Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 in Review!

I cannot believe the last time I updated the blog was for Wyatt's birth story. Yikes. There is so much to write, but I will just do a quick update of the last year, because it was a wild one!

Here are updates for each of the Hill clan:

Nathan is still working at Good Point Recycling. In January of this year, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations, and does a lot of the Environmental Health and Safety regulations for the company. He likes his job a lot, and the job provides a lot of flexibility, which we really enjoy as a family. Late this fall he has also started doing some real estate investing in his "down time".  That has been really fun and exciting-- its been neat to see Nathan follow his dreams and accomplish goals. It will be fun to see where this takes him. He is one of the most hard-working and creative people I know-- its inspiring to watch him go for it. He has also enjoyed working with the young men in our church congregation. He has taken them on lots of camp outs, and loves helping them set goals and be responsible for their own program. Nathan had so many great men to look up to while growing up, and its really fun to see him implement some of the things his favorite church youth group leaders did for him. Nathan has also had some fun ideas of his own-- he got each of the young men a briefcase and binder to help them learn to be organized, efficient, and professional. Many of these young men are preparing to serve full-time 2 year missions for our church. We have a small ward, but there are 12 young men-- we love them! We've had them over for a sleepover/fishing trip and I love cooking piles of pancakes and spoiling these great boys. Nathan loves them too-- and I love watching him work so hard to help these boys. It has been a great year for Nathan!

This has been a really wonderful and rewarding year. I feel like I have had a lot of personal growth this year and have really enjoyed being a mom and a wife. Its been one of those years where I learned a lot about myself, and what is important to me, and where I want to focus my time and energy-- that can be really hard as a mom!! We put others needs before our own-- but this has been a great year for me in learning to say no to some things, and yes to the things that bring me fulfillment and joy! I finished up my contract with the school district in June, and have been home full time-- and I love it! Some of my goals this year were to get better at housekeeping (because I have definitely been on the struggle bus when it comes to keeping my house clean). It is hard to keep my house as clean and tidy as I want it to be! Especially with two little ones! And I am definitely doing better! I am still no Martha Stewart, but I do have a system for getting laundry done. Like, an actually system where laundry gets washed, dried, and put away in a somewhat organized fashion. Its a miracle! I have developed a love for homemaking, and did lots of canning this year as well. My big goal for next year is so do a huge garden. I can't wait!

We took two big trips this year, that were REALLY fun! We went to Utah/Hawaii for 3 weeks in August (for James and Melanie's wedding), and then I took the kids to Washington to visit Blake and Julie for 2 weeks in November, and then Nathan joined us for the week of Thanksgiving and Jacki and Scotty's wedding. I loved having the freedom to be able to take the kids for a few weeks and spend time with family! And Blake and Julie were WONDERFUL to let us come and invade their house! It was a blast. In August, after we got home from Hawaii, we moved to a bigger place here in Vermont. We had been renting a tiny apartment right in town, and we moved to a small house about 4 miles outside of town right next to a farm. We love it!! We have a nice big yard, great neighbors, and A DISHWASHER! haha Moving is SO MUCH WORK! The next move we make will definitely be into our first home. We aren't in a huge hurry to buy, but we always keep our eyes open to homes for sale in the area. In the meantime, this place is perfect and we feel so grateful!

We also embarked on a fun family adventure in September to go 4 months without eating meat. I ate almost completely vegan/plant based, and Nathan and the kids ate a vegetarian diet. I was really interested in increasing our health as a family, and learning about alternative sources of protein that weren't animal based. I just felt like as a family, and the American diet in general, we consume way too much meat. I did a lot of research into other world cuisines, and was amazed to see how many countries and cultures eat a predominantly plant-based diet. We have always loved Indian food-- and so many dishes are vegetarian. And the vegetables are prepared in a such a beautiful and thoughtful way.  Also, I started learning about WHERE my meat was coming from and how unhealthily mainstream meat is processed and I wanted to look into healthier options for me and my family.  It was REALLY hard at first. I learned that almost everything I cooked for my family had meat or dairy in it-- all of my favorite family recipes were meat/cheese based. I wanted to learn how to feed my family using only plants. Once we got the hang of it-- it was AWESOME! We all love eating that way. Even Nathan! I couldn't believe it. We still plan to eat mostly plant-based, but can see ourselves eating meat sparingly. But we could happily go weeks and weeks without eating it.

Our little Junie turned 3 in November and I can't believe how grown up she is! She is such a fun, caring, compassionate little soul.  She is so thoughtful and remembers small details about people that she loves and cares about. She loves to ask me how I am doing, and it always very concerned about the well-being of those around her. She is also strong willed and LOVES to socialize with other kids her age. She loves to put an "ie" at the end of everything she says and it is the funniest and cutest thing ever. Sometimes Nathan and I can't figure out what she is saying! Here are some fun examples of her faves:

show-ie (she calls tv "watching a show", which is now "watching a show-ie!")

