Memorial Day Weekend 2016

Friday I went to work and left early to go check out a swing set for sale. Wesley had his soft cast removed, his arm checked out (all is healing well), and his new green cast put on. He also got a new sling which is more comfortable than the other one he refused to wear.

Friday night we spent next door while the kids played. And then it rained … hard. Lightening stuck while the kids we jumping on the trampoline, and that was the end of that. Everyone inside to dry off and put on dry clothes.

Saturday Gretchen has her swimming time trials, and I rented a trailer from home depot. Then I dropped Gretchen off at a friend’s house while next door neighbor and I dismantled the swing set. The dismantling and moving actually went pretty smoothly, we were able to do it in two trips. And it took about 5 hours. So now all the pieces of the swing set were in my driveway. Definitely couldn’t have done it without the powerful help of friends.

Saturday night we made a fire in the fire pit and grilled hot dogs and sausages. Then we had s’mores! This was Wesley’s request, and since he has a broken arm it was kind of a no brainer. Nicole helped me start putting together the swing set fort.

Sunday was popcorn and PJ day at church, it’s always fun to not have a normal day. Then Nicole and I kept messing with the swing set. We eventually got everything except for the roof and twisty slide done using excellent engineering and creating mechanical advantages to get it done.

Sunday afternoon Wesley had his TOTs performance. And he did AWESOME! He participated and did amazing all with only one arm! Mr. TOT was pretty awesome and cheered him on. Wesley got a TOT basketball and a trophy. Then he got candy (and got some for Gretchen and Sammy too), and he had Mr. TOT sign his cast.

After the performance we went straight to a neighbors house for a crawfish boil. YUM! Sammy loves it. And they were pretty spicy, and the guys hanging around the table eating were impressed. Wesley and Gretchen had fun playing around the neighbors yard/house, and they seem to think that was the highlight of the weekend.

Sunday night I walked across the street to see if the neighbors were ready to sell me their grill (they are moving), so I have a grill again! And 2 more propane tanks … geesh, now I have 5.

Monday was a great hang out day at the house. We got the swing set all finished, and the kids have been playing non stop. Sammy kept chickening out going down the twisty slide, then all of a sudden he comes running at me telling me that he did it all by himself! Now all three of them just keep going and going.

Wesley is scaring me by running around with his arm.

Anyway it was a good weekend, beautiful and fun.

Posted in Journal | Comments Off on Memorial Day Weekend 2016

And then there were three

I’m starting to get completely bummed that I am not keeping up with the blog.  The main reason being I am actually referring to my previous postings from when Wes was little to find out what I did in certain situations or to find out how much Wes weighed at such and such a time.  Because you just plain forget.  Which is just so crazy because at the time things are so real and you don’t understand that it all just fades.  I often wonder why I remember so few things from when I was little, at them time though you never expect to forget. I guess I’ll try to whittle away at this over time and try and document it so I can at least have a record of some things.

Maybe I can start by covering some FAQs, one at a time.

What do the kids think of Sammy?

Gretchen adores every hair on his head.  She is CONSTANTLY saying “he’s SOOOOO cute” and “He’s the cutest baby in the world” and “I just want to squeeze him all the time.”  It’s pretty much what I expected.  Nonni said the morning she told Gretchen after I had the baby that Mama had her baby, she was so excited.  She wasn’t even phased that he was a he and not a her.  Nonni said it wasn’t until the drive home that she said “you know, I kind of wanted a sister.”  I was expected crying about it, but in the end she didn’t care.  In fact just yesterday she was talking about how Sammy and Wesley are going to beat up on each other and how Sammy is going to take Wes’s stuff, etc.  And then real quick said “I feel happy.”  And I asked why and she said, um nevermind, and I said because you’re the only girl?  And she said yeah.  I said yep, I tried to tell you that you wouldn’t want a little sister, little sisters can be really annoying and she said “yeah you should know because Auntie D was your big sister” and I said “yep, and I was annoying.”

Here’s Gretchen holding Sammy for the first time. Look at how happy she looks.

Feb 8th

Feb 22nd

March 4th

March 8th

March 15th

April 8th

Wes doesn’t dislike him.  I think that’s a pretty good description.  He doesn’t seem to resent him or want to hurt him.  Every so often he takes an extreme interest in him and gets excited when he smiles at him or will try to entertain him if he’s crying.  It’s definitely cute.  But he never says anything about liking him or thinking he’s cute.  Another funny thing is when we pray at dinner, we go around the table and the kids each talk about what they are thankful for and Wes always says “I am thankful for Mama, Dada, Gretchen and Wesley” and we always have to remind him to say Sammy.

