Two Children and a Wedding

We have been to a handful of weddings since we became parents.  D’s first flight was to Alaska for Kristin and Adam’s wedding.  He was just under three months!Other than that, I don’t think either boy has attended any weddings.  We have always found a sitter so we could enjoy the event and avoid messing with our sacred sleep schedule.

Recently, we traveled to Gainesville to  celebrate the wedding of a dear family friend. We left early because, well, we have children and they do not sleep in. Ever. Somehow we missed the memo that April 1st was the official departure day of all snowbirds, so traffic was a bit heavier than we would have liked.  We made it safely and early enough for nap time.  The hotel was able to check us in early (Thank you, Jesus) and we got settled in our room.  With all of the commotion and excitement, D had no intentions of taking a snooze.  Cam took a short one.  I knew we would be in for an interested afternoon.

As with all attempts to go anywhere with children, chaos ensued and we were almost late to the wedding.  I have to give my husband a big shout-out because he held everything together and got us there in a cool and calm manner while I was freaking out.


The ceremony was outside at a beautiful farm in Alachua (how do you pronounce Alachua?) My dad was one of the groomsmen and D was very excited to see him walk down the aisle and stand up front.  So excited that he decided to yell, “Hi Grand-dad” during the vows.  He soon realized that this was getting him lots of attention so I had to literally hold my hand over his mouth the rest of the ceremony.  He could not be trusted.


Meanwhile, Cam was beginning to get antsy, so thank goodness we had puffs.  Or, so I thought.  The moment D saw the puffs, he wanted them too.  Which would have been fine if he hadn’t started whining and yelling about needing puffs that very moment.  Again, I am trying to keep my children as quiet as possible so we don’t disrupt the entire ceremony.  Eventually, a battle ensues over said puffs and they have to be put away.

From what I saw of the ceremony, it was beautiful.  Matt and Debbie looked so happy.   The farm was amazing and there was so much space for the boys to run around and there was cool tree right in the middle.  It was nice to be in an area where I knew that we could let them roam while still being able to keep an eye on them.  It was a bit warm so Doug and I traded off trailing the kids.  I probably would not have encouraged the tree climbing while in dress clothes, but I guess that’s what Dads are for.

The reception was held inside and we snagged a table on the edge.  I knew we would be up and down a lot.  D instantly found his way to the dance floor and was totally content to dance by himself.  It was pretty adorable.  I did need to step in to remind him to be gentle with the other children, but overall, he was too busy being a dancing fool.


Dinner was a delicious southern barbecue.  And, naturally, D ate only the mac-and-cheese, only when we could tear him away from the dance floor.

My family was a great help through it all.  They took the boys outside and danced with them.  They helped with dinner and were the extra eyes and hands to help us.


Bedtime is 7pm sharp.  By 7 we had just finished eating dinner and the dancing had just started.  Cam did a few rounds on the dance floor and by 7:30 he was asleep in Doug’s arms.  D, on the other hand, was full of energy and was running and dancing inside and outside.  It didn’t take too long to realize that with one already asleep, that the other would soon crash and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get back to the hotel.  We aren’t usually the first to leave, but by 7:45 we were out the door.


I packed pjs and had both boys ready for bed as we got on the road.  You would think they would fall right to sleep in the car.  Not.  You would think they would fall right to sleep when we got back. Nope.  Finally, around 9ish they gave in.


Overall, the boys did really well.  Even without good naps they managed to make it through the wedding without any major meltdowns.  I still think that weddings are more enjoyable when you do not have to chase after your children, especially while being dressed up.   I find that when you expect your children to behave like adults in social settings, you are usually setting unrealistic expectations.  Everything is novel and exciting to them and they have no clue what is socially acceptable.  They just know what their wants and needs are and running in a field, climbing a tree, and calling out to their loved ones are exactly what kids their age should be doing. And, that is ok!  As parents, we teach them how to behave in those settings, but we also have to be realistic about how long and how well they can handle being outside of their norm.   For us, it is always ideal to keep sleep schedules as close to regular as possible.  It just gives you a little extra assurance that they are rested, which means they should be better able to adjust to the new situations.  At least my dress was super easy to nurse in and the next morning the boys slept in!  Until 7:30 am.


