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A new season

10 Sep

It’s a true Autumn for the Malefyt house. Not only is the weather and foliage changing, but much of our routine and ‘life as we know it’ is changing too.

There’s been a lot going on since my last entry, Karl’s changed shifts, I’ve started my photography business again, two of the kids have started school, all of the kids including the one in my belly are growing like weeds, and we had to put down one of our dogs.

I don’t do well with all the change at once. I’m still trying to digest everything that’s going on, get use to all the new routines, catch up on all the paperwork and things on my ‘to-do’ list, all while attempting to retain my sanity.

On August 27th we all had a hard time saying good-bye to our beloved old dog, Ceazer.
I had him since I was 17 years old, through 6 moves, and 3.5 kids.
At one time he was a really, really good dog.
He slept with me and kept me feeling safe when I lived in ‘the Ghetto’ with all girls…
He made me feel less alone when I lived in my 1 bedroom apartment by myself…
He’d make me laugh my butt off with his crazy antics of doing backflips and sitting on friends’ laps during Thursday Night Hangouts…
He warmed my heart by staying right next to me through every pregnancy, as if he knew I was in a vulnerable state…
He proved his loyalty and gentleness by laying next to each of my babies so carefully when they were newly born, and by letting them ride him like a horse, and tolerate them sometimes pounding on him just a little too hard, or pulling on things that shouldn’t be pulled.
He was a really great dog and companion until he lost his spunk, his energy, and most of all his continence.
We all loved him, and were all sad to have to say good-bye.

Karl got this card from the post office right after he was put down, and the dog’s name was ‘Angel’… He looked just like Ceazer.
Because of it, Ethan insists that Ceazer is just playing ‘on the stage’.

Ethan started preschool this fall, along with Olive.
Ethan is going two half days a week at Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School, and Olive is going half days, every day at Ken-O-Sha.
We were able to meet both Ethan and Olive’s teachers before they actually started school, and really like them both.
Ethan has Mrs. Vandersluis, who seems phenomenal. You can really tell that she loves her job and the kids – and that’s very comforting. The last thing I want is for Ethan to have a teacher that’s burnt out.  From what I’ve been able to tell from our first meeting and Ethan’s first visiting day, she has a heart for God, she puts a lot of emphasis on being accepted/accepting, and on literacy. What more can you ask for!?
Ethan made a friend on his very first visiting day, and even though he appears to be one of the youngest in his class by far, I think his personality will be kind in making him friends.

Olive’s teacher is Mrs. Cathy Chesla. She’s been a special education teacher for over 20 years and along with the other aids in the room, they seem to really know how to run their classroom.
It was so strange to drop Olive off at school the first day. She is still about the size of your average 24 month old and still feels like too much of a baby to have her in school.
But, it will be really good for her to be in a classroom for a short time every day. I think the structure will be good for her, not to mention the socialization, therapy, and a little break for me.
I was surprised by how hard it really was to leave her there. I’m especially protective and weary of leaving her with just anyone because there’s just so much ‘to her’ – that I feel no one could ever take care of her as well as we can. I know how narcissistic that sounds, but really – I just worry that she’ll get beat up on, or she’ll show signs of being over stimmed, or keep signing for something, and not be seen or understood.  It’s so different from Ethan, where I know he can use his words to tell me what’s going on. I wish the classroom had a live cam that we could watch her while she’s there, haha.
According to reports – she did just fine her first day.
Her sheet said that she enjoyed watching others, and explored. The aides told Karl when he picked her up, that she did just fine and enjoyed herself.
I trust and hope that is true.

(Ethan getting his special first day of school breakfast)

(Olive walking to her classroom)

(She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go in to the classroom with all the people in there)

(You can see the chaos that was the first day of school for everyone)

(Her favorite toy was the slide)

Today she rode the bus for the first time. She looked concerned, confused, and curious both getting on this morning and coming off this afternoon.
I didn’t get much detail about her day at school (it’s so weird to not know!) and the bus driver said she was pleasant, and even tried to help buckle and unbuckle herself from the chair.
She’s very much starting that ‘helping’ stage, where she wants to help with her shoes, clothing, buckles, etc.

Olive has an orthopedic appointment this monday to get fitted for braces. I was a little caught off guard when the secretary said that if she needed to be casted, they would do it that day.
I’m really hoping that she isn’t going to have to be casted. She’s made so much progress with using her walker and with crawling that I’d hate to see a lot of that go down the toilet.
Hopefully she’ll just get supports, and with some practice and good shoes it’ll help her walk better.
She also has her endocrine appointment this week, where I’m afraid mentioning her one episode of funky sugar levels is going to open up a whole other can of worms. We, shall see.

