Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"For Today..."

outside my window... are visual reminders of my sweet husband who works so hard to make things beautiful and whole; in this case, bushes and flowers that have been transplanted, pruned, cut back, watered, whose beds have been weeded, edged and mulched... all by him alone. our house is embraced by the beauty he has chosen to cultivate.

i am thinking... about how odd it is to feel completely at peace / content / thankful / full of joy while at the same time feel like i can fall apart at any moment over small things that don't matter.  i don't know which place i will find myself in throughout the day and it is WEIRD.

i am thankful for... the health of my husband and babies, the generosity and compassion of my immediate family, the many friends who support and encourage me in a myriad of ways. but mostly for God's faithfulness, mercy and grace.

from the kitchen... tonight i made stir fry (3 ingredients, quick and easy, healthy).  i then proceeded to 'pick' at a bowl of chocolate cake with ice cream, which didn't exactly hit the spot, so i moved on to a wedge of coffee cake and a mug of hot tea with milk and sugar. it was also one of those days for me where i could NOT quench my thirst. odd.

i am wearing... maternity jeans (and probably will for a little while yet!) and a grass-green sleeveless shirt that is pleated at the neckline and while it is not maternity, it is 'generous' around the midsection. perfect for my condition.  i got a shower and put myself together today since we had to go to the pediatrician.  it actually felt better than staying in pjs or comfy clothes. who would have thought.

i am creating... scrapbooks for each of my babies, although they haven't gotten much attention lately. a mobile for Ellie's room out of silk petals and ribbon. 

i am going... stir crazy not being able to drive myself around for 2 weeks. 

i am reading... more like indulging myself by reading Tori Spelling's new book "Mommywood". don't judge me, it's very entertaining and somewhat endearing. 

i am hoping... that tomorrow i feel a little better than i did today. that Ellie sleeps well tonight. that the weather this weekend is nice but not too hot. that my metabolism is somehow matching my appetite. also (just one more!) that we could get outside for a walk tomorrow. i hope a lot of things.

i am hearing... the sound machine in Robbie's room through his monitor. the sighs that accompany deep slumber from my 7-day-old-miracle. and nothing else. it is peaceful here tonight.

around the house... there are toys and clothes that should be put away, a kitchen floor that seems to be perpetually dirty no matter how many times i swiffer it, and a garage that is only occupied by one car because of all the baby paraphernalia (read: strollers, wagons, etc.) that has accumulated. all of these things i intend to tackle soon... but first, recovery.

one of my favorite things... is watching my husband interact with our babies. he is amazing in a thousand different ways, and i know i don't deserve him.

a few plans for the rest of the week... take more pictures of the babies. spend much needed quality time with my mom. sit still more often. drink more water. avoid the stairs. figure out creative ways (given my restrictions) to show Robbie love and give him attention. fatten up my 6 lb 5 oz peanut of a baby girl. seek God in the mundane, if not difficult, moments of my day.

a picture (or 2) to share...

Still here...

...we're just up to our eyeballs in diapers and hormones. :)

This afternoon we will take Ellie to her first pediatric appointment for a check up.  It should be an experience, since I can't drive, which means my sister will take me and we have to bring Robbie along as well.  Later this afternoon I have high hopes of taking Ellie's picture with a surprise guest stuffed animal to begin charting her monthly growth.

Everyone here continues to adjust... slowly... Robbie is willing to offer Ellie love every now and then and even helped fetch her pacifier a minute ago.  He finally took a good morning nap for me today.  Ellie is still my big eater and a great sleeper, although she's starting to show signs of enjoying the night life a little more than the daytime.  Rob has been amazing, and although I'm sure he feels like he's still adjusting too, you'd never know it - he comes home from a long day at work and doesn't miss a beat helping with Robbie, getting him dinner, bathing him and managing his bedtime routine.  As for me, there are moments in the day when I feel like I'm really starting to heal, and then I'll have a stretch of time where I SWEAR the doctor has snuck into our house and is trying to re-open my incision with her scalpel.  It takes my breath away and is discouraging, although I know this recovery process is going to be a longer one.  

