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Zachary's Birth Story
Pregnancy Loss
Third Times the Charm
Vivian's Birth Story
Conner's Birth Story




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September 28, 2014

Getting new windows for the downstairs has been on our to-do list for a while. Last winter was the first time we actually spent any time downstairs since we did most of our living pre-kids upstairs but now that we have a full house and forsee lots of time spent in the playroom it was important to get windows that actually keep heat in and cold out. So we finally bit the bullet and got a few quotes for window replacement.

The upstairs living room windows had been replaced in 2009 before we bought our house so we used what we knew about those windows as a starting point. We got a few quotes and ended up using the company - West Coast Vinyl - that the prior owners used because of quality, matching and cost. After making the final decision it took three weeks for our windows to arrive before the installation date.

The day finally came and it was so interesting to see a good portion of our house with big gaping holes! The new windows were beautiful and really brightened up the playroom. In addition to the playroom the guest room upstairs and nursery downstairs required updating.

Unfortunately the upstairs guest room window was ordered incorrectly so we had to wait to get that reordered. They also needed more time to install the doorwall so they came back out to do both on another day. We weren’t in a rush so it wasn’t a big deal. We’d rather have it done right rather than fast!

We are so glad that we were able to get the new windows before the cold crept in! I sort of wish we did it sooner because now the downstairs windows can actually open since there are screens. Something to enjoy and appreciate next summer! Although if Tyler gets his wish we may have another big project to enjoy by then too… 

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Before new exterior trim on
master bath and bedroom windows
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After with a slightly more bold
white trim to match all other windows
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Before the new window in guest room (up)
and exterior trim only in nanny room (down)
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After with a new upper window and
bold trim on lower window to match
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Before the new window in guest room.
No screens so it was basically useless
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Not only a brighter picture, bigger,
brighter seeming window with screens too!
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Before the new window in nursery
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Not much change with the new
window in nursery. It will still likely be
unused and covered by the blinds.
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Before new windows and doorwall in playroom (from about a year ago since I forgot to take a before pic!)
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After new windows and sliding door in playroom (and a year’s worth of new toys). The biggest difference is lack of bar down the big center panes!

Video

September 25, 2014

Roll over, baby! Conner has been rolling over every which way while swaddled in the crib but had yet to roll from back to belly during regular activity. Today he did for the first time! I missed the first two times just minutes before but the third time I saw it and got it on video. Such a silly boy!

September 24, 2014

Last week we bit the bullet and decided to put the kids together in the same room. The first few days were extremely rough on us parents then it got better because Vivian realized it wasn’t a special thing but was going to be the norm every night. Viv liked her new bed and stayed snug in her new bedding that now included flat sheets and comforter instead of crib sized comforter. We got into our rhythm of putting the kids to bed together - I nursed Conner in the rocker while Tyler and Viv read books on the floor. Then when Conner is done he goes to bed and so does Viv for a final song.

It goes pretty well now… except when it doesn’t.  The last few days with the new changes have made it a little rough. Both kids got off schedule and bedtime was a disaster. Last night,however, the putting down went well but Vivian was up and down, up and down, up and down nonstop for over two hours. She kept going to the potty and of the seemingly endless times, she did go pee twice. Then I finally realized I didn’t give her babydolly and once I finally did she stayed in bed. Oi that was a long and tedious lesson!

On top of the bedtime fiasco, Tuesdays in general just seem extra long because Tyler is out late at basketball and the evening routine is off, Vivian wants her daddy for nighttime. But hopefully as we get back into the normal swing of things and the excitement of Marina’s arrival dies down, Viv will go back to her easy to bed nature… maybe?! I definitely won’t forget tucking Viv in with babydolly again.

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Entry of the nursery before the
big kiddo merge
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Nursery with just Viv and her converted
crib to toddler bed
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Entry of the nursery with Viv’s
temporary setup
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Viv’s mattress was on the floor
for the first week
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Final entry view with both the crib and bed!
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Both beds set up and ready to go!
September 21, 2014

Exactly a year ago today we were welcoming Shelby, Vivian’s first nanny. Yesterday we dropped Shelby off at the airport and said our goodbyes as nanny/employer but not as friends. Shelby will be coming back to live not too far away so we will hopefully still see her around.

Now, exactly a year later, we are welcoming our second nanny! Marina and her little pooch, Baxter, should be arriving very shortly and we have been anxiously getting ready for their arrival.

To prepare I was able to get a few fresh new things for her room including an updated bed set to better match the desk chair. Shelby actually found the comforter! I put together a little welcome basket just like I did for Shelby too.


