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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fast and Easy Toy Car Valentine

Big Brother is in his second year of preschool, and this year they're having a Valentine's party. Naturally, we wanted to come up with a fun Valentine!

I wanted something cute but also something that he could contribute to. There are 12 other kids in his class, and I knew he could lose interest quickly, so I kept it simple. 

He loved the idea of giving his classmates Hotwheels, so I made a simple design with the phrase "I Am Wheelie Glad We're Friends". He decorated them with Valentine stickers and markers, and I fastened them to the Hotwheels card. Simple, quick, and fun!


Make Your Own Hotwheels Valentines:

Print the "I Am Wheelie Glad We're Friends" printable on a regular size sheet of colored card stock (8.5"x 11"). See below for printables links.

Cut each piece of card stock so that you have four pieces measuring  4.25 x 5.5 inches-the perfect size for a Hotwheels card! 

Score each of the four pieces at the top of the card, so you can fold it over approximately 3/4 of an inch. This is a nice place for a classmate's name.

Decorate and add names!! You can have your child write his or her name and/or classmates' names.

Now attach each piece to a Hotwheels car. I glued it to the front and then folded the scored section over the top and taped it to the back. 

You're finished. Get ready to hand out those Valentines!


Printables: 

The document is set up, so that you can add names or even move the graphic around a little in Word or Open Office. The font we used was Heavy Heap if you'd like to try to match it.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!




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Our Pregnancy and Birth Story

Over eight months. Wow! It’s been over eight months since sweet Little Brother came into our lives. Life’s been crazy since he was born: summer kept us busy, we moved, and then came Thanksgiving, a birthday, Christmas, New Year’s, and another birthday. It’s been a whirlwind! So it’s taken me a while to get here, but I wanted to sit down and share our story. The story of Little Brother and all we’ve been through since we first heard he was on the way. Get comfy. This could be a long one.


September 19, 2013--We find out we’re having a baby! We’re keeping it quiet though.
October 13, 2013--The day we first told someone that we were expecting! My sister was so excited for us.
November 15, 2013-November 18, 2013--The real fun begins! Well, okay, not really. I woke early Friday morning (or in the middle of the night, really) with some abdominal and back pain. So started what was possibly the most painful couple of days of my life. We now know that it was indeed a kidney stone along with what is called hydronephrosis. Basically, my body was producing too much calcium during the pregnancy and was “clogging things up”. The solution was to get a stent to help keep things from getting too clogged. I had to have it replaced a few times during the pregnancy. Once I had little brother, the hydronephrosis subsided, the last stent was removed, and now I’m almost back to normal.


It wasn’t fun, but all in all it could have been so much worse. Little Brother was healthy and growing as he should the entire pregnancy, and other than those kidney issues my pregnancy was a healthy one. So many women go through so much worse. One day I was feeling a bit sorry for myself when I came across a story about a woman who was having a much more difficult time. Like me she was having issues with her body, but unlike me they were issues that could be harmful to the baby. I’m so thankful that I knew that my baby was safe and well.

We’ll skip all the details of those fun months of growing huge and having those stent replacements, but here are all the baby bump pictures. I had so much fun with them!
Now let’s jump to the good part!


May 29, 2014--It’s three days past Little Brother’s due date. We really thought he would come early, so going past the due date with nothing happening was disappointing to say the least. It had been a hard pregnancy physically, mentally, and spiritually. I wasn’t a crier, but it became more and more common for me. There were some rough days. One day early on in the kidney issues, I called my mom and was crying so hysterically that when she answered the phone she couldn’t understand me at all. When Big Brother wasn’t around, I’d cry on Jeremy’s shoulder. If Big Brother was around, I’d try to put on a strong face until I could get some time alone. Showers are good for that. I’d get in the shower and just let it all out. I’d cry out to God in my frustration and pain. In the days leading up to May 29th I had been feeling particularly beat down. I was incredibly uncomfortable and in pain due to the kidney issues and being 9 months pregnant. I was trying to stay positive, but I won’t lie, I was breaking down and crying on a regular basis.


Then at about 9:30 pm I felt my first real contraction. I moved around thinking it was a false alarm/Braxton Hicks and that more wouldn’t come (that had happened a couple times before). They kept coming. It was close to 10 when my cousin started texting me. Having had four babies herself, she had so many words of encouragement and hope and great advice. Looking back at the timing, I truly believe it was a God thing that she texted me that night. Her words were echoing in my mind in the hours to come.


The contractions kept coming and got closer and closer. Around 2 am I decided we should call the doctor. We had one of those “wake up your husband in the middle of the night and tell him ‘it’s time’ moments” which was kind of funny. The doctor gave us the okay to head to the hospital, so we called my sister to come watch Big Brother. There was a bit of a panic moment when she didn’t answer and then our back up baby sitter didn’t answer either. I guess people are little hard to reach in the middle of the night! We were close to deciding to take him with us and hope someone could come get him when we were able to get a hold of my sister. She rushed right over, thankfully.


We arrived at the hospital around 3 am and my labor continued to progress. With Big Brother I had an epidural early on but it worked a little too well. So well in fact that I couldn’t even tell when I was contracting or when I should push. I didn’t want that to be the case this time, so I was determined not to have any pain medication. All seemed to being going well for several hours, and I was handling the pain just fine.


