Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lola at 4 years old


Lola turned 4 on November 4th. 

I asked her a few questions. 

What is your favorite...

Food: Cucumbers
Food mom cooks: Eggs & Oatmeal 
Color: Pink
Best friend: Weston
Thing to do: Color & play outside
Person: Daddy
Animal: Chetah. Kitties and bunnies too. 
Toy: Jack in the box
TV show: Dora 
Thing to wear: Underwear
Game: Chutes & Ladders 
Song: Ring around the Rosies & I Know that my Savior Loves Me
Book: All of them! (She's definitely a book work) 
Activity to do outside: Play with bunnies
Drink: Milk
Holiday: My birthday and also snow. I like eating snow. It's my favorite food I like to eat. (LOL)
What do you want to be when you grow up? A marching band (So proud!)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dear Stella- 6 months old

Dear Stella,
       My heart is full of love for you little girl. So cute and wiggly- this is such a fun age. You are one very happy and very loved baby. You are quick to smile and it's contagious. Size wise you are pretty average. At your 6 month check up you weighed in at 15 lbs 15 oz (47% ) and measured 26.25 in long (67%.) Your little head measures 16.5 inches (41%.) You have outgrown nearly all of your 3-6 month clothes. You started sitting up on your own at 5 1/2 months. Then a week later you were up on your hands and knees, rocking back and forth. It's so exciting and a little bit heart wrenching too seeing you "grow up" so quickly. I imagine you will be crawling everywhere pretty soon. For now you can scoot anywhere. We sometimes find you under the table looking for "snacks" that Lola drops on the floor. Yuck. We just started solid foods and it only took you a couple of days before you figured it out. You love to eat. You are waking up in the night more often then not. This time around though I know how fast the months fly by so I'm not worried about losing a little sleep or not being able to leave you for long because of breastfeeding. You'll only be small for such a short time. Lola is starting to see how much fun it is to have a sister. She talks to you and sometimes tries to drag you around the room when I'm not looking. I tell her all the time that she is so lucky to have a sister. We love you lots baby girl.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Stella Jo's Birth Story

This is the story of my daughter Stella's birth. It is very special to me. After a lot of research, consideration, and prayer we decided to plan a home birth. We are incredibly glad that we did. It was a wonderful and empowering experience and I smile every time I remember the somewhat hectic details. I realize that a home birth is not an ideal option for all women, but for me it was perfect. Note that this is a detailed description of childbirth. If you would prefer just the stats you may stop reading there. 

Stella Jo Montour
Born on February 3, 2015 
 11:48 PM
7 lbs 9 oz
20.5 inches 

          On Monday January 26th I went in for my 38 week appointment. I asked my midwife to check my cervix and she found that I was 3.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. We decided to do a stretch and sweep to see if that would get things moving. I tried not to get my hopes up but then over the next several days I had a lot of strong yet sporadic contractions. I also lost my mucus plug. I didn't experience either of those leading up to my first birth (at 37 weeks 6 days) so I thought "Alright, any day now!" The waiting became excruciating. Before I had been feeling great with very few of the aches and pains that normally come with pregnancy. Now I felt like I had a bowling ball wedged low in my pelvis. One night I even took us all to Lowe's to do about 6 laps around the store hoping that would help get things going. I'd like to think I would have been a lot more patient had it not been for all the random contractions. One would hit and I would think "Oh man, this could be it!" I was constantly on edge. By Thursday I even got woken up in the middle of the night to contractions that I timed at 7 minutes apart for an hour. Finally I made myself go back to sleep because they weren't getting any stronger. It was a terrible week. By the weekend I was pretty resigned to the fact that she was never coming. Haha. Things were better once Phil was home during the day and we had things to do to keep my mind off the fact that I was a ticking time bomb.
          I had my 39 week appointment on Monday February 2nd. This time I was dilated to 4.5 cm and was 75% effaced. My midwife did another stretch and sweep. I left hoping we would be seeing her again very soon! Phil had the day off work because it was the day after the super bowl (LOL) so we decided to go for a hike. We went several miles with a stroller in tow. I tried to stay cheerful but have you ever seen a woman 9 months pregnant hiking cheerfully? I was on the verge of miserable. There was a lot of waddling and cramping going on. Here's a picture of me that night. I'm sure I got myself to smile by thinking that this HAD to be the last pregnancy photo. Hint: I was right.