Here’s Wesley meeting Sammy for the first time right before he tried to pry his eyelid open.

Feb 5th

cute pic of the boyz

Feb 17th

March 1st

He liked to kiss him for awhile, I think he just thought that is what you did with babies

March 23rd


April 12th


Wes helping give him a bath

Sammy LOVES Gretchen.  He loved her before he was born.  When Wesley would sit on my lap, Sammy would kick and kick and kick.  When Gretchen would sit on my lap he was always still.  Sammy tracked Gretchen walking by him the very first time she walked by him, the day we came home from the hospital.  I’m talking a full 180 degree head turn as she walked by.  I noticed he had really good vision the day he was born, he didn’t have that newborn stare I remember with the other two, well Wes barely opened his eyes for the first week, but when Sammy looked at me, he really looked at me.  So when he tracked with Gretchen it wasn’t too big of a surprise, but it was his Gretchen.  Gretchen can make him squeal, smile and laugh like no one else in the family.  She doesn’t even have to be looking at him.  If he can see her, he’ll squeal.  It is so cute.  It was the same with Wesley too, and still true really, no one could make Wesley laugh like Gretchen.  She seems to have a knack with babies.  Sammy is not as interested in the kids and the dogs for that matter as the other two were when they were babies.  Wes was fascinated with Gretchen he was constantly watching her, but Sammy doesn’t seem to have the same addiction for small moving bodies.  Wesley’s antics will make him cry.  He’s starting to take it better but Sammy is very jumpy.  He gets startled pretty easily.  There are things like the ice maker on the fridge that scare him every time.  Still.  Ice drops into a cup and he will jump, from across the room even.  So when Wes stands over him in his little rocker chair and jumps and yells and carries on, it does make Sammy cry.

Fun pics of them all…and a picture does say 1000 words:

Feb 8th

Feb. 17th

March 2nd

First tummy time experiences

March 11th

April 5th

April 14th

Sammy’s crying here because Wesley was too rambunctious



Posted in Gretchen, Samuel, Wesley | Comments Off on And then there were three

Introducing The New Member of Our Family

Samuel Hunter Gille was born at 11:31 pm on February 1st.  He weighed in at a light 9 lbs even, 21 inches long and a cute little head of 14 inches.

Just a few hours old.

**This is a really long post with very few pictures.  It also contains a birth story with some details.  Read with caution.

And as it always is with every child his birth story is COMPLETELY different than my other two.  Which is crazy to me because it only seems possible to have two extremes, I expected Wes’s birth to be the opposite of Gretchen’s, but a third opposite seemed unlikely. The crazy part is we were at Monster Jam three hours before his birth in the standing room only section.  I kind of wanted to title this posting, Monster Jam caused me to go into labor.  Quite possibly just by typing those words will bring it up on someone’s google search when they Google, “will Monster Jam cause me to go into Labor?”  Kind of in the same fashion I did, just a few hours before I decided to go to Monster Jam.  Wesley is SUPER into monster trucks, which I guess is a side conversation in it’s own, how kids pick the things they love without any prompting.  I mean we feed it, obviously, we took him to Monster Jam when I was 40 weeks and three days pregnant and still bought tickets even though the sign said “this event is sold out, standing room only tickets.”  It truly is amazing what a mother will do for her children.  Well, they disguised it slightly with the acronym “SRO.”  So I could also type “will standing room only (SRO) cause me to go into labor?”  The answer really is not likely, but just beware that if your back starts to hurt in the process of standing around for two hours straight, it could be just because you were standing around with a nine pound baby in your stomach, or you COULD have just gone into labor.  Pay attention.  Because as I found out, as I was debating between whether the intensity of the contractions or the frequency is the indicator of how things are progressing, I determined, after the fact, that I was wrong, frequency may be more the determining factor than whether or not the actual contraction is bareable.