Most surprising is the feeling I have of missing Robbie, even though I'm with him every minute now that I'm home again.  I feel distant from him because I can't pick him up, hold him, hug him, play on the floor with him... and it makes me sad because I feel like he needs that from me now, as he sees me holding this other baby and is trying to figure out what is going on.  I'm looking forward to the day (in a week or two?) that I feel like I've healed enough to get back to our typical daily interactions and closeness.  

Ok, more interesting updates and pictures with the next post, I promise!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 1 thing we did today...

I really want to recover quickly, and walking a little bit each day is supposed to help the process.  So we put the babies in our double stroller and paced the neighborhood for a little while this afternoon!

Clearly thrilled...

He who has taken a shower gets to be in the picture.  :)

Robbie's adjustment to the new baby in the house has been interesting.  He's struggling a little bit, which isn't surprising.  This afternoon he grunted and pointed to me and the baby while I was nursing her, and then pointed to her swing and grunted again.  Translation: 'Will you put that baby down already and play with ME?!'  It was pretty funny.  He loves to hover over her every time I change her diaper... it's very interesting to him for some reason!  And overall he's been sweet to her, just a little confused about why mom and dad are splitting the attention he's used to having  all to himself.

Ellie is doing well at home - our first night was great as far as she's concerned!  (It was a bit painful for me - all of the in and out of bed for feedings really pulls at my incision.) She ate just about every 3 hours and slept the rest of the time in her bassinet without too much of a fuss.  Her morning nap took place in her swing, which I'm realizing is her favorite place to snooze - I had to wake her up after 4 hours to get in a feeding!  She's a great little girl and more precious by the day.  We are so thankful for her.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

We're Home!

... and bless my baby girl's heart, this is basically what she's done since we got here!

We were discharged from the hospital around lunch time, and it was so great to anticipate coming home after such a (relatively) long hospital stay this time.  I have missed my boys so much, and we are excited to begin the process of folding Ellie into our little family.  And I couldn't eat another chicken strip or grilled cheese from CDH's cafeteria! 

You would have thought we were first time parents, leaving the hospital!...

Ellie was SO cute in her car seat.  She is just such a little peanut!  She is already on the road to gaining her weight back - she dropped down to 6 lbs even at her lowest and last night when they weighed her she was back up to 6 lbs 4 oz.    Thank goodness she is a good nurser!

I had fun dressing Ellie up for her homecoming today.  (Can you tell?)

This is what she looked like when we wheeled her into the nursery one last time so that we could attend the discharge class before going home (see below).  Apparently, she was quite a hit - and the hospital happened to be taking pictures of babies in the nursery today for their 'Babies Need Buddies' program (?).  A woman involved in CDH's marketing asked us to sign a release form because they ended up photographing Ellie a lot and thought they'd end up using her image in some of their marketing materials!  How fun.

"OOO!  I'm already famous?!"

Such a sweet little bundle.

This picture is from the second day big brother Robbie came to visit mommy and Ellie in the hospital.  He wanted to show off his new trick that Daddy had worked with him all week on - walking behind his shopping cart!  Note the very proud look on his face. :)

This evening Robbie was a bit thrown off by the fact that we brought the baby HOME from the hospital - apparently he thought he was just enjoying a few playdates with her this week.  He was fairly whiny and not at all himself.  But after a little rest and a visit from Aunt Megan, he began to warm up to the baby that wouldn't go away.  He points to Ellie when we ask him where his baby Ellie is, and even gives her love when we ask him to, by laying his head near her and making a sweet little lovey sound.  I think they will get along just fine, in time. 

