Easter

I realized that I haven’t posted about Easter yet!

Kaanas worked the night before, and had to work again Easter night, so we planned around his schedule.  In the morning I just hung out with the kids.  In our church on the first weekend in April and in October instead of having regular church services we have a broadcast where we get to listen to our prophet and other church leaders speak.  This meant church started late and we could watch it at my parents’ house.  Kaanas woke up at about 11:30 and we got ready to head over to my parents’ house.  At my parents house, in addition to watching our church broadcast (well, some of it), we took pictures, which was kind of funny.  Getting pictures of two toddlers and a baby all together is a little difficult.  We never did get a picture with them all smiling and looking at the camera.  Either Ebo or Iella were usually upset.  Some of the pictures came out really cute, though, despite the upset kids (by the way, I learned how to blur faces).

Mingli playing peek-a-boo while we take his picture

 

Mingli giving Iella a kiss.

After pictures we had our Easter egg hunt.  Mingli figured out right away what he was supposed to do and loved going after the eggs.  Ebo is a little younger than Mingli and didn’t quite seem to know what to do, but he ended up with more eggs than Mingli.  This was because Mingli can sometimes be a really good sharer, and he choose the egg hunt as one of those times.  Throughout the egg hunt he would put an egg in his basket, then an egg in Ebo’s basket.  It was actually super cute.

Mingli putting an egg in Ebo’s basket

 

Since Kaanas had to be at work we had Easter dinner as more of a late lunch.  For years we have done a dinner with foods Christ ate (or at least foods that are mentioned in connection with him).  We have fish, bread and honey, figs, olives, grape juice (instead of wine), and corn.  This year we also added chicken because Kaanas doesn’t eat fish, and it mentions chicken in the scriptures when it talks about the cock crowing and Peter denying Christ.

After dinner Kaanas left for work and I came home.  After putting Iella to sleep Mingli and I cuddled together and watched the movie Finding Faith in Christ.  I explained it to Mingli as we watched it because he is still a little young to understand it.  It was a nice end to a nice day.

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Christmas

We had a great Christmas here.  This year Mingli was a little more into everything than he was last year and seemed to at least kind of understand what was going on.  Iella of course didn’t care about anything other than getting cuddled.  Well, almost nothing.

Christmas Eve day was fairly busy as always.  Since it was Sunday we went to church in the morning.  We only had sacrament meeting, and it was earlier than usual, so that everyone could get home and be with their families.

At home I got to work finishing up stockings.  My mom bought new stockings for everyone in the family this year and I offered to embroider names on all of them.  I still had about half of the stocking still to do, so I got busy as soon as church was over.  By this time I was in a good groove with them, though, and was able to move through them fast.  Everyone else was wrapping up last minute presents and doing Christmas cooking.

In my family on Christmas Eve we do our Christmas play then open presents.  This year both of my kids were in the family Christmas play.  Mingli was Joseph and Iella was an angel.

After that we opened presents, and I was so excited about this.  In my family we do family presents Christmas Eve and Christmas morning is for Santa presents.  This is how I have always liked it, but Kaanas likes all presents to be on Christmas morning.  This year I finally started to agree with him.  Last year we were able to take time with the presents and Mingli was able to play with all of them as he opened them.  This year we rushed through the presents, just giving Mingli a few seconds to look at each one before having to move on to the next one.  As soon as he had opened them all they were all taken away because it was already an hour past his bedtime.  Despite this Mingli still seemed to have a good time and was excited about all of his presents.

After he went to bed Kaanas and I went to set up his Santa presents.  In my family Santa presents aren’t wrapped.  Most of them are actually taken out of the package and set up for a wow factor as the kids come down.  This is a tradition we are continuing because I love it.  Some things are just so much better set up, like the ball pit Mingli got for Christmas this year.

We woke Mingli and Ebo up at about 8 in the morning because I couldn’t wait anymore.  Last year Christmas morning Mingi saw the toys, then turned around and walked away.  This year he went right for them.  We also brought down his toys from last night so he could play with those.  He had so much fun all morning with his big cars, ball pit, play dough kit, and lots more.  Honestly, we kind of went overboard with presents this year.  Iella even got a present that she actually liked.  We got her a little crescent shaped cushion that had toys hanging off it for tummy time and when I put her on it her eyes got really big as she focused on the toys, one of which was a mirror.

Overall it was a really good Christmas.

River’s day

The 21st of December was the 1 month anniversary of the due date of the baby I lost last year, our precious River Noel.  I’ve written on here about how I couldn’t move on.  My grief was keeping me from being a good parent to Mingli.  Then I started counseling and realized that the problem I was having was I was trying to move on with my life and not think about my baby, but I just couldn’t do that.  River was my baby and I couldn’t just leave her behind.  My counselor helped me figure out how to honor River so I could find peace again (the first thing was actually naming my baby).  Part of that is celebrating my baby every year on the day she was due.

