Sunday, September 30, 2007

Catching Up...

So much has been going on here! With the early arrival of Isaac, visiting Aunt B, going to the Preston County Buckwheat Festival (county fair), and Sunday drives with the family, I've got lots to show you! I'm not going to expand too much, but I'll give you commentary as I post the pictures.

First, the day before Isaac was born, our family decided to go on one of our Sunday drives. We tend to do that in the fall when the temperatures aren't as hot and the leaves are starting to turn. To an outsider, it might be a boring tradition, but we love to drive around with no real agenda, ending up somewhere like a campsite where we skip rocks in the creek and eat a picnic dinner and then take the back roads home. We sure can fill up an entire afternoon and evening doing nothing, the Wotrings... :) But that's sort of what you do in the mountains of West Virginia on a late September Sunday evening. And I love it.

This past week, Andrew went to Ohio to present a workshop at a national conference about the social skills clubs he and his co-workers have formed to serve families of kids with Aspberger's and Autism. He said it went extremely well (Ingrid and Rowan and I didn't get to go...) and enjoyed doing it. He loved the conference and got to meet some important people. Here's the listing of their workshop at the conference and his friend Richard and co-worker Peggy. They've since been invited to present their workshop at a couple of other conferences! Also, Andrew has finished his book on the same subject and has submitted it to a publisher for review. We'll keep you posted on how that goes, too! We're so proud of Papa!

This weekend was also our county fair. We always go to the parades and then go see the animals and the crafts at the fair grounds. Ingrid loved the goats the best. We spent some time supporting the local volunteer fire departments by buying their good food! We watched the parades with Aunt Anita and Uncle Phil (or Uncle Full, as Ingrid calls him...) and their kids. Ingrid and Elijah had a good time. She was especially impressed with the cartoon characters that were in the parade. She couldn't believe that she saw Dora and Boots on Friday night and Minnie and Mickey on Saturday! She and Mama marched with the bands and danced when the drumlines did their thing. What fun! We came away with full tummies and aching feet, just like you're supposed to after the fair. :)

Finally, I have to show you the pictures of Isaac and Rowan's first meeting. Isaac got to come home yesterday (Saturday) and we brought food to Bec's and Brian's. It was fantastic because Brian has been at the Police Academy all week since Isaac was born, but he waited until Brian came home this weekend to gain enough weight and eat enough to let his daddy take him home! It was wonderful.

Anyway, this was the first time that Rowan and Isaac had met. Next to Isaac, Rowan looks like a giant! But in their matching outfits, they couldn't be cuter (we didn't plan this outfit thing... however, I'm sure it is only the first of many times they'll be dressed alike :) )! We put them together in the crib and watched them interact. Rowan started making noises and Isaac actually opened his eyes to look at Rowan! Then, Isaac rolled to his side to face Rowan and put his hands in Rowan's face. In a minute, Rowan had Isaac's hand in his mouth! It was so cute. They're going to be fast friends, I hope. Even though Isaac is not even 5 lbs, he's a fiesty little thing. I can just see him giving Rowan a run for his money. I can just imagine all the trouble they'll be getting into in the coming years... ;)

This week, Rowan and I are going to go to Isaac's first doctor's appointment with Becca, since Brian is back at the academy. Ingrid will probably go to the farm and spend some time with Aunt Anita since Mama is not very good yet at handling them both in public... Send your prayers up for Becca and Brian at this transition time. I can't imagine how scary it must be to have a baby that isn't 5 lbs yet who has been in the intensive care unit come home and all of a sudden be completely your responsibility. Becca's doing well so far, but there are all kinds of anxieties that come along with a preemie... But I'm not too far away, and I'm so thankful that I get to be such a big part of this journey with them. God is good. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Baby Isaac is here!

Baby Isaac Scott Speakman is here! He was born on September 24th at 6:12am! He was 5 1/2 weeks early, but he's doing quite well despite his early entrance! He weighed 4 lbs, 11 oz at birth, and has spent the first few days in the Neborn Intensive Care Unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV. He will spend a few more days at the hospital even though his Mommy will be going home this afternoon.
Ingrid, Rowan, and Lizzie will be spending the afternoon/evening with Aunt B while she gets things together for when Baby Isaac will come home (she was ready to get it all done this week!). We want to make sure she has something to eat and doesn't over-do it because Uncle B had to go back to the Police Academy 4 hours after Isaac was born! He will be home, however, on Friday night for the weekend. We're so proud of Uncle B for sticking this out! He can truly say to Isaac that Speakmans don't quit!
Aunt B will have to drive to Morgantown to see the baby until he comes home, but she's doing well. She had a few complications during delivery, but in the end was able to avoid a cesarean section. Isaac's heart rate wouldn't stay up, so she had to take a couple of medicines to keep her contractions from coming too fast. Then, when it was time for the baby to be born, they found out that he was trying to come out sideways! The doctors were fast and were able to turn him and help him out with foreceps. He had a lot of bruising and swelling afterward, but it's going away very nicely. But because of the trauma, he has some slight jaundice.
Aunt Lizzie got to be in the room when he was born! It was amazing! I was also there when Becca got to feed him for the first time...So sweet! More pics and updates very soon!!!

