Isaac came home from work yesterday, opened the fridge and said, “Did you know there’s a grocery bag in here with a netflick in it?”  Oh, well, yes and no.  I mean, now that you mention it, I remember putting it in there, but until you said something, I had no idea.  Maybe it’s the 4 hours of good sleep I’m going off of here, or the constant stream of silly questions coming at me all day long, but I think I’m a little bit, well, tider.

When Sophia was little(r) she would tell me that she was just “too tider” (meaning tired).  I always thought it was cute and imagined that she was saying it that way because she just didn’t have the energy to say it right.  That’s me these days.  “Jolie, could you give that to me, please?”  “Um, I’m not Jolie, Mom.”  “Well, you know what I mean, Tess.   I mean, Sophia.  Jeez Louise.”  “Who’s that?”  “Nevermind.”

Some days I’m so motivated to get things done, that I march around the house, drill-seargent fashion, barking orders up and down: Clean up this!  Put away that! Now! Now! NOW!  Other days I sigh and think, “What’s the use, it’s just going to get messy again in 20 minutes anyway,” and spend the days instead crawling after the girls, and reading story after story, and answering their silly questions with even sillier answers.  They must think I’m manic.  Seriously.  I keep telling myself that moderation is key to some normalcy around here, but apparently I’m not listening.

Here’s some new pics of the girls.  Enjoy.

Jolie’s birthday dinner – Mickey Mouse pancakes. 

Happy Birthday Jolie!

Post-Bath Cuddle Time (by the woodstove, of course)

Tess finds a new friend.

Baby blue eyes (turns 6 months on Wednesday! Though the tags on her clothes beg to differ :)).

11 weeks of Tess

In 11 short weeks, she has somehow made everyone who’s ever met her fall in love with her.  She loves to cuddle.  Loves to eat (evident by all 16+ pounds of her!).  And she loves her family (especially her aunties who came to visit us :)).  And the newest thing she loves to do?  Suck her thumb.  Neither Sophia nor Jolie would do this, despite all of the times I tried to help them.  Especially Jolie…oh, the time I invested in trying to get her to self-soothe.  But, as luck would have it, our easy-goingest baby yet, the one who sleeps 10-12 hours a night, is the one who chooses to suck her thumb.

Her first attempts at it were fascinating to watch.  She wasn’t sure where to put the other four fingers so they ended up spread out over her face.  A few scratches later, she learned to curl them up.  She makes the cutest sucking sounds.  It’s darling. 

Her hair still appears fairly light, although I can see some darker growth coming in here and there.  And her eyes are still strikingly blue.  With them she watches her sisters intensely.  Maybe that’s why she’s so content – she has a comedy duet before her eyes every waking moment.  One day she’ll get to be a part of that act, probably sooner than we think.  Until then, we know to enjoy our thumb-sucking, auntie-loving, chubbier-than-ever baby.






We’ve had some really nice weather here.  Last week it even got up to 78 degrees!  The girls loved it…even Tess.


We got a call recently from a woman whose teenage daughters saw Tess’ birth announcement in the paper.  They made their mother call us to congratulate us and let us know that our daughter is going to be very special.  Their names are Tess and Elizabeth.  🙂  A few days later a packaged arrived in the mail from their family.  It included the paper that had the birth announcement (I told her I hadn’t picked one up yet, so she offered to mail me hers), a gift for Tess and a gift for Sophia and Jolie.  Do we live in the coolest place or what?


Jolie’s first shiner.  We were visiting some friends when she, in attempt to climb up on to a chair, slipped and hit her eye socket on the table.  A blood vessel popped and now it looks like she is decorated with purple eye shadow.


The girls taking a ride in the dock cart.

Meeting Tess

Now that she’s almost a month old, I thought I’d post the video of the girls getting to hold Tess for the first time.  (Note Jolie’s nervous laugh, and Sophia’s beautiful song.)

How to keep baby Tess happy?  Nurse her 24 hours a day.  (Not as easy as it sounds, but it does offer a solution to fussiness.)

How to keep off extra weight?  Make sure my 1-year old and 4-year old are within 100 yards of me when I take a bite of anything.  (They come running and want bites, too, and before I know it, whatever I had prepared for myself is gone.)

How to gain the weight anyway?  Stuff handfuls of peanut M&Ms in my mouth so that when they get to me asking for a bite, I can shrug my shoulders and do the ASL sign for all gone.  (I of course add the “terribly sorry” look.)

How to keep do-dads in my 1-year old’s hair?  Promise treats at the end of a certain time period.  (See Jolie’s new “do” in pictures #2 and #3.)

How to keep the aunties sending care packages with lots of yummy chocolate?  Blog a picture now and again of the nieces in their cute outfits.  (See Tess in picture #1 – sorry it took so long Tara.)

