For anyone curious...

Our daughter's name is Violet EvaLee. This would be EVA in the traditional sense, spelled with an e, but pronounced AY-VUH. Like Eva Gabor. There were 3 Gabor sisters--Eva, Magda and Zsa Zsa. Eva's name was pronounced just as we are using it and there have been many others. The U.S. is apparently, (according to my research), the only place that Eva is pronounced with a long EE sound. Ava is a completely different name. Let me break it down...

We were going to use the currently disgustingly popular spelling A-V-A, just so we didn't get this question constantly or have people looking at her name and saying, "WHY would they name their child EVILLY???" But we decided on the spelling E-V-A because of this: Ava means "bird-like" and Eva means "giver of life."

Where did we get her name?? Lee is Allan's sister's middle name. My sister's middle name is LeAnne. We definitely wanted to use a family name of some sort, because Violet was our own personal preference. (Ever read a Series of Unfortunate Events?? That's where I found it and decided I loved it. Allan agreed.) GraceAnne's first name is all family and her middle name (Rayne), is just our personal preference. We were going to use just Lee for her middle name, but Allan pointed out that Violet Lee sounds too much like, "violently" so we threw out Lee for a while. After 8 months of being stuck, we decided we both liked Aurora or Eva/Ava but we still wanted her to have a family name SOMEWHERE that would stick with her forever, (since she probably will not always be a Doyle), so Lee came back. Aurora-Lee just doesn't have the nice sound to it that AY-VUH LEE does. So here we are. Yes, we argued about the spelling, too, but it boils down to the meaning of the name and DANGIT, she's our kid, so we'll call her what we full-well please!

I don't even wanna hear it, (though I'm sure we will!!), about her getting teased about her name. Every kid on this planet gets teased about their name and if that causes her to have a breakdown, then we have not instilled a strong enough personal character in our daughter. Allan was teased for being a III, (I even teased him about it when I met him!), and I was teased because my name spelled backwards is "A Rat." Whoopie! I knew a girl in high school, (NO JOKE!!), named Marijuana PepsiCola. We called her Mary-Jane. She was COOL, too! Very smart, funny as all get-out, incredibly athletic and got offered full-ride scholarships to some top schools. I guess your name doesn't make you, eh?

**this post was spawned by a phone call from my neighbor who was settling an argument with someone...obviously she KNEW our daughter's name because she was with us after Violet was born, but someone (probably, and maybe I shouldn't speculate), wanted to argue with her about the pronunciation being EE-VUH. I've heard it so much already I just had to clear it up on my public blog. Thanks for defending our name, Candice! ;)

Here's some info from BabyNamesWorld.com for anyone interested...

(EE vah); (AY vah); (EV ah); (EE fah)

Additional info:
Latinate form of Eve, Eva was also used to Anglicize Aoife in Ireland, an old name believed to be derived from aoibh (beauty). Eabha is the Gaelic form of Eva. Eva Braun was the companion and later the wife of Adolf Hitler. Eva Perón (also known as Evita) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón. The announcement of her death left Argentina at a standstill. Other famous bearers include actresses Eva Mendes, Eva Green, Eva Longoria, Eva Marie Saint and Eva Gabor. Eva Cassidy was an American singer.


Family Resemblance?

Maybe these pictures can help you to see what I've been talking about when I say how much the girls are alike. People say, "wow, she's so beautiful" or "she's so precious" and when I say she looks just like her sister, some people agree, but mostly they look at me like I'm nuts.

So...for those who can't/don't see it...picture number 1 is Miss GraceAnne when she was about the same age as Miss Violet in picture number 2. I tried for the same lighting, but keep in mind it was a different camera and a different region.

At any rate--the two look so much alike it nearly freaks me out. I'm just excited as all get-out because GraceAnne is so darned beautiful, I can't believe we made another one who will be just as cute! I never looked a dang thing like either of my sisters, (I suppose that could be expected since we weren't the from exactly the same pool), and it made me sad. I've always been so thrilled for Gracie and Rhiya that they look so alike. Now people will definitely be saying, "well THERE'S a Doyle girl!" And there's Allan's legacy! ;)


What a weekend!

Wow--what a crazy weekend for us! Thank goodness the girls let me sleep till 9 this morning, (imagine that!!), because I was running on fumes. Saturday marked the beginning of the exhaustion. GraceAnne had 2 birthday parties to go to. One was at a bowling alley, where she didn't touch her chicken nuggets, but instead had a piece of cake. She said they didn't taste very good and she had saved them for me. GEE! How nice of her! ;) The second party was outside with a bounce house, (and some very cool power wheels, as you can see in the 2nd picture.) where she, once again, refused her hot dog entree and moved straight to the cupcakes and kool-aid. Anyone who knows us knows that even in my worst hours as mother, our child does not eat this horribly. So she may have more sugared-out than the other kiddies. That night we got a phone call from Allan's classmate. He invited us to the drive-in with his wife and their 6-week-old daughter. Instead of being smart and heading off to bed early with our heat-exhausted, totally worn-out, sugar-high daughter--we went to see Indiana Jones. It was great to get out of the house and be with friends. And it was a decent movie, but poor Allan...much of his time was spent in the car with said child screaming at the top of her lungs.

