One Month

IMG_4559

Story time!! I love moments like this, and still can’t believe that God has chosen me to be the father and husband to this beautiful family!

So far, Carly and Benjamin seem to really be liking their new little brother. I get the feeling that Jackson likes them to and wants to join in on their fun. He’s already holding his head up and moving his legs like he wants to crawl.

IMG_4560

He usually wakes up once in the night. Sometimes it is more, but he’s been a really good sleeper. I hope it stays that way!

IMG_4566

He makes all sorts of funny faces and noises. I love his little squeals. Sometimes he’ll be completely quiet and then all of sudden you’ll hear a loud shriek. It’s hilarious!

IMG_4582

I don’t think he likes the camera though. I can only get a few pictures before he starts to cry. In this one below, it looks like he is saying, “get that camera out of my face!”

IMG_4584

We’ll try to keep you updated on the latest. I’m already working on his first video. I can’t wait to share it!

Jackson Alexander

We had our baby, and we’re going to share with you exactly how it happened – the birth process that is, you already know how the pregnancy happened.

It all started at 5am. I was sound asleep when I heard the words, “my water just broke.” Katie was already on her way to the bathroom by that point, and after recovering from my mild heart attack I came in to see how she was. My heart was racing so fast as she explained to me that she felt like Jackson jumped inside her and then she felt her water burst.

This is it. This is really it.

That’s what I kept thinking as I paced around the house trying to figure out how I could be useful.

At this point contractions hadn’t started yet, but she called the midwife to tell her that the water had definitely broke. The midwife said she would be at our house at 7:30am just to check on things, but to call her sooner if contractions started.

Contractions came at 5:30am. Painful ones. That was a good sign. A sign that things were moving quickly. The midwife was here by 7:20. At that point contractions were coming very regularly (every 3-4 minutes). She checked Katie and found that she was 7cm dilated and 90% effaced.

This is it. This is really it. 

If you are wondering why the midwife was coming to our house, it is because we were having a home birth. We did it with our other son, and loved the experience. It is definitely not for everyone (it’s not even really an option if you have a high risk pregnancy), but for those who want a more calming and natural birth experience, it is definitely the way to go.

In addition to having a home birth, Katie also prefers a water birth. That means she is in a pool or tub of warm water during labor and the baby is born underwater. After the midwife arrived, I helped her set up the birthing tub, and Katie got in…

IMG_4475

It was about 8:25am when Katie got in the birthing tub and discovered that the water was a little too cold. The tub was so large it took all the hot water we had! Yikes!

The only thing we could think of to remedy the situation was to boil water. Talk about old fashioned.

A few minutes after getting the water on the stove, Katie’s contractions got even more painful and she started feeling like Jackson was super low. Katie asked if it was okay to start pushing and the midwife enthusiastically responded with a, “YEAH!”

There were a few pushes and by 8:45am Jackson had arrived. The boiling water on the stove never even made it to the tub.

We were all amazed that it happened so fast. Katie was just relieved. It was over and she could finally hold the baby that had been in her for the past 39 weeks. One of the things I love about home births is that they are big on skin-to-skin contact with the mother and newborn. As soon as the baby is delivered they place him/her on the mother. No cleaning, no poking, no suction (unless needed).

Shortly after that I cut the umbilical cord. Okay, now it is starting to feel real. 

After a few minutes of bonding time, I took Jackson and helped Katie get out of the tub and into our bedroom. At this point things got pretty relaxed. We’re in our own home so we’re free to grab a snack, coffee, etc. I can’t even describe how much I love this aspect of the home birth experience. Katie’s mom, sister, and sister-in-law were there for the birth so they helped out with our other kids while we got to spend precious time bonding with our new baby boy.

IMG_4520

IMG_4509

So far he has been a great baby. Of course we are sleep deprived, but by now (our third child) we don’t even seem to mind the temporary inconvenience in exchange for the joy we get when we hold our little guy.

We feel incredibly blessed to have been given another healthy child, to have a home birth experience with no complications, and to have family and friends all around us. The support we have had has been amazing.

Thank you God for your mercy that you pour out over and over. We really don’t deserve it.

Waiting Again…

The kids are in bed now. Well, kind of…

Carly likes to get up repeatedly, and she’ll use any excuse to do so. She’s actually quite clever about how she does it too. For instance, five minutes ago she came out and proclaimed, “I forgive mommy for shouting at me.”

Last night, she wanted more water after she got in bed. Her cup was mostly full, and I told her that was all she was getting so she better not drink it all. About 15 minutes later, she comes into our room saying, “I believe in Jesus now.”

I (Justin) respond with, “that’s great, what do you believe He did?”

“I believe He made me more water.”

Of course we started laughing, and I gave in and got her some more water. Hopefully someday she really will believe in Jesus and follow Him.

But I digress.

We’re getting super anxious about the arrival of Jackson (baby #3 for those who might be reading for the first time). The anticipation honestly didn’t hit me until a couple weeks ago. I think I have been so busy, that there hasn’t been much time to think about it. That is a huge contrast to when we had Carly (our first) and I couldn’t stop thinking about having a baby.

