a pink penguin party

{ahem. this post is 2 months behind schedule.}

 in may, our gemma girl turned 3! i know, what?!
i love to let my kids pick their party theme and this year, gems was set on a pink penguin party.
 in may. yup. 
basically a lot of pink and some sweet little penguins mixed throughout. she was giddy and that's all that matters. 

(all gemma's favorites)

fish sticks
paula deen's mac & cheese
watermelon & strawberry fruit salad
blue jello with fish gummies
penguin cracker party mix
cupcakes and an igloo smash cake
pink punch - sprite, pink kool-aid, and raspberry sherbert

we love you big girl.

{photo credits - my sister, Rebekah - many thanks!!!}
it's crossed my mind, a time or two, that i do, in fact, have a blog, and that i really want to use it. and then life happens and i push it to the side. for when life needs prioritized, this little space is very close to the bottom. i would never get rid of this blog, it holds too many precious memories, ones that my busy and tired mind needs reminded. so i am sitting here, not sure who is reading but grateful for this space. since it's been such a long break, i guess the best thing to do is just show you what life is looking like for me and my loves.

my emerson is five and is fiercely embracing a new independence that comes with impending kindergarten in the fall. he adores his big brother to two sisters status. he is kind and gentle, funny and stubborn.

gemma is three and as wild as the wind. there is no way but her way and she blazes a trail of pink wherever she goes. she is my biggest challenge in parenting, yet melts my heart in ways i could never explain.

and for our newest addition, scarlett. she is 6 months old  now and dare i say, the sweetest baby i have ever known.  she just loves everything and everyone. i can count the days on one hand where she cried for more than 10 minutes. started sleeping thru the night at 5 weeks. and her first word, mama. melts my heart, i'm so in love.

as for brandon and i, we are loving this life. it's crazy. it's busy. it's exhausting. but it's so good. so beautiful. so worth it all.

hey, blog, thanks for being here.

Scarlett's Beautiful Water Birth

(2 months ago and mostly in pictures.)

our sweet scarlett glory arrived just as we envisioned - naturally and in the water.

my contractions started around 11am on 12/31/13. i didn't start timing them until 3pm and when i did they were about 2 minutes apart. we checked into the birth center around 6 pm, at which point i was 5 cm dilated. around 10:15 pm, my midwife checked me and i was still only around 5. this did not make me happy but what can you do? i walked and bounced on the birthing ball and within 15 minutes, the script was flipped. i was moaning and really working thru each contraction. the midwife heard the change in my voice and checked me again at 10:30-45pm. 8 cm! woo-hoo! i went straight into the tub. for those of you who have gone thru a natural birth, you know that transition is when your whole world disappears and you must go into the pain to get thru it. which is exactly what i did, it's so hard to describe and i so badly want to find the perfect words but i don't think you can explain unless you are in that moment. for the next 15 minutes, i lived only in each contraction, focusing on the knowledge that each one brought me so close to meeting my baby. a little after 11pm, i knew i had to push, my midwife didn't even check me - i knew because i was doing it! on my second push, i broke my water and two or three pushes more - our little scarlett was born.

11:20 pm on 12/31/13.  40 minutes later we heard fireworks and drank champagne. best new years eve party of my life. she is perfect and so worth every moment of my labor.

i owe my sister a huge debt of gratitude for not only being present and being the calm guiding voice at all three of my births, but for also capturing these beautiful images. i will treasure them forever. my mom, who was also present for all of my births, i couldn't imagine doing this without her. her constant prayer over me and my children was and will be cherished by me for eternity.

and to my husband, thank you for being my rock. thank you for supporting natural birth and all it means to me.  thank you for knowing when to make me laugh and when to just be quiet when i'm in labor. thank you for rubbing my hips to the point of your skin ripping open. thank you to my midwife, merry lee. you are basically my hero. gently guiding a child into the world with grace and wisdom - like i said, my hero.

and finally, thank you dear Lord for the honor of being a mother and for the joy of childbirth.