If we hadn't had enough on Saturday, (Gracie got to bed at midnight and woke up at 8:30am...4 hours short of her targeted sleep schedule), on Sunday we got up, went to church, ate lunch at a friend's house and headed up to Dallas for Allan's class party. What is fun to a lot of young men turns out to be not-so-fun for little girls, and it was another cook-out, so lots more Texas heat!! We left there around 7:30pm and the friends we ate lunch with came over to watch a movie with us. We got to bed around 11pm again and woke up Monday around 9am. Then we had a cook-out of our own! By last night I was ready to fall over, (as were GraceAnne and Allan!), it would seem the only one unaffected by our activities is Miss Violet--who, as you can see in the first picture, cares not where we are or what we are doing, because her agenda WILL be met, regardless. She will eat, sleep and poop wherever we put her. I'm jealous!

Though the weekend was filled with it's difficulties, I will say I felt very blessed to be around so many friends and I enjoyed everything we did. I hope the rest of the summer will be so hectic. Being around people we love and who love us makes me so darned happy, exhausted or not!

This weekend will be the best one yet, because my mom and Bruce will be here. I'm SO EXCITED to see some of my family and have them meet Violet. I told GraceAnne as we were grocery shopping last week that I couldn't wait for Gramma to be here. She said, "I know!! I LOVE your mom!" YAAAAY for my mommy! :)


Smiley Babies

Yes--that is a smile you see on Miss Violet's face. Gracie was trying to get her to smile in the 2nd pic and she DID, but I didn't capture it in time. Stupid camera. She's been smiling since day 1 (don't even get me started on "it's just gas" anyone who says that has never been smiled at by an angel baby! Besides, do YOU smile when you have gas? I'd bet not.) but yesterday she started smiling about goofy things. For example, her ear is ticklish. Yes...her ear. She also finds GraceAnne to be a regular little comedienne. She grins almost everytime she sees her big sister. It makes my heart melt!

Today's goal is to take a shower and to bathe Vi. We stink. I'm not sure how I'll manage that, but I'll try.

GraceAnne's "diet" is going well and even has me eating more fruits and veggies. It has helped me get back into the kitchen, which I was totally slacking on the last couple of months and it has inspired me to keep the kitchen more tidy. All of these things are wonderful side-effects. Now hopefully I can lose some weight and GraceAnne can put some on. Not much, but enough to keep the Dr off my arse and to make me feel better.

Mostly I want us to all get out of the house more and get some exercise, but it's so blasted hot!!! 95+ degrees the last 3 days. I've been hiding out in the air conditioning! The humidity is what makes it absolutely unbearable. I can stand dry heat. I can even play in dry heat, as long as I have water with me. This humidity kills me, though. I know Allan won't ever consider moving to the SouthWest, but I'd love some Lake Havasu City, AZ action. We will DEFINITELY be vacationing there someday!


So Grown Up

GraceAnne's CDO graduation was yesterday. It was VERY cute. The kids all got to walk across the stage with little graduation caps on and get a "diploma." They also performed songs for the moms, dads and grandparents who came to see. It was pretty cute. GraceAnne is sad that school is over, and so am I, but I exchanged phone numbers with the mom of the girl that GraceAnne likes a lot, so hopefully we'll have some play dates this summer. It's so hard to find people who stay home, it seems like, so I'm stoked to have found someone else who stays home and who can get together during the DAY. By the time Allan comes home at night, I don't want to hang out with other people because I want to be with my WHOLE family. That's fine, but it leads to a pretty alone life.

Miss Violet looks more like GraceAnne every day. I was holding off on saying who she looked like or what side of the family she takes after, because I remember thinking "YAY! GraceAnne looks JUST LIKE ME!" when she was born. And she did look an awful lot like her mommy as a newborn. But every single day that passed, the child looked a little more like her daddy and the same thing is happening with Violet. She could almost pass as GraceAnne, except she's a little bigger. They have the same face, for sure. But that's fine with me, because I KNOW GraceAnne is cute and Gracie looks just like Rhiya, who is also super-cute, so I'm cool with our newest one looking like her sisters/daddy. Good thing Allan makes a cute girl!

Well, I read something that inspired me today, so I'm going to get off my butt and get some work done now. The dishes are all caught up, I need to do and fold some laundry, (yes, I got the barfy clothes washed yesterday...now to clean the poopy clothes from this morning! It NEVER ENDS...except it will end...way too soon, I suspect!) I hope all is well with everyone. We love and miss you all!


We will survive...