Then labor wasn’t progressing quite as it should. Little Brother wasn’t descending, and I still wasn’t dilated enough to push. We made the decision to let the doctor break my waters. This would help labor along, but most importantly, it would enable her to place a monitor directly on his head that would be more accurate than the monitors they’re able to use before the waters break. There is a bit of a delay when the monitor isn’t directly on the baby. We soon were very thankful to have that monitor in place.


To say that labor progressed would be putting it mildly. The pain, intensity and frequency of the contractions increased significantly. However, I wasn't dilating any further and the baby still wasn't descending. Then there was trouble with his vital signs. He wasn’t handling labor well. The doctor didn’t want to wait. If he didn’t improve and very quickly, we needed to do an emergency c-section. The next contraction came and that was that. We had to go to the operating room right away.


Once that decision was made they gave me something to calm the contractions. You know those scenes in a movie when they jab a shot in someone’s arm? Yeah. It was one of those moments. My arm was sore for days. I’m not complaining, though, because it was what Little Brother needed to stay safe.


The next part was all too familiar, since we had to have an emergency c-section with Big Brother as well. The difference here was that with Big Brother I already had an epidural in place. This time they had to place the spinal with me being in full blown labor and having no pain medication. If you’ve ever had an epidural or spinal, then you know that you have to be very still and stay in a certain position. Thankfully, that earlier shot had calmed the contractions so that I was able to stay still.


The minutes felt like hours from the time after the spinal to the time we first heard Little Brother. The doctors kept asking who had done my previous c-section, and we could hear them talking, but weren’t sure what was going on. They were still calm and the baby’s vitals were still good, but we could tell something was different than when Big Brother was born. It turns out that there was significant scar tissue from my previous c-section that had caused quite a mess internally, so they were having some difficulty navigating what was what. There was also another strange complication called a contraction band. Basically, instead of my contractions moving from the top of my uterus down to push the baby down, I was contracting in the middle of my uterus. Think about the way a peanut is shaped, and that’s how the contractions were. The big problem with that is that Little Brother’s head was below the contraction band while the rest of his body was above it. The contractions were actually preventing him from descending.

Thankfully, the doctors were able to work through all of the strange issues with my body, and Little Brother was born May 30th at 1:27 pm. His first noises were little squeaks that still make me laugh to think about. With all the chaos leading up to that moment, we forgot to bring a camera or even a phone into the operating room! Thankfully, the anesthesiologist had his phone on him and snapped this photo for us.
Thank God for smart phones! I was so thankful to finally hold him in my arms and was beyond excited that I got to hold him right away (I didn’t hold Big Brother until a couple hours after his birth). What a wonderful moment that was!


That day and the next day, Saturday, went wonderfully. I was on the mend and it looked like we’d be able to go home even faster than we expected. Then Saturday night Little Brother didn’t do well on one of the routine tests. It was a pulse oximetry test, and it was showing that Little Brother didn’t have enough oxygen in his blood. We were worried but not too anxious about it as the nurse seemed calm about it. They would run the test again the next night. In the meantime, on Sunday morning, we had beautiful pictures taken by the hospital photographer.


Sunday evening they ran the test again, and he still wasn’t “passing” the test as he should. His resting heart rate was too low. They put him on oxygen, and moved him to the NICU.


We were scared to death.


Then came trying to figure out what was happening with him. They did blood tests. There was a chest x-ray and then an echocardiogram. Was there an infection? Was there something going on with his liver? Was there moisture in his lungs? Was there some kind of heart defect? Was it more than one of those things? Then of course I wondered if I had done something wrong. Should I have scheduled a c-section and not tried the VBAC? Did he have an infection because I had tested positive for Group B Strep? Maybe I didn’t get enough antibiotics? Had the stress of labor hurt him? Was that my fault? What could I have done differently? I don’t know if I’ve ever been as scared as I was then.


Later on Monday we (finally) started getting good news. There was no infection. His heart was fine!


They thought that maybe there was some moisture in his lungs that could be causing the problems, but he’d would be okay and would improve on his own. He just had to get to a certain level before they could release him from the hospital, and they would send him home on oxygen. So we waited and hoped and prayed as they monitored him.

He continues to improve, and then on Tuesday, June 3rd we got to bring our little guy home!

What an experience it had been getting to that point, but looking back we try to look at the good. The end result was the best part of all. We have this sweet loving little baby, who at 6 weeks old got to come off the oxygen. He is healthy, and we are so blessed by him every day. Though we couldn’t understand the difficulties at the time, we know that God had a plan all along and knew best. For example, each day, each hour and each minute that sweet Little Brother was “overdue” was a little bit longer that his body and especially lungs had to develop in the safety and protection of mother’s womb. Had he been early like we thought he was going to be, he may have had an even harder time with his oxygen levels and resting heart rate.

God knew. He knew Little Brother need a little extra time. He knew we’d be able to get through it. He knew it all, and I’m so thankful it was all in His hands. It’s been another lesson of trust. One that I’m learning again and again and again. We can always, always trust Him.

That’s Little Brother’s story. Well, the beginning of it really. Now over eight months later this little guy is such a joy. He’s happy, happy, happy! We couldn’t be more thankful to have him and look forward to sharing more of his story and ours.
Goodbye for now!





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