Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Birth Day





To our Nola,

One week ago, you turned the big 0-4! But just the week before that, we were looking into your big blue eyes for the first time...or so it seems. How can it be that you have grown up into a little lady of 4 in the blink of an eye? And yet how can it be that it's been only 4 years?! Time is funny that way.

You are SUCH a joy! You bring laughter to our lives each day. Making silly faces, dancing around the house in your undies, telling jokes that don't make sense, being a "baby-not-talking-horse(or puppy or cat or or or). You are fun, loveable, sassy and loving. You have such a big heart and are quick to compassion when others are hurting. You also stick up for those you love - getting angry when someone is teasing Emmerly, or getting mad at Em when you think she's being mean to Mommy or Daddy. At Christmas, Daddy was joking around with Emmerly and singing, "Oh Emmerly, Oh Emmerly! Oh how I love your stinky bum!" to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree." You ran into the room and with a defiant look said, "My sister's bum smells like roses!" To you, anything is possible, the world is magic! Last week at dinner we were playing a conversation game and the question was, "If you could change the weather, how would you change it?" My practical answer was I'd like seasons in California. Your answer was, "With a wand." You said it so matter of factly, like "duh, how else would you change it?"

You have become such a wonderful big sister to Aveline these last 3 months. If ever she starts crying, you are quick to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and will continue singing it until she stops crying....or until we tell you it's ok to stop! You also smother her with kisses hourly. When Aveline was first born, your whole little body would shake when you were holding her, and I knew you had so much love for her and wanted to just squeeze her, but were trying to be so gentle.

Your favorite movie is The Lion King, favorite character is Minnie, favorite color is green, favorite ice cream is strawberry. There was a time a few months ago when you wanted to watch Lion King daily....glad that has passed. :) And in Italy, you wanted only strawberry gelato; wouldn't even try any other kind. You are a girl that knows what she likes! Oh, you also love the Justin Beiber song "Baby" and often sing it to Aveline. A big thank you to Daddy's students for that one.

You love to sit and listen when Emmerly and I are reading for school, and love to get out your own school book when we are doing math. You have recently started asking frequently how to spell things and wanted to write all your own Valentines yourself. You also often write a bunch of different letters down and then ask, "Mom, what does l-e-f-s-p-f-t-t-t-o-s spell?" And you love to grab a book and sit down yourself to "read it", but even better is when we snuggle on the couch to read it. I'm so incredibly glad for all this, as you used to be able to sit still for .3 seconds when reading a book, and now you can't get enough of them.

This year, you were a world traveler, literally! You went to Nevada, Colorado, Washington DC, South Carolina, Georgia, and Italy! You are a delight on trips because you just go with the flow, sleep where you can when you can, and pretty much keep up with the big kids - impressive!

We love you to pieces, Miss Nola, and just can't get enough of you! We are grateful to God each day for giving us the gift of YOU. We'll love you forever. We'll like you for always. And you'll always be our baby.

All our love always,
Mommy and Daddy

And a sassy four at that!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Christmas for Five, Please

Right before Aveline came, we visited our favorite "crazy Christmas light's everywhere" house

This Christmas was especially fun as we had our own little "Baby Jesus" to play with! Aveline is truly lighting up our lives and bringing us such joy. The girls just love on her from sun up to sun down. It's such a delight to see.

Things have been a little crazy around here with Madrigal Feast and traveling and choir festivals and all that goes along with being a choir director's wife (I know you wouldn't think it would be crazy, but IT IS!!!), on top of having a newborn. Life right now is made up of a lot of feeding sessions, diaper changes, bags under the eyes, schooling in pajamas, and not a ton else, but we are loving it.

This year, we met Scott's family in Vegas the week before Christmas and had a nice relaxing time. We decorated gingerbread men, had an ornament exchange (sort of like white elephant), played with the cousins - Gavin and Lexi - and just enjoyed each other - so nice! Oh, but we did lose the oldest girls for a minute in the elevator of the Bellagio! They got on and thought we were getting on too, only to realize they were alone in the elevator! Scary - for all of us! Thankfully, Em kept her wits about her and got herself and Nola back to our original floor with the help of an employee, and only burst into tears after she was safely in my arms.

