Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow and Weddings and Baby Blessings

Yay! More snow! My friend Catie is getting married January 2nd so we are all praying for snow so she can have really pretty pics of her wedding day! Of course her pictures will be beautiful with or without snow but it would be a really nice touch. God are you listening???

James and I are coming up on our 2 year anniversary. It's December 23rd. We figured no one would have anything going on in the couple days before Christmas and we would get married then.... Actually it was more like we had gotten engaged, had no concrete plans for our wedding other than that I didn't want to go into ANY debt to get married. Then we started premarital counseling with our pastor. After our second meeting we looked at each other afterwards and said, let's just do this! So within two, yes 2 weeks, I had the entire wedding planned and 2 weeks after that we did it! Kind of crazy but it kind of goes with our life! And we did it with no debt!

Instead of a cake we had a cupcake tree! A friend from work made this for us as well as platters of yummy cookies!

Jessie, Rachel and Claire

Of course we had to do it smaller than we would have otherwise. We had about 50 close friends and immediate family at Cortese restaurant in Binghamton NY. Our ceremony was held at a church building in Endicott and it was our last meeting in that church. (We now meet in homes). After the ceremony we went to the mall (gasp!) to have pictures taken with Santa at the center court, only to find that Santa was on his lunch break :( . We didn't have time to wait so we just sat in his chair and took pictures with a pretty Christmas background.

Me and Jessie--she so little here!

Santa James!

Saying our vows. Couldn't get through this without crying!

My only disappointment was that it had snowed the week of the wedding but on the day of, it rained, so the snow was melting and we couldn't take pictures outside. It was a wonderful day anyway because I had married James. He is my special gift from God. Or maybe it's the other way around...

And here we are 2 years later with 2 little babies who keep me up until 2 or 3 am or later every night. Wow has our life changed since our wedding day! But that's how God designed it. How boring would it be to never have the sound of crying babies in your house, especially in the middle of the night??? To never have little toes to tickle, bellies to kiss, warm little bodies to hug (and diapers to change and barf to clean up...)? And later we'll have lots of giggles and messes and most of all LOVE. Isn't that the point? Lots of Love. We could fill our house up with all kinds of things that look pretty and smell good all the time and stay clean but if we don't have people to love, how empty all of that is! How very lonely and sad without little babies and children and (smelly) dogs and (annoying) cats and a strange little tortoise? Our life is certainly full now! When James gets annoyed because of things that pile up or interrupted sleep or other side effects of a full life I like to remind him of how empty and lonely he'd be if I hadn't come along and filled him up! He'd end up being the old cat guy without me and the kids! Now, he's a dog man and a dad and a hubby as well as all the things he was before (a super talented musician and actor, smart, funny, clever, good cook...) and I get to be a wife and baby mama and schedule coordinator and accountant (I prefer CFO) as well as a nurse practitioner and former party girl. I also get to sing and (sort of) play guitar! How cool is that?!?
My prayer today is that my friend Catie is blessed with an even fuller life after her wedding. That God fills her life with blessings and love. And a bit of snow on her wedding day would be really swell too!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The kindness of strangers

Beautiful cold day in Bingoland! Snow on the ground. Roosters crowing. Babies crying. Doesn't get any better than this!

Has anyone noticed how cooperative and polite telemarketers have become??? Mind you I'm not getting collection calls (anymore...). Somehow I got on a list. Most likely from the internet. My bad. But (!) each time I've gotten a call, the person on the other end has been friendly, curteous and quite easily gotten rid of with a one time declaration of "no, I'm not interested in taking classes right now" or "no, I'm not interested in a home based business opportunity with Visa/MC."

Maybe it's because I don't yell at them, or otherwise be rude, and actually give them a minute to talk, but I've had some downright pleasant calls lately. Lots of "thank you for your time", "have a nice day/evening", etc., pleasant voices that you can hear the smile in, and (bonus) most of them have been native English speakers. The one exception was equally as pleasant (from India perhaps?). Is the world becoming a nicer place? Probably not. Did they give "nice" classes at the call centers? Most likely no. I think it's just the power of treating someone else the way you'd like to be treated. Imagine having their job. 9 out of 10 people hanging up on you, telling you off, whatever. I'm amazed they have the energy to be polite to anyone let alone actually sound pleasant. So maybe, by my being polite and nice first, it comes boomeranging back. At least I'd like to think so.

