Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Exciting Update

After going weeks without receiving any encouraging updates, just days after posting our update on here we received word that Chase is receiving a new assignment rather than being deployed.  We are thrilled with his new assignment!  Not only is it in a beautiful location, Hurlburt Field, FL, which is near Destin, FL, but it is Chase's ideal job.  Over the past two years Chase has discovered that he doesn't love all the prep work that comes with litigating.  He loves being in the court room, but not everything that leads up to it.  But he still has a passion for international law.  His new assignment will be working at an AFSOC base (this means the base works with the special operations of the Air Force...very cool) in a new position they just created for a captain working on none other than international law.  Amazing!  His report-no-later-than date is January 31st, but we think we'll be able to get it pushed up.

We've decided to keep me where I am here in Kansas City until the move for the ease of the girls.  Mila is loving preschool and her cousins, and I feel like I need to be here right now.  My sister in law recently underwent a hysterectomy at the age of 33, and although it went well, the recovery is slow.  Plus, by the second Sunday of being here I was called to teach the Mia Maids class at church (girls ages 14-15), and I really feel there are girls I need to reach before I leave.  Side note: I have decided that being a Young Women's advisor is my ideal calling. Seriously, sign me up every time!  I am loving it.

I want to thank all those who kept us in their prayers.  I know the Lord has a plan for each of us and our families.  I am really grateful for the trial we faced because it stretched me and really required me to walk in faith.  But when we take those steps in the dark, and when we really include the Lord in our decisions, he opens paths that are better than we could have hoped.  Sometimes it just takes waiting upon His timing.  And I know everything happens for a reason.  I don't believe we would have received this assignment if Chase had deployed.  But could he have received this assignment if a deployment had never even been in the picture?  I don't know.  Because we thought he was deploying we moved our family.  And because we are now apart I believe the office that hands out assignments wanted to make up for a crummy situation by giving this assignment to Chase.  See, usually in the military you get a coveted assignment/base and then a not so desirable one.  Andrews is considered a more desirable assignment, so we figured we wouldn't be living anywhere really desirable next.  But seeing that Chase was a perfect candidate for this position and that our family is apart right now, they gave this assignment to Chase.  So I believe all the ups and downs that we've faced this past month was necessary in order for everything to align for this new assignment.  Will Chase still deploy down the road?  Most likely.  Lots of deployments come from Hurlburt Field apparently because it is an AFSOC base, but the deployments are "a lot cooler" says Chase, so he's excited for the opportunities that might come his way.  I will cross that bridge when we get there ;).  I figure the beautiful beaches of Florida will hopefully ease my sorrows when he does have to deploy.  Right now I am just focusing on my immense gratitude to the Lord that our prayers were answered and that our family will soon reunite on the warm beaches of Florida.  Come visit us!  We'd love the company :).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Much Needed Update

I want to first and foremost say thank you for the abundance of love and support we have felt from so many.  We really feel blessed to have made so many great friends over the years and to have so much family who are looking out for us.  Even though I haven't utilized this blog in over a year for keeping friends and family up-to-date on the happenings of our family, I felt that this could be a good way to disseminate an update on the commotion that has fallen upon our family in the last month.  I know many have reached out to us in the past month and may not know some recent events.

As many of you know, we found out in March that Chase was tasked to deploy to Afghanistan starting this month.  With so many months to prepare we really weighed out our options and felt at peace with the decision to take Chase's sister up on her offer to have me and the girls move in with her family here in Kansas City.  The decision to move really became a leap of faith when we found out, a week before our movers were set to arrive, that Chase's deployment was possibly being turned off.  As you may be aware, we are trying to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, but as with everything in the military, we have always felt, "We'll believe it when we see it."  Well, the wheels really are in motion and deployments are being canceled.  You can imagine the panic that I began to feel wondering if we should really pack up and leave.  After seeking the Lord through prayer, we still felt encouraged to press forward with the deployment.  We packed up our house and put it all into storage, then made the drive from DC to Kansas City, KS at the beginning of September.  After helping us settle in, Chase flew back to DC to finish his out processing.  Well, the day before he was set to leave for combat training, he received official word that his deployment was canceled (this was three weeks ago now).  Usually anyone would be pleased to not deploy, but given the fact that we are in two different locations right now and without a house in DC, we experienced feelings of frustration/confusion when given the news.  We had oddly felt that this deployment was an answer to prayers (we had been praying that we could eliminate our law school debt by next year, and with the deployment that would be a possibility), and then felt prompted again to continue moving forward when we found out that the deployment could be canceled.  Plus, we had mentally prepared for this deployment and it really had come at a good time--I could go live with family since the girls are young and they won't really be affected by it.  Because if he doesn't deploy now, he will deploy eventually, so I say the sooner the better, right?