Have you brought your children to a wedding?  What are your tips for traveling with children and keeping them happy at a wedding?

With Love,

From Me To You

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Camdon’s Birth Story

After nine months of growing little LBD 2, I was ready to meet our little one.  I was happy to hear that I was dilating and effacing, but then again, since it was my second child, I guess that is to be expected.  This time around my back was killing me and I was way more uncomfortable than I had been previously.  We went in for a doctor appointment a few days before my due date as my final check up.  My doctor said that things were progressing and I should expect a much quicker birth experience.  We told him that we would have a 30 minute drive to the hospital.  And he said that would be too much.  And, like that he scheduled my induction for Friday, March 11th!

Finally knowing when this baby would arrive gave us a huge sense of relief.  There was always a chance that the baby could decide to arrive on his or her own, but we were focused on the 11th.  We frantically finished last minute projects and I cleaned the house like a madwoman.  We finished just in time to celebrate Doug’s birthday and my due date!  We had a gathering at Top Golf with friends a week before.  For Doug’s actual birthday, we decided to enjoy one last family dinner.  The Cottones and my sisters came over to play a game of Catan.

In a horrible turn of events, I dropped my phone and the screen was blank.  Nothing was cracked. It just didn’t show anything.  This became a difficult issue since it was about 7pm and I really couldn’t be without a phone the next day and I was having a baby the following day!  Leah and I went to the mall to have some guy at a kiosk fix it but then he camera wasn’t working…and who wants a phone without a camera?!? Especially when I was about to have a new baby to take pictures of?

The next day, I basically spent a few hours running errands and getting my phone fixed for real.  It was way too much to worry about when I had to get ready to have a baby.  But, all is well that ends well.  I got to spend lots of quality time with my little guy, who had been fighting off a bug for a week.  He kept getting a random fever and I was hoping that he would be healthy in time for his sibling to arrive.

The timing of my delivery was perfect because Rachel was home for spring break.  She was my on-call person if I happened to go into labor and needed someone to watch D.  She came over that night and we had dinner and got ready for the big day.  It was hard to believe that we would be meeting our little one so soon.

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One of the many perks of being induced is that you have time to shower and do you hair and make up before heading to the hospital.  We arrived at St. Joes around 6am.  After the usual questions and medical history review I was hooked up and ready to go.  I assumed that it would be the same as before when they used Cervadil, but this time they used Pitocin.  I was dreading this because of the horror stories I had heard about how intense this drug made your contractions.  I had heard that they could make your contractions really close together and very strong.

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My doctor came in around 7am and said he was going to break my water.  This was also new since my water wasn’t broken until the very end last time.  It was the weirdest feeling.  Just like a warm gush of water. And every so often, more would leak out.  Especially during contractions.  It was so strange because it literally felt like I was peeing or something because water just kept on coming out.  How much water was in there?

So Doug and I were just hanging out.  I started getting contractions and we would watch them spike on the machines and the go down.  We played Phase 10 again.  I was feeling lots of contractions as we played so I was a bit distracted and yet, I still won!  My nurse kept checking on me and would turn up the pitocin each time, which was both horrible and wonderful.  I was progressing more and more.

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Since they had broken my water, they did not want to check to my progress too often since I would be more susceptible to infection.  Last time I got updated often so I knew how far along I was.  The contractions weren’t great but I was able to breath through them and I wasn’t in too much pain.  I didn’t want to get the epidural to early since I knew it could slow my contractions and stall the process.  My nurse was really sweet and kept saying that she would know that I was ready for pain meds when I couldn’t joke around any more.  I like to keep things light when I’m stressed and I guess I never really got to a point of sheer horrible pain.  Finally, I was ready for the epidural.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a long wait for the anesthesiologist.  The epidural wasn’t bad at all and I was happy that I would be able to feel some relief soon….or so I thought!

