Monday, September 29, 2014

Gentry David turns 9!!!!! Say what????

Yes it's true Gentry David just turned 9!  I know us parents always say "I feel like it was just yesterday he was born"...but seriously that's exactly what I feel like!  I no longer have a baby, a toddler, a little boy, I have a full blown kid!!!  

I tell him often, I wish you were still little, but I love that you are growing up.  I'm starting to feel ill-equipped for the next stages in life with him.  Up until this point costumes and superheroes have pretty much solved every problem that comes our way.  
From birth to 2 all he needed was mom :)
From 2-5 all the kid needed was a costume to make his day...some home made, some store bought.
When he was scared to go to preschool, we let wear his monkey costume that he loved and wore almost everyday.  Then he started school and just needed his buddies Wyatt or Asher and a pile of super heroes and Lego's to build an amazing super-hero hide out for 3 hours.
And now...he loves skating, surfing, video games, neighborhood soccer games, crazy hair, and occassionaly has an attitude that will knock your socks off!  He even looks adults in the eye and speaks with them!!!  Where did that come from??  Who are you and what did you do with my fluffly headed costume wearing superhero that only spoke to other costumed superheros? 

Over the last year the closest thing I have seen to a costume is his school uniform, and occasionally super-heroes make their way into the tub if he takes a bath, but even then they are left there for weeks before he notices them missing.  I realized the other day I like having them there, I could put them away in his room, but there's a piece of me that can't bear to put them up for fear they may never return to the tub.  I'm going to miss those guys, and the day those superheros have their last mission in our tub will certainly be a sad day.  They have fought and served hard for this family, they all deserve purple hearts for the sacrifices they have made in order to complete their missions.  There will always be a special place in my heart and I will forever be grateful for Spidey, Captain A, Iron Man, Batman, Hawk Eye, Hulk, Captain Jack,  Davey Jones, Black Panther, Thor, The Rock, John Cena, and the countless others sitting in the bottom of his toy chest that have provided support services, for all the hours of fun, adventure, and sheer joy they have brought to our lives.  From this 4 star General mom, I salute you all and will miss you more than you will ever know.

When G's birthday rolled around this year, I had a small glimmer of hope that we could have just one last costume party to go out of child-hood with a bang, but clearly that boat has sailed and I would not be appearing as Bat Woman this year :(  So in the kitchen one night all alone eating some cookies I wiped a couple of tears away realizing my baby boy is indeed growing up and decided I needed to jump on his fun kid train and ride it all the way to the pre-teen years! There I will undoubtedly stop for some more tear shedding, regather myself, and force myself back onto the train we call growing up.  One train stop at a time I will watch this sweet boy grow up and hopefully learn to enjoy the scenery as we pass through the terrains of life together.

G wanted a skate party...of course he did!  Adding insult to injury G wanted a big party!!  Insult you wonder?  I'm going to let you in on a little secret about the Costa Rican culture...birthday parties are a BIG FREAKIN deal!  No spankin joke nearly every birthday party we have attended of Gentry's classmates includes a full blown meal and not just any meal...pretty darn amazing meals!  In fact the week before Gentry's party we went to one that had a legit pig roast...yes you read that correctly a pig  roast with an entire table full of sides to choose from.  Also these Ticos love to party, so parties are HOURS long in fact the invitations never have an end time (numerous parties have hit the 6 hour mark...I'm so not kidding), and seriously Gentry usually comes home with as many goodies as the birthday kid.  And last but not least there is ALWAYS and when I say ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS a pinata filled to the absolute top so every child comes home with oodles of candy.  Now that all sounds like great fun and all, but let's take a step back and remember that I am not a Costa Rican and the thought of hanging out with people and being in charge of a bunch of screaming kids for an unspecified amount of time where oodles of sugar is involved just about sends this introvert into a panic attack!!! (Please wait while I breath into my paper bag now!!!)  