          On Tuesday the 3rd I decided I would keep myself busy and not let myself agonize over when labor would start. I ran a few errands and bought a gift for my midwife as well as a yoga ball to bounce on at home. It felt great to bounce on the ball, I should have gotten it sooner! That night I took a nice long bath and listened to birth affirmations. I just felt happy and relaxed instead of anxious and frustrated like I had so often in the past week. We went to bed early and were asleep by 9 PM. As I drifted off to sleep I thought to myself how it had been the perfect day. 
          I woke up to a contraction and looked at my phone- 10:35 PM. I was trying to go back to bed when another contraction came. This one got me out of bed kneeling on the floor and taking deep breathes to get through it. Hmm I started to get my hopes up (again!) that this could be it. I went into the bathroom and decided to start timing contractions. Just then I got a text from my friend Jenny who was planning to watch Lola during the birth. She texted me her husband's phone number just in case. I told her that I had just had a couple of strong contractions but that if this was really it maybe Lola would sleep through it. 
          I went down to the kitchen and drank some apple juice. I was trying to decide what kind of snack to eat so I could keep my energy up for labor in case it was the real deal. I got distracted by a few more contractions. I knelt at the couch and tried to steady my breathing. It was then that I decided it probably wasn't false labor. I went upstairs to our bedroom and woke up Phil and asked for a priesthood blessing. I'm so glad I asked for one right away. It was a very reassuring blessing but I don't remember what was said besides "you will give birth soon." When he finished the blessing I had another strong contraction. We talked about calling the midwife and I decided that I would as soon as the next contraction was over because the last few had been surprisingly difficult for me. 
          I called my midwife at 11:24 PM and said "Hi Linda, I think this is it. I've been having contractions for about an hour but i'm not coping well." She asked if I wanted her to come now and I said yes. The next contraction hit and took me to my knees immediately. This was the most intense contraction I have ever experienced. I was gasping for air and had a moment of total panic. That feeling where you just want to crawl out of your skin. (Transition in one contraction?!) It was incredibly overwhelming. I felt my cervix open and a sort of stinging sensation as if the baby was moving down. I felt inside and there was a bulging bag of water. I'm in shock as I yell "Call the midwife back the baby is coming NOW!" 
          I'm not sure if Phil believed me (remember, he had just woken up) but he called her anyway. She was on her way. I laid down on the floor of our bedroom. I was in total disbelief at how quickly I had progressed. I took my clothes off. The next contraction came and I felt my body wanting to push. I started yelling and this apparently convinced Phil and Linda that the baby was on her way out. I could hear the midwife on the phone instructing Phil to get pads underneath me. Also something about getting me with my bum in the air. She was trying to prevent us from giving birth without her there but neither of us understood at the time because of the immense stress we were feeling! I managed to kneel up to the foot of the bed and I didn't move from that position. Phil was running around grabbing supplies. I asked him to put a sports bra on me. It's funny that I even cared. I told him that we needed the bed made up with the plastic cover and sheets. I was upset that we hadn't even done that! ARGH... and obviously there wasn't time to even think about setting up the birth pool. 
          Linda arrived and ran up the stairs to our room with her bags. I was so glad she was there so I could stop freaking out. Phil asked if we should call our friend to come pick up Lola but the midwife and I agreed that it was baby time and Lola will probably sleep through it. My water broke in one big gush with the next contraction and relieved some pressure. I still wasn't mentally ready to push yet so I yelled pretty loudly during the next contraction too. My midwife calmly told me to put my energy into pushing and not yelling. I collected myself and made a lot of progress with the next push. Then came the burning feeling, she was getting really close. Phil said "She has hair!" I reached down and felt the top of her head. Again I was afraid and I lost it thinking about how much more painful it would be to push her all the way out. I hollered, I even asked the midwife to cut me... she gently told me no and reassured me I could do it. I gathered up all my courage. I pushed hard and the pain increased but not as much as I feared, but it was burning hot. Even my feet felt hot. The pressure was very intense. She was crowning. I held it for about 10 seconds but couldn't wait for the next contraction to continue. I had to get her out. I pushed again and her head was born. Another push and Stella Jo Montour was born at 11:48 PM!
          I turned around and reached for my baby. I did it!! I was elated! She had a strong cry and seemed startled to be earth-side. I rocked her and held her close to calm her down. Phil was so excited. He loved being right there helping with everything. It was the most surreal feeling. I mean, we had just gone to bed a few hours ago, and then we had a baby all before midnight!?! I had prepared myself as best I could, but you always wonder- can I really do it? This moment is one I will never tire of replaying in my head. Soon Stella was nursing for the first time while I was still just kneeling on our bedroom floor. The placenta was born easily with one push. Thankfully I only had a small tear that didn't require stitches. We climbed into our bed that was finally made.  

