Monday, May 18, 2015

Laurel Box

I'm so excited to share with you all this very dear and necessary new company that my sister in law, Johanna, has just started with her cousin, Denise.  I've never been asked to review a product or website before, so bear with me as this is a new way of writing.

Laurel Box is a small company that was recently started to provide thoughtful, hand selected gifts for women in seasons of grief, difficult change, or loss.  Each item has been thoughtfully created to bring comfort and tenderness to a woman who has recently experienced the loss of a child, a miscarriage, or a significant change in her life.

For Johanna and Denise, this idea was born out of the desire to want to help several friends who were experiencing losses of babies and loved ones.  These precious women were feeling at a loss for what to send to their friends as a way to show love and support. So they created laurel box.

One of the cool things about their company is the desire to create unique items that can only be found on their website.  They found a local tea shop in Denver who created three unique tea blends just for their company.  And the same goes for the three essential oils they have for sale.  A wonderful woman who makes oil blends did the same and created them just for laurel box and for seasons of grief. There are precious necklaces and charms so you can wear your baby's initials, or a lovely silver or gold locket to wear with a photo of your loved one.  Two beautifully stamped tea towels to hang in your kitchen or bathroom are a great reminder of God's promises to always be with you in your time of grief and sorrow. One of my most favorite items is a birthday candle to light for your loved one on their special day. I can't wait to do this for Molly! There are even more products to share but I think a look around their website would be better than reading about it here.

Please check out their website! It's so amazing what these two beautiful souls have done in such a short time. I plan on ordering a few items for Molly's birthday and when I get them I will write another review with pictures of what I got.

Thanks for reading and taking a peek at Laurel Box.  It's sure to inspire you and be a perfect place to go when you want to offer support and love to someone going through a difficult season of life.

Zeke turns ONE!!









Can you tell what the theme of the party was?? Bow ties for our little nugget Zeke! It's pretty amazing how fast a year goes by.  He's so darn cute and loves his big sisters so much!  He's also pretty fond of his Daddy.

His party was a success in pulling off when it came to the decorations and theme, but as for the attendants, it was a smaller group and one of the partyers had food poisoning and lost his lunch all over the floor shortly after Zeke bit into his cake.  The two families who came were leaving and I was nursing a very fussy Zeke in his room when he decided to join the "puke party" and lost his cake all over his white carpeted bedroom. The thing to note here is that his bedroom is the only bedroom upstairs with carpet.  In fact, most of our house is hardwood or tile with the exception of the basement bedroom, movie room, and his room.

I promptly bathed him and spent the next half hour on my hands and knees scrubbing and willing the purple mess out of the carpet.  (He'd had some purple carrot baby food prior to cake) I was pretty irritated to be cleaning up this kind of mess on the night of his special birthday but then quickly reminded myself that this was part of the process and something I would soon forget or that would fade with time.

You probably were looking forward to reading about babies throwing up when you opened this post, right?!

And since there's more to Zeke than his tummy troubles, I will give you a quick flyby of what's he's currently into and what life is like for him.

-He can crawl pretty fast and pulls up on furniture, but is thankfully NOT walking or attempting to walk yet.  I am perfectly happy with this mode of transportation.
-He is a stair master and makes a beeline for them as soon as possible.  But remember the floor situation in our house?? The stairs are all wood and so we make it a point to follow him up the stairs whenever we hear his pudgy little hands smacking the stairs.
-Zeke and Rainey love each other.  Rainey loves to giggle at him and run away from him squealing, as if tempting him to chase her.  He usually grins and starts crawling toward her for more laughs.
-We all love to tickle him and get him laughing, especially me.
-He's learning what "No" means, in particular around mealtime and the throwing of food off the high chair.
-As it turns out, we're pretty sure he's allergic or has some sensitivity to dairy which means no milk or cheese or homemade frosting on cake! Bummer!!
-He also loves swings, his rocking chair, and anything that lulls him to sleep.  Jake gave me a hammock for Mother's Day and I got in it with Zeke and within 10 minutes he was snoring. It was a sweet little time with my little guy.
-His first haircut was a success! He doesn't look like a baby much anymore now that his hair is trim and clean cut!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!

Halfway to double digits!

Our sweet Piper and Lily turned 5 last month and had 8 of their little friends over for a tea party complete with handmade hats, white gloves, necklaces made by the girls, and ring pops to complete their outfits!  I had so much fun with their party and they enjoyed it too.  It was so sweet to see them welcome their friends and offer them gloves and necklaces to wear.  