Shelby’s previous room

View of bed previously

Marina’s updated version

Full view of the chair and bed matching so well

Shelby’s previous bathroom

Marina’s updated bathroom with
the bowls for Baxter too!

Baxter’s private restroom access right
outside of Marina’s room… if he so desires.
September 18, 2014
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Conner sure is a mellow fellow. At four months old he is extremely flirty and loves to be coy smiling at you then looking away all sheepish then looking back with his gummy grin only to look away embarrassed that he was caught again.

He is right around the 25th percentile for height and weight clocking in at 14 pounds on the dot and 25 inches long. He is rolling from tummy to back and in the crib while swaddled he can roll back to tummy but hasn’t yet figured that out when he is unswaddled.

That said, he is now a tummy sleeper. He also had been sleeping in the guest room in the pack ‘n play for the last few week but since last Sunday was officially moved into the nursery with his big sister. More on that big move later!

We just got out the jumper activity center and he seems to enjoy that although after a little while he gets pretty tired and slumps.

I also started work just the other day and it really makes it seem like he is growing even faster! Now with work in the mix time truly will fly by and soon enough it will be next month… but not to get ahead of myself yet!!! Trying to savor each moment with my sweet boy.

Photos

September 16, 2014

Now over a month ago Tyler’s brother and sister-in-law came out to visit. Nick stayed with us the whole week while he was doing work and Sarah joined at the end of the week for a long weekend. While they were here we did some fun stuff including kayaking - Conner’s first experience - and a fun hike at Mt. Rainier.

It was such a nice visit with Nick and Sarah and it was especially fun to see Viv bonding so much with Sarah since they live so far away and get to see each other a few times a year. They were best buds after the weekend and Viv kept asking for “Saaah” once they were gone only to be disappointed that the guest room was empty. Hopefully we can see them again soon.

September 14, 2014

Vivian is officially a lil’ kicker!

Earlier in the summer Tyler and Viv did a trial of the toddler soccer class and loved it so we thought it would be an awesome fall-winter activity as it’s indoors. Last Sunday was her first day and Tyler took both kids by himself while I went on a long run with some friends as we are all training for a half marathon. Gotta love that man!

This week I was able to go to watch soccer class and it was fun to see that with Viv’s development in the past two months she has become even better at following directions which made it even more enjoyable - for her and us - than before! It was also so much fun because there are quite a few friends in the class.

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Vivian also got to meet baby Finley, River’s little brother, who I was fortunate enough to meet when he was only a day old (now a 11 days old as he was born September 3rd) and any other times I’ve seen him Vivian was not in tow (or maybe she met him last weekend at soccer but I just wasn’t there to witness it). Anyway, she was all about the new tiny baby and Conner was old news as she only had eyes for baby Finley. River was quite proud to show off his new baby brother too.

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Conner and I meeting day old Finley - Conner
now seems so huge!

After soccer we went out to brunch with Nora, Adam and our four kids - WOW that just sounds crazy. It was a lovely morning. When we got home we put the kids down for nap and shortly after a little visitor arrived for the afternoon.

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Sharing the magic of blowing on a dandelion

We were lucky to get to see both Rivers in one day as Big River came to play while Keri and Guy were busy moving. He was over on Saturday morning too and Vivian just loves to play with him so it was a lot of fun when she woke from nap to see that River was over again!

The kids helped me in the garden by picking out the “leaves” (which were weeds) in the grass in between play sessions with the toy van and little house that made its way from River’s yard to ours in their move.

Since the kids were so good playing with each other, Tyler and I were able to get a few little things done around the house too. All in all it was a great day!

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The party crowd - Viv is bottom row, second from right
in white and the birthday girl is top center of course!

Yesterday, after watching River in the morning we went to Marlee’s 6th birthday party. How has enough time gone by that Marlee is six years old already?!?! Her party was so much fun. It was at Northwest Aerials which is actually where Vivian is starting a regular gymnastics class tomorrow! For the birthday party they had this amazing inflatable obstacle course which I thought would be a bit tough for Viv but boy did she show me.

After her first couple attempts Viv climbed through the course like a pro all by herself and was having a huge blast assuming she was a big kid just like everyone else. I loved watching her go through multiple times squealing with delight. Marlee’s gymnastics birthday party was a huge hit!

September 11, 2014
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Today I feel like a million bucks! Sure I’m exhausted physically from lack of sleep and temper tantrums and my eyes burn but I took a bit of extra effort getting ready while Shelby and Viv were out and about and Conner was napping. I have to take time to appreciate myself when I can because I’ve been pretty bad at that in the past and looking back I wish my self-image wasn’t so distorted.