I have been so blessed by my parents, sister Kelsey and friend Cheryl for their help caring for both Robbie AND myself this week.  They all flipped back and forth between Rob and I, offering help wherever and whenever we needed it.  I will continue to rely on them in the next few weeks, as I can't drive or lift anything heavier than Ellie for a few weeks, and am still in a fair amount of pain.  This is my favorite picture of Cheryl with Ellie, the night she stayed with us.

Ellie loved all of her flowers!  She is such a lucky girl.

How can you love someone so deeply, even though you've only just met?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting to know Ellie Suzanne

As you can see, Ellie (Elizabeth) Suzanne Livingston made her grand appearance on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009!  She arrived via C-section, bottom-first, since she stubbornly remained in the breech position (cause unknown).  At birth she weighed 6 lbs 8 oz, was 18 1/2 inches long, and had a head circumference of 14 1/2 inches.  

The surgery went well - within an hour we were in the recovery room, and I was nursing Ellie.  She latched on right away and fed like a champ!  Although she has had a few bumps in the road as we've continued to nurse (thus dropping in weight to 6 lbs), she is back on track as a fantastic eater and we look forward to some weight GAIN.

She's a bit jaundiced as you can possibly tell from the pictures.  The nurse and doctor think this will clear up on its own in the next few days and are not concerned.  She also has a bit of  a red, bumpy rash on her torso, arms and legs that looks like mosquito bites (but it's not).  The doctor said this is common and will go away soon.

She already had her first blowout diaper - of course, I had her in a beautiful white eyelet onesie and wrapped up in a pretty receiving blanket at the time.  And it was definitely a meconium diaper too!  Sticky greenish black poop all over her newborn outfit.  So wrong. :)  Thanks to my mom and Oxy Clean, I'm told it's as good as new again!

We love to stare at Ellie's many dainty, feminine features - her long slender fingers, narrow feet, finger-toes (!), dark eyes, slightly upturned nose, newborn 'overbite', and my favorite - her wide open mouth when she sleeps (just like the other Armbruster women!).  She is such a dream in every way.

We will be discharged tomorrow sometime - I opted for the full stay instead of going home a day early.  I'm still very sore and tired, and am trying to make every last pain pill work for me before I leave the hospital!  I am literally falling asleep as I type this post, so apparently it's nap time. :)

Thanks for checking in on us, and for your prayers!  If you haven't met Ellie yet, we're excited for you to come visit her sometime next week, after she's settled in at home.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ellie's first days of life

Big brother Robbie comes to visit...

...and shows off his new walking trick!

Beautiful Ellie in the morning

Sweet as can be

Long skinny legs!

The nurses all say we have the best smelling room, thanks to these flowers!

What a pretty naked baby!

Morning kiss

Big yawn

This was taken on Tuesday, shortly after Ellie's birth.

Trying out headbands and hair bows (thanks, Abby!).

Brother Robbie's very first visit / peek at his new little sister.

What the best dad in the world looks like:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A few pictures

What a wonderful day of blessings!!!  We are all doing great - Ellie is as healthy as can be, and although sore, I'm doing well also.

Here are a few first-pictures... I will post more tomorrow when I'm not exhausted!

Today is our baby's birthday!

My early labor pains continue to hang around, and after a call to my doctor a few minutes ago we were cleared to head for the hospital to have our baby girl today!

This is a much more surreal experience than my labor and delivery with Robbie.  I will be holding my baby in just a few hours, for sure.  No guessing how long I'll labor, since a C-section delivers the baby so quickly!  

Robbie and I had a nice last morning together, just the two of us.  He slept in, we played during breakfast, and then walked around Town Square (albeit in the heat - I figured it could only help 'nudge' labor on, right!?) for a little while.  Auntie Cheryl met us during our shopping trip and came back to the house with us to watch Robbie for the afternoon.  My parents and sister will come to the hospital when it appears that we're close to heading into surgery.

And now I'm just waiting for Rob to come home so that we can head to the hospital together!

