Jun 30, 2008

Adventures in Bad Parenting

I've had the occasional good Mom moments, but they aren't nearly as entertaining as the "not so on top of my game" moments. Take the other day: the sliver is still in Mia's thumb. Mark is trying to remove it. All of his efforts to get even remotely near her with anything resembling a pair of tweezers is met with wailing, trembling, sobbing, gnashing of teeth, and sheer terror. Seriously, it's a sliver. After about 30 minutes (and did I mention this is all taking place at bedtime), I'm getting more than a little fed up, and here's what I come up with: "Fine. When your thumb gets infected and we have to take you to the doctor, I'm just going to tell the doctor to go ahead and cut your thumb off."

Amazingly, this does not go over well. More wailing, etc. At this point, I leave the room. Later I hear Mia asking Mark in a shaky voice, "Daddy, the doctor won't really cut my thumb off right?" I should start her a therapy fund.

In another incident, in an attempt to get at least 10 minutes to myself, I gave Sam the one toy that every child loves: a big cardboard box. Soon he is at my side incoherently begging for something. I ignore him. It turns out he wanted me to cut a door in the box, because he comes in a few minutes later with a pair of children's scissors and unsuccessfully attempts to cut the box himself. More whining. I still ignore him. Soon I realize it is a little too quiet and look up to find Sam trying to cut the box with the biggest butcher knife we own. Lesson learned. Time to child-proof the knife drawer.

Jun 28, 2008


  • Nate has a bad case of baby acne. Mia said, "he's got those dots all over his face, just like you Mom." Wow, kids have a way of making you feel good about yourself.
  • Sam found the binky stash, and he's back on the binky wagon. (Or has he fallen off the no-binky wagon?) Either way, he's also had a fever this week, and this sucker of a mom just couldn't put her foot down and take it away for the 3rd time. Super Nanny would not be impressed.
  • More sliver drama. This time the victim is Mia and not only does she not accept her own "these things just happen in life" consolation, she is so upset about it, she declares, " I don't want to be a person anymore. I wish I was a frog!" This is followed a few minutes later by, "I don't even want to be alive anymore!" Yikes. In about 10 years, we're going to be in big trouble.
  • My brother John is moving out of student housing at the University of Rochester this week, and sold some of his stuff to some friends of ours, the Walkers, who are moving into student housing at the University of Rochester. In fact, they are one of 2 families we know moving into that same student housing complex. Small world. I love that kind of stuff!
  • Miracles do happen! All 3 kids napping at the same time:

Father's Day

Yes it was a few weeks ago, but I'm still playing catch up here. On Father's Day we had my parents here, and my sister Kristy and her family came up from Portland for the day. We blessed Nate with everyone there, and since we were all dressed up, we took some family pictures. It's a little surreal to see a picture with all 5 of us in it, not to mention nearly impossible to get a good one. Out of seriously about 30 pictures, here are the 2 decent ones (and by decent I mean most everyone is looking at the camera, and nobody has their finger up their nose):

And here are the more entertaining ones:

I can't say for sure that Mark had a fabulous Father's Day (as I recall he did have to do dishes- hey, I did just have a baby). But thanks to my Dad and brother-in-law Bob, it was probably the first Father's day he got to sit around and watch sports, as you can see here:

And here he is enjoying the fruits of fatherhood:

The certificate is an award for "flying kites" and Mia is modeling the tie that he got to wear to church, decorated by Sam. Mark is an amazing dad, and definitely the "fun" parent of the 2 of us. In fact, tonight he is out camping in the backyard with Mia and Sam. They set up the tent, roasted marshmallows over the grill, made s'mores, and went on a "nature walk" in the backyard. Although as soon as they fell asleep he abandoned them to watch TV, but hey, I would have done the same thing. (I'm sure both kids will be disappointed to wake up in their own beds tomorrow morning, but with the sun up and bright as day at 5 AM here, I'm not taking my chances). Here are some pictures of the happy campers:

We think he's pretty awesome.

Jun 24, 2008

Visit from Grandma and Grandpa Stovall

My parents came to visit for a week, and they set right to work helping me and spoiling the kids.
This is grandchild #14 for them.
Here is my dad creating a new generation of golf fans while watching the US Open. Mia's vocabulary now includes bogeys, birdies, and of course, Tiger.

Doing what Grandmas do best...
My Dad and Mia took the train down to Portland to visit my sister Kristy, and her family for a few days. Mia was so excited to go on the train, and she and grandpa had a great time together. Here they are waiting at the train station. While staying with her cousins, she was having such a fun time, she didn't even miss us.
According to my parents, it was a tragedy that our children didn't have crocs. So here they are in their new shoes, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa. And Mia and Sam couldn't be happier recipients; Sam even sleeps in his.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Jun 23, 2008

Back to Reality

OK, enough gushing, time to get back to what I do best: bitter sarcasm. Let's start with this morning. For some reason I had a temporary lapse of sanity and thought this morning would be day #1 back on my workout program. I planned to briskly walk around the neighborhood, first thing in the morning. I would pack the boys in the stroller, Mia would ride her bike. In my mind it was going to be a glorious and triumphant return to fitness; it would be fun, invigorating, and the kids would think I was the best mom ever. (I'm not sure why I thought they would praise me for doing something so obviously intended to benefit myself, but whenever I do anything other than sitting them in front of the TV, I usually expect to earn some Mom points.)

