Saturday, December 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

 Grandma was still here helping out after Mckayla was born, so we had a really fun Halloween this last year.  Mckayla was only 9 days old, so we took it pretty easy.  We started out painting the girls' nails since that's tradition before Grandma leaves when a baby is born and she was leaving the next morning.  Then, after nails we took pictures of the girls in their Halloween shirts Grandma bought them.  Ellie was entertaining during out photo shoot.
 I love that Ellie looking at the second picture just now pointed to herself kneeling and said "Joseph Smith!" because she thinks anyone kneeling like they are praying looks like the painting of Joseph Smith praying in the Sacred Grove.  If you don't understand this reference and want to, feel free to go to to learn more.

Ellie loves to "hold" Mckayla - for a few seconds - so we tried to let her be the big sister and hold Mckayla for a few pictures too.  Sadly, these are some of the ones where Mckayla was best supported.  Poor younger siblings.  Good thing they're resilient. 

After that, we just had a normal day with lunch and nap time until after Steve got home that night.  Our Ward wasn't doing anything for Halloween this year and we weren't ready to go trick-or-treating this year quite yet, so we went to our old ward's Trunk-or-Treat with an invitation from a friend in the ward.  We had to wake Ellie up from her nap to get ready, so we were running behind and our camera was dying.  As a result we just got a couple quick pictures of the girls in their costumes on Halloween.  So here are our only pictures from the actual day of our ladybug and butterfly.

Another tradition we've seemed to create is that we take Reva to Applebees before she heads home when our babies are born.  So after Trunk-or-treating we headed to Applebees for dinner. When we got home Reva carved a jack-o-lantern with Ellie.  Her first ever.
 The finished product on our porch.  I love that she chalked up another pumpkin while they were out there too.

We wanted to make sure we got some good pictures of the girls in their costumes though, so a number of days later I got them in their costumes.  The following is an entertaining abbreviated version of how my photo shoot went with Ellie.

First, she was not interested in pictures, just playing.  But, I wanted a picture of the back of her cute costume anyway.
 Then I got funny faces while I tried to get her to keep still and she just wanted to see the pictures I was taking.
 Hooray for the only good, smiling picture!  Most of her pictures lately have weird faces as she either decides she doesn't want pictures or says "Cheese!" which makes a strange face.
 And speaking of getting grumpy and not wanting pictures....
 Pouting to Daddy to save her as I took loads more pictures of the cute angry faces.
 So funny.  And then I stopped being a jerk.

Mckayla's photo shoot was much shorter and less successful where good pictures are concerned as she was hungry and thought the hood was teasing her for food.  As a result we got very few pictures where you can see her face.  But, here she is.  We think she looks a lot like Ellie did when Ellie wore this costume 2 years ago as a 2 month old.  Partially because Mckayla is probably just as big if not bigger here than Ellie was at that point.  Crazy big baby.

One thing is for certain.  They were both cute bugs and we loved our first Halloween with sisters.  I guess that's two things that are for certain.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Continuing Traditions

There are a few traditions from the Bennett side that we have continued in our family, and a few things that are becoming traditions as our family grows.

The Bennett traditions are as follows:

Every grandchild (and some of the generation before) has slept in this family bassinet when they come home. Our girls tend to be scooters, so they only last in the bassinet for a week or so before they get moved into the crib, but the tradition lives on.

Also, Grandma Bennett comes and helps out for about a week after the baby is born.  She met Ellie and Mckayla in the hospital the day before they came home.  This time, she also brought applesauce cookies which Ellie LOVED.

Ok, maybe we all rather enjoyed them... She had to make another batch before she left and they didn't last long...  But, that also meant Ellie got to enjoy helping Grandma make cookies.  She loved baking with Grandma!

And, before Grandma leaves she paints the toe nails of any new granddaughters.  We had to wait till the end of the week just to have enough nail to see to try and paint Mckayla's toes.  This time Reva also got to paint Ellie's nails too as Ellie loves finger nail polish.

