Friday, January 31, 2014

5 / 52

Portraits of my children once a week for a year...

Olive - Hates getting her hair washed. Loves reading books to her little sister.

Silas - Hates nap time. Loves getting into things that he shouldn't, (especially when I'm stuck in the chair nursing or pumping.) 

Oona - Hates sleeping on her back in her bed. Loves sleeping in her bouncy/vibrating chair. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Little O Is 3 Weeks Old

I love this little girl so much. For such a little person, she has a big personality  It's been exciting watching her grow and change in her first three weeks!

I still feel like we are in survival mode over here, but while things aren't feeling 100% normal yet there are hopeful "glimmers" of a normal routine (I hope it's right around the corner!) Oona has been gifting us with an occasional 3 or 4 hour stretch of sleep at night, she's getting wonderfully fat and is a real snuggle bug. 

Some highlights this week:

Monday was a horrid day. I mean, the worst. But Tuesday morning Matt insisted on taking the morning off from work to take us out to get a walk at the mall, despite blizzard conditions and negative-degree wind chills outside. I wasn't keen on the idea, but it's just another reason I am so very thankful to be married to Matt. He's a wise man, that husband of mine. It was the best thing for all of us, getting out of the house and walking laps around the warm mall. I can not tell you how much better we all felt. It's a whole-heck-of-a-lot of work getting a baby, a toddler and a 4 year old ready to go out of the house in freezing weather but I need to learn to just do it because the benefits of getting out of the confines of our house and getting a little exercise are great.

Wednesday we had a sunny day. The glory of a precious sunny day in west Michigan in January! We opened all the blinds and let the sun just pour in. It felt so good.

Wednesday night Oona had her first proper bath in the sink. She clenched her hands into tight little fists and took it like a big girl. She didn't cry a single second! We were so surprised. Olive and Silas hated their first at-home baths. Our littlest is a tough little cookie!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Few More Oliveisms

Olive: "Mom, what's a 'dick member?"
Me: Eyebrows popping up through the top of my head, wondering WTH, until I notice she's looking at a calendar and is trying to read the word "December." Sigh of relief.

Matt: "What was your favorite thing about today?"
Olive: "Just nothing."

Olive, during bedtime prayers: "And God, thank you that I couldn't have dessert today but that I will have some tomorrow..." (Gives Matt a meaningful look.)

Olive: "God is a genius!"

Olive loves the "Little Critter" books by Mercer Mayer. Recently she's caught on to the fact that there's a mouse that shows up in each illustration. Or, almost every illustration... She and Matt found a page where there was no mouse and Olive said "I guess that Mercker Mayer made an accident."

Friday, January 24, 2014

4 / 52

Portraits of my children once a week for a year.

Olive - Helping fold laundry. Also, she has NOT taken that dress off since Grace gave it to her on Christmas morning, and every day some days I'm tempted to hide it from her but I don't think I could live with the guilt.

Silas - Loves his bottle. He seriously needs to quit this daily bottle, but again - the mommy guilt.

Oona - Little O gained 9 ounces in 6 days, putting her 5 oz. over her birthweight at 2 weeks! I was, and still am, so proud! (Breastfeeding might suck [har har] but it's gettin' the job done.] ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Story of a Chair

Matt thought it might make nursing easier if I had a more comfortable place to do the job. I had been propping the baby and I up on the bed with a weird network of pillows and cushions and it wasn't natural, easy or comfortable. So we went chair shopping.

We have never bought a piece of furniture together, ever, in all seven years of marriage. (Unless you count our piano - which doesn't really count as furniture, does it?)  Everything we own was handed down to us from family and friends when we got our first apartment, or salvaged from construction jobs when Matt was a contractor. So it felt really weird going into a furniture store with brand new furniture with the intent to actually buy something.