You get the picture. It cracks us up. And she loves to be cozy! If she is on the couch, she wants to be snuggled up in a blankie so she can be "so so cozy cozy mama!" She has a chirpy little voice and melts the hearts of just about everyone she meets.  She is also just learning how to throw the most magnificent tantrums I have ever seen!! Sometimes by the end of the day, between her and Wyatt I just collapse into bed at 8pm. Motherhood is intense. And awesome.

June starts ballet classes in January which she is SO EXCITED ABOUT! She cannot wait to go to her class and talks about it everyday. She loves to watch little clips on Youtube of random little girl ballet classes and recitals and points and giggles at the screen exclaiming " Its my class!!! They are dancing! I'm gonna dance with them?  Class has a potty? Those girlies are my friendsies! That little girlie is SO CUTE mama!"  I can't wait to take her to class!

Our little Wy-guy is such a darling. He is 18-months old, and so fun and full of life!  He is so sweet and loving, and tenderhearted. He is also a total wild man dare-devil! Nathan and I joke that we have the emergency room on speed dial because he has NO FEAR and we are constantly chasing after him to help keep him safe. His favorite new thing is to climb up into window sills and balance precariously on the edge. Its terrifying.

He is starting to say lots and lots of words and has such a generous and giving heart and temperament. He looks you right in the eye and nods his head and says a string of gibberish words, and you just know he is telling you all of his most wonderful little thoughts.  You can't help but just love the kid. He is a total cheeser and poses for pictures and loves to dress up in crazy outfits. On Christmas morning, we gave him a snow suit, and he LOVED it and wanted to put it on and open all his presents while wearing his snow suit. He likes to wear boots, and hats, and coats, and June's dress up clothes, and costumes all over the house. He also loves trains and dinosaurs, and Olaf from Frozen. He has a total joy for life and it is contagious. You can't help but be in a good mood around him.  He is such a fun age right now, and we are loving every minute-- and trying to keep up with him!

There is a little update on our family! We are just enjoying life and trucking along. I will include some pictures below. Its been a wonderful year and we feel so grateful to our Heavenly Father for the blessings and goodness that fills our lives. We are grateful for the hard times too, and feel God's love lifting us up when life doesn't feel very easy. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! xoxo

 Sweet Wyatt!

 Here are a bunch of pictures from our Hawaii trip! It was heaven! We can't wait to go back!
 Best daddy in the whole world!

Family at James and Melanie's wedding in Hawaii! 
 Apple picking in VT! 

 Washington for Jacki and Scotty's wedding. 

Hanging with Uncle Steve. 

Here are a few more fun shots from the year:

That's why we call him ol' Windowsill Wyatt..... 

Its been a wonderful year! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wyatt's Birth

When I hit 36 weeks, I started having some serious anxiety about labor and delivery. I would get these stabs of terror when I remembered that I had VOLUNTARILY decided that I would go through labor and delivery again. I kept saying to myself, "ARE YOU CRAZY? Do you NOT remember how hard and painful and excruciating it was the first time around??". But I am a mom. And moms are insane. And we forget about how hard labor is until we are 8 months pregnant and realize we are staring it in the face yet again.  After a few weeks of panic, panic gave way to steely determination and I realized labor was inevitable and I might as well go into it feeling like a birthing warrior. And by birthing warrior I mean I was brave like 90% of the time, and a whimpering wimp the rest of the time. Just ask Nathan. For weeks our pillow talk consisted of me reminding him how hard labor is.  " No but honey, really, do you remember how much pain I was in? No, but like, can we just talk about REALLY how hard that was? Can you just remind me I am a rockstar, and I can do it again? Can you believe I have to go through that again?? No but, sweetheart, really its soooooooo hard...." That man is a saint.  But despite my whimpering and whining, once the time came, I was ready. I had to be.

On Thursday June 19th, two days past my due date, I woke up feeling very uncomfortable. My belly was super tight, I felt lousy and pretty tired. I was having braxton hicks contractions, but I had been having those for days. Nathan decided to stay home from work because I was feeling so uncomfortable and I rested and napped for most of the day while Nathan and June played. I talked to my dad on the phone in the morning and he told me I was going to go into labor within 24 hours. I laughed at him and told him I still had at least another week before we met our baby boy. June was 10 days late, and I just assumed it would be the same for this baby. But good old Floyd said he'd seen my mom feel the same way 7 times, and that labor was on the horizon. I got excited at the thought that things might be happening.

Let me say, I was really committed this time around to avoid an induction at any cost. With June, I just assumed I would have the baby around my due date and not need to be induced. When my water broke 10 DAYS LATE ( sort more leaked a tiny leak and they were going to induce me the next day anyway) and labor did not start I was so late they told me that I needed to be induced.  Of course, I didn't know any different, but I was convinced after going through an un-medicated labor and delivery on pitocin that it was not something I wanted to do ever again.

