Friday, May 31, 2013

La dolce vita: May

Here are some photos from life in May...
Angry Birds:  Arthur style
Shelling fava beans from our neighbor's garden.
Another trip to the Butterfly House for a kindergarten field trip.  This time Elise got to go tubing!
Sweet friends in Mr. Atkinson's kindergarten class!
Mother's Day brunch and cooking class - hosted by my friend Allison.
On the menu:  Tiramisu!!!!!!!!!
...and Pistachio Pasta!
Our last pre-baby adventure...I love these two!
Dinner and birthday cake on our first night at home with Eden!  Thank you Becca!
Each of the kids got a special gift from Eden for being such sweet big siblings and for giving her such a wonderful welcome into the world!
A collection of ties (thank you Ebay!) for big boy Caleb.
Some new furniture for big sis Elise and her dollhouse.

Enjoying a biking outing with Daddy!  (Hooray for paternity leave!!)
...that's her ring finger...her nail had just fallen off after she broke her finger a few weeks ago...
Grammie and Eden...she's wearing an outfit that was mine as a newborn.
Market bounty for dinner!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

She's here!

On Thursday, May 16th at 5:18 a.m. we welcomed Eden Joy Arthur into the world as the newest member of our family!  When we went to bed on Wednesday night I would not have guessed that before the kids were awake we'd be holding a sweet little baby girl in our arms, but it was a very pleasant surprise.

On Tuesday night I'd had a bit of a fitful night of sleep - every little baby kick and trip to the bathroom turned into an anxious time of wakefulness - making lists of things I hadn't done and needed to do if/when/before I was actually in labor.  Morning came on Wednesday and things proceded as usual.  Wednesdays are the days when Santa comes to babysit the boys so I can volunteer in Elise's class and get some errands run.  I was thankful to have one more day in Elise's wonderful classroom and also eager to get a few more pre-baby tasks accomplished - including a gigantic pantry-filling trip to the commissary.  My conversations with bank tellers, store clerks, and friends along the way included the usual:  "No baby yet."  "At this rate, she won't come until June."  "Well, I hope she waits until we have a name picked out." - etc... oh, the irony!

Josh and I headed to bed around 9:30 since we were too worn out to get any more tasks done.  I almost remarked that he should have his clinic schedule opened up for Thursday and Friday since it seemed like the baby's arrival was not imminent...I guess one of us must have fallen asleep before I got to mention it!  Anyway, a little after midnight I woke up with some discomfort and tossed around for a few minutes to try to get comfortable.  I looked at the clock to see how long I'd been asleep and drifted back to sleep.  When I awoke a few minutes later with a similar sort of discomfort, I figured I should check the clock again in case it was in fact a contraction (Since I'm now 4 for 4 with having NO noticeable contractions until the day I deliver).  It had been eight minutes.  Well, back to "sleep" to see what would happen next...8 minutes get the idea.  I think by the fourth time, I convinced myself that I'd better get up and pack the kids bags for their middle-of-the-night sleepover party and my own bag for the hospital.  (All I'd managed to get into my bag the night before was Season 2 of Downton know, the important stuff!)...8 minutes, 8 minutes, 5 minutes...over the next hour while I gathered socks, play clothes, toothbrushes, etc... By 1:30 (what I could now confirm as) my contractions were coming every 3 - 5 minutes so I figured things were sure enough that I should wake Josh up and get the next part of the "plan" into motion.  I was still a little worried it might be false labor, and asked if we could stay at home until I had more "information" but Josh encouraged me to pick up the pace of our departure.  (He's so wise!)  We called our friend Bethany, who was going to keep the kids for the rest of night (of course the baby WOULD come when her husband was out of town!).  She was so sweet and hopped out of bed to make spaces for Elise, Caleb and Lucas on the floor of her living room.  Josh and I finished packing the kids, cameras, school lunch, etc...and by 2:45 we were on our way down the hill to the hospital.  At 3 a.m. we arrived at Bethany's house, took a few minutes to settle the kids in, and continued our (thankfully) short trip to the multi-service ward at U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella.

Between our "expectant mother" parking spot and the ward on the 3rd floor we had to stop twice for contractions - I guess I was smiling as we walked through the doors because I remember the nurse, Melissa, commenting that I was far too cheery to be in labor in the middle of the night.  I said to her, what I often say to other friends who "think" I'm calm, cool, and collected, that (good or bad) this smile hides a LOT of inner angst.  Anyway, I was very glad when she concluded that I was 6 cm dilated and called our OB and Nurse Anesthetist to ask them to join us at the hospital.  I am always a bit hesitant to get an epidural because I secretly think it makes me seem weak, but then once I have it I realize how much more I am able to enjoy the rest of the laboring and birthing experience. (even if I am a wimp!)  I had Elise sans meds so at least I can feel like I haven't missed out on anything!  