Just to backtrack things a bit, Nonni came to hang out and wait for the baby on the 29th.  She showed up right on my due date.  After going late with my other two, I was a bit more patient this time.  I never really focused on the due date, though I was praying for the 31st because it would have been way cool to have my first child born on the 11th, second born on the 21st and the third on the 31st.  But he was late, even for that date.  We found out the weekend before that Monster Jam was going to be in town the weekend after I was due.  We found this out strictly on accident.  I was watching Monster Jam clips on Youtube with Wes the previous Saturday and both Steve and I separately googled Monster Jam and saw the dates.  At the time we were kind of heart broken because we knew Wes would love it, the timing was bad.  We decided to wait and see what the weekend brought.  The other cool thing Steve found was that Gravedigger was going to be on display on Friday.  (coincidentally, Gravedigger is the monster truck he has, well he had two versions, a big one and a baby one and he plays with them ALL THE TIME, so Gravedigger is the only Monster truck he knows).  Together we secretly schemed for me to have the baby early morning on the 31st and he would have the day off work and take Wes to see the monster truck, that’s how much we love our kids.  Well, the morning of the 31st came and I woke up, like normal, no dice. Steve still had his heart set on taking Wes, so off I went to my doctor’s appointment, alone, knowing the topic of induction was going to be brought up and a decision would need to be made, and Steve, Nonni and Wes headed out to see Gravedigger.

To take things even further back…I had been actually feeling my body progress.  Each day by the end of the day I would go to bed thinking, this is it, this is the night, things are moving and each morning I would wake up feeling perfectly normal.  And to be honest I really was not in a rush.  I had come to the point where I wasn’t sure I was ready for any of it.  The pain of labor, changing diapers, crying, walking, dealing with my kids retaliation of my lack of attention.  I had an epiphany at one point where I just thought, I haven’t had to change a diaper in over a year.  My kids go to sleep when I put them in their beds, awake and mostly without any fussing.  They wipe their own rearends.  What are we thinking?  Life is good.  So each morning when I woke up fine, I felt relieved and disappointed at the same time.  But the thing was, I got used to it.  Which is what really contributed to my thinking about the intensity of the contractions is what contributes.  Well, that and the nurse who induced me for Wes telling me the contractions “had to hurt” to do anything.  HAHA!  I laugh in the face of pain…until it REALLY hurts and then I just swear at everyone and act, as Steve put it “exactly like the birthing vidoes/scenes you see”  except for the part where the women yells “you did this to me you &@&*#@”  Because frankly, it’s really too late for that. I’m getting way off topic, a total sign of my lack of posting, I get chattier the longer I take to write things.  Anyway, I was not surprised when the doctor told me I was 4 cm dilated on Friday the 31st and whatever effaced, possibly 50%?  And I wasn’t at all concerned about how crappy I felt the entire day on Friday.  What consumed me for most of the day was the fact that I had to pick a date to be induced.  I hate playing around with these things like I am God.  On one hand, I didn’t want a giant baby, but on the other hand, I really wanted God to pick the time.

Nonni, Steve and Wes came by work to drop off Steve after seeing Gravedigger.  Wes was so cute, when he showed up at my desk he asked me “is this the doctor’s office?” because he knew I was going to the doctor’s when I left.  Then he saw the apple on my desk and asked if it was a real apple and wanted to eat it.  hehe.  He was obviously hungry.  We all ate lunch together.  Then Nonni and Wes headed for home.  Accidentally, no one gave Nonni a key to the house when they left, so Steve and I had to leave early to let them in which was fortunate for me because I really was feeling pretty crappy.

Steve and I, for some reason, just have a horrible time making major decisions.  I remember when we were doing our pre-marriage counseling thing this point being brought up by our pastor.  Because we both aim to please so much we just can’t make major life decisions, we eventually do but we flounder so much.  Most of the time the conversation starts and we end up discussing something completely different to avoid it.  Well that’s how we were the entire day about when I should be induced.  Eventually, I just resigned and made the decision I picked Monday.  Deep down I knew it didn’t matter what day I picked, the baby would come just before it.  So in a way I was forcing the baby out just drugless.

Saturday morning comes and it’s a beautiful day and once again, I felt terrific when I woke up or at least better than I had the night before.  I have learned a bit about perspective in this pregnancy.  With the decision for the induction made I was trying to decide how I wanted to live my last two days as a Mother of two.  I seriously spent the WHOLE day debating about whether I wanted to go to Monster Jam or not.  I flip flopped about 10 times, I shouldn’t go, what about the baby’s ears, I can’t put muffs on it, so I Googled it.  This brought up posts about the vibrations, the fumes, etc.  Then it was more like, do I want to be in a large crowd, I’m a planet, I can barely move, we’ll have to walk, I can’t pick up kids, I can barely contribute but Nonni is here so it’s not as if Steve had to handle the kids on his own.  Finally I said, I was sad I missed out on Gravedigger, I’m not going to miss this, I’m going.  Why heck, maybe it’ll make me go into labor… The truth of the matter is I was probably in labor when we got there.  I saw the standing room only thing and was like holy crap this might suck, it would suck with two young kids even without being enormously pregnant, but whatever, we can just leave if we need to.