I immediately started looking at the cheapest rocking recliners, which were truly hideous (think 70's era upholsery, "a la Archie Bunker's chair,") but finally Matt took me aside and suggested that maybe we invest a little more in a nicer chair that we wouldn't be totally embarrassed to put on display in our own (future) living room once we're able to buy our own house one day. This made the decision making process that much more difficult (did you know I have the WORST time making my mind up about anything? I totally do.) So Matt ended up making the final decision, and thank goodness he did, because he picked the most comfortable, sexy recliner I've ever sat in. (I know, I know... "Recliner" and "sexy" in one sentence is pretty laughable, but really - if ever there was a sexy lazy boy this one is it, folks.

*And yes, it is much much easier to nurse Oona in the chair than it was in my weird pillow set up on the bed. I almost look forward to those 2 AM (and 3AM and 5 AM, etc) feeds now!

Monday, January 20, 2014

6 Things

I had several people tell me while I was pregnant that adding a third baby into the family was a "piece of cake" in comparison to adding a second baby. Uhm, they lied. Shiz be hittin' the fan this week, y'all.

(I've been wanting to use that phrase forever. Feels good.)

A few things...

1. Since Oona arrived, Olive and Silas have changed from being the best of friends to the worst of enemies. They antagonize each other and fight all. day. long. The funniest thing is that when bedtime rolls around, they magically become best buddies again and hug and kiss and giggle conspiratorially together like they've had the best day together. Remember the old cartoons with Wile. E. Coyote and the Sheepdog, who try to kill each other all day and then put all the violence aside at clocking out time? Yeah, it's like that over here.

2. I really, really dislike breastfeeding. And acknowledging that fact makes me feel horribly guilty and like a second-rate, lousy mother. A large chunk of the problem is the persistent pain, but I know another component is that I have major confidence issues stemming from my last two not-great experiences breastfeeding. My goal in the next few weeks is to just take breastfeeding day by day, feed by feed - to drop the high expectations I place on myself and just see the situation as "praise God for getting us through one more day of successfully exclusively breastfeeding" instead of "this is miserable right now, I'm bad at it, I'm ultimately going to fail, may as well just give up." (Dramatic much? Yes.)

3. Speaking of dramatic, I am convinced the creators of Downton Abbey hate their fan base and take sadistic pleasure in letting horrible things happen to their most beloved characters. That show! I feel traumatized.

4. Sherrrrrrrlock. Yup, Sundays are my new favorite days.

5. These cookies! Make them at your earliest convenience and thank me later.

6. This blog post made me cry (though, that might not be saying much as pretty much anything makes me cry these days) but really though, such a beautifully written post that my encouraged my heart.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

3 / 52

[Portraits of my children once a week for a year.]

Olive - battling extreme cabin fever, poor thing.

Silas - any chance he gets to successfully sneak onto my laptop is a huge victory.

Oona - Eat, poop, sleep. And repeat...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Movies I'm Loving

[Currently in theaters]

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

During Christmas break, Matt and I got to grab some movie dates to see a few films that we really wanted to see on the big screen. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" ended up being my favorite. It's such a simple, sweet little story and I give major props to Ben Stiller (who to be honest, I usually can't stand,) for directing it so beautifully. The locations are gorgeous, (hello Iceland!) the acting is top notch, and the music is just perfect. (David Bowie! Arcade Fire!) And it's family friendly to boot! I loved this one so much and can't wait to see it again.

Saving Mr. Banks

My siblings and I grew up watching "Mary Poppins" (over and over and over again...) I'm pretty sure my sister Grace and I still have the whole script and every song memorized. So "Saving Mr. Banks" was the one movie I desperately wanted to see before the baby was born. It didn't disappoint! Such a great cast (Emma Thompson is seriously so, so good.) I've read P.L. Travers' books, but didn't know much about her biography, so the story was fascinating to me. My big regret is rushing out of the theater too quickly and missing all the original photos and sound bits from Travers' actual trip to California. Can't wait to see this one again!

[Currently on Netflix]


I have an embarrassing confession - I am more than a little bit in love with Jack Black. "Nacho Libre" and "School of Rock" are major guilty favorites. We actually started "Bernie" while I was in labor in the hospital last week, and had to stop halfway through so I could push Oona out. We finished it the next day and I can't get it out of my head. It is such a weird little movie, and based on a very weird real life story. Jack Black and Shirley Maclaine? Weirdest pairing ever, possibly. But they make it work. I think what drew me in to the story so much is that the town the story takes place in, Carthage, TX, reminds me so very much of all the little southern towns I grew up in as a kid. The accents, the gossip, that southern Bible belt culture - it was all so spot on in the film. If you can handle dark humor, (and Jack Black in tight high waisted pants and a creeper-mustache,) you should definitely see this one!

