Her First Days

I will always look back on those first several days after Penelope's birth with such fondness, joy, and contentment.

The kids are absolutely adorable and sweet with their new baby sister. We waited until they arrived back at the house with Jon's parents to tell them that the baby was a girl! They walked into the room and we told them, "It's a girl!" Evie was excited and Mekonen said, "Ohh, I wanted a boy baby." Poor buddy. He thought he was going to have an immediate playmate upon baby's arrival. He then added, "But even Macy is a girl!" Haha. But, he laid eyes on that new baby sister and he was smitten. He is so, so incredibly good with her. Very tender and sweet. Always wanting to see her, hold her, and talks so calmly to her when she's crying. He is simply precious.

The kids meeting Penelope for the first time. 

 Grandma Magz and Boppy meeting Penelope Mae. 
I think my absolute favorite time was the late evening on the day she was born and the following day where Jon and I got to spend all that time alone together, at home, with just Penelope. It was truly one of the most special times of my life. We simply laid in bed most of the time, marveling at this new addition to our family. It was perfection. I wish there was a way to bottle it up and revisit it whenever we want. 
Those wonderful skin to skin newborn moments. 
Penelope's first bath. She was not a fan! 
 Ah, much better. 

Late afternoon that first day after she was born, we had our first visitor! One of my dearest friends Megan. 

The three of us spent some time trying to figure out Jon's cousin's camera and get some non-fuzzy pics of our girl. We weren't very successful, but we did have fun pretending we were photographers. Haha.

I've been asked so many questions about the ins and outs of homebirth, what I liked, what was difficult, etc. I would say that in its entirety it was a really great experience and it was really, really nice to enjoy those first 24 hours at home with Jon, by ourselves. However, the most difficult part of homebirth was not having the kind of help you get in the hospital. I had just had a baby, was incredibly sore, and incredibly exhausted, but the reality is, that as soon as my kids were dropped back home it was Mommy go time whether I could handle it or not. Jon was only able to take Monday off and so we were very, very thankful that I went into labor and had her on the weekend (which we had really been praying for)! The most difficult thing was not having all day help or care, whereas at the hospital, you could literally sit in your bed and rest for a couple of days, which really is what is needed. So if you have a super helpful Mom who lives close to spend those days with you and your family, helping out not only with the kids, but household stuff that Moms do like laundry, feeding your kids, cleaning, dishes, etc., it can make for a rough few days since even standing up made me quite dizzy. I simply could not wait for my Mom to get here all the way from PA. Every day that first week Jon sweetly said, "Just hang in there. Your Mom will be here really soon." And praise the Lord, she arrived that Friday and took over for me. Oh bless her heart. She's the most servant hearted person that I know. (Their visit post to come soon)! We were also incredibly blessed by many people in our church who brought meals over for us! What a relief to not have to worry about cooking! We were so blessed by them! So that's what I would say is the downfall to the homebirth, unless you have someone to care for you during the first few days so you don't have to be getting up and down. If that's a blessing you are privileged to have, then homebirth is amazing all around. 

Monday evening, Jon's mom brought the kids back home and we got to have a little birthday party for Penelope. The kids could not wait for this and had been talking about it for weeks before the baby was even here. I think they just wanted an excuse to eat cake and Evie kept saying how she would help the baby open his/her gifts. Haha. It looks like we've started a new fun tradition for our family in having a birthday party when baby is born. Grandma Magz made the cake and we bought a number zero candle, which the kids thought was hilarious. We bought Penelope her first stuffed animal and the sweetest book called "On the Night You Were Born."

He is just so precious with her. 
in awe.
 Happy birthday Penelope! 
And our first family of five photo. 
(Please ignore my hair. Apparently, I didn't brush it. haha).
Reading Penelope her first story. "On the Night You Were Born." 
(And note Evie stuffing the pacifier in her mouth). 
 Evie insisted on getting her bed ready that night and proceeded to fill it with books, stuffed animals, and blankies, just like her bed. (Don't worry, we didn't let her sleep like this. Just put her in there for Evie's sake). 
Some of my favorite new baby memories- had this with all three of them. First storytime reading about Jesus with Daddy.

And life as a family of five begins...


