Around here…

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We blew bubbles under this tree.

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We cuddled.

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We visited.

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We practiced smiling.

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We did a little graffiti.

Between those moments there was colic, and tears, and a first smile.  There was a little girl who has successfully night-time potty trained before 3-years-old.  Plane tickets were booked.  Power tools turned on for the first time in ages.  The wait for our birth video and photos continued.  Plans for our story to air in Atlanta were finalized.  Windows were opened.  Laundry dried in the sun.  And we survived.

going from one to two

From the moment the second line showed in all it’s purple glory, the thought had burrowed into the back of my head. The “how can I love another being as much as I love my daughter” thought. It’s a common burning question in the hearts of once single-child Mommas when they learn they are growing another. Everyone says not to worry – your heart just grows. It’s true. You don’t run out of space in your heart…it grows to accommodate this new little life. But what they don’t tell you (and maybe it’s because I’m the only one experiencing it) is that your relationship with your oldest changes instantaneously. The second we placed Violet into Tanami’s once seemingly tiny arms, she grew up. All the sudden she wasn’t my little baby anymore.
My girl is so compassionate. So eager to smother the baby with her over- abundance of love. It seems like over night she’s gotten louder, feistier, more rambunctious, and her ability to tune me (and my instructions) out has been sharpened. She went from never really getting in trouble for anything except jumping on the couch to sitting in time out at least once every day or two. My brain tells me she is just testing the boundaries. I know this is all such a big change for her (though we have tried to stick to her routine as much as possible). But sleepless nights have left me without much patience…something I’ve always had to work hard at during the best of times. For the first time I’m snapping at my girl. I watch as she sulks away hanging her head from hurt feelings. Just typing out the words brings the sting of tears to my eyes. She’s constantly being told “in a minute”, “hold on”, “please stop doing that”, “stay out of the baby’s face”. It’s a daily conscious effort to find better ways to deal with her in a loving and less hasty way.
And the Momma guilt is incredibly heavy. The knowing that something has changed – that it will never go back to the way it was – and being incredibly unprepared for this shift in my little family. I was prepared to need to learn to fit a new baby into our lives…I wasn’t prepared for the changes with my first born love. I need to carve out more moments in the day to be present with her. To play ponies, to have tea, to cuddle. I need to learn to leave the housework for after bedtime. I need to learn to bite my tongue and direct my exhaustion elsewhere.
In time, life will settle. We’ll find a new normal, or learn to adapt to the chaos. But it’s important to recognize the imperfections…to know that motherhood is not 100% bliss and that’s okay. I’ve grown so comfortable with my confidence in being the best mother I can be that this new challenge makes me feel so vulnerable – and like I am failing at times. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to be fumbling around like we’re in a fair ground house of mirrors for a while…but that’s okay.
There’s no lack of love under this roof….so while we may come out a little worn down from constantly bumping into path blocking mirrors, we’ll make it to the exit – eventually.

introducing violet….

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and then we were four…

Violet Sierra Kroezen

2/11/14 @ 6:46am 

8lbs 5oz 20″ long

Monday afternoon my lively girl and I headed over to our weekly “baby dr.” appointment. Unfortunately, Mat had come down with a cold that day, so I was in no rush for baby to come – “over due” or not. I left with the knowledge I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. So I skipped my usual workout and opted for some light yoga instead, held off on the tea and evening primrose oil, and told Mat to take a healthy dose of NyQuil and try to get some rest (we’d already tried every natural remedy in the book – including some really fantastic garlic soup).

By 12:15am Tuesday morning, I knew we were in labor. So I jumped up and put my makeup on, pulled my hair up, and then woke Mat. My contractions were about 3 minutes apart, so we knew we needed to be in a hurry. We called Anthony to come stay with Tanami, let the birth center know we were on our way, and called the videographer. The drive I thought I was going to dread so bad wasn’t bad at all.  I found myself using visualization to the music on the radio to get through the contractions while driving.  At one point, there was a muppet riding the wrecking ball Miley was singing about.  This seemed to work pretty well.  We made it to the birthing center at 2:30am.  I was checked as soon as we got there and was at 5cm.  I had to be put on a monitor for a short time to check on baby, and then was to have antibiotics through an IV for the Group B Strep.   Unfortunately, there was another lady in labor as well, and she started to deliver her baby shortly after I arrived…so I got stuck on the monitor for what seemed like forever.  Nikki, our amazing videographer, arrived shortly before they took the monitor off.  I was having no problem carrying on a normal conversation with her and Mat.  It seemed to be a common theme throughout my whole labor that I was so quiet and calm that the nurses didn’t realize how quickly I was actually progressing.  It was about 3:30am when we got into the suite we were delivering in – “The Zen Room”.

