Dec 27, 2010

Christmas...a month to get here and it's gone in a flash!

 I love Christmas! But it gets a little crazy juggling all the parties, shopping, baking, and cooking for a family of five. I had to make myself stop and smell the Christmas tree each night so I would not wish the season away. It is my favorite holiday and I will not let it be sucked away by the details. It is all worth it for these three below.
 I never thought I would be able to find matching jammies for the kids with their ages being so varied, but I did. Crazy 8 had these peace jammies that are so cute!
Tate (in the white scarf) was in the Holly Springs Christmas parade with her dance school. It was fun but it rained at the end, so we made a mad dash to the car.
We had a fun night out with our best friends at Sullivan's. What good food! Aunt Emily was awesome and watched the kids. She was even more awesome for being so understanding when I side swiped her car in my driveway. What a mess I was! I am so lucky to have the best sister-in-law. 
We went to Pinehurst to celebrate Garrett's birthday and Christmas with Scott's family. Dinner was nice and the kids had a great time opening gifts. We have quite a gang of kids now with Stacey's two, my three, and my nephew Connor. I love seeing them play together. I have great memories with my cousin, so I love that my kids have cousins so close.

My mom and I took the girls to the Christmas Eve service at church. They had a great muppet show about the meaning of Christmas. Just what we needed. The guys stayed at home with Dane.

Here are the girls after feeding the reindeer, setting out Santa's cookies, and saying their goodnights on Christmas Eve. Can I say EXCITED!
Christmas morning...Tate got the iTouch she asked for and a karaoke machine.
 Paige got a camera, MarioKart, and an ice cream machine.
The Sanders' Christmas we usually have on Christmas Eve is on New Year's Eve this year, so my parents made the trip up to spend Christmas with us. It was great! Neil was in sunny Puerto Rico. We missed him!
 Here is our annual end of the day Christmas Day family photo. I love traditions and this is one of ours.
And last but not least is my little man....Dane's first Christmas! Here is the football taggie Scott and I got him. The girls each have something special they sleep with and I thought this would be a neat thing for him (which means he probably won't like it since I do). I can't imagine our family without him and Christmas was made even more fun with him around.

My favorite Santa moment this year happened all Christmas day. As Paige opened each gift, she would look at it and say..."Santa touched this." It happened over and over and I loved seeing the magic in her eyes as she imagined the big guy. The day before, we tracked Santa on the computer as he went from city to city (thanks Laura for telling me about that site) and Paige wanted to know where he was and when the day would finally end. I love seeing the magic of Christmas in action. I love the excitement and the happiness it brings. Tonight when Paige and I made ice cream with her new ice cream maker from Santa, she said, "Santa touched these sprinkles, mom, I hope he washed his hands." Priceless!

Dec 7, 2010

The last three months in pictures

Having Dane and two kids in school has sucked my time dry....when to post. Every day I see and think about cute things the kids do with the intention to write them down for all to see and share but time escapes me. So here is my solution for now....the last three months in snapshots and captions. Hopefully from this point forward I can take some time to jot down the fun daily.

I decided to take a picture of Dane each month on the 20th on our blue couch. Stay tuned to watch him grow.

Labor Day trip to the beach and Dane's first visit. The girls always say he will be the last to do things, but he is the youngest baby we have taken to the beach.

September 20th!

A fun family day at Phillips Farm...corn maze, pumpkin launcher, cow train, corn sandbox, hay stacks, etc.

Paige's first soccer season was awesome! She scored a goal and got that trophy she has been wanting.

We said goodbye to our wonderful neighbors, the Staffords. Anna and Paige are great friends! We were so sad to see them go.

October 20th!

Halloween fun! No more princesses in the Brennan house. The girls wanted to be scary so we have a witch, vampire, and the cutest skeleton around.

Connor turned two!

Self portrait of my first time on a horse....marked one off the bucket list. My horse decided to take a roll in the creek with me on her back....yes, I got soaked but luckily not dunked.

Tate on the trail ride. Her horse was much nicer. She stayed dry.