Her Name

We have had numerous questions about our little lady's name, so here's the post with all the details! We are very particular about our names in the sense that we want them to have meaning, heritage, and significance. Throughout Biblical history, and history itself, most people named their children a specific name based on its meaning or its attachment to something significant. No, we don't believe there's some mystical, spiritual thing behind it, we just wanted our children's names to be chosen with meaning behind it thats more than, "We just like it." 

Our little lady's full name is:
Penelope Mae Oren
We tossed around name after name if Baby O. was a girl, and Penelope stayed at the top of the list pretty much the entire time. The only other name we seriously considered was Mercy and you can read about that here in her birth story.

Where did her name come from? 

Penelope is named after my super sweet and endearing Grandma Penny, my Dad's mom. I was so immensely giddy to name a daughter after her that I was hoping and praying Baby O. was a girl. You hear all the time that people "grow into their name" and "live up to their name sake." We are hoping Miss Penelope grows up into the sweet, kind disposition of her Great Grandma Penny. Oh how happy I am to have a daughter named Penelope. 

Here's a picture of my Grandma Penny and me last summer. How adorable is she?!?! She is one rockin' Grandma who in her 80's, still works out at Curves 3 times a week. And, she has the sweetest, most adorable Boston accent ever! 
Mae was not chosen for its rhyming with Rae, which is Evie's middle name. That was one of my hesitations...are we going to have to come with similar middle names for every subsequent girl we have now that our first two are Rae and Mae? Or, are we going to have to endure that same question for the rest of our lives...."Oh did you want them all to rhyme?" But it is kind of cute, especially if we only ever have two girls. But we chose Mae because it is the middle name of Jon's Grandma Nellie, also his Dad's mom. Jon has never met his Grandma Nellie, as she and his Grandfather died in a plane crash before he was born. We have had the privilege over the last couple of years to hear more and more about his Grandparents. We have such a love for the Oren extended family and were very excited to honor the legacy of his Grandparents by naming our daughter after her Great-Grandma Nellie. 

What about a nickname? 
This is the question we get asked the most! We are not officially calling Penelope by a nickname, but using her full name "Penelope." We just really like the whole name. Yes, I know, it's soooooo long, as many of you have said, but, we know you can do it! Besides, it's easier for a girl to rock a long syllable name than it is a boy, and the name Mekonen has stuck solid. 

I'm sure you've heard us refer to her personally as Pip or Pippi, but we're going to have to tell you that that's just a family pet nickname given to her by her Daddy, so please don't be offended if we correct you. :) haha. The other name you might hear is Poppy which is what my sister has called her. But sorry again, it's an endearing family nickname, not a public one. :) 

Yes, we realize that it's a long name, and somewhere down the line it may get shortened, so we wanted to make sure we were the ones to choose the public nickname. If that ever were to happen, the nickname we have chosen is Nell

We are also fully aware that the entirety of these last three paragraphs can change at any point and she gets called something completely different than we planned. 
But for now, she is simply....Penelope


Her Story

On a Sunday in the Spring of '14, Penelope Mae was born.
Each of us has our own unique story...a story written by the Creator Himself, even before time began. We are not here on earth as a random, nameless, faceless part of humanity, but we are we here as part of something more grand than we could ever fathom. We were made uniquely and personally by God Himself and were made to fit perfectly into a story that is much greater than ourselves.

I love the stories of my children. All 3 of them have come into this world under very different circumstances, different places in time, and different seasons of life.

Mekonen's story is one of God's goodness. 
Evie's story is one of God's faithfulness.
Penelope's story is one of God's mercy. 
There are many moments and places in life where we find ourselves stopping and thinking, "I never thought I'd be here." Sometimes this is in a positive sense, and sometimes in a negative sense. This third blessing is one of those positives. One of those "wow moments" where we both laid eyes on our precious third child for the very first time and simply cried. Tears of overwhelming joy, tears of gratitude, tears of two people and one small family being the main characters in a story of such intense mercy and favor from God. I never imagined we would be here, at this time, in this place, basking in the passionate pursuit of a loving and compassionate God.

We almost named her Mercy.

I cannot listen to the song Blessings by Laura Story without tears streaming down my face. "What if your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears. What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near....What if the trials of this life, are Your mercies in disguise."

His mercy. Our story. Her story.

The addition of Penelope Mae represents so very much, so much more than just adding a child to a family, and for that, words fail to describe our thankfulness.
So without further ado, what many of you have asked for... The birth story!