The ornament Emmerly made for the exchange (with just a tiny bit of help from Mommy)

The ornament Nola painted for the exchange

At the Bellagio after the "elevator incident"

We were with my family on Christmas day and enjoyed good food, good company, and celebrated the birth of our Lord! It's always fun to have a new baby around, and the older girls are at an age where they truly enjoy Christmas, and still understand what it's truly all about. The girls were excited to receive Lalaloopsy Dolls, rollerskates and rollerblades, a bike, a pogo stick, a plasma car and Emmerly's first American Girl Doll, Kit. We are truly blessed!

Aveline snuggling with Uncle D

The week following Christmas we all got sick except Aveline. No fun, but at least Scott was home to help me out!

Now, looking forward to a wonderful 2012 with our new family of five. Blessed indeed!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Aveline's Birth Day

8:30 am on Monday, November 28th, a large needle was inserted into my swollen belly to determine if our baby's lungs were strong enough to handle coming out and meeting us the next day. I was at 36 weeks, but because of my rupture with Nola, and because of the contractions I'd been having since 34 weeks, my doc didn't want to wait any longer. The amnio really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be - just a little pinch, and then pressure, but not pain. The doctor that took the fluid out said based on her experience, the fluid seemed mature, and it looked like we would be having a baby the next day, but we had to receive the lab results to make sure. The rest of that day was a bit torturous - waiting and waiting and waiting.....and waiting.....I was under orders to go home and rest, and I actually really felt that I needed to. I was pretty crampy the rest of the day, and just felt weird. But it was tough not being able to get those last minute things checked off my list. And the waiting - oh man! Every time my phone rang I was hoping it was the lab, but it never was. The girls and I just snuggled on the couch and watched movies and finally I received a call at 6 pm (when we had been told we'd get one by noon!!) from my own doc saying it was a go! We were having a baby the next morning! His/her lungs were right on the cusp of being fully developed, but my doc didn't want to wait any longer, and we were truly ok with that! We were so excited to get to meet our son or daughter! We headed to the airport to pick up Jan/Mormor/Scott's Mom and then to Lazy Dog where we met my mom for my last meal - their yummy pot roast melt! It's the best!

That night it was hard to get the girls to sleep. They were excited and nervous and worried - about the fact that I wouldn't be able to snuggle with them in bed for the next six weeks, and about the surgery itself. When we prayed that night, Emmerly asked, "God, please don't let my mom die." My heart just broke. There are just no words. Tears just streamed down my face and I held her. I tried to reassure her that God was in control and I would be ok. But I was nervous too. I admitted to her that I was scared too, and somehow I think it helped her.

I didn't sleep much. I was too keyed up, for obvious reasons! I knew I needed to sleep; that the following day would be long and emotional and tiring. But I also felt like I had so many things to do still - finish that last load of laundry, pack snacks for Scott for the next day, write a letter to my girls and wrap their "big sister gift", pay the bills! I remember I finally went to bed at midnight and laid in bed for what seemed like hours.....only to see that it had been 23 minutes. Oy vey - it was going to be a long night!! So I got up and bustled around some more, talked to Scott's mom, made a list of everything I needed to do in the morning before leaving, cried a bit, and finally fell asleep on the couch around 2am.

At 4:30am I was up and moving, and by 5:45 we were walking through the hospital doors. It was unseasonably balmy for so early in the morning in late November and I made a mental note - I always like to tell my kids the story of their birth on their birthdays each year, including such details as the weather. It was quiet and calm - no one else in sight when we entered, and we took a moment to snap a few last pictures of what will most likely be my last pregnant belly.

Even though I was having a C-section, they settled me into a labor and delivery room so they could get my IV in, give me fluids, take blood and wait until they were ready for me in the OR. Scott and I prayed and then were pretty quiet at first. Time seemed to be moving so slowly! When my IV was finally in (after 5 attempts and 3 nurses, and blood squirting all over the floor!) and all the necessary tests had been done or started, they let our family in, and the party started!

In attendance that morning: both our moms, Emmerly and Nola, my brother Daniel and his girlfriend Nuch, and my bestie Jen. There was a lot of talking and laughing and debating whether it was a boy or girl (pretty much everyone was in consensus that it was a boy, basically WILLING it to be a boy, except the girls, who wanted a sister), and tons of pictures taken. Emmerly took a lot of them and impressed us all with her eye for photography!