Scott's first 5K. He was super fast and did it in 23:35.

The girls and I did the one mile run. They ran the whole way!

My little man! November 20th

Thanksgiving at our house. Why do I look so much taller than Scott. He sunk with all that turkey in his belly.

Decorating the tree

Our fifth annual Gingerbread House decorating party was a success. The houses are getting so nice as the kids get older.

Paige Turns Six.....seriously!

Wow this post is late! I feel like we are finally getting into a groove as a family of five and now I am trying to catch up and get back to posting. Paige turned six on September 14th. This year she celebrated her big day in school with cookies and cupcakes. We provided the cookies and her friend Dani brought cupcakes since they share the same birthday. We took her to On the Border for dinner. She wanted to use the Taco Bell coupon she got from school, but I talked her into going somewhere else for tacos. Scott and I got her inline skates. Her birthday party was at Paint Your Pot. She and ten of her closest friends painted pumpkins, butterflies, dogs, cats, etc. We feasted on a Barbie cake made by me. B and Pop Pop were there too! She had a great day. I just can't believe how old she is getting. Her face is losing its round cheeks and she is getting so tall. It is amazing to watch her grow before my eyes.

Aug 23, 2010

What makes me smile...

Today what makes me smile is thinking of Tate and the person she is becoming. She turned nine on the 7th and had her birthday party last Saturday with five good friends and her sister. It was a movie party highlighted by a trip to the theater to see Ramona and Beezus based on the Beverly Cleary books. Cute movie! Tate said the two hours felt like fifteen minutes. While the girls teared up when Ramona's beloved cat died, I teared up watching the relationship between Ramona and her Dad. Sweet! I am so thankful Scott is not only a "provider Dad" but a Dad who loves to be with his kids and adores the people they are. There is very little he will not do for thing being as of late dancing to the new Wii game Tate got for her birthday. She doesn't realize it but his not dancing is a good thing even though I would love a good chuckle. She requested a shell birthday cake this year. It is always interesting to see what cake she will want. I've done jewelry boxes, castles, and now a shell. I actually bought the pan for this one because I had no idea how to create the ridges of a shell. It ridges ended up being covered up by the icing so I just outlined the details in chocolate icing. After the movie, the girls decorated small pocketbooks Tate had picked out at AC Moore with puffy paint, buttons, and tye dye ribbon. I think fun was had by all.

Her actual birthday was spent going to the first soccer practices of the season. It was blazing hot outside, but Dane held up well being shuttled around. Scott and I gave her the skateboard she asked for and Paige gave her the Bop It game she fell in love with at Sophie's party. She picked Red Robin for dinner. This was our first time going out with Dane. He slept through the whole thing but woke up at the end. I gave him a bottle before leaving and he proceeded to projectile spit up on the booth. My shorts got soaked too. The girls said it was because his bottle was cold. Tate is the official bottle warmer of the house, so maybe she is right. After dinner, Scott took Dane home and the girls and I went to Justice for Tate to spend some birthday money. After shopping, we stopped for ice cream and made it home in time for Tate to show Scott her skateboard. It was a great family day!

In the last few weeks Tate has changed before my eyes. She has recently developed her own style. Just a few months ago I could pick out her clothes because she just didn't care much what she wore. Now she enjoys picking it out and asks me if things match or if they look good. It's fun to see her come into her own. Scott brought home a coupon to Justice (a tween clothing store) and I promised her that we could go and pick out an outfit for her party. We had so much fun. She picked out three outfits and we went into the dressing room (first time for us...I always pick out her clothes and bring them home). She tried each one on, twirled, stuck her hip out, pulled her chin down and posed. I loved it! She got a pink and black plaid dress with tiered ruffles on the bottom. She also got some 80s fingerless gloves. What a sight. She has since gone shopping with her Nana and asked for money to go back to Justice...a fashionista has emerged.