The reality was, the normal 2 hour, cutesy pinterest gringo party I can pull off was not going to cut it; and that article I recently read about birthday parties should only be about the birthday kid and other kids don't need goodie bags to help teach them the world doesn't revolve around them went right out the window.  I will let someone else start that trend here in Costa Rica.  Game faces were on to try and at least attempt to give G a Costa Rican birthday party.  First things first...time.  I couldn't bring myself to have the all day ongoing party without an end time, but we did make the party 3 hours instead of 2.  I felt like that was a good way to ease myself into this party culture.  Next thing... food.  How do I even compete with a pig roast?  Well these gringos put our best foot forward and decided to serve pancakes, G was thrilled, and yes clearly we are so gringo.   Goody bags and pinata were filled and the skate park was reserved.  All systems go for our first attempt at a party here in Costa Rica.  

It ended up being so much fun.  Besides skating a good friend of ours wrote the kids names in graffitti on little canvases and then the kids painted them. The kids love it, and Rafa was so gracious to come on a Saturday morning to a kids birthday party!!  He's a pretty awesome dude!  Overall it was a success and G skated into his 9th year with good friends and pancakes!!  It might not have been the superhero themed costumed party I am used to, but I am embracing this new stage of growing up and am excited (and a little scared) to walk hand in hand with Jeff as we navigate through parenthood together.   

All the greedy older kids got most of the candy!

The shirt we ordered G for his birthday ended up being way to small and is the size for a 4 year old, but he insist on wearing it anyways cause it says "keep calm, skate on".  There's only so much I can do :)

The filled to the brim pinata!


Cupcakes were a sucess!

Make a wish!

Seriously make your wish!!

Smiley faces

Funny faces :)

His skateboard matching cake

He didn't really want to cut it :)

G-Man painting his name :)

Cute girls!

Graffitti kids :)

Dave definitely got the coolest dad award at the party, he pretty much showed all the kids up :)

The skate life

Impromtu Limbo

Felipe and Lukey

Did I mentione Rafa was amazing???  Cause he was!! 
Maelie took her first bottle from Pamela!!  Thanks Pamela for hanging with Maelie the whole time!

With a spatula in hand, the man is in his element!! 
Pancake assembly line!

A break for pancakes!

Rafa was drawing the entire time!  We owe him huge!

Boys and wheels :)

So cute I mean cool :)


Dave was on skate patrol

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Maelie Hope is 2 Months Old!

Little Miss Mae is 2 months old and man what a difference a month makes.  Month 1 was full of crying and well some more crying!  Month 2 rolled around and I think she finally decided she liked us cause she is full of giggles, smiles, coos, and some pretty awesome sleeping at night.  I don't blame her, it takes a bit to realize we aren't as crazy as we appear and are actually okay people to hang out with.  

Miss Mae you are just so adorable.  I am loving life with you.  You, me, and the stroller take on the streets of Jaco everyday and you have made quite a little co-pilot!  Bedtime is still between 7 and 8 and you are waking up around 3 to eat and then sleep till about 7.  When you wake up at 7 you literally scream until we turn the light on, at which time you instantly smile, coo, and laugh for about 10 minutes until you realize you are absolutely starving :)  Your laugh is hysterical!  Instead of letting air out, you suck in to laugh making the funniest noise!  I have yet to get it on video but am trying my hardest to capture your sweet laugh that sends your brother into giggles every time you do it.  Your eyes are still a dark blue, and much darker than any of ours!

Big brother is definitely your biggest fan.  I recently heard him tell his friend not to touch you because "she is sleeping and you have your own little brother!"  Yikes, sorry Cam I think G realizes what he's been missing out on this whole time and is trying to make up for lost time.  Maelie Bug, apparently you talk to big brother G...all the time.  What are we chopped liver????? We are only getting the coo's and giggles!!  He tells us all the time all the amazing things you say things to him when we aren't around, and I agree with him, you must be the absolute smartest baby ever!! I don't understand why you won't talk to us like you do with him, must be a special brother/sister bond.  :)  We definitely look forward to hearing all those words you are saying, maybe in about 2 years you will feel comfortable enough to actually talk in front of dad and I!

This month dad, you, and I went to immigration to start the residency process.  Up until this point we have left every 90 days to renew our visa's.  It's quite annoying to say the least, but now since you are here little woman, we don't have to!!  Thanks for pulling your weight around here, oh which by the way is an impressive 10.8 pounds!  

