Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The craziness that is our life these days

No sooner than I had posted my last blog entry about how things were falling in to place, everything seemingly fell apart. Valerie, in particular, has been testing our limits to places I didn't think she would go for awhile. The lying has started, the tantrums at bed time, harrassing the cat (like tying ribbon "leashes" to the poor cat's collar and putting her in a box!!) .. just total defiance and it's had my nerves on end. Poor Derrick has been bringing work home after a very stressful couple weeks at work with a lot of changes and basically comes home, eats dinner, and passes out after doing his homework on the couch. Madeline has no sleeping schedule at all yet, as I don't expect her to, so she generally wakes me twice a night to feed. She usually goes back down easily but once and awhile is wide awake for some reason which makes for a long night.
Last night, I was lying next to her feeding when she blew out her diaper. There was lovely newborn breastfeeding poo all over her, me, and our sheets. I had to totally change her, and wiping her with cold wipes in the middle of the night (stupid lindsay) completely woke her up. She was crying and crying. Meanwhile I am changing my own pj's, putting a towel down to lay on.. and Derrick is sleeping through all of this less than two feet away. I would really like to know what men are on that they have the ability to sleep through something like that.. and can I get some of that?? Oh wait, I have to be the mommy so that would never happen. He wakes up and kisses my forehead before leaving for work asking, "did you get a lot of sleep last night?" and I just rolled over with a 'hrmph.' MEN!

Ellie walked into my room about 4o minutes later (it does seem that they have a radar to know exactly which mornings would be *awesome* to wake Mommy up an hour earlier than normal). I told her that I just could not get up yet and I needed her to watch tv or play in the play room. I heard her wake Valerie up, "Valwee Gwace Powellllllll the sun is AWAKE" and then they both came into my room, fighting over a toy. I told them not to wake the baby and to go in the other room. I turned on the news and hoped to snooze for 10 mins before crawling out of bed to the coffee pot. Apparently I fell asleep because I woke up an hour later. whoops. I wasn't *too* worried since they honestly have been so well behaved up until very recently and in general, I can trust them to sit and watch their beloved Dora in the morning or play dress up in the play room. oy.

I walked out of my room and realized that it would be one of those days. The toy room was a total disaster. Blocks everywhere, dress up clothes everywhere, parts to every single board game.. everywhere. They were downstairs making pink lemonade in the living room. I don't allow drinks in the living room, it's light colored carpet. They had the huge Sams Club sized can of pink lemonade mix in the living room, water in it and made this sort of pink paste that was all over the rug, carpet, their chairs, and my coffee table. They had dumped an entire box of wheat thins and a bag of goldfish crackers into random bowls for a feast. Again, *awesome* day to pick to do this, girls. They had taken the movies and cd's out of the tv cabinet (a big no-no) and as soon as they saw me on the stairs they ran away. They KNEW they were naughty!!! We spent the morning with me standing over them while they cleaned it all up. It took over two hours and I had to take away some priviledges and Valerie's brand new princess night gown. Ugh. I hate having to be the bad cop sometimes.

Days like this I just want to run away and get a job because it'd be so much easier than being a stay at home mom. After some quiet time on all of our parts, I'm feeling pretty calm and humorous (finally) about the situation.. but just anted to let you all know what life has been like lately. If you haven't gotten a returned phone call, email, have been expecting a package for 2 months, or have been told we don't want visitors yet, this is why my friends.

I know it will get easier, it will just take some time. .. so bear with us!!
On a very unrelated, but more positive note.. we did take the kids downtown on Saturday to get out of here and do something fun. We rode the train downtown and for $10 round trip all 5 of us rode! That is a deal considering we'd have paid $30 easily for parking, not including gas, traffic,etc. We ate some deep dish pizza, saw an orchestra concert in Grant Park, and went to Venetian night on the lake front. It was way too crowded for my taste, or to even visibly see the boats, but we greatly enjoyed the fireworks afterwords and a nice walk around the city at night!! Here are the only pics we took. We had D's little camera, which apparently needs to be replaced. lol Half the pics were blurry.. I'm not sure why! These pics are in reverse order of being taken (below obviously at sunset), it's not letting me switch them around again. Is anyone else having this problem? I'm about to switch to a different blogging company!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Powell Update

Hi all--

I figured that I would write a little update post on our daily life as I haven't really done that lately.