My final Tate story to commerate her birthday happened the morning the girls came to meet Dane for the first time. Before they arrived someone (can't remember who) asked me who was going to hold Dane first. My stomach sank. I had planned for so much before Dane came in order for the girls to feel included but I had not thought of this. My mind sprang into action but I could think of no way to solve the problem. I gave up and decided that I would just put the baby between them on both their laps. The girls arrived and it was time for the big hold. I think my Mom or Dad said, "Who is going to hold him first?" I was about to dive into my explanation when Tate said, "Paige, you can hold him. I got to hold you first." That comment brought me to simple but loaded with memories and kindness. That is how I think most of Tate. I learned to be a mom with Tate. I got to experience all the "firsts" with Tate. We will always have that special something. And even this weekend, she went to spend the weekend with Granny B. She was so excited, but she always gets weepy when it is time to leave me or her house. She loves home. Even though I want her to experience so many new things that will take her away from the safety of  home, my heart swells when that unconditional love comes to the surface. She'll always be my Taterbug!

Aug 3, 2010

Dane Michael is here!

On July 20, 2010 at 12:42 AM, Dane joined us...finally! Below is his birth story.

   On Monday July 19th, I had my 40 week appointment with Dr. Collins. The week before she had sent me home with inconsistent contractions, so I was a little worried that she would have me wait an extra week to make any plans for inducing. Thank goodness I was wrong. Luckily I had started to thin out and was dilated between 3 and 4cm, so the irregular contractions were now called "early labor" and after hearing me talk about the woes of no sleep and being uncomfortable, she asked me if I wanted to head over to the hospital now. Even though it is what I wanted, I was in shock and asked her if not now what would be our plan. She said that I would likely not get into the hospital for an induction until Thursday, Friday or Monday. I could not imagine waiting that long, so I accepted her invitation to head over to the hospital after going home to get my bags, leave notes for my Dad and the girls, and meet Scott so we could drive over in the same car. We were actually going to have a baby. I was the last of the four women (due within the same two weeks) on my street to have their baby.

   We gathered our things, left instructions for the girls, sent out an email and jumped back in the car. Yes, I drove. Ha! Control freak me needed to be in charge of something before the events of the day started. When we arrived at the hospital at around 2pm time seemed to stop and crawl by. The following hours became the hours of Eileen, the pro-natural nurse. Luckily, after having two babies I knew that the shift changes around 7pm so she would not be the nurse to help me deliver the baby...and thank my lucky stars I only had to deal with her for a few hours. From five to seven o'clock this woman had me walking for at least two of those hours and not one other pregnant woman was in the halls pushing an IV pole in a hospital gown. What a sight I was. I did not complain because it did keep me busy and passed the time. She was doing everything she could think of to keep me from having pitocin and especially the epidural she claimed may halt my labor. I quickly found out her daughter had recently birthed a 10 pound baby without meds.

   Needless to say, I swear an angel with light all around her appeared when the shift changed and Cindy, the night nurse, walked in the room having gotten the low down from Eileen about my afternoon. Within minutes of her arrival, Dr. Clark broke my water and soon after pitocin was running through my veins stabilizing my contractions. Cindy told me that the head anesthesiologist was on duty who gave the best epidurals. Soon the contractions were strong enough that I requested his services and while I did have a contraction while he was working within millimeters of my spinal cord, the procedure went fine. The only downfall was that we had to turn off the TV during the last ten minutes of The Bachelorette so I didn't get to see the end. Ha! I was so glad to get that over with. I swear I had more anxiety about the epidural than having the baby.

   The epidural always seems to speed my labor up, so the contractions started coming much faster. This would have been OK, but I had what the nurse called a hot spot, an area where the epidural did not take, so there was this searing pain on my right hip each time I had a contraction. She put me on my side and let gravity move the medicine down and thankfully that worked after thirty minutes or so. The final hurdle was my blood pressure issue. I have low blood pressure and the epidural can make your blood pressure go even lower. I told the nurse and anesthesiologist that I had to have two shots of adrenaline during Paige's birth because my blood pressure got dangerously low. Thank goodness this got everyone prepared because it happened again this time. At this point my mom was watching the monitors because I started to feel clammy and light headed. Mom pointed and the nurse quickly put the meds in my IV. My blood pressure had dropped to 66 over 30. Wowsers! After that I was fine. No more BP issues. Soon I was ready to push.

