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The Train to Snoqualmie Falls

Back in May, we needed to get out of the house for the weekend while contractors repaired walls and ceilings after we demo’ed the wall between the living room and kitchen, and raised the ceiling.

We vacated the house for a weekend at Nana and Papa’s and were lucky that our forced evacuation landed on Maddie’s birthday! We spent that Saturday on the Snoqualmie Train riding up to see the Falls. I’ll admit the view of the Falls has been better, but the train experiences was a lot of fun! I’m not sure that train has seen a repair in 60 years- its been pretty battered over the years- but the old wicker chairs and awesome seafoam green paint added such character to our adventure!
When I left for Women’s Conference I KNEW that as soon as she was weaned, she’d be all dad’s. Taken three weeks after my Women’s Conference trip, I think these pictures pretty much say it all. :) And with the hindsight of writing this seven month’s later, its still so, so true. I think this next baby will NEVER be weaned so that I can keep her all to myself :)

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PaPa’s Birthday

I think this is the first time we’ve ever been able to celebrate PaPa’s birthday with him!  untitled-34

Bob’s Corn Maze…private fire pits!

good friends. lots of kids. tractor riding. hay ride. petting zoo. corn maze. dinner at a private fire pit. What a great night! I think this may be a new tradition!

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 cotton candy fingers and a petting zoo don’t mix!

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Clara Turns One…

 

We recently celebrated out little girly’s first birthday! What a wonderful day it was! Mike took the day off because I needed to pick up my yearly apple stash (for canning) that morning and it was fun for him to have some special one on one time with our girls. We had a little dinner with family and our friends Eric and Ilene (their daughter is a few months younger than Miss. Clara). Nothing fancy, just Italian Chicken soup, an autumn salad, apple cider and fresh rolls. Followed by a pumpkin log and chocolate cupcakes. We chose this menu because it was really important to me that the meal should be Clara friendly. Her cake was dairy and egg free- just in case!

I decided on this theme because this is likely the only birthday she’ll have that she doesn’t have an opinion or strong interest. What better time to select a theme based on her beautiful birthday season! I’ve always loved Autumn and felt a little spoiled by having my birthday during such a beautiful month (I seriously remember feeling prideful about that as a tiny kid!).

This girl of ours is so incredible! She brings such happiness to us all. The big girls honestly claim that they love having a baby in the family every single week. Honestly. Its not just a baby, its Clara’s precious mannerisms, her adoration of them, the way she greets everyone with a tiny finger wave, how she mimics everything and does this adorable little whisper. She is sooo talkative (its all gibberish!), obsessed with our dog, Gemma, and definitely goofy. She’s a glass half full kind of girl…unless her mom leaves the room. She has a GIANT slice of each of our hearts!

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our petite graduate…

 

Our Lily girl is moving up in the world! She had such a lovely preschool graduation at the local library last month. Her teacher, Debbie, did so much to make it a special day for the kids. They each shared things about themselves- passions and talents- told what they want to be when they grow up (a mommy) and she shared a profile on each graduate. Lily was so blessed to have such a wonderful preschool teacher who was optimistic and encouraging and truly took time to know and love each child. Here is what Debbie said about Lil:

“Lily comes to school each day excited, ready to learn, and bursting with ideas to share. She loves making connections between what we learn at school and what she observes around her. She always treats her friends with kindness and respect and is happy to share or give someone else the first turn. She is very sweet and a friend to all.”

Debbie nailed it. Lily is all of these things and we are so excited to see all how she continues to nurture her talents in Kindergarten!

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She was so nervous, you could see it in her stance. Sweet girl!

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Papa and Lily

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Hat thief

Construction…

Hello there,

This is just a quick note to inform you, dear reader, that the site is under construction. Hopefully images of all these beautiful people will be back shortly!

 

Thanks for your patience!

Melissa

Meet Clara

Madilynn and Lily are spending the day with Nana and Papa (Remlinger Farms + sleep over) and I find that I should use these extra moments of down time while Cash naps to begin a record of Clara’s birth.

Our sweetpea made an unexpected appearance on October 3rd, 12 full days before her due date! The weeks leading up to her birth were both exhausting and stressful, and I’m guessing that had something to do with her early arrival!

Just the night before I went into labor I was trying to express to Mike my exhaustion, fear of a quick and unexpectedly timed labor, and changes within our family afterwards as we lay in bed. He was trying to help me sort out an actual plan, not just vent, and our solution was just that we’d have to wait and experience it! Well, I guess Clara wanted to make the suspense a little more manageable for her over-extended momma, because I went into labor in the middle of that night!

Because Cash’s labor was only 3 hours, Dr. Delorit agreed to induce me a week before my due date. I was so set on making it to that date! I loved the sense of control that provided-I could have a place prepared for the other kids and have confidence that Mike wouldn’t need to deliver the baby in the car! I had tunnel vision on that date, October 9th, and was rationing my projects up until then, but in the back of my head I worried that I wouldn’t make it! I guess there is something to that mother’s intuition! I spent all of Tuesday, the 2nd, preparing freezer meals and while I felt a little more ready the nursery was hardly begun and the girls had just settled into their new room downstairs a few days before (Billy, Mike’s brother, lived there up until 4 days before Clara’s birthday!) Basically, we weren’t ready, not by my standards at least!