Black Fish

When I was a teenager a friend and I went to Sea World in San Antonio and I remember being in awe not just of the beauty of the orcas and dolphins, but of their obvious sensitivity and intelligence. What amazing animals. After watching "Black Fish," however, I've really been thinking about whether or not I could ever go to another show at Sea World. The case the documentary makes against such parks and their practices with their marine animals is really shocking and heartbreaking. This one will stick with me for a long time.

[Currently On Amazon Prime]

"The Grass is Greener"

We've had an Amazon Prime account for years, but only just recently started taking advantage of their Prime instant play movies. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety Amazon offers - especially in the classic movies genre (a genre I have felt that Netflix does not do justice.) We watched a lot of old movies over the holiday break, and "The Grass is Greener" was my favorite. It stars Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr. It's a comedy, but deals with a wife's infidelity and how her husband (played perfectly by Cary Grant,) decides to handle it. I love Cary Grant in this role SO much. I think you will too!

"Teacher's Pet"

I love me some Clark Gable almost as much I love Cary Grant, and this was a movie I had never heard of before. It's light and cute and well acted. There's a melancholy behind Gable's sarcastic, gruff performance that really makes it hard to take your eyes off him. 

Any movies that you are loving that I should know about while I'm in my stuck-to-the-couch-with-a-nursing-baby stage? I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

An Honest Account of the First Week

I didn't get any sleep the night before Oona was born. I was scared. Scared of going through the induction, scared of being a mom to three, scared about how Olive and Silas would do while I was busy at the hospital, scared of bringing a baby home with a sore, tired body and having to still be mom to a rambunctious 4 year old and 21 month old. I was so anxious when we got to the hospital at 7am Thursday morning that my stomach was flipping and my hands were shaking.

As it turned out, the labor and delivery turned out to be the easiest and most relaxed of the three that I've experienced. I started pitocin around 9am, and had steady but mild contractions until noon when my doctor broke my water. Even after having my water broken, my contractions felt easy and I worried my labor was going to stall out because I felt too "comfortable." Matt and I distracted ourselves watching "Once Upon A Time" on Netflix for an hour or two, at which point my nurse convinced me to go ahead and get the epidural before the contractions got any worse. The epidural was easy and effective. I ate lots of jello. The contractions kept coming. Matt and I started a movie around 4:30pm, and 15-20 minutes later I started feeling shaky and had a hunch I might be going through transition. Sure enough, I was declared "complete" at 5pm, and 20 minutes later Oona was wailing on my chest. Three easy pushes was all it took. I couldn't believe how fast it all went. I got to cut her cord myself, and she latched on and started nursing beautifully 5 minutes after being born. It all just felt too good to be true.

We came home Saturday morning, and that's when things got difficult. Oona has been jaundiced, so nursing has become increasingly difficult. She's lethargic a lot, and it's often hard work to get a good latch because she's so sleepy. My "girls" have suffered badly between all the long nursing sessions, incorrect latch ons, engorgement, and milk blisters. Cracks and scabbing. It gets so frustrating because you read and hear everywhere that if you're "doing it right" then "it shouldn't hurt." So I feel like I'm failing constantly, and feeling like a failure + being in a lot of pain makes my hormones take over and I become a weeping machine that doesn't have a "STOP" button. Basically - I'd take going through an induction 100 times over vs. getting through the first week with a jaundiced newborn and sore postpartum body. It's been a very overwhelming week. (Thank God for prescription strength Motrin and chocolate. Amen?)