You still love having your little hands all up snuggled into you, it's so sweet!

You also think your fist taste really good :)

Still have your "Doh" face :)

Happy Girl!

Loving the raised eyebrow!

Our little Costa Rican Princessa

Someday we will get a picture of you and dad both looking at the camera :)


You are becoming quite friendly, even at Immigration you were making friends and forcing mom to speak Spanish :)

Sitting in line at Immigration with all of the other mom's and babies!  I am always the only mom with a nursing cover up, I just can't bring myself to nurse without it even though it's totally culturally acceptable here!

The only one who watches American football with me.  The boys are always skating or surfing...Mae hold strong for mom and never let other sports get in the way of Saturday college football games!

Sweet baby girl!

I'm not going to lie...sometimes I like us to color coordinate...and most times it involves this color scheme :)

Don't let him fool you Mae, you've got his number and he comes running when you call sweet girl :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Story of Maelie Hope!

So here's the scoop

My due date was July 17th.  Sadly that day came and went with no baby in tow...well actually she was in tow, just not in my arms.  Our family motto after that day was "Due Dates are Dumb" because seriously we were all just so ready for her to be here!  I had volunteered to be in charge of a celebration dinner we were having at church on the 19th.  
*Now you might ask, why would you volunteer to be in charge of an event so close to your due date?  Well because I had convinced myself that baby would come 2-3 weeks early and I would have everything done before hand for the event and just be toting a cute little 2 week old baby to the event...duh!!!  

All along Jeff has said, "your going to go into labor the night after the church event", and all along I have thought "what does he know, he's not even pregnant, I will show him when we have this baby 2 weeks early".  Well the day of the event came and we headed up to the church about 3pm and had a great night celebrating, eating delicious food, and hanging with some awesome people.  I felt really good all day but as the day and night went on, I did notice that my belly was REALLY hard and I didn't feel as comfortable as I had been, I kept squirming in my seat to get my big ole belly comfortable and nothing was working.  But no cause for alarm because I wasn't feeling contractions and still felt good.  Any-hoo, by the time the event was over and we got home it was around 10pm.  As you can imagine carrying that belly around all afternoon and evening was hard work and I was soooooo tired.  I headed straight to bed and was hard core pregnancy snoring by 11!

One of my biggest fears during my whole pregnancy was the fact we live so far from the hospital and might have to drive in the middle of the night with crazy rain.  I literally prayed every night to not go into labor in the middle of the night, that it would be during the day, and that it would preferably be on a Friday morning (I wish I was joking about the specific prayer but I'm not).  Night driving is not our favorite since Jeff was in the wreck back in April during the middle of the night.  Well of course at 1am  (not during the day, and not on a Friday) I woke up and was having contractions.  Although I had been having contractions on and off for a couple of weeks so wasn't entirely convinced (we had already made 1 false alarm trip to the hospital that's an hour and a half away in the middle of the night that I was embarrassed about, and I really wasn't feeling like being the clueless pregnant lady who clearly doesn't know what labor is again).  Subconsciously I must have known they were different cause I woke Jeff up right away, and usually I didn't even wake him up when I had contractions during the night.  For some reason Jeff knew it was the real thing.  He jumped up and started getting things ready, at which point I started to try and talk both of us out of it being real.  I took a shower...contractions continued; I ate some fruit...contractions continued; I went for a walk around our neighborhood...contractions continued; laid back down in bed...contractions continued; I started crying and assuring Jeff it was not time to go...contractions continued.  So at 3am Jeff had to coax me into the car and sweetly convince me I could do this, cause seriously all I kept thinking was "oh crap, I remember how awful this is, it's horrible, how am I going to do this again!!!".  He called our friend Sara who was on call to keep G and told her it was go time.  She had loaned us her car at nights until the baby came (she was just as nervous, if not more nervous for me to go into labor during the night) so we took a sleeping Gentry over to her.  She was standing on the sidewalk ready to take him, Jeff handed a bag and a sleep walking G to her, and I don't think I said anything to her although I really was thinking "please help me, your my last hope to jump ship".