Enjoy the pictures!! Zeke's 1st birthday photos to come next. 







Thursday, July 31, 2014

The lunchtime scramble

As I sat down to make yet another feeble attempt at eating lunch, another request rang out from one of my kids.  I smiled to myself and got back out of my chair to meet yet another need and I thought about how much can happen in less than an hour.  It feels like a marathon sometimes.  I decided I should write this down, one for the memory books when I miss the days of having toddlers and small children running around our house.

One hour earlier...

I check the clock and it's nearly 10:30 a.m.  My mental alarm goes off that it's time to feed the baby again which will take about 20 minutes to do.  As I'm quietly rocking in his nursery while he eats, I realize that as soon as he finishes eating it will be close to 11:00 and not far off from lunch time so I know that when he's done I will need to get lunch started.  Zeke finishes nursing, which is just about my favorite thing I do each day, and I head back downstairs to the kitchen where it feels like I live all day long.  I start a pot of water for a box of bunny pasta mac n cheese for the girls and as soon as I say bunny pasta the twins start getting super excited as if we haven't had it every other day for weeks now.  Wow, if only I could get that pumped up about what I ate for lunch!

While I'm putting Zeke on the play mat, they eagerly ask if they can help with lunch and I decide it's worth it to slow down and take the extra time to teach them how to cut up the strawberries I had just pulled out of the fridge.  After washing their hands, Lily and Piper both drag a little kid chair over to the counter and ask me to tie on their aprons. I hand them each a pile of strawberries and a bowl and they start cutting away.

Meanwhile the water for the pasta is angrily boiling on my stove and Rainey is tugging at my legs with that starved look in her face as if she hasn't eaten in days.  I balance her on my hip while I show her how to pour the box of dried pasta into the hot bubbling water.  She wants to eat one first so while she's crunching away, we pour the pasta in together.  I set the timer for 8 minutes and then ask Lily to get three plates and bowls out for lunch.  She and I lay them out on the counter, complete with spoons and forks.  I dump strawberries on each plate while we wait for the pasta.  This is when I realize that I need to eat too.  I put Rainey down on the floor and she promptly runs over to a very vulnerable Zeke lying on his play mat and lays down next to him. I'm just thankful she didn't lay down ON him.

The timer on the microwave goes off and I set about draining the pasta, mixing the sauce, pouring it all together and then into various colored bowls.  As I'm getting their plates filled, Rainey discovers how close she is to stuffing her face and with all the noise she can muster, she wildly gestures toward the island where the plates are.

As the three girls eat, I load my plate with leftover lasagna from the night before and start cutting it into bite-sized pieces before I realize that I don't need to cut my food up like I do for the girls.  Oh well, I guess it will heat up quicker this way.  I pop it into the microwave and fill up my water bottle bottle while it heats.

I'm setting my plate at the table where Rainey is eating and just as I'm sitting down to put a forkful in my mouth, she starts making the sign for "more" and saying, "deh, deh, deh, deh, deh, deh...". I am amazed at how fast these kids eat.  I start getting her more pasta when the older two start asking for something to drink. I give Rainey back her bowl and start filling cups with water.  Just as I'm handing out beverages, Zeke starts crying and flailing is chunky little legs and Rainey is saying, "deh, deh, deh" and signing for more food again.  I scoop out more strawberries onto her plate and more pasta and then I go to pick up the baby and fully intend to sit down and eat this time.  I am swallowing my third bite of lukewarm lasagna when Rainey tells me in her cutest 22 month old voice that she's, "dah done" and waving her hands in the air.  OF COURSE she's all done and I am just getting started!! I tell her to wait while I eat a few more bites and then I have to put Zeke in a bouncy so I can clean her up before she smears cheese sauce in her hair.  Not that the addition of cheese sauce in her hair would matter since there's a nice thick layer of greasy, water resistant aquaphor lotion in it from a few days before.  Oh but that's a story for another day.

I'm wiping her hands when the doorbell rings and it turns out to be our painter with some samples for me to look at.  Sure, I have time to look at samples, it's not like I need to eat so that I can continue to make milk for my chunky little guy.

The girls run off to do more playing and Rainey is content to read books in the corner of the living room and then chuck them to the side when she finishes.  After I select a paint sample, I quickly finish eating before I get interrupted with...

"Mommy!!!! I had an accident in the bathroom!!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May I introduce you?

Once the fourth kid comes along, some things get moved to the back burner right? In our sleep deprived state, the mind gets a little fuzzy and forgets things such as telling family members the entire name of my newly born child, how much he weighed, or even how the birth went.  