I've been asked a hundred times about the specifics of little Miss Penelope's birth, because in the circles we run in, our birth was not your average birth in your average place. Our sweet baby girl was born right here at home, welcomed by Mommy and Daddy in a place that represents so much to us. And yes, this was on purpose!

That's usually the first question that came back in the hundreds of text messages that went back and forth during the first few days after she was born..... "WHAT?!?!?!?!?! HOW?!?!??! Was it on PURPOSE?!?!?!" I have to say, one of my favorite responses came from my friend Amanda. I was laughing so hard my entire already very sore body, was doubled over in pain. She had asked me a series of questions, one in which was "was it able to be VBAC?" I replied, "Yes, it was a VBAC because c-sections don't happen at home." This is what she sent back, "My actual face right now." hahaha!!!

We kept our choice of a homebirth to ourselves for many reasons, most of which revolve around the negative stigma of homebirth. And I will say, a lot of homebirths aren't safe, aren't done well, and aren't run by the right kind of professional and educated staff that they should be. So in one sense, we agree, homebirth is crazy, if you are with the wrong care providers. But this simply was not the case for us! We used an amazing, fully staffed, and fully medically certified midwifery team out of Indianapolis called Believe Midwifery. I never in a million years imagined I would be okay with having a homebirth. (And if you know me and my worry-wort self, you would be just as shocked about this as I was)!

If you also know us, you know that we don't do many things without a lot of research, weighing options, and choosing what we feel is best. One of the greatest things about this midwifery group is that they are evidence based care, which means they don't have insurance and hospital policies running your care and delivery, it's purely evidence and scientific based care. So if possible, breath a sigh of relief, knowing we were in excellent hands. I had better prenatal care with our midwife than I've had with any doctor (and I switched twice during this pregnancy before choosing homebirth). Our midwife provided all the standard of care in pregnancy and went beyond that. She was wonderful! Not to mention, the 4 to 1 ratio of constant care and attention during the entire labor and delivery was above and beyond. The monitoring was top notch and their emergency care abilities were astonishing. I had no idea the kinds of things the right homebirth provider can do. So again, if possible, breath a sigh relief, as we were not here at home, with a backwoods midwife who came over in a calico print skirt with hair down to her rear to deliver our baby simply because she had a few herself. :)

My due date was April 6th, and little munchkin arrived right on her due date, just like her big sister Evie. What are the odds!?!?! Crazy, right? It's something like only 3% of babies are born on their due dates, and so far, we are 2 for 2 with our bio babies arriving RIGHT on time.

Friday, April 4th, I wasn't feeling well most of the day. Kind of nauseous, kind of sick to my stomach feeling. Basically the same way I felt with Evie the day or two before she was born. Jon and I went out to dinner at Outback together, without the kids, and I was uncomfortable most of the time, having contractions on and off, but nothing super substantial, and I honestly wasn't even really sure if they were contractions. I was also exhausted. I was so uncomfortable, we basically just ended up eating quick and going back and getting the kids from Grandma's before heading home. We got home, Jon put the kids to bed, and continued working on some projects he had going in the house, and I plopped down on the couch and relaxed, watched TV, and then we eventually went to bed.

I don't remember much about what we did on Saturday, April 5th, but I did write this status on Facebook. "We've just arrived at the point where we can sleep in on Saturday mornings and our kids can get up and turn on the TV and still be alive when we get up. And then we decide to add a newborn to the mix very soon. Oh the circle of life." Little did I know "very soon" would mean, the next

Around 7pm, we were sitting at the table, finishing up pancakes for dinner (the kids favorite)!  I didn't have a big appetite and felt a bit queasy trying to force myself to eat some dinner. Same thing happened with Evie when we were eating lunch at Costco the day my water broke with her. So we are sitting there, chilling out, and all of a sudden I heard and felt that infamous "pop" sound, and a slight, super miniature "gush" happened just like with Evie, except much much less. So much so that I wasn't quite sure if it was my water, but I definitely knew it was the start of something. I just didn't know how quickly "the start" would get moving. I told Jon, and we immediately went into "get house ready mode." There's nothing like having an entire birth team at your home to motivate you to get your house in order and keep it clean pretty much every day for the last couple weeks "just in case" today was the day.

