Monday, March 29, 2010

Birds Never Listen

Despite Ivory's kind admonishment, the bird came back.

Yep, First thing this morning, it was back in the vent. So, despite the fact that it can't get out by itself, that it was poked several times by a tape measure, and that it was herded into a plastic container by giant monsters, the vent seems to be premium real estate for this bird. Bird housing must be suffering too. Then again, I have never heard that birds were very bright.

This time when we unhooked the dryer hose, the bird wasn't too far up the tube. Close enough that Tyler decided to forgo the tape measure. This time, he caught the bird bare-handed. (Okay, glove-handed.)

We took pictures of our prize once again and then let it go.

We are on the catch and release program.

And then we installed this.

No more birds please.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Flipped Us the Bird

Tyler and I switched for church today. I went for Sacrament Meeting so I could sing with the choir and he went for the end part since I had to be back to appease the hungry baby.

On my shift, I was walking around burping Pearl (who refuses to burp in most cases). I was working on lunch and dinner with one hand and marveling at how windy it sounded outside. In fact, something near the side of the house sure was flapping around and making a racket.

On closer inspection, it seemed that all the noise was coming from behind the pantry, but the only thing back there was the garage. I was hesitant to go check in the garage fearing some feral animal had been trapped in there and I was holding my baby, but as I walked through the laundry room, I realized I had no need to fear because the animal was clearly behind the wall. I could hear it scraping, scratching, and thrashing about.

It took little deduction to figure it was probably in the dryer vent and after going outside and seeing the vent stuck in the open position on the outside, that confirmed my stellar detective skills.

I waited until Tyler came home and told him my hunch. He seemed skeptical, but after unfastening the dryer hose and hearing the commotion inside, he was a believer.

Then we had to get the thing out of course. Tyler guessed it was a bird, simply because he could hear wings flapping. I wasn't going to decide until I saw the critter. Trust me, I wanted it to be a bird...I can't stand mice in my house. I was quite proud of Tyler. He went outside and threaded our long tape measure through the maze of dryer vent. I manned the vent inside and waited for our hapless victim to show it's beak. The tape measure came out first, but after several attempts, we had success.

Seriously, we caught a bird. Pretty impressive, eh? Then again, it's not my first bird.

I caught it, but we will give credit to the man for flushing it out. Then we released our prisoner.

There seemed to be no permanent damage as he flew off into the sunset. (Okay, you have to imagine a sunset.)

And then Ivory said (with no prompting) "And NEVER come back!"

Friday, March 26, 2010

When Fairies Forget

We're still losing teeth around here. June managed to pull one out at school and luckily it returned home. (I feel by now, you probably know her history with teeth; not good.) She put it back in and Dad snapped a picture. They thought it was funny, I think it is kind of creepy. Look how eerily white it is compared to the rest.

She forgot to put it under her pillow the first night, so I just told her to try again the next night. However, for some reason the tooth fairy forgot to come the next night. We were all stumped. June was worried that since she didn't leave it out the first night, the fairy wasn't going to come and get it.

I told her to try one more time and if the fairy didn't come, I would pay her a dollar instead. Well, as luck would have it, the tooth fairy came on night three and left a very kind note. Apparently she came for the tooth the first night, but the second time around, she was taking the route of a sick fairy. She left an extra quarter because she was late. Funny, I always thought there was one tooth fairy, but it seems there are more.

Has your fairy ever forgotten to come?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Every now and again, I just get going in Photoshop, and I end up with something pretty cool. I've been working recently on some effects that I learned at a recent training on the subject. Well, while I was laboring away, I came up with this little ditty for Daisy. There's no reason I used Daisy, just a photograph that worked for the particular effects I had in mind. Hope you enjoy it.

For the Photoshop curious:
Daisy's photo is a black threshold adjustment. The buildings are also a threshold adjustment. The grunge background is actually a piece of concrete that has a red color overlay adjustment along with an inner glow in black for the vignette. The "Daisy" font is Parchment with a hard chisel deep bevel over a raised background swath I re-blended from the background concrete layer selected in a shaky style by overlapping the lasso tool. I built the bling gleams myself with a path and a radial blur and added color-dodged flourishes with flourish brushes from Selene Heart. That about covers it. If there's anything I did in the image that I neglected to explain, let me know and I'll make it known.

By the way, if you understand most of what you just read, you should post a comment with a link to some of your work so as I can see it and learn from you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sew Happy to Share

I saw this tutorial on my friend's blog and knew I had to try it. Especially since all the jeans that June handed down to Robyn had holes in the knees only weeks later. So we revamped them and came out with this.

It was really easy, and I mean that. If I can do it, you can too. (That is, if you have ever used a sewing machine in your life.) Oh, I made these too, because I couldn't pass up on the watermelon pattern. It seemed so summery.

