Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Boy.

3 years ago today was a day of joy, healing, love and life.

Canyon Leigh was born at home, surrounded by friends, family and love. Here is a photo of my sweet baby's first seconds on Earth:

My little baby is now 3! I don't know where the time has gone... all of the little milestones we look forward to are passing me by and becoming bittersweet memories.

In the last year Canyon has weaned, become a big brother, potty-learned, gained his own opinions and begun to talk non-stop. He is growing into quite the little man.

I love you baby boy; you are a wonderful, goofy, perfect kid!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do Super Heros...

Randomly appear at your house too? Because over Spring Break, they did here... I'm not sure of what they called themselves, but they sure were helpful (if you count cleaning the mess THEY made as helpful...)!

The boys are getting so big!! Rory and Arden have lost their toddler bodies and are looking like "big kids". It happens so quick! I still think of them as babies, but the reality is, they aren't anymore... Arden is actually quite muscular...

Here are a couple of CanMan, who isn't far behind his brothers, he is actually almost as tall as Arden. Don't mind the ketchup, mustard, and chocolate cake on his face, we were at a birthday party:

Canyon with mustard


Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Month of the bean

So, I can't believe it, but one month has come and gone since the bean graced us with her presence... Things have been crazy, she can't nurse- so we pump every feeding- this has been eating up all my time, and I am not online much... I'm trying to get lots of photos,the boys are loving her, and we are adjusting to the new version of "normal"... She is a happy little thing, smiles a lot, sleeps well, and doesn't fuss much.

Here are a few recent photos:
One Month

On a side note (because he is so excited about it) Arden won us tickets to the opening season Asheville Tourists' Game this week with a photo:
Arden and his ball and bat

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today is a Day for...

Remembering, Accepting, Forgiving, and Embracing.

Today is the 8 year anniversary of the death of a dear dear friend. Jeffrey Allen Mayfield passed away on 4-13-2003; that day and those following weeks are something I will never forget and something that will haunt my thoughts for as long as I live.

8 years is a long time. Enough time that I am finally gaining perspective and accepting what happened.

At 21 years old, Jeff's death was the first I had ever dealt with. I had never lost a grandparent, a family member, or any other loved one. That day, I lost someone just as dear to me as a family member, someone who was a part of my life, and someone who I never expected to lose. It was something that I didn't know how to deal with; I didn't know I could hurt so much, or that I would carry that pain for so long.

8 years, and I am finally gaining some perspective, forgiving God/nature/the river/the rock, and accepting that while he is gone, part of him is still here in all of us who knew him. For the first time I am seeing things differently.

Carl and I moved not long after Jeff died, we gradually lost touch with many of our friends and those who we mourned Jeff's death with... and I regret that. We were a community who shared a loss together, who leaned on one another, who embraced, supported, and shared our love and pain together. Each year as the weather turns warmer, and Spring comes to us, I think of those people who were there over those weeks. I think of those friends I haven't seem or heard from, those we all have lost contact with, and those I still connect with... I remember the pain of 14 days of searching, I remember the relief and hurt after the recovery, and most of all, I remember Jeff.

Jeff was someone who embraced life in everything that he did. He very rarely wasn't smiling or laughing. He truly saw joy in everything about life. He could make anything funny, and make anyone feel wonderful.

The last two days I have been thinking about that trait of his, and I realized today, that I don't embrace life they way which Jeff showed us. I need to. If nothing else, his legacy to me, and my family, should be one of joy, smiles, and loving life for all it is.

Here is my promise to both myself, and the memory of Jeff... I will set aside time each day to smile, reflect, and embrace the day. I will look for the good in everything, no matter how hard it is to find, and at sometime each day, I will make time to do something that I love.

I love and miss you Jeff. The gift of life is something that I realize cannot be taken for granted, and your death/remembering your life showed me that... Thank you.

Thank you for being my friend.

Thank you for being who you were.

Thank you for showing all of us what life should and can be.

Rest in peace friend, know that you were loved, and will never be forgotten... and know that while I wrote this, while the tears roll down my cheeks, that I am smiling at your memory and remembering your smile.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Acceptance and Patience Paid Off...