On the baby front, I have my level II growth ultrasound this coming Friday morning.
I am really hoping that we’ll find out that the baby is of ‘normal’ size, and whether it’s a boy or a girl!
It still feels so weird to be doing this again for the 3rd time. I’m able to feel the baby moving the majority of the day now, so it’s definitely becoming more real – just much slower than it was for the other two.
I think finding out the gender will really help me to feel connected to the baby, and to really start to feel like it’s all happening again.

I had my first prenatal appointment with Dr. Leazenby, just down the road from us.
I really, really liked him!
He was a great, experienced, candid OB who wasn’t afraid to say it like it was, and talk out against the typical OB standard.

Unfortunately he changed his policy to no VBACs because all of his partners did, and can’t be the lone horse…
But he told me he doesn’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be a good candidate for a VBA2C, or a home-birth!
He said most younger OBs are afraid, but I might find an older, experienced OB willing if I really look, and even suggested a midwife in EGR that would do a home birth for me!
I have a lot to think about….

The baby’s HB was upper 140’s pushing 150 and measuring on schedule! A first for me.

This week was Karl’s first full week of second shift. It’s really, really hard on all of us. With two kids in half day preschool, one of which you have to put on a bus and transport the other, and then all of the appointments (and soon to be therapy again) for Olive, the OB appointments, and photo work, added on top of having to do all of the shopping and errands during the day (since we share a car)… the days are jam-packed. Then after a long, full day of all that stuff, Karl has to go in to work and put in 8 hours, while I am left home to wrangle up dinner for 3 over-tired, whiny, kids who don’t understand why their dad isn’t home. Then there is teeth brushing, baths, getting in bed time clothes, cleaning up from the day, and getting in to bed! All by myself – while pregnant! I can’t sleep with out Karl in the bed, so I don’t get to sleep most nights until midnight, and have to be up at 7AM to do it all again. It’s exhausting, and I know it isn’t any easier on Karl having to work those 8 hours every night after a full day. Although I’m thankful for the help during the day – the days just seem SO long.

So, that’s about all I can muster up for now. I’m more than an hour behind on getting these little tots to bed, so I suppose I’ll get to that!

I’ll leave you with the cutest bunnies known to man…

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15 Weeks & The Zoo

20 Aug

We spent some time at the zoo as a family this morning.
It was impossibly hot and humid the whole time and we ended up cutting out parts of the zoo out in order to get back to the comfort of our air conditioned car.
We had hoped to get there early in the morning – but you know how that goes…
I think the kids still had a good time though.

Tell me this is not the cutest face ever? She liked the goats and was very excited to be close to them.

Poor Olive was sweating buckets and spent most of the time in the stroller chomping away at the seat in front of her.
I only wish that seat was a bit bigger – so I could have planted my bum in it.

We eventually decided it was too steamy hot – and took a break to get some ice cream! As you’d imagine, the kids did not protest.

Most of the animals were hiding away in what I imagine was a better climate inside their habitats.
The ones that were out were pitifully inactive – much like this lazy bear.

All in all we enjoyed the zoo – but have determined that we will have to come back later this fall when it’s not so hot and humid.
Hopefully then, the animals will be more active and it won’t be such a sticky trek.

In other news, the pregnancy pictures have officially started!
We’re 15 weeks now and that’s about the time I started taking them with Ethan and Evelyn.
It took me until about 20 weeks with Ethan to be about the size that I am now with number #4.
I still can’t get over the fact that I’m even pregnant, let alone sporting a bump already!
So anyway, here’s to being 15 weeks along!

Olive Update: 6 Months Gotcha Day

4 Aug

Isn’t it crazy how fast time flies!?
I can’t believe that our girl has been with us for 6 months already!