Here's a timeline to show just how quickly everything went

10:35 PM I woke up to a contraction
10:50 Sent a text, drank some apple juice
11:10 I woke up Phillip
11:24 Called Midwife
11:28 Realized baby was on her way out
11:34 Midwife arrives
11:48 Stella is born! 

          My midwife later told me that she had a feeling I was close when I called so she quickly got out of bed and got ready. I tried to be very calm on the phone so this is a blessing. She was in her driveway when Phil called the second time, four minutes later! She ran several red lights
to get to our house as fast as possible. I'm very grateful for her amazing support and encouragement at the birth and through my pregnancy. Had we not planned a home birth this would have been a scary situation for us. I'm not sure I could have walked down the stairs to the car. Even if I had who knows where Stella would have been born. I think we might have just called an ambulance. Instead we had a lovely, quick birth at home. A few hours after she was born we were all snuggled in for the night. It felt so right...yet I couldn't sleep because I was on such a high! In the morning Lola woke up like usual and started playing in her room. I got to go in and tell her that her baby sister had come out of mommy's tummy to meet her. :) It was the best feeling in the world to all be together at home to enjoy our first day as a family of four.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dear Stella- 1 month old

Dear Stella,

         One month since you came rushing into the world and we love you like we've known you forever. We spent the early weeks mostly cuddled up in bed taking each other in. You took to nursing quickly and have been a good sleeper too. By three weeks you were predictably waking up once a night to eat at about 3:30 am and even surprised me once by sleeping through. You weigh in at 9 lbs 4 oz and grew to 22 inches long. You get lots of kisses from us all including big sister Lola who adores you. Much to my surprise she hasn't yet acted jealous of all the attention you get, and even shares her beloved blanket with you. It hasn't all been easy of course getting used to another baby around. I had days where I thought I couldn't possibly stand another minute of whining and crying or changing diapers. Leaving the house takes a lot of energy out of me. But even as I live it I know I will miss this. You took your first day trip at 2 weeks old. We visited the beach where daddy played as a kid in Mukilteo and then went to Pike's Place market in Seattle. Your dad and I realized that we truly have our hands full now. We are so happy. Love you, sweet girl.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Birthdays 2 & 25!

Lola and I had a good birthday this year. It was pretty low key but it just felt really special. I had already wrapped the presents and I made the cakes a day ahead so that we could actually enjoy the day. For breakfast I made us chocolate chip pancakes and eggs. Lola's egg had a double yolk, lucky! We went grocery shopping in the morning and then during nap time I crocheted and watched my favorite shows. I also blew up a bunch of balloons for Lola to play in. In the afternoon I took her to McDonald's to play on the toys since the weather was kinda crummy. When Phil got home we had a cozy little picnic in the living room on a blanket. We opened presents and wrapping paper got everywhere! My parents called just as Lola was opening her gift from them- a play picnic set, perfect! She also got a little sewn bag from aunt Karen. From us she got toy dinosaurs, play dough, bubbles, a big bouncy ball- just random toys and a few clothes.

My big present was a sewing table from Phil. I was so excited!! Sewing a project is difficult when you have no where to keep your sewing machine set up. He also got me a new electric griddle. My mom sent me a new skirt and shirt that are really cute. And my sister sewed a really pretty table runner. We were spoiled this year! Then we ate homemade pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. It was a great day!