This year was really difficult.  I remember how excited I was when Mingli was turning 1.  I started planning months in advance for his party just because I was so excited.  All this month I have been thinking that if I hadn’t lost River I would have been planning her party.  It makes me really sad that I will never get that.

Kaanas took the 21st off so we could spend the day as a family.  We had a few things planned, first being going out to eat as a family.  After that we went to the mall to find Santa.  There was a long line, but we were able to get pictures with both of the kids and Santa.  By the time we were done with that it was dark so we drove around and looked at the lights, then went to Walmart.  Every year I am doing something for a charity in River’s honor.  This is another way I have managed to find peace.  Even though River is gone the world is still a better place because she was here.  This year we decided to make a donation to the children’s hospital Iella was in after she was born.  They had a list online of toys they need, so we took that to Walmart and bought some of the toys of the list.  We also bought some holiday sugar cookies to cook when we got home.  At home we cooked our cookies and cuddled in bed while eating them.  It was actually a really good day.  I like celebrating my baby.

“The world my never notice if a rosebud doesn’t bloom:

Or even pause to wonder if the petals fell to soon.

But every life that ever forms, or ever comes to be

Touches the world in some small way for all eternity.

The little ones we longed for were swiftly here and gone.

But the love that was then planted is a light that still shines on.

And though our arms are empty, our hearts know what to do

Every beating of my heart says ‘I remember you'”

-sayinggoodbye.org

 

I will love you forever, my sweet River.

Our Weekend Adventure

So on Sunday Kaanas, Mingli, Iella, and I were on our way to church when we passed our exit.  We were trying to find a place to turn around when we got a call from Anais saying that church had been at a different time that day and we had missed it, so obviously the only thing to do was to just go home.  As we got off at an exit to turn around Kaanas said that it would be fun if we could just keep going and spend the rest of the weekend in Louisville.  I laughed and said that I wished we could, so Kaanas said “ok” and got back on the interstate and a couple of hours later we were in Louisville.  I was kind of in shock.  I has thought we were just joking, but it was so much fun, and really exciting.

Our first stop on our adventure was to Walmart.  Since we had just been on the way to church we were all in church clothes and had nothing with us except a couple of diapers that I had put in my purse.  Since we were planning on staying until Tuesday morning we definitely needed some supplies.  We had to buy clothes, jackets, shoes, diapers, phone charger, swim stuff, and several other things.

Our next stop was the hotel.  By this time it was getting late, so we picked up dinner on the way and settled into the hotel for the night.  After dinner we got ready in our swim stuff and went down to the indoor swimming pool.  This was really important for me because I have really fond memories of hotel swimming pools as kid and really wanted to share that with Mingli.  It was so much fun.  The pool had pool noodles that people could use and Mingli just loved them.  After we had been playing around for a bit I actually let go of him and just let him kick around on his own.  I of course made sure I was always within arms reach, but he had so much fun and was able to make himself go in circles, forwards, and backwards.

The next morning we had breakfast at a local bakery before heading to the zoo.  Mingli loved the zoo!  Not all the animals were interesting to him, they either had to be close to the glass or moving, he didn’t want to have to look for them, but there were plenty of animals the he had fun with.  The orangutan and the emu both got right up next to him so he could see them.  Many of the other animals, like the pink flamingos, were active and interesting.  And of course there was grass to run around in and squirrels to chase.  We also got to see the elephants, which are still Mingli’s favorite animal.

After the zoo we went to visit my brother.  Earlier this year my parents bought a large plot of land in Kentucky, like 80 acres.  They are letting any of my siblings who want to build a house on their land, and my brother, Roark, is the first one actually doing it.  He has been talking about buying land and building his own house for years, now he actually is.  Right now he is living down there building a tiny house(like 8×12 feet, 2 stories) that him, Anais, and Ebo can live in while they are building a larger house.  Since we were going to be down in Kentucky Roark invited us to come see the house that he is building and have dinner with him.  We got there just before dinner and explored the land for a bit while dinner finished cooking over the fire.  We also got to see their house, which really is tiny, but he has all the walls up, insulation in, and carpet in the upstairs.  It is really exciting because right now he is down there by himself building the house while Anais and Ebo stay up here with my parents because they don’t want Ebo camping at a construction site in the middle of winter, but they really want to be able to join Roark and all be together again.  It is looking more and more likely that they will be able to go back down with him after Christmas.