So the next time you get a telemarketing call, say "hi", be polite, say "no, thank you and Merry Christmas" with a smile in your voice and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised. And maybe make someone else's day not so unpleasant. "Do unto others as you would have done to you." Good precept to live by. Jesus wasn't just talking to hear himself speak, you know!

Have a nice day! Really!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Annabeth and Poppy

Spent Turkey day with the 'rents. All four kids present and accounted for. My brother and his wife Tracy were not present as they are currently in New Mexico. Marc is stationed there for now. He is presently scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in early 2010. When he returns, they will be transferring to South Korea for the remainder of a 2-year tour of duty. Marc will be home for Christmas, however and Tracy will be here January 2nd.

James and I. Haven't quite gotten my glow back yet...

Chris holding his baby sister Molly. They are almost exactly 15 years apart. His birthday is the 20th and they were born on the 19th. The girls were due on his birthday but luckily he doesn't have to share now!

Jess and Annabeth

Mama and Annabee! We're both Pastey White!

I call this tough but beautiful!

Annabeth smiling at mommy! Not sure where her shirt is...

Sleepy Annabee in her seat. Almost made it through dinner without a baby, but....

This one wasn't having it! What? You're gonna eat without me?

What you lookin' at, Willis? This is evil Molly...

The hat really makes the look for her, don't you think?

I didn't include any pics of my mom because for some reason she had decided to fashion her hair into a mohawk for the day. Apparently Jessica had told her she should get a mohawk haircut and this was my mom's way of being funny. Didn't think it should be broadcast over the internet just how warped my mom is. Love you mom!
This year I am thankful for all four of my children, for the safe delivery of the two newest little Hull's, for my husband who was a wonderful support during my pregnancy, and for all the babysitting my parents are going to be doing (!). I am also grateful to God that we live in a free country where we are not persecuted for our religious choices and still have the freedom to worship as we choose. I am grateful to our military personnel who keep our country free and who give their lives on a daily basis to safeguard our liberties. I thank God for every breath I breathe and for all the blessings he bestows on me and my family. Most importantly I thank Him for His saving grace, without which we would have no hope. God bless you all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Promised pics...more to come

5 hours old and already they are playing "back-up singer"!

So this is miss Molly Elizabeth, Day 1, just an hour old. She really reminded me of my brother when he was a baby. She was quite dark and ruddy right at birth whereas he sister was pale, or "pastey white" as her father so lovingly described her. They have continued to have very different complexions. Molly is the "latin" baby and Annabeth is the "white" child. My mother, God bless her, wanted a black grandchild. Apparently she hasn't noticed what color my husband is....

Here's big sister Jessica holding Molly. Molly so kindly inaurated Jess by peeing on her. Jess was very proud of her Molly pee and felt she had bonded with her over this experience.

I think they are comparing notes about the birth.

"Hey, did they cut your cord too???"

A little bit bigger. These are from about 3 weeks ago. Molly still looks like my brother but she really looks like my dad, haircut and all! She's got big blue eyes and no hair on top! Annabeth (left) looks like daddy especially from the nose down but also looks very much like my 2 month old baby pictures on the wall at my mom's. There's hope for her yet!!! They are both smiling now and starting to babble. Of course they stop grinning as soon as you pull out the camera!
Ok so actually I had uploaded (downloaded?) more pics from the birth of Annabeth and Molly but for some reason these were the only ones that "took". Guess I still need to work the kinks out. Do they have "Blogging for Dummies"???
Promise to post more of Annabeth as well as both of them more recently very soon.
Are you ready for Christmas???
James and I are going to look for a fake tree this year. I will just have to burn a candle to get that nice pine scent in the house. But I have enough other lovely stuff to sweep off the floor everyday without adding pine needles to the mess. Now the challenge is to find a Made in America tree. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 4, 2009

In the beginning...

There was James and I. Happily married for a year. Thought it would be swell to have a baby. James has no other children. This is a second marriage for both of us. Got pregnant immediately. (Just call me fertile Myrtle). At six weeks hemorrhaged and thought I was miscarrying. Had an ultrasound only to find--TWO heartbeats! We were having fraternal twins!

My hubby and I have been married for almost 2 years (December 23rd) and this year we were blessed with the birth of twin (!) daughters. (photos to come once I figure this thing out!) The girls were born on September 19th, the day before their brother's 15th birthday and their "official" due date. So if you do the math you will realize that I have two other children from my first marriage. Chris is now 15 and his sis Jess is 12. Baby sisters Annabeth and Molly are now 2 1/2 months old.