Thanks for your prayers for us throughout the pregnancy, and I hope that you will continue to join us in prayer for the following things:

- a safe breech delivery, specifically no cord complications

- that I would not respond to the epidural like I did the last time (quick drop in blood pressure - scary and very uncomfortable!)

- that our baby girl would be healthy and adjust quickly to life outside the womb (lungs clear, etc.)

- that I would recover quickly

- that Robbie would do well over the next few days and adjust to the new baby when we come home as well

- that Rob, my family, and Aunt Cheryl would all have energy as they help care for Robbie in my absence, and that God would pour out blessings on them for how much work this is going to be!

Hopefully our next post will be a baby announcement - we'll get pictures up as soon as we're able!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Baby update

A quick update - at my doctor's appointment this afternoon I was dilated to 3 cm.  They put me on a monitor to check and see if I was contracting more often than I was feeling, but everything seemed quiet at the moment, and the baby's heart rate was just fine.  

At this point my doctor doesn't want me to dilate much more with the baby still breech - however, you can walk around at 3 cm for quite a while.  So we decided that the next time I have any labor pains (like I did on Sunday - lower back ache, contractions even if they're infrequent), it would most likely mean more progress and that would push us towards an earlier delivery (C-section) of the baby.  

So at this point, we are taking it day by day!  We will keep you posted if we make the call to head to the hospital before Friday.  Thanks for your prayers for us and especially for the safe delivery of this little girl...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Update - getting antsy

First of all, happy father's day to all of the wonderful dads and grandpas out there!  I feel a little guilty, having hogged the best dad (mine!) and also the best husband and new father (Rob!) anyone could want or ask for.  We had a lot to celebrate today.  Sadly, the most I was able to offer was the gesture of a nice homemade dinner and dessert on Friday night for Rob (Pesto Orichette with Chicken and Asparagus, salad, bread, and a Hokey Pokey cake from Rolf's, thanks to Whole Foods - you have to try this cake!!).  We had dinner at my parents' house this evening for 2 short hours to celebrate my dad - thankfully my mom and sister had made the most AMAZING dinner and it was so special (her famous marinated shish-kabobs, rice, salad, bread, broiled asparagus, and hot brownies with ice cream!).

You can tell I'm still pregnant - listing out the food items like that.  It's so sad how small your stomach gets in the 9th month because I could have eaten all night!


As far as this baby girl on the way goes, today was interesting and made me put money on the fact that we may not make it to Friday's scheduled C-section.  It could have been all of the activity related to getting ready for and going to church, but I experienced a lot of the typical early labor symptoms today.  Fair amount of back pain throughout the day, and even some sharper contractions in the morning and in the afternoon.  Nothing worth timing, but definitely attention-getting!  I could still be a ways off, because I noticed the pain more so when I was hauling Robbie around, very active, on my feet, or when the baby moved around.  I was able to take a 3 hour afternoon nap (thank you Robbie for sleeping that long!) and was very comfortable the whole time.  So it could still be a while... 

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow (Monday) around lunch time, so it will be interesting to find out what she says - whether I've progressed at all, and if so, what they do in that kind of situation.  Although it's most convenient if we are able to stick with the Friday C-section plan, I have to say that I would welcome an earlier delivery!  I can tell the baby is still breech, and have totally given up hope of her turning.

We'll keep you posted... for now, my bags are packed and waiting by the front door.  And I will probably be taking them with me to my appointment tomorrow, just in case.  Rush labor much?!  :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Health update, snuggles and guilt

Our pediatrician cleared Robbie of Strep and Coxsackievirus today... thank goodness!  She thinks he just has a virus of some sort that his body continues to fight.  Nothing was especially concerning to her, and she thinks both the new baby and I are not in danger of getting sick either.  I am so thankful for this news - I was not sure how I would deal with a contagious illness in Robbie than can last for 2 weeks and be spread to both me and our unborn baby.  God continues to protect us all.