And since it was a day of change, I thought maybe I should get my hair cut. I called Tyler and told him that I wanted to get my tresses trimmed and that I would probably take Robyn with me since she has been hankering for a haircut. She wanted to donate her hair to Locks of Love. Tyler immediately told me that he wasn't going to PAY to have Robyn's hair cut. We could do it ourselves. (We meaning ME.)

Well, I cut his hair all the time, but that is only after careful instruction and messing it up a few times. (I think he would like to forget those first few attempts.) I was a little hesitant to take the scissors to my girls' hair although really it just involves cutting a straight line...right?

I was on a roll sewing and making those ruffle cut-offs, but my sewing machine got trapped in Daisy's room during her nap, so with nothing else to do, I decided to bite the bullet and cut Robyn's hair. We started with this.

Man that girl has a lot of hair. And we ended with this.

Her braid was 11 inches long; easily long enough for donation purposes. Her haircut was perhaps shorter than I planned, but isn't that always the case? She still looks super cute and unfortunately, a lot like June now. Not that June isn't cute, but I hate when Robyn gets swallowed up in June. People have a hard time telling them apart and this isn't going to help.

Even Daisy was having trouble today. When she woke up from her nap, she looked at Robyn and said, "June." To help alleviate confusion, I had June and Robyn stand next to each other. Then I asked, "Where's June?" She looked at each girl in turn and finally pointed at June. Then when I asked her "Where's Robyn?" she took a little more time with a look of confusion on her face. She finally pointed at Robyn but said 'June' again.

If their own sibling has trouble telling them apart, you can imagine how hard it is for people outside the family.

I think we did well today. We recycled old pants and old hair.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Allergic to Being Sick

Last week, Daisy broke out in some hives.

I thought about if she might have eaten anything new in the recent past or perhaps she had worn something with new detergent. I didn't think too much about it. I gave her a good dose of Benedryl and expected that the hives would be gone in a few hours, as has always been the case with me.

Not so much.

Instead, they got worse and would travel around her body, making each section swollen in turn and hot to the touch. She sported a low-grade fever as well. When they reached her face a few days later, she looked so terrible, that I broke down and took her into the doctor, still knowing full well that they would probably tell me there was nothing they could do.

We have been smearing her liberally with Caladryl to help with the itching

That is exactly what they told me, but at least the doctor on call (since this was a Saturday, naturally) told me that she was probably having a reaction to a virus. So...what? She's allergic to being sick? He said the hives would probably last at least a week and we should just keep giving her Benedryl to help with the itching and swelling. There was no need to worry unless she was having trouble breathing (luckily, none of that so far).

I think the hives are slowly going away. They are worst in her legs and feet right now, which are swollen and hot. Her face is basically back to normal, but new spots seem to break out all the time. Plus, she is now covered with scabs as well, because she hasn't been able to control the scratching. (Can't blame her there, they look really uncomfortable.)

Hopefully by Wednesday, they will be gone, but even then, I can't change her diet or help her avoid the cause of her woes. I just hope she never gets whatever this is again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Loving This

Pearl was in a sleepy mood the other day, which I love because babies do little sleepy smiles and go through so many expressions in just a few seconds. So, I set up camp and just started snapping pictures. Here are a few I love...

(I also love the fact that I live with someone who knows photoshop so well. He walked me through making the collage. I think Kiddie Kandids has got nothing on me. Especially now that they are out of business.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Keeping Busy

As I sifted through all my photos that I have taken recently, I decided that I needed to put some on here just to remember. Because as the dedication in one of my blog books says, "Life isn't short, just my memory." (Or something to that effect...I can't quite remember.)

Tyler took this photo.

As parents it is fun to watch what comes out of your children's imagination. On this day, June was the doctor. The stools outside the door were the waiting room and I think the doctor had just finished up with a patient. Very creative and true to life. (June was acting like a real doctor, so naturally the patients had to wait quite a while.)

This one was also snapped by Tyler, but I have taken many pictures of the kids organizing things. It gives us hope to think that they have the skill and may actually use it for dishes and clothes and perhaps tax documents someday. Robyn explained to us that it was an animal conference.

I think she said that dinosaurs were trying to convince the other animals that they were nice. When I found out it was a conference, I asked her which one was the prophet, but she kindly explained that it wasn't that type of conference.

Um...okay Tyler took this picture too, so maybe I should have started this post by saying, "The photos WE have taken recently." It is just my eyes.

But it reminds me to enjoy Pearl's blue eyes while she still has them. I have no vain hopes that they will remain that color. The brown eyes definitely dominate in this household (as does the X Chromosome) and I don't mind a bevy of brown eyed girls. They all have such beautiful eyes (Daisy's being the darkest).

This one I took.