By 4:30 a.m. I was feeling a bit more comfortable and just after 5 my water broke.  We called in Melissa, our nurse, who called in Celina, our OB, and a few minutes later I was holding a brand new baby girl in my arms - a bundle of blessings and someone new to love.  We were so thankful for a beautiful, healthy baby and for all the wonderful care we received on her birth-day!
Baby Girl Arthur (as she was named until about 30 minutes before we were discharged from the hospital!) - two minutes old.

Caleb had been praying for a baby sister for at least the last year - he was very proud to have her in his arms.
Josh brought all the kids over to the hospital before taking Elise to school.  There were lots of ooohs and aaahs, questions and cuddles as they met their new baby sister.
The new and improved "Team Arthur"
Josh doesn't really know what to do with babies.
My amazing friends Bethany and Becca (both of whom had their husbands away for work) teamed up to take care of our kids while we were in the hospital.  On Thursday afternoon they all marched into our room with a parade of gerber daisies for Eden.  In the back is the great Dr. Bryan - who took care of Eden during our stay.  Thanks also to my sweet friend Jamie who hosted Elise for a sleepover during our full night in the hospital.
Lucas was very enthusiastic about "mine new baby!"
Welcome to the world Eden Joy.  We love you!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Josh's latest song - for life's many changes.

Change is inevitable.
Change is good.
Change is difficult.
I don't like change.
True. True. True. True.

Given our upcoming move to the United States and our transition away from military life, Josh's newest musical endeavor is particularly poignant for me.  I think of the dear friends we've made through the years and the many many goodbyes that have been a part of our military life.  It is a rich and full life, but a difficult one at times.  I'm so very thankful for each and every person that we've had the opportunity to meet and share life with as we've traveled the globe and called North Carolina, Virginia, Japan, and Italy our home.

...I guess I should let the words of Josh's new song and the book that it represents say the rest...

Check it out here:  When the Seasons Change.

Based on the book "City Dog, Country Frog" by Mo Willems and Jon J Muth

...And so I wonder, as Josh said to some of our dearest friends the other day..."Who will be our country chipmunk?"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Savoring these days...

I love newborns.  I really do.  (Good news, right, since I'm 39 weeks pregnant with our 4th child!) But, it's true, I could spend hours admiring each little feature of their tiny new bodies.  I remember feeling elated when I discovered Elise's first little boogie and bit of earwax - thinking, "Wow, she really works!"  I think I could have gazed at her all day and watched her little eyelashes grow in real time.  I could say the same for my boys when they were newborns - so sweet, so amazing, such a gift...especially in those first days when you're in a sleepy, happy daze and have been granted some reprieve from the rest of life's responsibilities. 

The other truth that I'm staring in the face is the fact that there are some major growing pains on the horizon for all of us...and honestly, I'm terrified. 

Our first three kids are all around 19 months apart, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to catch our breath before we were getting ready to welcome another new member to our family.  Now, Lucas (our youngest) is two and a half and things are different.  I don't have anyone in diapers, everyone is almost guaranteed to sleep through the night, the kids can (for the most part!) communicate their needs to us, and we've enjoyed a little taste of independence (both for them and for us) know what I mean...I guess it just feels like we've entered a different phase of parenting with little ones... 

It probably doesn't help that we don't have a name picked out yet and I have a list a mile long of all the "pre-baby" things I've been wanting to accomplish.  (I wish my tired swollen legs would be more agreeable with my current "nesting" instincts!) 

I think I also worry about the time and patience and energy that I'll have in the weeks ahead - doting on a needy infant while still desperately wanting to cuddle with Lucas and his doggy blanket when he comes and asks me to put the blanket on my shoulder and hold him.  What if it's months before I can pull everyone up to the counter to make a batch of muffins for an after school snack - or - plop down on the couch with a pile of books when we're all falling apart before dinner and just need "a break" - sigh.

Life with a newborn is wonderful and chaotic all at the same time.  I know I'm about to lose "control" over our everyday routines and it will take time to establish new routines as we grow into our new roles as a family of six.  It's like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff...

Thankfully, I know I'm not alone...and I have a parachute.  

While we wait, I will do my best to savor these days (and not worry them away) - to enjoy our "normal" routines - and to thank God for all that He is showing me as we prepare for our newest little bundle of love. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A baby shower for our little lady.

I just can't say enough about how special and loved I felt after a wonderful and relaxing day spent with friends in celebration of our soon-to-arrive 4th child.  Bethany and Becca organized and hosted the lovely event for me...complete with a spring flower theme and a luncheon at one of our favorite agriturismos.  
Yes, they were as amazingly delicious as they were beautiful.  (Your choice of salted caramel or fresh strawberry...or in my case, one of each please!)
Sweet gifts, beautiful cupcakes, and a wonderful homemade strawberry jam party favor!
This is why we love Borgo!

So thankful for dear friends and a joy-filled day spent together!