Kellen’s Birth Story

​I went into my OB office for my 38 week appointment on Thursday morning at 9am. My doctor talked about having a plan in place for when Kellen decided to arrive, because we knew he’d come fast – with Damien, I labored for three hours after my water broke, and with Rowen it was less than two hours. We arranged for an induction Monday morning (when I’d be 39 weeks 2 days,) discovered I was 4cm dilated (“you’re two good contractions away from going into labor on your own!”), and she stripped my membranes. The rest of the day I felt uncomfortable and even felt one or two of my always-present Braxton-Hicks contractions. In my way home I stopped to pick up a few last-minute baby necessities – I guess that now that there was an official date in place I should be ready. Never having gone into labor on my own, I assumed we’d be doing the induction Monday despite what my doctor said.

At 38 weeks, you no longer have toes… Also note the ginormous belly in the mirror

My husband got home early from work and I had him help me do all the things we’ve been putting off to get ready for baby, like moving some furniture, setting up the cosleeper, and putting our hospital bags in the car. We ate dinner and got the kids ready for bed like normal – Dan got Damien to sleep, but as I was laying down with Rowen I noticed I was having painful, semi-regular contractions. I pulled up a counter app on my phone and found they were 2-6 minutes apart and 40 seconds each. I wasn’t sure I actually was in labor but I had Kassi call my mom to come home just in case. I called the hospital and they said to come in, so my mom cuddled up with a still-awake Rowen while Dan and I headed to the hospital, which is thankfully only nine minutes away. (Sad/cute story: while I was saying goodbye to Rowen, he could tell I was in pain and kept trying to give me the various medicines – cough drops, Tums – from the bedside table, so I would feel better. It definitely made me cry.)

On the drive over my contractions got more painful and every bump the car went over was awful. (Random: “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” was playing the radio, which is sweet and all but at that point I very much did want to close my eyes and fall asleep.) We got to the parking lot and found the night  entrance, since it was now after ten. An orderly put me in a wheelchair and whisked me to the Labor & Delivery wing. After checking in I had to be assessed in a room, where my contractions got worse and worse. I was now five cm dilated and allowed to stay. I kept telling everyone I would go really fast, and that I was ready for the epidural five minutes ago!

Once Dan and I were in a delivery room the next trial began – starting an IV. I had to get fluid before my epidural, plus I needed penicillin for being group B strep positive, so the IV was important – the problem was, the veins in my hands kept slipping away. It took four jabs in each hand by two nurses plus the nurse anesthetist (in the midst of contractions I was moaning/screaming through) before they gave up and put the IV in my inner elbow vein, aka my one good vein. Then I could finally get my epidural, which was super hard to sit still for in between contractions but oh so beautiful when it started to work.

Delivery room selfie – Dan was sick so he had to wear a mask

Now that I could breathe again, I met the doctor who would be delivering Kellen and really liked her. She advised that I get some rest (and get at least one dose of penicillin) before I had to push. I was able to rest for about an hour, but then I noticed the epidural was pooling in my left leg (which was completely numb) and I could now feel contractions in my right hip and running down my thighs (why?? The nurse theorized it was ligament pain.) I also felt a ton of pressure from my intact bag of water every time I had a contraction. A nurse checked me and I was 9cm dilated. A few minutes later, I was screaming from pain again, I needed to push, and my epidural was still only numbing my darn leg. I did NOT want to give birth and feel it – I’ve done that before and once was enough! – but I had no choice.

Happier times, with a working epidural…

The birth team assembled quickly – to their immense credit, they totally believed me when I said I’d go fast – and the doctor broke my water, which proceeded to burst like a water balloon all over everything and everyone (and would have probably been funny if I hadn’t been, you know, in mostly-unmedicated labor.) Right away I needed to push, but the doctor tried to slow me down to keep me from tearing (which didn’t work, but at that point I didn’t care at all – I wanted him OUT.) The first push brought his head down, the second push got his head out, and the third push brought out his shoulders – Kellen was out at 1:35am! 