I got Pearl all dressed for the day and she looked so long and grown-up (meaning a tad older than the two weeks she actually is). I think it was the little pants that made her seem older. I really need to treasure every moment since I am pretty sure Pearl is our last baby. Don't be sad people, we have to stop sometime, right?

Ah, and this last one just proves what I wrote the other day. I caught her this time.

Daisy is still struggling with the toddler bed (as are Mom and Dad dealing with her). She is tending toward late nights and still very early mornings, so it doesn't surprise me when she can't keep her eyes open to finish lunch. Trust me Daisy, I feel the same way. I just don't have the luxury of someone to put me in my bed after I fall asleep at the table.

One last thing, although there is no picture to go with it. The Sweet Sugar Fairies visited my house yesterday. They brought me a sweet message and some sugary goodness from the Cocoa Bean Cupcake Cafe. Yum!! They got away anonymously although I have my suspicions to who it was. Next time, fairies, you should stay and see the baby. You could even come without goodies and still be accepted, although I am truly thankful for the treat you brought. Once again, YUM!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Day Everyone Wishes They Were Irish

I was actually worried that Seamus might have left because we hadn't heard from him at all. But the day before St. Patty's, he left us a note. He explained that he hadn't bugged us because of the new baby (how thoughtful), but he didn't want us to forget about leaving his gold out. So, we made our wishes and put our gold in the pot.

I think today was the day I finally realized how many people are in our family now. As I pulled up a picture of each person, there sure were a lot when I finished.

Seamus left us some goodies as usual. I kinda liked the sparkly clovers that I put on the girls.

Even Pearl got in on the wearing o' the green.

The hospital nurses gave us the festive ribbon when we went home.

Then I couldn't help the evening I took down all the St. Patrick's Day stuff and put up the Easter stuff. Seamus shouldn't complain, he got his gold.

I personally thought there were too many pictures, but Tyler chided me for leaving out Moxy.

Yep, she made a wish too. She probably wished that she were owned by people who didn't have such bizarre holiday traditions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dear Daylight Savings,

I HATE you. Okay, maybe that word is a bit strong and if I tell my girls not to use it, I shouldn't either.

However, you are just a pain. Why would anyone want to mess with their sleeping schedule, let alone the sleeping schedule of five kids.


Apparently, Utah even voted to keep you this year. What were they thinking? Maybe they don't have kids. Well, obviously Nathan Flynn doesn't.


Your only redeeming quality is that Daisy got up at a reasonable hour this morning.

Ta ta for six months,


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Busy Day

So Maleen got to leave three times today, and I never got to leave the house even once. I made the poor decision of lamenting this to Maleen while she was home this evening. She replied simply, "It's like our lives are flip-flopped." She did not see why it was so hard for me to stay home with the kids. . . Blah blah blah . . . You know you don't HAVE to leave the house everyday . . . Blah blah blah . . . .

Ya, well, it's hard. You should try it sometime!

Three events took place today that demonstrate how I'm not built for domestic responsibility.

First, Pearl went cordless today.

I was showing the girls this morning how the cord was starting to fall off. I was using it for an educational moment. Maleen, on the other hand, felt it was time to clean the cord. She proceeded to do so, and then the cord stump just fell off. (I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure she actually pulled it off to be the one who got it. Maybe there's some ancient culture that considers it a sign of luck or something.) Of course, this ruined my lesson on the physics of womb living.

And then it bled.

Now, I've heard that if you slice your belly button, you will actually bleed to death. This is because the belly button is designed to keep a freely distributing blood flow to the fetus, and we never grow out of that. (For all you mothers who don't need something else to worry about, I did a little searching on Google and proved it to be an old-wives' tale. Darn old wives!)

Now, we're not talking gusher, here, but I don't like the sight of blood since my days in Brazil. So, I had Maleen clean her up.

So on to the next thing. Daisy had "not enough" supervision today. She's got the standard I'm-almost-two jitters. She's worried she hasn't seen enough of the world yet, that or she's trying to see if I'm capable of beating a child within millimeters of life. And I don't know why, but she prefers to do these crazy tricks while I'm watching her.

We're playing Wii, keeping to ourselves. We were minding our own business! Daisy gets down and starts minding her own business there in the room. I didn't see a problem with that—I mean I can see her sitting right there. She had her back turned to me, but how much trouble can she get into?

Here's the photo:

She had managed to get into some paint that June had from an old art project. This was paint that I had forgotten we had because it was so old. Paint should expire and just dry up so you don't get children painting their foreheads, hands, and lips(!) with it. Somebody remind me to invent that.

She better grow up to be a famous (and filthy wealthy—no pun intended) artist.

In other news, apparently one "art strike" is not enough for a single day.

