Time to Party!

We had Iris’s First birthday party and it was so much fun. We had over 50 people here to celebrate. It was too chilly to make it a fun outdoor party like my summer babies, but it was fine nonetheless.

I considered taking photos and making them smaller (my camera eats up huge chunks for space with big files!) so instead I am post a link to my Facebook album here. Enjoy!

Also, today is Mark’s birthday. I am so tired from the party that I can’t give him the attention he deserves as far as a birthday cake, but we’ll make him a special dinner and get him a few small gifts and call it good enough. He’s all in on that plan too, thank goodness! Dylan will also be getting an abbreviated birthday on the 30th. He wants to go to Feed My Starving Children (they pack food for developing countries, and it’s a really noble way to spend a birthday!) but I need to get on vacation planning because we leave in just one month! Yikes!

Also, here is the final Foede Siblings comparison picture. All monthly comparisons can be found HERE.


One-Year Portraits

Here is a quick link to Iris’s one year portraits.

I have to say, they aren’t great. She had NO interest in sitting still. Like, it made her angry. I had to do the photos in three sessions, over three days, for very short periods of time. She’s still adorable, just strong-headed. We love her regardless, ha!

Also, here is her last comparison photo for her monthly pictures. Her sibling one has to wait until her party, all the pics came from the kids first birthday parties!


Happy Birthday, Sweet Iris!

For the last year I have maintained a private blog where my intent was to quickly get pregnant and have one last baby and document my pregnancy and its first year. My hope was for a December baby. My first posts were about fertility and then I got the magic “+” sign on my home pregnancy test and discovered I was due December 17th. I was so excited! At 8 weeks I started spotting. An ultrasound showed that the baby was only measuring 6 weeks and had no heartbeat. A follow-up ultrasound showed no progress. I was devastated.

A year later I tried again. This time I was due to have a November baby. I was a little more hopeful because unlike the first pregnancy I actually had symptoms this time. But again at around 8 weeks I had a embryo measuring 6 weeks, this time with a slow heartbeat. My midwife was hopeful, because it rate was pretty normal if the heart had just started flickering, which happens around 6 weeks. But I knew. I knew when I ovulated, knew when I tested positive, knew that there was no way I was only 6 weeks along. I lost that baby too.

A few months later in July I thought, “Screw it, I’m going to go for it” despite my desperation to not have another April baby. And I became pregnant again. This time I took tons of HPTs and watched the lines get darker, and then lighter, and then darker. That is scary (lighter means you have less pregnancy hormone and can indicate a miscarriage.) At 12 weeks I was just about to breath a sigh of relief when I started spotting again. And since I’d only ever spotted two times before and both ended in losses, I figured I’d just ride this one out at home. No midwife, no ultrasound, just me. Alone. Then the next week I thought I felt flutters. But I could pick up a heartbeat on a home doppler device. Then more spotting. Then stronger flutters. Finally at 15 weeks I found a heartbeat at home. I immediately called my midwife and made an appointment. She felt my uterus and knew I was measuring correctly. She found a heartbeat. She ordered an US to see why I was spotting. (We never found out and it stopped the day of the ultrasound.) And I cried tears of joy. And 24 weeks later birthed my sweet ginger baby I wouldn’t have had if I’d lost my other two. I don’t know what the future holds after we die. I don’t know if I will meet those babies some day and be able to thank them for their small time with me and for allowing me to have Iris. I hope so, I really do. I hope I can say I am the mom to 10 children.. I don’t feel some kind of otherworldly relationship with them. I don’t know. I just don’t. And I still get sad on their due dates and on the days they passed. But I have my Iris and that is what I concentrate on.

All of this was to say that my one year project turned into a 3 year project and with Iris turning 1 I am closing that blog and charting her adventures here. I plan to turn those blog pieces into a book (just for me, no high aspirations for being published!) but keeping up on one blog will be much less complicated!

So. Iris turns one! This is my last monthly letter to her! I love her so much!


“Last night I stood by your crib and watched the clock turn to midnight, signally the day of your birth.  I have to admit, I cried. Some tears were of joy, for the wonderful baby you are, and some were of sadness, for the wonderful tiny baby you were and grew out of far too quickly for my taste. This year has been amazing. I feel so blessed by your presence in our family. You are such a gift to all of us- even the ones who didn’t warm as quickly to the idea of a new sibling, I promise they are all in now! I love your sweet smile and your sassiness and how you love to nurse, and how you only say my name when you are sad or mad (when you are happy you give a kiss when I ask you to say my name!) You are stubborn, feisty, and you don’t like solids right now and you are impatient and determined and I love all of that, I do! You are also so beautiful and smart and funny and you like to do things to make us laugh and you know your own mind. I love all that too, I do!