So can you tell where I'm going with this? Should be pretty obvious. The kids wake up at 6:30 and get put in front of the TV. I try to sleep in, wake up at 9:30 to find they've strewn cereal all over the family room. Every time I try to sit down and feed Nate, things erupt into chaos. You know, things went the way I should have expected it to go with a new baby and 2 young kids. What was I thinking? Still haven't gone on that walk yet. (sigh) In the mean time, I've got some cereal to clean up...

Pictures of Nate

One week old

Two weeks old

Three weeks oldThis is our secret weapon: swaddle him up tight, put him in the bouncer slightly on his side, put it on vibrate, plug him with the binky, and turn on some white noise. Works like a charm every time.

Man we love this kid. I swear he's been smiling at us since week one. I love his crazy hair and his funny expressions. I love that he's such a good sleeper. Sam loves to give him kisses, and Mia begs to play with him in her room. Mark loves to cuddle with him.
Basically, we're all pretty infatuated.

Nate's Birthday Party

Nate was 5 days old, and Mia decided to orchestrate an elaborate family birthday party for him. Original plans included: christmas decorations, cake, all of us dressing in costume, playing games, making crafts, dancing, making scary faces, drawing pictures, and having "free time." After working on nothing else all day, by 7 that night we had managed to put up 1 birthday banner, and sat down to a very scaled down party which consisted of singing Happy Birthday and eating chocolate cake. Poor Mia was one disappointed party planner. Even getting to eat cake wasn't consoling enough. Sam thought is was great though. Nate didn't seem to notice.

Jun 22, 2008

Birth Recap

I'll keep this short and clean (just for you, John Young).

We got to the hospital at 1 pm, started the antibiotics and just a small amount of pitocin by 2:30. For almost 4 hours I was contracting regularly, but felt just about nothing, which was fine by me. By 6:15, I was at 4 cm- enough to break my water, stop the pitocin, and get me an epidural (my first one, by the way). It kicked in just as the contractions started picking up, so I pretty much felt no pain, thus accomplishing my goal for this birth. In fact, for the next few hours, we watched a movie, and I slept off and on, which = awesome. By 11 I was at 10 cm, but the baby hadn't descended very far, so I slept for another hour to let him labor down- which is what is so amazing about that blessed epidural. By 12:15 I was ready to push, but we had to wait quite a while for the doctor, so again, thanks to that epidural, we just kind of hung out. (Let me just point out here how drastically different this is from Sam's labor, where I pushed for 2 hours, screaming at the top of my lungs the whole time and shaking uncontrollably between contractions- not a fun time). So after a few pushes and a little help from the doctor, Nate was born at 1:03. I was actually surprised when they were handing him to me- I just expected it would take a lot longer. He was the first baby that I actually had the energy to hold after delivery. Also, it turns out that he was sunny-side-up, which explains why he was so late, and the labor took longer than we thought too. He also didn't turn during delivery, and without an epidural probably would have caused a lot of back labor. Man, I loved that epidural!

So after he was born was when it started to get exciting. Around 4 AM when things were finally settling down and the nurse was trying to get me up to walk around, I kept having dizzy spells and ended up not being able to get out of bed. My blood pressure had been pretty low the whole time, but it always is, so it wasn't too alarming. The next morning, I tried to get up again to get cleaned up. Everything was going OK until I realized I was bleeding continually and suddenly blacked out. It got a little dramatic as it took 4 nurses to get me back in bed, there was blood everywhere and everyone thought that because of the bleeding I was hemorrhaging. Turns out I wasn't, but somehow between the birth and that morning, I had lost more blood than they realized, and my hematocrit count was pretty low. It was never dangerous or really serious, but it did leave me extremely weakened, and pretty much unable to get out of bed without passing out. I decided that wasn't a great way to care for a newborn and 2 kids, and so that is how I ended up getting a blood transfusion. Within about 10 hours the difference was amazing. For all the times I've given blood, I never thought I would be on the receiving end. And Nate was such a sweet baby the entire time, which was the biggest blessing of all. By the time we got home the next night, I was feeling more like a normal person who had just given birth would- a little tender, a little tired, and really happy to not be pregnant anymore.


It's about time to catch up on things. I wouldn't say we're quite back to "normal," or "functional," but were we ever really either of those things in the first place? However, most of the time I know what day it is now, and I can usually tell you my kid's names, so that's a good sign. And we did attempt a family trip to Costco yesterday, which may be a good sign, or it may be a sign of insanity- we're not sure. There have been so many blog-worthy moments during the last few weeks that I've wanted to photograph or write about, but just wasn't able to get around to. Most are now lost in the haze which I've come to accept as my new cognitive state. Stringing together coherent sentences takes monumental effort these days and makes blogging a little difficult (seriously, you don't know how long this paragraph alone has taken me). Here's what I really feel like writing now: Me tired, baby cute.