And so it went for us this time around.  It's not like we didn't know a baby was about to be born and join our family, it's that we were busy doing other things with our little ducklings that we forgot about the whole birth announcement email thing. 

SO... here it is. Just shy of 4 weeks late, but who's counting?? And oh yea, if you don't have time to read the enclosed tale, skip to the end for the important details.

Friday morning, April 11th, I got a phone call from my doctor asking where I was and what about that induction we had planned for that day.  "Well," I told him, "we have three small children we can't find childcare for, that's what happened."  I had been having pre-labor contractions for 3 straight days (and nights) now and was six days past my due date. I was beyond ready to meet this baby and so completely done with being pregnant, it wasn't even funny anymore.  But I wasn't about to drag my three little girls to the hospital with me to be traumatized by the birth of their brother or the fact that their beloved momma was screaming in pain. So I was fine waiting till we could get some help with the girls. 

My doctor invited me to come see him at the office and get checked to see if I had progressed since I had been in, 3 days prior. As I sat in the exam room, with my two 4 year olds holding my hands, I muttered under my breath, "I seriously doubt there's any change in my cervix."  Much to my surprise, I was 4 cm.  Three days before that I was at a 2 and had been for almost a month at that point. So to go 2 more cm in that amount of time was progress, people. Dr. Austin told me to come back to the hospital in an hour to get checked into a room and get ready to have this baby. Apparently they were understaffed and needed 60 more minutes to get ready for one more patient. I guess I wasn't the only one about to have a baby. 

So we went to Chick-Fil-A where I ate breakfast in between contractions while the girls played on the indoor playground.  Did I mention we had all three of our children with us this entire time?  My phone rang and it was Dr. Austin, again, this time telling me to not delay and get back to the hospital.  They were ready for me. And I was ready for them. 

Jake pulled up to the hospital to drop me off, making me promise that I wouldn't have this baby without him there, because he had to drive back to our house to leave our kids with some amazing friends of ours.  Before he left, I hauled my huge self into the back of the minivan to hug and kiss my sweet babies.  Jake asked the twins if mommy was going to be strong or weak when I had the baby  and Piper yelled out, "Weak!!!". We both laughed and then Jake asked it again and once more they called out the same answer, "Weak!!"  Oh well, so much for a pep talk from the twins. 

I checked myself in to the hospital, signing papers for me and my sweet baby boy. Then they led me off to my room where I got my IV (after three, painful tries), hooked me up to the monitors, and made me pee in a cup. My doula (that's a birthing coach for you non-hippy folks), Kyla, showed up around the time they started digging for a vein in my arm and that was nice to have someone else to talk to while my arms were hurting, not to mention the contractions I was STILL having here. 

Then Jake called to ask me where I had put some box or cord to a computer. "I don't know. You'll have to look yourself, I'm in labor!" I spouted off before reminding him to hurry up and get there. 

I don't know what time it is at this point, probably sometime around 12. Jake arrived and we set the room up with pretty white christmas lights and a sweet labor blessing flag that was made at my baby shower complete with prayers and verses from my friends. 

Dr Austin then waltzes into the room and proceeds to ask if we want my water broken to speed things up.  I wanted to avoid any pain meds or drugs that could interfere with labor so we figured we would go with the most natural route.  Plus, he had broken my water when I was in labor with Rainey and she was born 68 minutes after that. So I figured it had to be fairly quick since this was my 4th time around the block. 

At 1:00 p.m. he broke my water and nothing happened for awhile.  I was having contractions still but it didn't feel like it had with Rainey so I was a little nervous. Turns out, I didn't need to be nervous because pretty soon I was feeling everything in my lower back.  Good old back labor. I basically had to have both my doula and Jake pressing on my hips and lower spine throughout each contraction.  It was so ridiculously painful, I was wondering why I had chosen the natural route but cursing myself for even thinking there was an alternative since I knew I was pretty much committed at this point.  No going back, I tried to remind myself. 

Around 3:00 p.m. I asked my nurse to check me and see what kind of progress I had made. She told me I was 7 cm and I nearly passed out. I was so close to the end and yet not really close enough. My doctor came in and told me I could push through the final 3 cm and then keep on pushing until the baby was born.  Jake looked at me and nearly shouted, "Did you hear that babe?! He said you can push and then we can meet Zeke!!"  I looked at him and frantically spewed, "Yes, yes!! I heard him! Uhhhhhhhhhh!!!" as another contraction came over me.