The walk of shame false alarm at 38 weeks pregnant

*Side Note*
Having G was not the greatest experience.  I was in denial most of the pregnancy so didn't see a need to take any classes or educate myself about what was going to happen during labor.  Jeff was serving in Iraq, flew home 2 days before we induced labor which was 2 weeks early so clearly didn't read or know what the heck we were getting into.  I wish I had a picture of us both checking into the hospital that night, I'm pretty sure both of us had these care free looks like "hi were here to pick up our child" like we were picking up dry cleaning or something.  The poor nurses probably still talk about the weird girl who would not put on the hospital gown, would not take off her yoga pants, ordered her poor husband out of the labor room right when it was time to push because she was too nervous and they had to convince her to let him back in.  That plus not getting the epidural like I had planned cause the 1 anesthesiologist in the little hospital had 2 emergency c-sections, and G taking his sweet time in coming made for a not so great experience for a young woman who wasn't entirely ready to do this thing they call motherhood.

This time around Jeff and I read a couple of books, took an online class, I did my pregnancy work-outs all 9 months, walked almost everyday throughout my pregnancy, did daily belly breathing, and followed all the "how to's" for "an easy, natural labor".  For all practical purposes we were ready to blow the roof off labor! But as I realized it was really time, all I could think about was how painfully awful labor is and how torturous it was!!  Jeff was great, the entire ride to the hospital he talked me off my cliff, reminded me of all the things we read and how prepared we were for this, how sweet we finally get to meet our baby girl, how strong I was, basically all the things he was supposed to tell me according to the books we read :)

When we got to the hospital at 5am they sent me up to the maternity ward to see if I was indeed in labor.  They don't check you in the ER, they send you directly to the baby people!  The nurse put the monitor on and checked me.  I was having strong consistent contractions, and dilated to a 2 (that kinda sucked I was really hoping for at least an 8).  They took us to a room, I put on my own labor clothes (I really have an issue with the gowns, I just hate them, I don't put them on until I absolutely have to, seriously hate them), and game faces were on.

Checking in at 2 cm!
Look beyond the smile into my eyes and you will see the "oh crap it's about to get real up in here!" look.  

After that contractions seemed to get more intense pretty quickly.  Jeff was a doll, he was seriously by my side the entire time, supporting me saying all the right things, offering help and holding my hand or rubbing my back every singe contraction, he was textbook good!  The staff was great and accommodated us in whatever we wanted, which was basically leave me the heck alone :)  They would quietly check but for the most part left us to wait on baby to come.  About 8:30 I felt like contractions were strong enough I wanted to be checked and I was a 6!  Usually they call the Dr. to come when someone dilates to a 5 and the Dr. is with you the rest of labor.  So they called Dr. Paer to come which took him about 45 minutes to get there.  When he got there I had dilated to an 8 and so he started setting up the birthing pool.  By this point I was non-verbal and thinking that if the one nurse in the room sweetly touched my back again, I was going to snap her wrist in half in one swift move.  The soothing music Jeff had put on was driving me insane and got turned off, and I was seriously doubting my ability to make good decisions in life, because why on earth would someone go through this???  Jeff kept saying "Ash, she's so close to being here, we are about to meet our little girl", which was really good because in all honesty I couldn't remember why we were at the hospital, and why in the heck was I in so much ever loving pain????

Up trying to pretend I still have sanity 5cm.
I can't even explain how great Jeff was, I am so blessed. 