Grandma also got to stay and do lots of other fun things with Ellie for Halloween, but that is another post.

As far as our family goes, our traditions are just kind of informal occasions.  Sometime in the first week or so my folks come and see the baby.  With both of our girls it's been the first Saturday after the baby is born because of work.  And, because my sister Julie is in town right now, she came with them.

I love this picture because Mckayla had just had a pretty loud and gassy bowel movement that made Julie jump and then made her and I laugh until we cried.

The other informal tradition we have is that at some point we celebrate our babies with Henry Weinhards soda - root beer for Mckayla and vanilla cream with Ellie.  That stuff is beautiful.

Our last tradition also has to do with food and drink, but will come in a little over a week when we bless Mckayla.  When family comes for the blessing we have prime rib - and we all love eating some delicious beef!  Here's to traditions!

Mckayla's Stats

I have been a little busy lately, as one might imagine, but I am worried if I don't post things soon I will forget them.

Mckayla and I had a rough first week with lots of nursing issues, but when she was about a week old we got things figured out and have been doing much better since.  There are still times when it's hard, but overall we're getting used to each other and doing great now.

I was awfully sore and had a lot of healing to do after delivering a 9 lb baby and all the things that come with the hospital delivery, but after about a week I was feeling human again and it only took just shy of 3 weeks for my 3 big bruises to heal from "relaxation" shots the hospital gave me the Saturday before Mckayla was born and the two failed IV spots from during labor.  I pretty much looked like somebody took their anger out on my left shoulder and hand and my right forearm.  But, bruises heal.

At Mckayla's postpartum check up October 25th she was still losing weight and we were told we were letting her sleep too long between feedings because she was down to 8 lbs 7 oz even though she was 8 lbs and about 10 oz when we left the hospital on the 23rd.  Other than that though, she looked great and all was well.

Then, Monday the 29th we took Mckayla to meet our fabulous pediatrician.  I seriously love her.  Mckayla was already back up to 8 lbs. 13 oz and obviously putting the weight back on just fine.  The pediatrician also told us that she is not tongue-tied which was a concern with our nursing troubles.  Instead, she just was being stubborn about latching on properly, and once we got that figured out things got much better in that department.  Seriously, she was only a week old and I had already told Steve several times that I really wanted to switch to formula.  Nursing is harder this time remembering how much easier it was to just put a bottle together for Ellie once we had to switch for her reflux.  Ah well, I know it's good for her and for us to have bonding time, even if I forget to appreciate that sometimes just now.  She is only a few weeks old after all!

Anyway, one of the fun parts of her appointment was getting her stats as far as where she stacked up against other newborn babies.  Her height of 21 inches put her in the 80th to 85th percentile.  Her weight of 9 lbs 2.8 oz put her in the 75th to 85th percentile.  And then the pediatrician asked me if she was a vaginal birth and when I said yes she laughed.  Literally laughed.  I was thinking because of her weight.  That is until the doctor said "Just wait till you see how big her head it!  Well, you probably know how big her head is..."  Yes, I have some healing stitches to prove it.  Anyway, her head size was the 90th to 95th percentile.  So, I am already telling myself after not being sure I want to deliver a big baby again that between only having back labor for 2 days, having a big baby, and having one of the biggest heads to deliver possible, all on my first vaginal delivery - things can only get easier for the next one!  Right?!  We'll cross that bridge a long time down the road.....

Anyway, I just wanted to record a few fun things about Mckayla's appointment before I forgot and try to start catching up on the blog.  A few fun things about Mckayla's first few weeks:  She smiles and occasionally giggles - all in her sleep.  So cute!  She's pretty laid back and has done well with the little abuses she's taken from Ellie.

And Ellie has been so fun to watch with Mckayla.  She loves her so much.  We've had no jealousy, just excitement.  Our only issues have been that Ellie gets so excited she winds up smacking Mckayla with a toy on the head, or leaning on her to give her hugs and kisses.  Poor Ellie doesn't quite understand how fragile her sister is just yet, but considering the issues we could have... not too bad.  Ellie also constantly brings Mckayla toys and books to read to her and wants to give her hugs and kisses and tell her goodbye and that she loves her before nap and bedtime every day.  