I set about packing the kids bags to go to Grandma's (still unsure if we would send them right then, or if we put them to bed and see what labor brought, since we had no idea how long this whole thing would be). I was having mild contractions off and on, but nothing real consistent at first. Jon gave the kids a bath while I continued to pick things up, and make sure stuff was in order if this was really it. I started texting back and forth with Heather, a good friend we told about the homebirth as I had attended her homebirth with the same team, almost two years ago. She was an amazing help and support person throughout the entire pregnancy and world of homebirth advice. After we got the kids settled in bed, I called Penny, our midwife, around 10pm, and told her what was going on. She said, "could be labor starting now, could be signs labor is coming soon." Then she basically told me to wait it out a bit, try to get some sleep, and call her if it picks up steadily. So at this point, I was kind of still in denial it was happening, and also still wasn't sure.

I began timing contractions around this point and they were fluctuating between 4-5 minutes apart. I still was not entirely convinced this was happening, and my labor with Evie was so different in that the only stuff I really physically remember was when I was on pitocin, so I had nothing to compare it to. Heather was a tad concerned that because my level of what I knew to be labor (which was on pitocin) was not normal, that I might wait too long, waiting for it to be really bad to call and Daddy might end up delivering. (Funny as that sounds, they actually made sure in weeks prior Jon was aware of what to do if that was the case. Yikes! Can you imagine?!?!).

I took some Benadryl and tried to sleep. Um yeah, no way that was happening. I still wasn't quite sure how long this was going to be, is this it, etc. I didn't want to be the false alarm girl, so I refrained from letting anyone know I thought I was in labor. I got out of bed and got into the spa. We had a 6 foot spa for labor and delivery and it was amazing. Definitely a good source of pain relief. I got in the spa around 11pm or 12am, and actually watched an episode of Dance Moms while trying to relax through contractions, that again, were consistent, but I still wasn't sure how long this would be (like am I only 1 cm and being dramatic about this?) After that episode, I was no longer able to really watch TV and do this thing, so I shut it off and spent the next couple hours in the spa, concentrating on contractions. I told Jon to try and get some sleep because I would be needing him soon. He laid down for a bit, but was up and down, checking on me, and doing things here and there. Finally, around 2:15am, I called out to Jon who was sleeping on the couch and told him he needs to call Penny. He called and told her he thinks they need to head out this way. And within minutes, they were off!
It went from tolerable to intolerable in a matter of minutes, and so I absolutely knew this was it. By the time I knew this, I wasn't even able to text or call anyone to let them know baby was on its way, except a quick text out to my mom and sisters. Naomi, a birth assistant was the first one here, and I was so relieved to see someone. She quickly saw that I was having super bad back pain and started counter pressure. As soon as she heard me say, "I feel like I'm going to throw up" she called Penny (because apparently that means you are in active labor, 2nd stage, and baby could come quick at this point). Penny said to get out of the tub to slow it down as she didn't want baby arriving before her. I was at the point where moving sounded like the worst idea ever and I was quite annoyed at this idea. It took me what felt like an eternity to get from the baby's room where the spa was, to our bedroom, which is the room right next to it. I labored there for awhile and ended up back in the spa by the time the rest of the birth team arrived. I was so relived to see them. Naomi and Megan, two of the birth assistants, switched back and forth for hours doing counter pressure on my back. Jon stepped in a few times and I said, "Ok, you're bad at that. I need one of the girls." Haha. Poor Jon. He didn't take offense. :) I also got very annoyed at the monitoring a few times, and even refused one of the assistants checking my blood sugar with a, "Just stop touching me." Haha. So not my personality.
Sometime in the early morning around 8 or 9 maybe, the back labor was so awful from my little sunny side up Penelope, I honestly thought I might die from the pain. I never understood why people used the word "intense" when describing labor. It's like a weird, mystical version of trying to convince yourself that you aren't about to die from the brutality happening to your body. At one point, I cursed Eve from the garden of Eden, and at another point, I all out just cussed. I'm sure it was comical. I'm sure they've heard worse. For the most part, I was able to stay in control, and on top of it, but there were definitely moments of panic in terms of pain, but luckily being able to even vocalize "I'm losing it here" and "I'm so exhausted" was helpful mentally to know where I was, and where I needed to get back to. Around this time, Penny got me out of the tub to see how far dilated I was, see how things were going, etc. At first I refused to move, because I physically could not even fathom getting up, but we finally got to our room, and I was fully dilated. I think that was the biggest relief of all....it was my first check the entire labor, and I cannot recommend enough to laboring moms to stay clear of dilation checks as they really can mess with your head. I remember not wanting her to even check me because I didn't want discouraging news. I kept thinking to myself, "If she even says that I'm only 4cm, I honestly think I'm going to pass out." But to my surprise, she said 10cm and I was so relieved mentally, but in the worst pain physically. And as it turns out, my water had not really broken the night before. Maybe a slight leak, but it was not broken.