So what are our plans now?  Well the tricky thing is that Chase enters what is called a "bucket" every year and a half that lasts for 6 months.  When a JAG is in their bucket they can be tasked to deploy, no questions asked.  So Chase's bucket just started yesterday.  So we aren't packing up our things here in KC yet because there is still a very real chance he will deploy.  In fact he is #1 on the list to take the spot of any deployment slot that becomes available.  So we are just continuing to trust in the Lord as we really take steps into the dark.  I feel at peace right now with things.  I have to laugh at the Lord and His infinite wisdom in the timing of things, because I was asked a few months ago when they knew I was moving here to speak at the Stake RS Women's Conference on "Recognizing the Lord's Hand in Your Life."  I found out about Chase's deployment just 2 hours before I was to speak.  So I approached the evening asking Heavenly Father to help me receive inspiration for my own situation as I spoke, and I walked away feeling peace.  We just need to trust and take things a day at a time and we will gain understanding.  For now, I feel I am suppose to be here in Kansas City.  Luckily some dear friends of ours have opened their home to Chase so he isn't too lonely out in DC and is still having home cooked meals :).  He flew out to see us last weekend and will hopefully come visit again sometime this month.  

So our story is "to be continued..."  I will definitely try to keep people informed.  Thank you again for the kind words and prayers on our behalf.  We know the Lord has something in store for our family.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

6 Weeks

So Madilyn is 6 weeks old, meaning we have had 6 weeks to adjust to being a family of 4.  We've had our ups and downs, but overall I think the adjustment to having 2 kids hasn't been too bad.  Madilyn definitely has made it easier than it could have been.

She eats about every 3 hours during the day and eats quickly.  I only have to nurse on one side due to my abundant milk supply so the nursing sessions usually only take 10 minutes, which is so helpful when you have a toddler vying for your attention.  I was nervous to not feed her on both sides like they suggest you to do, but after having her spit up a lot after every feeding and after weighing her and finding that she has gained over 5 lbs in the past 6 weeks (I knew she felt heavy), I feel okay with feeding on one side.

Her nights were rough until we started sleeping her upright.  I think she just gets an upset tummy easily and so sleeping upright helps.  Now she sleeps at least one 4 1/2-5 hour stretch at night.  I hope that we can transition her to sleeping flat on her back soon, but I'm scared to do it because I like the long stretches at night.

It was so nice to have my mom in town the first two weeks while Chase was away at training, and then to have Chase's mom come for a week to help out.  After their visits Chase had his 10 day paternity leave which couldn't have come at a better time.  It was when Madi's nights were rough and when Mila was acting out quite a bit.  I think a lot of her behavior stemmed from Madilyn's arrival and the visitors.  She was out of her routine and was testing boundaries with my mom and MIL.  (She never did take things out on Madilyn though, which I am grateful for.)  With Chase around we focused on doing fun things with Mila and getting back into a routine.  It was great!  I also took advantage of having him around and started working out.  I am so grateful for a quicker recovery this time.  I am also grateful just to have my body back where I can run around and be silly with my toddler.  What a blessing!