After coming to terms with a late term pregnancy, and accepting the fact that my body, and the baby, know what is best, the bean decided to grace us with an appearance on Friday, March 11th. She was earlier than her brothers, and her appearance was quite quick. My entire labor was only about 2.5 hours!

Please excuse the typos, run on sentences, and outright mess this blog post consists of! The bean is currently having nursing issues so we are exhausted. I wanted to get this all down before I forget due to lack of sleep and passing time.

On Friday morning, March 11th, I got up at 6:30, to the normal routine of getting 2 of the boys out the door to school, one more boy tagging along, and Carl off to work. Canyon and I took Rory to school, picked up our car-pool friends along the way, and dropped everyone off at school at 8:30. Afterward, I had a chiropractic appointment, and was a little early, so I decided to sit in the car reading with Canyon for a while. While we were sitting there, I realized how tired I was, so I called into the office, and let them know I wasn’t feeling great, and was going to cancel the appointment, I was actually falling asleep in the drive waiting.

I got home around 9:30, did a few dishes, made some snacks for Canyon and then my father showed up. He lives 6 hours away, but decided to drop by on his way home from a visit to my grandparents in Illinois. After he left, I decided to take a nap while Canyon watched a movie. At 12 on the nose, Canyon woke me up wanting lunch, so we made him PBJ and pickles, (who knew, but apparently, this makes you the “best mommy ever”).

After going to the bathroom, answering a few phone calls, and laying back down, I realized that I had some bloody mucus here and there since I had woken at 6:30, and that it was continuing. I decided to text the doctor, David, to let him have a heads up, just in case something happened (I have never had bloody mucus before, so I figured it might be a sign). I don’t know why, but I felt uneasy so I called and asked Carl to go get Rory from school and to come home. I started filling the birth tub, although I didn’t have a reason to, there were no signs of pending labor, and nothing was happening.

When Carl got home, I realized I was having a few contractions here and there, nothing much. Rory didn’t understand why we had gotten him from school until I told him we thought that today might be the baby’s birthday. At 1:45 or so I realized the contractions were consistent, so I sent out a text to let people know not to call me and that this might be time.

At 2:15 I started to throw a fit because the birth tub was cold, and I needed in… in hindsight, I realize that I was in labor at that point, but in the moment, I wasn’t thinking clearly and must have looked like a lunatic, lol.

Carl offered right there to call David, and I told him no, that I wasn’t in labor yet, that I wanted to wait and see. Being the wonderful husband that he is, Carl just raised his eyebrows at me and said ok. I decided to get into the cold tub anyhow, and Rory staked his claim on the bed next to the tub. Canyon decided a bit later to get on the bed too and to sit and watch mom. In the meantime, Carl began boiling water and adding it to the tub.

At 2:30 Carl decided that he was going to call David, whether or not I agreed, which at that point I decided that maybe he should start making his way to us. It didn’t take long after that call for the contractions to start stacking, and we realized this birth wasn’t going to be as lengthy as the others. I called my photographer friend to come, but she couldn’t until her DH came home from work.

At about 3, things were getting intense; Carl, who was boiling water between contractions, and holding me during them, decided to call David again and said, “Hey David, how about coming to catch a baby? I think you should get here, pretty soon.”

At 3:30, my neighbor Tracy brought Arden home from school, and thankfully took Canyon to her house. Labor had gotten intense and Canyon’s energy (and jumping on the bed/being loud) was not allowing me to relax or concentrate like I needed to.

The contractions were stacking on top of each other, Rory had been laying in the bed trying to time them, but was having a hard time since I wasn’t telling him to start and stop, lol. He kept asking when to hit the button, and I finally told him it didn’t matter, that once they were this close, they didn’t need to be timed.

At 3:45 David arrives, and much to my pleasure (and surprise), he brings Ann, one of my midwives from my last birth, in with him! She had been in his office for an appointment and when she found out it was me, was delighted to come out to the birth. When she came in, I told her "this is a lot more intense than last time!"

The contractions were no longer giving space between them, and I am going to leave out a few of the grosser parts of what happened here, but things were really progressing and intense. I do have to say, that while I gave Rory and Arden every detail I could think of in an attempt to prepare them, I had left out a few

At just about 4, I started to push. First her head came out into my hand, and then I remember feeling her slide gently through my hands, and at 4:17 my beautiful little girl, Everleigh Pearl, was born into my hands, underwater, while her brothers watched from the bed and her father supported me.