They decided to give me some sterile water injections in my lower back which supposedly helps relieve back labor pain. Let me tell you, I'm never doing that again. Those injections hurt worse than actually pushing the baby out. It was the one time, I literally started bawling and just couldn't fathom this entire thing ending.

At this point, I was begging her to break my water. It's something they rarely, rarely do, and have even had babies born in their amniotic sac. Wow that would've been crazy. She agreed to break my water, hoping that it would speed up the urge to push and all that. It took her several attempts to actually break my water because the bag was so strong, which apparently is a really good thing. When my water actually fully broke it was the weirdest feeling ever, and I actually felt the baby physically drop down hard.

I got back into the spa for about another hour or so. I knew I was 10cm, was still having painful contractions, but really no urge to push. Anytime I pushed I felt nothing, no progress. Part of this was probably her positioning as it's much more difficult to get a sunny side up baby down under the pubic bone. The water injections helped a little, but not enough to warrant ever wanting to try them again. Penny wanted me to get out of the water to see if that would help my body feel what was going on, etc. This was when things suddenly changed. We loosely planned on birthing in the water, but I didn't care either way how or where the baby came out, so getting out of the water wasn't a big deal to me.

This was the complete turning point and it felt like a whirlwind from there. I ended up in a sitting position and could finally feel the pushing. I have honestly never worked so hard in my entire life. Once I felt her head with my hand, I was determined more than ever to get this baby out. 28 minutes of pushing total, and she finally came out! She turned at some point during this time from sunny-side up, but the midwife wasn't exactly sure when seeing as though she literally spiraled herself out, doing a complete 360 spin. Holy moly, craziest feeling ever to have your kid come flying out of you. At this point, I was on my back and waiting to hear her cry. She was perfect! Daddy was bawling his eyes out and I kept asking, "Is it a girl?!?!" "Is it a girl?!?!" Through his sobbing Jon finally said yes, and they laid her on top of me, and we both cried. Oh this tiny girl, represents so much to us. The midwives don't cut the cord until it stops pulsing, so we laid for a bit while Penelope tried to figure out what in the world just happened to her. Haha. The baby's cord is not quite as long as you would think, so she was only able to lay right across the middle of my belly, which made it difficult to see her, but the first thing I noticed was of course her full head of hair, and her gorgeous, kisssable pouty lips, just like her big Sis.
 First snuggles with Daddy. 
 She was staring right at his face. 
For the next several hours, the midwife team was doing all their stuff with me and the baby. I was quite impressed with how quickly they moved, how efficient they were, and how everybody had their own specific jobs they were tending to. It was amazing. I ended up having an IV run because I was just so exhausted and feeling pretty light-headed from the long, hard working labor. After the IV I started to feel much better. They waited about 3 hours before weighing and measuring her, which was great because I got to snuggle her for the first 3 hours before anyone took her out of my arms. 

Head midwife Dr. Penny Lane.
(We had boy and girl things ready at the birth since we didn't know gender. Somehow she ended up wrapped up in the boy blankets. Haha). 

 She apparently didn't appreciate being weighed. 
She was born at 11:11am on Sunday, April 6, 2014. 
She weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz, and was 20 inches long. 
We named her Penelope Mae. 

I cannot speak highly enough of the excellent care we received. The medical attention to me and Penelope, and even just general care, was amazing. They did all of our laundry (even the stuff in the hampers!), folded it, cleaned our bathrooms, kitchen, and living area. Washed our dishes, and picked things up. They left our house completely spotless. The after care of delivering was the same as a hospital stay in that they returned to the house to check on me and Penelope and were on top of things for the next three days like in a hospital. It was a great. (And yes, the midwife is medically qualified to do medical infant exams, etc. We had everything done that is done in the hospital). 