So there you have it.  We have adjusted and are doing pretty well I think.  I am back to running and exercising; Mila is back to her happy self; and Madi is growing like a weed.  I never really felt like Mila was "growing up too fast" because I enjoyed every stage of her growth and so I didn't long for a prior stage, I guess.  But Madilyn is definitely making me feel like she is growing up to fast.  I mean she already weighs 12 1/2-13 lbs for crying out loud.

Our friend took some pictures of our chubbers (one of her many nicknames) when she was one month.  Take a look...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Madilyn's Name

I thought I should document how we finally decided upon Madilyn Karlee's name.  I am one of those people who wants to see the baby before I name her.  We took this approach with Mila, and thank goodness we did because I was in favor of the name Berklee, but when I saw Mila she didn't look like a Berklee to me.  Thus, we named her Mila.

Going into this delivery we had discussed names so much, but couldn't narrow down our list.  Some of the names that consistently made the list were Mckinley, Reagan, Sofie, Abigail, and Madilyn.  We liked the idea of picking a name that would remind us of our time in DC, hence the presidential names (Mckinley, Reagan, and Abigail (Adams)).  But Chase and I couldn't agree on one that we both really loved.  So at the hospital we were trying to decide between Sofie, Abigail, and Madilyn.  I liked Sofie; Chase liked Abigail.  We both consistently liked Madilyn but weren't sure if we wanted two daughters with "M" names.  Time was quickly passing and Chase was needing to leave for his training.  I refused to have him leave before we had a name picked.  At the last moment Chase suggested the name Emma.  We read in our scriptures the revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants section 25 and liked the idea of our daughter being named after an elect woman.  We even went so far as to decide to name her Emma and prayed for confirmation that this was the name the Lord wanted for His daughter.  In the midst of the prayer Madilyn started crying.  Call us silly, but we took that as a sign that Madilyn didn't want to be named Emma.  So, that was it...her name would be Madilyn.  Chase was excited about naming her Madilyn because just days earlier when he had asked Mila what baby sister's name should be she had responded very matter-of-factly "Madilyn Karlee."  Earlier in the week, for our Family Night I had asked Chase to give each of us a father's blessing in preparation for Madilyn's delivery and in both Madilyn and Mila's blessings he had felt that these two girls had a history with one another already and are going to be close so he loved the idea of Mila somewhat naming Madilyn.

And how did we ever stumble upon the name Madilyn?  Well, my dear friend Amanda sent our girls a package a few months ago and in it was the children's book Madeline for Mila.  Mila LOVES reading this book.  We must have read it a dozen times each day that first week.  After a few times of reading it and seeing how much Mila loved the book I started toying with the name.  Chase and I have always loved the nickname Madi (plus we lived next to a pretty adorable Madi back in Provo) and so we decided we like the spelling Madilyn rather than Madeline so we could call her Madi.  And as for the middle name Karlee...for those who know our story, you know that Chase and I met one another because of his sister Karlee.  She was a high school student at the school I was teaching at and on the first day of school took it upon herself to ask me for my phone number to give to her single brother.  We have always been indebted to Karlee for bringing us together and so we both wanted to honor her role in helping our family come to be by using her name as a middle name.

So there you have it.  It's crazy that already she is 3 weeks old.  Madilyn's doing really well.  She eats like a champ, going 3 or so hours between feedings during the day and sometimes up to 4 hours at night.  She's gained 2 lbs already and almost 2 inches--we love our babies chunky :).  She sleeps relatively well...she just grunts a lot in her sleep at least one stretch between feedings.  She's been in our bathroom while my mom and Chase's mom have been in town, but headed back to the guest room last night.  And today marked the beginning of Chase's 10-day paternity leave.  We are stoked!  Maybe we'll get a few more pictures of Madilyn with Chase around.  I find it hard to snap photos when my hands are full with two kiddos.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Madilyn Karlee's Birth

WARNING:  This post is really long.  I took the time while I was alone in the hospital to write out the details of Madilyn's birth like I did for Mila.  So this is the nitty gritty of her delivery.  Feel free to just scroll down to the pictures at the end :)

