Saturday, January 27, 2018

December 2017

December 2017 was a fun month for our family. We wrapped up 2017 with a bang - spent time with friends both new and old, continued traditions and maybe started a new one or two. We flew down to Dallas on Christmas Eve and spent a few days with my parents and sisters before heading back home before new year's. It was a much needed break and time to re-charge. Bennett and Lucy adored the time with Nana, Papa and cousin Luke. John and I celebrated 8 years of marriage when we got back with a fun night of food, an action/adventure escape room and board games with friends.

 Since I was taking photos of Lucy, Bennett asked if I could take his photo. Only problem - no pants! HA!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Some 2016 Favorites from John's Phone

What a joy this kid is! Here he is with a sort of mullet doing his favorite thing -eating!

A spring visit to Houston to meet my sister's pup Obi. Obi is now about as large as this cage and 4-5x as big as Bennett!

 We took a trip to New Hampshire with friends and Bennett enjoyed his first easter egg hunt. What a cute bunny!
 Memoral Day Weekend we camped with friends, while on a bike ride Bennett pointed and said "Owl!" We looked over and through the forest there was an owl. I could hardly believe it! I have never seen an owl in the wild before-- and my 1.5 year old spotted it.
 Reading at a book store. Bennett enjoyed 100s of books in 2016  - one of his favorite pastimes.
 In June we went to Orlando with some friends - Bennett loved Disney and has since become obsessed with Mickey Mouse.
 Summer was filled with lots of fun visitors and late nights with friends. I love this "action shot" of John trying to be 16 again.
 Sunday night bonfires with friends were the norm - here my friend Wanda and I are catching pokemon (this app lasted about 12 hours on my phone).
 Fall cleanup - my mammoth sunflowers did not disappoint.
 A visit in the fall from Nana. Bennett sure loves his nana.
 John looks so cute here - had to post... dressing room selfie for the win!
 Just a few weeks before Lucy was born we took the cog railway up to the top of mt washington (tallest peak on east coast). It was stunning!! The colors were amazing - this is a trip I will never forget.
 John and I at the temple a few days before Lucy was born.
 About to pop!
 My beautiful Lucy right after birth.
 Bennett and Nana loving on Lucy. It was so magical having my mom in town.
 Bennett as Mickey Mouse for halloween. Halloween was tricky this year as Lucy was just a few days old. I missed out on seeing Bennett really trick or treat - but I did manage to sneak into a few gatherings even just for a few minutes so I could see him. This was the first year he really "got it". He did a great job saying trick or treat and thank you.
 My mom did some photo shoots when Lucy was brand new. She is such a doll...
 Life with two kids. Always looking tired, always having one kid not going along with the program and always having your hands full. I couldn't love anything more than being a mother.
 In November, for thanksgiving, John's parents and his brother Daniel & Family came to visit us. Bennett was in heaven with his cousins. He was in such a funk when they left. Here he is saying goodbye to Avery. It was such a sweet moment.
 John and I snuck away to the Nutcracker in Boston in December. I have always wanted to go see the nutcracker and it did not disappoint.

2016 was an amazing year. I am so grateful for all we learned and experienced and that we could welcome Lucy into our family.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Some of my favorites from Summer 2015

1 Year!


Note: today I am finally publishing some posts I drafted a while ago. This is from my 12 week appt during my pregnancy with Lucy. I am happy to report she was born a happy and healthy baby girl and is now 3 months old. 

Today I had a really scary experience that I am sure I won't forget.

I went in for my 12 week appointment and the dr. could't find a heart beat. She said she would have me get an ultrasound and would see me in 4 weeks. She acted so calm and asked if had any questions just like any other visit.

I was in shock. I had been in fear all week that this pregnancy was too good to be true, a miracle and a blessing that couldn't be real.  I mumbled no questions - except... where do I go now?

I spent the next 45 minutes with my mind rushing as I chased Bennett around the office. Oh darn it - he pooped. Again. I took him to the bathroom and broke down in tears as I cleaned his little bum.

He started to throw a tantrum as we left the bathroom. I begged him, please be nice to mommy today.

We returned from the bathroom.  A few more minutes went by and they called me back. I was so anxious and so afraid of what the tech would tell me.

A little gel and she places the monitor on my belly - where is the baby? Why can't I see it? Just a big black blob. Oh - I can't take this!

I don't hear anything and start to panic - but then the tech says she sees a heartbeat. I burst into tears again. My baby is alive! I almost couldn't believe it. I was so relieved.

After she measure the heartbeat she showed me a few different views of the baby. The baby is a little smaller than a plum right now. She shifts the view again - and suddenly I see it - the baby moving! Waving it's cute little arms at me.

I felt such relief but still was shaken at the horror of if I had lost the baby.

I know so many friends and loved ones who have lost little ones. I can't even imagine the pain, but I caught a glimpse of the fear and the anxiety that might come to a mother who experiences this kind of loss.