They put a very vernix-covered Kellen straight on me for skin to skin, and he cried right away, demonstrating an impressive set of lungs. I was still feeling contractions and couldn’t focus until the placenta was out. Then I felt okay again…until my doctor started stitching my tear, without the epidural’s benefit. Luckily Kellen was a great distraction – we discovered his umbilical cord was twisted around his ankle somehow, which was weird but interesting, and Dan cut his cord.

Cord around the ankle

After I was finally done with stitches, I was able to breastfeed Kellen for over an hour while the nurse gave him all necessary meds. Then she weighed, measured, and bathed him – we learned he was 9 lbs 0.3 oz and 21.5″, securing his record as Biggest Baby Brother. 🙂 We also noticed Kellen has lots of dark brown hair, looks like Dan as a baby but also like his brothers, and has this same teeny birth defect as me – a dimple/hole in the top of each ear. (For some reason I love this! It’s purely cosmetic and just unique.)

Nursing baby

Dada snuggles

Mama snuggles (once we were in our regular room)

Looking so tiny!

Lots of other stuff happened in the next few days (which will be another post), but the most exciting thing was definitely introducing Kellen to his big brothers.

They were both SO EXCITED and for Damien in particular, we were surprised at how long he stayed mesmerized just by holding and staring at Kellen. It just about made my heart explode.

And now we’re a happy, crazy, COMPLETE family of five. 🙂


Summer ’16 Recap

It’s September and even though the weather is still hot (but not QUITE so unbearable) our summer is pretty much over. I didn’t write about most of it but I did take pictures, so here’s what we did during the summer of 2016, in photos:

I already wrote about the ocean-themed tot school we did at the beginning of the summer. (Since then we’ve done a bit if bug-themed school, but it’s been more difficult because so much of our stuff is in storage and I am SO PREGNANT.)

We also stayed at a beach house with Dan’s mom, which was lots of fun (and I wrote about it here.)

Here are some leftover pictures from our old apartment:

(mouse over to see captions; click to make it bigger)

We celebrated the fourth of July in the most American of places, American Canyon (which also happened to have lots of food trucks/free fireworks/activities for kids, and be close to our house, which is why we went there. Turns out it was right next to one of the middle schools I subbed at all the time, so that was kind of weird… I didn’t see any former students though.)

After trying to keep the kids entertained during that horrible space between when the activities closed and the fireworks started (there was live music, but they of course didn’t care), Damien watched about three minutes of fireworks and wanted to leave. (We didn’t let him. Rowen was entertained at least.)

And then, of course, we moved…

While we’ve been staying with my parents, we’ve done a lot of playing in the backyard:

Sometimes it was too hot to play outside and we had to stay inside, or go to the library.

We also went beach camping! We went back to Doran Beach and the boys had a great time. (I, however, got the worst sunburn in memory and literally couldn’t walk for a few days.. but it’s all worth it for the memories, right?)

My parents and all three dogs came with us (you can see Ripley and Molly in the above pics, but for some reason I missed Jethro – he was probably always moving!) Damien learned how to climb trees and was super excited about jumping waves; even though it was chilly, he ended up wet every day. We saw lots of birds, pelicans, and sea lions, and Damien was very excited to hold sea stars!

Dan and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary (and our eleventh year together). We spent the day in town going out to dinner, going to a used bookstore (and yes, coming home with books) and exploring a really pretty outdoor outlet mall.


I noticed later we’re in front of a phone booth, which is pretty much an endangered species…

For Rowen’s second birthday, we took him to a nearby zoo in Folsom:

We also met Marcia at the Sacramento Zoo


And that brings us up to now! The next two (very big) things on our plate are: have a baby, and move into our Cabin in the Woods (hopefully not the horror movie; maybe more Little House in the Big Woods, except we won’t use a pig bladder for a child’s toy ball… That part has always stuck with me for some reason, lol!) Because of their timing being so close together, I don’t know which will happen first, but I’m sure I will post about them…eventually.