The girls are doing really great. As many of you know (from facebook I think?) we had huge issues in June as we adjusted to having the girls share a room with bunk beds. They had been asking to do this for awhile and I thought, "No way, I don't want to deal with it." and then realized how invaluable it'd be to have a guest room right now as we had my Mom here for a couple weeks before the birth and were expecting Derrick's to come up afterwards. We figure that they can be separated later on and we'll give up the guest room when they are old enough to not actually like sharing, but for now they actually really do! The problem was that they were having SO much fun, they weren't sleeping! So a quick update on that- we eventually nipped it in the bud by putting them to bed later. I am in general, a huge stickler for bedtimes and kids getting adequate rest, as their behavior reflects how much rest they are getting.. but we all had to have our sanity back. It's hard in the summer when it's still light outside at 9pm and they usually go to bed at 8! So now it's closer to 9, and they quiet done super quick.

They are adjusting well to being big sisters. They are little mommies in their own way and I have to watch as they are sometimes a little *too* helpful. This morning I found Valerie on the couch with Madeline on her lap, only to realize she had taken her out of the swing and carried her over to the couch by herself!! EEK!!! Luckily, she supports her head, but I about had a heart attack.

They both want to do ballet this fall and Valerie starts preschool next month. We are eager for them to have a little structure again.

Madeline is doing really well. She was back at birth weight at 2 weeks on the nose and is still breastfeeding beautifully. In general she sleeps well although I've had a few nights of being up for atleast an hour or two at 3 or 4am which is a bit hard to deal with when your 2 year old wakes up at 6:15 some days. Maddie is a really happy baby who just loves to be cuddled, and definitely can tell when she's not with the family. Gone are the days of eating hot meals, but I was used to that with the other two. We just adore her though and I honestly feel complete with our 3rd little girl!

As for D and I, that's about all the new stuff we can handle right now. I'm slowly working on my photography again but don't have much time to deal with the business side of it yet (getting my site together and all of that stuff). I am struggling to find my balance of holding/nursing Maddie, giving the other two play time and keeping the house remotely put together.. let alone putting activities in there or anything else! Derrick is a huge help to me and I am so blessed that he is an active Dad, although I think that should be a given for any Dad, not an exception!

We have been trying to do a photo shoot at a park for atleast a week now but every time we prep the baby is either super cranky that night, it starts pouring rain, D gets off work too late,etc. lol SO we'll see.. some time I will actually get her birth announcements out. :) Hope all is well. Here are a few random pics from the last couple days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camping.. Fishing.. oh my!

This post is old, but I've been saving it as I am still unable to edit pictures/words for some reason. Does anyone know what is up with this site? If I upload a photo, I can no longer click and drag it below text or rearrange the order. So I had to redo this post, uploading from the bottom up and copying/pasting my words.

2 weeks ago, Derrick took advantage of perfect weather and camped out for the 2nd time in our backyard with the girls. He had been helping me out nightly with Madeline but I was finally doing well enough to handle her on my own and the kids deserved some fun time that didn't put them after Maddie's needs! Here they are growling like a bear in front of the tent. I missed them putting it up unfortunately! I slept inside with Maddie obviously.. not quite ready to sleep on the hard ground!

