Wednesday, November 28

Two Weeks

These past two weeks have flown by.  They have kind of been a blur, so I am grateful for pictures to remind me what has gone on. 

They have been filled with lots of snuggle time, bath time, sleepless nights, candy overload on my part, laundry, and doctors appointments.

The first week of Penelope's life were filled with pricks from the doctors office.  She had jaundice that was not going away.  Her poor little heels.  I had a hard time watching the first time they pricked her heel.  I'm not going to lie it made me tear up.  We also had to supplement formula for a little while to try and get her weight up.  After non stop nursing, consults with the lactation specialist, pumping, and bottle feeding we got her weight back up. 

 I felt like a failure at first because I wasn't getting her enough calories with breast feeding alone.  I had heard from others how tough breast feeding can be.  I always just thought it would come easy and natural, but when you have a baby that is constantly sleepy and doesn't like to suck, it makes things a little more difficult.  I am grateful I stuck with it though.  There were many times I wanted to give up.  Penelope is doing much better and we are off the bottles for now to help her improve her sucking abilities. 

I spend most of my time on the chair in my living room or in my bed.  I am an around the clock feeding machine.  I had no idea how often new borns have to eat. 

 Tyson is the best dad.  He lights up the second he sees Penelope.  He never complains about changing a diaper or trying to get her to burp in the middle of the night.  There is nothing like seeing more, than those two together. 

We took the babe to go meet Gigi and her puppies.  Gigi already seemed so concerned when she heard Penelope cry.  It was so cute to see her with the puppies.

We have had so many great people come to visit and bring meals.  I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for friends, family, and ward members that brought us dinner.  The food was so delicious and it was so nice not having to worry about making dinner.  I now know just how much it means to receive one of those cooked meals.

Penelope weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. at her two week check up and has grown over an inch and a half.  I can't believe how much she has already grown.  I want time to slow down.  I love this new stage of life that I am in.

Motherhood is one of the greatest things that has happened to me.  I hope to cherish every second and just enjoy each moment as it comes.

Penelope's First Christmas Tree

Tyson and I were so excited to take Penelope out with us to pick out her first Christmas Tree.  We were  happy to also have my sister Kiersten and our brother-in-law Jordan with us for the ride.  It was so fun walking through all of the rows of trees.  The air smelled so delicious of fresh pine.  We found the perfect tree but had to debate back and forth whether or not we wanted it flocked.  I had always envisioned a flocked Christmas tree.  The owner of the tree lot gave us a good deal and convinced us to take the leap and get it flocked.

We had to wait 24 hours for it to dry.  We couldn't wait to go pick it up.  We were happy it fit on top of our car as it ended up being a little bigger than we had thought. 

We had a blast decorating the tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping on egg nog.

It turned out perfect and fit so nicely in our living room. 

I can't wait for the Christmas season.  It is even more special this year with our sweet baby by our side.

My Lady

I was lucky to have had my mom with me for the first week of motherhood.  I honestly don't know what I would have done without her help.  

She is the perfect example of what I would like be and how I would like to raise my daughter.

After staying up with me through my delivery, Tyson and I sent her home to get some rest.  Rest is just not in the cards for my mom.  She decided to clean my house from top to bottom, do all the laundry, and was even going to mow the lawn but couldn't find the lawn mower.  She knew how much I wanted a clean home to bring the baby home to.

She even ironed more than forty of Tyson's shirts.  We started laughing hysterically because we suddenly heard a crackling noise and saw steam coming out of the iron.  It turns out if you iron over forty shirts in a row you will most likely blow up your iron.  She is a much better woman than I, hence the stash of laundry I had building up.

She snuggled Penelope for us every morning so that we could get some rest.  She cooked a delicious dinner and rubbed my feet.  She helped me figure out the nursing thing.  At times when I wanted to cry because I was having a hard time she made it easy to laugh instead.

She even taught Tyson and I how to give the little one a bath.  We were both so nervous to do so.

She is the perfect woman and I don't know what I would have done without her.  I still talk with her every day and I'm sure I will continue to do so far into the future.  She has the best advice and will just listen to me.  I love my mom and will never forget that week we had together.