The seating attendant by the area we were standing was slightly concerned about me.  She let me, Gretchen and Nonni sit in some seats until the people showed up and then pointed out some other seats and she said had been empty for a bit if I wanted to try them.  But really I was more concerned about making a scene, up, down, up down so I told her I appreciated her help but we’ll deal with what we have.  Standing room only does suck.  Wes spent most of the time on Steve’s shoulders.  Monster Jam was cool and loud.  Wes loved it.  Gretchen thought it was fun too but not having any seats just made things slightly less fun.  At intermission we decided to hit the road, well Steve decided, I actually wanted to stay, we were going to miss the freestyle part and I really wanted Wes to see them crush cars, that’s the best part of Monster trucks!  But the kids were starting to act up.

Wes with the muffs on watching Monster Jam!

Getting sleepy

We were in the car heading back at 8:45.  My back was hurting as I expected from standing up.  I was having some cramping, I didn’t tell anyone, “I could still talk through them.”  I did notice they were happening at a regular pace, which was different than the cramping I was having for the past few days.  I still didn’t say anything.  When we got home we got the kids into bed, maybe by 9:30ish?  I was trying to help get Wes ready but being on the floor was exasperating the cramping so I gave up and left it to Steve and Nonni and just went downstairs, pretty much knowing this was going to be the last night I only had two to put down.  I sat in the chair and drank some water to relax to see if things settled and I actually told Steve as he cracked open a beer…”don’t drink too much we may be going to the hospital tonight”.

I was timing my cramping, which was still very tolerable but they were lasting for about a minute every 2 and a half minutes pretty consistently.  Hindsight is always 50/50 isn’t it?  I googled a few things like, when should I go to the hospital which of course mentioned something to the effect of steady contractions every five minutes.  I guess I just wasn’t convinced.  I was waiting for the mind fogging pain like I had with Gretchen.  Because I was induced with Wes, it had been a while since I had felt that pain but I was pretty sure it was the pain that said, go to the hospital and not frequency.  The thing that sucks about going to the hospital as I remember with Wes is they always say, oh yeah you can walk around and occupy yourself while you labor but what really ends up happening is they hook all those stupid monitors up, IV all that crap and sure you “could” walk around but it sucks.  I didn’t want that.  I wanted to sit in my living room.  So I did.

Around 10:30ish, times start getting hazy here, I felt a bit of fluid release in the same way I did with Wes.  I knew what it was.  I jumped up and called the doctor.  I was all calm and serene, I asked if I should just head to the hospital, the doctor never had a clue.  It was just after this the contractions started to ramp up in intensity.  Steve and I scurried around the house getting things packed.  Steve was the one who took the longest, I was sitting on the chair feeling the contractions get worse when I finally was like, what are you doing?  Quit messing around, let’s go.

We left the house at around 11pm.  By the time we got in the care my contractions were so painful I could only curl into a ball and cry.  Bumps and turns were painful, I remeber that with Gretchen.  But I knew things were bad because I couldn’t stop shaking.  When I had Wes, after I got the epidural I started shaking uncontrollably.  I thought it was because the epidural freaked me out, if you don’t remember that story you can go back and read about it.  The doctor frightened me silly when he put it in.  While the nurse was trying to help me get warm to calm my shaking, she casually mentioned something to me about how when the baby is ready to come, some people do shake.  It was right after that that she checked my dilation and I was 10 cm and they called for the doctor and 10 minutes later Wes was born in a single contraction.

At the hospital we managed to get to the desk and the lady wanted me to fill out a paper.  Seriously…I’ll go on a rant at some point about how awful this hospital was…but…I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt since I had my contraction in the elevator and was able to look fine as I approached the desk, they didn’t have a clue.  They meandered around making copies while I chicken scratched my info on the paper.  Steve and I were like, isn’t this why we pre-registered and called ahead?  What the heck?  She sauntered out of the door and was pointing down the hall when the first contraction hit and I became immobilized.  It was funny after the fact talking to Steve about it because I was in a cloud at this point, but I think she was trying to lead me to the room where the just check things out and when I got my contraction plans changed and people FINALLY started scurrying.  Again I give them the benefit of the doubt here, they see people come in all the time at all stages, Sammy was one of 24 births between Friday and Saturday.  In Kenai, Wes was it, the whole two days we were there.