They made smores in the firepit and stayed up until nearly 10pm catching firefly's around the backyard. This might not seem a huge deal to some, but we didn't have firefly's in Sicily so they were very excited!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Hurt Locker;photovideo

I am excited to see this movie. I am sure I will have to listen to Derrick telling me every single thing that the movie portrayed inaccurately about disarming bombs,etc. but watching these things always helps me to understand his job. I remember when he came back from Iraq and showed me -hours- of bomb explosions and silly video of them goofing off in the hummer. It was really neat for us to understand what he went through. I only wonder what kind of movie this will be and if it will actually help the EOD image or hurt it!? Time will tell. It did get extremely good reviews according to a few tidbits I've seen on tv. Let me know if/when you see it and if it's any good!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Derrick's Reenlistment

**I'm not sure what's going on with blogger but it won't let me move pics around and usually I can.. so they are totally out of order and the "story" is down below. I give up. Sorry for the confusing post. ;)

Unfort the entire background is in focus and we aren't.. I'm not sure how that happened. Oh well!! :)

On Friday, Derrick reenlisted in to the Navy for another 3 years! He is currently sitting at 19, and after these 3 years are up we will decide if he's going to stay in for another tour or if he will retire here. We'd like him to retire here, as we'd go back to sea duty (another round of deployments) and we are very happy with our new home (both the actual house and the area!) Only God knows our future plans though so I am trying not to be concrete in my feelings until we know for sure what will happen. Hopefully a job will eventually line up in a couple years!

Here are a few pics of his reenlistment. Since it was raining, we were in a muddy pavillion and therefore most pics didn't turn out as I didn't remember my flash and I had to stand out of the pav. in the rain to take the pics. Oh well. I will post them anyway so you get the idea!

I look angry but I think I was teary eyed. Derrick had certificates made for all 4 of us girls for showing support in his career,etc.

The guys took a seat out of the work van for the girls to sit on. They are staring at a couple rows of the boot camp guys lined up in front. They were making faces and Ellie was growling during parts. Nothing like making your parents proud, girls.
a very sleepy Maddie stayed in her carseat during the ceremon

We are so proud of D.. we love you!

Monday, July 6, 2009


How we spent our 4th.. resting and bonding with the bambina-

My parents kept the girls from Fri-Sun so that they could enjoy the 4th of July parade and fireworks. They had a great time and 2 more days of rest really helped my pain level and I have a lot more energy every day! We went to pick them up last night and Maddie got to meet Grandpa Jeff and Great Grandma Ruth!

I am nursing, but do pump once or twice a day to have some bottles on hand if I need a break! Valerie also begs to feed her sister- so we let her yesterday.While Ellie napped, Val had some bonding time today:

I took a few pics today.. will shoot more in days to come:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Introducing Madeline Ruby

* June 30th * 11:18pm * 7lb 5 oz * 18.75" long


Welcome to the world, baby girl! Monday evening I started having very painful contractions about 10 minutes apart, lasting through the night but suddenly tapered off around 3am. I was a bit frustrated but knew it was going to be very soon. Tuesday at my doctor's appointment she was still high and I wasn't dialated at all. I was having contractions 6-8 mins apart the entire time I was at the office but he said, "It could be nothing." I left very annoyed as I was definitely starting to be in some pain and didn't think I could last another week with the contractions (aka not getting sleep!). About 4 hours later my back pain was so intense I decided to take a bath to soak and as soon as I stepped into the tub my water broke! It was a huge gush so I knew what it was right away and started calling for Derrick to get everything in the car. The girls were unfortunately still awake and reading a bed time story as this happened so they were wired/too excited to sleep for Grandma Debbie. They were yelling out the window, "good luck Mommy!" and it was the sweetest thing ever.

I called the Dr. on the way to the hospital as it's a 30 min drive and by the time we got there my contractions were pretty close together and extremely painful. The hospital would definitely not let me do a VBAC2 (vag birth after 2 c-sections) and I just wasn't in the mood to fight with them. I wanted to just get it done with and had decided to have my tubes tied as well since they would already be operating. I was prepped for surgery and walked myself down to the OR. They gave me the spinal but had a lot of trouble getting it to work. It felt like an hour that they had a needle in my back but was probably only a few minutes.. it is just the part of the c-section process that I hate the most.