I am so grateful that the baby is healthy. I had a very spiritual experience that led me to this pregnancy - I know that it is a direct blessing from Heavenly Father after fervent prayers and direction from him.

1 Samuel 1:27
For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

Bennett's Birth

The day before Bennett was born
Before I ever got pregnant, I was pretty sure I wanted to have a natural childbirth.  I had a few friends who I really admired who had natural births.  I also saw the documentary "The Business of Being Born", which while I realize is biased, I still found very informative and inspiring.

While it is not a choice I think everyone would/could/should make, I am grateful for the birth experience I had.

 I had a very long early labor (Wed - Friday), where I more than once thought it was about time. I kept calling the midwifes and checking in, and they kept saying... "nope, doesn't sound like you are ready yet". We even went in on Wednesday night to discover I was only dilated to a 2.... not even close!

We spent the days going on walks, playing board games, trying to get some sleep. My contractions slowed down during the day.

At night they picked up, and that was why we checked in so many times. I would contract with such regular frequency and growing intensity. I spent all of Friday night pacing the floor, alternating between sitting in my big blue arm chair and leaning over our kitchen island to work through the contractions.

Finally Saturday morning I had had enough! Things started to slow down again as they did the previous days, but we drove on in to the Birth Center because I was so worn out and we were tired of waiting. To our delight I was dilated to a 6. I was so excited when the midwife told us we were having our baby today... it gave me a new burst of energy and courage. We had been so discouraged every time they had said not yet.  They sent us on a long walk to get things moving and then admitted us afterwards. The walk was actually really empowering. We were walking through Cambridge and I kept having to stop for contractions, and people would see me and shout "You can do it! I've been there!" or "You Go Girl!"

My blood pressure was too high to stay at the birth center (a center on the hospital campus that is more home-like/comfortable), so I waddled slowly and stopped often as I was transferred to the hospital to have Bennett.  Although I am sure the birth center would have been fine, I really had a good experience in the hospital.  They knew I wanted a natural birth, and I clicked a lot better with the midwife there.

Within an hour of being there I was already to an 8, so they broke my water. I then took a hot shower. They asked me afterwards if the contractions felt more intense... I could hardly feel them in the shower. Within 15-20 minutes of hopping out of the shower, my doula said..."Are you pushing??? It looks like you are bearing down?" I said I had no idea, my body was just doing what it was doing. They brought in the midwife and I had my first real push. There is nothing that could have prepared me for that! I literally felt him move like 2 inches down the birth canal and my eyes almost popped out of my head. I got pretty scared... but the midwife was so supportive and told me to listen to my body. I pushed every few minutes for about 45 minutes, and then Bennett was born. The pushing was definitely the most intense experience of my life... I felt so strong yet so weak at the same time. My body knew what it was doing though, and as long as I listened to my body it was okay.

I can also really attest the natural pain relieving powers of our bodies. I felt like I was on another planet. I had hormones rushing through me that I have never ever felt before, I was almost in a trance of some sort.

 The rush I felt from natural birth was incredible. After Bennett was born and they were cleaning everything up, I just sat in the bed in awe. I felt like I was in another dimension. If I were to imagine what it was like to be extremely high, I was higher than a kite. I had so many natural hormones rushing through my body... it was amazing. And while pushing is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had... it brought me the greatest joy I have ever had. My sweet Bennett.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Catching Up

Hello blog, my dear old friend! It has been a while so we have some catching up to do. Here is the reader's digest version of life at the McElderry home lately:

  • Bennett is now 16 mos old. His favorite things include breaking all of the cabinet locks mom and dad installed, looking at books, eating (did I mention 93 percentile for height and weight?) and going outside. He grabs his coat at least once a day now and gets very upset when we don't follow his lead and take him outside. Bennett has learned a bunch of sign language, and asks for cheese, bananas, and also tells us when he uses the bathroom (most the time). Other signs he uses often are more, all done, school, home, car, bath, eat, milk, binky, up, down, etc. It has been an awesome tool to communicate with him. He also uses a lot of those words now, too. His favorites are ball, dog, duck, dada and buh bye. 
  • This past fall was a whirlwind - we probably didn't have more than a week go by from August - December that we weren't a) hosting visitors, b) travelling, c) throwing some big event for work/church/friends. It was a blast, but I am looking forward to some more quiet time in the winter. But not too quiet!
  • About 2 months after I wrote a post about staying home full time, Accenture reached out to me about working part time on the same project I was at before. I was hesitant but decided to go back in early March, and have been working 3 days a week ever since (1 day from home). I was very skeptical at first but it has been a nice balance. I am grateful my company is so flexible, and also that we have found some great child care while I am away from home.
  • John continues his work at Vertex - they launched a new drug for Cystic Fibrosis in the summer. He and I commute in together two days a week and it is nice to have the time together.
Anyway - hoping to write more soon and a lot more in 2016. 

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