It's not all bad, though. I know without a doubt that I am married to the most unselfish, patient guy in the world. Matt has taken such good care of all of us. When I even imagine going through any of this without him, the waterworks start flowing and I become a blubbering mess. Oona is a cutie, and adored by the whole family. We live for the moments when she's wide awake and checking us all out. She's my first bald baby, and has the softest, fuzziest head that everyone loves to rub. I thoroughly enjoy the moments where she falls asleep on me while I'm burping her, and we all find the funny "dream" faces she makes in her sleep hilariously entertaining. Our church family has been bringing us hearty meals all week, and girlfriends across the country have been faithful to text me nearly every day to check up on me and let me know they're praying. And I have really felt those prayers. God is good, all the time. I know He will get us through the rest of this challenging adjustment period. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2 / 52

[Portraits of my children once a week for a year.]

Olive - Wanted curls like her Auntie Grace, so I gave her the "wet braid" treatment (where you braid wet hair into a ton of tiny braids and let dry overnight.) Brought back lots of memories because my Mom did this to Grace's and my hair all the time when we were little.

Silas - Watching Matt shovel out our driveway after all that blizzard/"polar vortex" craziness. 

Oona - First bath just hours after being born.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Introducing... (Finally!)

Oona Caroline Frey finally joined the family on January 9, 2014!

8 lb 2 oz, 21 inches long.

We are totally smitten with her (even Silas has fallen under her spell!) She is a strong, feisty girl, 
and pretty much a clone of her big brother and sister! 

It was a blessedly fast labor and delivery, (my easiest of the three by far,) 
and recovery has been a breeze. It is good to be home adjusting to life as a family of 5!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Day Before.

I was trying for months to keep this scenario a very real possibility in my mind, (after all I've been here twice before,) but I can't help but feel a little surprised (and just a bit depressed) that this baby has still not budged. To make matters worse, I've had several "false starts" in the last 4 weeks, each ending in disappointment. I felt so sure that even if this baby was late, it couldn't be later than Silas was (4 days) but she has surprised us again and tomorrow we will be 6 days past due! Blah.

So early tomorrow we start the induction, and while the process brings me anxiety, the knowledge that she will be here tomorrow (or, worst case scenario, early Friday,) brings me comfort. I'm also very thankful that my OB will definitely be the attending doctor. I feel peaceful that no matter how tomorrow plays out, it will be good.

All this being on edge for weeks, waiting for something so big "to happen" has been exhausting, for all of us. We are all so ready and excited to see her face and start to get to know her personality. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

1 / 52

[Portraits of my children, once a week for a year.]

Olive Evangeline - does not like to cooperate for pictures.

Silas Benjamin - saying new words every day, when not constantly clinging and whining about my legs.

[P.S: I've been looking forward to trying this popular year long project since last year. Was really hoping to start this first week off with a picture of my third baby too, but she is a stubborn little thing. At least I can say with a certain amount of certainty that she will make an appearance in next week's installment!]

Friday, January 3, 2014

Whomp Whommmp.

Today's my due date!!!

But, unfortunately I still look like this.

Aww, isn't 40 weeks just...peachy? 

It should be noted that meandering into Forever 21 at 40 weeks is most definitely a mistake,
even if everything IS 75% off. 

(Actually, going out of your house - period - is probably a mistake at 40 weeks.)

(Unless you're on your way to the hospital, of course.)

The looks! The raised eyebrows! The loud comments from strangers on your epically huge size!

And then the ugly-crying into your americano in the car on your way home, because you are really
starting to believe you are going to be pregnant and puffy for the rest of your life!

Here's the scoop, complete with gross TMI details. (You know you want them.)

I was 3cm and 70% effaced at my appointment today.

Which means I haven't progressed at all in over a week.

No matter that I have been trying all sorts of tricks to get things going since Christmas!

The fact is: Frey babies are just stubborn. Olive was 10 days late, and Silas 4 days late.

So, we're giving it another week to see if things start happening naturally.

If nothing happens before next Thursday morning, I'm checking into Hotel Hospital for an induction.

(I'd wait longer, but my OB is going out of town and I'd really like her to deliver the baby.)

So please send up some prayers for me that this kid will catch the hint that we want her here soon!

Though, to be fair to her, I don't know if I'd want to be born in weather like this either...