My water didn’t break right away, and broke on my last push, so when she came out of the water, she didn’t have the “clean” look her brother had, she was white and slimy. The boys thought this was interesting and had a lot of questions.

She cried about 30 seconds later, and was perfect. She pinked up quickly, and was beautiful.

This is a photo from about 12:30 that day: My last belly shot that I took on a whim:

 Here are some photos from my "birth photographer" (my 7yo son). Sonya (the real birth photographer) missed the birth by a little over an hour or so.

This shot is during the last minutes of labor, Rory and Arden were sitting on the bed watching:
This is just seconds after lifting Everleigh from the water:
A few moments later:
After about an hour and a bit, Arden cut the cord, and then he and Rory took turns holding their new sister:
 Here are a few shots Sonya took after she arrived, about an hour and a half after the birth:
And here are a few more that I have taken over the last 2 weeks:
Pictures 426

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Pictures 433

Pictures 450

Pictures 454
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Pictures 472

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Waiting...

Well, here we are again... 40+ weeks and we have a bean that is still baking rather than gracing the world with an appearance.

I think that one of the most ironic things about pregnancy for me is that I go over my "estimated due date" every time, and am always "late".

Why is this ironic? Well, I am a chronically early person; someone who is always on time/punctual, and cringes (maybe even panics?) at that thought of inconveniencing someone by not being on time, (I get that from my mother). So these children, waiting for weeks after we are "ready" for them, is just... well, ironic.

I love being on time, keeping a schedule, and having things in order. My children on the other hand, have taken their view on timeliness from their father... My Darling Husband, whom I love dearly mind you, is never on time. He is always punctual for work, and for meetings, but when it comes to family commitments or dining with friends, or parties, he is ALWAYS late. It drives me insane. I know his schedule is crazy, and changes by the minute, but it still doesn't make me feel better when we arrive late to events.

While I know that our pregnancy due dates, even when we know conception, are estimates, and I know that the bean needs to cook as long as it wants/needs, it would still be nice to (for once) not see my due date come and go with "no end in sight" (although there is an end somewhat in sight, and I know that no one has ever been pregnant forever).

I am enjoying these last few weeks/days/hours of pregnancy, waiting on pins and needles to meet and hold our new bean, to see her take her first breath, cry for the first time, and to hold her on the outside. I am loving feeling these kicks and movements, and although I have been complaining, even the pain is a blessing in some ways.

One of the recurring themes at my blessing way was acceptance and patience. I know that I am 'right where I am supposed to be', and that the longer the wait, the more sweet the reward will be. I really don't mind that I go longer than a lot of women, and I don't mind waiting until the bean is ready on her own. This will be the last time I get to experience this and I am embracing that.

It just is ironic that the mom who is as punctual and timly as I am, has children who run on their father's schedule (or lack there of), starting from birth. I wonder what I am in for as they grow older?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why we chose home-birth, and why midwives and access to care are important...

We have 3 beautiful children, and one more on the way... we are loving parents who make the best choices we can for our kids, from the foods they eat, to sitting rear-facing in the car as long as possible, to the people we allow around the kids. There is nothing that we wouldn't do for our children, and each choice we make is something that we weigh and research, and are informed about.

One choice that Carl and I have made for our third birth, and have made for this fourth child, is the choice to homebirth. With Canyon, we had what in NC is considered unassisted birth because we did not use an OB. We had 2 "uncertified" midwives attend our birth, and we even had our child in a hot-tub in the middle of the living room, at HOME. Most of our family and friends thought we were insane, making a dangerous choice, and didn't understand. After getting facts in the forms of numbers, and safety statistics from all over the world, most understood our choice. But what most don't know and don't understand is what lead us to make this choice, and to KNOW that for us, it is the safest and best choice.