Welcome, baby Isaac! We love you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Playground and Sticker Boards...

Boy, I'll tell you, all my nervousness about having 2 kids was completely founded. I guess, though, that we've all made it through the half day I had without Andrew, but not without a bit of a struggle.
I really tried to be prepared. Andrew, Ingrid, and I had convened to come up with a working routine and a sticker board so that maybe Ingrid wouldn't feel so unscheduled and ignored when I was with the baby. Every time she completed something on the sticker board, she got to pick out a special sticker (we went shopping for special stickers for this the other night...) and put it on the box beside of the thing she had just completed. If you can see, there is no sticker on Outside Time OR Nap Time... *sigh....*

I had Rowan in a front pack (my sling shopping went awry...I thought I was ordering a certain kind that was adjustable, but thought wrong. I'm going to have to send it back, I think...) and we were doing pretty well. The morning went very well. Ingrid even played in her room very nicely (minus the writing on her legs and tummy with a pen I didn't realize she had...) while I took a shower with the baby in the swing. Time for playground!!

We did well at the playground at first. It was pretty hot, though, so I decided we'd go to the playground up the hill that was partially in the shade. When the baby started to seem hungry, and I was really hot, and Ingrid was laying down on the step of the slide because she was so tired, I suggested we go home and put a sticker on the board, and then we'd eat some lunch. She got that look on her face that makes me SO MAD and stayed just out of reach and refused to come down off the slide. I tried bribing her with a great lunch. I tried talking up the stickers. I tried being positive about how well she had done so far. I finally told her she had one more chance to come down the slide or the steps or she didn't get a sticker. She didn't care. I told her if I had to come get her down, there would be no sticker. She didn't care. I went up the steps and got her.

Then all hell broke loose. It was all I could do not to just drag her down the steps and down the hill to the house because the baby was looking red from heat and acting hungry, and Ingrid DID NOT CARE. I sat down with her on the steps. After wrestling with her a while (and jostling the baby!), I waited for her to stop crying. Somehow, we both calmed down enough to walk down the hill to the house.

Maybe I'm a bad mother, but I have a really hard time making things positive and fun when she's not minding me... I think it's time for a time-out chair or something, but I know for sure I would be the one using it because she doesn't have these tantrums for Andrew. He's the "fun one." He can flip her over his shoulder and she doesn't care that she's going home when she doesn't want to. I can't do that in my present state while carrying a newborn, and frankly, I don't think it's in me to do it anyway...

I do have to say that I feel extremely lucky to have Andrew as the father of my children. I don't know what I would have done these past few weeks before and after the baby was born if he hadn't had my back. I KNOW I would be in full-blown tears (instead of teary-eyed) right now if he hadn't intervened this afternoon, even though he's working from home today. Thank you, God for a wonderful husband.

I hope some of this emotion is partly post-partum hormones and lack of sleep. I pray things get better. I'm sure it will...but I think it might be having to get through hour by hour...

On a lighter note, here are some more pics of the little guy...he looks like a baby monkey, doesn't he? He's so sweet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Little White Lie...

So, we've finally hit the moment when Ingrid is not appreciating her little brother being Mama's center of attention. We decided for Rowan's first bath at home, we'd let Ingrid be in her "big girl tub" and Rowan would be in his "little baby tub" side by side...
Yeah, not such a great idea, I guess.
First, Ingrid decided she wanted to climb out of her tub and get into Rowan's tub, scaring me to death when she slipped a little bit. Besides the water splashed all over the floor, I could just see her hitting her head and bleeding all over... which made my tone of voice go from calm and reasonable to high pitched and panicky... which set it all off.
I was trying to wash Rowan and keep his face from going into the water while trying to be calm in telling Ingrid that she wasn't allowed to splash the water so hard that it covered the floor in water. (When she gets mad, she throws things and then flings herself against something and says, "Ow!!" or "Uh-oh..." so that I will feel sorry for her and come and give her kisses... This is not so pretty in the tub.)
Thank goodness I decided to do this when Andrew was sitting with me. He's gotta go back to work next week, so I thought I should try to remedy the situation with Ingrid tonight while I had his back-up with Rowan.
I tried to explain to Ingrid that Baby Rowan couldn't play with toys in the bathtub, but she could! Baby Rowan doesn't get to help Mama put on his lotion, but Ingrid could! She was such a big girl, not a tiny little baby...To which she said, "Get out!" (she was trying to get out of the bathtub...she wasn't saying that to me, however, I don't doubt it was subtext...)
Well, I thought, yeah, she should probably get out of the bathtub if I was going to stay calm. After telling her to say please (what?), I handed Rowan to Andrew for a new diaper and pajamas, and helped her out of the tub.
Things were going well once Rowan was out of the room until I asked her to brush her teeth. We had had several nights of knock-'em-out, drag-'em-out actual fights over this a few weeks ago, but Andrew had taken over her good night routine when I got so uncomfortably pregnant and then after I had Rowan, so it's been a couple of weeks since I put her to bed. This fight, however, she remembered. She ran into Andrew, who unfortunately had the baby on his lap. This set her off again. She screamed, "No Way!" and threw herself on the floor and threw the toothbrush under the baby's swing, all the while crying big crocodile tears and pushing at me if I came near. No amount of bargaining or setting of consequences made her change her tune. She's so much like me that we could have fought about it all night and never made any progress... Finally, I carried her into the bathroom and sat her down on my lap to brush her teeth like Andrew said he had been doing. Still a no-go.
Finally, I asked her why we brush our teeth. She didn't know. I said, "Look in the mirror. Say 'eeee.' What color are your teeth? Nice and white, huh?" She nodded. I sat back on the toilet with her.
"Guess what happens to our teeth if we don't brush them?" She looked at me with red, watery eyes. "They turn black and yucky and fall out."
"Do you want your teeth to turn all black and fall out?"
"Then, let's brush our teeth."
And we did.
A little white lie won't hurt anyone, right?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Big Birthday Weekend!