We've survived our first day without daddy. We're into our 2nd and I'll say I'm a little lost and a lot lonely. Today is GraceAnne's "graduation" so she will be home with me full-time now. I enrolled her in swimming lessons, but that's not really a break for her. I got some info about summer camp, but it's expensive. So are all the other summer programs. We'll work something out, I'm sure.
Mostly I'd just like some down-time. So I took some after I dropped Gracie off. I've been sitting here on my bum for nearly an hour and how do I feel? Refreshed? Satisfied? No--strangely enough I feel GUILTY. I've had almost an hour and the kitchen is still a wreck and the barfy clothes have not been started, (though they are next to the washer, ready to go!!). Of course not all of that could have been done anyway, with the non-stop nurser on board, but I probably could have cleaned up my mess from supper last night.
*sigh* Oh well. This too shall pass.


Excited, Sad, Proud and Terrified

Today my husband went back to school for the summer semester. He's now officially a senior!! I'm so proud of him and I feel like this is one of the moments we've been waiting for the last 5 years. Of course, graduation is the REAL day we're looking forward to, but we've learned that being proud of "baby steps" is best during this waiting game called "life." So I am! So proud of my beautiful hubby. And, of course, my beautiful family. Look at them!! They're amazing. Yesterday was a pretty great day. We didn't do much of anything but laze about as a group, (well, Allan finished up the fence...see above), but it was enough.

I'm also excited because he will FINALLY be doing prosthetics. This is what he's been waiting for, as far as school is concerned, because this is what he signed up for. Last year was all orthotics and while he happens to be good at it, (he's good at everything he tries, I think! Show off!), he doesn't like it nearly as much as prosthetics. So his excitement at this year has leaked over onto me. I'm glad he's going to be doing something he really enjoys.

But these emotions stop short of covering up the sadness and my fear. I'm sad because I really enjoy having Allan home. He's such an amazing father and no way could I even begin to replicate that part of the girls' lives. Moreover, he's a wonderful husband and he carries a large portion of the responsibilities of our household. His summer schedule is 8a-5p, which means 6a-6p, given Dallas traffic and 6p-7p, after homework is accounted for, so everything now falls to me and this scares me for 2 reasons...1.) I already took this full-time job last summer and I'm not very good at it. 2.) I now have twice the number of children I did then. I happen to be very good at one-handed typing, but not so great at one-handed dishes. GraceAnne was so good at playing by herself last year, but since Violet is here, she wants to be right in the middle with me and Vi, so I'm juggling 2 instead of just one.

Yes, all you mothers of more than 1 are laughing at me, but these are my fears . "Told ya so" won't cut it, I KNEW this was going to happen, I just felt it was worth it. So in lieu of the smart comments ;) I'd appreciate prayers. Mostly for Grace and peace. I need the calm that only God can provide.



Well, despite the Dr. being a quack, we are going to start trying to do something about GraceAnne's weight. We're not going to be agressive or anything, but we're going to put her on a new summer schedule. I wouldn't worry about it at all, (like I said yesterday, Allan and I were both teeny kids), but the fact of the matter is she was a little heavier at her 3 year check-up and about 2.5" shorter, so that part of it freaks me out a little bit.

So our new days will include scheduled snacks and meals, not just when we feel hungry. Up until now, GraceAnne has always had full access to a "snack drawer." The drawer has cheese sticks, yogurt, apples, carrot sticks, apple sauce, (no sugar added!), and depending on the day/week, other healthy fruits and snacks. As long as she asks first, she can have whatever she wants, whenever she wants from that drawer. I guess this will still be the case for the most part, but we're also going to structure in specific snack times and meal times. This method will probably make it much easier for me with Violet, too. I've never been a particularly organized person, so a kick in the pants will probably help out with this personality flaw.

So today for breakfast, instead of just a bowl of cereal, she had a bowl of cereal with oats mixed in, (I used to do this all the time, but I've been slacking. BAD MOMMY!), and 4 slices of apple. We cruised through snack-time because I was busy and we ate breakfast so late, but for lunch I made "steak" (read: the only way I can get her to eat a hamburger patty is to cut it up and call it steak!), corn on the cob and french fries. Yesterday I got fancy and made Spinach Pesto with veggie pasta. YUM! I also boiled some eggs for snacks in between meals. On the menu this evening is broccoli and chicken risotto. GraceAnne LOVES to help with risotto. Lots of stirring for her to do.

So you can see, (or maybe I'm as unclear as I fear I may be!), that we're trying to shove lots of extra veggies and protein into spots that they haven't appeared in some time. I really did used to always cook healthy food--my child is probably the only child on planet earth who adores broccoli and raw mushrooms--but with the onset of the third trimester sleepies, I let it slip. Hopefully I can transition back into mommy-of-the-year in the kitchen easily. Lord knows I could use the extra doses of healthy food to kick this baby-fat, too.

Wish us luck!


My BIG girls!!