As the team was leaving the room, a nurse asked me if I felt any pressure yet.  Literally as she said that I felt a huge surge of pressure.  It caught me off guard and she checked my progress. I was 10 cm and ready to go. I suddenly had the urge to push.  She told me this baby was coming and to not push and she ran out to get the doctor.  Doug and I both were both looking at each other in shock that it had all happened so quick.  I immediately started pushing the button for my epidural meds because I could still feel everything.  Apparently, it takes a bit for the epidural to kick in.  I was not ready to have a natural childbirth!

Quickly the doors burst open and the whole medical crew rushed in.  They set up all of their surgical paper and wheeled in all of the instruments.  It is amazing how fast they all arrive and your empty room becomes instantly packed in a matter of seconds.  My doctor came in smiling and said that he knew I would have this baby quickly.

Meanwhile, I was freaking out.  I was not ready to have this baby.  It had only been a few hours.  And, my epidural was doing nothing!  I looked at Doug and told him I could not do this.  I mean, what were my options?  Couldn’t this all just wait for a few more minutes?  It was all happening so fast  My doctor asked if I had ever been skiing.  Maybe he was trying to lighten the mood.  He told me this baby was coming now and to start pushing.

The pushing was harder than I remembered but I wasn’t pushing long.  After 8 pushes, Camdon Richard DeGroot was born at 10:43am! That’s less than 5 hours of labor! They handed him to me and he was all slimy but I was happy to hold my sweet boy for the first time.

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Meeting my new little guy 🙂

Thankfully, my epidural kicked in just enough to not feel a thing. Camdon was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long.  The nurse who was taking his vitals said that he was really strong for a newborn. We enjoyed a bit of time nursing and holding our new little guy.  It is so unbelievable how tiny and perfect new babies are.  Soon we headed off to our hospital room.

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That afternoon my Mom and Dad arrived.  Rachel and D came after nap.  It was such a special moment introducing D to his new brother.  I think he was more excited about the special gifts he got for becoming a big brother.  Leah, John, and the Motleys all arrived to welcome Camdon to the world.

We left the hospital at about 10pm Saturday night.  We were not interested in hanging out any longer than we had to.  We wanted to get back to be with D and so that we could actually sleep without being woken up for vitals every hour.  When we got home, it was decorated by my family.  And our fridge was stocked with lots of frozen meals!

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We felt so much more confident in our abilities as parent this time and we were happy to be home with our healthy baby boy.

With Love,

From Me to You

 

August 2015

We enjoyed the end of summer with lots of fun outside.  That is when I was feeling up to it.  This pregnancy left me with less energy and more nausea than I experienced with Donovan.  Nevertheless, life went on!

We made the big switch to cloth diapers.  Or, at least started testing them out because it is certainly all about trial and error at first before you invest in the whole thing.  Knowing that we had a second baby on the way, I decided to give them a try, since it would save a ton of money over the span of their diaper days.  I am thankful for all of the insight from other mommas who shared their experience with different brands and techniques.  Let me tell you, the cloth diaper world is complicated and vast.  It was hard to know where to start.  I kept it simple with Bum Genius pockets and All-in-ones.  Pockets were my favorite.  Thankfully, Donovan makes mostly wet diapers and his bowl movements are easy to clean, especially when we use a liner.  I know most people think that cloth diapers would be a lot of work, but I found that once we got into a routine, it was really easy to do a load of diapers at night and be ready to go for the next day.  We still keep some disposables on hand and he uses them at daycare.  I have yet to have a diaper that had left a stain!  Plus, I do think that Donovan’s diaper rash issues cleared up a ton once we made the switch. IMG_9344

I was still adjusting to my new job and working with Doug.  I was super thankful for the flexibility since I was feeling so miserable.  It was great taking naps with Donovan on the days that I was home with him.