Although he definitely seems to be feeling better, I can tell Robbie is either still not feeling 100% himself, or he is sensing change coming.  (He now points to my belly when I ask him where the baby is!)  He's been having a hard time staying asleep for the first part of the night lately.  Tonight I rocked him after gracefully (ha!) fishing his paci out from under the crib.  The poor guy is only able to sling one leg over onto my lap, and just buries his head in the crook of my arm/shoulder, but basically sits next to me on the glider instead of snuggling on my lap.  His little sister has already invaded his space.  He quieted right down as soon as we settled in on the glider and just stared up at my face as his eyes threatened to close.  He was fighting it, I think because he wanted some mommy time.  He has gotten very snuggly and affectionate lately (when I pointed out my fresh pedicure to him this evening after dinner, he crawled over to my feet and rubbed his sweet little face against my toes!).

All this makes me feel just awful about leaving him for 4 days next weekend.  As Rob pointed out to me the other day, it will be the first time I am away from him overnight (much less 4 days/nights in a row!).  I know I will probably miss him more than he will miss me, and everyone who is lined up to help care for him while I'm gone loves him dearly and he is very comfortable with them.  But mommy is still mommy, right?

Part of it too, I'm sure, is the normal 'guilt' I'm starting to process about bringing home another baby and not having as much time to devote only to Robbie.  I'm so excited for him to have a little sister, and Rob and I intentionally wanted them to be close in age.  So this is what we were hoping for.  It's just something you have to work out in your own mommy-mind, I guess, and get through.  I know he will have such a limited understanding of what is going on, and I just pray that he makes the transition well.

If any of you moms of 2+ kids have advice to share about getting ready to bring home baby #2, please feel free to share it!

6 days and counting...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

15 month update on Robbie

On Tuesday this week I took Robbie to his pediatrician to have his 15 month well visit.  He's still healthy and growing, and here are his stats!

Weight: 27.25 lbs - 84th percentile
Height: 34 inches - 99th percentile
Head circumference: 19 1/2 - 96th percentile

I'm looking forward to the well visits that do NOT include shots.  He got the DTaP, Hepatitis B, and Chicken Pox shots this time.  He usually doesn't react to his vaccinations, but the Chicken Pox shot is a live vaccine, and so it's expected that the child will respond with fever.  That's exactly what happened yesterday - our little guy was pretty miserable and not at all himself.  He slept a lot, was very cuddly and sedate, and weepy.  No appetite.  Today I've noticed some little red spots appearing on his hands and feet, so I'm taking him back in to the pediatrician because they said this is not one of the common side effects.

I am just thankful that I remembered to schedule his visit for early this week, as we could have been dealing with all of this next week right before my C-section!  I am hoping that these health issues resolve themselves in Robbie's little body quickly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What breech looks like

Really, really big!

This baby is ALL out in front, and frankly I am ready to be carrying her in front of me IN A SLING, not in my belly anymore!

My doctor's appointment this morning went well, but nothing new to report.  No progress towards labor (which is actually a good thing in this situation) since the baby is still breech.  It's odd that we will be meeting our little girl in just 11 days!  

Little Mr. Man has decided in the last 2 weeks to throw out his nicely-arranged sleep schedule that I've worked so hard at keeping.  It used to be a given that he'd go to bed at 7:30pm, wake up at 7:30am, and nap from 9:30am-11:30am and then again at 3pm.  

For whatever reason (just growing up and transitioning? Teething? Disruption in his routine?) he no longer naps at regular, consistent times during the day.  And last night we enjoyed some quality mother-son bonding time from 1-2:30am.  Awesome.  I think he is just reminding me that the days of sleeping through the night and napping for an hour or two during the day are OVER for quite a while, now that we're getting ready for the new baby.  What a sweet boy, to break me in early!