Today we took the girls to the Dr and Miss Violet is now 22.5" long and 9lb 11oz. Miss GraceAnne is now 40.5" and 31lbs. The Dr (quack) says Gracie-Girl is "too skinny" but she's always been thin, (except as an infant), and Allan and I were both scrawny kids, so I'm unconcerned. She eats very well and whenever she is hungry, so he can bite it. He's also fighting us on delaying vaccines with Vi and the entire office seems to be somewhat anti-breastfeeding. Yes, I will be attempting to transfer YET AGAIN. *sigh* Too bad Tricare can't have a decent Primary Care Manager in their whole darned network!!

I'll write more later, I'm being beckoned. A mother's work never ends!


Family Reunion

Violet and Great Aunt Linda

GraceAnne with Great Aunt Claudia and "Uncle Duckie"
Violet with Great Uncle Jim

Violet and Great Aunt Claudia
Violet and Great Uncle Doug

A very small portion of the Doyle clan visited us yesterday. They're on a cross country trip in their RV's and decided to stop through Texas and see us on their way to Kentucky. We are SO glad they did!! We told GraceAnne in the morning that family was coming to visit us yesterday and that was all we had to say. She perked up and was so excited she even agreed to not watch a movie since they'd be here soon. She is such a girl come to life when she's around family--it blows me away! Violet was a doll, of course, she slept through most of the visit and finally showed some eyeballs toward the end of the evening. I love babies who let their mommies eat and visit in peace! ;)

GraceAnne decided to rename Uncle Doug. His new name is "Uncle Duckie" and she had a BLAST playing with everybody. She got to climb on everyone and never once got reprimanded. She was so tired she didn't even argue with bedtime.

We sure wish they could have stayed another day, but we're so glad we got to see them for the evening! Hope all is well with everyone. We love and miss you all.


Fat and Sassy!

Violet got a tree! We got a redwood sapling when GraceAnne was a baby and planted it in a pot. When we moved to TX I wasn't sure it would survive, but we planted it in an ideal spot in the back yard and it's thriving. We decided Violet should have a tree, too, so we went to Lowe's and picked out a weeping willow tree. You can see a picture of it in our front yard above. I'm very excited! I love willow trees and we've been wanting one for a long time. Thanks for this goes to Grandma Polly. Usually when people send money for the kids we put it in their savings accounts, but with the 25$ Grandma Polly sent, we got the tree. We feel it was a good investment. ;)

Today we had our 10 day visit at the midwives office. Of course it was actually 12 days, but who's counting? Miss Violet now weighs 9lbs 2oz, which means mommy's milk is GOOOOOD. The midwife was amazed and said they only really expect the babies to gain back up to their birth weight by 2 weeks, so she's doing GREAT! Just call me Daisy. Nothing in the world quite like the milk from Wisconsin, eh? :)

Mom is also doing well. Healing up nicely and apparently my stomach muscles are already pulled back into place. Now we just have to get rid of the fat that has accumulated on top of them. I'm down to 142, which means I've lost 18 since she was born and I only have 14 more lbs to go until I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight. I'm hoping to get that gone by the end of summer. Of course, anyone who has had a kid knows that just because you're back to your old weight doesn't mean you look the same! This time around I'm going to try to embrace my new body. After all, 2 miracles came from it!

It's way past my bedtime, so I'll close. I hope all is well with you and yours!


Happy Mother's Day!

To all the mommies out there, Happy Mother's Day! I hope you all get to spend your day basking in the warm glow of your children's smiles and love. Today is so amazing to me, because I am the mother of 2 now. It's amazing how much more love and contentment I feel just adding one more. We don't really have any plans for the day. We went to church and then to a friend's house for lunch. I hear GraceAnne got me a present, but we're not going to dinner, so I'm not sure if there's anything else in store for the day.

I'm thrilled to have my family and am so well Blessed, but sure do wish I could be with MY mommy today! She's having dinner with my sisters and my niece and nephew today. She likes to decorate her table with lots of different settings and I know she's going to make a beautiful one tonight. She's making little strawberry shortcake desserts that look like real cakes and what I'm sure amounts to a wonderful dinner, too. I miss my mom so much and I can't wait to see her at the end of the month! I got a little teary-eyed smelling the neighbor's BBQ, thinking that we should be home. Maybe next summer we can visit Wisconsin. We'll see.


Hurry up and wait...

That is an old Army adage but it seems to always apply to our lives, even since Allan retired. The Lord has been hard-pressed to teach me patience, as I've always had a "go-get-em" personality, but He is sure trying! My kids are the only exception to this rule, as they are constantly needing me NOW.

Obviously I've been feeling very antsy. The first 5 days or so post-partum, I was being very calm. I'm trying to enjoy these newborn days. Especially since Allan is home, because I can nap, he makes me food, he does the majority of the cleaning...it's been great, really. Except I'm B-O-R-E-D out of my mind! I feel like a huge boob and I try to get up and do things, (all the shopping yesterday), but I'm still hurting pretty badly and that just frustrates me more. I was grocery shopping 6 hours after giving birth to GraceAnne for pete's sake! The other title to this post could be "The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be." Now I have my beautiful new bike in the garage just begging me to ride and I can't sit on it!