Thursday, November 15

Penelope Betty Parker: A Birth Story

I was woken up at 4:45 am, by thinking I had wet the bed.  I ran to the bathroom trying to make it to the toilet when a huge gush of fluid came out.  It was just like the movies.  My water had broke.  I yelled to get Tyson's attention, informing him we were about to have a baby.  He jumped out of bed faster than I have ever seen.  Almost in a panic he asked what should we do.  I called my mom and woke her up.  She told us to head straight to the hospital.  Luckily I had mine and the babies bags packed for a couple of days.  I directed Tyson on what to grab and before we knew it, we were on our way to the hospital.

The car ride seemed surreal.  I wasn't having any contractions at this time, so we were able to somewhat enjoy the ride, in disbelief that we were about to witness a miracle.  I couldn't stop smiling knowing that I was going to get to hold my sweet baby in my arms before I knew it.  We still couldn't get over the fact that she had wanted to come three weeks early.  Heavenly Father knew I was ready for this baby.  It had been a long pregnancy.

Tyson had been in San Francisco with his dad earlier that day and didn't return home until midnight that night.  He and his dad had debated staying the night because Tyson had an appointment in Stockton in the morning.  As we were driving I told him, you are so lucky you came home tonight.  I don't know what I would have done had he not come home.

We pulled up to the hospital and finally got to park in the "woman in labor parking."  I waddled my way into the hospital and got checked in.  We didn't stay long in triage, once they had determined that my water had indeed broke.  They checked to see if I was dilated, but my cervix was so far tilted the nurse couldn't tell.  I realized this was going to be the beginning of a lot of pain.  But I was ready.  They got us checked into our room and that's when the fun began.

In the mean time my mom worked on switching her flight and was able to book a flight to go out that day.  It was nice knowing that she was going to be able to share in this special experience with us.  We wanted to make sure she was going to be able to be there for the birth.  We were a little worried she wouldn't make it in time, little did we know we were in for the long haul.

Once I had gotten checked into my room the contractions began.  The nurse taught me what I needed to do to breath through the pain.  I informed them that I would be wanting an epidural.  No superwoman powers here.  They checked me after a few hours had gone by and still couldn't tell what I was dilated to, so we sat back and enjoyed the ride.  I had Tyson give me a blessing.  It brought me much comfort, as I was nervous to push a baby out of me.

A couple more hours went by and I had finally dilated to a two.  I was really starting to feel the contractions at this point so they gave me some pain medication through the IV.  That stuff was pure gold.  It put me into a daze for about an hour.  It definitely took the edge off.  After another hour or so they gave me one last injection of the good stuff.  That time around it didn't work as well, so they decided I could finally have my epidural.  I have never been more excited, even though I was incredibly nervous, as I have a fear of needles.  The epidural was surprisingly painless.  It started working immediately.  It was one of the strangest sensations.  My legs felt like a thousands pounds each. 

Right after I received the epidural my mom made it to Fresno.  I have never been so excited to see my moms face.  It was so nice to have her support on one side and Tyson on the other.  We hung out and I spent a lot of time looking on my phone at past pictures.  I couldn't help but get emotional looking through my photos and finding the last picture I ever took of me being pregnant with Penelope.  I knew I was going to miss having her safe and warm inside of me, where I could protect her from the world and ever having her heart broken.

For the next six hours I struggled with the shakes, a headache and the worst heart burn of my life.  My epidural started to wear off and the pitocin that they had put me on earlier to speed up my dilation were making me nauseous.  I was hardly progressing.  The doctor came in around 8:00 pm to see my progression.  He checked me, to find I was only at a five.  I could see the worried look in his face.  I knew if I didn't start dilating quicker I was going to have to have a c-section.  I really didn't want to have one, especially having to have gotten that far into labor.  I decided it was time to have another blessing.  Tyson called his dad and he headed straight over.  I don't remember much of the blessing other than knowing that Penelope was going to come soon.  That brought me so much comfort.  