In 2003, Carl and I were expecting our first child, Rory. We were beyond excited, and all I knew was that I wanted to have a "natural" birth, to breastfeed, and to have a healthy baby. As my due date approached, I switched from the OBs in my practice to the nurse midwife, and was happy and comfortable with that choice. On Dec. 30th I went to my weekly appointment, where I was pushed by one of the OBs in the practice to schedule an induction, even though I was just at 40 weeks or so. She proceeded to do a cervical exam, which was very painful. Turns out, she stripped my membranes, and didn't tell me that she was doing it. A few hours later, I found myself "peeing" in my undies, over and over. It wasn't a lot, but it was constant. I called the midwife, she suggested seeing if my water was broken, so we headed off to the hospital, even though I was not having contractions. It turns out, the OB had broken my bag of water, and I had a leak. I was admitted to the hospital about 11pm/12am and my midwife (who was in the hospital with her husband at the time) told us to rest, and relax; I was 2cm, and had lots of time. As the hours past, my contractions started, and the first contractions were more intense then we had anticipated. At 4am, I sent Carl to get the nurse. I was vomiting, shaking, pushing, and hurting. The nurse comes in, does NOT do an exam, and tells me that I am overreacting, still only 2 cm, and this is just normal. At this point, I can't handle it, ask for an epidural, and abandon my plans for a natural birth. Afterall, if I have another 12+ hours of this, I need something... They put the IV in my hand, put the large needle in my back, and as the Anesthesiologist is about to give me the meds, the nurse yells out "Don't give it to her! Don't push!!" and runs to the hall to grab the first OB she sees. I had crowned, was pushing, and had the baby moments later. She didn't listen to me, or realize the obvious cues that I was in transition and ready to have a baby. We just assumed things had moved so fast, that this couldn't be the norm and it was no big deal that both Carl and I had been ignored.

A short while later, Carl and I decided to have another baby. We had moved to Asheville, NC and decided to go with a highly rated local practice because I had some odd blood issues. I used the same birth plan with Arden as I had with Canyon, although I did decline the quad screen over and over. The office was taking so much blood each week to track my issues, that I didn't know, but they ran the quad screen anyway without my permission. At 36 weeks, I gave the doctor my birthplan. This particular appointment was interesting because I was seeing the only OB in the practice that I hadn't met yet. When she read my birth plan she started yelling at me. Literally yelling. Over what, me not wanting an heploc or IV unless I needed it. I don't like needles, they limit my movement, and make me uncomfortable. No one had issues with birth #1 with my choice, and I was blindsided. I was told how many women hemorrhage, and how women die b/c there are not anistiologists on call 24-7 to administer IVs, etc. I went home, scared, and did some research with the CDC. Not only did the OB lie to me, but she was bullying me. I was not happy. I went back the next day, armed with stats, only one out of HUNDREDS of thousands of women in my status levels hemorrhaged, and our hospital does have the staff to place a central line if needed... I was promptly fired from the practice. At 36 almost 37 weeks, I had no prenatal care. I was able to get into the hospital practice, (mostly b/c they can't refuse you) and never got to see the OBs who deliver. At 41weeks and 6 days I went into labor around 10am. At 9pm or so I went to the hospital with contractions 2 minutes long and 5 minutes apart. I was told that I was not in labor, and needed to go home. Carl and I had been told that this is common, and decided to go downstairs, walk, eat, etc. At 11:30 I went back, and was told again, to go home and go to bed, that I was not in labor. At 12:30 we called back again (after having stayed in town b/c we were afraid of having the baby at home) and were told "not to bother coming in, she isn't in labor, I told you to go home and take a bath". So we did. As soon as I ran the tub, I got out, and told Carl we needed to go back, that the baby was coming. I couldn't walk, was feeling a lot of pressure, and had a difficult time riding in the car. So it is now about 3am and we are heading back. When Carl called to let them know we were coming, he was yelled at, and he responded with "I am not ASKING you if we can come, I am TELLING you we are coming back to have a baby". When we arrived, they saw us in a private room so that we didn't make a scene in the triage area. I refused to leave. Over the next 20 minutes we argued and finally pissed the OB off to the point she told us we had an hour, and we were either being induced or going home. I had the nurse fill the tub, and got in. I remember her telling Carl I wasn't in labor because I wasn't in pain, and was sleeping. She left the room, and I told Carl I needed to go to the bathroom, and then push. The nurse came back in, told me I didn't need to push, that I was (again) 2cm and she laughed. Carl yelled at this point "LAST TIME SHE SAID THIS WE HAD A BABY IN MINUTES, SOMEONE NEEDS TO LISTEN TO HER!!!". The nurse called the OB back, who proceeds to roll her eyes, tell me that my water wasn't broken, I didn't need to push and wasn't in labor. She turned, walked out of the room, and I delivered the baby on my own in the tub as Carl hit her as she walked out. Arden was taken from us for almost 45 minutes, and I was treated like crap by the OB and the rest of the staff. It was a horrible experience.None of my after care plans for the baby were followed, we were begging to get him back, but because I had #1 birthed in the tub and #2 birthed without monitoring, the wouldn't give him to me. No one listened to me, watched me, or even acknowledged me... which placed both me and my baby in danger.

