Friday, February 26, 2010

Toy Storage

We have tried SO many different ways to store the kids' toys, but our newest system is by far my favorite, and I think the kids like it better too. After getting tired of the kids pulling everything out of the toy box to find that one toy that had fallen to the bottom, we knew there had to be a better way than just having one giant box that everything got thrown in. Thanks to some other moms, we found this

and bought several of these

Now each type of toy has it's own bin which makes it easier for the kids to find what they are looking for, and easier to put things away when it's time to clean up. Plus it looks really nice and neat in the family room downstairs. Don't tell Sean, but I'm thinking of buying another one or two for a couple other rooms in the house. lol!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Emma

It's Emma's 7th birthday. She seems so mature some days, and yet it's still hard to believe our first-born is 7 now! It has been quite the adventure with her. She is bull-headed, and stubborn, but also loving, caring, and helpful. She fills the role of oldest child and big sister so well, and loves every minute of helping to care for her younger siblings. She told me today she can't wait for this next baby to arrive so she can know if it's a boy or a girl. She is really excited to have another baby to love on and snuggle with. She loves carrying Jackson and cuddling with him and reading him stories. But despite her excellent care-taking skills, she sticks to her stance that she's never having babies now that she knows how they come out.
She is excelling in school. She has really good handwriting for a 7 year old, and reads anything she can get her hands on. Her favorite books are on a reading level well above her grade level. I could not be happier with how she is doing in school, and how much she loves it and loves learning new things, and succeeding. She is also doing really well in her dance classes. She has a lot to learn since this is her first year, but she seems to be picking it up quickly, and willing to try and to practice to get it right. I hope she continues with her dedication to dance and always has the drive to succeed in whatever she takes on.
Just minutes old

First Birthday

2nd birthday

3rd birthday

Fourth Birthday

Fifth Birthday

Sixth Birthday

and a picture from this year will be added after this weekend when we have cake and open presents. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Emma's birth story

WARNING: This is long, and very detailed with probably a little tmi. Read at your own risk. :)

(I'm not sure what compelled me to write this out now after all this time. I think Emma turning 7 is a really big deal to me, and it's making me feel nostalgic. Plus the reality that I'm about to give birth for the last time has given me reason to reflect on all the kids' births and remember what I loved about them, and what I didn't love about them. Plus, Emma's birth being my first had a significant impact on all the others.)