As you have intelligently concluded at this point, 15 minutes later we had a baby boy.  I was completely panicked, I was swearing, yelling, and honestly the whole time I’m thinking holy crap, I am scaring every other Mom within earshot who is about to give birth.  And I know it sounds like the best labor ever, only 30 minutes of pain and *poof* baby and I know I am lucky but it was honestly hands down, the most horrible experience of my life.  The only thing that kept Sammy from being a car baby was my water.  When the nurse checked me I still had my water and I was 10 cm, and hearing that said didn’t surprise me, but it didn’t stop me from swearing.  I still had on my t-shirt, I had no monitors, they were lucky to get an IV in me and the doctor missed the whole thing (and yes she still gets paid…isn’t that crazy, hopefully she tips the nurse).  I wasn’t taking orders from anyone.  I’ve heard stories of the nurses making women wait to push for the doctor and my body wasn’t going to have it.  When my water broke, it was all over, my body took over.  I remember the nurse saying “it’s okay we’ll just have the baby” like I was concerned the doctor wasn’t there.  I was not, I couldn’t have cared less.  I also love the way they always bring up the hair when you’re giving birth.  All three there were comments about the hair they can see a quarter sized amount of the head.  I always think to myself, I’m in the middle of pushing out something however many times larger then the canal it is going through and you think a little discussion about the hair is going to distract me?  Three contractions later he was born.

He had inhaled a whole bunch of meconium and was completely wrapped in his cord.  I expected the cord wrapping, the silly boy NEVER stopped moving.  Seriously he moved constantly.  I swore he was never going to sleep when he came out because he never took a break in my stomach.  I couldn’t even remember a particular time of day or activity that made him stop moving.  Swimming, he never moved when I swam, that was it.  I guess it took him some time to cry when he came out, Steve said that, I was in a fog.  My mind was on sensory overload, I couldn’t concentrate.  The one memory I will have always is seeing him come out and I saw he was a boy before they said it.  In my mind I told Steve but I don’t think my lips moved.  At the time this didn’t strike me as odd, but later Steve asked if anyone had “caught the baby” because he saw me look and pointed out that since I didn’t have a stupid hospital gown on, I was able to see it happen and it was awesome.  No one caught him, they let him land on the bed.

But holy cow did I have trouble winding down from the whole experience.  I think I got a total of one hour of sleep in the first 72 hours.  Part of that was because the hospital was HORRIBLE, but it was mostly because my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the whole thing.  I annoyingly couldn’t stop playing out situations in my head of what WOULD have happened if my water had broke in the car, if Steve had taken a little bit longer packing up, if we had stayed at Monster Jam, if I had listened to my body earlier, all angles of the situation.  It freaked me out.

And I thanked God for everything.  God gave me exactly what I wanted.  The more I thought about it all the more I realized how brilliantly it had happened and this is what finally let me lay it to rest in my mind so I could get some sleep.  I went into this pregnancy thinking I wasn’t going to get the epidural because of how freaked out I got with Wes.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go through it all again.  I had a few discussions with Steve about it but deep down knew that unless I was forced to not get it that I would give in.  And so I think, well if we had gone into the hospital earlier, I could have gotten the epidural, but based on how nonpainful the contractions were until the very end I probably would have said no and then have been pissed off when I couldn’t get it and it would have been my decision to beat myself up with.  With Wes, when they offered me the epidural, I almost refused, because the contractions weren’t bad, but changed my mind.  God gave me the best situation possible.  I can’t believe how I went to full dilation with so little pain (even though when I did start to have pain it was completely and utterly unbearable).  I sat at home, in my chair, talking until about 45 minutes before he was born.  I didn’t have to mess with all the stupid crappy monitors they hook up, I had no clue when they inserted the IV, another thing I hate, and I had no choice in whether or not to get an epidural yet at the same time I didn’t show up at the hospital at 8cm, be denied the epidural to have horrible awful labor for another couple of hours all hooked up to that crap.  I actually got to see him born without a hospital gown, why do they make you wear those things?  I could feel my legs afterward which was surprisingly delightful.  When it was over, it was over.  I didn’t have to take a single pain medication after and this I figure was due to any combination of not having the epidural and therefore had a new perspective on what pain was, it was my third and smallest baby, or because I had been swimming pretty much up until the last month and was in pretty good shape.  Whatever it was, I cannot believe how great I felt.  And lastly, I have had the luxury of having had a birth three ways, first, natural with an epidural, second induced with an epidural and third completely natural and I now know that if this goes down again, I will get an epidural and will never have regrets.  Modern medicine is awesome.  I cannot believe how many women have been able to give birth without the epidural and multiple times.  I wouldn’t have three kids right now if it wasn’t for the epidural.  Amen.

Posted in Samuel | Comments Off on Introducing The New Member of Our Family