Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pretty Baby


Good News: If the post that referred to my pretty baby's clicky hip worried you, you can sleep again. All is well!

On Monday morning my mother and I took little Nora to the hospital's imaging center for an ultrasound. Although I was slightly terrified to bring this tiny three-week-old girl in for a procedure, it was not that big of a deal. We were in and out in less than an hour and Nora only cried during the times I couldn't snuggle her.

After waiting a day for the results, I'm happy to report that our pediatrician said she saw no abnormalities on the test. No hip dysplasia means no harness, no surgery, no therapy - nothing! I finally breathed. I know this problem would have been fixable and not nearly as traumatic as other infant issues, but I am so blessed to know that her body is growing as it should.

In honor of this awesome news, how about a bit of cute for your morning? One of my favorite friends stopped by last weekend to snap some newborn shots of this little lady and they turned out fabulous. I knew we had a baby model on our hands:



Hope you're having an awesome Wednesday!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Streaker


{Half-naked, covered in ketchup, or sitting amid a pile of destruction, those brown eyes do me in every time. It's my weakness, I tell ya.}


On a recent morning when Owen woke up before me (read: every morning), he walked into my room. Shortly after, I heard an odd ripping sensation.

I pretended to be asleep as he stood by my bed and muttered a few things I didn't catch. He quickly became uninterested in his snoozing mama and walked out of the room. Just before he made it to the door, though, I heard him confidently proclaim: "I done with diaper!" I opened my eyes just in time to see a round little heinie pass through my doorway.

Oh no.

A few days later, Nathan, Owen and I were watching a little afternoon TV. It's rare that they're both still on the couch at the same time, so I made every second count and closed my eyes for approximately three seconds. I promptly opened them at the sound of Nathan's uncontrollable giggles and saw Owen pull his shirt over his head.

(Moral of the Story: I shouldn't close my eyes.)

With a wide smile on his face, that little guy sat back and continued to watch his show, patting his belly along with the Ninja Turtle theme song and the 10 minutes that followed because Nathan thought it was hilarious.


We've got a streaker, y'all. Thank goodness the only offense that has been repeated is the shirt and not the diaper; however, he did pitch a royal fit during a change the other day that led to asking him whether he wanted to wear diapers or undies.

"I wear undies!"

Well, okay then. You haven't heard anything from me regarding potty training my middle child and there's a good reason for that. I haven't started.

And yet, I obliged. Mostly because it was adorable:


I don't think Owen is quite ready for that adventure and this brief foray with... well, briefs proved just that. He happily sat and played in his hand-me-down Bert and Ernies until something felt weird. He jumped up and we had to act fast. We rushed him to the bathroom, where he refused to sit on the toilet, peed all over the floor, and asked for more undies. We did this again with a Toy Story pair and finally talked him into a diaper.

I suppose that's Step One? Who knows. All I know is since the addition of a baby sister, I change 845 diapers a day and my Diaper Genie fills with record speed. I'm absolutely not going to push the potty thing until I feel Owen is ready, but maybe I'm a little more eager than I was a few weeks ago.

As long as he leaves his undies on.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five on Friday


{Today I've decided to link up with The Good Life Blog for Five on Friday, for no reason other than it's an easy way to clear random thoughts from my brain. Enjoy, write your own random, and go link up!}


ONE: I am loving the weather. It's July 26 and I can count on one hand the number of days I've seen 100 degrees. Score. Plus, these summer storms with their booming thunder and splattering rain are a delight. This morning I'm sipping my tea as all three kids chill on the couch and a storm rolls in. Yes, I started this list with something as mundane as the weather. Yes, I'm okay with this. You know you are, too, it's incredible.

TWO: Tonight one of my favorite friends/photographers is stopping by to capture Nora June's squishy newborn stage. I cannot contain my enthusiasm! I even have a little flower headband to put on this sweet baby's head. (And I'll admit I have three more being mailed to me next week. Maybe this bow thing is more fun than anticipated...) Keep an eye on the blog for the results of Nora's first modeling gig. I know she'll rock it.


THREE: I had to pause this random post to change a disgusting diaper from the petite sweetie shown above. Three ruined dipes later, I gave up and let her hang out on the changing table in the nude. A spit-up volcano proceeded to erupt from her tiny body, soiling her freshly washed skin, my shirt, and the carpet three feet away. Gross. Then she totally peed everywhere.
Silver Linings: her pee goes back and not straight up, her projectile vomit seems more for fun than reflux, and, after all that, she's still awesome.