A year later when we found out we were pregnant again, I had a panic attack over what to do. I couldn't go back to the hospital. I could barely drive past it without getting upset and crying. I knew that going there was not an option at all. I was lucky that my local support group consisted of moms who had homebirths and connections in the "underground" birthing network here in NC. Carl, well, he was less then thrilled and not very accepting of my birth choice... We decided to meet with some midwives, and decide after that. The first midwives we met, ended up being the only ones we met with. They were wonderful, and exactly what I wanted and needed. Both were Lay Midwives, one was taking her skills tests as a CPM as a choice, but that didn't matter to us. These women were so calming and wonderful, that by the time that they left, Carl was 100% on board and couldn't imagine going back to the hospital again.

At 41weeks and 6 days I went into labor again. It was perfect. Everything was calm, we were surrounded by family and friends, and there was no stress. Carl and I went for a walk, ate what we wanted, held each other, and played with our kids... a few hours in, I decided to get into the tub, and start pushing. Canyon was born moments later, into a perfect peaceful home, underwater, right into my arms. It was one of the most healing things that we could have imagined.

We made the choice for that birth because we knew that someone would be with me, the whole time, and would listen to us. The midwives were wonderful, cared for us, came back each day for a few weeks, and were wonderful.

These two women risk everything to be who they are, and to do what they do. They can be arrested and risk their homes, children, livelihoods being taken from them. Why? They were more competent, more caring, and more devoted then the OBs and nurses at my previous two births. While it is legal for us to use the midwives, it is illegal for them to practice in NC, while it is legal in all of our surrounding states.

We will be having a homebirth again this time, with different attendants (not because of an issue with the midwives, but because my blood issues have gotten worse and need more monitoring). There was never any doubt that this would be our choice again. Carl and I plan on another waterbirth, in our bedroom, with Rory and Arden in attendance. Canyon too if he is awake.

Now, you are probably wondering why I am telling you about this, well, I got this email last night, and am furious; this is a horrible slippery slope, and puts moms in NC in danger. Please read this, and take action. Call the legislators, do something! Without access to trained and competent care, more and more moms will make the decision to have births without attendants, with c-section happy OBs, and with an uncaring hospital staff, all of which put everyone -mom, baby, and family- at risk. Laws and arrests like this are systematically taking away the rights and safety of the mothers. Please join NCFOM, and if you can, join in the action.****

Dear Friends,

We all were hoping today would not happen. We were hoping we would pass our legislation this session and prevent this. Well, we haven't yet and it has happened.

Our beloved Amy Medwin, CPM has been arrested. They are closing their practice.

Many women now have a problem. What will they now do?

Below is our press release to get out in front of the media with our message. We are formulating our near term plan to both

Protect and support Amy
Use this to our advantage to pass legislation.

Please prepare yourself for dramatic action. We will head up to Jones St. Wednesday, March 2nd to make it crystal clear to the legislators that this ain't right. If we can't turn this around, we will open the door to other prosecutions.

Amy is healing with people who care very deeply for her and trying to figure out where she stands. I will keep you posted. I can assure everyone that we will step up for Amy.

Get mad folks. Get angry. Nurture your outrage and cultivate it for useful purpose. We must turn this around, Friends. Stay tuned.



Russ Fawcett
Vice President
North Carolina Friends of Midwives

RALEIGH, NC – On February 19, a Certified Professional Midwife who would be licensed and regulated in neighboring states was arrested for performing the duties for which she is trained. Charged with practicing midwifery without a license, her practice is in jeopardy. Should it close, dozens of pregnant women will face a crisis of care. “Our focus is on the mothers,” says a fellow Certified Professional Midwife. “This is an unfortunate day for mothers in North Carolina.” It is also an unfortunate day for the taxpayers of North Carolina, as they face the potential for a huge bill as the case winds its way through the criminal courts.