You love to spin in circles and walk backward. You say Dada, Mama, Hi, Hello, Bye, Bug, Buddy (the last two sound like “buh”) Go, Whoa, Ooh, Oh!, On, and my personal favorite (because you enunciate it so strongly) “WOW!” You like to be outside, nurse, dance, pretend to read books (complete with gibberish) and play with your siblings. You do not like cow’s milk so far, and love strawberries and ham. And probably a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting.

For your birthday party we are having a rainbow theme and serving spaghetti and garlic bread, two of your favorite meals!

I have really loved this last year. I just can’t verbalize what it has meant to me. I have loved getting to know you and nurse you and cuddle you and read and sing and dance with you, bathe you and comb your hair and worry over your owies and hope that you were okay and dream about your future. I will love to continue to do those things. I’ll even spend more midnights standing beside your crib shedding tears of joy and sadness, knowing that one day those tears will be shed over your bed the night before you leave for college, and I’ll love that too. Because life is precious. Even the hard moments that make us feel more than we want and grow more than we planned.

This blog was going to be a one year project. And it turned into a three year journey. And now I bid it farewell and lovingly sign off and move on to my regular family blog. I have learned so much about myself. I have gained so much much. It hasn’t always been easy or fun. But it has all been worth it.



Happy Birthday, Zach!

Zach is 21.  I can’t believe it. Because yesterday I was 21 myself.  Time plays tricks on you. I’m trying to be better at enjoying the minute I am in, because I can’t get it back again. Some minutes are easier than others.

Zach was born at 4:05pm.  I was watching Oprah and it was helping me concentrate.  Then it turned to Star Trek, so that last 5 minutes were pretty awful. (Of course, the ring of fire thing didn’t help!)

Anyway, Zach is a great kid. And man, of course.  I just appreciate him so much, and I don’t think I can express how. He changed me. He changed my life and made it better. I got my first glimpses of what pure love and joy look like. And he was so easy.  He is still easy. We’ve never had an argument. I won’t say he’s perfect, he’s not. He’s learned some important life lessons in the last couple of years but they’ve only strengthened him.

These are the last three pictures I have of him.  Look at him, willing to dye eggs, find a basket, and cuddle with his sister.  He’s so GOOD.  And I am grateful he is mine.


Happy Birthday Gabby!

I found this picture on Pinterest. She is so gorgeous! She has choir events tonight and tomorrow and didn’t want me to tag her saying, “Happy Birthday” to avoid choir members seeing it and making a big to-do. This is what I wrote instead:

“And also, that today is just an ordinary day. There is nothing special about this day. Super boring. In fact, Gabby just has an ordinary choir event tonight and only wants her choir friends to know that today is just an ordinary day, so please only wish her an ordinary day today, especially if you tag her. Seriously, or she’ll be mad at me.”

(Further down in the thread)

Nothing special happened at 8:57 PM on this day 19 years ago. Have a good and boring day, daughter!”

She messaged me and called me “subtle.”  I call it a win!


Funny Faces

This girl, I tell ya!

The last couple of days, THIS is the face she makes when I pull out my camera.  “Evil grimace”, “Look at my tonsils!”, and “Let me stick my tongue at you” ought to make for very pretty portraits when we take them next week.  That, and wandering around instead of staying put, will make for a very fun session!

But I’ll love every second of it. I love her sass and strong-mindedness! Love it!



Physical Therapy Update

Iris has been discharged from physical therapy!

She still has a slight head tilt *when looking down* so I am to continue her exercises and taping for another month. But the therapist thought there was no other additional information she could give me. The tilt is gone when looking straight ahead, to the right, and up. Yay!

This is especially good since we received the bill today.

OH MY GOSH! I had no idea physical therapy cost so much. And the aggravating thing is that she mostly watched her play.

We are grateful that the torticollis is resolved. It’s just the cheap part of me that thinks I really could have been given a list of things to do and get it done on my own, and had that money back again.  The not-so-cheap part of me is just grateful!

Happy Easter!

We dyed eggs on Friday night. ALL the kids were here, and that made me so very happy! On Saturday we went to the city egg hunt and the church egg hunt. On Sunday we looked for baskets and had a wonderful dinner. We said goodbye to Zach and brought Gabby back to her campus.

Iris had a lot of fun at the egg hunts. She loved to pick them up and just shake them. We convinced the kids to wait until 8am.  They did, but Iris was still sound asleep and it took another 30 minutes to wake up. I like her style!


Dylan’s Favorites

Dylan has a couple of favorite videos that he wants me to share on the blog.  The first is of Iris afraid of the Little People Christmas tree. (She was fine the next day.) The second is Iris eating spaghetti. I have to admit, it cracks me up too, and I am not sure why. It isn’t THAT funny!)

(Please note, the video is jumpy when I play it using Firefox, but plays fine in other browsers, at least from my computer. I have no idea why!)

Also, Iris got her 5th tooth yesterday. The upper left lateral incisor (thank you, Google!) A couple more are close as well. Thankfully, she is an easy teether. Just a bit of extra drool.)