Then there's the contractors. We've seen 3. We've heard nothing. When will they be here? What will they do? Will we have to move out to the guest house, this growing family of 4? Will it be the month that Rhiya is here? Will they get dust and grime all over everything I've worked so hard to clean the last few months? Could someone just tell us SOMETHING? Oh yeah...they did--"Have faith."

And I do. I have faith that this will all work out in God's good time. I know He'll take care of us regardless and that no matter how big the mess or inconvenience He'll work it out for us and give us the strength to pull it all together. I know we are so well Blessed--to even have this work being done, to have our daughters home and safe and healthy, to be able to buy a new bike for me and enroll Gracie in summer programs and still have enough to save and pay off the mortgage as quickly as we're trying to.

In the meantime I'll pray this big boob can stop crying at the drop of a hat and falling off the deep end several times a day. Oh--and I hope I can concentrate someday soon, too, because my lack of a brain has got me reeling. I'm sure it's got anyone who has spoken to me in the last couple weeks reeling, too. Or just laughing. I'm sure I sound like a big old dork. I promise I'm not normally this stupid! Maybe you guys can pray, too. I could use it. :)


So many new things :)

will write later--am 1 handed

As promised, I am updating. Not much new news on Violet, that should come Monday. We have an appointment for 10 days post-partum, (even though we'll actually be 12 days PP), and I'm sure she'll get a weight check. I'm excited to see how well my milk works this time! GraceAnne got fat FAST and I suspect Violet will do the same.

I got a bike yesterday! I am so excited and I can't wait to get on it. I got a women's Trek 7100. I can't quite sit on it yet, but it is so pretty and I'm antsy as all get out to get on it and ride. Allan and I decided this will be our family past time because it's really the only physical activity we can engage in that A) won't tucker me out immediately B) the kids can be involved in, even if indirectly and C) Allan's leg won't get fatigued.

We were trying to figure out what to get GraceAnne involved in this summer. Her school is done on May 20th and Allan's summer semester is going to have him in Dallas from 8a-5p every day which really means he'll be gone from 6a-6:30p every day. I've been really nervous about taking care of both kids all by myself all the time. Not to mention that over the course of the year GraceAnne has developed a strong NEED for her friends. So we found the YMCA and decided to enroll her in swim classes. They're from Mon-Thurs for an hour per day and I don't have to get in the pool with her anymore because she's such a big girl. Oh My Gosh, I can't believe she's going to be 4 next month!

GraceAnne and I went shopping for summer clothes today. She had a surprising lack of clothes suitable for Texas summer, (which will last well into October and if it's anything like last year, into November, too), so we put aside 100$ for the task. I didn't think I'd spend it all. I forgot what a sucker I am for clothes for my baby girls. WHOOPS. BUT--I didn't go OVER budget. In fact, I even had an extra dollar to give to GraceAnne for her savings. WOOHOO!


1 week already?!

Okay, there's a couple of pics of our girl on her 1 week birthday! No cake for 51 more weeks, though...In the first picture she's catchin' some rays so she can make some Vitamin D. In the second she's thinking, "Why on earth did Mom put this crazy thing on my head and why's she always got that silver thing in my face?" Yeah, that's the look.
Last night was pretty awful. We decided, since we've gotten such great sleep the last few nights, that we would rent a movie. Allan picked out 30 Days of Night. It's a vampire flick. I hate scary movies--they keep me up at night with nightmares, so I knew what I was doing when he put it in. But alas, I stayed and watched it and did my best to make fun of it, (Hello! We're in the upper circle during wintertime but you can't see my breath and I'm only wearing a beanie cap and we're totally not believing you are actually in Alaska! Can you tell my hubby is Alaskan?), but despite my best efforts, the damage was done. I was up every 30 minutes or so with nightmares, GraceAnne ransacked our bedroom at 1am with a nightmare of her own and Violet picked last night to start not sleeping so well. I'm exhausted, needless to say! I also will not be staying up to watch any movies anytime soon.
This morning I discovered Violet's first diaper rash. Poor baby is so red and it looks so sore to me! I am so sad about it, really. GraceAnne didn't have any diaper rash for the first 3 months of her life and when I got to thinking about it I realized it was because we cloth diapered her for the first 8 weeks of her life. I'm glad I got all these diapers for so cheap, (for those of you not in the know, I am the coupon queen and didn't pay more than 25$ out of my pocket for enough diapers to last us at least 6 months, and they're all Pampers brand), but at what cost? I guess we'll just have to be religious about the A&D ointment from now on. *sigh*
Well, I'm going to close now. I'm tired and Violet is hungry. Hope all is well with everyone. We love and miss you!


Button Button, who's got the Button?

Not our kid! Violet lost her cord stump last night at 5 days postpartum! GraceAnne lost hers at 6 days, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I'll admit it freaked me out a little. The belly button is still a little goopy inside, but I feel like she's a lot less fragile now.