She loves to "lay back" with her on the floor and asks if Mckayla can lay back all the time.  She is such a great big sister.  

And we are loving having our two girls - even if it sounds weird to say things like family of four, sisters, daughters, girls, children, etc...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Introducing: Mckayla Gracie

So, the time has come now that we are all home and settling in to tell Mckayla's birth story.  

Saturday morning (October 20th) I woke up around 5:00 AM to contractions.  I had them off and on all day and we went and walked around the mall to keep them progressing.  We suddenly had the feeling - although not planning on anything happening till a day or two later - that we should call my sister, Julie, and see if she wanted to come stay with us for a few days so she'd be here if and when we needed to head to the hospital. She got to our house some time after 10:00 PM and we chatted while I continued to have contractions.  After midnight we realized that my contractions were only about 3 minutes apart, so based on our 5 minutes apart for 30 minute instructions we headed to the hospital to see where we were at.  We were told I was only at 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced, so we were sent walking around the hospital for a while.  At our next check we were at 2 cm, but no more effaced and based on how slowly we were progressing were sent home as the hospital has a type of time limit on vbacs and how long they can take and we wouldn't get to the finish line in time the way we were going.  So, about 4:30 AM Sunday we arrived home for some sleep.

Sunday I continued to have contractions off and on, but they slowed way down and got way worse.  Unfortunately we needed contractions to be worse and close together to go back to the hospital, so I suffered through hours of terrible contractions while we walked the neighborhood and spend the day at home.  Eventually Steve and I went to Walmart around 9:00 PM to walk because I hurt so bad and needed to be able to walk to try and progress.  After half an hour my contractions were averaging 4 minutes apart so we headed again to the hospital.  When they checked us, they said I was slightly more effaced and maybe a 2.5.  I cried.  A lot.  Because I hurt.  A lot.  We now know that the slow progress and extreme pain were the results of my having "back labor".  A-W-F-U-L.  So, our very pregnant nurse told me that maybe the baby was positioned wrong and sleep would relax me and some positions to stand in leaning forward to try and help her get in the right spot.  When we got home after midnight I felt the baby move suddenly in one position and then took the nurse's advice and took a Unisom to go to sleep and get rest.  

After about an hour of blessed sleep and a break from contractions my very strong contractions kept waking me up despite the sleep aid, but I kept going back to sleep.  Then about 2:35 I was awake and suffering through an especially painful contraction when I felt a pop.  And then ran to the bathroom as my water had broken.  At this point this was a blessed development as we knew we had to stay at the hospital till the baby arrived.  One way or another an end was thankfully in sight.

We arrived back at the hospital and I experienced a LOT of the worst pain I have ever experienced or imagined in my life.  I was having contractions every 2 minutes and they were lasting a minute or more and I was already sore from 2 days of contractions.  And once again, as one of my nurses described to me when she heard I'd had back labor - it's a living hell.  The problem was that I couldn't get pain medications until they called the doctor, and they couldn't call the doctor until they had checked my cervix and taken and ran a test to prove that my water had broken.  They finally confirmed my water had broken (I KNEW THAT!) and that I was at a 3 and 80% effaced.  Then, after all of that they had to get me to a birthing room, and get my IV in so I had enough fluids guaranteed in my system that they could get me my epidural.  This meant that I finally got my epidural around 5:00 in the morning Monday.  Can I just say that epidurals are sent directly from heaven and are the best invention in the history of history - period.  About 5 minutes after getting my epidural - which we learned was from the same anesthesiologist as I had with Ellie - I felt human again, finally knew what my nurse looked like, could interact with Steve, and didn't want to die for the first time in hours and hours.  And, I got to sleep some.  Did you know that it's hard to sleep when your face itches in a strange way and that epidurals can make your face really itchy?  Did you also know that it doesn't matter because epidurals are beautiful?