I communicated my desire with my midwife to avoid induction this time around and she was very supportive and gave me some suggestions of natural remedies I could try to help ripen my cervix and get my body ready for labor.  I drank raspberry leaf tea, took evening primrose oil each night, and on my due date my midwife stripped my membranes (manually massaging and thinning out the cervix) in hopes of stimulating labor. Of course, these things probably only really help if you are ready to go into labor anyway, but I was willing to try anything because I knew the potential I had to go super late. That being said, I also truly believe with June my due date was a week earlier than it should have been (my ovulation had been somewhat unpredictable, and I think I ovulated later than the midwife thought based on my cycle-- too much information? I can't help it! haha) So I was really hoping this time around my due date might be more accurate. At my 40 week appointment she also checked me and I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. In other words, labor could start any time, or it could still be a while.

So when I started feeling funky two days after my due date I couldn't help but be excited. So, Nathan stayed home and I took a glorious 3 hour nap. I woke up feeling like a new woman. I told Nathan it was a false alarm and I was feeling awesome. We went to the lake with June and swam and played with family that evening to keep me in high spirits and not too sad that labor wasn't starting. We had a great time.  We got home late, put June to bed and fell asleep.

At 11pm I started having contractions. Nothing painful, but definitely the familiar, low in the belly, starting in my back and wrapping around to the front, labor contractions. I started timing them because I was curious how far apart they were. About 7-10mins apart.  I timed them for about an hour and a half and realized they weren't getting any stronger and I could probably sleep through them so instead of driving myself crazy I went to sleep. About 2-3 hours later I had a fairly strong contraction that woke me up. It was about 4am and I wanted to let Nathan sleep because I knew I wasn't anywhere near close because my contractions, while fairly regular were not very strong, and were very manageable. Every once in a while I would have one that was slightly more strong than the others, but I could still talk and walk through the contraction. I took a shower, made sure everything was ready for the hospital, and rested.

At about 5am I decided I should call the midwife. They had asked me to give them a heads up when things started brewing because they said second babies sometimes come way faster than 1st babies. I had nothing to compare it to because with June's induction it was fast and furious for 5 1/2 hours and then she was here. What I was experiencing was hardly anything. Mild contractions, 5-7 minutes apart.  I spoke with my midwife and she suggested that I head to the birthing center around 6am. Amy came to stay with June and Nathan and I headed over to the the small birthing center here in town. When I arrived at the birthing center they got us settled into a room, and the nurse checked me for dilation. I was hoping to be at 4-5 cm because I had been having some mild contractions for several hours. The nurse told me I was only 3 cm still. I looked at Nathan and was so bummed. I knew I still had a while to go. The nurse wanted me to wait until the midwife got there to decide if we should go home and labor some more, or if I should stay.

Heather, my midwife, arrived about 30 minutes later and checked me and said, " Oh no, Maureen you are dilated to 5 cm, not 3cm....this baby is coming today!" I was so happy. I am not sure why the first nurse told me I was a three, but she was only on duty for 30 minutes after we got there, so I didn't see her again. A new nurse replaced here, Susan, and she was wonderful.

Because labor was progressing slowly and calmly, Heather suggested Nathan and I get something to eat and walk around until I was unable to do so. We got something to eat, and then at 10am I told Heather to break my water. She said that most likely as soon as my water broke, labor would progress quickly and we'd have a baby within a few hours. So at about 10:30am Heather broke my water and things began to pick up.

This labor was so different than with June. Contractions were irregular the entire labor. I sometimes had 5-7 minutes in between contractions. And the contractions felt so much more manageable than with June. During labor with June I had a hard and painful contraction every 2 minutes for 5 hours. This time I felt calm and relaxed and had lots of recovery time in between contractions. It was a very peaceful labor. After 2 hours or so of laboring on the yoga ball in the room, I was starting to feel a bit more uncomfortable and decided it was time to get in the tub. It was probably some time between 1pm-2pm when I got in the tub. I was still feeling really good, and relaxed.  I kept telling Nathan and Heather I was afraid it was a false alarm, or labor was going to stop because it was so calm and there was so much time in between contractions. I was using essential oils and listening to Enya and laughing at myself for being so crunchy, but it was seriously so relaxing I couldn't help it. As I labored in the tub, Nathan poured warm water on me and I was feeling some relief from the water. About an hour after getting into the tub, things started to progress and get very uncomfortable. I still felt very calm and relaxed, but I was having to work a little harder during contractions.  I started moaning and breathing through contractions, and had the urge to bear down and push one or two times. I knew it wasn't time to push yet, but I could feel that the baby was progressing lower and lower and getting ready for delivery. I had a very strong contraction and Heather and I decided I should get out of the tub because I could feel that we were getting close to delivery. This is when things got nuts. The entire labor had been so relaxed, so manageable, that even though it had been long, I felt I could have kept going because it was not as exhausting and intense as it had been with June.  But then I started transitioning. The last 45mins to an hour in the tub things were hard and really painful. But I also knew that meant we were getting close, and I would soon meet my sweet little boy.

