vomit, but I could definitely sense that something major had changed. Contractions started again, much harder than the first time, every 7 minutes. I sat on the couch and she put needles in my hands, feet, and head to relax me, help with pain relief, and keep the contractions coming strong. They stayed and chatted for an hour and a half, and contractions came consistently every 7 minutes through their entire visit. I had come to the peace that no matter what I did, contractions were out of my control. They would either keep coming or they would die out and that just doesn't matter. So I got up and we went to take a change of clothes to our friends for the boys the next day. Since contractions were back and it was so late [after 10 at this point] we would let the boys sleep over at their friends'.

At their house, we stayed and chatted for about 45 minutes. I was having consistent, tense contractions still which made me excited. I had been sitting, standing, riding in a car, walking up and down stairs, etc. and they hadn't changed at all. I let myself think maybe this was real. We went to get a drink at the QT and headed home. It was nice to be just me and Cam for the night. My midwife told me to take a tylenol PM, get in the tub, and then go to bed so I could hopefully get some rest before things got real. Things got real much faster than either of us anticipated. I took the Tylenol PM, got in the tub, got out at around 11:30 and tried to go to bed. At midnight I ran another bath. These contractions really hurt. I stayed in the water as long as I could, but I was breathing and moaning through each surge. Cameron stayed in bed, but I know he wasn't sleeping. When the water got cold and I could psyche myself up enough to move, I managed to get out and wrap a towel around myself. I figured I should probably time a few contractions just to see where we were at. My sense of time had been a little screwy since the night before. They were coming at 3 minutes apart and I was really working through them. This was at 1:30 in the morning. I got Cam up. He is very cautious and didn't want to call the midwife unless things were really happening. He wanted to time a few more. As nicely as I could, I told him to call her. He asked if I could talk to her. I'm really proud that I didn't swear at him. She answered right away and he explained what was going on. I got on the phone for about a minute between contractions. All I could say was "I'm really....having....a hard....time." And I tossed the phone back at Cam when the next one came. Robin, my midwife, said it was definitely time to come in.

I was nervous to get in the car for two very different reasons. 1. I didn't want the contractions to die down again like they had that afternoon. 2. I was worried about being able to cope with the contractions because I had really been moving my hips to work through them at home. We had to labor at home for another half hour because Robin lives farther away from the Birth Center than we do, so Cam helped me get dressed and ready to get in the car. We grabbed food from the freezer, my phone charger and our bag and he helped me out the door. It was a 20 minute drive to the birth center. I had 3 contractions on the way and 1 in the parking lot. If I could bounce my hips back and forth before they came on, I was fine. I missed the boat on one of them... I didn't miss it again.

We got to the Birth Center at 2:30am, Robin had already drawn a bath for me. The tub there could easily fit three people in it. She checked me and I was at a 5! Then she helped me get in and got Cam a chair so he could stay right by me. I needed his hand somewhere on me so I could close my eyes, but still know that he was right by me. Robin taught me how to let my limbs float in the water and release as much tension in my body as I possibly could through each contraction. If I managed to reach that high level of relaxation, I could visualize using the energy and sinking into each surge instead of feeling like the contractions were happening to me. It gave me a lot of confidence. I had read about women being able to use the energy instead of working against it. It was incredible to know that I could do that, too. I would let Cameron know every time a contraction came and he would talk me through it and just rub my shoulder or arm. Just him touching me was such a strength to me. The water cooled down after about an hour and a half and it wasn't helping me as much as before. The contractions had also slowed quite a bit, so I got out. The break was nice, but it wasn't going to get my baby here!

I went to the bed and Robin checked me. I was at a 7.5-8!  I couldn't believe it. It had only been an hour and a half and I had dilated almost 3 centimeters! I could do this! My bag of water was getting in the way of her head and not putting enough pressure on my cervix either, so Robin broke my water and I expected things to really pick up. Oddly enough, they did the exact opposite. Contractions were coming hard and I was so, so tired, but we needed to walk in order to get the contractions closer together. Contractions were super strong when they came, but they weren't close enough together to push through those last few centimeters. I walked laps around the Birth Center. Cameron followed closely behind everywhere I went. Just when I needed him, there he was. I would turn around and put my arms around his neck whenever a contraction came. I hung on him and swayed my hips side to side and took deep breaths. Robin would come behind me and put counter pressure on my hips and help me move. When I started having a hard time coping with the pain, she suggested talking to little Tenley. I was blown away by how much that helped. I could do anything when I felt that the two of us were on the same team, working together. "Come on, baby girl. You're doing great. You are strong, because you are mine. And I am strong." Whenever I forgot to talk to her and started to panic as the peak of each contraction neared, someone else would say something to Tenley and I could breathe again. "You beautiful angel girl, your mama can't wait to hold you." "Tenley, come help mama. Mama's hurting. She wants you to come." Talking to her got me through the next two hours.