Our oldest baby is turning 7 at 3:14am. I remember some details of her birth like it was yesterday, and there are other parts that are so foggy, but those parts were always foggy. When Emma was just a few weeks old, I watched what little bit of video was taken while I was in labor, and I did not remember much of it. All I remember was being in pain. Back labor sucks!
I was induced since I was two weeks past my due date, and had broken out in a horrible rash. The rash, of course, appeared over the weekend, and I did not sleep at all Sunday night. Monday morning I was to have an appointment, but I called my ob as soon as they opened and begged him to see me NOW to help me get some relief. He looked at me and said, "do you want to be induced today or tomorrow?" Of course I chose that day, and he said to meet him at the hospital at noon. Luckily my mom was already on her way down to the hospital since I was supposed to have an appointment later in the morning, so we met her and had lunch, and then finished packing my bag and went to the hospital. I don't think the reality that I was about to be in labor and give birth had really set it. I was just desperate for some relief from the itching.
We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and got things going with a cervadil. I received two doses of that four hours apart, and after the second dose I starting feeling contractions, but they weren't too painful yet. My sil and I went for a walk around the hospital, and I sat in the rocking chair and rocked for a while which actually helped some too. (side note: there were tons of people there while I was in labor. My mom and Sean were my biggest support people, but also in attendance, for at least part of the time, were my brother and sister in law, my cousin and her husband, my mom's boyfriend, and Sean's best friend and his wife) They brought me a dinner tray with some jello and other "liquid diet" stuff, but I didn't eat much.
This is where things start to get fuzzy. The contractions started getting more intense and more painful and I thought "ok I can handle this, this means I'll start making some progress." Then the back labor started, and OMG it felt like someone stabbing me in the back constantly. I wasn't getting any relief from the back pain in between contractions. The contractions were painful, but I felt like I could handle them. It was the unbearable back pain that was with me that was making me miserable. I couldn't take it anymore and begged for them to check me so I could get an epidural. The nurse checked me, and I was still at 2cm. I wanted to cry. That's what I was at the doctor's office before the induction started. 2 freaking cm's! She said I couldn't have my epi because of that, but I could get a stadol (this was after several times of me asking about the epi. In my head I think I thought a lot of time had passed, and it had only been like 10 minutes each time or something like that). Let me just tell you, Stadol sucks! Don't ever get it. It's not worth it. It made me loopy, but I still felt all the pain of each contraction. So I still wanted to cry. I remember thinking, "ok I changed my mind, let's stop this induction thing and I'll take a nap and we'll try again tomorrow." Totally unrealistic I know, but I was miserable and going on two days of no sleep, and they had started this labor insanity, surely they could stop it.
I labored for a long time like that, being out of it, snapping back to reality when I had a contraction, and then going back to being out of it after each contraction. That would be why I don't remember much. Finally the nurse checked me and I was at 4cm. Woohooo, that meant I could get my epidural. Unfortunately I was delivering in a very small hospital in a small town, which meant the anesthesiologist was not in the hospital. He was at home, in bed. So they called him, got him up there, and I finally got my epidural. The nurse wanted to check me again after all that, and wouldn't you know it, I was already at 8cm. Awesome! If I'd known that, I would have just toughed it out I think. But since I had an epidural, I took a nap. I don't think it was a long nap, but I needed it.
I'm not sure if I woke up on my own, or if they woke me up. Either way the doc came in and it was time to push. That really is the next thing I remember. I tried to push, but having just gotten my epidural I wasn't doing a very good job. My doctor decided to use forceps to help get the baby out, and I got an episiotomy. I also tore while the baby was coming out.
The baby arrived, and the doc announces it's a girl (which I knew in my heart for sure I was having), but my mom, ever convinced I was having a boy, said, "Are you sure?" lol! Too funny! Emma Wynn Robinson was born 2/25/2003 at 3:14am weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long. She had pretty much no hair, and blue eyes, and was perfect and healthy. I remember having to sit there with my legs up for a long time to be stitched up. Sean carried Emma down to the nursery to get weighed and checked out after the initial in-room assessment. My mom who held one of my legs while I was pushing, and was still there by my side while I was getting stitched up, almost passed out. Not sure if it all hit her, she got overheated, or a combination of the two, but we were all really worried about her. She went and sat down, and recovered pretty quickly thankfully.
When I got up for the first time I realized how much I was bleeding. It was scary to be standing in a puddle of your own blood. The nurses reassured me it was ok and normal to bleed a lot, but I think I lost a lot more blood than your average person. They cleaned me up as best they could, brought Emma in to nurse, and then we finally went to sleep. I don't know what time, but it was before sunrise.
The anesthesiologist came in at around 7:30am, and woke me up by sitting me up and ripping the tape off my back to remove the epidural. That was really fun, NOT!
I felt week and exhausted the two days I was in the hospital, and the nurses had to help me shower because standing up long enough to shower made me feel like I was going to pass out. I was so sore from the episiotomy and tearing that sitting was painful. The positives were Emma was beautiful, healthy, and a great breast feeder, Sean was there with me supporting me even though our relationship kind of sucked then, and we had tons and tons of family members calling and visiting and showing us how much they loved us. My mom even cleaned my place, did all my laundry the day before we came home, and went grocery shopping for us and filled the fridge so we wouldn't have to worry about food. Oh yeah, and I had me some rock star nurses who did everything they could to help me recover well, and get breastfeeding off on the right foot.
The other things I remember are Sean and my mom drank like a gallon of coffee, and the smell of it on them made me really nauseous. I didn't have the heart to tell them that though since they were both going on no sleep trying to support me through the labor. After Emma was born the first person I told my mom to call was my best friend, because even though it was 3:30am, I knew I'd be in trouble if we didn't call her right away (love you Laura!). My night nurse while I was in labor was the only one who could find the right spot to put pressure on in my back to help relieve the back pain. Everyone else sucked. lol! I was amazed at the euphoria I felt the instant Emma arrived. The baby blues hit me hard in the hospital, and I remember crying my eyes out the night before I was to be discharged because I was convinced I could not do this mothering thing, and why on earth would they send us home with a newborn the next day. (I still cry like that after each baby, though it's not as much out of fear anymore).
I think my birth experience with Emma was rough, and really scared me into believing that I wasn't/am not strong enough to give birth without drugs. With Nathan I didn't even consider it. I got my epi with him as soon as they said I could, and I really wasn't in much pain yet. With Megan and Jackson I lasted longer, but still got one. I WANT to deliver drug free, but I'm terrified of a repeat of Emma's birth, especially the back labor. And while Sean is a great support to me while I'm in labor, he doesn't like seeing me in pain, so if I mention an epi, he says "whatever you want to do is fine with me." I know he's trying to be helpful, but I need him to tell me I can do it without the drugs. He's a great labor coach, but we both need to figure out a way to get past the epi talk when things get rough for me. I know it's ultimately my choice, but my decision is driven entirely by fear and there is no confidence in myself that I can do it drug free.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pantry Organizing