Dear Lola- 2 years old

Dear Lola,

         It's been two years since we met and it seems like the fun is just getting started. You are busy busy busy learning and growing. Some of your favorite things right now are are balls, play dough, jumping (on the couch, onto curbs, up and down all around!), reading books, playing at the playground, snack time, and bubbles. Your favorite foods seem to change depending on the week but you love cheese, peaches, applesauce, peanut butter sandwiches, peas, and eggs. You still take a 3+ hour nap a day and I love it! Also sleeping about 11-12 hours at night.
         You like to give kisses, especially to daddy when he comes home. Your favorite sentences are "Sit down now!" (When you want someone to play with or read to you.) "I want a snack" and "I wanna see it!" (Repeated over and over quickly when someone has something you want.) I've started to hear other words strung together and it's always fun to hear you learning to communicate. You are pretty good at remembering animal names and noises. The elephant is a favorite of yours which you fondly call "ella." You also love to count. You will point to things and wait for me to count them. If left to yourself you count everything as "2, 6, 2, 6, 2, 6." Haha. You try to sing the ABC's but it's more like A, B, C la la la and you make up the rest.
         You weigh in at 27 pounds 10 ounces (64%) and have grown to 35.5 inches tall (93%). Because of your height and your cute fluffy diapers you are fitting into 3T clothes now and have just about outgrown your size 7 shoes. You have gotten three of your two year molars in so that leaves just one more baby tooth to go :) Since your hair has grown I am starting to have fun trying out new hair dos on you.
         We had a really good birthday this year. When I would say "Lola, it's our birthday!" you would light up and try to say it back. Dad and I think you are the most adorable 2 year old around. I am getting really excited for you to have a sister. I loved having a little sister close in age- I hope you do to.

Love you sweetheart,

Pretty terrible lighting for my bad quality iphone photos. Oh well, she's still cute! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's a... GIRL!

I'm so happy we are having another girl! Girls are just plain awesome. And Lola will have a sister, and sisters are THE BEST. Besides that, everything looked great at the ultrasound. She is growing to be the cutest, most perfect little baby. I just know it :) Oh gosh, this post is all kinds of mushy. I am currently 22 weeks and getting a very round bump. Longer or maternity shirts are the only way to go now. Feeling good and sleeping well still- a am enjoying this while it lasts! I have been going to an exercise group at my church and hoping to stay more active this time around. Lola has no clue what is about to hit her. She says baby and then points to my belly button :) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

20 weeks, it's a...??

Here I am at 20 weeks! I'm feeling really good this pregnancy. I'm so happy to experience this blessing of carrying another child and looking forward to the birth and having a newborn around again. We don't know the gender yet. Any guesses? I don't have a feeling either way. We would be SO excited to have another girl but would love to have a boy too. I think I would be blown away if it's a boy though. Coming from a family of five girls and already having one girl it just seems really foreign! Plus we have no boy clothes or names picked out.
Here I was at 20 weeks with Lola. We had just found out it was a girl, and I was so excited! I actually think I looked a little bigger- more round. But maybe I had just eaten a big dinner before these photos (although I had just come from a progressive dinner in the above photos! Haha) I was also a little heavier back then to begin with.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello from Moses Lake, Washington!

It's been so long since I made a post.... oops. So much has happened- Phil got a job offer to start his very first Engineering job, we found out we were expecting baby #2, Phil graduated, and we moved to Moses Lake, Washington. Just to name a few haha. It's been a good year and I've failed to document it. Here's a few pictures to catch up! (Sorta)

Graduation! Something that seemed like it would never happen... finally did! I was SO incredibly proud of this guy. He had been in college nearly every semester year round since I met him. What he accomplished was HUGE. In high school he didn't do very well in math and didn't take calculus or higher level classes. He never would have guessed he would be an engineer someday! We are all so happy that it's behind us now and he is able to put his degree to good use.
We will miss the farm! It was good to us. This is where we had our first little home, and the only home Lola had ever known. We enjoyed living near my family.

Boat ride and fishing with dad on Ririe resevoir. She loves holding the pole, we're really going to have to get her one for next year. We will miss living in Idaho, we have so many good memories there.

But we are excited to explore a new state! We moved into our new place in Moses Lake on August 1st. Phil remembered coming to the Grand Coulee Dam as a kid so we made the trip up one Saturday. It is the largest electric power producing dam in the US and these pictures don't do it justice. It was kind of terrifying looking down off the top. It is almost 1 mile long and 550 ft tall! 

We got invited by friends to go up to their cabin for Labor day weekend. We had fun exploring a big cave and going on some pretty hikes near Mt. St. Helens. There was even a place where you could climb in the space left by logs that were covered in lava flow. As the lava cooled the logs burned leaving these tunnels. Please note the picture of Lola Fern in the ferns :)

Phil took me on a tour of his work recently. The sheer size of this place blows you away. There are approxamately 1,400 employees at Genie. They build these machines in four airplane hangers! I wanted to take more pictures but I wasn't really supposed to. Phil has really enjoyed his job and the people he works with. He has even found that there are many Russian speaking Ukrainians that work here so he gets to speak Russian often which makes him happy. We are feeling really blessed to be here as a little family. We have been so welcomed by our ward and are making friends already. The Lord has been good to us.