Beach Week

The Beach Boys were blaring, swimsuits and flip flops were on and sand was everywhere… It was beach theme for L and MJ school this week!! My original plan was penguins, but when I saw that the temperatures were going to be in the negatives again!! I scratched those plans and thought, if we can’t get warmer temps we can at least pretend. What a blast and it was definitely good for all of our psyches!

Here are a few of the activities we enjoyed throughout the week:

Beach Party
To introduce the theme on Monday I had the girls put on their swimsuits, we got out the beach towels and swim rings and had a dance party!

20140201-134445.jpg

20140201-134845.jpg

20140201-145634.jpg

Goldfish Sorting/Graphing
Using colored Goldfish crackers we worked on sorting ( for Moira) and graphing with numbers ( for Liesel). Both girls loved this especially since they then were able to indulge in the rare goldfish snack too.

20140201-135233.jpg

20140201-135251.jpg

Number/ Color Fishing
Using magnetic fishing polls (aka hot gluing magnets to the end of string) the enjoyed an afternoon of endless fun! For Moira we focused on colors ( red was the color of the week) so I cut out fish in a variety of construction paper colors and attached a paper clip to the front of them. Since Liesel was focusing on her teen numbers I wrote those numbers on each fish. Everytime the girls caught a fish they had to name either the color or number. We played this over and over again, and naturally bathing suits were on again😉

20140201-140522.jpg

20140201-140552.jpg

20140201-140608.jpg

Beach Ball Toss
This weeks letter was Bb so a beach ball was a necessity! Each girl had their own ball, Moira’s had capital letters and Liesels had lowercase letters.

20140201-141004.jpg When thrown a ball, the girls would have to say the letter each hand landed on. We eventually took it a step farther and they had to say the letter sound as well. For Liesel we took it another step and she had to come up with a word for each letter as well.

20140201-141433.jpg

Sensory Play
This week for sensory play I made a beach scene. Complete with shells, starfish, umbrellas and of course SAND!

20140201-141709.jpg I allowed the girls to play with the tub upstairs on a big blanket. They did awesome! I’m happy to report no sand was thrown and it all was contained on the blanket, phew! This activity kept them entertained for an hour, no joke! It was amazing. They sorted the objects, counted them, stacked them and just had a great time. I did absolutely zero direction and was able to sit back and watch. Well worth the $8 spent at Hobby Lobby.

20140201-142238.jpg

20140201-142304.jpg

20140201-142318.jpg

20140201-142333.jpg
Emaline cannot wait to join her sisters in the fun!!

20140201-142424.jpg

Beach Picnic
We ended the week with a fun picnic snack time. I made little palm trees out of bananas, kiwi and chocolate chips. They also enjoyed a delicious coconut smoothie.

20140201-144842.jpg

20140201-144859.jpg

20140201-144910.jpg

This was definitely the perfect way to escape the polar vortex and enjoy some warmer temps! Next week we are off to Sochi for a week filled with Olympic fun.

New Smoothie Favs

We still love our smoothies over here. For the most part they are the girls afternoon snack. It’s such a great way to pump veggies and fruits into your kids, I can’t stress this enough. Moira eats any smoothie I give her, she inhales it! Liesel has become a little more picky, textures and colors seem to really be hard for her. So I’ve had to get creative.

Now that I have begun operation lose baby weight, I’ve been trying to supplement one of my main meals in a day with a smoothie. In an attempt to not tire of my smoothie meal I’ve found numerous recipes off Pinterest. Here are three that have quickly become favorites over here! Let me know if you try them and what you think!

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
This smoothie is great anytime of the day, but I prefer it in the morning.

20140130-215701.jpg

one banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4cup raw almonds
1 TB pure maple syrup
1 cup yogurt
(* I still make all of our yogurt using this recipe and use it in all of our smoothies)

Mix ingredients in blender and enjoy! This one both girls devour.

Avocado-Chocolate Smoothie aka Chocolate Divine
This one is great to curb your dessert cravings! The girls were not the biggest fans, I’m thinking because of the brown color😉

one ripe avocado
1 cup spinach
1 banana
2 TB unsweetened dark chocolate powder
1 cup ice
1 cup yogurt

20140130-221329.jpg

Blend and enjoy!

Coconut Smoothie
This week our theme for L and M school was the beach. I found this recipe and thought it would be great to try! If I close my eyes I could imagine I was on the beach in Jamaica…well not quite but it was really good, perhaps my current fav!

20140130-222121.jpg

1 banana
1 green apple (peeled/chopped)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup yogurt
1 cup spinach
2 TB shaved coconut
1 cup ice

Blend and enjoy!

So. Good. Only missing a bit of rum😉

It was absolutely Moira and Liesel approved👍

20140130-222956.jpg

Emaline’s Birth

Cannot believe a month has gone by since our Emaline was born. According to the books she is no longer a newborn but an infant😭. I know she will be turning one before we know it, so I’m glad to be sitting down and writing her birth story before the details start to get blurry.

The days leading up to her birth were hectic. Christmas was just around the corner. I was definitely ready for her arrival and prayed our baby would come before Christmas ( Due date was Christmas Day). I so desperately wanted to be home and feeling somewhat normal by the holiday. At my 38 week appointment I was shocked to learn that I was 3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. With both Liesel and Moira I was nowhere near that far along before labor began. I tried not to get my hopes up, but that small voice was always there, maybe tonight is the night! The following weekend I could tell things were really beginning to start. I had lots of on and off cramping and my brax and hicks were very strong, especially in the evenings. They would even become consistent but eventually die off and I’d fall asleep and wake up not in labor.