Our house is in a constant state of dis-organization in one way or another. The combination of the fast that neither Sean nor I are type A people, and having 4 kids means there will never be a room in our house that looks like it belongs in a magazine, and I'm ok with that. I know it's my fault more than anything else that our house is not better put together. I'm here all the time, so it's my job to keep things in line and cleaned up, and I fail at that quite often. I will say I am trying to make a better effort to get the house organized though. I think if you have things organized in a functional way, it's much easier to keep things clean. Organizing often means spending money, however, and then praying you spent your money in the right places on the right things for your stuff and your house.
One of our newest purchases was made in the hopes of wrangling the perpetual mess that is our pantry. It is pretty darn big as pantries go, but we just can't seem to get a handle on making the best use of the space. If we had the funds, I'd have a custom designed pantry from New Space or the Container Store, but that's just not a financial reality. Instead we went to the container store to try to find items we could add to the pantry to create more and better storage. Here is what we ended up with:

What I love about this is it hooks onto the pantry door, which means no drilling, hammering, or other permanent mounting required. It took Sean about 10 minutes to get the whole system on the door securely, and then it took me about 5 minutes to load up the shelves we had bought. This solution freed up at least 2 of the small shelves in our pantry, and everything is now more easily accessible and better organized. The system pictures is a set, but you can buy the track and the baskets separately, so you can make it fit your needs instead of trying to make a set that's already put together by the store work for you.
I'm hoping to start sharing these things I find and love as we work to organize the house. We have a lot left to work on, so I hope I find a lot of things I love and can share with others.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

24 weeks

I'm 24 weeks pregnant today yippeee! Baby is really active, but is not big enough that his/her kicks are painful yet. I know that is right around the corner though, so I'm enjoying not being miserable yet. I can tell I'm getting bigger, but I don't really realize it until I take a picture, and then when I look at the picture it's like, "Holy Crap I'm freaking huge!" I'm trying to keep it in perspective that this is my fifth baby, and I have always been a big pregnant lady (except with Emma), but it's still hard accepting that you are a whale and there is nothing you can do about it, and it's only going to get worse.
And here's a picture of my ever expanding uterus.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

new baby purchases

So you'd think by baby #5 there would be nothing else on the face of the earth we could possibly need for a baby. Sadly, you'd be wrong! We bought a new infant seat when we had Jackson because our old one was expired. Well, the surprise of this baby means we have to figure out how to get 5 car seats in my car. After multiple configuration trials with our current car seats, we discovered it's just not going to work, so we had to buy yet another infant car seat. :( It's a shame, because I really like Jackson's car seat, and it's in great shape, but I really think this is our best shot at getting all 5 kids in car seats safely in my car. We looked into new car possibilities, but since mine is barely over a year old, it was a horrendous financial situation. So today with the help of the trade-in event at Babies r Us, we bought a new infant seat.

Another item I've always wanted, but just never broken down and bought is a rocker/glider. We decided to get one this time around, and then put it in our living room upstairs since we've been looking for a new chair for in there anyway. I found several I liked, but the cost of most of them mad me quite ill. I finally found one I liked that fit our needs and my wants in style and fabric, and was less obscenely priced.

Lastly we felt we needed a small travel bed of some kind to keep the baby in our room in the camper since a traditional pack n play won't fit. We looked into many of our options, and ultimately decided on this one.

Keep in mind we'll be using this when the baby is about 1-2 months old for the most part, so even though it looks pretty small, I think it will be perfect for a new, immobile baby.
All in all, an expensive, yet productive day. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


* I think the stomach virus finally left our house (knock on wood). It hung around for about 12 days, and I am really hoping it's gone for a VERY long time.
* I am 23 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow. How on earth did I get that pregnant already?
* I am officially on the hunt for an occasional babysitter. Not going to be easy since I am trusting someone I barely know with our kiddos, but definitely necessary.
* Sean's birthday is quickly approaching and I have no clue what to get him.
* Emma's birthday is also quickly approaching and I think I may die of shock that she's turning 7!
* The Olympics start in 10 days and I'm super excited!!!!!!!!
* There is often a lot I'd love to say about the things going on in my life, but I think it would shock the crap out of some of the people I think read this blog on occasion.