A few new things in Robbie's world included discovering last week that he LOVES yellow mustard.  Daddy thought it would be fun to offer him his first taste, and we got a totally different reaction than we were expecting!  (What one year old likes tart mustard?)  Now, whenever we're making sandwiches and have the mustard out, when he spots the yellow bottle he whines and yells at us until we put a dollop (or ten) on his outstretched index finger!  

He also experienced his first real babysitter today, during my doctor's appointment.  Because he wouldn't play along with my idea of how the morning schedule would go, he was asleep when she got here for one of his random naps.  I had planned to make sure he was used to her and happily playing before I snuck out of the house, but obviously that wasn't possible.  I was worried that he would be scared, waking up and being alone with a stranger, but she is a very sweet and fun girl and he apparently warmed up right away!  On Wednesday we're trying another sitter out as well, so that I have a few girls I can call if/when I need extra help and hands in the months ahead.  If Wednesday goes as well as today, I will be one happy momma!

And that about sums up what we are up to (besides the usual nesting projects and chores, which are boring to blog about even though I get great satisfaction from telling you things like, oh, how I took apart the stroller last night and washed all the fabric pieces, or am 100% caught up on ALL of our laundry and ironing, or how every surface in our kitchen at the moment is clean to the point of lick-able).  

I think I am due for a nap... time to rest this big belly!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our nest is changing

We've been working on a few fun home projects this spring, and thought you might enjoy seeing them!  

The first was my personal favorite - updating Robbie's nursery for our little girl!  I wanted to make a few deliberate changes that would really transform the room, at minimal cost.  What we are ending up with as it all comes together is exciting to me!  I love it.  It's not completely finished so this is a sneak peek.

I found her crib bedding (see picture below) on sale at the Nods and Ends Outlet - and it inspired the color scheme and mural that my mom and I just painted.

We matched all of the colors in the bedding to paint chips, and bought little cans of paint (3 shades of pink, sage green, and brown) to use in the wall mural.  I wanted to do something big on the largest empty wall in the room - the one the crib and changing table are up against - and a tree fit the theme perfectly.  I already had this cute Dwell Studio blanket (from Target), so I incorporated the birds into the mural as well since the blanket matches the bedding perfectly and I will most likely leave it out on the glider as a throw.

And here is the mural, as it unfolded!  
(Forgive the glare, we painted the room with a satin finish when we were setting up the nursery for Robbie, and I really wish we had used a flat instead.)

Chalk outline:

Blocking in the tree and branches:

Adding the leaves and a few birds:

The row of birds on the lowest branch on the right side aren't painted in yet.  When we name our baby girl after she arrives, THEN we will paint this little row of birds in - and I thought it would be cute if each had a letter on it so that her name was spelled out.  I have since added beaks, eyes and legs to the birds as well.  You'll get a final picture of the nursery after our little girl is home and I have a chance to finish off the details!

Over memorial day weekend, we also had the exterior of our house repainted.  We are really happy to be done with the dark brown / evergreen color scheme, and love how neutral the tan and black combination turned out.

Is it odd that I adore black doors?!?!  This makes me so happy!  I love a black door with a lightly colored wreath...

Lastly, we had the family room and kitchen painted one continuous color - they were previously 2 different colors (green and cream) and yet they share one continuous wall along the back side of the house, which meant there was this random 'seam' that attempted to split the space, but instead was just awkward (decoratively).  Not a huge deal, but I am also not a green-wall person unless it's more of a sage, and this was celery green.  ::I just lost all of my male readers in one fell swoop!::

We decided on Silver Sage, which is Restoration Hardware's most popular paint color.  If you go into the store, most of the walls are painted Silver Sage.  It's seriously the most perfect color - not too cool, changes with the time of day and amount of daylight, and fluctuates between shades of blue and green.  I am in love.

So that's what we've been up to, nesting-wise!  Hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll have a finished basement/playroom to show you as well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Change in plans...

Thanks to all of you who have already asked me how my doctor's appointment went today!  The ultrasound showed our baby girl right on track with her growth and health... floating around in plenty of amniotic fluid... but still in the breech position.  