December Happenings 2015

Damien’s Birthday Party – I have a whole post written out about this, but – you guessed it – I don’t have pictures. I’m hoping one of my parents (or perhaps a grandparent) has pictures that I can steal, otherwise it will be really sad after all the fun we had (and all the work I put into having a party at all… But that’s selfish I guess.) (BUT STILL.)

Damien’s 4th Birthday – we went to Chuck E. Cheese on the actual day and, as always, the boys had a great time.


Damien wanted to help me make a cake – we had a teddy bear pan, so I made that and let Damien decorate it.

Moving – Ugh, oh yeah, that happened. We had to cram all the stuff from our (small) three bedroom house (with one car garage) into a (quite a bit smaller) two bedroom apartment (with NO storage whatsoever – we ended up with a very small storage unit to keep holiday stuff, baby items we don’t want to get rid of yet, tools and outdoor things we don’t have a place for because we no longer have a yard, etc.) We actually did get rid of a lot of stuff, even stuff that we liked, because I hate the claustrophobic feeling of a super packed house, but it’s never enough and we’re still crammed, because four people (plus pets) is just too many for an apartment this size. As always, it took much longer than expected to get everything out of our old house and to get it clean, so – as always – we couldn’t focus on moving in and cleaning up our new place. (The place you move into is NEVER clean, and it’s SO frustrating after spending hours cleaning the old one!)

Christmas – Right in the middle of the craziness… We moved a few days before Christmas and I barely got a floor space cleared for us to have any kind of Christmas celebration. We had the teeny tiniest Christmas tree but at least it had lights and presents under it.


Tiny Tree, happy Damien, Christmas breakfast


Matching PJs in the chair (with an offbrand Nerf gun, lol)

Snow – on New Year’s Eve, we drove up to my parents house so we could go hunting for snow on New Year’s Day. Damien was super excited and luckily we didn’t have to go far this year. Here’s a picture that sums up both my sons’ reactions to snow:


Rowen: meh. Damien: HOORAY.


There was much more sledding to be had – although we mostly stayed off the big hill and scooted around on a barely tilted surface. 🙂

Rowen was a lot happier playing in the snow, although I think he was still wondering, “why is it so cold?” Damien, on the other hand, had a grand ‘ol time throwing snowballs and making tiny snowmen.

(click/mouse over photos for captions)


Snow angel!

Preschool Christmas Program

I was so excited about the preschool Christmas program this year, because both boys would be in it! So as not to repeat Damien’s dismal spring program last year (in which he did his best Sad Statue impression), I even helped Damien practice singing his songs at home. I’m not sure if it was the extra practice or the extra seven months of maturity, but this time Damien did great!

The theme of the Christmas program was “A Country Christmas”, the stage was decorated like someone’s house (perhaps Grandma’s!), and all the kids wore pajamas. I put Rowen and Damien in their matching Christmas pajamas for this year and they were, of course, adorable.

(Note: the majority of these pictures were taken by a professional photographer at the event. He offers free downloads to parents and also sells prints. This is such a great service for parents because you can just watch and enjoy your child rather than worrying about running around the room taking pictures in low light and getting in someone’s way. For privacy, I cropped all of the group photos to just include my child and their teacher[s].)

(click on or mouse over the photos to see captions)

Here’s the stage:


Rowen’s classroom, which has babies and toddlers from age 3 months to 23 months, had four kiddos in it – two boys who were just about to turn two, Rowen (almost 2 1/2), and a five-month-old baby girl (and our neighbor baby!) who was just entering the classroom. Here’s Rowen walking into the chapel with one of his teacher’s aides, Marianna – each of the kids had an aide or the teacher to supervise them.



He was supposed to put the present under the tree, but wasn’t all that interested in holding it…


‘Singing’ (well, music was playing anyway) and playing bells!