At 6 in the morning, she checked me again and I was still at a 7.5-8. Nothing had changed and I had been working SO hard. I thought for sure we were getting close. The contractions were so strong, but they were not coming close enough to move me forward. I was so defeated. I was so tired. I hadn't slept in well over 24 hours and there was no end in sight. I was just having horrible pains that would not go away unless the baby came, but she was not coming. Robin and Krista [the other midwife] worked together to figure out that Tenley was caught on my right hip. She wasn't descending into the birth canal, so there was no pressure to move things forward. They had me work through a contraction with my left leg up on the bed and my right leg on the floor. It felt amazing. I could move so well and breathe so deep. And then they informed me I had to do one with my right leg up and my left leg down. And I thought I was going to die the first time I even just tried to lift my leg up. It definitely put pressure on that right hip. I worked through two more contractions while the midwives explained to me that I had to do a contraction like that in order to move forward. Somewhere in there, a prayer was said that I would not suffer needlessly in order to bring Tenley here. Somewhere in there my wonderful husband called Sarah, my chiropractor, to get to the center as fast as possible. Somewhere in there I started talking to my sweet Tenley and giving myself the biggest pep talk I could muster. And somewhere in there, I gained the heart of a warrior. I felt so strong. I felt invincible. I felt like I could do a hundred more contractions if it meant my Tenley was coming.

I remember Cameron saying, "Kristin, you HAVE to do this." So I did. I put my leg up on the chair and worked through the toughest contraction yet and I grinned and about burst into tears when I felt her move! She moved down! I felt her move! I enjoyed two extremely productive contractions. I got to push a little with each one. And then I felt her move back. All I kept saying was "something just isn't right. It's not right. It's not right!" We decided to try something else. So I sat backwards on the toilet resting my arms on the tank. Cameron sat in a chair behind me and pushed on my hips as each contraction came. Once again, they slowed. Then Sarah walked in. And she took command of the situation immediately. She had me move to the bed and lay on my side and cranked my right hip so hard it was alarming, but PERFECT. Baby loved it. She moved right where she needed to be and didn't move back again. Sarah adjusted my other hip after the next contraction. Cameron was right by me, rubbing my shoulders. Talking me through everything. I relied on him completely. I was still a 7-8. And I screamed. I was so completely angry. The contractions were coming so hard. Nothing was changing. I felt so defeated, again. I remember whispering to Cameron, "I can't do this anymore." He squeezed my hands and said "Yes, yes you can! You CAN do this. You were made to do this." He always knew just what I needed.

A few minutes later the head midwife, Joyce, arrived and was told the situation. Up until this point, Robin and Krista had been so encouraging to me. Everyone kept telling me I was strong, that I could do this, that I was doing it right that second, that she was coming. The contractions were so hard that I started panicking. When I panicked, they were horrendous. I remember banging my head into Cam's chest, the bed, pillows, struggling to grab anything I possibly could get my hands on, kicking my legs. Everything felt miserable. Then Joyce came in with the tough love. "Kristin. Get on top of this RIGHT NOW." She meant mentally. And after I heard that, it reminded me of my dad coaching me in softball. I don't know why, but it tapped into the side of my brain that managed to shut the pity party off. Her command both gave me direction and convinced me that I had the capacity to finish this and at that moment I was choosing to give up. I repeated "I will NOT panic again." over and over in my brain. I am not sure if I said it out loud or not. I do know, though, that whenever I felt the fear of panic coming, I repeated that phrase and could breathe deep and long instead of panicking. "I am strong. You are strong because you are mine. You are mine."

I believe it was about 7 am when Joyce made the decision to check me. I was still at a 7-8, but she kept her fingers in me through the next contraction. I was flat on my back and thought I was going to die. [I use that phrase far too often and far too flippantly. For the first time in my life, I actually, truthfully thought my life was going to end.] Up until that point, I had been able to move through the pain. That movement was what I believed allowed me to use the energy and work with it instead of letting it consume me. I could not move with her fingers in me, flat on the bed. I looked at Cameron and said "I can't do this. Please let it end. Please don't make me do this. I need to be done. I need a break." But through that contraction, Cameron instinctively leaned down and kissed me so gently and sweetly and stared straight into my eyes. I love him so much for that. No one told him to do that. He saved me. I focused on his big, beautiful green eyes through the next contraction and Joyce called out, "You're complete!"  I was at a ten. And I could have just exploded from joy. I didn't think I was going to hear those words. They moved me onto all fours and told me to push hard. The contractions were right on top of each other, which was fine because I could finally use that energy again. And I felt my baby girl coming. I had no idea how close we were. I thought I could be pushing for hours because of how the earlier stages of labor had gone. I was losing my oomph when one midwife said "she's crowning!" and Joyce responded "well hey! There's a baby!"