On Tuesday December 17th I woke to, what I thought would be, a normal day. I began getting the girls ready for the day and dressing Liesel for preschool. At about 7:30am my contractions began to come more regularly. I didn’t think much of it at the time because of the previous few nights of consistency to no avail. But 15 minutes later I could not ignore them, I was beginning to feel the pain in my back. Still unsure if this was for real, I calmly went upstairs to talk to Eric. I told him I’d take a bath to see if the contractions went away or remained and then we could go from there. Still unsure whether Liesel should go to school or not ( hated for her to miss so close to christmas break). However after only 15 minutes in the tub I knew this was it. The contractions remained about 5 minutes apart and the back pain made even these early on ones painful. I quickly told Eric that we should call his mom over to get the girls.

The next few minutes were a challenge. I was already having to breath through each contraction, and at the same time remain calm for my girls and continue getting them ready. It was wonderful having this time with them, knowing this would be our last moments together as a family of four. We were able to tell them that today was a surprise Mimi play day ( not wanting to bring up the baby aspect for fear of a repeat Liesel labor). The girls were so excited to get to play with Mimi and Papa! Once Eric’s mom arrived I kissed my girls one last time and sent them off. It was such a relief having them picked up, knowing they were in the best hands and going to have a blast! Now I could focus on what lay ahead of me. The contractions were getting stronger and closer with each passing minute. Eric ran around getting last minute things together, I remained on all fours ( being the best position to relieve my back pain). A little after 9 we got into the car and headed for the hospital. Eric called our doctors office to tell them we were on our way, they told him since we were a week before our due date, they’d prefer we come and get checked at the office before heading the triage. hahaha!! Eric took one look at me, breathing through contractions that were now 3 minutes apart, and knew there would be no office stop, we were going straight to triage.. After two labors he knew the signs loud and clear😃

The ride to the hospital was intense. I was able to close my eyes and get into the zone. Breathing and handling each contraction as they came. We arrived at the hospital just before 10am . Remembering back to Moira’s birth, Eric went directly to get a wheel chair. Although I probably could have walked to the L and D floor, it was nice being able to not break my concentration the whole way up to triage.

Once checked in they found that I was between 6-7cm dilated and 100% effaced. I breathed a sigh of relief, the pain was at least making progress! I had forgotten how terrible back labor was! I experienced it with Liesel, but had none with Moira. Each contraction was more difficult from the next. I stayed focused imagining my sweet little one in my arms, and I knew I had to get through the hard part to reach my reward and to finally find out if we were having a boy or girl!

It wasn’t long before I was being wheeled down to our L&D room. The contractions backed off some, now more like 3-4minutes apart, but still strong in the back. I prayed quietly through each contraction, Lord, you made me to do this! I know with your strength I can do anything. Please bring our little one here safely and Quickly!. I repeated this prayer over and over in my mind. The back pain was getting almost unbearable that I requested the birthing ball. Remembering how good this felt in Liesels labor. However, once on the ball everything catapulted into high gear. I was on the ball for only a few minutes when I felt a burst and water gushing! I instantly had the urge and the contractions were coming one after the other. It was 11:30am.

The nurses, our absolutely amazing nurses, rushed me into my bed to get checked. They found that I was almost 10cm but still had quite a lip in the front. It wasn’t pushing time yet. Insert balloon deflation. As calmly as I could I breathed through these ridiculous contractions. Still coming one after another. At about noon, my doctor arrived. After all the work I just went through, surely it was pushing time.

When checked our doctor looked at me and said, we still have a little lip. All of a sudden I was flooded with doubt. Were we headed into a repeat Liesel birth? One of 3 hours in transition?? I tried to remain calm. Breathing and remaining in my zone. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Phil 4:13 I said this over and over, trying to convince myself. About every 5 minutes or so I would break my concentration. Not being able to stand the pain. maybe we needed the drugs this time?

They tried putting me in different positions to work on the lip. But each position made my pain stronger, I was loosing control. My doctor said she believed our baby to be posterior because of the back pain and front lip still being present. At this I was definitely feeling defeated, this sounded too familiar to Liesels birth.

At 12:45, I looked at Eric and my doctor and said, if this is going to go on for another hour or more, I need drugs. I don’t think I can do this! . Eric assured me I could and my doctor, so lovingly said it won’t be long now! I tried to trust them, but was doubting everything at this point.

A little before 1 I was checked and still not quite there. Not sure if it was the look on my face or my manor in general, but dr. Bemenderfer said, why don’t we try pushing? That will focus us somewhere other than the contractions. Try pushing? really? Were we just going to wing it? I had no urge at this point. Eric and I exchanged glances and shrugged as if to say, why not?

So at 1pm the pushing began. It seemed to last an eternity! I held on to my legs while Eric counted, trying to force this little one out. I felt so out of control. Until the pressure picked up tenfold. I felt like I was sitting on my baby. After a few pleas to get this baby out and a few more big pushes out our baby came, it was 1:14pm. I exhaled and looked at another precious little one, it’s a girl!. I remember locking eyes with my husband’s tear filled eyes and being overcome with emotions. Our little Emaline Noel took my breath away. I could not stop looking at her and kissing her. Another miracle, another gift from God!

20140116-160917.jpg

20140116-160927.jpg

After having some skin to skin time, they took Emaline to get her stats. I remember looking at the weigh table in disbelief as it clearly read 9lbs 14.6oz! Was this correct, did I really just birth a ten pound baby??!!

20140116-161115.jpgThank you Jesus for bringing her one week early! Although she was big she seemed so small and absolutely perfect to us! We loved every ounce of her and could not stop thanking and praising God! We are so undeserving.

20140116-161308.jpg

20140117-134037.jpg

20140117-134109.jpg

20140117-134124.jpg