I'm not going to lie, these pictures make me feel sorry for myself.  I am so amazing :) Having babies is hard work, good thing the reward is a sweet baby girl! 8cm

I felt like it took hours to fill that stupid pool!!  In my mind, and according to all the prep work and studying I had done, that pool was going to be my saving grace.  I mean let's be honest if , it's "soothing, comforting, relaxing", you are "60% less likely to ask for pain medication", you are "able to move your body in the perfect labor position", "increases a laboring woman's energy", "helps mothers body to produce endorphins serving as pain killers", and "it eases your baby's transition into this world", who wouldn't jump in that tub???  It's magical right??  I couldn't wait to hop on in, I had done all the hard work, it was all downhill from here!  At least that's what I thought :)

When the birthing pool was ready the Dr. checked me and said I was totally dilated and ready to push, so get in the pool and push when I'm ready!  I don't think I showed it on my face but I was thrilled beyond measure!!  Now let me assure you, there was no instant relief when I got in, those so called feelings of comfort and relaxing, the perfect labor position, the energy and pain killers that magically appear on the wings of flying unicorns were no where to be found in the pool...not so textbook.  Paer must have brought the wrong pool!!!! I wanted the one with fairy dust pain killers and a side of chamomile tea!  Since Paer brought the wrong pool I was in the pool pushing for an hour and half at which time I had to get out because he only let's you labor in the pool for a max of that.  Little girl was taking her sweet ever so painful time, just like her older brother.  She hadn't moved down any and he said I might be pushing for a while longer, at which point I started crying because seriously that's just ridiculous, pushing is supposed to be the shortest part!  Where did my text book, all natural, embracing what your body naturally does labor go?

Notice there are no magical unicorns flying around offering pain killers, and no fairy dust pain killers any where in sight around that pool...I still can't believe he brought the wrong pool.  I did have a super sweet supportive husband my side, which definitely counts for something, just not pain relief.
My sweet husband, and the nurse who nearly lost her arm

Jeff was standing there hugging me as I cried, when Dr Paer threw out the word epidural...I instantly threw my hands up in there air and said I give!  Yes I want the epidural!!  (This is also where I gave in and put on that awful hospital gown, they broke me)  Now mind you, Jeff was under strict orders to ward off the epidural like it was the plague, I HATE needles, HATE hospitals, and really do believe that our body was created to do amazing things like child birth and any day of the week would choose the natural method over modern medicine...but not today.  Jeff had that deer in the headlight look, because he has been lectured for months about how no matter what I say during labor, it's his job to help me make it through without unnecessary interventions.  I can't tell you how many times I told him "No matter what I say, no epidurals!"  So he gently said "Ash you told me no matter what you didn't want one, you can do this, we are so close now", poor guy was going to loose no matter what happened at that point.  Standing there squeezing his arms, I told him to forget everything I had told him before and I for sure 100% no matter what wanted an epidural at that moment.  He read the look in my eyes correctly cause he made the right decision :)  The bummer was it took another 30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get there, and by the time he finally got there, I hated him.

Now let's talk about comfort, relaxing, pain killers, and a renewed energy...I was a new woman for the last 45 minutes of labor, I resumed normal signs of communication and just kept thanking the anesthesiologist and telling him how much better I felt.  He was really sweet, he must have known I hated him for taking 30 minutes to get to the hospital, so he was going over and beyond to win my approval.  He won me over, he became my 4th cheerleader in the room.  He sat up by my head and encouraged me and told me I was doing wonderful the rest of the time.  I will forgive him just this once, but seriously he better not let that happen again.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for that horribly long scary needle they call epidural.  I will drink chamomile tea with him any day of the week.

Jeff all suited up ready to go

The look of relief :) 
It was another 45 minutes about 12:10pm before little missy made her way into the world, and nothing else mattered once I held that sweet precious baby.  The long night and day, awful pain, lack of magical unicorns, and doctors who take there sweet sweet time, all disappeared as I got to hold this little gift from God.  Nothing in the world mattered but that tiny little sweet baby girl, and I was simply deeply in love.  
My sweet girl was finally here!

I couldn't quit staring at her

Also couldn't quit crying

We did it!

A mother's love is an amazing thing

Jeffs baby tattoo

Whew, what a journey right?  I'm in awe of how this whole process started a full 9 months ago, the transition my body went through over those 9 months, the long 12 hours of labor, and how it all brought us to this sweet moment where we have a baby girl.  God is so good!