There were some difficulties still with her descending and Joyce had to keep her fingers in me all the way up till Tenley was born. But I got over it. She was coming. They talked me through every single second of pushing. "Slow down. Let her stretch. Slow. Breathe." I tried as hard as I could, but my body took over. I tried so hard to slow down, but I felt like I was constantly pushing anyway. My midwives kept telling me I was doing beautifully, so I don't think it was a conscious ability. My body just did what needed to be done. And I felt her head come out! I visualized her body coming smoothly afterward, but that's not what happened. They soon realized why the labor had been taking so long. Tenley's umbilical cord was wrapped around her shoulder preventing her from descending properly. I had to bring my right leg up into a sprinters stance for a couple pushes so they could get Tenley's shoulders out and unwrap the cord. Then they had me move onto my back and I pushed twice and then she came. The cord was also wrapped around both of her ankles. They put her up on my chest immediately. I couldn't believe it. I have never known such a sense of relief and love and power and gratitude. It was completely tangible. Cameron, still on his knees at the edge of the bed by my face, gave me a huge kiss and tearfully said "You did it! Oh Kristin she is beautiful. You did it!" The emotion and spirit in the room felt so real and perfect. She was born at 7:42. 8 lbs 4 oz. 21.5 inches long.

Tenley was blue and beautiful. I remember rubbing her back and begging her to cry. She let out the most beautiful cry I have ever heard. She had so much hair! She pinked up as she got the rest of the cord blood in her little body. It was so fascinating to watch. After about a minute, Cameron was able to cut the cord. She had the most beautiful hands. Long, long fingers and gorgeous nails. I've never liked my fingernails. Hers are so elegant and long. I felt so incredible laying there holding her. Meanwhile I was still losing some blood and delivering the placenta. But I didn't care. All I could focus on was her and Cameron. We did it. I kept thinking to myself "We are strong, little girl. We worked together."

I was told later that without Sarah, we were headed to the hospital for an emergency c-section. She came just in time. I am so grateful she could be there to be a part of Tenley's birth. Without her, I know things would have been completely different. The midwives were so well trained and knew just what to do. They handled the situation so well and were so empowering to me.

Around 9:30, our friend Scarlet brought the boys to the birth center to meet Tenley. I was so excited to see them. They walked into the room and both boys yelled "Mom! Hi!" "Hi dad!" Cameron was sitting next to me on the bed and Gray came over to his side and said "Baby?" Cam lifted him up and told him it was his new sister Tenley. He came right up to her and softly patted her head and gave her a kiss. Nash on the other hand was not so excited. He hasn't quite figured out what happened. Whenever we tried to tell him he had a baby sister he would just say "No baby! No sister!" Oh well. He will get it eventually. The boys have been staying with friends this entire weekend. It has been so so so helpful. Gratitude doesn't do it justice. Our house is so quiet and peaceful. But we are excited for them to come home tomorrow. 

For the past several weeks I had been having these anxiety dreams. Cameron was so stressed, busy, and gone for school and national boards. I was afraid I was alone in this entire process. I was so scared going into this. I was shocked and surprised at his instincts. Everything I was afraid of was completely forgotten. He knew exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Whether by his words, his touch, etc. he knew just what to do and say. I could not have asked for a better partner in this. It was completely amazing. I will never forget it. 

We got home at 11 AM and spent the remainder of the day sleeping and cuddling and skyping family. We have been so blessed and taken care of. My mom comes out on Sunday. My dad is driving out later next week for Memorial Day weekend. And then Cameron's mom is coming after that. We are so glad Tenley is finally here. She is a complete miracle; a dream come true.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Naptime and bedtime are a little more fun (or infuriating) now that the boys can communicate their wants and needs as far as what lullabye they would like to hear. For about a week, I tried singing every song I could think of when Nash requested "butter", "bihdeen", and "pihdeen." He would let me get about a line in and then freak out that it wasn't the right song. Imagine my triumph when I discovered he was asking for the "spinning" song, which is in fact "do as I'm doing." 

The favorite right now is "once there was a snowman" followed by "the baby song" which is "if I ain't got you" by Alisha Keys. If I sing both of those, the boys go straight down, no fussing. 

Someday we'll get back to more spiritual primary songs, but for now I kind of dig their taste. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pancakes + Pork

Everyone should have to cook pancakes and pork roast at least once in their lifetime in order to learn that hottest and fastest is not always the best. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

His other half

Last night, I babysat for a friend. Originally, I was going to go over at 3:30 and Cam would bring the boys over to play when they woke up from their nap, but Nash decided not to take a nap so he came with me instead. We had been playing for about an hour when their 3-year-old Ben asked me, "hey, where's the other half of him?" pointing at Nash. 