So that's what I did.  I pushed harder than I ever thought possible in my life.  I leaned into Jake in between pushes and wished for a reprieve.  I was exhausted but was unable to rest.  My doctor and some of the nurses were all cheering for me and yelling at me to push.  At one point I was unable to ignore their coaching and I yelled back, "I AM pushing, people!! I'm doing the best I can!!"  I think one nurse got the point and sweetly said back to me, "Oh honey, I know you are, you're doing a great job. Keep it up!" I wanted everyone in the room to zip their lips and be silent. 

And then in an instant it was all over.  At 3:33 p.m. on that same day, April 11th, our sweet and precious little Zeke was born. Jake cut the cord and I swam in disbelief that I had just given birth to a sweet baby boy. He was perfect in every way.  He had so much hair on his little head and his cry melted my heart and made me forget what I had just gone through. Or rather he made it all worth it.

They laid him on my chest and I was sold.  He snuggled in and even made his Daddy nervous with how quiet he was.  But I knew he was just so happy to be so close to his Momma.  I finally relinquished him to get weighed and measured and cleaned up, and then they gave him back to me for more snuggles and oohs and ahhs over his very adorable body. 

So there it is. The longer version of his birth. Probably more than you wanted to know. :) But hey, I warned you!








                                                                 Zeke William Mutz
                                                               Born April 11th, 2014
                                                                        3:33 p.m.
                                                                8 pounds 10 ounces

A current update on life with Zeke: 

We are loving having him around!! He is really a sweet baby and pretty laid back. He eats well and sleeps a ton. He's already sleeping really well for me at night, only waking up once to eat and go back to sleep.  I consider myself utterly blessed by this new life I'm a momma to. 

Thankful to God for all these good gifts that are ultimately from Him.

Thanks for reading. 
Jake, Rebecca, Piper, Lily, Rainey, and sweet Zeke

Post Script: Oh and I have to brag on our doula, Kyla. She was amazing and so influential in our story of Zeke's birth. We could not have done it without her there.  And not only does she provide excellent doula service, she is also a pretty awesome photographer.  You can visit her website here.  I'll have to share more of her photos in another post. She did prenatal, delivery, and newborn photos for us.  So awesome!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shameless Plug

I was recently given the opportunity to have photos taken of my 37 week belly and also share my story about this pregnancy and the ones that came before it.

I realize it's not super common to show off ones large belly and have pictures taken of it, but I thought this would be another unique way to share Molly's story with others.  And it proved to be just that.

Here's the blog with my photo and story.  Feel free to share it with others.  The photographer is on a mission to capture the bellies of 100 pregnant women and share their stories.  I believe it might even become a book someday.  All in all, very cool to see what others have experienced and just how different one belly is to another.

100 Bellies in 100 Days

Enjoy! It won't be too long before that belly will be gone and our sweet baby boy will be here!  I cannot wait!!  If he's anything like his sisters, it could be we won't meet him until around April 13th.  But you never know....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warning: Long post ahead... read with caution and a hot beverage

It's been awhile, I know.  Somehow my time is filled with running errands, traveling... a lot, leading a MOPS group (which I absolutely have loved), fixing princess dresses, kissing ouchies, teaching our 17 month old to say please before I pick her up, and explaining that my appointment to see my OB doesn't mean the baby is going to be born.  The girls love to ask about my belly and comment on how huge it is, isn't that nice?  (Oh wait, did I mention that we're pregnant again?!) They can hold their little hands steady on it just long enough to ask, "Is the baby kicking?!" with much excitement in their voices and body language.  I can feel kicking, but they can't because they can't stand still long enough to feel a difference between the baby moving and the movement they are creating themselves.  :)  It's really so sweet and precious.  They can't wait for the baby to get here.

If you feel like reading, grab a cup of coffee or tea and stay awhile. I want to bring everyone up to speed on yet another year that has come and gone and what we are up to now.  Christmas is over and I don't plan on leaving the great state of Colorado before this baby is born, unless I have to.  And if I wait for my life to slow down long enough to write another blog post, well then I might as well sign off for good. There is no slow season to my life and I've decided to stop waiting for it to happen and just embrace the chaos that our life is currently.

A few highlights of 2013 (I hope you're sitting down, I said a few but I might have just lied):

The twins celebrated their 3rd birthday in April with a sprinkles themed party!  They had a great time celebrating with their friends and thankfully the weather was nice enough to let the party animals outside for a bit.