   After having two babies at 4 in the afternoon, it was weird having one right after midnight. As we waited for Dr. Collins to arrive, I told the nurse I had two babies while Oprah was on the TV and now I felt like Jimmy Kimmel was seeing way too much of me on the TV screen. Weird the things you remember from having babies. Dr. Collins arrived once again in her protective garb. She also delivered Tate and I remember being a little freaked out because she looked like she was going into battle with a splatter mask and gown over her scrubs. Dr. Littleton delivered Paige and he was in his scrubs and spider man cap. Very different docs for sure but I like both.

   It took around thirty minutes for Dane to join us. The big difference with him was that the contractions had big gaps between them. With the girls I felt like I was pushing the whole time. With Dane I had these breaks where we waited for another contraction to come. He arrived wiggling his head full of dark hair. They placed him on my chest and I just marveled that he was inside of me moments before. Scott says I have gotten the same look on my face at that moment with each child. I said it is a moment of amazement and relief. I was so excited that he was safe and healthy. Scott cut his umbilical cord and they did the first exam and bath right in the room with us. It was a great experience. I would rank it as the second best delivery with Tate's being the easiest. So, today he is two weeks old and life if different but wonderful. I'll update soon on life with his sisters.

Jul 13, 2010

First Days of School

Tate started fourth grade on Friday. FOURTH GRADE! I can't believe it. By fourth grade, I had a crush on Jeff Reed and walked with Neil to school everyday alone and then walked home and stayed at home until my mom got home from work. Wow times have changed. Here she is in her new fancy shirt.
She has Mrs. Wright this year who I have heard amazing things about so I am super excited. Her best friend Abbie is in her class yet again. They have only been separated for first grade. So special for them! She is really getting older to me just recently. She is asking me a lot more about my opinion on things to wear and if her hair looks nice. Don't get me wrong...she just pushed strollers around the block with Paige on Sunday so she is still my little girl but I can see the changes coming in little things she says and does.

On to a bigger announcement....PAIGE STARTED KINDERGARTEN YESTERDAY! With her being the baby for so long and having an extra year in preschool because she missed last year's cutoff date, I really should have been prepared for her to start school, but I really wasn't. I guess I just assumed she would always be my buddy home with me. She had a perfect first day! Here are a few pics.
She was up early without us having to wake her (not the norm around here). She could not wait to go and was ready at 7:30 (thirty minutes early). We all walked her in to her classroom and watched as Mrs. Stallings (awesome loving teacher) showed Paige her cubby and helped her unload her backpack that seemed to engulf her back. She did not do her nervous hair thing which made me so happy and kept the tears from rolling. Tate went along to her class and I quickly told Mrs. Stallings that I was due this week just so she would know in case it happened while Paige was at school. I'm tearing up just typing this because it was not what I expected after our struggles with preschool and her nervousness. She has grown leaps and bounds and I am so proud of her. Here is a pic of her getting off the bus.
I peppered her with questions once we got home. Her favorite part was riding the bus. She said she explored the school and visited the "paint" room (art) and computer lab. She ate lunch with her teacher and saw lots of friends from our street. Tate saw her in her class too later in the day. Mrs. Stallings asked her about upper and lower case letters. She colored a picture and found out Olivia from her dance class is in her class. Only six students go each day this week so the teacher can assess them. She'll go back on Friday to meet her entire class which includes her best friend Jackie. I think she may let me walk her in on Friday, but she is so determined to be independent I bet I won't get to do much more than that. What a sweetie! She is not much of a snuggler but after I took this picture I did get a big hug which I won't forget!

Now we await the newest Brennan who is due on Saturday. He is determined to be on time I guess. Not a bad habit to get early but I am ready for him to get here. The girls will look so huge then.