Daisy had barely made bail, and she was out on "good behavior." She was avoiding her parole officer, and left the containment area without permission. When we finally tracked her down (they get instinctively quiet when they're perpetrating), Daisy had struck June's room with a dry erase marker.

It was on the door, on the wall, on the doll house, on the new toddler bed (her own), on the carpet, on her face, on her legs, on her hands, on the sheets, on the pillow, on June's mattress, on June's sheets, on the Magna-doodle—that's probably where she started.

Being a fan of forced labor, I conscripted three volunteers to clean it up. Obviously, if I wasn't watching Daisy, they should have been. When will kids figure it out?

They were very helpful, and should anyone wonder, dry erase comes off of doors (magic eraser), doll houses (wet washcloth), toddler beds (magic eraser), carpet (washcloth), faces and arms and legs and hands (washcloth), and Magna-doodles (washcloth). It does NOT come out of fabric very well, we'll see what our laundry machine can do.

And now, the awesome poop story.

Every parent learns to deal with bodily fluids. We live by the motto that "Pee happens." Just for the record, so does poop, and blood, and vomit, and rancorous combinations of the above elements. Every now and again, you get something you can't identify, and then you just grit your teeth and get on with cleaning it up.

Well, just before Maleen left on one of her excursions, she said daintily and innocently, "I think Pearl needs a change." With that, she buzzed out the door.

Well, I've changed a few diapers in my day, so up we went to take care of business. I had placed Pearl on the bed, unwrapped her blanket, secured the wipes and replacement diaper, and steeled my nerves for the ordeal. (Wives, this may sound like a lot, but this is how we men approach the situation. If we could obtain a Haz-Mat suit inexpensively, we would.)

I disengaged the diaper fastening system and readied a wipe. Pearl, I have learned, has a hair trigger. It turns out that shifts in temperature either scare the crap out of her, or relax the crap out of her. Either way, guess who wasn't ready.

Oh, the first wipe went okay. I was neatly tucking the wipe into the spent diaper when Pearl sent a shot across the bow. Baby poop comes with a warning system: baby farts. Pearl sounded the "alarm" and I had a split second to decide what I was going to do. Rank amateurs would have been no match, but as a consummate professional, I acted quickly.

I should point out now that though I am a professional, I made the critical mistake a not opening the new diaper before the old one was off.

With one hand I shielded the bed and myself from the oncoming blast, with the other I reached for another wipe. I found hard plastic—no more wipes! The situation just elevated from yellow to red alert.

Just a note to any wipes manufactures who may be reading this. What the *&^% were you thinking making the opening for a wipes container that size? You do realize that people actually have to get their hands inside there sometimes, right? I for one, do not own a set of hands that will fit through this opening.

By this time, I had used up my early warning. Pearl squintched up her face. She looked like she was trying to wink at that place where the ceiling meets the wall, but was having trouble completing the maneuver. I did the only thing I could do: I cupped my hands in front of the opening so the splatter-blast wouldn't adversely affect other things in the room—like my bed or me.

It should be noted that the volume of a baby's bowels can most-likely be contained in one adult hand under optimal circumstances (as if those exist). However, when the contents of the bowels are hyper accelerated during exit, two hands are required.

I performed the extremely rare, but skilled first-hand deflection second-hand catch method. Most men are not skilled enough to execute this procedure. Most men who are sufficiently skilled seldom speak of it.

When I had ascertained the expulsion was over, I was left with the challenge of how to transport this warm brew from my position on the bed to the bathroom. I used my elbows to reposition Pearl so that her blanket would provide cover in the event I did not return to my post in time. Take a moment to imagine this. No seriously, put your hands together and imagine you are holding something warm and sloshy in them. Now try to move your keyboard with your elbows, pressing your fingers together to avoid spilling anything. Not easy. Not pretty.

I escaped to the bathroom to dispose of the stuff. I actually laughed on the way, "This was not what I was expecting to do this morning." No sooner had I returned to Pearl, I ascertained that her splatter blast was a careful decoy. It appears that her true objective was to soak my pillow in pee, which she had done while I was busy disposing. This child has a bladder of steel! I had four layers of a blanket (doubled up), a comforter, and a sheet between Pearl and her target. That's a lot of pee.

I hastily strapped a new diaper on her and started stripping the bed to get the bed clothes in the wash. Pearl did her best to look innocent.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Narcolepsy Happens

Okay, this one is a given.

But other kids were dropping like flies today. First it was Daisy. (I wish I had taken a picture but I was more concerned about getting her into bed while she was still sleeping.) She fell asleep while she was eating lunch; right in her high chair. I was upstairs cleaning a few things and I came down to find her snoozing with a goldfish in her hand. Clearly I had worn her out. Actually, she probably wore herself out since we switched her over to a toddler bed last night and it wasn't the smoothest transition. Add to that the fact that she has been getting up at 5:45 am for about three to four weeks now. (I am NOT kidding.) She used to sleep until 7:30 and then suddenly, she turned into the devil. Tyler has been the one getting up with her (bless his heart), but now that Pearl is here, I think we are competing to see who can be the most sleep deprived.