Unlike the laws in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida, North Carolina law denies childbearing women access to legally practicing Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained as experts in the provision of out-of-hospital maternity care. Because North Carolina does not license CPMs, they remain open to criminal prosecution for unlicensed health care practice, despite the fact that they are the primary care providers for women all across the United States who deliver their babies in private homes and freestanding birth centers.

CPMs are legally recognized in 27 states, but North Carolina is one of a handful of states that explicitly prohibit their practice. The arrest of one of the state’s most experienced and well-respected CPMs has sent shockwaves throughout the home birth community, leaving pregnant women across the state wondering if their midwife will be next.

“Using the police and the criminal courts to investigate and discipline health care providers is the most costly, inefficient, and ineffective form of professional regulation possible,” said Katie Prown, PhD, Campaign Manager of The Big Push for Midwives Campaign. “If this proceeds to trial the taxpayers of North Carolina are looking at hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of dollars wasted, when a simple case review is all that is indicated.”

Despite a groundswell of grassroots support from across the state, the North Carolina General Assembly has repeatedly declined to pass legislation to license and regulate CPMs, thanks to entrenched opposition from the North Carolina Medical Society.

“It is time we stop rolling over to the bullies and special interests, manage our house the right way, and let democracy and common sense prevail,” said Russ Fawcett, Vice President of the North Carolina Friends of Midwives. “In this economy we simply cannot afford to waste resources on prosecuting midwives when we have a simple, cost-effective solution at hand—enacting legislation to license and regulate CPMs, just like our neighbors have done.”

North Carolina Friends of Midwives is a grassroots organization of advocates dedicated to promoting, supporting, and protecting access to midwifery care in North Carolina.

North Carolina Friends of Midwives - www.ncfom.org - Copyright 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

5 minutes...

Now that the boys are back in school, and I have the house somewhat back to normal, I finally have five minutes to sit down and give a little update as to what the Gittings Clan has been up to these past weeks over the holidays. Please excuse the fact that this post is as long as a novel and probably slightly less exciting ;)

Just before Christmas break for the school, we got snow. It was enough snow that schools were closed off and on, and things got all messed up here in WNC. Rory's ballet recital was pushed back a few days, and unfortunately, Carl had to leave town and missed it, but we have it preserved in photos! Rory was quite the gentleman and took his part VERY seriously. It was adorable. (About this time, my laptop blew, and I am currently without my own computer or a way to edit and play with photos... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone will find one for me soon.)

Straight from Rory's recital, in an attempt to avoid the next round of snow coming in and up the coast, we left and traveled to Maryland for a few days of time with my parents. Carl flew to DC from Texas and was able to spend the time with us. Most of the time we were there, my mom was feeling pretty good despite her treatments. She took the boys to see Santa, and at Rory's request, she took us all to Washington DC, and to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and then to the National Christmas Tree.

It was quite a full day. As evening set in, it was pretty cold, but we did get to see the tree at night, and enjoy the burning yule log. The boys' favorite part was the trains that are set up along the base of the tree. Although it really wore my mom out, she was thrilled that the boys got to enjoy it. Every year growing up, or nearly each year, my mom took us girls to see the tree. I remember the excitement and beauty of it, and love that my boys get the chance to share that with her too. My dad normally got to go with us, which always made the holiday feel complete.

My dad was a trooper and took the boys and I to cut down a Christmas tree at a local tree farm, and the boys had such a wonderful time picking a tree and playing in the snow. Rory even took home extra branches to make a wreath from. 

While we were there, we got to see my older sister and her crew, I can't believe how big they all had gotten! Together the kids and my mom decorated the tree, and got the basement ready for Santa to come to MaMa Ann's house. Both of my sisters and their kids spend the holiday at her house, and it is quite the spectacle!

We got back to WNC a few days before Christmas and spent the time enjoying being together and the boys being off of school. The went fishing with dad one day, and spent a lot of their time gazing longingly at the growing mountain of presents under and around the tree... It seemed like every day the UPS man showed up with more and more brightly colored boxes to taunt them.