We had a swallow done today that confirmed that she still needs semi-thickened liquids.
But her pediasure (which we’re weaning her down off of a little bit) is a good consistency.
She’s eating baby food and other things similar to it (soup, mushed beans, etc) every day from a spoon, and we’re in the process of weaning her off of a bottle and on to a sippy cup.
The study did show that she isn’t chewing when offered meltable solid food (popcorn, puffs, etc) – but is making an attempt to mush it in between her upper pallet and her tongue. Which is a good start!
She’s up to 27+ pounds too! That’s over 10 pounds from when she came home.
She officially has her first and only word – “all done” which sounds like ‘uh-duh’. She uses it way more than necessary, and quite possibly around 30 times an hour. LOL
She does know what it means, and uses it appropriately. But, I think she’s experimenting to see if it can be used for other situations too. After not getting positive reinforcement over and over for using it incorrectly, she’ll eventually stop trying to use it.
We still have issues with water – but Karl has gotten a shallow bath routine down pretty well.
She’s learning how to pretend and will feed her baby a bottle, pretend to talk on the phone, and rub her babies back when instructed to ‘be nice to baby’.
She’s growing and developing so fast! And I can’t believe that in less than 6 weeks she’ll be in preschool!!!
I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months is going to bring.
Especially because we’ll be brining home baby #4 home right around her 1 year Gotcha Day, and she will be given ‘the boot’ out of the baby seat.
But I’m sure she’ll enjoy her reign fully until that day comes!

A whole month’s gone by…

19 Jul

and I haven’t posted anything.

Well, most of that can be blamed on baby #4 which has kept me very sick and tired the majority of the month.
The other part of that can be  chalked up to trying to do what little I was able to when not buried under the covers.
I spent the majority of the last month knocked out on every anti-nausea medication that’s pregnancy safe or puking and complaining about it.
Thank God for my dad – who has REALLY stepped up to the plate and helped me with the kids while Karl’s at work.
And thank God for having such a wonderful hubby that did everything he could to let me sleep and hide away whenever I needed it.

I think we’re both still getting use to the idea that there really is a 4th baby on the way.
We had our first ultrasound today  – and it still doesn’t quite feel real.
There was just ONE baby, and a healthy baby developing normally so far.
My charting was accurate and the computer spit out the same due date that I had figured (I have shorter cycles than most) – and we can expect baby #4 to arrive sometime around February 11th, 2011.
I went to Maternal Fetal Medicine today for the growth and dating ultrasound, and also to discuss whether their doctors would endorse my wish of having a VBA2C. Unfortunately they would not recommend it, and actually phrased it as ‘foolish’ to even try given the sizes of my past babies and their tendency to stay sunny-side-up the entire pregnancy.  So, it’s a c-section for me…. and while they’re in there, they’re going to make sure that this is the last nature made Malefyt Baby from me. I’m surprisingly very at peace with it. (Should we ever want a caboose – there’s always still adoption! You don’t have to conceive them to love them like you did!)
But, fortunately they did say that based on my past pregnancies, given that I’ll have a controlled c-section, and recent literature/studies on women who have my complications (Duel Factor V Leiden, RH-, Macrosomic babies, high-waters) that I wouldn’t have to get hepren injections and that I wouldn’t have to be treated as a high risk pregnancy. They’ll consult on my case when needed, but I won’t have to go to the bazillion appointments like I had to with the other two! I will miss the ultrasounds though – it was really nice to be able to see the babies every month.

So, anyway – here is the little one:

It says 10 weeks even based on LMP, but the date the computer calculated was 2/11/11. (What I had predicted! Making me 10w3d)
To the right is the head, with hands up to its face. To the left it has one leg up over the other knee. HR was 171. We didn’t get to see it move, but all parts are there – and we’re thankful!

Again, same position but 3D and a top view, babies head is on top with its hands over its face, a little belly just below, and then on the bottom left you see the curved leg with a foot at the end, and on the bottom right you see a ‘seven’ shape. That is the baby’s leg going up, bending, and resting over the other leg underneath the umbilical cord, which is that jumbly looking thing between the legs. Obviously it was way too early to tell gender, and even if it wasn’t – the cord stayed put between the legs the whole time and Baby must have been taking a little nap, because we didn’t see any movement. We will have another ultrasound around 18-20 weeks, and hopefully we’ll find out then.

Ethan was excited to see the pictures, but he was sad when we told him that there was only one baby in there. He really, really thought that there were two.
Apparently so did the ultrasound tech when we were yapping for a bit about how rough of a first trimester I’ve had in comparison to the other two.
The first thing that she looked for was if there were two babies in there. She even double checked just to be sure.
She then told me that most women complaining of my same issues tend to either have two babies or a girl in her experience.
So we’ll see!
I’d hate to break Ethan’s heart again and tell him that he’s getting another sister. But we’ll be happy either way!