FOUR: Remember that garden I planted in spring and worried about because I knew how busy/worn out/completely uninterested I'd be in the harvest season? Well, one part is true. I'm very uninterested. You can tell by the weeds, the tomatoes rotting on the vine, and the general messiness. However, it's not a bust. Whenever I politely ask someone (*ahem* Jonathan) to head out and pick a couple tomatoes or cukes, he always returns with an entire bucketful. Holy cow, y'all. Anyone need a tomato? They're super tasty and oddly abundant this year.


FIVE: Earlier this week, we accompanied Nathan to the school supply section of Target with a crinkled first-grade list in hand. We walked out of the store with a Ninja Turtle backpack, two clean composition notebooks, an extra-sharp box of crayons, and more. Best day ever or what? School starts August 19. Nathan has already scanned his class list for kindergarten buddies and found his new teacher in the yearbook. I can't wait to see him transform this blank slate!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Blogging: Advice



Today I am guest blogging at one of my favorite naptime reads, Our Love Nest. As you read this, the author is either waiting on her overdue son or cradling him in her arms.

Either way, she needed a break. :)

She decided to take a few weeks off from blogging and invited other mama bloggers to fill her shoes. Asked to write about anything related to pregnancy or motherhood, I decided to put on my "experienced mother" hat (believe me, the quotation marks are necessary). My post offers a bit of advice for this first timer and anyone else who'd like to read.

I wrote this post on July 3, just five days before Nora joined this crazy circus of a family. I might have teared up a little when writing it, but reading it weeks later, it really hits home. First-timer or fifth-timer, it's amazing how much a newborn baby can rock your world...

Why don't you hop on over and give it a read?

Just click HERE.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Baby Who?


I love a good baby watch and the Royal Family is no exception, but come on. Would you just look at this doll?!

Nora and Nathan had double check-ups today and all was pretty much well. Nathan was great and didn't even flinch when getting his blood pressure taken. He's an inch and a half from 4 feet tall. Crazy.

We were thrilled to hear that Nora is back up to her birth weight, plus two ounces. She's still little, though, ranging in the lower percentiles for weight and height. On the flip side, we cracked up to hear that her head ranked in the 80th. She's a Bauer, indeed.

One thing that concerned our pediatrician was a click in her hip, which could be due to the fact that she was breech for much of my pregnancy. We'll get it checked soon and hopefully it's nothing. If it is something, though, we were assured that it's easily fixable.

Other than that, this little cutie is just fine.

After we wrapped up our appointment, we stopped at Red Lobster for a late lunch. We quickly became glued to the TV as we waited for Wills and Kate to carry their precious little bundle out of the hospital to meet the world.

I couldn't help but grin at my own newbie, just two weeks older than His Royal Highness. It made me wonder whether she'll have his poster hanging on her wall in 15 years, like all the little girls who drooled over Prince William during my tween years. (Ahem. Totally not me. My walls reflected that I was more into the Backstreet Boys. Okay, this is getting weird.)

The lives of these babies will be extremely different, but it's neat to relate to someone in such a high place. Royal or not, the deep-seated emotions of those British lovebirds are being felt just the same here in this sleepy Arkansas town. Tonight, all four of us will smile into the faces of our brand-new children.

We will all be up in the wee hours, feeding them, swaddling them tight, and feeling their tiny breath on our skin. Tomorrow we will all be exhausted.

Our bodies will ache, our minds will swirl, and we won't know which way is up. We will, however, be madly in love.

I'll say one thing about the difference between me and Kate, though. Kudos to her for a) looking fabulous one day postpartum and b) being interviewed as the entire world watched one day postpartum.

I could barely walk to the bathroom alone. :)

Happy Tuesday, y'all, and a heartfelt congratulations to the duke and duchess!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Curing Cabin Fever {Part 2}


We did it. We left town with three kids, more snacks than necessary and an absurd amount of diapers. After a quick trip home when Owen realized he forgot his blanket, our sights were set on Mid-America Science Museum.

I am writing this post while lying on the couch with Owen as Nora snoozes in her swing. The three of us are wiped out and maybe a little whiny after such a big day. Jonathan and Nathan, however, are sitting at the kitchen island, excavating a stegosaurus by chipping away at a dusty block of clay.

It's safe to say the big dudes had a blast.

The small ones did, too, I think. As terrified as I was when Jonathan and I each pushed a stroller through the museum's main entrance, we actually had a pretty fantastic day. And boy, did we blow the cabin fever out of the water.

From crawling through the belly of an earthworm to exploring Dino Land, it was awesome! Owen was itching to jump out of his stroller at every turn and even after the third walk through the robotic dinosaurs that roared from every corner, he was not satisfied.