Somewhere this week Rory pulled out his own tooth! His front tooth had been wriggling for a while and was bothering him. Dad and I tried to get it, so did a few friends, but Rory had the honor of being the one who pulled it! He is still getting used to taking without anything to block his tongue, and still looks weird to me, but I am getting used to it too.

Christmas came, as did Santa, the boys got everything they could have, and did want. Rory got a real grownup camera, Arden got 2 StarWars costumes, and Canyon, well he got "Lucky". Lucky is a horse on a set of springs that he gets to bounce on and ride. He loved it... but now that he has fallen off of her a few times, he is less keen on riding. I figure he will get over that pretty soon.

Carl and I were equally blessed this year. My darling husband finally replaced my camera that was broken, with what we will call a much anticipated upgrade! Carl got the fishing gear that he has been wanting, and more exciting then that, we were given a new television and a Wii!! Both of those items are things we would never have spent the money to have, but absolutely are excited about and love to death!

Christmas morning also came with another gift from Mother Nature... snow. At 6:30 when we got up, the snow had lightly began to fall, dusting things with a beautiful white gloss... an hour later, the dusting was becoming more pronounced, and by that evening we had over 10 inches. When it was all said and done, we had 14 inches of snow on the ground, and much more in the drifts. According to the news, this was our first "white Christmas" in WNC since 1981.

The snow, while beautiful, had me a bit on edge remembering the snow from last year, so we made sure to fill tubs and water bottles, and prepare as the electric started to flicker. Luckily, the electric stayed on and we had a warm house to enjoy with our new gifts.

Rory's birthday and New Years followed Christmas, and was a wonderful day. He turned 7, I just can't believe we are 7 already... He had a great day filled with friends, food, and fun.

The pregnancy is going great, overall other then the HG (and subsequent kidney stones) things have been easy. I think my main and only real complaint is fatigue, although I think that would be an issue not pregnant with all of these boys in the house.

We found out a while back that we are having a girl, which makes this birth even a little more anticipated. Rory is thrilled. He wants nothing more then a baby sister to love. He is even asking and volunteering to change diapers for Canyon, so that he can learn it for the baby. We were given a really cute baby onesie with a tutu on it, and he got so excited! He is already planning a photo shoot with him in his ballet clothes and holding the baby. It doesn't get much cuter then that.

I hope that the Holiday Season found all of you friends and loved ones in good health and happy. I hope that you were able to celebrate the New Year with friends, and those you love, and that 2011 will be wonderful for us all.

Here are a few photos of our time in the past few months (from photog friends and straight out of the camera since I don't have an editor):

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Trees and Memories...

Carl and I were married in 2003, and had our first Christmas as a married couple at our "new" 100+ year old home we had been working on. We had been working on restoring the home room by room, and by Christmas, we had the living room finished and were just starting to move things into the home.

A week before Christmas, one of the dogs had gotten into something and needed a bath, so we decided to use the bathtub for the first time, (the only bathroom in the house was on the second floor). As we emptied the tub and were done washing her, Carl sent me down to the living room to get something to dry her with, as I came down the stairs and rounded the corner, I started screaming for him to stop the drain!!

The water was pouring out of the newly refinished ceiling; it was like a waterfall in the middle of the living room. It came down all over our new rug, freshly painted walls, and the Christmas Tree. Apparently the leaking tub had never been fixed by the previous owners.

The rug was ruined, the wall was repainted, and we had to fix the ceiling, AGAIN, it was a mess... but the tree survived, some of the ornaments made it through unscathed, others ended up stained and ruined from the rusty water... I kept those ornaments, and to this day smile when I see the rust spots on the globes.

Here is a shot of one of those ornaments on this year's Christmas tree:

Here are a few other ornaments on this years tree, one from my first year as an Aunt, and the other is our 2010 family ornament:

Monday, December 6, 2010

First Snow-day of the school year...

Today was the first snow-day of the school year here in WNC, Rory had a 3 hour delay, and still had ballet practice (which is good since it was the last before his recital,) but Arden's school was canceled, so he had to hang out at home with mom and Canyon all day.

Here are 2 shots we took sitting on the couch together. Of course they are as goofy as ever...