So, there you have it! The story of Miss Penelope's birth. One I never in a million years dreamed of doing at home.  I'm still not at the point yet where I'm saying, "Yes, let's do this again!" (not specifically homebirth, but birthing another baby in general). I kept saying, "We are done. We are adopting from here on out!" But then again, I said the same thing after Evie. So I guess we'll wait and see.


The 39 Week Baby Belly

Baby is still cooking at 39 weeks and 5 days! If this baby follows suit with big sister Evie, he/she will be born on Sunday, April 6th! But I've learned a lot of things in pregnancy and delivery and one of them is that labor and delivery have a mind of their own! So who really knows when Baby O. is going to show up and decide, "Hey, today's a good day for a birthday!" It's kind of fun thinking which day his/her birthday might be. I'm to the point now where I make sure the house is picked up and relatively clean every night before we go to bed "just in case." Hopefully I don't go crazy long like 42+ weeks because that's a lot of nights going to bed with "what if it's tonight!" Every pregnant mom seems to tell themselves they won't think that, but truth of the matter is that you do! I'm surprisingly not very uncomfortable and not in that "get this baby out of me I'm tired of being pregnant," I am just so excited to meet this baby and see who God has added to this family...a boy, or a girl!

My belly is shaped like a literal torpedo. My friend Katie laughs about it all the time. It is a very odd and unusual shape. My belly with Evie looked the same way. Girl maybe? 
 My belly button sticks out so far these days. It's hysterical. Evie always pokes it and you can see it through my shirt a mile away! 
Baby O's birthday party is ready to go. The kids insisted the baby needed a cake and presents on his/her birthday. Evie informed me that she would help the baby open the presents. (I'm thinking they just want cake and presents more than a celebration of their new baby brother or sister. haha). Looks like we have a new tradition. They thought the zero candle was hilarious. 

I don't know if this happens to just me, but I do get sentimental for the "family" as we know it changing every time a child is added. This might sound terrible, but let me try and explain. When it was just Jon and I, I remember being a little sad that "just us" was ending. Then we had Mekonen and our little family was one of three and I was simply overjoyed with this little boy and our little family of three.

I remember before Evie was born, feeling sad that our family as we knew it was going to change drastically and how was this next baby going to fit in? And it did change. And it was just as awesome as when we added Mekonen.

But this time, changing our "family as we know it" has that normal "sad" feeling, but also carries a much deeper and significant change for us, and it can become quite emotional in many ways just thinking about it. We've been relishing in these last days with our "family of four" status looking back on the creation of this family and we are in awe. With humility and an overwhelming understanding of God's grace we stop and think to ourselves, "We can't believe we are here." We've walked some crazy roads together the last three years and there's something deeply rooted between our hearts that couldn't have been made any other way. This group of four has a tenacity and fight to it that you will have difficulty finding anywhere else. The season of "family of four" will forever hold a deep, emotional place in our life. It's where life really began and where God's mercies, for the first time, were really understood.
Adding a child to this family represents so very much.
We are so thankful to be here. 
So thankful. 


Happy 3rd Birthday Evie!

My sweet, first born baby girl....you turned 3 years old on March 28th! How is this possible? I can't believe all that has gone on in the last 3 years and all that you have become. You are such a joy to us! If I'm honest, there's a part of my heart that is a bit sad that in just a very short time, you will no longer be the baby of the family, but a big sister!

3 years old
March 28, 2014

Here are some of the snapshots of memories forever engrained in my head from the day you were born. I remember them so vividly.

As soon as they held you up, the first thing I noticed were those lips! They are so kissable! This exact glimpse of you is one I will remember always. 
 I will never forget this cone head. Proof of an intense, very long labor, where you were completely stuck. 
One of my favorites!!! That first moment I got to snuggle you hands and arms free. I couldn't believe how tiny you were, and how perfect your little features were. Especially those lips! :) 

You accomplished many firsts and milestones going from 2 years to 3 years. It's crazy looking back 
seeing how much you have grown. 

1. Potty trained! You were potty trained right around 2 years and 2 months and you did great! I was utterly shocked at how quickly you caught on and how it stayed! You had lots of pee accidents the entire first morning, but ended the morning pooping on the potty for the first time, and went to bed for a nap. After you woke up, you were fine from then on! Crazy. (I know, I know, the mom who writes about her kids bathroom habits. But hey, it's for the "family record keeping" a.k.a. blog).