Once we returned home, he asked if he could go to the "robot dinosaur's house" again. When I told him we could, he was quite disappointed to learn I did not mean immediately.

Nathan, a future archeology professor, loved the dinosaurs just as much. Although, he was more sold on the science instead of believing in the monstrous creatures before him. This became apparent when he uttered the following disenchanted statement among a pile of smaller museum visitors:

Look, mom! I see where the batteries go.

Oh well, he still thought it was cool and happily posed for the above photo.

After a couple of hours in the museum and a trip to the gift shop, we stopped at the Purple Cow. The boys munched on their chicken fingers, we enjoyed our burgers, and Nora slept through her first restaurant experience.

However, as we were waiting on our purple milkshakes, Owen and Nora decided to fire up the crying game at the same time. We hustled out of there as quickly as possible and a poopy diaper, a hungry baby, and a dropped milkshake later, we decided to head home.

If that was as bad as it got for our first out-of-town adventure, I'd say it was a success. Here are a few more museum shots:


I didn't get too many pictures of sister during our Bauer Family Field Trip, but thankfully that was because I was either feeding her, changing her diaper, or she was doing this:


Hope your Saturday was just as fun!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Curing Cabin Fever {Part 1}


Jammies at the park? Check.

This little lady and I had not left our home in exactly eight days. It's an understatement to say it was time.

Last night my cabin fever peaked. My butt was sore from sitting around, my body was tired from breathing the same air over and over, and there's only so much HGTV one can take during the course of a week.

Sure, we had ventured out to the backyard to pick tomatoes and rest in the swing, but I was in need of something different. I wanted to see something beyond our small piece of property. (Or at least down the road a little.)

So my dear husband and I began brainstorming to see what we could get into that did not involve the couch, recliner, or bed. I'm not 100% back to normal or anything, but I could not spend another 24 hours staring at these walls.

This morning we dipped our toes into the great outdoors. To the park!


We had big plans to all pile up and head to the Farmer's Market beforehand, but Jonathan knew if we didn't get there at 7:00 on the nose, those prized Nashville peaches would be gone. That being said, half of us were still snoozing when he left to get his goods. :)

When he returned with peaches, fried pies, and breakfast for all, though, we were ready. My husband loaded my three kids and my overstuffed diaper bag into the car. As I climbed in, I just had to look back and grin. My enormous soccer mom mobile was packed down.

Our first hour and a half into the real world was pretty fantastic, except for a tumble out of the swing and a wet slide or two. The boys had a blast, Nora enjoyed a bottle in the ridiculously pleasant July air, and I breathed in the smells of the outside world. It was awesome.


We're still in talks, but our Round Two of curing cabin fever may be a little more intense. Jonathan has been wanting to take Nathan and Owen to Mid-America Museum for a while now and that might find its place on the Saturday morning schedule. Unless my healing takes a serious backslide and I just don't feel up to it, I think I'm game.

Maybe.

I sure hope you were able to enjoy the crazy temperatures this morning. I'm not sure why it feels like this during an Arkansas July but you will not hear me complain one bit. Have a lovely Friday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Three


Let's all pause for a deep, cleansing breath.

Peaceful, sleeping babies in...
Screaming, plate-throwing banshees out...


We are deep in the trenches of life with three. You shouldn't be surprised when I openly admit it ain't always pretty, no sir.

There are the treasured moments like right now, when all three kids are curled up in the living room with me as their dad toils away on the lawn mower.

Owen wrapped up in his precious blanket on the couch, Nora snoozing in her swing, and Nathan snuggling on the couch with me as I slowly sip a mug of cucumber water and page though a Better Homes and Garden. The floors are recently cleared of toys, debris, and Sun Chips and the sink full of stinky formula bottles has been drained. Ahhh...

It's 8:30 pm and hallelujah. Although this doesn't mean sleep for me, two of the troops are going down soon and it'll be us against one six-pound kid from dusk 'til dawn. Easy stuff. Extremely tiring stuff, but easy nonetheless.

Once the sun breaks through the trees in that glorious fashion I described the other day, two little blond boys will wake up. They will join her side, outnumber our side, and the battle will be on.


There will be post-breakfast wrestling in the boys' room to the tune of yelling, giggling, and inevitable crying. Nothing will sound good for lunch and my knuckles will whiten as I ask the question over and over again until we head to McDonald's. Nora will be involved in a squabble over whose blanket is whose and I silently pray she grows up as tough as she is cute.

Then there's screaming, you know, because it's fun. Screaming with Ninja Turtle toys. Screaming as they throw a ball back and forth. Screaming at each other as loud as possible and then erupting in laughter because it is so darn funny.