My internet has been down all day :( I felt so lost not waking up and updating the blog this morning. But we did have a very productive day. Allan was wakeful last night, so he didn't get much sleep, especially since Violet puked all over the bed *UGH* at about 3am. So when GraceAnne came sauntering into the bedroom at 6am *UGH* wanting some breakfast, I got up with her so he could sleep some more. I realized the internet was down and actually got a load of dishes done, lots of laundry and folded said laundry, too. That NEVER happens. Maybe I should disconnect the internet and my house will be clean ALL the time. MUAHAHAHA, never gonna happen!

We also went to Wal-Mart and got a bike trailer for Allan. We'll be buying me a bike as soon as I can sit on my butt without crying again and decided we needed a trailer to tote the kiddies around in. He took GraceAnne for a test ride today and she had a BLAST. She was giggling and waving at people the whole time. We intend to get her a bike of her own, (she needs a 16", she's getting so big!!! *sniff*), for her birthday this year. She has her heart set on a Disney Princess bike she saw at Wal-Mart. I can't believe she'll be 4 in a month. It's crazy to think I've been a mom that long. We won't even talk about how I feel about being 26...this is the first age that has made me want to cry.

We had another contractor here today. It was the plumber this time. He didn't say much of anything, either. They're all just doing estimates and getting back to Morris about the prices. I can't wait to find out when they'll be here and what they're going to be doing! It's a very exciting time in the Doyle household, for sure.

I'll post some pix later, the camera is downstairs and Violet wants something to eat.


A rather blustery day

Today is a quiet day. GraceAnne is at her first day back at school since Violet was born and it's been raining/thunderstorming this morning. Violet has been asleep for about 2 hours now and Allan is working on my computer. GraceAnne was VERY happy to be going back to school. She's been super stir-crazy here. I can't blame her. Daddy plays with her lots and they go places together once in a while, too, but we just can't compare to her friends. She had said she wanted to show Violet to her friends at school, so we took her in and after a minute with the only reaction being from a little girl, ("I already saw a baby like that before!") GraceAnne looked at me and said, "Okay, bye Mom." She then proceeded to get up and give me hugs and kisses. I guess that was her way of saying, "this is my time, get outta here!" Even 3-year-olds need their space!
I wanted to thank everyone who's been reading our blog and posting comments. I'm not up for a lot of visitors right now and my head hurts when I'm on the phone, so my social activity has been lacking. I'm so glad to logon here and see the sweet messages. It makes me feel so loved!
I'm going to try to get a nap in now, I hope all is well with everyone!
P.S. I attempted to edit the first photo and it looks to me like it didn't take. I truly hope that it comes out as edited on your end. If not, sorry.


Best hubby in the world!

I have the greatest husband! I knew that before the baby was born, but it has become increasingly evident over the last several days. He heard the midwife tell him that I needed to take it easy for the next 2 weeks and he has come through for me swimmingly. I have been so well Blessed by nhim and through him! I could never have gotten through the births of our 2 daughters or the transitions those births produced without my Allan.
He has nearly completely taken over the care of GraceAnne these last several days. Not only has he been cleaning out our livingroom so the contractors can do their jobs, (we're not sure when they'll start, but he wanted to get it done while he's on break from school), but he's also been paying lots of extra special attention to Gracie and the house looks FANTASTIC. I'm so impressed that I'm willing to say he's a better candidate for stay-at-home-"mom" status than I am. Unfortunately he's also a better candidate for bread-winner, so back off to school he goes on the 19th.
He has been awake every single time I am at night with Violet. He doesn't have to be or need to be...all she wants is her butt changed and my boob, but he wakes up and talks to me. It's so nice to still have a companion during this time. Even though he's made things exceedingly easy for me, baby blues are kicking my butt. I'm continually amazed by how he tends to my needs and is so there for me emotionally, even when I'm sure he's as burnt out as I am.
All this and he still tells me that I'M the wonderful one! Who could ask for more? When I was a little girl I used to think I'd raise my kids alone because my mom did and most men seemed fairly well worthless to me. I debated ever even having children because I didn't want them to go through the hurt I did, feeling so rejected by my dad. Even if Allan weren't the awesome husband he is, he's perfect for me just because of the great daddy he is. I would go through a hundred rough childhoods and be rejected by a million men who were "supposed" to love me just to see 15 minutes of the great dad he is to his 3 beautiful daughters. Allan--thank you for all you do and all you continue to do for me, our girls and this family. You are my hero!
Plus he makes the cutest girls on earth!! ;)


So exhausted, so in love!

Today we braved church. We sat through breakfast and Sunday School and even though I really wanted to hear the sermon, I just couldn't do it. We went home early, but I'd say it was a success for our first time out. We got home and I about collapsed into bed. I'm having a much harder time recovering this time than with GraceAnne. I think part of it is that I hold myself to a much higher standard now than I did. The other part could be the nearly-4-year-old who still needs love and attention. She's been fabulously understanding and an excellent helper, but it is a much bigger transition than anyone could anticipate--especially a pre-schooler!
The baby blues have set in, and I'm glad that I have a name for them this time around. I beat myself up so bad over being so sad after GraceAnne was born and I think I made it worse for myself. Amazing to me is how many books I read and I still didn't understand that hormones could and would make me crazy for a little while afterward. Giving birth is a big task! This time around I'm glad I have God to pray to and I lean on Allan a lot more than I allowed myself to before. They are both excellent support structures and I couldn't be more pleased with how well they love me. So while I cry at nothing, I'm not reading into it or trying to fix it. This too shall pass.
Violet has fallen asleep for now. It seems our days go by so slowly sometimes, but I can't believe she's already been in this world for 3 days. I will also try to sleep these early days away so that I can be a better wife and mother when I am awake. Hope all is well with everyone, we love and miss you!


Why I love birthing centers

Midwives are SO smart! I was totally appalled when my list of "supplies" to bring to the birth center included Depends. I'm only 26 years old! But alas, women who have been birthing babies longer than I've been alive know more than I about the subject, I suppose! These little guys are my best friends right now and I'll be suggesting them to every new mom I meet!

Options are wonderful...especially when your choice is respected! During the hardest part of labor both midwives suggested I get a shot of something to "allow me to relax." Because I couldn't speak, Allan told them both that I am terrified of needles. They completely respected that I would not want that and left me be about it. When it was all over, Carol said I had a small tear and that it would take 1 stitch to repair. Then she said, "but since you hate needles, and that would hurt, let's just leave it alone, huh?" I was thrilled that they not only listened to MY wishes, but also to my spouse speaking up for me. I'm more thrilled that I have a husband who is willing to stick up for me when I can't do so for myself!

Birth isn't scary. This is probably the biggest reason I love birthing centers. Both times we've birthed in one, I have felt so empowered by the fact that these women fully believe our bodies were designed by God to give birth and that it's a completely natural process to not be scared of. If we had been at a hospital, I'm sure giving birth to Violet would have been terrifying. While I was pushing, the baby's heart was decelerating. I got a little panicked and asked what was wrong and the midwife said that the cord was wrapped around her neck. She then explained why that causes the heart to decelerate and said she wasn't worried because the heart tones were coming back up between contractions. She did say that we needed to work a little harder to get Vi out, but because of her lax reaction I wasn't scared that my baby was going to die. I've heard lots of times of hospitals taking babies by c-section because of the very same thing and I would have completely lost it. Yes, I would have done what I needed to do to have a healthy baby, but I'm glad they didn't push me into the dark abyss of fear in a time that I really needed to have my head about me. They coached me on laying on my left side to reduce the decelerations and Carol quickly unwrapped the cord from Violet's neck before her body was even born, so it was never a concern at all.

Violet also was born too quickly, so her lungs were wet. (The baby's body is supposed to be in the birth canal for a while so that all the fluids get squished out of their lungs. Her body was born too fast for that to happen) They had to suction her lungs twice, but they never rushed it and they never panicked. Even though she still sounded gravelly later, they assured me that she was fine because she was nursing already and it takes a lot of coordination to nurse and breathe at the same time.

We were allowed to opt out of every single test that we deemed unnecessary for the baby. We knew I didn't have an infection, so we didn't put the drops in her eyes and the birth was not traumatic so we opted out of the Vitamin K shot, too. Turns out this was a great decision, because as they did the PKU test, (blood on a sheet of paper to see if baby has a rare blood condition), they actually had to poke her twice because she stopped bleeding. Obviously she has all the clotting factors she needs. Again, this is something that would have been frowned upon in the hospital. Our pediatrician even decided to give us flak about it yesterday!

We got to come home with our precious girls 4 hours after giving birth. I wasn't so thrilled about this with GraceAnne, but I was ready to go this time. I wanted to get home to my bed and settle into my home with my new, larger family. I wanted to be close to all of my things and have full access to food and spare clothes and the shower. I was so ready to be home with our baby and I feel so Blessed that it was something we could do.

There are so many other reasons I really love the birthing center experiences we've had. Violet is sleeping now, so I need to do the same, or I'd write more. I'm sure this is less than interesting to many of you, so I posted some more pictures above so you can get your fix. She sure is cute!! ;)


Our Story

Okay, so Violet is sleeping again, and it's the middle of the day, so the rest of the family is not. I decided I would post our story for inquiring minds.

Yesterday morning the contractors were here and I was having some contractions. These were lower down than usual and spanning across my back, but no real frequency and I've been having contractions for a couple of weeks now, so I wasn't too concerned about it. I was restless as all get out the night before and had only slept about 2 hours total, so at 10:30, after the contractors left, I took a nap. I figured I'd sleep until a little before 2pm when I had to pick GraceAnne up from school. For some reason I couldn't sleep past 12:30pm, even though I was exhausted. I got up and went to the bathroom and noticed some brown-tinged fluid. It scared me because I've been so freaked out about the baby and meconium, so I called the midwife. Since it was watery, she told me to come in and get checked out. I asked her if we could wait until we picked up GraceAnne and she wasn't thrilled with that, but she said yes finally.