My exam with the doctor afterwards was sort of surprising to me though - I'm still at 1 cm, but he said at this point it was time to schedule my C-section because of her position.

"My C-section!?"

Ugh.  I was not thrilled with that news.  But in 17 days, on Friday morning June 26th, if our baby girl has not  turned into a head-down position, we will be delivering her via C-section.  The last thing they want to happen is for me to go into labor with her in the breech position, which can cause serious complications.  And we want what is best and safest for our little girl.

There are pros and cons to it all playing out this way, but I'm trying to focus on the positive side (my 3 day stay at hotel-de-CDH just turned into a 4 day getaway!).  I am realizing that labor and delivery is a bit more palatable if you aren't sure when it's going to begin or how it's all going to happen.  But that's ok.  It is obvious that the Lord has had many things He wanted to teach me through this pregnancy, and isn't done with me yet.  

So, 17 days left... to whittle my to-do list down... to nervously consume gobs of sour candy... to enjoy my little boy while he is still an only child... to re-read all of my books about infancy just in case I've forgotten EVERYTHING already!

Our 'celebration of life' party

We didn't know what else to call our little get-together on Saturday, so 'celebration of life' was it!  Very cheesy.  I know.

The backstory is that Rob and a group of guys from Taylor have remained close friends over the years - 2 were his post college roommates before we got married.  All of the wives have become good friends over the years, and it's a lot of fun when we are all able to get together to catch up since we are sort of scattered around Chicago and the suburbs (with one outlier in Madison, WI!).  

Over the last 5 months or so, there have been many additions to our collective brood of children and milestones as well.  The birth of 3 babies, and the 1st birthdays of 2 kids had kept us from finding time to get together.  We realized that there was a small window of time in early June before I had our next baby, but after the Bellito twins would be released from their doctors' orders to stay home and out of public (they were premature and their health needed to be carefully protected until they grew a bit more).  

So Saturday we had everyone over - and it was as hilarious as it was exhausting!

This is what it looked like with all of us in the family room (minus Rob and I):

I was pleasantly surprised by Robbie's response to the babies... he sat next to Jeff while he held one of the Bellito boys, and was very still and quiet.  He seemed to know that he needed to be gentle, and was very curious about the little one.  I think he even kept one of his little chubby hands on Jeff's knee while he sat there.  I hope that his predisposition towards babies in close proximity lasts for a few more months!

Things got a little wild at one point...

...and Charlotte joined in by dancing along to Miss Spears!  This always cracks us up!

A little pringles snack after working up an appetite.

Our little cake, celebrating the new lives of Graham Hill and Luke and Ryan Bellito, and also the first birthdays of Charlotte Larson and Robbie.

Never one to pass up cake...

A picture of the moms with all of our babies - we forgot to do this before the Hills left!  So Lauren, Graham and Austin are missing.  (I am holding one of the Bellito boys - I forget which one!)

Almost bath time.  Who can resist these two together in their diapers?

Ending the day by playing in the tub.  Charlotte was her usual charming self and Robbie loved the company!

It was so much fun to catch up with friends, discuss parenting as moms (while the guys played Bags outside), and watch our kids play together.   

Some of the funnier moments that day:
- Charlotte's big personality and enthusiasm upon first arriving at our house, which took Robbie by such surprise that he cried like a little girl, shrieking and pointing at her through his tears!
- One of the dads fumbling his beer on the couch, soaking the bottom half of his shirt.
- Being reminded of just how often babies spit up as I watched Lauren wipe her cute outfit clean of baby-vomit pretty much the entire afternoon!  
- The many times we all thought our spouse (or one of the other nearby adults) was watching our child, only to discover them on the side of the house trying to escape / into something they shouldn't have been / grabbing for a beer on the coffee table.

We are so thankful for these friendships and the way that God has blessed our families with the children that we all have (and the 2 additions that will be arriving in the near future).