Next was the Twos room, then it was Damien’s class, the Threes room:

(click on or mouse over the photos to see captions)

After that the Pre-K class did a few songs, and Damien and Rowen sat with us… well, Damien sat and Rowen napped.

At the end there was a little segment where the kids came up, pretending they were visiting one of the teacher’s houses, and she read them a story. Then Santa appeared (well, walked into the room) and told the kids another story, plus gave them all candy canes, and that was the end. This part was especially funny because Damien was one of the first to the ‘door’ and totally overacted knocking, nodding his head, looking at the Christmas tree, etc. Dan and I were dying over his dramatics. 🙂


Greeting his teacher 🙂

It was such an adorable program and I’m so glad my kiddos were able to participate! I will so, so miss the preschool and all it does after we move. 😦

Thanksgiving 2015

We spent the first few days of our Thanksgiving break at a house in Tahoe with my parents, sisters & significant others, and parents. It was a lot of fun (and the food was SO GOOD) but I wish we could have stayed longer. (I also wish I would have taken pictures before, like, the last day, but my cell phone was dead so I failed.) Other than the food, I think probably the highlight of the trip was when we (my dad, Kassi, Colin, Kaeli, Jay, Dan, and I) (playing in teams, haha) beat Pandemic, which is pretty difficult. (Dan bought that game for Kaeli and Jay for a wedding present, lol.)

For Thanksgiving day, we spent a few days at Marcia’s house with Dan’s family. I did even WORSE with photos and have just these two to present:


Damien and Nathaniel always have a great time together, despite their age difference. This time they were bonding over stealing their dad’s iPads, lol


Rowen, nappin’ in his adorable Thanksgiving outfit!

October Happenings 2015

I’m slowly working my way through the important blog posts I missed from 2015 – I posted about Rowen’s birthday (in July), and once I cover October (my favorite month!) and December (Damien’s birthday and Christmas) that should just about do it… right? 🙂 (And maybe someday I’ll actually talk about something we’re doing Right Now, although I must admit that Right Now we’re pretty boring.)

Pumpkin Patch #1:

This is my favorite pumpkin patch in the area and it’s a great value, even though it’s a bit over an hour away from us. Still, there are so many fun things to do – giant slide! corn box! hay bale maze! tire swings! and that’s before you even get to the pumpkins themselves!

We also paid a little extra to go into the petting zoo (well, Kassi actually went in with the boys, since she was there with us. I stayed on the outside and played mamarazzi.)

Finally, it was time for the two big events – the hay ride and the selecting of the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Patch #2:

Though this pumpkin patch is a lot closer, it doesn’t have nearly as many activities. It does have a cute shop with food and gifts, and I was hoping to find some Christmas presents (thinking ahead!) but I didn’t end up getting anything. The boys did have a fun afternoon though.


When we were young and relatively unencumbered, Dan and I used to go to concerts together all the time. (We actually started going to concerts together two years before we even started dating because we have pretty much the same taste in music, so when I say ‘young’ I mean like teenager young!) A combination of having less disposable income (like none? and having kids has majorly cut down on this hobby, but amazingly the stars aligned and we were able to go to Aftershock, a music festival in Sacramento (area ish.) Kaeli was super generous and not only agreed to watch the boys (until the wee hours of morning, it turned out – more on that later) but also let us stay the night at her house afterward (Jay was out of town, otherwise I would thank him too.)

The festival is two days and people can camp at the site, which would have been ideal but obviously not something we could pull off. Not only could we only afford to go to one day, but I had school on Monday so Saturday night was our only option (even though it meant we missed out on some awesome bands Sunday. Boohoo.) Getting to the location was pretty darn confusing and involved driving around a random neighborhood in circles. Even when we got where we were supposed to go, we did a lot of driving around in fields and finally ended up parking in a sea of cars in an unmarked, nondescript field. (FORESHADOWING.)