Next to fall was Ivory.

She was watching a movie (for the billionth time) and apparently this time around it wasn't holding her interest. She zonked out. So the afternoon was blissfully quiet with just me and Robyn.

I was a little concerned that perhaps Ivory might pee in my chair since I had no idea when she had gone potty last. Sure enough, Ivory awoke crying and I was getting ready to start the bathtub. Instead, she came up the stairs with a killer bloody nose. I'm not sure how it started since she wasn't running around or dancing in her classically clumsy way, but it took a good ten minutes to stop it. She was very distraught (having just gotten up), but what made me laugh was that when she finally became coherent, she was very concerned for her shirt. Grandma had taken her out on Wednesday for her birthday (a little late) and Ivory had picked out some new outfits. She is such a girly-girl. Check out this picture I snapped of her modeling one of her new swimsuits—complete with bracelet, necklace, headband, purse, and flip-flops. (Also, you can just catch the edge of Daisy's face on the side; what a riot.)

Naturally she was worried about the blood she had gotten on her shirt, but I had already washed it out. I held it up to show her and she calmed down quite a bit. What a diva.

So, now everyone is up (okay, not Pearl and that is how I am writing this in the first place) and we are back to business as usual. Daisy is currently destroying something, Ivory is periodically doing something to infuriate Daisy, and I think the older two are watching Barbie's A Mermaid Tale (for the billionth and first time). I love my life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fashion Quandry

Emma Jo commented that she loved onesies and I couldn't agree more. I am in love with babies in onesies. It is pretty much all my babies wear. You can imagine that when I see a pack of cute onesies, I have to use all my will power to resist buying them. I was doing fairly well this time around. Since Pearl is the fifth girl, there are plenty of onesies to be had in this household. But then sweet Grandma's on both sides and a couple of neighbors brought over a few more. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed by onesie goodness. So many of these darling outfits are size newborn and she won't be small for long. Just today Tyler dressed her in this cute cherry onesie and then told me that he didn't snap the last button in back because he thought it would be a bit snug on her. Help!

So, now it comes down to crunch time. I laid all the onesies on my bed.

OVER 45 onesies, not counting those in the wash. I am just going to have to be picky. Some are a little older and have some stains (Daisy was not kind on clothes), but others are fresh from onesie heaven. I mean, look at the cuteness.

This watermelon one just kills me...

Is it wrong to have a fashion show with your baby? The girls and I might just have to play dress up with Pearl. If anything it will keep her awake for a while and then maybe she will sleep better at night.

p.s. If you have a new baby girl, you are welcome to come borrow some onesies. Heck, you could keep a few.

(Just not the watermelon one.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Slow Start

Pearl is a great baby. She doesn't always sleep at the ideal hours, but when she is awake she is calm or easily soothed.

Then there is Daisy. Poor girl. She has been sick since Pearl was born so she has not been allowed to hold the baby here at home. Then she got an ear infection, and some nasty thing that is keeping her throat quite sore. She was up more than Pearl last night. I feel very blessed that my mother-in-law is feeling better and came to visit because two sets of arms have been invaluable the last two days. One set for Pearl, the other for Daisy.

I forgot that sometimes it isn't the baby who is hard, sometimes it is the kids you already have. Here's hoping that Daisy feels better quickly, or I grow another set of arms tomorrow.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pearl (Part 2)

I actually hesitated to write my own post about the birth of Pearl, because it was fairly well covered in the last post. However, I feel that since this is my blog, I will regret not having my own version of the story later on (note: the correct version).

As Tyler mentioned, they were slow to call us in the morning. I would like to say that I was fine with the wait, but I was not taking it well. When Tyler says I took my make-up off, it was really because I had cried most of it off anyway and my eyes were stinging. See, the original plan was for Tyler's mom to come and stay with the kids so they wouldn't have to go to several different houses, bouncing around. Well, bad luck would have it that she fell ill, and that wouldn't be ideal to bring to the house of a new infant, so we kindly asked her to stay away until she felt better. Then I frantically called all my wonderful neighbors who were more than generous to watch my kids at the last minute.

So most of my distress at not being called in the morning, was that I was going to have to recall people and change everything around. Fortunately, they still called in the morning(ish) and everything worked out well. When we were checked into the room, one nurse even told me that they shouldn't have called me; the rooms were all full again and they weren't taking any more scheduled patients. Yikes! Well, I was there, and I was staying. After Pearl was born, I asked a different nurse if things had calmed down. She told me there were still three more women on the list to be called. I can only imagine how crazy I would have been by that time.