My doctor came in to take over from our on-call doctor at 8:00 AM and ordered Pitocin to bring my contractions back to a good rhythm and strength as they'd slowed down some.  At 11:00 the nurse came to check on me hoping for good progress as the doctor wasn't expecting a ton of movement.  I was at 10 cm and 100% effaced!  We were going to easily make the timeline to have a vbac and hopefully avoid another c-section!  We waited until I could feel more pressure from the baby getting lower.  I was starting to feel more of my contractions so we got another dose of the epidural but even then could still move my legs and feel the contractions which was good.  So, at just before noon the nurse started me pushing.  She said that we were making great progress, and I guess we did because about 40 minutes later our doctor came in and at 1:02 PM after just an hour of pushing we had our baby girl born.

 I had a couple minor tears and soon found out why as the doctor and nurses spoke about how big our girl was.  They had guessed if she went full term she'd be around 9 to 9.5 lbs.  She was born at exactly 39 weeks gestation and I just laughed when they announced our girl was 21 inches long and 9 lbs 2.8 oz.  Thank goodness she didn't wait another week to come!

 They got our girl cleaned up and then we got to hear every nurse for the next couple of days talk about how beautiful our girl is.

It took about an hour before the doctor was finished up with me, so Steve once again got some quality time with our girl before I got to really hold her.  But here we are finally about an hour after she was born when I could smile again.

It took us a while to even talk about names because I was so exhausted after Saturday, Sunday, and half of Monday with almost no sleep, but eventually we decided our girl is Mckayla Gracie Bennett.  She is so good natured so far and even sleeps for 4 or more hours sometimes!  

We had to have her blood sugar checked a number of times because there's a risk of crashes with big babies after they're born.  Then she wasn't waking up to eat so they weren't going to release us right away.  However, she started eating well and passed all her blood sugar tests so we were finally able to go home LATE Tuesday night as our nurse thankfully rushed to get us checked out right before midnight so the hospital wouldn't charge us for an extra day.  We are home now and enjoying getting settled in with both our girls.

Speaking of which, this is a picture of Ellie with Mckayla on Monday night meeting her for the first time.  Ellie calls her "Kayla" and wants so much to hold her and play with her.  She has learned not to do nose/face rubs or "Ugga Mugga" which she does with us thanks to one of her favorite PBS shows Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  She has done really well so far with the adjustment thanks to Aunt Julie and now Grandma being here to pay extra attention to her and is happy to have our whole family home after hardly seeing Mommy and Daddy for a couple of days.  We look forward to seeing our two girls grow as sisters in the coming days and years.  Welcome home Mckayla!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Beautiful Thing

So, I can't take total credit for this, but when I go down to our storage room now, this is what it looks like.  It may not be pretty, but it's a beautiful thing to me.

Thanks to my sister in-law Kathy and her husband Ryan for organizing their food storage double stacked when we were there last so that we could steal this idea.  I also have to say, part of this beauty is due to my mother in-law Reva's generosity.  All of our beans and applesauce currently are from her as we missed beans this last year and haven't done apples yet.  But, Steve and I canned all but 4-6 of the quarts each of carrots, peaches, and pears in the last couple of months as fruit came in season here.  And, we hope to get some apples to can into applesauce, spiced apples, and some plain apples for the next year.  Although with a baby coming any time now as well as current apple crops having trouble around the nation, we'll see how productive we are on that one.  So, with our other dry food storage (once again thanks to Reva), this is what our food storage looks like currently.

It never ceases to amaze me that as a city girl who had NO interest in canning when we got married, I actually really enjoy canning.  And there's no words to describe how wonderful we feel seeing this shelf full of healthy food reserves to feed our girls in the coming year.  Yet another thing that never would have meant the same thing to me without having kids.  Here's to feeling great about finding at least one way to be self-reliant and have food storage as well as having some wonderful baby food for the coming year.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Downright Neglectful

Soooo....  I guess it's true that things aren't as exciting the second time around.  Although, I like to think that I'm just much busier this time around with a 2 year old.  Because I realized the other day, that my pregnancy photos have gone in the following order...