Teaching your Care Bear how to go potty first. 
2. Right at 2 years we switched you to your new big girl bed when we moved into our new house. You were quite anxious about it the first few nights and cried and cried. But after that you did great and absolutely loved your new room.
3. First trip to the dentist. You are our feisty, dramatic girl, who can go from sweet to crazy in a matter of seconds, so a successful 1st dentist trip was quite an amazing thing.

4. You finally found some confidence in the water with your floatie and learned to float around, jump in, and have the time of your life without being attached to someone's body!

5. You learned how to peddle a tricycle.
6. First trip to Disney World and meeting Cinderella.
7. First trip to the beach. You absolutely LOVED it. 

Sweet things that make you, YOU!
1. You are a nurturer at heart and absolutely LOVE babies. The extent of this love is a whole other blog post because it is that all consuming. But boy is it super fun to watch. We can't wait to watch you be a big sister!
2. You are feisty! We always assumed because we had an outgoing and verbal first born with your brother Mekonen, that you, our second, would be much more calm, cool, and collected. Boy were we wrong! You definitely have a mind and will of your own, and make no bones about it too! You have your opinions and share them quite confidently with anyone who is around. This my dear, can be a vice, and a virtue! :)
3. Tender at heart. Although you are feisty and dramatic, you have a very tender spirit, respond well to correction, and do like to be snuggled and loved on, especially by your Daddy (although with baby's arrival coming up, you've been much more clingy to Mommy lately, which truthfully, I don't mind at all).
4. You are still obsessed with your blankies!

Things to remember about this age.
1. You are all about princesses, which is funny, because we haven't purposefully pushed the "princess" thing much, but your little heart gravitates towards it. We think it's the God-given desire that is placed within the heart of his daughters to be loved and cherished. She doesn't even see the princess thing as a princess and her loving prince. All princes are "Daddies," which is one of the cutest things ever. Your favorite movie is Cinderella and you think the Prince is Cinderella's Daddy. That's fine with us if the only relationships you see boys and girls with is a Daddy and his little girl. :) When we went to Disney on Ice you said about every princess that came on the ice, "Where's her Dad?" (a.k.a. the prince). You've also recently been stating, "Mommy, I'm a princess of the King!" When I asked you who the King was you told me, "Jesus!" I have no recollection of telling you this. We talk about Jesus as King all the time, so I'm assuming you put those two things together. Too cute.
Every single day, you put on some sort of dress to be like a princess and you love to be spun around.
"Spin me Daddy! I'm dressed like a princess!"

2. Some funny phrases you've said lately include:
- Daddy likes to make up silly words, phrases, and names. He often calls you "Eve Bo Beve." You now respond by calling him, "Dad bo Dad, bo Steve, bo Dad." You came up with that rhyming all by yourself!
- You often mix up the first letters of words. "Poilet taper," "Poll molish" (nail polish).
- You say "I'm tending" for "I'm pretending."
- You don't particularly like being corrected. Once when Daddy corrected you on something you said very seriously, "Dad, be nice to me." As funny as that was at the time, it will not fly in this house little one!
- Whenever you bump your head you say, "Oh my poor head." Whenever you reference your head in almost any manner it's called your "poor head," not just your head.

Since your new brother or sister is due to arrive soon, we celebrated your 3rd birthday a little early with your requested Cinderella party.
 I made the decorations with my new Cricut machine. I absolutely love doing stuff like this! So fun. 

 The birthday girl's special spot. 
 I breathed a huge sigh of relief when my cake actually worked! Phew!!!! You were very concerned about the fact that your Cinderella doll had frosting on her bottom. Haha! 
 You could not wait to open your presents. 
For weeks you've been talking about a Cinderella birthday card for your birthday. Good thing I found one, and bonus, it had the #3 on it.
A Cinderella book. After bravely asking the librarian yourself if there were any Cinderella books, you sadly found out they were all checked out. With big huge tears welling up in your eyes, and trying not to cry, you looked at the lady and said, "Okay" with your little trembling voice. It was very sad. We got you a Cinderella book and you were ecstatic.
 Your all-time favorite present. A baby carseat from Mommy and Daddy for your babies! 
 Oh these two.
 Tradition- birthday child with Mommy and Daddy picture
 The Fam.