When they say every labor is different they aren’t kidding.  We were set to induce once again at 39 weeks to ensure I didn’t birth our baby in the car and to ensure that Chase would be present for the delivery since he was tasked to attend a training course for two weeks starting on the 16th of July.  We were instructed to call the hospital at 5AM to see if there was space available.  Wouldn’t you know it, after waking up at 4:15AM to get ready, the hospital was completely full and instructed us to wait for a call when a bed was available.  They wouldn’t end up calling until 10:45AM.  
We arrived just before noon, and I was immediately administered penicillin to treat me for strep B.  The nurse on duty at this time was named Mary—a fun, sociable nurse with a Carolina accent.  We loved her.  She had a rough time placing my IV so I ended up being poked 3 times.  The doctors came to introduce themselves and check me, and after a week of consistent Braxton Hicks I was still only dilated to a 2.  For the next 4 hours we just killed time waiting for the penicillin to work into my system.  Due to the quick delivery of Mila the doctors did not want to risk starting me on pitocin and having me deliver before the penicillin had been in my system for 4 hours.  Little did they know, that wouldn’t be a problem.

At 4:30PM we started pitocin, but had to stop after an hour or so due to the frequency of my contractions.  The staff wanted to be safe and not risk my uterus bursting.  Luckily, my contractions continued on their own without the pitocin.  At 6:45PM the doctors checked me and attempted to break my water, but due to my posterior cervix they couldn’t break the water.  It’s at this time they decided to place a Foley balloon to help mechanically dilate me some more.  Luckily, the nurse, Liz (the night shift nurse whom we also loved) allowed me to be on intermittent monitoring so I could walk around the room and sit on a medicine ball as I worked through each contraction.  I passed the balloon just after 9PM and by this time was dilated to a 4.  The doctors decided to start pitocin again, and so I requested an epidural to help relax me.  The epidural was placed by 10PM.  This is where things got exciting/fast.  The doctors came in at 11:20PM to break my water, which was easy to do now that my cervix had moved a bit.  The doctors believed it would be 2-3 hours before I would be complete.  I was at a 5 when they broke my water and it would take just 45 minutes before I was complete!  Yep, I went from a 5-10 in 45 minutes.  During this time I got the shakes quite a bit and kept communicating to Liz so she would check me.  I really appreciated that Liz was considering how my last delivery went and stayed in the room most of those 45 minutes in order to prep things and check me regularly.  

At 12:15AM the two doctors, Dr Noss and Shaha (a new resident), as well as Liz and two midwives, Kelly and Major Peterson, were in place ready for me to push.  Chase was holding my left leg and Liz was on my right.  I definitely felt the urge to push and the pressure of it all.  I have no idea how so many brave women push without any anesthetic, cause man even with the epidural it hurt!  I also have no idea how I did not feel Mila coming out of me last time.  That was one strong epidural, that’s for sure.  It took just 8 minutes of pushing and Madilyn was placed on my chest.  I then spent the next hour with her on my chest doing skin-to-skin, something I hadn’t been able to do with Mila.  I felt bad though because Chase wasn’t able to hold Madilyn during that time and wouldn’t get a chance to hold her until the next morning since it was so late and we had already decided that Chase should drive home to be there for Mila in the morning.  After the hour of skin-to-skin, Madilyn was cleaned up right there in my room after which she was weighed and measured.  She weighed in at 7 lbs. 9 oz. (an ounce more than Mila) and was 19 ¾ inches (just over an inch shorter than Mila).  She definitely has cheeks like Mila but possibly a rounder face.  Her nose, mouth, and skin complexion also look very similar to Mila, but their eyes definitely set these two sisters apart.  Madilyn has my squinty eyes.  She has a little less hair than Mila did but it’s a similar shade of brown to Mila’s when she was born.  So, possibly we will see it lighten up and have another blonde girl.