Welcome, Rowan Erik Nelson! He graced the world with his presence on Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 9:07am. He weighed 7lbs, 2oz and measured 22 inches long (an unheard of length in my family of short people!)! He went 2 weeks longer in utero than Ingrid, so we aren't having many of the post-natal problems we did with his sister. He is a very mellow, "zen" baby, only crying when he's hungry, and only then enough to get our attention. In fact, he cried once the entire time we were in the hospital when they gave him his vitamin K shot. He barely even made noise during his circumcision! Of course, it could be that he just had the best midwife and nurse team in the world taking care of us. The team at Preston Memorial Hospital is just amazing. We feel so lucky to have had them assist us in bringing him into the world! He came so fast that midwife Cindy ran in the door just as his head emerged, and ran to the birthing tub in time to catch him and lay him on his mama's chest. My water broke at 3am and he was born by 9am! An intense, but short labor! Just like Cindy said it would be!

Rowan has some light-ish hair, though not as much or as dark as his sister did when she was born. It's my favorite thing to rub his velvety head...his hair is so soft!! He's got puffy lips and pretty blue eyes. His cheeks aren't as big as Ingrids were, but he's got a few more rolls on his legs and arms than Ingrid did. His birth was a natural water birth, and we truly believe that the lack of drugs before and during birth has been a big component in his ability to breastfeed and his mama's recovery. Aunt B was present at his birth, and soon he was surrounded by loving family and friends at Preston Memorial Hospital in Kingwood, WV. Ingrid was our native-born Minnesotan, and Rowan is our native-born West Virginian! How perfect is that?!
Ingrid is a fascinated big sister, to be sure! She wants to touch him all the time...her favorite phrases are "He's so cute!" and "Ohhh, his head is so soft..." and "He's happy!" We knew she was an active kid before the baby was born, but it's even more apparent now. She's so good about going away from the baby to bounce and jump and twirl so that she gets "busy," so that's a good thing. She and Andrew came home from the hospital, though, with killer colds, so Rowan and I have kind of quarantined ourselves a little up in the bedroom for the time being. Tonight, Granny and Grandad are coming over and bringing dinner and groceries. That will be nice. Uncle B had to miss Rowan's birth because he had to get back to the police academy where he is during the week, but we're hoping for a visit from him this weekend. We have a couple of doctor's appointments this week, but otherwise, we're just going to lay low at our "new house," as Ingrid calls our place in McHenry. Life is good, God is faithful!!!

We started out the weekend with Ingrid's birthday on Friday! She is 2! We had a nice day as a Nelson family that day, but on Saturday, the whole Wotring-Nelson-Britner clan went to Aunt B and Uncle B Speakman's house for an extended family birthday party! We had so much fun. Mama made Ingrid a Cinderella princess cake, Aunt B made her famous veggie lasagna, and all the kids played out on Aunt B's big back porch. What a wonderful day! Ingrid got several books, new shoes, a homemade baby doll quilt and pillows made by her Wotring cousins and Aunt Melissa, and a Dora lamp from Aunt B and Uncle B. It was a great family time for Ingrid before the baby came. We were very glad that the kids have their own birthdays, however, we're sure they'll be having a double party with the family every year. That's Ok, though, because our family is really good at throwing great parties!!! :)

Aunt B (Rebecca, Elizabeth's younger sister) is the other pregnant lady in this picture, taken the day of Ingrid's birthday party. Her baby, Isaac, is due on Nov. 2! We are so totally excited for his birth!!! It will be fun to see the two boys playing together! Uncle B (Brian) is going to be away at the police academy for the next 15 weeks, coming home on the weekend. He should be allowed home for Isaac's birth, but will have to report back to the academy after a day or so. Please keep them in your prayers as they deal with separation anxiety and logistics about the birth and the first few weeks post-partum. Of course, Aunt B will see lots of us, but it's a poor substitute for a husband. We're proud of Uncle B, though, in his willingness to provide a better future for his family. Way to go, Uncle B!!! We're praying for you!

Life is good here, and we will try our best to get new pics up every few days, as babies change so quickly. Keep us up to date, too, on your families! We love you!