Donovan loved to play outside so we made a few trips to the park to help him run off some energy.

Donovan loved to explore and climb on everything.  It was a challenge keeping track of him while I was feeling so run down.  I loved that he was so curious about the world around him and I tried to let him try new things.

We also made our first trip to the Glazer Children’s Museum.  Donovan loved it and we will certainly make more trips back when he gets bigger.  I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for an indoor option for their child.

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We shared our big news with Doug’s family this month.  It was nice that more family could be in on our big secret 🙂

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Our growing LBD 2 at 12ish weeks

We spent a weekend at Tradewinds for Doug’s fantasy football draft.  It was awesome to have my parents and sister stay with us and enjoy the beach!  Also, The Rumfish Grill was delicious and the fish tanks were an awesome sight to see!

We fit in a Ray’s game, too.  It was actually our second one in that same week!  Donovan enjoyed meeting the Rays!

Us at Thursday’s game:

Us at Sunday’s game…both wins!

We enjoyed one last family dinner with Rach before she headed back to school for her last year at FSU.  How has it already been four years?!?

And, after our visit at the Guy Harvey hotel at Tradewinds, Donovan started making his “fish” face a regular occurrence 🙂

With Love,

From Me to You

LBD 2: First Trimester Re-cap

Due Date:

March 9, 2016 (Doug’s 35th birthday!!)

Sex:

Sorry, folks!  We loved waiting for the big surprise to be revealed at the delivery, so you will have to stay tuned until March.

How we found out:

Since Doug and I were trying to get pregnant, I was completely aware of every change that occurred in my body.  Since I was pregnant before, I was absolutely positive that I knew I was pregnant.  I think I surprised Doug with my certainty.

When you are trying to get pregnant, any time spent waiting is miserable.  You just want to know if you are pregnant or not.  Given my certainty, I opted to try the early detection pregnancy tests.  I took the first test on June 28th and it was negative.  Since I knew it was really early, and I was sure that I was in fact pregnant, I didn’t really think much of it.

On June 30th, as Doug was getting ready for a trip to Wisconsin, I took another early test.  This one had a faint line.  I began googling and reading discussion boards to see if I could take this as a good sign or if I had to wait longer.  We decided to be cautiously optimistic, yet celebrate that we had a new baby on the way.

On July 3rd as Doug returned, I took one more test.  This one had a full dark line, so we felt more confident in our exciting news.

Reactions:

Jenna-I knew I was right!

Doug-Yay!  LBD 2!

Donovan-Has no clue what is going on 🙂

Keeping the secret and Sharing the news:

This time around, we didn’t feel any rush to share our secret with anyone.  After having one child, you suddenly become a target for questions about when you will have the next one.  People observe when you drink and when you don’t and how you act or if you seem tired or sick.  It seemed that everyone was just looking for clues that I could be pregnant.  It was was a little bit obnoxious, so I felt more justified in holding on to the news a little longer.

We told my family first because they would be the most likely to figure out that I was pregnant.  While we were at Anna Maria Island, we had Donovan wear his “Big Brother” shirt and wait for my parents and sisters to notice.  They were all excited about the news and all admitted that they were suspicious that something was going on.

We shared the news with Doug’s family via FaceTime in a similar fashion.  Adam and Kristin took the longest to notice the shirt, but to be fair, they were also taking care of their new son, Simon.

Once our family knew, we started making calls to friends.  It was a great reason to catch up with people when you have exciting news to share.

We shared our big news with most of our family and friends at my parents Labor Day party.  We had taken a few pictures of Donovan and put them up on the TV.

Our Facebook announcement came the following weekend.

How I was feeling:

This time around the morning sickness was way worse.  I needed to eat as soon as I woke up and I always felt as if I could throw up at any moment.  I only wanted to eat carbs.  Frozen food was the only way that I could satisfy my urgency to eat immediately.  Snacking was critical to not feeling too sick all the time.  And, dinners, well, let’s just say that there was a lot of eating out and frozen meals.  I just could not bring myself to cook because then I would want nothing to do with what I had made.  I also adopted what I like to call, fourth meal.  As if the snacks didn’t add up to additional meals, this meal came after dinner.  If I missed fourth meal, then the night and the morning were extra nauseating.