Hilarious, I tell you.

It's strange. When you try to correct screaming without doing so yourself, it doesn't seem nearly as effective. Somebody needs to work on that.

Sometimes (i.e. today), things get gross quickly:

"Owen stuck his hand in my pee and won't wash it off!"

Why would he? I don't even. *shudder*

However, paired with the stress are the bright spots. Quiet, peaceful moments that make me not mind the 37th time I get Owen a cup of milk or the 94th time I tell Nathan he can't have Cheetos.

On sunny afternoons when I've had just about enough, I sit in the recliner, eyes closed and arms around my daughter. Suddenly, I feel a presence. Those two blond streaks who just tore through my kitchen are standing as close as possible, 100% enamored.

Nathan's hand brushes Nora's fuzzy head as he talks to her in a soft voice. "Hi Nora! Your brother's here. I love you so much, little baby girl." Owen leans in for a closer look and mimics every squeak and coo. Nathan asks to hold her and Owen scrambles onto the couch beside him. 

Before too long, first-grade will arrive. I'll head back to the office and hand my babies over to their sitters (Wait, that's far, far into the future. Right?!)

Until then, I will count to ten, hold my breath, and do what I can to remember that these days will go by in a blink.

And all I want is to enjoy them.

(Except for that whole pee thing. Ick!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New Normal


This morning, I saw the sunrise.

I watched the colors across my front yard change from a gorgeous blue to pink to yellow and eventually the bright green of the trees that surround our property. It all happened in the 15 minutes it took to feed my hungry baby girl.

Watching a new day stretch and yawn and open its eyes is one of my favorite things. And Nora is my favorite reason for seeing it firsthand.

I'm exhausted, I look a hot mess, and the showers this week have been few and far between, but y'all, this is awesome. This is my new life, my new normal. I love it and I am so proud of it.

Nora has already been here for a week, but it's just now getting real. I loved having extra hands for her first days so I could dedicate my time to learning schedules and letting my body rest and heal. I can't express enough appreciation that my house was always clean and there was always a grandparent open for bottle duty when I needed to lie down.

Now that the family has gone home and the boys are back in town, however, I love being on my feet, washing bottles, picking up Legos, and making things work for my family of five. I'm not ready to run a marathon or anything, but this recovery has been a fairly easy one. As far as baby care goes, it was like riding a bike. I don't know if it's because Owen's baby days weren't too long ago, but we jumped right in.

It helps that she's the sweetest little angel baby you ever did see. :)

Our first week with Nora was incredible. I am still riding the high of the hormones, but I have a feeling this one is going to be even better. Jonathan is taking vacation time and my home will be filled with the happy sounds of family (and probably a screaming match or five - I'm riding the hormones, but I'm still realistic!).

There are many more adjustments in store for this new normal of mine, but I will take them as they come. For right now, for today, as I watch the sun creep past the tips of the trees, we are doing just fine.

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Heroes in a Half Shell



TURTLE POWER!

Two days before our newest family member arrived, excitement whirled around one awesome birthday boy and four little turtles who were mutated by way of ooze in the depths of the New York sewer system. It may sound gross to you, but if this face is any indication, Nathan's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party was a hit!


Most of you know Nathan turned six last weekend, as it was documented in a sappy letter and a pretty incredible birthday interview; however, I've neglected to offer the details of his TMNT shindig. Let's go ahead and get that covered. Who knows, someday you may be faced with throwing a turtle party of your own. Now you have this not-so-handmade and stolen-from-Pinterest inspiration. You can't say I never gave you anything, right?

Like most things, we kept decor simple (and by "we" I mean my mother and a good friend as I served in a supervisor role). Streamers in blue and green matched the turtle tableware and bright balloons bounced in the air conditioning. My one claim to fame was turning the green paper lanterns into the starring characters:


The food turned out great with less effort than normal. We kept the theme with oreos labeled Sewer Lids and lime jello called Toxic Ooze. The most complicated treats were Donny's Staffs. All it involved was A) melting the almond bark B) dipping the pretzels into the melted almond bark and C) twirling said pretzels in turtle-colored sprinkles. All that was left was a call to the local pizza joint and turtles and kids alike were in heaven.



