Sunday, July 31, 2011

TOO cute at TWO weeks

At two weeks old, Makayla still looks very much like a little baby doll. Other than the fact that she has a total zombie of a mother because of her crazy sleeping patterns, she is a very good baby...and of course absolutely adorable.

Makayla is actually named after two people. The first one was a really sweet little red-headed girl that used to live next door to us in Rexburg. Before we ever had our own little girl, Makayla was who we imagined our little girls to be like. She was fun, spunky, and so stinking cute (I'm sure she is still is, right Anne?). To this day, Cory and I still love to remember the funny things she would say and do.

Makayla's middle name is Claire, which is short for Clairisa. Although we named her before we ever saw her, I think Makayla looks the most like her. Not only because she is so tiny, but also some of her features. In fact, in the hospital one of the nurses said the exact same thing that one of the nurses said about Clairisa. She said, "I think she's going to be a pianist with those long fingers." Crazy, right?

I have no doubt that someday Makayla will accomplish great things, but for now I will just simply enjoy the little piece of heaven that she has brought with her to our home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

3 years closer till we meet again....

Happy Perfection Day to the angel of my dreams!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Becoming a Mother

Tonight I am sitting at home with Makayla trying to rest and do nothing (because I promised my mother-in-law that I would) while Cory, his mom, and Hailey are cheering Kateund and Cloey on at their final swim meet for the summer. I hate the fact that I am not there cheering for them, but at the same time, there is no way that I am ready to take my week old baby out into the crazy heat and humidity of a 6 hour outdoor swim meet. My house has been peaceful and quiet ever since 3:30 this afternoon. The first 20 minutes were wonderful. I laid Hailey down on my chest and actually picked up a book. But then after those 20 minutes, the house suddenly got way too quiet. I always think about how nice it would be to have some alone time but then once those 20 minutes are up, I'm over it and ready to be back in the thick of things. It's just how it is. I sometimes wonder what I used to do before I was a mom. Cory and I were married for about three years before Katelund came along. We traveled a lot and have some fun memories but my purpose and mission in life was definitely not fulfilled until I became a mother.

Last night (I guess it was actually early this morning) I was up feeding Makayla at about 2:30. As I sleepily gazed at her beautiful face, I thought about how much I love being a mother. I usually just feed her, put her back in her bassinet, and fall back into my own bed for a couple more hours, but this time I didn't. I got up and checked on all of my other sleeping babies. I went to the cupboard and got out some Vicks to put on Katelund's chest to help her sleep without coughing. I checked on Cloey and pulled blankets back up. I listened to Hailey to make sure she was breathing okay, then I heated up a rice pack to place on Cory's aching back (he had strained a muscle in it earlier in the week). Then I laid back in my bed and just soaked in the feelings of peace and contentment.

Yes, motherhood is full of ups and downs, worry, exhaustion, monotony, etc, but somehow the moments of joy seem to surpass them all. When I look back over the eight years that I have been a mother, the hard times, when I thought I just couldn't do it any longer, seem to fade into the recesses of my mind as the moments of joy and fulfillment break through to the front. It is the feeling of contentment, the feeling of knowing that I am doing what I was born to do, that gets me through the tough times. So although my incision is still stinging every single time I use any of my ab muscles, my tears start overflowing without a moment's notice, and my body...(oh the joys of a postpardom body) which is so not the same as it was eight years ago), I am trying to soak in every minute of this precious time because I know that in a blink of an eye it will be over because, unfortunately, the clock of life never stops.

The longer the clock of motherhood ticks in my life, the more I am discovering the importance of taking time to just soak in the moments. To enjoy each stage of life and start over each day with a greater determination to do better. Although I became a mother eight years ago, I don't think that my process of becoming is over or complete. I believe it is a life-long process. One that will help smooth out all those places where I am so rough and one that will lead me to the person and mother I was born to be.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Makayla Claire

Although this was my third C-section, I still felt a lot of anxiety beforehand. There is just something about knowing that you are going to be cut open on a table that is just plain old scary. Cory gave me a priesthood blessing at about 4:30 am as we were waiting for my sweet friend Diane to come over and stay with the girls, and so the reassurance and peace that I needed came. Once we were at the hospital and the iv went in and the robe went on, the excitement came and the anticipation began to build.

As I laid there on that surgery table, knowing that the cutting had begun and not being able to feel anything from my ribs down, I had a moment of fear rush into me. The fear that I was all to familiar with when I was laying in that very same position just 17 months ago. The fear that comes from knowing that sometimes things don't always turn out as expected. The fear in knowing that there was always that chance that something could go wrong. Wrong enough to leave me with another broken heart. But then as the thoughts entered my mind, I looked up at Cory (who was totally into the cutting that was going on) and he just happened to look down at me. In that moment when our eyes met, all of the sudden I saw him as that 17 year old boy whom I fell in love with all of those years ago. You know how people talk about their life flashing before their eyes? Well, it was kindof like I saw our life together. I saw him as that good looking teenage boy who was totally full of himself. :) Then I saw him as the man that he turned into. The man who was no longer full of himself, but was full of love for his child, each and every child who has come into our life and created our family. I saw the tender moments of a father holding a lifeless baby in his arms and knowing that he would have to say least for a time. I saw a father who gently kisses his baby girls each and everyday and gathers them around for prayer each and every night. I saw a husband who is my very best friend and who still makes my heart pitter patter. This is the man that I saw look down at me, and as I saw him I knew that no matter what, everything would be okay.