Last family of 4 picture!

It was so great to be able to hang out and relax before heading into surgery. I think it was really good for the girls, especially Emmerly, to see me that morning. I think it helped to calm her a bit. And we had so much fun! Scott and I were relaxed and just ready! I was nervous, too, about the surgery, but mostly just excited to meet our baby! And all of a sudden it was time, and I kissed everyone and was off to the OR. Scott donned his special onesie and I got my spinal, which took FOR-E-VER!

They actually started cutting before Scott got in the room, and I got a little nervous at first! I wanted to make sure he was there, of course!! But then he was by my head and holding my hand and walking me through everything they were doing. The anaesthesiologist got mad at him at one point for videoing, but Dr. Chung assured him it was all good! I was freezing, so they loaded my arms and head up with warm blankets and I looked like a little babushka. Again, things seemed to be taking so long - much longer, I felt, than with Emmerly. But then they were telling me that there was going to be a lot of pressure and that we were about to meet our baby! When the head came out, everyone gave audible gasps and "oh!"s and again I got nervous! It's difficult not being able to see what it going on! But Scott told me the cord was around the neck and in two knots, hence the gasps. And within a split second, Dr. Chung and Scott said at the same time, "It's a girl!" and I just remember sobbing. Scott was crying too, yet still managed to get some great video of the whole thing!

And in that moment it felt like I had always known it was a girl. Of course it was. Our Aveline. I sobbed with joy and relief and gratefulness. And then I heard something that sounded like a pig squealing and it literally took me a second to realize it was Aveline! She showed us that her lungs would be JUST FINE!

Scott got to cut the cord, and then they wiped her off a bit, wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to Scott. It was amazing! And so unlike our experience with Emmerly. They had to whisk Em off to the NICU (Scott went with her too) and I didn't see her again for 5 hours. But this time, oh what bliss! Scott got to hold Aveline and sit next to me while they stitched me up. I got to kiss her and love on her and it was actually nice and relaxing! They took Aveline away from Scott only long enough to weigh and measure her, and then they gave her to me and wheeled us to recovery - together! Again, so different and so wonderful! My nurse Jade was awesome and helped me get Aveline skin to skin as soon as we got in the recovery room (which was a tiny Harry Potter closet, but all ours, so at the moment it was my own slice of heaven not having to recover with 6 other people and apart from my new babe). Aveline latched right away and I actually got to feed her in the first hour of her life! For having to have a C-section, it was the best experience I could possibly have had - so natural and nurturing and everything I could have wanted.

While I was in recovery Scott went out to give our waiting family the great news. Emmerly had wanted me to be the one to tell her if it was a boy or girl, so in the operating room Scott and I made a video with our iphone saying "It's a......GIRL! Aveline Lacy is here!" Jen got the sweetest picture of Em watching the video, her face aglow at the realization that our baby was a girl. I had really thought we were having a boy (right up until the day before when the amnio tech basically blew it and gave us reason to believe it was a girl), but the girls so desperately wanted a sister, and would always say "I WANT it to be a girl, but I THINK it's a boy." So I knew they would be beyond the moon ecstatic with the news, and they were indeed!

Watching the video, waiting for the news...

The big reveal! Ecstatic!

Their first glimpse

Waiting around for the nurses to bring Aveline in....itching to get our hands on her!

Nola got to hold her first....not so sure about this!

She settled into it pretty quickly

Meeting Nana

Meeting Mormor

Performing "Circle of Life" from The Lion King


The rest of the day is a blur of visitors, texts and phone calls and congratulations, tears, smiles, watching the girls meet their sister, photos, a liquid diet, a forgetful nurse, a first diaper, pain, standing up and taking a few steps, more pain, naps, a much desired sandwich, holding and snuggling Aveline and falling in love. I think the three days that I have met my children have been the longest in my life, but also the most lovely. I remember that night skyping with my other bestie Gina and introducing her to Aveline and realizing that she had been born that morning. It seemed impossible. It seemed not days before, but years before! It seemed a whole lifetime had happened in a day. And so it had.

And that, my friends, is how I came to meet one of the greatest loves of my life. My Aveline.