Right before we found out we were pregnant, but hoped we were around 3.5 weeks pregnant (dressed up for Valentines Day):

The day of our early ultrasound 9 weeks pregnant:

17 weeks pregnant:

36 weeks pregnant:

The end.

Yes, I realize we skipped almost 20 weeks - HALF THE PREGNANCY!  The sad part is, I have no pictures of me pregnant with Ellie after 32 weeks and this time was worried I would go into labor in the next couple weeks and not have anything past 17 weeks, which is the only reason I finally got my stuff together and grabbed some pictures this week.  Yeah, I haven't done real well with the belly pictures this time like I did with Ellie.  Don't get me wrong, we have other pictures between these where I am in them and you can tell I am pregnant, but these are the only pictures I actually sat down and took to document things.  Hopefully we do better with the baby than with the pregnancy or this child is going to have no documentation of it's life and will pretty much hate us...  Well, you know, more than average.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potty Training

So this past summer Ellie was doing better and better at going to the bathroom in the toilet and keep her diapers clean.  Then, unfortunately, our smart girl realized that she didn't have to stop playing to go to the bathroom because her pull ups still functioned as a diaper.  As a result, we suddenly regressed until we were flying through pull ups and not using the bathroom at all.  Expensive!  After consulting with some friends and family, we decided it was time to see if we could move forward again instead of backwards.  So, September 3rd we went and bought her "princess panties".  Ellie was so excited about having princesses on her underwear.  We went home and had a couple accidents right away as she learned that things functioned differently in underwear than in a diaper, but really she did pretty well.  Then everyone got sick and we were all diapers for a few days.  But, when we got back to underwear, she already was much better and only had one or two accidents in the next few days.  And even then she would often come tell us "Panties be yucky!"  which we took as a great sign of progress.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I can say that (other than sleeping) Ellie is basically potty trained at 25 months old.  No, she won't ask to go to the bathroom hardly at all, nor does she go to the bathroom on her own like many of the 3 year olds we know who are potty trained.  We have to remind her and take her to the bathroom, but she is proud of herself, loves wearing big girl underwear, and loves getting a single skittle or pudding etc. when she's done really well with her potty training that day.  She now only wears diapers at nap and bedtime and often wakes up from naps dry.  She has only had a couple minor accidents and usually stops after about two drops, tells us her "Panties be yucky" and we go to the bathroom where she finishes up and is good to go.  She has done so well with potty training really that it's almost ridiculous as we haven't even had major issues with her pooping in her underwear.  We did learn a week or two ago that she won't poop with anyone in the room with her, but who can blame her for that?!  Basically, she was just ready, and we can't take any credit.  But, it is a fabulous development and we are proud that she has grown in such a big way, especially because we hope to only have to buy one set of diapers each month once the baby comes!

Our next adventure will be to try napping her without a diaper and continue towards getting her more independent in her potty training, but for right now we are satisfied and proud of how well she is doing!

Our Final Ultrasound with Baby #2

September 5th saw us back at our OB's office for our final ultrasound with baby girl number two.  We were there just to get an estimated weight and size so they could decide how big they think she will be at full term and make sure she was developing normally where she was getting so big earlier on.  We'd been through all this with Ellie, so we weren't worried, just looking forward to seeing our girl again.  

Here's our best picture of her here.
And a video of her opening and closing her mouth during the ultrasound.

You know it's going to be good when about 20 seconds into the ultrasound the technician looks at you and tells you that she has your due date wrong and needs to change it to the right date.

When's your due date?
The 29th.
Of what month?
Oh, I do have that right...  So the doctor asks why she thought it was wrong then.  This baby is just so big!