So, back to the morning of the 3rd. I woke up at 1:45 feeling crampy, and thought that the pressure and braxton hicks I’d been feeling for week had a different undertone. After a few minutes I decided to download and try out a contraction monitoring app on my phone. From the get go the contractions were 5 minutes apart, so after 30 minutes I woke Mike and convinced him that we should just play it safe and go in to the hospital.

We called my friend Amanda, who was here within 15 minutes to stay with the sleeping kids while Mike’s parents made their way here for the rest of the night. Once in the hospital, we were taken to triage and given the disappointing news that I was only at a 2. While I was relieved that I wasn’t in transition, like I was with Cash, I knew that if I didn’t make fast progress I’d be sent home. As quickly as my labors go, I knew that wasn’t an option, so I opted to walk. After an hour of consistent contractions that stopped when I rested, I was only at a 3. Not much progress, but they agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk of sending me home. We started to walk again.

This walk was different. The contractions were much stronger and I had to keep stopping to manage them. Mike tried to convince me to stick it out through 10 contractions and then go back to triage. After 7 I wanted to turn around. They checked again and I was at a 7! It was go time! One nurse, Kristen, went ahead to prepare the room while another, Kelly, wheeled me there. They were both such awesome supports! I’m actually grateful for that time in triage to feel comfortable with them, as it really helped me to trust them and the process when they later suggested I push unmedicated!

The nurses immediately got to work on my epidural, but there was so much to do. Even with two nurses getting things set up, I needed to get through 1/2 a bag of IV in order to have the epidural. They moved fast, but shortly after it was in place I felt the urge to push. I did NOT want to push. I didn’t feel ready and typically pushing takes 45 min- 1 1/2 hours. The nurses suggested that I do a couple practice pushes, just to see how things progressed, so I did, and after a couple they said that I just needed to go for it because she was almost there.I’m not even going to try to explain how painful this was unmedicated. My epidural was still not working, but that sure made me want to push harder to get it over with!

I kept thinking of the counsel of my sister in law, Rachael, who told me that she just remembered that once the baby was born all of that pain was over and for a good cause. It wasn’t pain because something was wrong, but because something was right.

After 10 minutes of pushing, our sweet Clara was placed on my chest. There is nothing better than meeting your sweet one for the first time, especially with the added bonus that its all over!! Such relief! Mike cut the cord. The nurse took photos (in an unedited nurse-like style! Yikes!) and I just lay there in shock. The nurses assured me that I could claim it as natural delivery. :) A doctor from my practice was there, but I honestly think she spent minutes helping me push before leaving with a “thanks for making my job easy!” Seriously people, why use an OB? Midwives are incredible! Even if you plan to deliver with medication and in a hospital!

Clara was 7 pounds 4 oz, 20 inches long, born at 6:45am.








Glamorous, I know! But its the only photo that I have of the two of us!

At this point we still had not chosen a name for this little girl! We’d discussed it for the gazillionth time, and were leaning to Clara at that point. After looking at her tiny little face, our other top names (Eloise and Lola Belle) just didn’t fit. We have used a family name for the second name for all of our kids, and chose Elaine, after my mom’s middle name, as a nice fit for this sweet little miss. Clara means Bright and Clear, Elaine means Light, and she is already such a bright spot in our home! The girls just swoon over her, admiring every tiny detail, and Cash is a quiet observer of all things “Ca-na”. He will randomly ask about her, or say he loves her, so i think we’re off to a good start!

They all wanted to hold her and lined up with a pillow in each lap. Can you say happy chaos??

Mike left with our visitors to take the kids to dinner and get them tucked into bed. Miss. Clara and I spent the evening cheering Romney on during the first  presidential debate of 2012.

My favorite shot of out sweet girl 

We’ve had great help with the kids since leaving for the hospital, Nana & Papa got them ready for school, Crystal spent the day with Cash, and then Nana & Papa helped them through the evening until Mike could be with them for dinner and bedtime. Lily even got a ride home from school in the Mamma’s Hands bus! The day after we came home, Friday, Madilynn spent the morning with friends (Leap Day, no school), Lily at school, and Cash at the car show with his dad. Today we’ve had a quiet day watching General Conference as the girls spend a special day with their grandparents. We’ve also been so blessed by a few meals and are enthusiastically waiting my mom’s visit next Friday!

Going home

A few things we’ve noticed about Clara:
– She looks the most like Lily, who takes after my mom’s family
– She has remarkably long fingers

– She has the sweetest, tiniest, and most high pitched cry!

– Her days and nights are mixed up, which means she and I have lots of bonding time at 2:00am!
– She nurses just like her sisters, shallow with a tongue thrust! Its going to be a rough couple of weeks as she gets into a better habit!
– She has a silly hairline with her hair longer on the sides than on the top!