But now we are getting so close that it is impossible not to think about every second of the day. I feel like all the pieces have fit together so perfectly these last few months. The boy’s room is finished, our bedroom was just finished last week (I’ll have pictures soon), we have everything we need for the baby and now we are just sitting around waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

I keep making jokes to Katie that she needs to just “will” the baby out. Doesn’t it seem like we should be able to control our bodies in that way?

She’s not amused by that sentiment. She’s more than ready to have this baby, and if she could will her body to go into labor it probably would have happened a few weeks ago.

The moment leading up to child birth reminds me of waiting for Christ’s return. I wrote more about that when we were waiting for Benjamin (you can read it here) so I won’t expound too much. I just find myself looking for every sign possible that maybe the time is soon. I know it is soon, but I want it to happen now.

In the meantime, we’re just enjoying the two children that are right in front of us. And little moments like in the video below…

Boy’s Bedroom Decorated!

We have been busy little bees around our house lately, and I suspect we are both suffering from some SERIOUS nesting syndrome. Well, at least that is Katie’s excuse. I’m not sure if dads suffer from that or not, but it’s the only reason I can think of to explain why I’ve been going NONSTOP.

When we first moved into our house, we had some very ugly spare bedrooms. Like this one:

IMG_5909

The walls were a mustardy yellow, the ceilings had popcorn texture and the fan had dust on it from 1974. We set it up to serve its purpose (a place for our kids to sleep), but it really just felt like a prison for children. Not a happy place at all, and nothing like our old nursery.

After a lot of hard work, this is what it is looking like now:

IMG_1488

Here’s a list of what we have done so far:

  1. Removed popcorn ceiling
  2. Re-textured ceiling
  3. Painted ceiling (1 coat primer, 2 coats ceiling paint)
  4. Installed crown-molding
  5. Re-painted room (Valspar’s Autumn Fog)
  6. Installed plank walls and shelf
  7. Installed farmhouse looking wall sconces
  8. Put up curtains
  9. Got a new rug
  10. Found an old solid wood dresser (to use as a changing table) on craigslist for $89

IMG_1185

11. Painted the dresser (Valspar’s Blindfold) and replaced drawer pulls

IMG_1544

12. Hung the mobile that we made for our last nursery

IMG_1497

13. Decorated the new shelf

IMG_1532

IMG_1553

14. Made a whale pillow out of an old pair of jeans (Katie just skipped “sewing for beginners” and moved on to the hard stuff)

Whale Pillow

15. Hung a clock (Benjamin loves clocks)

IMG_1554

And I think that is about it…for now. We still have plans to add some art above the dresser/changing table, and Katie is planning on sewing some custom bedding that should complete the whole room.

There’s also a closet in there that we plan on redoing.

So far, we are in love with this room. I find myself wandering in there often to sit in the chair and daydream about our next baby sleeping in his crib. It’s really hard to believe that we are going to have TWO boys. I hope the next one is as sweet as this little guy:

IMG_0617

Here’s a view from the other side of the room…

IMG_1565

And if you look closely, you’ll see the other room we have been working on. Carly now has her own “big girl” room, and that needed some work too. And when I say it needed some work, I basically mean to duplicate the entire list above. Sheesh.

Here’s a closer look:

IMG_1576

We’ll be back to share that room and a breakdown of what we did…after we catch our breath.

Carly and Benjamin Meet Pooh and Tigger

This event is a few weeks old, but definitely worth sharing. It was probably one of the cutest moments ever. We knew that Carly would love meeting Pooh and Tigger on our trip to Disney World. We don’t watch much television, and we have only allowed her to see a handful of movies. The classic Winnie the Pooh is one of them, and she loves it. I must confess…we all love it!

There was a slight concern in my mind that Benjamin might totally lose it when we forced him to take a picture with the over-sized stuffed animals. I had visions of him breaking down and having to apologize repeatedly while making up some excuse like, “he didn’t have a nap today.” Either that, or maybe he would just pinch their nose (like I did to Mickey when I was his age).

However, we were totally shocked to see him run full force into their arms and NOT LET GO. I mean it. He absolutely loved them, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Our Trip to NYC

Back in January we had an amazing opportunity to visit NYC. My boss was hosting an event there, and needed our help. We instantly jumped on the chance to visit the Big Apple, and scrambled to find people to watch our kids while we would be gone (thank you again Mom, Nancy, Jesse, and Meg). It was a big leap of faith to leave our little ones behind for the first time ever, but we survived…and had a great time!

When we weren’t helping for the event, we took advantage of every spare moment to experience the city. The highlights were a carriage ride in Central Park…

Carriage Ride in Central Park

Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel…

IMG_6724

IMG_6725

Which also included these lovely culinary creations…

IMG_6739

IMG_6752

IMG_6738

It was a surreal experience, and yes, we spent most of the time at the Plaza remarking on how we felt like royalty. It was AMAZING.

IMG_6736

IMG_6726

Other highlights include a trip to Little Italy (for the best spaghetti I have ever had), gazing at the city from the top of the Empire State Building, visiting Ground Zero (which was a five minute walk from our hotel in the Financial District), and walking quickly through Times Square and then desperately hopping in a cab to get as far away as possible (it was way too touristy for us). Speaking of cabs, we had many fun scary cab experiences, but all part of the wonderful NYC experience.

IMG_6707

It was a great time! I wish I had more pictures to share, but we aren’t the type to walk around with cameras all the time and give ourselves away as outsiders!