In other news – Olive has started to eat baby food!
HALLELUJAH!
On July 14th she swallowed about a baby food jar’s worth of grits with sugar. They were her daddy’s (personally I think they’re gross). But she LOVED them and ate 20 something bites in a row!
She’s been eating daily from a spoon ever since!
I’m so proud of her – and I am so excited to show her feeding therapist tomorrow!
Now we just need to get her walking!

Growing

25 Jun

Things are growing around here…

Our Little Miss Olive was weighed this morning – and came in at a whopping 26 lbs 2 oz!
She’s cruising around the couch like a pro now and we’re going to be trying out a walker next week in hopes that she’ll start walking more.
Her little legs still look quite disproportionate to her upper half.

Our family is also growing… as we found out a couple weeks ago that we’re expecting baby #4!
Ethan swears it’s baby #4 and #5 – but we’re stickin’ to the idea that “Mommy only makes babies one at a time”
We’re due in February and the little blueberry is already making itself well known.
Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of morning sickness (all-day-sickness, really) the last two weeks, and I’ve been put on Zofran to help combat it.
My new baby-dictated diet is carbs, lean protein, and jello… I do pretty well with eggs too.
Anything greasy, spicy, carbonated, or dairy is out.
The Zofran seems to be helping a little smidge more with every day, but I’m still getting sick a couple times a day through it.
I don’t remember feeling this awful with the other two – and I hope it doesn’t last long!
We have an appointment in about 4 weeks to have a dating/check up ultrasound to be sure everything is developing okay.
It feels weird to be doing this all over again – this one was a welcomed surprise, but a surprise non-the-less.

Ethan and Evelyn are also growing… and we all went to their first Movie Theater Movie this afternoon.
We went to see Toy Story 3, and they loved every minute of it.
They had wide eyes and jaws dropped through most of it, and Ethan would grab on to my and Karl’s arms when there was an intense part.
It was really fun to see them experience a Theater for the first time.
Evelyn kept calling it “The big TV” or “The big movie”.
I can’t believe that they’re already 3 and 2 years old…

Olive: Our little talker

6 Jun

Olive’s first act of pretend play is pretending to talk on the phone.
It is now officially her favorite toy – move over Eucerine bottle, you’re so last month.

And she’s on a roll with hitting mile stones!
She just AMAZES me!
She just started going down the stairs!
Albeit she doesn’t do it in what I’d consider a very safe or stable way – but she’s going down! Now I REALLY have to watch those stairs like a hawk!

4 months home

4 Jun

Sorry for the horrible camera phone picture… this was Olive’s first time flirting with a straw in feeding therapy.
She actually sucked efficiently enough to ‘count’ 5 times! Not bad for a first try!
So that’s our goal this week… working with her to get her to be able to drink with a straw.

Olive met another huge goal we’ve been working on JUST now!
She cruised down the length of our couch!
She would cry and cry and cry every time that I tried to get her to do it – and she just did it all by herself!

Go Olive! What a great way to celebrate your 4 month Gotcha day!

Tubes

1 Jun

Olive had her first surgery this morning – she got tubes.
Things went smoothly and as planned.
She’s recovering well, and we’ll know in about 3 weeks wether her hearing has improved or not.
The Doc said that it was hard to tell if we should expect a significant hearing improvement because there was less fluid than expected.
I’m hoping the hearing loss isn’t going to be permanent.

Olive also had her first time in a lake, in a boat, and in a kiack this weekend at Karl’s parents’ lakehouse.
She HATES water… period.
I’ll update with pictures soon!

Olive Walkin’

26 May


As you can see – the video is an awful phone video. But, I wanted to be able to show Karl how funny Olive looks all geared up in her ‘suit’ and on the treadmill.
You’ll hear her therapist say something along the lines of, “stop getting distracted, Miss Nosey”, and that’s because if there is ANYONE else in the large gym area – she will not work.
She is nosey to the core – and would rather people watch than do anything else.

In her defense – this was the first time that she walked with out the seat to support her weight.
Hopefully she’ll start doing better each time!

She’s growing!

20 May

I decided to take a minute during the beginning of our therapy session to weigh Olive today.

I couldn’t hardly believe it – she’s 25lbs!

She is officially wearing 18-24 month clothing and size 3.5 shoes!

She spent a lot of her time at therapy today being stubborn, and didn’t want to walk on the treadmill, with walking wings, or with hand support.
Hopefully next week she’ll be a little more cooperative!
I took what I’m sure is an awful video on my phone – I’m hoping that I can figure out how to get it on here soon!