We stayed in a hotel again that night, and the next morning (yesterday) we headed back home because Kaanas had to work that evening.  We were going to just come straight back, but we got sidetracked when we saw a billboard for the largest McDonald’s in the Midwest, and it said it had a tree house play place.  We stopped for lunch and let Mingli play.  It wasn’t as big as I was expecting, but the play place was pretty cool and Mingli enjoyed it.  After that it was back home, and our adventure was over.

Doing this felt completely crazy and something that normal people just doing do.  It was completely spontaneous and unplanned, and so exciting.  I am so glad that we did it.

Thanksgiving

This was the first Thanksgiving I have spent with my family since Kaanas and I started dating.  The first year we dated we went to his family’s house for Thanksgiving, then after that we were married and he was working at Walmart, which meant he couldn’t get Thanksgiving off so we couldn’t travel anywhere.  It was fun to get to participate in all of my childhood traditions and spend the holiday with my family.  All of my siblings except my brother, Siarl, who is on a mission for our church, were there.  Glynae even brought a boy home.  They are just friends, but he seemed really nice, so we will see what happens.

Thanksgiving morning started off with the Macy’s day parade, just like always in my family.  When Santa came at the end I grabbed Mingli and we cheered.  He had no idea what was going on, but I wanted him to know who Santa was.  Then of course we had all the usual things for Thanksgiving, and even more.  This year in addition to the normal turkey and ham that we always have we also had duck.  I know this seems like a lot, and it is, but we have a large family, and all of the food means that we have left overs for a week.

After dinner we set up our Christmas tree.  We usually don’t set it up so early, but it is one of Glynae’s favorite things to do, and she was only here for 1 day because of her work schedule, so we decided to go ahead and do it.  I decided to put myself in charge of the music this year, so I sat against the wall finding songs to listen to while everyone else decorated.

Kaanas and I also went black Friday shopping, something we have never done before since he has always worked that evening.  We managed to get all of the presents we wanted for Mingli except 1, all of the presents we wanted for Iella, and all of the clothes we needed for Mingli since he just moved up a clothing size a week ago.  Kaanas also has his shopping done for me, so now I just have to do my shopping for him.  It is nice to have it done early so we don’t have to worry about it, but now I am really impatient for Christmas.  Honestly I think I am more excited for Christmas as a parent than I ever was as a kid.  I remember as a kid waking up early then laying in bed waiting for my parents to wake up so I could see my presents.  Last year I actually woke up even early than I did as a kid and just laid there waiting for Mingli to wake up so he could see his presents.  I keep imagining how happy he will be and I can’t wait.

Trunk or treat

Every year at our church we have what we call trunk or treat.  One evening everyone comes, decorates their cars, and the kids go from car to car trick or treating.  Saturday was our trunk or treating for the year and it was a lot of fun.  The first part of the night was a chili cook off, and I honestly wish that we had just skipped that part.  Everyone who wanted to brought chili that they had made and it was set on a table with numbers.  That was the dinner for the night as everyone went around trying different chilis and voting on which one they liked best.  I have been to several chili cook offs, and they are fun, except for the fact that I don’t like tomatoes, I don’t like onions, I don’t like peppers/chilies, and I don’t like anything spicy.  All of that combined usually means that I don’t like hardly any chili.  It was ok, though, and I had fun showing Iella off to people in my church.

After the chili cook off was what we were really there for, trunk or treating.  This year for costumes I crocheted Mingli a dinosaur costume, and decided to have Mingli and Iella match.  Mingli was a blue dinosaur with purple spikes, and Iella was a purple dinosaur with blue spikes.  They were so cute together.

Right at first Mingli did not want to go trick or treat.  Kaanas had to drag him to the first car, but as soon as that first car let him pick a chocolate and put it in his bag he decided that he really liked it.  After that he was dragging Kaanas to the cars then standing very patiently and waiting his turn for candy before moving on to the next car.  I was really impressed with how patient he was waiting for the kids who were in front of him to get their candy.  The only problem he had then was that he was not ready to stop when we ran out of cars.

I was really glad that Mingli had so much fun.  The best part was the Kaanas was able to be there.  He is working Halloween night, and I was really sad that he wouldn’t be able to take Mingli trick or treating.  It was great that he got to be there this time.

Our little girl

I have been trying to figure out how to write this post for a while.  I keep going back and forth because I want this to be a happy post, but at the same time there is a lot that happened that I wanted to write about.  I have decided to just write 2 different posts.  This one is the happy post.

Last week our beautiful, wonderful little girl, Iella, was born!  I am so amazingly happy and all I want to do is hold her.  I ended up having to have her a little early and was induced at 36 weeks.  The morning of the induction I was so, so excited to be meeting our little girl.  I was also terrified that she would be sick because she was being born 4 weeks early.  I spend a lot of time in the days leading up to the induction reading online about what to expect with a 36 weeker.  I tried to prepare myself for whatever might happen, but I was still scared.