But back to my story. I got all hooked up and true to his story, Tyler left. This may have something to do with the fact that he considered my contractions to only have been about twenty minutes long (or at least REAL contractions as he would call them.) Trust me, there were many more contractions than that, and he wasn't there when they got bad enough that I wondered (for the fifth time) how any woman manages to go through labor naturally. Little did I know that I would partly find out in a short time.

For the record, I like epidurals because they relax me enough that my body decides to dilate and sometimes rather quickly. I went from a three to a six in a few short minutes after the epidural kicked in and the nurse expected I would be ready to have a baby shortly. Enter Tyler. (Bout time you got here sweetie.) However the nurse was wrong. When she went to check me again, I was still at a six. She seemed puzzled, but she quickly divined a solution. My bladder was full and it was probably blocking the baby's head from coming all the way down.

Side note here: I have amazing bladder capacity. I can go almost all day without using the bathroom and think nothing of it. Also, thanks to Kegels (don't laugh ladies), I have had five children and I have no problems with incontinence. Normally during delivery they offer you ice chips and I refrain (I am not fooled into thinking that ice is going to waylay actual hunger), but this time around they had flavored ice chips, flavors including Tiger's Blood. So, I had to try it. End of story, one catheter and half a stein of pee later, there was nothing holding baby back and I was complete.

During this time, my epidural was acting suspicious. The contractions never completely faded into oblivion and instead were coming back to full potency. I was easily back to an 8 or 9 on the pain scale when my nurse told me that I was all ready to have a baby. Good timing, because I wasn't wanting one more contraction than was necessary. And then by golly, I got to sit and wait for the doctor. So, you can imagine that by the time he got there (which was really only a few minutes later) both Pearl and I were ready to go. One push (as Tyler brags) and she was there. Definitely one of our more quiet, calm labors. Contractions aside, too bad they couldn't all have gone this smoothly. I'm with Tyler though, I think we should get some kind of discount from the anesthesiologist. Or at least, if they are giving out trophies for going naturally, I should get a 'second place' or at least 'honorable mention.'

There is nothing that can quite describe the rush of emotions when you see your baby for the first time. Relief, awe, love, fascination, and many more all mixed together. I don't care how slimy they come out, it is still amazing. This little being who has been living in you for months has finally decided to enter the world. It is a miracle. Pearl was a miracle in herself, since she managed to be one of my bigger babies but did not cause any damage on the way out. Sorry if that is too graphic for some, but it sure makes a heck of a difference during recovery. I am already feeling pretty good two days later; enough so that I woke up and cleaned my kitchen and bathroom, did two loads of laundry, went shopping, and made dinner. This won't last I'm sure, especially if Pearl keeps up the evening schedule she did last night, but at least I am able to take care of my family.

So there you have it. Five girls later. Each is lovely and precious in her own way. We are very excited to meet Pearl and we can't wait to see what she will add to our family. I believe the heavens wept when she left. After all, it was sunny when we reached the hospital and by the time she was born it was nice and overcast leading to a terrible storm dropping six inches of snow. Lucky for me, when we left the hospital the next afternoon, the sun had emerged again, the earth welcoming her.

Love you baby.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Little More on the New Addition

So there's a little more to Pearl's arrival than I explained before in the previous post. This post is designed to clear up at least three issues:
  1. We want more pictures of Pearl! We know you have more. Give us more pictures of Pearl or we're going to storm the house, tie you up, stick you on a pig pole, and rummage through your camera until we find what we're looking for, now post those pics! And a little more detail on the whole birth story—that would go a long way to calm the ranks.

  2. Seriously, dude, what's up with the beard? You've been sporting than Wang Fu mess on your face for like months now. Are you going to shave than Mongolian caterpillar off your face or what?

  3. Did the girls get to see Pearl? We've heard rumors that there may be some rivalry between Daisy and Pearl. How's that all shake out? Do you have to keep them separated so Daisy won't pull out Pearl's eye lashes or is she cool?
If you've asked any other questions above (or apparitions thereof), sit back and relax because you're about to get your answers. There are a TON of pictures in this post, which I'm more than happy to allow to tell the tale. Some would like to call it photo-journalism. However, I prefer to call this photo commentary, since I'm not documenting the facts—I'm documenting my point of view. On second thought, since my point of view is basically the world's reality...I guess we can call it photo journalism after all.

More pictures of Pearl, and we mean it!

Here's a good one of Dad holding Pearl. Yes, Pearl is winking at you. She's a quick study.

And those are her feet. I'm not sure why the hospital collects footprints from babies. I'm inclined to think they're actually collecting information for a secret government program to train children to perform mind control on small ally cats. I haven't quite placed where the footprints come in, but it's a developing story. Nevertheless, before they could make off with the prints, I snatched a photo. Not only will I be able to foil their wicked government plot, but it's also pretty cute.