Yeah, basically they told us that we have a monster baby, just like Ellie.  At just over 32 weeks we were reading online the average baby weighs around 3.75 lbs and is about 16.7 inches long.  They estimated that our girl at this point weighed 5 lbs 15 oz - which puts her in the 99th percentile.  She's obviously already competing with Ellie as the younger sister, since Ellie was smaller than that at her ultrasounds.  Next time we'll aim for the perfect 100% I suppose....  I still have hope that just like Ellie she'll be longer and leaner and not just a chunk of a baby, but either way she'll come and be perfect and we'll be so excited to meet her!

2 year stats

On August 24th Ellie had her 2 year wellness check.  She's pretty much a beast still.  Don't get me wrong, she's cute, and she's a stinking good kid.  For the most part we have few fits and lots of polite please and thank yous.  Ellie is such a sweet and good girl.  She is also stinking smart.  She now knows all of her ABC's, probably most of at least 15 or 20 songs and parts of a ton more, she can consistently count to 13 without skipping anything and make it to 20 skipping 14 and 16 usually.  She is starting to throw letter sounds at us and recognize numbers.  She knows most of her basic shapes and at least 10 colors.  She speaks in sentences that blow me away all the time and uses words I don't think she should.  Admittedly, some of those phrases aren't my favorite, like her current love "oh crap."  Yeah, we're working on getting rid of that one, although if that's the worst phrase she picks up we can't be that bad of parents, right?!  

Anyway, so you see what I mean that Ellie is no "beastly child", but she's still a beast.  At her 2 year check-up she was 28 lbs 9 oz (70th percentile) and 36.75 inches tall (98th percentile).  Yup, she's our tall string bean.  She now wears 4T clothing, and the shirts hardly look big on her where she has such a long torso.  We regularly get asked at parks and stores if she's 3 or 4 and have to tell people she JUST turned 2.  But, at least she's smart too!  We don't get as many looks about our dumb big kid anymore where Ellie keeps learning so much lately.  People are funny.  

Here are a couple random photos of our girl from the last couple months I thought were cute.

Anyway, Ellie's great loves at 2 years old: slides, balloons, Super Why, Elmo, Rapunzel (Tangled really), all princesses really, tunnels, pet stores, her Daddy, the Baby Tummy (sometimes cute and sometimes not), milk, and a bunch of other things. Basically, she's an awesome kid and we have very few complaints and no room to even have those.

The last two years have flown by, and there are times I look at Ellie and cannot believe how big she is, and yet I know it will only get worse and worse each year...  But the last two years have also been the most fun and full of love we have had.  We are so grateful for the blessing of her sweet spirit in our family and home and the way she brings joy and laughter to our lives each and every day.

Birthday Party #2

Since we were out of town for Ellie's birthday, we decided to have a little birthday party for family and a couple of friends with kids Ellie's age when we got home.  Saturday the 18th of August we had my sister, Julie, my Dad and Kerry, and the Hansons and the Thornocks over for a fun day.  

The kids started out playing in the kiddie pool my friend Kelly brought over for the day.  Our girl loves water after all...

The pool being filled of course led to a water fight between Steve and the older kids...  None of the 2 year olds were the least bit impressed with the spraying water going everywhere.  Neither was my camera, which is why there is now a big gap in photos...

After playing in the water we took a break for dinner.  We did our typical barbecue with burgers and hot dogs, chips, and fruit.  We also had my Dad's party punch which is a family tradition on my side.  And, just like making a cake is tradition for Bennett birthday parties, we got an ice cream cake - the tradition for Rose birthday parties.  Ellie chose this design at the store because she was convinced that this was Rapunzel.  
I wouldn't have ever picked out a hot pink Barbie cake with a poodle on it, but she was excited, so that's all that matters.

Be my guest.  Try to figure out who blew out the candles.  Kids are too funny, but given what I know about how Ellie "blows", I feel confident it was one of the other 4 or 5 people surrounding the cake.
Ellie of course loved the ice cream cake, just like last year.
And once again, I forget how curly her hair really is when it just air dries...

After all the other fun Ellie opened her presents and yet again made out like a bandit.  Here she was trying to figure out who I was telling her to thank for her most recent gift.
Thank you again to all our family and friends who came and spent a fun day with us celebrating our Ellie Bell!