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“Living room”

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“Living room”

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Kitchenette

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Another view of bedroom

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Bathroom – there was also a giant shower

When we first got into the room I sat on a fit ball and bounced around for a while talking to Nikki.  The midwife came back in and took my blood pressure, temp, and pricked my finger…then she started the IV antibiotic.  I was supposed to have this completed and not deliver for at least 4 hours, but I did not make that window unfortunately.  The antibiotics were done around 4am.  I no longer depended on visualization, I simply focused on my breath.  I was talking normally between contractions and would put my head down and breath through them as they came.  I didn’t mind having people around me this time, which was a complete difference from my labor with Tanami where I wanted no one (not even Mat) around me and locked myself in a pitch black bathroom for a majority of the labor.  I could tell at this point that my hypno-birthing must be working.  I was feeling like getting in the spa, so I asked the midwife if she thought it was time.  She said, “Well it can slow down your progress, so we don’t normally do it this early, but I can check you if you want to be sure.”  To all of our surprise, I was already at 7cm.  So we ran the water and I jumped in.  It was SO wonderful.  Somewhere around this time, my poor quite sick husband asked if I would mind him lying down for a little while.  I was having no trouble with contractions, and was fine just chatting away to Nikki between them so I told him sure.  He felt so guilty about being sick, and I felt so terrible about him physically feeling so bad.  I could see the bed from the tub…and Nikki and I both had a giggle that I was in the tub rockin’ it at 7-8cm and my husband was snoring in the bed.  With our photographer for Tanami’s birth, she was a fly on the wall…she didn’t really say much to me at all – which was exactly what I needed for that labor.  With this one, Nikki kept me company through contractions, and knew when to be quiet as they came on.  While in the tub, I knew my hypno-birthing practice was paying off.  I was able to literally relax through contractions.  I would breathe in and think “RE….” and out with “LAX….” and my hands would loosen from the sides of the tub.  I usually had the jets in the spa going during contractions….sometimes I would focus on the jets on my feet, and others I would focus on a tiny little freckle on my belly that the water would just barely come up to.  A little past 6am, I called for Mat to go ahead and come in there with me.  I was still able to have normal conversation/joke around/etc., but I knew things were picking up a little bit.  Every 30 minutes throughout, the midwife had been coming in with a fetal monitor and checking on the baby.  Because I was so quiet, she didn’t anticipate me delivering any time soon.  Shortly after Mat got to my side…perhaps around 6:15-20ish I started to need to hold his hands as the contractions came.  I’d just grab his hands and put my head down on the side of the tub.  Then all of the sudden my body wanted to start pushing.  I thought to myself, it can’t possibly be time to push because this isn’t hurting bad enough!  Then my water broke, and I knew it was probably going to be happening very soon.  The midwife was notified, and I think I was pushing before she ever got to the side of the tub.  I wish I could say that pushing was as calm and quiet as the labor, but that would be a lie.  I don’t know if there is any amount of hypno-birthing practice that can save you from that pain.  However, I pushed for only about 7 minutes….and then I picked my baby girl up out of the water for the first time.  And she was true to her name….she was just as violet colored as they come.  We waded in the water, skin-to-skin, waiting for the cord to stop pulsating before Mat cut it right there in the tub.  Mat took the baby, and I was able to get out of the tub and over to the bed to deliver the placenta and check for tearing.  There was no pitocin given to deliver the placenta….we just let it happen on it’s own – so that took a while.  To my disbelief, there was no tearing, no real damage done.  The baby was weighed and measured and then handed to Mat until all that was finished.  In the mean time, she pooped on him…I guess she was marking her territory.  Then she was handed to me for breastfeeding and bonding.  It was a beautiful family moment.  I loved that we were in a normal bed, and that Mat could lay down right beside me.  I got up to shower and get myself all cleaned up, and then got the baby dressed just in time for my Mom, Anthony, and Tanami to get there.  We let Tanami come into the room alone first so we could introduce her to her new baby Sister.  At first she only wanted to play with the fit ball and didn’t even notice that Mommy was holding a baby.  Finally she came over and instantly fell in love with the baby.  She got to have a hold of her before anyone else (and it was lucky that anyone else did get to hold her after having to nearly pry her out of Tanami’s little arms).  It was so very important to us to have some time together as a family before any other visitors came in.  12 hours after she was born, we were headed back home….and made it home safely around 9pm Tuesday night.