About fifteen minutes later Tyson went out to pick up dinner from his dad.  While he was gone the doctor came in to check me and I had jumped from a five to a eight.  The blessing was truly inspired.  We knew we were going to finally be having this baby.

The rest was kind of a blur as I kept my eyes closed for the next few hours.  The lights about killed my head.  Penelope started pushing off of my ribs and sternum with her little feet.  This was something the epidural had no relief for.  I thought I was going to die.  The nurse finally gave us the good news that it was time to start pushing, I had made it to a ten.

Tyson stood by my side massaging my head and helping me count while I pushed.  I pushed for a little over an hour and the nurse made the call to the doctor.  After fifteen more minutes of pushing it was finally time to meet our little girl.  The nurse let me know that the baby had hair.  It got me even more excited to meet her.  I will never forget hearing Tyson's voice get cracky.  I knew I would be pregnant for only a few more seconds.  At 3:54 am my sweet little girl was put into my arms.  I heard the sweetest cry I have ever heard.  They put her right on my chest.  She was so warm and was immediately calmed by being with her mommy.  We loved looking into her perfect angelic eyes.  She was so alert and beautiful.  I couldn't get over her chunky arms and her chubby chubby cheeks.  It was love at first sight.  My heart grew like in The Grinch That Stole Christmas.  I thought it was going to burst.  My love not only deepened for my sweet baby, but for my husband and my own mother.  

Twenty three hours of labor I received the most beautiful gift my Heavenly Father has ever given me.  Birth is truly a miracle and a place where I have never felt closer to heaven.  Every day of heartburn, swollen feet, backache, headache, and carpal tunnel was worth it.  Our sweet baby girl was welcomed into the world weighing 7 lbs 6 oz and 19 1/2 inches long.  We counted ten fingers and ten toes and found her perfect in every way.  I will never forget the sacred feelings that were felt in those hospital walls.

Tuesday, November 6

Operation Gratitude: Proud To Be An American

I am so thankful that I live in a country where my voice is heard and counts.  

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be able to practice my freedom of voice and religion.

Can you believe election day has finally come?

Go out and vote!

Don't mind my creeper stalker pictures.  I was determined to get a photo with Mitt, no matter what it took,

Go Mitt Romney!!!!

Sunday, November 4

Operation Gratitude: Life

Last night Tyson and I received a phone call at 2:30 in the morning, letting us know that Gigi had started having her puppies.  I woke Tyson up, jumped out of bed and we drove right over to the breeders house.  Gigi was so excited to see us that she stood right up and two puppies fell right out.  After three hours she ended up having seven puppies.  Gigi did such a great job.  She stayed so calm and relaxed the entire time.

There is nothing like seeing birth.  It's a real miracle.  Every time I watch a Baby Story on TLC I end up bawling my eyes out.  Who knows how I am going to be like when I have my own. 

I am so grateful for life and all that it teaches us.  I easily forget how fragile life is at times.  I know that I could do a better job at recognizing how quickly life could be taken away.  I will never forget the words out of my mom's mouth, that my dad had been in a car accident and was gone.  Those were some of the hardest words I ever had to hear.  

A couple years later, I received a phone call from my mom letting me know that my sister was in a car accident and she didn't know how bad it was.  I remember praying that everything would turn out alright.  With a broken back and staples in her head, she made it through.  

With these and other experiences I have come to know that we just never know when our time or others time may come.  I want to be better at showing my love for others and letting the little things go. Living life to it's fullest and not getting caught up in worldly things, is easier said than done.  

I am so thankful for my daily breathe, grateful for a new start every day.  I have complete gratitude that the sun always comes up in the morning.  Life is truly a miracle and I love each and every experience that has strengthened me and brought me closer to my Heavenly Father.  