We didn't think too much when it came to games. We did, however, fill Nathan's favorite turtle with candy and offer each of the party-goers a metal baseball bat (or the wiffleball variety, based on age), and let them go at it:


The rest of the fun was spent splashing in the small pool and standing in line for the Mega Shark slip-n-slide. Although we were sad that our traditional three-man version ended its run at Nathan's party last year, this was an acceptable replacement for sure. I mean, it's a shark that may or may not eat you mid-slide. Worth it:


After the colorful packages in my living room unveiled what seemed like every Ninja Turtle toy on the market, it was time to slice into that killer cake pictured above. Needless to say, it was as delicious as it was cool. Nathan, his guests, and his little brother were quite pleased:


Thanks to everyone for not only celebrating my main man, but for helping this mama get through it. I can't say I wasn't nervous about this one. I wanted to get it all set up, make sure Nathan felt as special as possible, and not have a baby in the middle of it. One out of one birthday boy agreed that this party played out perfectly.

Now to figure out how to keep Nathan six as long as possible. This whole growing up thing is starting to take off.

Have a super Sunday, y'all!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nora's Birth Story


Many things happened Monday, July 8, 2013.

Discoveries were made and frontiers were forged. Change and innovation, heartbreak and sorrow, prayer and peace. Billions of people all over the world had their own trials, tribulations, and joys.

But for one tiny split second, the newest part of this crazy world left my body and took her first breath. We welcomed Nora June with open arms and tear-filled eyes.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

My bags were packed, my pre-admissions paperwork submitted, and the nerves were coming on strong. At 5:00 that morning, I pulled my favorite maternity dress over my stretched belly for the last time and we left home to celebrate Nora's birthday.

On the hour drive to the hospital, we placed bets about when we'd become parents for the third time. Jonathan guessed around 1:30, but I said noon, thinking I could squeeze in lunchtime. Although the planets aligned in that I was able to schedule an induction, Nora June would prove to be my most stubborn baby.

Once admitted into my room, it wasn't long before the IV was done (and redone) and the Pitocin drip started. This was around 7:15. Too excited/overwhelmed/anxious to do anything else, Jonathan and I just sort of smiled at each other and took turns staring at the bottom line of the screen, waiting for contractions to form bumps in the road.


No bumps yet!

My nurse came in every 15 minutes or so. We heard the cries of babies who were meeting their mamas for the first time. I tossed and turned in the unforgiving hospital bed. Nora's heartbeats filled my ears and I closed my eyes to imagine her little face. Then, a bump. 

At about 1:30 PM, contractions registered on the screen and throughout my belly and back. I could feel progress and I knew if I were to make my lunch date, this was it. The nurse came in to check and I was bummed to hear that I had only dilated from 1 cm to 2 cm over the course of the morning.

Spoiler Alert: I didn't get lunch.

At about 2:00 PM, my doctor broke my water and 10 minutes after that, things were moving. By 4:00 PM, I had escalated to a 4, then I escalated to asking for the epidural, then I escalated to requesting IV drugs while waiting for the anesthetist. In the words of the Internet, ain't nobody got time for that.

Thirty minutes later, I could not keep the enthusiasm at bay when I could no longer feel my legs. Success! If you remember Owen's birth story, you know I was not so lucky then. This working epidural thing is heaven, y'all.

I shut my eyes for a brief second and when I opened them, it was go time. I gave a trial push for the nurse and thankfully the doctor was ready. One more push at 6:05 PM and he held her small body up for me to see.


{Click HERE for the complete photo album of Nora's birth day.}

She was here. She was healthy. She was my daughter.

The pediatric nurse quickly announced to the room that she was absolutely gorgeous as she rang off Nora's first stats: 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long. A petite thing who only cried for about 30 seconds after birth. Once she was wrapped and handed to me, her bright eyes locked tight with mine.

This sweet face is one I have known for a lifetime. In it I can see her brothers, her father, and myself. She watched my mouth as I spoke to her in a soft voice and the connection was powerful. We weren't strangers, we were family. This may have been love's first sight, but the love was always there.


Jonathan and I took a moment to privately revel in this brand-new person and then the second best part of the day happened. When the Bauer Boys walked into the delivery room, Owen shouted "That's Baby Sisser!!" and Nathan immediately asked to hold her. They are such amazing big brothers and cannot get enough of her. Although, that's a post for another day. :)


Just 24 hours after Nora became an official part of the Bauer Bunch, my baby girl and I were given clean bills of health. Jonathan loaded her precious body into the car seat and we laughed at the fact that our child was wearing a pink floral onesie. This daughter thing is a whole new ballgame, isn't it?

Once home, we swaddled her in a pink blanket and placed her in the cradle in our bedroom. Since then, we have been getting to know her schedule and trying our best to remember baby care. We are staring into her eyes, covering her with kisses, and letting her brothers love on her as often as they want.

I am in such a state of bliss that my baby girl is here.

And we are just getting started.