I got out of the tub and onto the bed and climbed up on my knees with my hands and arms draped over the back of the bed, just like I had done when I delivered June. At this point I was "past the point of no return" and the contractions were so intense and painful I knew that I was in transition and was moments away from pushing. Nathan told me I climbed onto the bed at 4:12pm. Heather checked my cervix and said that I still had a lip, and it wasn't quite time to push but I was getting so close. I remembered how much relief I felt when I was finally able to start pushing with June that I was so anxious to get to that point. The pain was so excruciating during each contraction that I was shaking with effort. Heather told me that when a contraction came I should do whatever felt good. GOOD? Newsflash, nothing feels good when you are 10 cm dilated and moments away from pushing a baby out! I wanted the baby OUT! I was so ready.  So when a contraction came, I PUSHED. I pushed for about 5 minutes, and just like with June, on the 3rd push Wyatt came into the world!  He was born at 4:20pm. Pushing felt so much harder this time. I think my body wasn't quite ready to push and I should have tried to hold off for a few more contractions to let my body do the work of getting the baby lower, but I was impatient and in so much pain that I pushed and pushed until he came out.  And he was perfect.

Heather handed him to me while I was still kneeling on the bed and I held him and cried with happiness and relief. There is something unearthly about that moment in time. I was so beyond all reason in those last moments of delivery- I could barely breath. I gasped for air, for relief, for strength.  I prayed for determination. I was at the mercy of the most excruciating pain of my life. And then, in a moment, its over. And the pain is gone. And there is a great sense of relief. And then everything is replaced by the most sublime joy and rapture. I felt that with June. And I felt that again with Wyatt. It is a heavenly communion between mother and child.  Love permeated my whole heart and soul for this sweet little boy that had been placed in my care.

He had the sweetest little cry when I turned over  and snuggled him into my chest. And then he looked at me and was calm and happy. Nathan and I just looked at each other in awe and wonder at this amazing little boy. We are so blessed to be his parents. We love him so much.

We didn't decide on his name until he was born. We had many names that we liked but none felt right- I kept feeling like Heavenly Father would provide a name for our boy because we couldn't find anything that felt right. We felt that he had a very specific name, but we didn't know what it was.  The name Wyatt found us, a few weeks before his birth. We were sitting in church and the family behind us handed a book up to June to look at and play with and the author's name was Wyatt. Nathan pointed it out to me and we both just looked at each other and smiled.  Something about it felt right. But we still just put it in the bucket with the other names because it was never a name we had considered. When Wyatt was born, I looked at him, and knew that was his name. We chose Edward as a middle name because that is Nathan's middle name. Wyatt Edward Hill. It is a name that we feel is beautiful and strong -- just like our little boy.

Wyatt is now almost 2 weeks old. He is such a sweet, snugly, happy boy. June loves him, and is enjoying being a big sister! Wyatt is very calm. Sometimes I worry he is too calm- because I am a mom and all I do is worry. He only cries if he is hungry. When he is awake he just sits and looks around quietly and calmly. He is so cute and smells so good, and I just want to hold him all day. These newborn moments go by so quickly, I am trying to treasure them up, even though they are exhausting. It doesn't get much better than a squishy snugly new baby!

My recovery this time around has been much easier as well. I have more energy and felt better after this delivery than the first time. Nathan has been home to help and spend time with us and goes back to work on Monday. It has been wonderful having him home. We have had so much love and support from family and friends and our church family-- its been a wonderful few weeks. There is no greater blessing than children. They are magnificent.

Here are some adorable pictures, because I just can't help it!!

 Snoozy guy!

Ummmm, ok brace yourself, because the next 4 pictures contain SO MUCH cuteness that you need to be prepared. Seriously. SO CUTE.

HER HAIR. Embracing the mullet.  I love that little face. 

My babes. 

 My little guy...

 Clearly, a very popular chair in our home these days!

He makes the most serious faces. 

 Siblings meeting.

 My handsome guys!

That face! 

Enjoying the spoils of a package from Aunt Lori and Uncle Joe!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Welcome to the World, Little One

After a long, but peaceful labor Wyatt Edward Hill was born on June 20th at 4:20pm. He is absolutely adorable and we love him SO MUCH!

I will add his birth story in the next few days. Here are some pictures of this sweet new baby boy. We are at  home and in Heaven, cherishing this time as a family. So grateful for this blessing of a new baby.

Sweet Wyatt, we love you!!!