Saturday, November 3

Operation Gratitude: Father-in-law

Today and well every day I am so grateful for my father-in-law.  He goes above and beyond in every aspect of his life.  He serves the Lord first and then his family.  He has always made me feel loved and not so homesick.  He has helped Tyson and myself in ways I can't describe.  I can't count the hours of service he has put in around our house, whether it is helping in the yard, garage, or hanging things for me around the house.  I don't want to know how much he has spent on us on Costco runs.  He is always checking on us and making sure all of our needs our met.  I love the way he loves Gigi. He is always getting her treats and new toys.  Gigi squeals every time she sees him.  He has honestly made this pregnancy so much more manageable.  I don't know what I would do without his chiropractor.  He has literally saved my back.  He also gets me foot massages, from the relaxing station, to help relieve my swollen feet.  He's a lifesaver.  I don't know if he will ever know how much I appreciate all he does for my little family.

Our little girl is going to have one wonderful Grandpa!

Friday, November 2

Operation Gratitude: My Best Friend

As Tyson is gone tonight, at a Scout camp, I can't help but miss him like crazy.

It's so easy to take the little things for granted, like snuggling on the couch or eating dinner together.

Tyson is my best friend.  I am beyond grateful that he came into my life.  The Lord definitely knew that I needed him.  I can't think of a more perfect guy for myself.  He has been by my side through the thick and thin.  I honestly don't know how I made it without him.  He is always doing things to make my day better.  He always puts me first.  I wonder how I got so lucky.  I definitely got the better end of the stick.  He makes up for all of my imperfections.  I know he is going to make the most wonderful father and I cannot wait to see him in action. 

Tyson is my whole world, support, and backbone.  I am so blessed to be his wife.  I am eternally grateful that I get him forever. There is no greater gift.

Thursday, November 1

Operation Gratitude: Gigi

Is it really already November?

I love this month.  I love the opportunity it gives me to reflect on how blessed I am.  

I am going to do my best to express the gratitude I have for so many things, over this month.

Today was an especially hard day for me.  I had to say goodbye to Gigi, not forever, but for the next 8 weeks.  She went to stay with the breeder while she has her puppies.  I have always known that this time was going to come, but I never imagined how hard it would be.

Gigi came into my life at a very crucial time.  I like to say she saved me.  I was extremely homesick and felt very alone before Tyson got me Gigi.  From the minute I got her, things changed.  She literally turned my frown upside down. 

There is nothing like coming home and having her greet me.  She is one of the happiest most loving dogs I know.   

I am a crazy dog lover and I have come to terms with this. 

One of my favorite movies and quotes ever, comes from Marley & Me....

"A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"

I am grateful for my puppy and can't wait to see her as a momma.

This Is Halloween

I can't believe another Halloween has come and gone.  I am sure going to miss my Halloween decorations, around the house.

We had a fun Halloween this year.  Out of tradition and because I was asked to make dessert for the family get together, I decorated sugar cookies.  I still remember this being one of the highlights of my childhood.  My mom used to give us each a dozen cookies to frost.  I am looking forward to keeping this tradition going with my kiddos. 

We went to Tyson's parents house for dinner and indulged in yummy soups, corn bread, and salad.  Oh how I love Halloween!

I couldn't resist dressing up Gigi.  We stopped by Pet Smart and scored with a $5 costume.  Apparently, if you wait till the last minute you end up getting 75% off.  I will forever be purchasing Gigi's costumes the day of Halloween.  We surprised Tyson at work.  Tyson couldn't believe what I put her in.  The ladies at work were eating her up. 

I of course didn't get to see my cute niece and nephews, but my sister-in-law sent me this darling picture.

I am already looking forward to next year when we get to dress up the little babe.

The Final Countdown

I just had my 36 week doctors appointment.  I am 50% effaced, but not dilated any yet.

We got the best news while at the appointment, she has turned.  She is no longer breach.  That hopefully means no c-section.

My doctor gets a kick out of my swollen feet and continues to understand my pain of acid reflux. She had it as well.

She told us to get our bags packed and put the car seat in the car.  She said she could come anytime.  I haven't had any contractions, so I imagine she will be staying put for some time.

It is getting so much more real now.  We are beyond excited for this baby!

Here are some pics from the past nine months.  

Two Months

Three Months

Four Months

Five Months

Six Months

Seven Months

Eight Months

Nine Months

Let's just hope I don't make it to a 10 month photo.