I started off the morning weighing myself which put me in a great mood! Validation that all my running is really paying off. I am down 30 pounds since Conner was born!!! I’ve lost pregnancy #3 weight as well as pregnancy #2! So I am officially back at the weight I was when Zachary was born. Now I just have pregnancy weight from Z to take care of!

To celebrate I put on a pair of non-maternity pants for the first time in a long long while (maybe 2 years?), did my hair and makeup and am going to enjoy the day with my little dude and hope I only get minimally barfed on.

Happy Thursday!

September 10, 2014

Back in February we introduced Vivian to the little potty (omg she was so small and had so much less hair). She was extremely interested and did a great job peeing when we set her on the potty and read books for the first week. Then she hated the potty and didn’t want anything to do with it so we just let her be and forgot about the potty but left it around for her to see and offered it for her to sit on (with or without clothing) if she wanted which more often than not she didn’t.

During the spring Viv had been getting really good at telling us that she has to or just went “poop” which is both pee and poop in her mind. So we decided that since we were going to need to start using the cloth diapers for Conner that we’d get more serious about starting potty training after our Michigan trip but also introduce the more regular idea while in Michigan and outside all the time.

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Cousins encouragement!
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Outdoor potty time at the lake.

When we went to Michigan it was a great opportunity to let Viv run around without any bottoms on while we were outside. She did pretty good but after a few days started stressing out about the potty and probably our inconsistency. So we let up a bit.

When we got home we decided to really get serious. Saturday (7/19/14), after Tyler healed from the plague that was Hand Foot Mouth virus and could help out with Conner and Viv we let Viv run around bare-bottomed at home all day. She peed in the potty once that night because the other time she went was in a diaper while we were at the store.

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Pointing to her mess.

Sunday Vivian again got to run around home without any pants and did a great job in the morning! She peed in her little potty the first time telling us she had to go and went to sit down. The second time she just peed in her little potty without telling us. We were so surprised to see it there. However, we only found the pee when she took a poo on the floor near the potty… close but not quite, yet good enough for some praise since it seemed like she was trying to get to the potty. Thankfully the mess was on the wood floor instead of carpet too.

Then a little while later we went for a walk and she had an accident five minutes into it so we turned around and went home. At lunchtime, she also had an accident. Ya win some and lose some at this stage in the game. To end the day Viv peed in the potty before bed.

Monday (7/21/14) Vivian had a great day on the potty! She woke up with a very wet nighttime diaper per usual and was happy to sit on the potty (for routine purposes) even though she didn’t need to go. We went about our normal activities and tried to get her to go potty before we went on a walk to a nearby park but she was not interested. Daring enough, Shelby and I decided to try our luck with her underwear and new waterproof training underpants. We packed up her little potty in the stroller and reminded her often that if she had go potty to tell us. We got to the park and played and had a snack before heading home. There were multiple attempts to sit on the potty but nothing came. I was sure she would have an accident on our way home but she proved me wrong!

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Bon appétit!

Finally when we were getting ready to have lunch I reminded her that she had to tell us if she needed to go and she said “potty” while going to get her potty to bring to the table. While unconventional, she wanted it on the chair so she could eat and pee. I was happy to let her try it out as long as it meant she went in the potty. Boy oh boy did she go! She sat down, started eating and I heard the tinkle success sound.

Fast forward a while and things were going great. After two weeks of potty training we had successfully had no significant accidents (just dribble before realizing she had to go but caught herself and finished on the potty) while on a long weekend trip to Oceanside, OR. Then we also had our first long stretch of no accidents - 4 days including outings and car rides - until we took a trip to Mt. Rainier where she was set up for failure by us unfortunately and she had an accident during the long three hour drive (poor planning as we didn’t have a diaper on the way home). But on the plus side, she was more than compliant peeing on command on a tree log during our hike!

As of August 10th (9 days shy of a month into it), Vivian had gotten so much better about telling us when she has to go potty but we still had the problem with her crying “wolf” just to procrastinate or stop doing something. She really is a clever little girl for figure that out so quickly. So distinguishing when is a true potty need versus a fake-out is tricky but she is getting better at truthfully answering our follow-up questions to verify.

Another month later (9/4/14) and I finally found time to read a short book about potty training. Luckily everything we had been doing per my instincts was exactly what the book recommended except using diapers at nap and bedtime and making sure to use a reward system.

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Even on walks the potty comes with us!