I thought my labor and birth with Tanami was amazing.  And it was….but it was completely different from my experience with Violet.  This birth was so quiet, calm, and dare I say enjoyable?  I have to believe a bit of it had to do with not being in a hospital setting.  However, no one let me in on the little secret of the after birth pain of your uterus contracting back with children after your first (it doesn’t normally happen with the first, or at least it isn’t nearly as bad as future children).  I was in far more pain than I was in when I was in labor.  The first 72 hours was extremely hard.  Luckily, that has eased up considerably.  Mat has been taking good care of his little family while I recovered.  Today I feel almost back to normal.

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We’ve been so grateful for the support of our friends and family.  From gifts and food, to taking vacation days around your due date just so they can be there for you….people’s thoughtfulness has been jaw-dropping.  I’m not really sure how we got so lucky, but I know we will find a way to pay it all forward.

*Her name….  the name “Violet” just came to me….I’d never even considered it before….but while I was at my parent’s caring for my Grandpa while my stepdad was having surgery I just knew this baby’s name was Violet.  Mat chose Sierra, which means “Mountain”.  So now we have a desert (Tanami) and a mountain (Sierra).  Not to mention her little tie to America (the beautiful) – purple mountain majesties.    So now the violet-colored baby shower makes sense, right??

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catching up

Life’s been quite interesting in the Kroezen house lately.

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We filmed for 3 different television stations – one of which will be following us around for a year.  It was so nice to be able to talk about how much our natural parenting style has helped us achieve our financial goals.  Unfortunately, that will all probably get cut out…but here’s to hoping.  It was a really exciting experience at any rate.

We also started filming the very beginning of our birth story.  We’re having it documented by a local birth videographer who does AMAZING work.  We were only able to have photos with Tanami’s birth – I’m really excited about having a video birth story this time around.  We haven’t done the little things we did with Tanami’s pregnancy like take weekly photos and keep up a pregnancy diary…so this is just something special for baby #2.

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My pregnancy has reached full term…I’m currently 38 weeks.  So it was time to break out the red raspberry leaf tea, and evening primrose oil.  I remember not being a fan of raspberry leaf tea with my first pregnancy, but I seemed to welcome the familiar taste this time around.  My belly is measuring about 2 weeks behind…so I’m hoping for a smaller baby than Tanami, but not holding my breath.  I also tested positive for GBS – and while that has it’s own list of concerns, I’m focused on the fact that we get to enter the birth center much earlier to ensure that the full round of antibiotics can be given.  I want to labor there as early as possible since we have to drive 90 minutes to get there.  With the exception of the GBS, this has been an incredibly uneventful pregnancy and I am still feeling great (and still working out 5 days a week, which is so nice).

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waterbeads and shaving cream

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MLK Day at the Discovery Center (She LOVES music)

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Park Time

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We’ve been trying to do little special things with our girl before she becomes a big sister.  We’ve been to the Discovery Center, the park, the zoo, the library, and just hanging out around the house on those days it is too cold to go outside (which has been more often than not).

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Happy Australia Day!

Today is Australia Day…and there is never anything kid-friendly to do to celebrate with the group of local Aussies.  So we went to the zoo and played around in the kangaroo kickabout for a while.  Happy Australia Day Aussies!

In other news….we are still having issues with the husband’s citizenship application….and we are getting no where when we call.  Such a painful process!  “Nesting” has taken over my life!  EVERY appliance in my kitchen is spotless, closets are cleaned, the baby’s room is almost complete, everything is organized, even the walls have been cleaned.  No dirt is safe!!  And then…..our water heater broke out of the blue yesterday.  Good thing we were home so we could save the wood floor it was gushing all over.  Also very lucky thing that my Dad is a handy man because he came and installed the new one for us….still cost us about $400, but saved us the $300 install fee.  Ouch.  We just had to replace the fridge at Halloween.  The joys of being a home owner!

 

baby it’s cold outside…

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Today my bestest hosted a baby shower (or more specifically, a “diaper shower”) for Baby K #2.

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These cookies…possibly the best cookies I have ever had.  They were AMAZING.  (And they are purple, not blue)

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I also learned cake pops are much harder to make than they look…I won’t try that again.

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Hot chocolate bar

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We played several games….some a little less traditional than others :)

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We are so incredibly lucky to have such great people in ours lives – seriously.  At one point someone asked how I knew everyone and I went around the room talking about how we met….some only within the last year, some for half of my life…and, of course, my Mom since forever.  Many of these people I know I could call on for anything and they would be there in a heartbeat – they’ve proven it over and over.  Those are the types of people I surround myself and my family with.

The shower was a huge sugary success.  The food was as great as the company…..and we racked up 20 cloth diapers – a HUGE blessing.  We missed the company of a few great people, too….but all-in-all, I’m a lucky, lucky Momma.  Thank you to everyone who made it possible – especially my Bestest, Anthony, who put it all together.