I remember lying on the operating table and they let Derrick in the room. It was so emotional for both of us as he wasn't there obviously for the last 2 babies! Unfortunately every time they checked me to see if I could still feel pain, I could, and I was told I would have to be put under general anesthesia and Derrick would have to wait in the waiting room instead of witnessing the birth. I started sobbing and I am pretty sure I made both my doctor and anestesiologist cry as well. Poor guys. I was just so incredibly disappointed and I knew what it meant to Derrick. I also had flash backs of my horrible recovery with Valerie and didn't want to go through that again. D kissed my forehead and said, "I love you" and went out in the hall. I vaguely remember breathing through the mask before falling asleep. Next thing I remember is waking up extremely sleepy in the recovery room around 1am. Derrick was there holding my hand and asking if it was too late to call my mom. He was trying to show me pictures of Madeline in the camera but I couldn't focus my eyes at all and just remember falling right back asleep. I think I was moved to my room around 2:30am.

They brought Madeline to us a few minutes later. Luckily Derrick was able to be in the nursery/recovery with her the entire time and didn't miss very much of her birth. He got to see her being weighed and bathed and all of that good stuff. My first reaction was that she looked like Valerie did as a newborn. She has lighter skin as Valerie and I do and very light brown, almost dark blonde hair. For now, she has light blue eyes and we honestly can't figure out where she got those from.. she definitely looks different from both of our other girls with her eyes open! The staff at the hospital was absolutely amazing and we just had the best stay there. Maddie latched right away and has been nursing since day 1. My friends who know my struggles with breast feeding in the past with the other girls will know what a huge deal this is! I'm not sure why #3 feeds with no problems and lactation consultants couldn't even help me get the others to work.. but it is definitely a blessing this time! It was absolutely amazing to see Derrick holding our newborn and he stayed with me the entire time at the hospital. He has been waiting on me hand and foot, he is truly an amazing husband and daddy!

The recovery is going so-so. I was incredibly groggy for a couple days and had a very hard time staying awake. After my surgery, I found out that my uterus was "lazy" after the birth and was not contracting as it was supposed to. Consequently I lost a large amount of blood and am now very anemic. Luckily with medication it fixed itself and I did not need a blood transfusion but it explains my very low energy and the recovery hasn't been as quick this time as a result. I was allowed to go home Friday afternoon after a lot of bloodwork showing that my levels were stabilizing but am not to drive, go upstairs, etc. and just overall have to take it much easier than I did with my last c-section. bummer!! In a way, I see it as a blessing that I was put to sleep as I think it would have been a very scary situation for Derrick to witness and maybe it's best we found out about that after I was in recovery! :)

The girls are doing well with Madeline. They are both little mommies and want to constantly bring her pacifiers, blankets, toys,etc. Poor Maddie will definitely not have much peace and quiet in her home. When we got home yesterday the girls were all dressed up and had worked with Grandma Debbie to hang balloons, get a birthday card and cake,etc. for Madeline's birthday party. They were SO excited and were screaming as we got out of the car. It was incredibly sweet. We can't say thank you enough to my mom for taking care of them while we were in the hospital. They went to spend the 4th with my parents and we will pick them up tomorrow. We'd like some alone time as a family for a week or so before having visitors so that we can all adjust and I can recover a bit. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts-- we have truly appreciated them and are so touched to have such a great support network- world wide! :)

Here are some pics for now- will try to post a lot more in the coming days!

Standing in front of the elevator to head up to Labor and Delivery after my water had broke! 39 weeks.

A nurse took this pic for D in recovery

Grandma Debbie

Valerie is definitely the little mommy.. she will sit as long as you let her with Maddie in her lap (with an adult next to her, of course!)
pics taken just before going home, in hospital

Madeline was ready to eat.

She was a little freaked out by the dogs who ran up and licked her feet!
Mom found this delicious strawberry cheesecake at Target!