You may have been able to discern that wee Pearl was a pretty full head of hair. This photo was taken after she was finally cleaned up. The professional baby bather person (yeah - that's her official title, and ALL she does is bath the babies) was trying to get Pearl's hair to make a decision as to whether it would lie to the left or right. A close examination of the photograph will show that Pearl chose not to choose. Interesting fact: I learned that UVRMC is the most-birthed hospital in the nation at 4800 births per year!

Here's the final product for the hair do. There is a hint of curl in Pearl's hair, which proved too difficult a task for the baby bather. She finally settled for the "sticking up" look and slapped a bow on her head. I, of course, chose the purpley bow for its amazing complement skin color.

And there's Mom when she got to hold Pearl again. It takes a while to clean up a baby! Maleen had already been transported to Mother / Baby.

And, yes, this is the weather outside. Look closer. When we went in to the hospital at 9:30ish it was a clear blue sky. In fact, the window was open when we walked into the room. This is the scene outside when Maleen and I made it to Mother / Baby a few hours later.

Here's the basic story of how Pearl got here, so that everyone's on the same page:

Maleen was scheduled to be induced on the 4th. That means you have to be ready for the 6:00 a.m. phone call asking if you're ready to be induced. (I'm not sure any woman has ever said, "No, I'll just wait a little longer." Nevertheless, the always ask if Maleen's ready. Hmmm. Well, being that we scheduled the day, I think we're about there.)

Anyway, 6:00 a.m. came and went without a phone call. Maleen was ready to drop everything and cruise to the hospital at any moment, but that wears off as the day wears on. By the way, thanks to Camille and Eric who were going to come over as early as necessary to make sure our kids woke up to somebody familiar

Things weren't looking good as we packed the kids up and sent them to school. I told Maleen to lie down and get some rest—she'd be needing it. She dutifully went in and removed her makeup to lie down for some extra shut eye. No sooner had she lain upon the bed, the hospital called and asked if Maleen was ready.

Note: I'd like to start my own old-wives tale. If you're being induced and they haven't called, just take off your makeup! It's a sure-fire way to put you into the situation that's going to put you into labor.

Anyway, we dropped the kids off at the Moses' and bolted for the hospital. Thank you Moses' for help us out again. You were an excellent help today. Thank you, thank you.

I like to think that I get to speed on the way to the hospital: I mean, my wife's about to be in labor, man! But Maleen thought maybe we'd be able to wait. I told her that if we got pulled over, she'd have to put on one heck of an act and she better sell the whole, "I'm in painful labor bit," and maybe that would actually put her in labor. Yeah, we drove a very conservative pace to the hospital.

Note: I'd like to start another old-wives tale that if you are speeding to the hospital, even though you may not be in labor when you start, by the time you finish the act for the cops, you will be in labor!

They checked us in, and Maleen and I proceed to make the wagers discussed in the last post. We met Brooke, our delivery nurse who was exceedingly nice to work with. And she got everything squared away for the labor-inducing stuff. She also reported that Maleen was at a three and a half.

Status report in hand, and knowing I had a little time before things got interesting, I of course, left and went to lunch. Now before you start huffing at your computer screen, this was a good decision—it enabled me to be there for when everything interesting started to happen. I skipped all the boring stuff, that and I had errands to run.

Meanwhile, back in the hospital room, Maleen remained stoic, right up until the contractions started being more than these talk-though-them-okay contractions. See, when they start becoming the grit-your-teeth-until-it's-over-and-sweat-starts-beading-up-on-your-head contractions, it's decision time: do I go for the trophy and go natural, or do I go for the epidural? My hats off to all those amazing women who have "gone natural," but we believe that God let us discover epidurals for a reason. So while I was chowing down on Five Guys, Maleen was getting an epidural.

Turns out she shouldn't have. It didn't work very well: it made her legs numb, but kept plenty of sensation right around where the contractions are. So, what was the point again? We're debating whether we should ask for a discount because it didn't work. Seems rational. After all, if you take your car into the shop and ask them to fix something and they don't fix it, well you don't pay.So it is in every service field in every industry in the world, except medicine. You see, they're still practicing. Anyway, most of you already know my aversion to doctors, but I digress.

I came back from all my errands and Maleen had made it to a six. We braced for what we know starts to happen now: baby starts having heart rate problems with every contraction. Doctors start showing up out of nowhere. People get more and more anxious, but nobody really wants to say anything for fear of how you'll take it. More monitors, more people, more stress, more drama.

Well, none of that happened. Maleen started to complain of more contraction pain, and they decided to check to see how far out the baby was. Maleen was a 10, fully complete. We called in the doc, and he asked Maleen to push. So she did. After the solo push Pearl was born and the pictures tell the rest of the story. Man, she's cute.