There were three main stages, and two of them were literally right next to each other (you can see the screens from the right stage in my picture of the left stage – it’s the red one with the giant Monster logos). There were also smaller stages but we arrived late enough that all the action was on the three main stages. We basically had to speedwalk back and forth between the three stages and then get as close as we could. I guess we could have camped in front of one stage for our ‘favorite band’ but we were pretty much there for the nostalgia factor, not one particular band, since almost all the bands were big when we were in high school/early college. (There was exactly one band that was pretty late in the evening but we had never heard of, which provided the perfect opportunity to get water and food from the delicious food trucks – seriously, there was so much good food!) (Oh, and the music was great too! I was pleasantly surprised with how well most of the bands held up, and was completely blown away with a few of them. There was only one band that I felt had significantly gotten worse since ye olde days, but they were still entertaining albeit trying-too-hard, so I’ll let that slide.)

On the way out I bought a tshirt from a random dude outside the venue, and we walked to our car. WHICH WE ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT FIND. We counted the rows on the way in, but enough cars had left at this point that the rows were impossible to determine, and there were literally no points of reference… plus it was dark. We literally wandered around in the dark dusty field for 45 minutes before we stumbled upon our car. The worst part was, the battery in our clicker was dead so we couldn’t even set off the car alarm (which a lot of people were doing at this point.) Once we found our car we still had to sit in traffic for quite a while trying to leave, but we were lucky and had parked right next to an exit so we got out of there relatively quick. Apparently not everyone was so lucky – according to the Aftershock Facebook, while we were back at Kaeli’s house snug in bed, some people were still trying to get out of that parking lot. So, the moral of the story is… we had a great time at the music festival, but if it’s in the same location next year, unless they make some drastic parking improvements we won’t be back.

Preschool Fall Festival:

This was the day after Aftershock, so we were pretty exhausted… but it was lots of fun, and Damien got his face painted for the first time! He was an adorable puppy, as you can see from the pictures, and it was a good practice run for Halloween when he again was fully covered in paint (by his choice – he didn’t want to wear the mask that came with his costume.) It also marked the third year running we went to this fall festival!


And now to the main event!

Damien picked our costumes this year. He wanted to be Jack Skellington, he wanted me to be Sally, he wanted Rowen to be Barrel (no Lock or Shock, apparently) and he wanted Dan to be Oogie Boogie. As you can see, one family member vetoed their request, haha (although he did wear an appropriately themed shirt at least.) I wanted Rowen to be Zero but Damien insisted on Barrel, which turned out to be a much easier costume anyway.

As for all our costumes, Rowen’s were skeleton pajamas that I think came from Old Navy. It’s hard to see in these pictures but I put green wash-out color in his hair (although probably just about no one got the Barrel reference but me.) Damien’s costume is from Party City, and it came with a mask but Damien decided he wanted to have his face painted instead. (Amusingly a lot of the people assumed he was Beetlejuice, which I guess I see, although not if you saw my costume too…) My costume was randomly on clearance at Walmart, but to get the cheap price I had to get it too big. I ended up doing a no-sew alteration, turning the top part into an empire waist with a tie. I also added hot glue to the inside of the too-big gloves to keep them from slipping down. The biggest project, though, was the wig – it originally only had hair that covered the front and the whole back part was bald-looking. I found yarn the same color and added the whole skein to the back so I wouldn’t have to worry about bald spots. 🙂 It turned out really well and it was fun to have long, albeit yarn, hair!

We went trick or treating with Kassi and Colin, who were dressed as Anna and Kristoff, so we had a whole passel of Disney characters; my dad also came with us. After we did 3-4 few streets and the boys had a sufficient amount of candy, we went on our second annual trip to A&W for our Halloween noms.

So, another October for the books! Now to think of what our costumes will be next year… 🙂

Fun Updates: Rowen’s Birthday

So now that we’re a mere four months away from Rowen’s second birthday, I have finally finished the posts about Rowen’s first birthday!


Here’s a cute birthday picture of some cute boys!

Because I originally started them in July of last year, the posts aren’t popping up very visibly on the blog, so I thought I’d link to them here: