Thursday, March 12, 2015

Benson Richard Cuppett

Benson Richard Cuppett was born on March 6th, 2015 at 5:00 pm in Gilbert, Arizona.  He weighed in at 8 lbs. 8 oz and 21 inches long.  Has already stolen our hearts. 
On Thursday night at about 11:00 as I was just about to doze of to bed I felt my water break and went rushing to the bathroom.  Seriously?  Could it have not just held out until 7:00 am???  Why do you always have to start things off sleep deprived?  Because I wasn't contracting, we decided to wait until morning to head to the hospital so we didn't have to find someone to watch the kids and so Adam could catch some z's. Heaven knows I got no sleep between the "trickle" of constant fluid and the anticipation of the day BUT at least the pregnancy was over!  We headed to the hospital at about 9:00 am the next morning after a good breakfast (which was smart since I wouldn't eat until 7:00 pm that night) and were admitted.  Let the waiting game begin!
I'm telling you, having your water break is the way to go!  So much more of a pain free delivery since you don't have to wait for contractions to be close together to get an epidural (which this time actually made me throw up!).  Between that and only having to push once to turn the baby and for 1 minute to get him out, I was feeling like the giving birth part is actually pretty easy.  Hence the smiles and sweat free face. 
It looks like Benson however, had a little bit more of a difficult time with the whole process.
The kids were so anxious to meet their new brother and they had to wait ALL day long.  Mariah asked the sitter constantly when her daddy was coming to take her to the hospital!  She passed the time by making videos as to how she was going to be a good sister and drew me a picture to bring to the hospital as a gift.
She by far was the most excited to have a new baby. Excited is an understatement.  When we told her that morning that we were headed to the hospital, giddy laughter commenced.
Zach on the other hand has been a little less interested.  He's been sweet and gentle but more focused on making faces for the camera than anything else.
He even pulled the same little stunt in our first family picture of 6.  SIX!!!
I have been pleasantly surprised with Clayton.  He's completely enamored.  He asks to hold the baby all the time and gives genuine smiles each time you oblige.  I heart this picture!  P.S. Do you like the "yamaka" hat the nurse gave him to wear to his circ?
Lie Benson down and Clay's immediately right next to him (and occasionally honks his nose--we're working on that).
When I got home from the hospital this is what I find written on my "to do" board that I fill out daily.  Adam is too good to me.  I don't ever plan on getting rid of him.  
And that's where the good part of this blog post ends :(  We leave the hospital and Benson seems to be sleeping like a champ.  Feeds, sleeps, feeds, sleeps etc.  I lie down for bed at 9:30 and at 11:15 he wakes up.  I feed him and the next time that he sleeps for more than a 20-30 minute time period is at 6:30 am.  At this point he knocks out until 9:30 before waking.  Unfortunately, Clayton woke up at 6:00 am.  I basically was up all night.  Benson then goes back to a feed, sleeps, feeds, sleeps schedule.  At 10:00 the next night I go to bed.  At 10:15 he wakes up and doesn't sleep again until 3:00 am!  The next morning Adam took all the kids to Benson's first check up and let me sleep.  I needed that 3 hour nap!!!  I don't remember when I last got a 3 hour nap!  Never???
During Benson's check up they examined his jaundice levels.  Perhaps my favorite picture of the entire week is this one.  It's not even of the baby!  Mariah and Zach hid their heads in the corner because they couldn't bare to watch their little brother get his feet pricked.
A couple hours later I get a call from the pediatrician.  When we left the hospital Benson's jaundice levels were at a 4-- very low risk. After the test they were at a 16.4.  At 17 things get pretty scary.  Hit a 20 and you are looking at blood transfusions.  I was told to pack by bags for a few days and head over to Phoenix Children's Hospital where a room was waiting for me and Benson so he could be treated ASAP.  I immediately had flash backs to this...Mariah on the bed of lights being treated for jaundice. 

I may have lost it.  I can honestly say those 4 days of Mariah on the bed of lights was one of the top worst weeks of my entire life.  It was awful in every way.  I was a wreck.  She was a wreck.  I cried more tears than I had in a year those 4 days.  She didn't stop crying those 4 days and now we are going to do it all again...In a hospital because it was so bad...where it's RSV season so they wont allow my kids to even come and see me.  In my head at this point things couldn't get any worse. 

Luckily, Benson's bed was more cozy and the lights were as if he was in his own tanning bed.  He seemed to be a lot more comfortable than Mariah ever was.  That being said, they had to put an IV in my 4 day old baby and I could hold him only for feedings.  I stood by that bed of lights until 3:30 am that night (because yes, that's when he finally fell asleep!) holding a pacifier in his mouth.  It's the only thing that kept him calm when he wasn't asleep.  He did NOT like that eye mask when he was awake. But from 3:30 on he slept like a champ and I didn't have any other kids in the house so we both slept half the day away (since that's his preferred time to sleep). 
After 12 hours his levels were at an 11.6 which they were thrilled with and figured I would be able to leave after 24-36 hours.  We were given the go to head home and were all under one roof again by 8:30 pm.  Benson fell asleep at 10:30 and had normal newborn wake times, even sleeping for a 4 hour shift!  Basically today we've entered the "sane" category again and have hope that the worst is over. 
A special shout out to this man...
He juggled a lot of balls the past few days.  Helping to hold a crying baby in the wee hours of the night and then never resting as he entertained the kids, made hospital visits, found people to watch the kids, ran errands, brought me take out, and kept a clean house.  All while demanding that I lay low and let myself recover.  Thanks doesn't seem sufficient.  XOXO

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Killing Time

The worst part about not knowing when a baby is actually going to be born isn't the being pregnant part, it's the not knowing part.  I feel like I wake up each day thinking "I didn't go into what?"  I've tried to plan stuff to do to help with the wait but I also feel like I can't commit to anything.  I've also stayed caught up on the housecleaning (laundry, bathrooms, clean sheets etc) but I just can't help but wonder if it's the last time I'll mop before baby or if I should wait 2 days so it actually stays clean.  Blah, blah, blah.  I just wish there was a better way to predict when he will come.  In the words of my doctor there is-- It will happen in the middle of the night on the worst day possible.
And for the last belly shot.  39 weeks baby!  I just wish I didn't have to admit that I've gained 40 lbs with this one!  And I haven't delivered yet!  That means there is no way this is all baby weight :(  I guess I technically didn't have to admit that but this blog is basically my journal and it may be something that I want to remember down the line so there ya go.  Layin it all out.   Oh and I chopped my hair.  Something had to change in my life.
Until delivery, I'm just trying to accomplish my 'to do list' and enjoy lots of outings with the kids.  Yesterday we spent 5 hours at the park, today kids club/out to lunch and tomorrow the play Cinderella.  Right now, we are enjoying long outings without a worry of feedings and naps.

I've worked super hard the last few months to try to accomplish a lot on the new house.  Especially the paint.  Yes, at 8 and 9 months pregnant, I was on a ladder and on my hands and knees painting this house.  I knew it would be easier now than anytime in the next 6 months.  I'm proud to say that we are finally finished and I'm quite happy with the outcome.  My 2 favorite paint jobs in the house are the boys rooms.  They were a lot of extra work but they make me happy.  Plus, it was kinda fun to try something new.
Zach's room.  And he loves it, I might add
Zach's room at another angle

Clayton's room/Future nursery.  P.S., I found the changing table on Craigslist and totally redid that too
Other angle as well as the box valance that I made :)
We (meaning Adam) worked HARD on finishing the back yard.  He moved 17 tons of rock with a wheelbarrow.  That's a lot of rock in case you were wondering.  Then he installed artificial grass and we are in love with it.  It's amazing having a yard let alone one with almost no maintenance.  The kids are out there every single day this time of year so we wanted to make sure that we had it done in time to actually enjoy it.  Once we had the rock and "grass" in, we bought some planter boxes to have us a [very little] garden.  We will see if we have green thumbs but so far it's looking great.  Zach loved helping Adam plant.  He's putting the dirt around our grape vine below.  We also planted one orange tree and it already has blossoms :)
Speaking of Zach, he's definitely got part of his dad in him.  He loves his tool set more than you could imagine and is constantly finding things to fix and work on.  As Adam has been working a lot on odd end projects lately, Zach's been in seventh heaven as the little helper.  And he never forgets the safety goggles.  Below he is fixing one of my decorations that Clayton threw (shocker) with his hammer. 
The other day he didn't want to take a nap despite being very cranky, which in turn makes me very cranky.  I found him hiding from me. 
Basically, he won and didn't have to take a nap.  Then I found him like this at 3:30 which means it was a late night and I shouldn't have let him win.  Yes, Mother knows best!
However, I learn with 3 little kids sometimes you just have to pick your battles.  Which is why he was a pirate at Costco.  But hey, a lot of strangers gave us a lot of smiles with that one. 
Moving onto the little Miss.  I may only have 1 girl but she is a girl!  Lately she's been wanting her hair in curlers after baths.  Sometimes it ends up looking cute the next day and sometimes it goes a little crazy.  This day it went crazy so we pulled it up with a headband and boy did she think she looked adorable after that!  She requested that a picture was sent to dad so he could see how beautiful she was! 
One last story on her-- the other day I couldn't find my cell phone at bed time so I had Adam call it.  After searching as it rang we found it in Mariah's room as she remained sound asleep.  Which is why when she tells me that I should just sleep the new baby in her room and she will get up with him all night so I can sleep I don't get my hopes up.  But I DO love her for even offering. 
There ya have it, just killing time around here.  Our next update will most certainly include the newest and cutest addition. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Not My Baby

In just a couple of weeks we will welcome another baby boy into our family and Clayton will become a big brother overnight.  Weird.  He's still my little baby.  He still needs mama. Something tells me that part isn't going to change overnight which means we are in for a wild ride I'm sure.
But seriously, just look at the little stinker.  He's too adorable...
Until you hear him yell "mama" 50 times in one hour.  Then he becomes a little less than cute.  Or when he refuses to sit in a high chair or let you feed him.  Meal time is awful and a chore each and every day.  This picture doesn't even highlight the mess on the floor and bar stool since the kid throws anything and everything in sight. 
When I had Clayton, Zach was only 19 months old.  Clayton will be 22 months when I deliver.  So it shouldn't be that big of a deal but they just aren't the same kid...I know--shocking!  Clayton still loves to be held, and carried, and he LOVES to lay his head on my shoulder.  He just seems like he's still my baby.  He's not necessarily attached but definitely wants to be my buddy if I'm around and will fall asleep in my lap which the other two kids outgrew at 6 months. 
The very best thing about Clayton is his "machine gun" laugh.  He's laughed like this spontaneously for months now.  Since probably before he was one year old.  It took a lot of attempts to get it on camera since you can't predict it but I laugh each and every time I hear it.  At times he will go on and on and on.
I also love when he gets into songs for FHE.  He really gears up for those jumps...ignore the other 2 crazies in the background.
Other times, he seems totally prepared to be a big brother.  He ADORES babies like you've seen no boy his age do.  He loves to copy Mariah and Zach and mimics them more and more each day. I can trust him to not get into too much trouble when left unattended and he's finally getting a decent vocabulary. 
 Somehow, if we pray hard enough, I think we all may make it through the storm that we have ahead, even if he's been giving us 5:30 wake up calls lately.  Here's to the newest big boy!

Valentine's Celebrations

Around here life is so exciting that we love any excuse we get to have a celebration.  Valentine's Day is something my kids look forward too because they know it means a party, valentine boxes, and sugar.  I let both Mariah and Zach invite over a couple of friends for sugar cookie decorating.  We spent the day baking cookies and eating dough (the kids favorite part) so that when everyone got here the cookies would be ready to go.  They love these sorts of days but it's so hard with Clayton around that I don't do it as often as I probably should.
When all the kids arrived chaos started.  This was as bad as hosting a birthday party!  Maybe I should limit it to one friend each?
As you can tell they love their sprinkles.  Makes me smile.
We then delivered several plates of cookies to the neighbor friends.  P.S. This sugar cookie recipe is amazing and the cookies were so fluffy and thick.  We ALL ate way too many.

I also planned to meet with a bunch of moms at the park later that week to have a valentine exchange and potluck lunch.  This party was a much better idea.  AT THE PARK.  Not in my house where my screen doors can get broken...yes that happened when we decorated cookies.  A girl ran full force into the slider screen door thinking it was open.  Kinda funny, until I realized it was broken...
My kids can't go to a valentine exchange without a cool box.  This year we did hot air balloons.  They made the little baskets at Home Depot and then we just got helium balloons.  Easy peasy and still the cutest ones there :)
The best part of the week was definitely two dates in one day with MY valentine.  We went to a cooking class in the day then later that night, enjoyed dinner and a stake dance.  Once again, I got the spouse of the year award when Adam bought me a present and I returned it with a hug.  Seriously???  You can't blindside me like that!  We need to set rules as to when we exchange gifts and don't. 
Happy Valentine's to us...Zach is wondering why dad looks like Santa.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Out of Africa

My sister Kelsy and her little girl Ava came to visit last week.  The kids were sooo excited to have a cousin come.  We spent most of our time at the park but also hit up the family favorite restaurant, Macayos, and some local activities that my kids like.  It was easy to find lots of fun stuff for kids while they were here.  That I'm very use to doing on a daily basis.  It's entertaining adults that is harder.  I'm not sure what that says about my life except for that there is a lot of truth to the saying "finding joy through your toddlers eyes".  If they are happy and having fun, then so am I.  I think the most Kelsy and I laughed was as we watched all 4 kids hiding in my bathroom cupboards and thinking they were all so funny as the laughed and laughed and laughed. 
We did however, find one big activity to do while they were here and we ventured 2 hours away to Prescott to try 'Out of Africa'.  I'd never been but had heard it was worth the trip.  Out of Africa is to a zoo as Sea World is to an aquarium.  You are able to witness the animals in more of a natural habitat as well as watch them in different shows and go on a safari where they aren't in cages etc.  Very cool.  I personally think the zoo is dumb.  The animals lie around all day and don't do anything.  This place was different. The play a lot more and the workers get them to interact.  
The highlight was definitely the Tiger Splash.  I think the workers must be crazy.  I don't think they've heard of Sigfried and Roy.  That Tiger is a wild animal, I don't care what relationship you have.  I would be carrying a taser gun in the very least.  Zach especially loved watching the tiger play with his toys.
We also saw a 2 day old baby zebra and several zebra herds.  Did you know a female zebra typically gets pregnant the day after giving birth?  The entire safari had a moment of silence for the zebras.  In my current state, I understand that tragedy. 
Speaking of the safari...Everyone on the tour got a stick of celery to feed the giraffes with.  I got 4 sticks because my kids weren't going to feed the giraffe if their life depended on it.  I used one of them to "kiss" the giraffe, by sticking it in my mouth.  Kelsy freaked because the giraffe leaned inside her window to grab my celery and dropped the camera!  That giraffe had the worst breath you could imagine and an 18 inch slobbery tongue that touched my face and I have no picture to have even have made it worth it!  Yes, Kelsy, I'm a little bummed by that.  I had more success getting the drivers picture.  That should have been how mine looked.  In Kelsy's defense, I don't think my face looked pretty enough to have made it my Facebook profile or anything.  I think I was a little freaked too :)
We were able to see laughing hyenas and their laugh truly is comical, a one year old grizzly bear play with people, lions, gazelles, and more.  When we saw the ostrich they warned us to keep our phones away.  Apparently they will eat them whole.  They also allowed us to hold an ostrich egg.  My kids wouldn't do it, (yes, too scared) so the only picture I got was of Ava who is too young to care. 
Speaking of my kids and their fears.  We watched a snake show with an 20 foot python.  Zach was a little freaked but sat through it calmly.  Clayton however wanted in that cage with a couple of other spectators so I decided to let him in.  We have a snake lover on our hands people!  He loved that thing!  Everyone was commenting on how he kept chasing it around saying "touch, touch".  Next thing I know Mariah and Zach wanted in too.  They all three touched this giant reptile and then a bunny rabbit too (Ava did NOT).  Do you not remember our butterfly experience.  Oh and since the butterfly, they've been acting the same way around regular flies!!!  A fly got in the house (gasp!) and I had screaming kids, but a python, yes please!  

 After 4 hours in the car, hauling 3 kids in and out of trams and buses all day, pushing a stroller on dirt roads, sitting on bleachers, and on my feet for hours, by the time we got home it was definitely an Icy Hot and Tylenol kind of night for this 8 month pregnant belly/back.  Overall though, I feel very grateful that although I have symptoms, after a long day my body can still hold up and continue to play.  I don't think bed rest and I would get along well.  That being said, I'm ready to have my body back...It doesn't help that Mariah said "Mom, your sister Kelsy is a lot skinnier than you".  Gee, as if that isn't obvious...even before I had a baby to blame things on!  Thanks for the visit Kelsy.  We miss our play buddies already. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Butterfly Wonderland

My parents came down for some Arizona Sunshine.  Whenever we have company, I try to think of something new to do.  They've been here enough now that I'm running out of ideas!  However, I had heard good things about Butterfly Wonderland.  I had yet to try it because I felt it was a little overpriced but then decided with company it was worth a go.  Oh boy was it an unpleasant one!  This picture is about the only time you will see the kids smile for the rest of our stay.
We started off with a 3-D movie which Mariah seemed to really enjoy.  Zach kept taking his glasses off and saying that it was too scary when the butterflies got close.  I should have known at this point that we were in big trouble.  If he thinks the movie is scary, what's he going to think of 2,500 butterflies flying around?  In fact while we were looking at all the chrysalis and the process of the butterflies emerging Zach was scared...AND Mariah!  They were behind glass and the anxiety had already begun.  I thought it was rather cool myself.  As we stood there, you could literally see a few butterflies begin to break open and leave the cocoons.
Next we entered the observatory.  Immediately, freaking out began.  One of the workers tried to reassure Mariah by telling her she wasn't wearing the right color so they probably wouldn't land on her.  LAND ON HER!!!  Screaming like you couldn't believe commenced. I think Mariah and Zach kinda fed off of each other's fears because they both started running away from any butterfly they saw (and there were enough that you couldn't really get away) and going nuts!  Not a single other person in the entire place looked one bit nervous and these kids were acting like they had just been put in a lions den.  I'm sure it made for a lot of eyes on us but I was too busy trying to calm the kids to notice.  Fakest smile on that girl ever!
Certainly, they would calm down in a few minutes once they realized there was no harm in this.  Calm down they did not!  The only way I got Zach to stop screaming was to tell him I wouldn't carry him anymore and Mariah tried to suck it up by puffing out her lips and taking deep breaths. 

By the end I think they were even making Clayton nervous because when one got close he started to whine a little as well.  If he knew this butterfly was on his leg we probably would have seen a lot of tears from child #3 begin, too.
Needless to say, we didn't last very long.  Remember how I said I thought it was overpriced?  That's an even truer statement if you stay 15 minutes and don't enjoy it one bit with crazy kids hanging on you.  Well, I guess I can't say one bit.  I thought it was kinda neat.
We also took a hike to Hole in the Rock.  Perfect hike for kids.  A fun little destination and less that 1 mile round trip.
This one gives a better view of the hole
Zach isn't in this picture.  He was too afraid to climb up there.  I know this shouldn't really shock me by now but is there anything that kid isn't afraid of? 
Clayton reminds me of sledding in this picture...expressionless.  I couldn't decide if he was having fun or not.
However, he must not have loved it because when we got to the ducks there was no question that he was having fun.
I only wish I had a picture (or better yet a video) of Grandpa waking across the rocks at this duck pond.  When he fell in and soaked most his leg and entire shoe in mud as he missed the last rock, I could have wet my pants...I am pregnant so that's pretty easy to do these days.
Most of the rest of the time was spent with Grandma and Grandpa on the trampoline.  I tried to jump with the kids once and regretted it because of the a fore mentioned bladder problems as well as the stomach muscle soreness that commenced the next day (I know what to do if this baby doesn't come by his due date!) and Adam's not home until the temperatures have dropped and the sun is down so the kids LOVED having adults to jump with and teach them games like dodge ball and crack the egg.  Basically I'm saying that my parents were probably VERY ready to leave by the time their stay was over but they certainly made us all happy by flattering us with the company, free date night, and fun.