If I've left anything out, please ask me in the comments and I'll try to respond in another post so we get all the information out there. Also special thank to the Rice's who took our kids for the afternoon. Thank you, thank you. Life would have been much more difficult without your help. We really, really appreciate it.

Alright, we've seen more of Pearl. You live to see another day. On to hairy matters. Did a woolly mammoth actually die on your face or is there some excuse for that bush under your nose? By the way, Cheech and Chong called and asked for their mustache back. There are some PETA representatives at the door and they're demanding you stop mistreating the poor animal whose pelt now adorns your jaw. Is the wind blowing in the room, why is your bear always "blowing" sideways? And finally, how does filtered food taste?

Yes, yes. The answers to these questions and more in the next exciting segment:

To Beard or Not to Beard...

Many of you have seen my mustache and beard, and most of you are probably in possession of some portion of the truth. Well whatever you've heard, or however much you've heard, that's what you're going to have to live with, 'cause I'm not telling it now.

This mustache and beard of mine have raised more questions that I was prepared to answer. I'm not kidding when I say that I've fielded at least a few questions or comments EVERY day for the last five weeks.

The heart of the matter was whether I could grow a mustache by the time Pearl arrived. Ok, now scroll up so you can see the picture above. You see that 'stache? 'Nuff said.

So now I can admit that it's been a long road to have a beard. I had no idea I'd be filtering all my food like a whale filters plankton. And how do one actually train a beard to grow the right way? I had no luck at it, despite multiple Googlings of the subject. This much I can tell you: gel doesn't help. Shampoo doesn't help. Neither does conditioner. Forget about combing it—it doesn't care. Don't try your wife's hair straightening iron, either—those things make absolutely no difference at the length of a beard, but you're guaranteed to have a few burns after the fact. But hey, your beard will cover than mistake long enough for it to heal.

Anyway, I made my deadline. Pearl is here. I have photographic proof that the beard was in place at the time of delivery, and I wasted absolutely NO time in removing it:

Take a little closer look at the left side of my chin. Each of my girls decided which section they were going to trim. June got the first shot, and she that side of my chin.

Robyn got the same side of my mustache. 

 Ivory got the other side of the beard.

And Daisy got the last part of my mustache.

This is what they left on my face. It was nice not to be breathing through the jungle anymore.

I trimmed it up the rest of the way, as you see here. The only part I left was a well-trimmed soul patch—I just couldn't make it all go away!

Here are my helpers. Most of them enjoyed it.

Ok. We now know you are completely insane. We can only hope you didn't wear off too much on your girls. Speaking of which, have they even seen Pearl? Is Daisy really going to beat the tar our Pearl as soon as Mom is sleeping?

The Kids in the Hall (of the Hospital)

June got to hold Pearl first. She was SUPER excited to finally meet Pearl. The only slight complication to this is that June had a cold recently, and we didn't want her contaminating Pearl. So, she very carefully sanitized hands before the event, and she meticulously exhaled away from Pearl—taking care to hold her breath while gazing at Pearl.

Robyn was next to hold little Pearl. She loved holding her and was extremely gentle. She showed Pearl how she would hold her if she was at home. Ivory also held Pearl, but is not photographed her because Dad was helping make sure Pearl's head was okay. (Ivory's not really ready to understand the implications of not supporting a newborn's head.)

Finally Daisy got to hold Pearl. She was thrilled with the idea of holding Pearl, right up to the moment we put Pearl in her lap. Then we got this face. It seemed to say to me: "What do you mean she's coming home with us?"

Our time in the hospital as a family was...interesting.

 Mommy always gets a special gift on birthdays. Being the extreme lady man (more similar to "ladies man" than say, "girly man") that I am, I have made sure Mommy gets something to remember the day by (as if a baby weren't enough!).

The look on her face when she opens her jewelry is something I've been trying to capture on film for four pregnancies before this one. I wasn't going to miss the photo op, so I watched the scene unfold through the Nikon D90 viewport. I finally got my reaction shot. It was worth it, and here's what she saw:

Go ahead, blow it up. You'll want to take a look at these. Those are not big diamonds, but their diamonds all the same. There are five of stones—I'll let you work out the significance there. The primary stone is a crimson sapphire (or more commonly known as a "pink sapphire"). I've got alotta pink around me—it's fitting Maleen where a little on her neckline.

On a side note, yes, that exquisite ring on her left hand is also my handiwork—but that's anniversary-grade stuff.

It was a long day for everyone.

There are lot of tags on this arm.

Yeah, and those arms go all the way this beautiful face. Well, I couldn't have done it without you, babe. Ok, ok, you couldn't have done it without me. No? Fine, you did really well today, and I'm glad you let me be a part of it. Love you.