During the labor, soon after I got my epidural, Iella started going into distress.  In order to keep the epidural working evenly on both sides the nurse wanted me to lay on my back, but every time I did that Iella’s heart rate started dropping really low.  They would put me on my left side for a little while, let her recover, then try to switch me to my back or right side so the epidural would keep working.  At one point Kaanas left to get food from the cafeteria and Iella’s heart rate dropped and wasn’t coming back up.  I was so scared I started talking about a c-section because I didn’t want Iella to be hurt.  I called Kaanas and just as he got back Iella’s heart rate started coming back up and she started doing better.  At that point I didn’t care if the epidural stopped working on one side.  We had found a position that Iella liked and I wasn’t moving.  Luckily it didn’t get too bad and about 12 hours after we started the induction I was ready to start pushing.

When Iella was born was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.  She was born completely blue, not moving, and not crying.  I honestly thought she was going to die.  They put her on my stomach right away and let me hold her while they were cutting the cord.  As soon as that was done they took her to a corner of the room where they had some equipment and tried to get her breathing.  They ended up having to take her to the nursery and Kaanas went with them.  Before Iella was born we had agreed that if she had to be taken to the nursery Kaanas would go with her, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be watching him leave the room.  I was so scared and all I wanted was for Kaanas to hold me and help me feel better, but I also knew it was important for someone to be with Iella in case something happened.  The next couple of hours were the longest of my life.  I had to get stitched up, then I couldn’t go see Iella right away until I had recovered a little more.  Right as they were getting me into the wheelchair to go see her Kaanas came back in and the pediatrician came in after him.  They said that it looked like Iella was having seizures and they were preparing to transport her to a nearby children’s hospital.  They let me go spend about an hour in the nursery with her while they were waiting for the transport to get there, and that helped so much.  They warned me that seeing her might be scary because she was hooked up to a lot of stuff, but when I went in the only thing that mattered was that she was pink, moving, and making noises.  I didn’t care about anything that she was hooked up to because she no longer looked like she was dying.  During that time my mom arrived.  We weren’t planning on having her come up that night, but Kaanas was going with Iella to the children’s hospital and we decided that it would be best if my mom came to spend the night with me so I wasn’t alone.

They released me the next day as early as they could and my mom took me straight to the children’s hospital to see Iella.  It was actually a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.  The NICU was an entire floor and each of the babies had their own room.  The room had a couch and a recliner so Kaanas and I were able to sleep there with Iella.  The other fantastic thing that happened was that as we were driving there Kaanas called and said that he was holding Iella!  I was so excited, especially since Kaanas said that as soon as I got there they were going to let me start doing skin to skin.  It was so wonderful getting to hold her, and everything just felt right with the world again.

We were in the hospital for a week with her.  It was so hard, but also so much better than it could have been.  After monitoring Iella for 24 hours they determined that she wasn’t having seizures, but she did have some very mild damage from lack of oxygen.  We don’t know exactly how that will effect her, the doctor said it is possible she won’t be effected at all because the brain damage is mild enough, but it is also possible that she might have some developmental delays.  The thing that really kept us in the hospital was breastfeeding.  It took a little while for Iella to learn how to do that, so for a while she was being fed through a feeding tube.

The hardest part about being in the hospital was being away from Mingli.  I knew he was safe because he was at home with my parents, but I wanted to be with him so bad.  Kaanas went home regularly to be with Mingli, and even spent some nights at home because Mingli didn’t want his daddy to leave, but I stayed at the hospital.  Since we were working on breastfeeding I didn’t want to mess things up by leaving.  Having one child at home and one in the hospital was like having my heart cut in half.  I had never felt so torn in my whole life because all I wanted was to be home with Mingli, and all I wanted was to be with Iella, holding her and making sure she was ok and felt loved.  Luckily the hospital we were at had playrooms and different things for children to do, so Mingli came up to visit a few times and we were able to have fun with him.

When Iella was exactly a week old she was finally discharged from the hospital.  It was so wonderful bringing her home.  My family is back together and it is amazing.  We have been home for almost a week now and are settling in.  Iella is doing great.  She is feeding and gaining weight, and you can’t even tell she was early or needed time in a NICU.  I love it when she snuggles with me, she loves to curl up into me and it is the sweetest thing.  She also smiles all the time.  Mingli loves his little sister and is fascinated by everything about her.  He keeps trying to do things like share his food with her or brush her hair.  I am working on showing him better ways of showing his affection, like blowing her kisses.  I was worried that he would be jealous, and he seemed to be the very first time he came to visit in the hospital, but now he gets so excited when he sees her and even comes to find her.

I love my new family so, so much.  Life just seems so wonderful right now.  I feel like this is how it is all supposed to be.

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