So, with my new found knowledge we decided to try our first nap and night without diapers. Naptime resulted in a very wet bed because when Vivian wakes up she plays in bed and I have a sneaking suspicion that she was dry until she woke up and then didn’t know what to do in the pitch black room since we forgot to put her nightlight in - adult fail.

That night she did great! When we put her down we explained that she was in undies instead of diapers, showed her that her potty was available and a bunch of other encouraging words. The book recommended waking her up an hour after she fell asleep to see if she needed to potty. Tyler went down to do the honors. She was dry and confused and sat on the potty but didn’t need to go. The book also suggested waking her up an hour before her normal wake-up time so I figured I’d go down there whenever Conner woke in the morning to nurse.

It was about 4:30am that I went down and she was still dry! She immediately knew why I was there and said “potty” and I helped her stumble to the potty where she successfully went. Then she went back to bed without any problems.

Then at about 6:30am Viv woke up on her own which is wayyyy before she normally gets up (or at least she plays until about 8am). So I went down there to help her potty and she was still dry. She didn’t want to go which I should have known was going to be a problem but in my sleepy haze I just let her go back to bed. She didn’t want to go back to sleep and I knew that she would have an accident while playing in her bed. Unfortunately I was right.

We finally gave in a little after 7am and got her out of bed. I realize that nighttime training is going to probably mean earlier mornings for us adults. On the plus side that means Viv gets to see Tyler before work.

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Potty at the park!

For no diaper nap day two Viv did an amazing job! During the day, the treat rewards were helping diminish her resistance to sitting on the potty before leaving the house, arriving somewhere new and during play which was vital. Her “crying wolf” even seemed to have lessened too. For nap, Viv woke up screaming after about an hour so Shelby went in (I was out and about) and Viv was adamant that she had to “poop!” So Shelby assisted her towards her little potty in her room and sure enough she went #2. The only downside - similar to the morning - was that she did not go back to bed which made for a very long and cranky rest of the day and a very early bedtime.

The next few nights were about the same with random nighttime accidents until we finally had a breakthrough on day three (9/7/14). It started with naptime when Viv woke up to go potty screamed until we came down to help, peed, then went back to sleep for two more hours. Then that night I woke her up at 11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am (Conner’s current schedule - unfortunately for me) for potty to try and catch her need to go. I was pleasantly surprised each time I went down when I found she was still dry and I didn’t have to strip the bed and she was willing to pee in the potty. The only problem I ran into was that she was ready to go for the day after her 6am wake-up call. So she played quietly in bed until about 7:30am when Conner woke up and I decided to start the day - also staying dry since she had peed at 6am.

The following day she had a dry nap and another dry night with the same wake-up schedule.

Last night she again had a dry night with only 11:30pm and 4:45am wake ups before her own wake up at 6am. I went down helped her potty and put her back to bed and this time she did reluctantly (read screaming) go back to bed (which naturally was when Conner was up and ready to go despite my best efforts). As of today we have been a full week - Viv’s longest stretch - with no daytime accidents (not counting nap/night).

Here’s to mostly successful potty training at 21 months (tomorrow) - it’s been an interesting road but I’m glad we are going down it because man oh man it is so much easier (now that she isn’t fighting it) than two in diapers let alone simply changing a squirmy toddler!

September 8, 2014

About a month or so ago we found out that sadly our nanny, Shelby, was going to be leaving us. This began the hunt - which I hope won’t become a regular annual occurrence.

I was in serious denial for a bit and put it off until finally posting our job on GreatAupair.com (where we found Shelby) and Care.com. I was reluctant to even post on Care.com because it seemed that I could only find local candidates. I was apparently wrong though! I started getting messages from well qualified candidates across the country. It was a bit overwhelming actually!

I ended up scheduling our first two interviews at the end of August from GreatAupair candidates and the first week of September was another one from GreatAupair as well as three more from Care.com. There were quite a few others that didn’t make it past the pre-interview questionnaire. It was a lot of emailing and interviewing in a short amount of time. Especially considering each interview was 1-2 hours!!! But that meant they were all great candidates who I could easily talk to.

It ended up being such a tough decision to make which felt really good - we were so glad to have the quality candidates to choose from who all seemed extremely interested.

There were two that really stood out and at one point I asked Tyler if we could just have them both. It was extremely hard to decide as they both would have brought such a good attitude and seemed like they’d fit in with our family. Conner flirted with both of them during the interview so I’m pretty sure he approved as well.

In the end we sent out an offer to the decided top candidate and she said yes!

We are sad to see Shelby go but are also excited to welcome Marina and her furry friend, Baxter the dog, to our home in a couple of weeks!

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