Jun 16, 2010

Two milestones for the ladies

First, Paige had her transitional kindergarten graduation at the end of May. It was one of those memories you just won't ever forget. They sang a cute song and then one by one they came to the front of the stage to get their diploma and tell the crowd what they wanted to be when they grow up. Paige said a vet. She loves KC, our cat more than anything, so I can see that. Afterward, there was a picnic and the kids played on the playground. Here is my professional hula hooper...

Now, she and I are on our summer break. She starts kindergarten on July 12th with Mrs. Stallings (yippee--the teacher we wanted more than anything). Last week we got her blue (favorite color) backpack and lunch box. Soon enough we will fill it with school supplies and she'll be off. I just can't believe it but with the extra year of preschool, I know she is ready. Next week she is doing an all day gymnastics camp....her idea for the full day. Mark my words...she'll be the one to leave the nest and blaze her own trail.

Now for Tate....her dance recitals took place last weekend. She had her ballet recital on Saturday and her tap recital on Sunday. Here are some pics.

She was showered with flowers! I've never seen so many vases around the house. The ballet number was a Venetian masquerade. It was beautiful. After a few years of odd costumes, I feel like she finally got her first true tutu. Her tap number was to "Hit the Road Jack." There were only three people in her class: Tate, Isabella and Sydney (a boy). I thik they did great on the big stage in such a small group. The costume glowed but fit the music.

Tate does not get much of a summer break until August. She finishes her year on June 30th. Scott is going to take the girls to the Outer Banks for a few day over the 4th of July while I hang back and enjoy some time with my best friend Courtney who is going to come visit and drive me to the hospital if I go into labor while Scott is gone. Ha! Luckily, our babies usually come right on time, so I think we'll be safe. Fourth grade will start for her on July 9th and then she'll track out in late July for her three week summer break and her 9th birthday.

This is sure to be an exciting and life altering summer for us! I'll keep you updated.

May 20, 2010

From the mouths of high schoolers

So, I am due in less than two months with Baby B and I have clearly become a distraction at work with the students. They see me and immediately far along are you?, do you know what it is?, can I touch your belly?, when are you due? They gawk at my belly without making eye contact until what seems like minutes later. It is like I've had a boob job on my stomach...that will be the closest thing to that kind of attention I will ever get. Ha! Here are some of the more interesting comments....
  • They let you work like that.
  • You should be on the couch.
  • When are you going into labor?
  • Your timer has popped so you must be done (in reference to my belly button).
  • I'm checking out a book and a student asked me the due date.  He precedes to freak when I say two weeks. I am talking about the book and he is referring to the baby.
  • When I wore a white and purple stripped shirt, I was told that I could be a character in a Dr. Seuss book. I have not worn said shirt again. Why do they make stripped shirts for pregnant ladies? Why do I buy them?
  • You don't look pregnant from behind but whooooo when you turn around....
The scary thing is that I have a month more to work pregnant and my belly is only going to get bigger. I will definitely be able to add to this list by June 11th.

May 19, 2010

Paige's Recital

Paige's dance recital was Saturday at the Holly Spring Cultural Center. She danced to a Peter Pan song. I just think she is the cutest thing ever when you pull her hair back and put mascara on those long eyelashes she got from Scott. I wish you could see them in the picture. She decided to take a break from dancing next year and try gymnastics again so this recital was a little bittersweet. She is quite graceful and has been dancing since she was two when she and I joined a Mommy and me class. But...on the bright side...she wants to try new things which is awesome.
Here we are with the ballerina and Baby B in my belly. Whew! I'm getting big. Maybe I should not have turned to the side. We've taken this shot each year, so I had to get one and have so few of me pregnant that I can't complain really.

After the big show, we went to dinner with Myrna, Bob, Garrett, Emily, and Connor at Bass Lake. Connor was a hoot laughing and throwing a torpedo yellow crayon at Paige. That boy has an arm.  Maybe he'll play football for Florida and make Garrett proud!

It was a wonderful day! Paige got beautiful flowers. Earlier in the day, Paige told me that she did not see any flowers around and that I would be sent to my room for two weeks if we did not get her flowers. I thought it was hilarious. Scott picked them up on his way home from work and had them hidden in the garage.