Which it was. And then the crying began. The long awaited cry of another beautiful perfect baby girl. The first cry of a baby is one that I will never hear without a rush of emotions and tears streaming down my own cheeks. In fact, as Cory went over to look at her and be with her, the anesthesiologist brushed my tears away. Then from there, everything just seems to be so surreal. Seeing her for the first time, holding her, nursing her, looking at her little feet and hands, touching her hair, and kissing her little cheeks. It just never gets old. The excitement and joy that you feel with your first baby is the same as it is with your fifth. She is a tiny little thing, weighing in at 6 lbs 1 oz and just like all of our other Mann girls (excluding Katelund) she came out with a full head of dark hair.

Bringing her home was so exciting. The girls L.O.V.E her, even and especially Hailey. I was so worried about her feeling jealous. She has had some moments where she has wanted attention but she doesn't take any of her feelings out on Makayla (unlike Katelund who totally took it out on Cloey...somethings never change) :). She wants to touch her, sit by her, kiss her, and she just squeals every time she is near her. It is so sweet. Life with four is good...very good. Yes, I've had some postpartum moments, especially with being frustrated with nursing (I have such a love hate relationship with nursing). All I will say about that on my blog is that I am so thankful for a pump. Yes, I'm being totally spoiled by my mother-in-law who just waits on me hand and foot....and yes, I'm a little bit nervous about how I will do it all when I'm left to do it on my own. But, other than that, I am doing great. I LOVE having a new baby in our home. I love having four beautiful girls (and one hot husband) on my bed giggling and playing together. But most of all, I LOVE knowing that this family thing is forever.

Our Staycation

The weekend before Makayla's arrival, we had a family staycation. Last year when I helped decorate for my friend's daughters wedding, her husband gave our family a free night stay at the downtown Marriott where he is the general manager. Well, not only did we get a free night stay, he also TOTALLY spoiled us with the presidential suite. It was AMAZING!!!! The girls had their own room that was connected to the living area with a dining room table, kitchen area, sitting room, and a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi that could fit our entire family. Then Cory and I had our own huge room, king size bed and all. The cost of staying one night in the suite would be $1300!!! Obviously, this was a once in a life-time experience. :)

We left for downtown after the girls' swim meet on Saturday. The girls had no idea where we were going. The only thing that they knew was that I had packed each of us a suitcase and that we would be spending the night somewhere. They were so excited!! We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 and the manager on duty walked us up to the 13th floor where we had to have our "special card" to even get up to that floor. Once she opened the door to the suite, the girls jaws dropped to the floor. They were totally surprised and super excited. There were huge windows in each of the rooms that had the most incredible views of downtown and the Appalachian Mountains. It was incredible. We told the girls that the rest of the day we would spend doing whatever they wanted to do. We gave them a list of options and in the end they decided they wanted to play at the pool for a little bit then get dressed and walk to a favorite restaurant close by. Then take the electronic transit and go see a show at the imax theater. (we saw Born to Be was SO GOOD!!!!). After we got back to the hotel after the show, we spent the rest of the night living in luxury. Joe, my friend's husband, even had a huge tray of fruits, candy bars, cookies, drinks, chips, etc sent up to our room. The girls took a bath in the jacuzzi and then spent the rest of the night watching tv in their king size bed while eating all sorts of junk until about 11 pm when they finally fell asleep. Hailey walked from room to room as excited as could be, ate a cookie and then fell right asleep in her pack and play. Although Cory and I enjoyed every moment together, I think our favorite part of the night was just watching the girls have so much fun. Closing my eyes for the night was very bitter sweet. I was exhausted and ready to go to sleep but I also knew that by closing my eyes that meant it would be over in the morning.

We woke up and enjoyed our free gourmet breakfast, got ready for church, and then made it just in time for our first meeting. All I could do was laugh when the girls' primary president told me that Katelund had laid out across all the chairs in her row during sharing time. Oops. Well, they may not have gotten a whole lot out of primary that week, but we will always remember the night we lived like royalty.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

8 days...

...until Makayla officially makes her entrance into this world. So what are we doing for the next 8 days? Well, other than swim team practice each day, a swim meet Saturday morning, followed by a totally fun "staycation" Saturday day/evening/night (more on that later), a dentist appointment for Katelund on Monday, a skate party for the girls on Wednesday, visiting teaching on Tuesday, Cory's mom coming in on Wednesday, and a baptism that I have been asked to speak at on Friday night...we are just anxiously waiting. :)

Here are some of the things we have been up to the last couple of days...

Since I didn't have any cute 4th of July dresses for the girls to wear on Sunday, I decided to really outdo myself with some awesome hair-do's.

Each week I have the girls help me with some kind of organizational project. This week Katelund wanted to organize the fridge (my least favorite job). She was so cute about it. She wanted to put all of the glass containers on one shelf, all the plastic on another shelf, and everything else on the bottom. I was so impressed at the end result. It looked way better than it ever does when I do it. For convenience reasons, I'm not sure if I really like all the glass jars on the middle shelf but there is NO way that I'm going to change it.

This last weekend I got a baby stroller at a garage sale. It was the best thing I've ever bought for $2. Hailey pushes baby dolls around in it all day and when she's not, Cloey loves to push her "baby doll" around in it which couldn't make Hailey any happier.

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