So my fears of a baby just falling out of me have been diminished now having gone through Madilyn’s labor.  However, I am fully aware that once my water breaks and my contractions get going I progress quickly.  Plus, I think epidurals really help my progression by relaxing my body a bit.  Although this labor in some ways was really long, I’m grateful that the intense moments went rather quickly.  I’m also grateful for the many prayers and my father’s fast that day because I definitely felt added strength to make it through the delivery.  I’m also glad I had the chance this time to experience working through contractions so that Chase could be a support by lending me comfort, reassurance, and a few massages.  I definitely felt our relationship become closer because of it.  Plus, Chase finally got to experience seeing what really has to take place to bring life into this world.  Madilyn made us work for it, and I’m glad she did.      
My recovery room.  Nice view.  Very spacious.
 One proud sister.  She often times will say, "Look this is my baby sister" to whoever will listen.
Had to get a shot with Daddy before he took off for Charlottesville.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Photos

I know I should be posting pictures of our newest edition, Madilyn, and sharing her birth story, but to keep things in order I wanted to post the pictures our friend took for us downtown at the National Cathedral.  Chase doesn't love having his picture taken, but I felt we had lots to document--Mila at 2 years old, my growing belly, and our family before it went from 3 to 4.  So here they are...
 The book that brought about Madilyn's name, the french book series Madeline.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What we've been up to

So it's been awhile.  One of my big projects that I've been trying to complete before the little one arrives is finishing up our Apple yearbooks.  So time that I would have spent updating this blog was instead used towards completing 7 different Apple books.  Now we just have to bite the bullet and pay for the printing of each of the books.  Yikes!

Anyway, here's a brief recap of May we celebrated Chase's birthday and Mila's 2nd birthday!  She visited a local farm with the neighborhood kiddos and then we had a BBQ that night with a few close friends from church.  
We also enjoyed Memorial Day by venturing downtown and touring one of the three buildings of National Archives and walking around the capital. 
My brother Chip came down from NYC the beginning of June to celebrate my birthday.  We spent the day eating, paddle boating by the Jefferson, visiting the Botanical gardens, and swimming...a perfect day!
We also were visited in June by Chase's sisters, Dayna and Karlee, and our nephews, Gabe and Will.  Despite the "tropical storm" weather, we made it out to see some of the sights.
Trying to get a shot of three kiddos on a metro = difficult.
Just after his sisters left, Chase underwent eye surgery (PRK).  Although a long recovery, Chase is excited to be glasses-free and to finally sport sunglasses.
Then just this past week, my father came into town for the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.  We headed up to see the grounds and watch a reenactment of day 2 of the battle.  It was fun to have my dad share his wealth of knowledge with me.  He kept me busy and moving the week he was here, which was nice.  We visited Arlington cemetery (no pictures since it was raining the whole time), the USAF memorial, the National Museum of American History, and the DC temple.
So it's been a summer of visits from family...that and living at the pool.  Mila and I frequent the pool here.  Thank goodness for maternity swimsuits.
I'd post a picture from our maternity/family photo shoot that we did a few weekends ago, but I don't have a CD yet of the pics.  So just imagine a large and in charge belly protruding from me.  I had my last doctor's appointment last Wednesday and the doctor reported that my body is progressing like it did with Mila (dilated to a 2 and almost completely effaced).  So, we are set to induce on Sunday, July 14th, if she doesn't come earlier.  Sunday is my 39 week mark.  We are opting to induce since I'm a bit nervous of a baby coming out of me before making it to the hospital, which is 45 minutes away, after experiencing Mila's grand entrance; since my body responds well to being induced and I can enjoy a nice epidural; and since Chase has to leave for a 2-week training on the 16th.  Yep, poor Chase will witness the birth of his daughter and then have to leave the next day for 2 weeks...but duty calls.  Luckily my mom flies in on Saturday to stay with us while Chase is away.

As for how I'm feeling, I'm feeling Braxton Hicks like crazy and definitely feeling the weight of a low baby in my pelvis, so I'm ready for this chica to arrive, but at least not till after tomorrow.  Tomorrow I have a memorial service to sing at and a dinner to make for a new couple we're having over, so I gots things to do.  Well, stay tuned!