No one warns you that having a toddler is a lot of work.  It is wonderful, and exhausting on a typical day.  Add in being pregnant and you reach a whole new level of fatigue.  This time around, I did not have the luxury of laying on my couch while watching mindless TV.  I still had to take care of my little guy who needed my attention and wanted me to play.  The silver lining was nap time.  I greatly appreciated snuggling with Donovan and taking long naps together.  The only problem was that I could have taken at least two more naps a day, but he wasn’t interested.

Doctors appointments:

The first few appointments are so exciting as you get that final confirmation that you are pregnant.  My new doctor does more ultrasounds that my doctor in North Carolina. So, we could see our little one growing.

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Our little blob at 8 weeks 
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Our growing LBD 2 at 12 weeks

Soon the excitement wears off a bit as I remembered how many doctors appointments there are and how much waiting you do for quick check ups.  And, I hate having my blood taken, even though I have gotten better.  It seems that your blood is needed way more frequently at the beginning to make sure that you and the baby are healthy.

First pregnancy and second pregnancy comparisons:

As I mentioned before, I completely underestimated how much work it would be taking care of Donovan and being pregnant.  I tried so hard to be fun and playful, but there were days that I was just not on my parenting game. I had to cut myself some slack and realize that I could get through this and I would feel better one day!

There was certainly less anxiety with this pregnancy than the first.  Since I had been through it all before, I knew what was coming next.  I didn’t need to read “What to Expect When You are Expecting” and I didn’t need to google every symptom.  I still had the first trimester worry that the baby would be health and that we would make it to the second trimester successfully, yet it wasn’t at the front of my mind because I was busy with LBD 1.

It is amazing how quickly you forget the misery of the first trimester when you decide to have a second child.  Since I felt worse this time, I found myself wondering how I forgot about this from before.  As a parent you learn to not wish time away because your child grows so quickly.  I felt a simultaneous urge to hope that I would feel better as soon as the second trimester began.

Doug and I did not anticipate to get pregnant so quickly.  We expected a few months of trying before we would have our intended outcome.  We are so thankful that we were blessed with such an smooth process.  The timing will put Donovan and the new baby at exactly two years apart.  I guess March was meant to be birthday month for the DeGroots 🙂

As I mentioned before, Doug and I were not in a rush to share our news.  It wasn’t that we were not excited, but more that maybe we were not ready to admit how much our lives were about to change.  We wanted to continue to enjoy our lives as our little family of three and not get too wrapped up in what was to come.  We knew there would be plenty of time for preparations once I started to feel better 🙂

I did start to wonder how I could love a child any more than I love Donovan.  I know that my love for him completely caught me off guard so I assume that the new love for LBD 2 will do the same.  But, I do worry about comparing the two.  What if I do love Donovan more?  And, how do parents of multiple children give their children all the love that they need?  It was easy with Donovan because he was the only one.  He has always been the focus and has received my full attention.  How do second children even come close to experiencing what the first received from their parents?  I’m sure that instead of dividing your love for two children, it will just grow.  For now, we are enjoying each day before everything changes in March 🙂

As you can see from the pictures below, this time around I opted to take my “bump” picture in whatever I was wearing that day, instead of wearing the same thing.  I also have a new little buddy joining me in each picture.  Stella voted to sit these weekly pictures out.  And, let me tell you, Stella was a much easier customer than Donovan.  It is fun to look back and see how Donovan has changed over the past few months.

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Week 6- July 16th
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Week 7- July 21st
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Week 8- July 28th
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Week 9- August 4th
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Week 10- August 11th
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Week 11- August 18th
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Week 12- August 25th

With Love,

From Me to You