While labor is...labor, we had a great experience at the hospital here in Costa Rica.  It was very different from the States and overall we would both say our experience here was better.  The biggest difference being there was much more focus on me as a person.  Our Dr. was delivering our baby no matter what day or time she came.  Although he didn't get there until closer to the end, because I dilated really quickly, he was there the rest of the time and never left.  I didn't feel rushed or like a stranger came in at the very end to catch the baby and leave, I really appreciated the emphasis on the relationship and respect for what I wanted.  At one point it was rather funny as I realized there was only me and 4 men in the delivery room: my husband/biggest supporter, my doctor/coach, the pediatrician/baby's coach, and the anesthesiologist who sat up by my head and no joke gently patted my head telling me how amazing I was...also no joke I felt so encouraged and thankful for all 4 of those men, they really did an amazing job at bringing sweet Mae into the world!  Who knew a group of men could be so supportive, compassionate, and gentle????  Take that traditional gender roles! :)

Our Dr's spoke perfect English and most other people spoke enough English we had no problems.  The only misunderstanding was when I asked one of the nurses for some ibuprofen for swelling and she told me that ibuprofen wouldn't help me, I would just need to work out to get rid of my stomach!   Hahahaha Jeff and I couldn't quit laughing :)

Back in our room and exhausted
So happy together

I think we both couldn't believe she was finally here!

Maelie meeting Babie, Pop, and Nate for the first time!

First bath

Dad's first talks with his little girl

Jeff had that sweet smile on his face for the first week :)
You were entrusted to good hands sweet Mae, you have a wonderful daddy

Us girls worked hard and were so tired :)
I love this picture

We had a bit of a hard time naming our sweet girl.  I had a list of about 5 names we liked, but we really hadn't agreed on one.  We both figured when she was born she would fit one of them and we would know.  Guess what, she didn't look like any of the names!  When the lady came in to give us her registry of birth the next day, we knew we had to name our sweet girl.  We settled on Maelie Hope which we both love, but there have been moments of weakness where I think we should have named her something else, but Maelie Hope she is!

Getting ready to leave!

We couldn't wait to get out of there and meet brother, we were missing him so much!

Few things in life have brought me greater joy

Why do they make you do this?  I just wanted to walk on my own!

It's been real CIMA
The original plan was to have someone bring G up to the hospital so he could meet little sis.  After we got settled in back in our room and able to have visitors it was mid afternoon we figured it would be easier on everyone if they didn't have to make the trip to San Jose that late in the day, and we were so tired it made sense to just let him meet little sis the next day when we got discharged and got home.  The unfortunate part was we didn't get discharged the next day, but weren't sure what was happening until later in the day, so he ended up not meeting Maelie Bug until Tuesday when we got home.  It all worked out and he was happily playing with his buddy Cameron so he didn't mind a bit that we were gone for 3 whole days :)

I can't even express how blessed we are here with dear friends.  There was a group of our friends that were all on call at a moments notice to take G, Molly, us, anything we needed when baby came.  I was so thankful to know that Gentry and Molly were in great care.  Between the Sara, Sarah, Pamela, and Dale, there was literally nothing for us to worry about.  You ladies are a true gift from God, I am so thankful I am for each of you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, I owe you all!!

G did not get to wear the outfit he had picked out to meet his sister in like he had planned cause he was coming home from school :)  His response was really sweet.  He was not overly excited or happy, but very curious about little Mae.  He mostly stared at, poked, and at the end of the night had one last meltdown about not wanting a baby, but it was minor and he has been all smiles since :)  He loves her a little more each day.

G had this special outfit laid out in his bedroom for 2 weeks before baby came :)

We came home to a decorated house :)  Yay we are home!!
His embarrassed/excited/happy face when he first saw her :)


He had brought her a Maggie from the Simpsons lego and put it together for her.

She might not seem excited, but I know she loves that lego he got her.

He even showed her how to put it together

I love his excited/embarrassed face

Literally minutes after we got home, Mathew our neighbor came to check out the baby.

Already teasing his baby sister
This is how he interacted with her for the first week

Poking to make sure she's real
Jeff tricked G and talked him into smelling Maelie so it looked like he kissed her...which lead to G's small meltdown :)

This is after G had his little meltdown, Jeff and I couldn't help but laugh
We are so blessed and officially a family of 4!  Bring on a little more crazy!