I loved that. His other half. My boys are as different as they come. They have different likes and dislikes, different personalities, different looks, different mannerisms, different fears, different ways to show affection, different ways to learn, but it just feels right when they are together. They're best friends. 

Friday, January 24, 2014


Granger has taught me a thing or two. There are the big, character changes, like learning more patience, more unconditional love, deeper feelings in general. Both boys have done that over and over again. Lately, though, Gray has taught me some surprising things. 

The kid has a sixth sense for vehicles. The first few times he said 'plane!' And I couldn't see one I would say 'nope, no plane right now. We'll have to look some more.' And every single time, just a few seconds later, a plane would appear. 

Also, there is a freight train in the fireworks castle scene in the "Walt Disney Pictures" opening sequence of any Disney movie. Did you know? Gray knows. I was shocked. He would get so excited and shout "train! Choo choo! Train!" It took me way too long to see what he saw. 
Granger was the easiest baby ever, and as many moms attest, easy babies make tough toddlers. He is no exception. Lately, we are working on not biting, stealing toys, throwing tantrums, and the like. He is mischief incarnate, constantly getting into, destroying, climbing on, throwing, kicking things. Still, it makes it all the sweeter when he brings me his blankie and lays his head down on my shoulder for a quick cuddle. 

Friday, January 17, 2014


The boys are expanding their animal vocabulary greatly. Everything from a cockroach to a squirrel to a bird used to be a puppy. And now they can point out dogs, horses, cows, birds, ducks, cats, bears, tigger, and lions. I credit the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear for most of that. It is a serious favorite. And the highlight is the white dog, because it looks like our Molly.  Granger declares "Mowwy!" with gusto every time. 

They are also starting to string words together. It is the cutest thing. My favorites are "where is?" from Nash because he puts his palms up and shrugs with this confused look on his face and "mowwy at?" from Granger because he emphasizes the t in at and it is so clear and defined compared to the rest of their speech. We are also big into greetings and goodbyes. We say goodbye to everything. Planes in the sky, diggers we see on our drives, each other, the house, sandwiches, the baby, etc. They also use hi or hello to get each other's attention (or mine or Cam's!) and also to express affection to any particular toy they happen to be really enjoying. 

We are working on our morning routine and chores. The boys learn so quickly when they know what to expect every day! Right now they know how to make their beds, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, put the cars in the basket, throw their diapers downstairs to be tossed outside, set the table and put their dishes in the sink after they eat. This morning, Gray spilled a few drops of milk and said "uh oh! Mess!" And I said, "what do we do when we make a mess? Would you like a rag?" he said "yeah!" And I gave him a rag and he mopped it up and then tossed his rag in the sink! Such a smart boy. 

The boys, especially Nash, love to sing. Anytime he hears music Nash either shakes his bum or starts singing. I completely adore it. The hymns at church are my favorite. I can hardly make it through them. They get so excited about singing as soon as the organ starts playing and belt their little hearts out. By the time the congregation is supposed to start, they've lost most of their gusto. So they get a nice little solo at the beginning of each hymn. So funny. I hope they always love to sing. I love hearing it! A child who sings is a happy child. 

Also, it is very hard to want to get out of bed when miss T is kicking like crazy. Saying hello to her first thing is my favorite part of waking up. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The boys have said "no!" for a while now, but they just started answering affirmatively in the past month or so. It never gets old. So cute, every time. Granger says "yeah" and Nash is a little more proper with "yes." I also love hearing it because it means the guessing game of what they want is over. 

I have started singing a few songs to the boys at bedtime. The deal is they have to stay in bed if I am going to sing. I stop as soon as their little feet touch the floor. Nash asks me for a "'ong" quite often. It gives me so much joy that they love hearing me sing. 

Nash is pretty interested in baby girl. He says hi to her all the time and "bye, baby!" when he puts my shirt back down. He loves to give her kisses. Granger likes to jump on her. But he also loves to talk about her with me. We all show love in our own ways. 😉

I looked out the back door to check on the boys yesterday afternoon and they were laying down flat on their backs talking and pointing up at the sky. It is a dream come true for me to see their friendship with each other! 

They are learning to carry their dishes to the sink after every meal. It's a pretty tough job but it always gets a celebratory jump or high five or "ha!" with a victory fist when it happens. They impress me every day with how quickly they learn. 

I feel like the boys have at least 3 head injuries a week. Hopefully this is just a phase, but I KNOW we are headed to the ER at least twice in the next year. Gray especially is a daredevil. He loves jumping off things and climbing anything he can see. Gives me a heart attack.