We decided to be on the safe side and put our bags in the car "just in case." Before we went to get GraceAnne we stopped at KFC to get some lunch and after we picked her up we had to come back by the house and get gas. When we got to the birthing center it was about 3pm. The midwife checked me and I was indeed leaking fluid, but it was not tinged brown from meconium, so I was happy. She announced that I was at a "stretchy 4" during contractions and that we would not be going home. As I was laying on the table and she asked me if I wanted to have this baby today, I was VERY apprehensive. I told her we had an appointment scheduled for next Tuesday and she laughed at me and said that she didn't think the baby would wait that long. She sent me out to walk around the park while Allan and GraceAnne played on the playground.

We called our neighbor, Susan and she came to pick up GraceAnne to take her home. At this point I figured we wouldn't be seeing Gracie again until the following morning, because 4cm is so far from 10! Keep in mind when we had GraceAnne I got to the birthing center dilated to 8cm already and my water never spontaneously broke, so this was all new to me. After Susan took GraceAnne, (at about 4:30pm), the contractions were too intense for me to walk through, so I went in the birthing suite and bounced on the birth ball. I tried the tub, too, (I didn't even try to drown myself this time!!), but that was relatively short-lived. When she finally checked me again, I was "only" at a 6, so I was incredibly discouraged. By this point I was hurting pretty bad and the contractions were on top of each other. Then came the most awful contraction yet and she checked me after that, announcing we were at a 9.

I don't remember the exact time frame of all this, but Violet was born at 7:13pm. It was, of course, the most difficult, amazing, awful, awe-inspiring thing I have ever done, (aside from birthing GraceAnne, too!), and I'm SO glad it's over.

GraceAnne came back to the center at about 9pm and got to hold her sister. I'm going to try to upload video of that, we'll see if it works. We came home at 11:30pm. Violet nurses like a tiny champ, (just like her sister!), and slept well last night. I hope both of those keep up.

People have been asking if this was easier or harder than the labor with GraceAnne. I will say that I can't compare the two. GraceAnne's labor was certainly longer, but Violet's was much more intense. I was glad that I invited God into the room for the birth of this baby. I know He was there for GraceAnne, too, I just was unaware of it. I think because I was praying so much throughout the labor I was much happier when they laid Violet on top of me. I was immediately sucked into bliss when I saw her, and that is a good feeling. I'm still delirious with happiness at my new family.

**The video is too dark, I'm sorry...I'll post more pictures later, though.

If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?

Joy!! I don't have a whole lot of time, and I'm probably crazy for getting on here now, but I wanted to post for everyone who reads this and wants pictures...Violet Eva Lee Doyle was born at 7:13 pm on May Day--May 01, 2008 weighing in at 8lb 0oz and at 21" long. She's a great baby, has only cried once, and they had to try REALLY hard to get her to do that. GraceAnne is totally in love with her sister and even though she passed out on the way home at 11:30pm, she had her arm on her sister in the car the whole way.

I'll update more later, but for now I'm getting some breakfast and going back to bed!


Sleepless in Dallas?

I'll post for today now because it's probably going to be a busy day, (GraceAnne has school and the contractors will be here), and because I'm awake. Yepp...it's 4:30am and I've slept all of 2 hours tonight. I can't get comfortable and then I had to get out of bed at 4, because after laying there for an hour I realized, "this hunger is not going to go away." So I crawled out of bed, turned on my computer and grabbed an apple, some pumpkin seeds and a sleeve of girl scout cookies. MMMMM.

Well, the diamond in my mother's ring flew out the window about 4 hours ago and in walked an emerald. They're not my favorite stone, but my kids are bound and determined to give me the most awful ring ever. Allan says I'll still love it--and I will--even if it's a little ugly. I think if we plan the next child to be born in January or July we'll be all set. I can get a HUGE stop sign put on there. I'm not sure where Gracie's pearl will fit in, but we'll squeeze it in there somewhere.

OOPS, did I say "next child??" Let's pop this one out and see how the family dynamic changes before we go making any commitments, but yes--we have discussed one more. I must say I'm addicted to the idea of more than one of our children in the same household. I'm pretty sure Allan feels the same way. We both get a far away dreamy look in our eyes when we think of how at Christmastime this year all three of our babies will be in the same house and I think I'll even spring for professional pictures. Given my love of photography and my huge, expensive camera, I haven't spent money on professional photos in a long time, but this year will be more than worth it.

Well, let me stop rambling on here and try to go back to bed. Lord knows I need the rest before I run this marathon! Doesn't look like it will happen today, though. *sigh*