One most challenging things about having the twins, besides the delivery of course, was finding a provider who didn't want to rush me off for a c-section or tie me to a bed with monitors, hence necessitating a c-section. After a few interviews and a lot of phone calls and prayer we found a certified midwife comfortable attending a twin birth at home. None of the midwives in our area are "allowed" to do twin birth in the hospital because of the malpractice insurance companies. Alot of them are younger and have not been trained to deliver twins anyway. They aren't even allowing them to attend VBAC's (vaginal birth after cesarean). Our choice turned out to be the right one. It just took a couple of months of searching and a few anxiety attacks over the process, but I finally found peace with our choice and was able to pursue my dream of having a home birth.

My first two children were born in the hospital with a midwife. Preparing for a homebirth was both exciting and scary. The thought of having to transfer to the hospital if something went wrong wasn't pleasant to say the least but we took the responsibility for whatever happened after educating ourselvesa about all the possibilities. Our midwife encouraged us saying that I was a healthy woman who just happened to have two babies instead of just one. I figured if my grandmother could do it, so could I.

I do gotta tell you that the last couple of weeks of a twin pregnancy are not fun. In fact it really sucked. Way worse than a singleton! It hurt to sit, to lay down, to walk... The only real relief I got was the night we took a trial run of the pool. I got to float for few blissful minutes in the kiddie pool in our bedroom. Then it was back to reality. I was a HOUSE. My ankles were foreign to me--all swollen and squishy. My abdomen would morph shapes as the babies wiggled around. Baby B kept flipping around from cephalic to breech and when she was breech her head was literally ON TOP of my ribcage. There were many moments of crying, wondering when it would finally be over.

I had one round of false labor the Tuesday before I delivered. Called in the midwife and everything. But by the afternoon it had disappeared and I didn't have anymore contractions until my water broke Saturday afternoon.

I had just gotten up from a nap before my older kids were coming with a friend. As I was telling my husband James that I was going to take a shower, my water broke, right in the kitchen. Not having had this experience with my first two, it was quite shocking! I couldn't believe how much fluid coursed out of me onto the kitchen floor! Amazing. And it kept coming.

Five minutes later my kids show up with their friend Rachel. So all three were there for the births. Thankfully, Rachel was also born at home and has seen her sister give birth as well, so she was a great support for my daughter who wasn't too sure about the whole thing. The girls ended up watching from the foot of my bed while I labored and gave birth on a mattress just below. Chris opted to hangout in his room until the babies were born.

Labor was on hands and knees the whole time because Baby A wouldn't tolerate any other position but she was fine as long as I stayed on all fours. Mercifully labor was relatively short-only 3 hours until I was pushing and then an hour for the first baby and 18 more minutes for the second. Labor was really painful and I think it was because my water broke, leaving me with no cushion, plus, my body had to work harder being so stretched out with two babies and it being 12 years since my last birth. But it hurt like you-know-what, let me tell you! My daughter Jess' birth, on the other hand, wasn't painful at all. I used the Bradley Method with her and it was wonderful. This labor was so intense though that no amount of relaxing was going to make it better. Plus I couldn't change positions. I did try the tub but by the time I got in, the water had cooled too much and really didn't feel good. I like HOT water and it was barely lukewarm. My friend Jo was a lifesaver, applying back pressure for me with each contraction. I felt like I would have flown apart if she hadn't done that! Thank you Jo! (Jo has 9 children so she knows what she's doing!)

My hubby was a wonderful coach and held my hands as I hung onto him throughout the whole ordeal. He was very supportive of the homebirth and said he wouldn't have it any other way. It was just as he imagined. Did he imagine me being in excruciating pain??? Nice! That part wasn't in MY birth plan.

It was certainly a relief to deliver the babies. Both were head down. Molly was born second and was born sunny side up (posterior) and with her membranes intact. I thought it interesting that Annabeth's "bubble" broke ahead of time but then they actually had a hard time breaking Molly's after she was born. Both fine at delivery. Apgars of 9 and 10. Annabeth even nursed right away while I pushed her sister out!

The sleepless "fun" began-but I'll save the gory details for my next post! I am very grateful to my husband, my friends Jo and Deanna, my midwives (I had 4 of them at my house!) and most of all to my God for a safe home delivery of my very exhausting but precious baby girls.