Monday, September 28

More Merritt

There's something special about the time at the hospital. You are stuck there--literally stuck in bed for some of it. All the responsibilities at home and at work are gone--its just the new parents and the new baby.

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I'm always anxious to get home--but still have some weird nostalgia and longing to be back at the hospital. I hate the IVs and being woken up to have my pulse and blood pressure taken. But I love just being there with a new baby. A sweet sweet baby.

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Merritt was (and continues to be) such a good baby. The nurses commented on how calm she was--and maybe some of it has to do with being fourth time parents... but I also think we may have just gotten a good one. We have vivid memories of not being able to console Finley and being at our wits end from day one with him--but this girl is sweet.

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At her two week check up she was cruising at the 80th percentile for everything--up to 9 pounds and 2 ounces. She hasn't pooped in over a week... but her pediatrician thinks she might just be really efficient at digesting. Already exceeding expectations.

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We're all pretty smitten with her. I'm so glad that this dude has a little girl to spoil. And that I have someone to take prom dress shopping and plan pink parties for. #blessed #noseriously

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Friday, September 25

When Merritt was Born

We had another baby!!! Merritt Elizabeth was born on September 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm. 8 pounds and 6 ounces and 21 inches long. Third in line for height and weight. First in line for most pink.

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She was due on Monday the 14th. My doctor was willing to induce me the Wednesday before--but alas, it was the Taylor Swift concert, so we decided to wait one more day so we could go Shake It Off together. I think I was having some super mild contractions during the concert--and I actually felt a few before they hooked me up to the Pitocin. I was SO GRATEFUL to have Jenn there--not only did she take gorgeous photos of everything, she also entertained me while Sol got a little bit of work done.

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We checked in at 6:30, and by 9 I had successfully convinced the nurse to get me an Epidural like, immediately. They started the Pitocin and broke my water (which is UNCOMFORTABLE without an epidural). I only had a few semi-painful contractions before the anesthesiologist came in and made my world rainbow colored and full of joy. Seriously, after two lousy epidurals and then not getting one at all... I was a happy girl. We entertained ourselves by making Dubsmash videos and texting and emailing.

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I had told everyone I was going to have the baby by noon--my labor is always quick and I perform well under deadlines. A little after 12 I started getting really uncomfortable (I really like my painful face above!) and told the nurse it was time to have the baby. The doctor made it in a little before 12:30 and two contractions later, there was Merritt.

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Sol's job was to tell me if it was a boy or a girl--and after he announced IT'S A BOY! I said, Good! And then the doctors and nurses corrected him. They handed me my sweet girl and I kept saying, "No, no, I'm supposed to have a boy!" I was really really surprised and really unsure about how I felt about the whole thing. (I've since come around--I was just really really shocked.)

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She didn't cry much after she was born--so they had to keep suctioning her and trying to clear out mucus so that she'd be ready to come see me. And she hasn't cried much since. We keep not wanting to jinx ourselves by saying how easy she is--but I think she might be a really easy baby. As all fourth babies should be.

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My parents brought the boys by a few hours after she was born--and they were all excited! Jenn had brought them all matching shirts--did I mention she's the best?

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Merritt had gotten them all books and they enjoyed opening them and reading them in between turns of snuggling Merritt.

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I think Keaton was the most smitten with her. He was so happy to sit beside me and look at her. He'd occasionally give her kisses and just chuckle--like he was just so pleased.

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I've since come around and am really excited to have a girl--I was telling Sol last night that there was going to be some sense of mourning whether it was a boy or girl. It would have been so fun to have four boys and letting go of my all boy mentality is hard. But having a girl--that's something else entirely. My mom and I went to Target to buy a few things for her--and after a few minutes in the girl section I really needed to go surround myself with Star Wars things to not go get too overwhelmed!

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She's such a good baby--and everyone is pretty over the moon about her. It's so crazy that a few weeks ago, we didn't have her!

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And now there's six of us. I have to figure out all sorts of things about bows, and how to buckle in all those children into carseats and how to make sure that she doesn't end up dating all her brothers' friends. God help us.

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Instagram is the place to go for more frequent pictures and updates... so go follow me there. I'm going to try to be slightly diligent in posting things, but you know... fourth child. And again--thanks to Jenn for all the photos!

Wednesday, September 9

First Days of School

We postponed all the first day of school photoshoots to today since all the boys started technically on different days. It was supposed to be my ONLY day for the forseeable future with all my kids in school--but Braden puked at lunch yesterday and had to stay home today. Sigh.

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Luckily, my mama is in town waiting to for the baby to arrive and could take a family picture of us. Our last as a family of 5! (Also, cool boots Sol, right?)

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Finley has been loving Veritas. He has a massive Star Wars rolling backpack and wears a cute little uniform everyday. He pretty much indiscriminately loves everything, so its no surprise to us that he's embraced his new setting.

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His school is a "university schedule" which means he's on campus Monday and Wednesday and homeschooled Tuesday and Thursday. And I use the term homeschooled loosely--my friend/hero Lauren is doing the homeschooling portion with her son Carter and Finley together. They are loving it.