So while I'm working on getting some pictures posted and writing commentary at least at a 2nd grade level, here are a few of the highlights that do stand out from the last few weeks:

  • 296 diaper changes between Sam and Nate (aka: Poopsmith I and Poopsmith II).
  • Finding all 5 of us in our full-size bed one night around 3 AM.
  • Having a freshly cleaned carpet (thanks mom!) only to discover that cleaning it resurrected the sour milk smell from Sam's 1/2 gallon spill 6 months ago. It stunk for 4 days.
  • Watching Lars and the Real Girl- hilarious!
  • Hearing myself say things like: "Sam, please don't put your sandwich on the baby's head," and "Yes, you can have Goldfish for breakfast. Now shut my door and go watch TV- Mommy needs to sleep."
  • Falling asleep in Sam's room while putting him to bed one night, and waking up to find Mark also asleep in Mia's room, and both Mia and Sam running around the house and wreaking havoc.

It's been a fun ride so far.

Jun 19, 2008

"Sometimes these things just happen in life"

That would be Mia trying to console a screaming Sam while my mom and I were attempting to remove an infected sliver (actually more like a small tree branch) from his foot yesterday morning. Let's just say he was less than appreciative of her elderly wisdom. I, on the other hand, found it quite amusing. Though I wasn't the one with a piece of lumber in my foot.

So my parents left for California later that day, and as I driving home from the airport and listening to Nate coughing (he had come down with a cold the day before), I thought, "watch, my mom and dad leave and I'll probably end up in the ER with the baby tonight."

Fast forward to me sitting in the ER with Nate around midnight, after he suddenly spiked what we thought was a bad fever. Like I've said before on this blog, we like our Emergency Room visits to be slightly embarrassing and pointless, and true to form, by the time we got there, his fever had come down, his coughing fits had disappeared, and he was actually quite content and healthy looking. And luckily his temperature of 100.1 was just shy of the 100.3 threshold that is considered dangerous for infants and warrants a whole battery of tests and procedures. We got off with a simple chest x-ray which came back clear. So besides feeling a little sheepish (but what else to you do in the middle of the night when your 2 1/2 week old has a fever and is coughing and generally acting miserable?) and sleep deprived, we were discharged around 3 AM. (And can I just say here that TV has done me wrong. I spent almost 3 hours in that ER, and nothing even remotely exciting or dramatic happened. The doctor looked nothing like John Stamos or Patrick Dempsey, I didn't have any deep and enlightening conversations with anyone where my situation paralleled their own interpersonal conflicts, and as far as I could tell, none of the doctors and nurses were involved with each other. I mean, come on!)

So, that's how I got to start my first day back to real life with 3 kids: an ER visit and a sick baby. All in all, we survived though, thanks to the electronic babysitter and Costco chicken nuggets. As Mia would say, "sometimes these things just happen in life."

Here is a picture of Mia and Sam today in their pajamas (it was 1 PM), when I found them outside "decorating" their new pet rocks with glue and leaves. This is what happens when you turn off the TV for an hour.

Jun 5, 2008

Never a dull moment

Around dinner time today, Mark noticed a strong smell coming from our bedroom, like an electrical fire. We checked all the outlets and electronics, but couldn't figure it out. I was getting ready to feed the kids (a delicious meal brought to us by our friend Sara), when Mark comes in and tells me that he called the fire department about the smell. "Do you mean you called 911?" I asked, and just then we heard the sirens and looked out the front window to see a firetruck pull up with lights flashing. Talk about humiliating! We felt especially silly when 2 firemen hop out in their full fire-fighting gear, and we have to tell them, "um, we thought we smelled something burning..." They couldn't figure out what it was either, but in their useful public servant way, advised us to install smoke detectors in each bedroom.

The bad news is we are now pretty sure the smell was our Mac getting fried. The good news is that is appears it can be fixed, might even be under warranty, and hopefully hasn't damaged our hard drive. It will be in the shop for a few days, and in the meantime, it has all our pictures on it, so I won't be able to post the hundreds of pictures of Nate sleeping (sorry Grandmas). Actually, who am I kidding? This is our third child; we've taken about 3. Hopefully we'll take some more pictures of this kid before he moves out of the house. But take my word for it- he sure is cute.

Jun 1, 2008

Nathan Stovall Bardsley

We're thrilled to finally announce the arrival of baby Nathan!
May 29th, 2008

7: hours of labor
1: epidural (= happy mom!)
1:03 AM: time of arrival
8 & 6: pounds and ounces
19 1/2: inches
36 cm: head circumference (compared to Sam's 38)
2: units of blood given to mom (who apparently was so happy about that epidural she kept passing out)
35/21/27: mom's hematocrit count upon arrival, and then before and after the transfusion
5: family members happy to be home
Too many to number: people who helped care for Mia and Sam, offered to help, brought food, and called to see how we were. Thank you!
Best Quote: "Mom! Your belly is still pretty big!" - Mia

Here are a few pictures, we'll post more soon.

I don't know if this link works, but here are the hospital photos: https://birthprint.com/ecommerce/view_baby