We spent our summer traveling as we always do.  Taking a tour around Boston via a red bus was hot and yet very engaging for our two-3 year olds, 9 month old, and my ADD hubby.  For the 4th of July, we spent a week in a non-air-conditioned, one bathroom house in Ossipee with close friends of ours (and their three kids), swam in the lake, and watched the fireworks from a canoe. The three munchkins and I spent two weeks in Arkansas with my parents and some of my siblings at a Rainey family reunion while Jacob went to Wyoming with some close friends from his Wednesday morning Men's group.

I found out I was pregnant at my family's get together in Arkansas and got to tell Jake the news over the phone.  He was so excited and, as if this were our first, couldn't believe we had to wait until I was 20 weeks before we would find out the gender of our baby.

Piper and Lily started preschool in August at a nearby private Christian school.  They go twice a week and I quickly discovered what it's like to have only one child.  Rainey and I have lots of fun together and she even seems to have more fun when she has the house to herself.  The twins are loving going to school and have made lots of friends, not to mention they are learning a ton about the Bible, their ABC's, colors, and how to say those colors in sign language.  I'm even learning some too!

Rainey-girl celebrated her first birthday with her very own smash cake and a roomful of people admiring the way she ate it.  At first she dipped her little finger in the frosting and then a fingertip turned into all 5 fingers which turned into fistfuls of cake and frosting going straight to the face.  Classic cuteness!

In October, I traveled to Kansas City for the MOPS Convention and had an absolute wonderful time.  I went with another friend and close neighbor of mine and she and I had a delightful time eating junk food on the plane and marveling at how easy it was to fly when we were all alone.  After three days of sleeping in, great conversations, and really awesome speakers, I came home to a sick family and the awful realization that I had left a treasure back in Kansas City.  A precious pink baby blanket that belonged to our dear Molly was left behind as I packed my bag to head home that Sunday morning. Lost in the sheets or stuck behind a pillow, it never got packed and I came home without it.  Going to bed Sunday night without it for the first time in five years, I was wrought with tears and utter sadness as I realized what had happened.  I called the hotel, left messages and cried to Debbie, the head of housekeeping and after a week of searching, the verdict remained the same.  The blanket was nowhere to be found and no amount of my crying to Debbie made it re-appear.  Losing her blanket is one of the worst moments of my year.  I know it's just a blanket and it doesn't mean I have forgotten her, but I slept with that thing for 5 and a half years.  It was a sweet, pink ruffle edged blanket with dainty flowers on one side and plain baby pink on the other.  It had a small classic Pooh and Piglet in one corner where Piglet is handing a flower to Pooh who exclaims, "A flower for me? How grand!" While it was an incredibly huge loss, it brought fresh words and a new stage of grief to my life.  I felt old wounds re-open and grief take on a new look.

In November we experienced a great excitement and learned the gender of our newest addition to the family.  As we cut into a beautiful cake made from a local bakery, here was our reaction:

Gender Reveal Video

After finding out some really great news, we hopped on a plane and left Colorado for 3 weeks.  We spent a few days in Florida before joining about a million other people on a 7-night Disney Cruise which was an absolute blast!!  More on that later.  After the cruise, we stayed in Florida for a few more days and then flew to Arkansas for Thanksgiving with the Rainey family.  We were there for 11 days when we flew home to Colorado which was one of the worst days of travel, ever.  I will spare most details but basically we spent 5 hours in the Little Rock airport before finally flying to Atlanta where we missed our connecting flight to Denver (due to the delay in LR) and ran (me and my pregnant self, three kids, and the hubby) to make a flight to Colorado Springs where we rented a car and drove the two hours home, in the snow, without our luggage.  It was crazy, but the girls were actually pretty good about the whole thing.  I had never been more happy to see our house and sleep in my own bed than I was that night.  Don't forget we had been gone for 3 weeks.

In December we traveled to Florida for Christmas with the Mutz family and then spent New Years at our cabin in the mountains.  We rang in the New Year of 2014 by going to bed early, wah wah.  We are so old now!

So... that was 2013.  Now you see why I suggested you sit while reading this.

Onto 2014.  While we never know what a year will hold for us, and it's a good thing we don't, we do hope to share more of it here.  And a big new years resolution of mine is to get my silly computer running better so that I can share photos easier and make photo books without a trip to the Mac store. Hence there are no photos here.  Darn iPhoto is a thorn in my side.

Maybe the next post will be about our Disney Cruise, because that was so awesome and worth a whole post.  Or maybe I should write about Christmas 2013 and how we celebrated it FOUR times!  Or maybe I could write about our new baby BOY coming April 2014! I am SO excited!! I can hardly believe it's really happening!

Until next time.. thanks for reading!