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Finley's teacher is great and had us come in the second week of school for a conference on how to challenge him more--he's a smart little cookie. We're adding some things to his home days (piano, Spanish, extra memorization, more challenging math...) to keep him and his pal Carter busy! Also, he has ridiculous teeth and has a hard time smiling normally.

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Not Braden though! Do you see these sweet smiles?? I die every time. I want to get all my clothes screen printed with his sweet face.

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His first day was yesterday and he was very excited (we're going to be late!) and really cool about the whole thing. He wasn't nervous or anxious about the new class--he didn't even hug me goodbye. So much for our special parting moment.

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I'm so proud of how much he's grown--we've had plenty of days where I have to haul him in crying and arguing about school, so for him to walk in willingly and happily is such an answered prayer. He'll be going to school five days a week, and we're excited to see how much he learns and grows!

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Keaton is going to school three days a week and was SO EXCITED when he saw us get out his backpack and he figured out he was getting to go to school! I was worried he'd be sad about not having his teachers from last year, but he too was unphased. He walked in, sat down and played with blocks like a pro.

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I love that the backpack is just about as big as him! He's such a peanut. I'm excited for him to be around more kids his age and hopefully increase his vocabulary and ability to share as the year goes on!

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And with that--we've checked the first day of school off for everyone! I cried no tears and neither did any children. Success! I'm off to see Taylor Swift in Houston tonight and to the hospital in the morning bright and early to meet our newest little child! #neverenoughbabies

Monday, September 7

A Very Sparkly Gold Maternity Shoot

Happy Labor Day! In my case, I'm praying it's a more literal LABOR day than for most.

Things to do before I have a baby: post maternity pictures. Because as Jenn says--they basically become obsolete as soon as the baby is born. Jenn and I had been planning this shoot for a long time and I was so glad we were able to pill it off! You can barely tell it's a zillion degrees and a zillion percent humidity!

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The original version had the boys in tuxes but I couldn't find that many little tuxes and also--hot. Luckily I was able to find darling navy blazers and stuck them in matching Sperrys and shorts and called it good.

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This pregnancy has been a lot of things--underdocumented, hot and less fun than previous ones. The combination of being six years older than I was with Finley and having to chase after three children--well it's hard. I've always claimed to love being pregnant and I feel a little less so this time.

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I've felt basically the same--sciatica, heartburn and tired. My ice craving has decreased... apparently taking iron pills makes me a more normal person. I haven't been much into eating (besides cottage cheese and cherries) and therefore haven't cooked much.

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The sciatica has gotten much better the past month or so--I think because I've worked out more with this pregnancy that with previous ones. I've been desperate--we belong to two gyms (kind of long story...) so there's been a few weeks where we'll spend two hours at one gym in the morning and two hours at the other in the afternoon. Free childcare. I can't say no. I took a few weeks off from running because I thought it was making me contract, but I picked it back up at 37 weeks and its been great to feel more like myself. I generally spend an hour on the treadmill and work in about 3 miles of running around 12:45 min/miles. I'm signed up for the Houston Marathon in January and will (hopefully!!!) be accepted into Boston in the next few weeks. So marathon training starts... now.

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Can we talk about Keaton for a minute? I mean, he's like the sweetest. Ok, moving on.

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Also, let's talk about what all the super friendly strangers in Texas like to talk to me about. If I'm alone, they generally ask me if its my first... and I say nope, fourth. If I'm with all the boys, they ask me if I'm having a girl this time and I have to tell them I don't know. Once I literally got asked SEVEN TIMES in one day. Finley was getting annoyed at all the questions about it. Strangers love to guess if its a boy or a girl--I've also been told I'm carrying high and low in the same day. It's all very scientific.

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We have a few baby names we maybe like, but I think its going to take being locked in a room together during labor to really get serious and pick something out. It's challenging trying to think of a boys' name that doesn't feel like our fourth favorite. And we've never been good at girls' names.

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We were able to sneak a few more smiles out of the boys by hopping into a fountain. It was hot and the fountain was... less hot.

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It's fun to see Braden and Finley's reactions to the baby. Braden seems legitimately excited--he frequently asks to see my "big belly" and thinks its funny there is a baby in there. He seems open to the idea of holding the baby--a big step forward from when Keaton was born. Finley loves to press his mouth to my belly and sing loudly to the baby. He's asking more specific questions about the baby and how exactly its going to exit... he was resistant to it being a girl for awhile but I think he's come around. Keaton has no idea. Absolutely no idea.

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I'm so torn about this poor baby and the pink and the blue. I was going through the boys' baby clothes and almost cried thinking that this one might be a girl and their sweet little onesies might be retired. All I know is sweet, blonde little boys. What would I even do with a girl? Lots of pink and gold and bows, I suppose. And probably broken bones and stitches, because that's how we roll around here. Sol's concerned that in 20 years I'll be super sad if I don't have a girl. But who knows. All I know is that we are going to be extremely surprised with whatever we are blessed with and that he or she will be exactly what we've always needed and wanted. Please God, just let this baby be chubby. Also, blonde, curly hair and blue eyes.

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And because this is a Texas baby, me in cowboy boots. In a tree. Braden has tossed out a "y'all" a few times--God help Keaton and this new baby. We're excited to meet the new baby Thursday at the latest! I have to squeeze in the Taylor Swift concert Wednesday first... #priorities

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