How to make the transition from 2 to 3 kids bearable?  Have a 4 year old that is the biggest helper in the world.  


What this last picture doesn’t show is me crying behind the camera this morning because my first baby was on her way to her “first day of school”.  Not only do we live in a place where school starts at age 4 in the pre-K class, but the end of the school year before they enter pre-K, they go to school for a trial period every Friday in the last month of the school year.  Here Sophia is with her back pack all ready.  She got to drive up to the school with her papa and shadow the other students today.  Needless to say, I missed my big helper, but I love that she had so much fun with the other kids.  I also loved getting to peek in on her while she was in the classroom.  What a proud mama I was.

2 Weeks, 2 Days

With each day, I get a little stronger, and Tess gets a little prettier.  For someone who’s not technically old enough to smile yet, she sure does smile a lot.  I even heard her laugh in her sleep the other day.

We’re living these days for the times when Tess is awake.  She follows our voices with her eyes and stares into our faces for minutes at a time.  It makes me think of night 2 in the hospital.  She fussed and fussed in her bassinet until I got her and tried to feed her in the hospital bed.  She wouldn’t eat, but instead just stared into my eyes for about 15 minutes before she fell asleep.  As if she wanted to get a good look at me for the first time.

It’s difficult to admit, but I didn’t really look at her for the first time until the day after she was born.  It seemed I was so preoccupied with my own after birth pains and trying to feed her and feeling so weak that it wasn’t until the next day that I bent my knees up toward the ceiling in my bed and rested her on my legs so that I could really see her face for the first time.  Her lips were pursed and her chin was up.  Her back arched in a stretch.  I noticed how “bald” she was compared to her sisters.  I kissed her neck and felt her chubby flesh against my lips.  I couldn’t believe that I was getting to experience this AGAIN.  I couldn’t believe that God was entrusting me with another life.  I couldn’t believe how blessed I was to have her in my arms, finally.

The Birth Story

It’s been over a day now.  My plan was to catch up on sleep before attempting to recount the happenings before the birth of our little Tess.  As it turned out, however, sleep does not come to those charged with adrenaline from the birth experience.  I lay awake last night in bed while Tess did her job of occupying the nursing staff at the hospital.  For the entire time we’ve been here, she’s been their only patient.  But even for the opportunity to sleep, I lay awake and listen to the whir and click of my pitosin drip, happy to have at least that for company as the experiences of the day ran through my head over and over again.

The two days before the labor started I fought a stomach bug which left me tired and dehydrated.  On Monday night, I was relieved when the nausea went away and I was able to eat some dinner – chicken soup.  I went to bed early, I was exhausted, and maybe my body knew how much I would need the rest because when I got up Tuesday morning between 7 and 8, contractions started and I was happy to have had a full night’s rest.  I labored while I got a bag packed, took a shower, brushed my teeth…  I sent Isaac on a couple of errands and sat down with Sophia to play Candyland and the Fancy Nancy game.  I paced the house, feeling relief from the walking and eventually asked my dad to come with me to the mall so that I could have a little change of scenery.  While we walked we ran into my friend Cody from high school – it was the first time I’d ever had to have a haven’t-seen-you-in-forever conversation with someone while in labor. 🙂   My dad was getting kind of nervous and thought I should go in to the hospital so we went home and Isaac and I drove together to see how far along I was.  It was noon when we checked in and the midwife said I was at 9 cm.  The next hour was spent with me lying perfectly still while the nursing staff tried to find a vein that wouldn’t collapse.  Finally one was found and I had to walk around a bit more to get my body to remember what it was trying to do.  The midwife broke my water, which helped to get contractions going again.   It was 2:00 before I started to push, at first on my own because it didn’t seem like my body was going to help me with that, and then finally, two good pushes in one contraction, and several little pushes to get her head out.  I looked down and saw that she was screaming before I could push her shoulders out.  It was the most amazing thing.  Another push and the shoulders were out.  Isaac did the catching.  He turned her over to show me we were blessed with another beautiful girl, and then he handed her up to me.  She reached up and grabbed onto my cross as tight as she could and didn’t let go until one of the nurses forced her hand open.  I could see both my girls in her right away and as it turned out, she shares Jolie’s birthweight of 8 lbs 11 oz and Sophia’s birthlength of 19 3/4 in.  A perfect mix but still uniquely her own.

Welcome Tess Elizabeth.  Mama’s third baby girl.  The one who made us wait…and wait…and wait.  You’ve been born into a pretty great family who loves you so much, but I’m sure it won’t take you long to figure that out.

Welcome Tess Elizabeth, 8lbs. 11oz.  4/7/2009 2:25pm.