Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Mama Kangaroo
Halloween was a lot of fun this year! We've been talking about trick or treating since September. We checked out books from the library and practiced what we'd do after knocking on people's doors. I got Spencer's costume in September, but he was afraid of it! So we spent a lot of time talking about the kangaroo costume and kangaroos in general. We were very pleased today when he put the costume on willingly and jumped around like a kangaroo. Ashton didn't seem to mind his bumblebee costume. It was nice and warm.

First time trick or treating.
We went trick or treating to friends and family's offices this afternoon. And then tonight we went to about ten houses in our neighborhood. Spencer loved it! He was very interested in all the "people" out and about. He never did manage to say "trick or treat" or "Happy Halloween" or even "thank you." But he had a great time. When we got home, Spenc helped us hand out candy to a few trick or treaters before he headed to bed (on a sugar high decline!).

We also managed to do a Halloween project last week. We made stained glass window pumpkins by painting on coffee filters and then spraying them with water. Spencer very much enjoyed spraying the coffee filters. Afterwards he was still in a project mood, so he painted and colored some more.

Here are the big bro/little bro shirts I ordered online.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Introducing Ashton John.....

Waiting to dilate to 10 cm.
Energy booster. Cheers!
It was two days past my due date when my water broke. Now it wasn't anything like you see in the movies where water comes gushing out in a big puddle. One minute I was laughing really hard at a funny part in a movie, the next we are rushing around getting the last minute stuff ready to go to the hospital. Handing Spencer over to Grandma Amy was a little bittersweet. I knew it was the last time he'd be my baby.

Ant Hopey.
Ant She-She.
My sisters, Hope and Sheila, drove here to be in the delivery room again. They were with us during the birth of Spencer and I very much wanted them with us again. Sheila documented every single step and I'll share as many of the appropriate pictures as I can.

Saving my energy.
This birthing experience was the complete opposite of Spencer's. Spencer's was chaotic and a bit stressful. He took his sweet, precious time laboring down, I was sick to my stomach, Spencer's heart rate dropped every time I pushed, the doctor used a vacuum to suck him out, and I was one push away from a C-section. Spencer's delivery was 13 hours, with 2 hours of intense pushing; Ashton's was 7 1/2 hours, with the easiest half an hour of pushing. I literally got to see Ashton being born. I saw the full head of hair pop out, then one shoulder, followed by the next. It was the most calm and amazing experience! The doctor said I made it look easy, but with an epidural and an easy labor, it WAS easy.

Welcome, Baby Ashton!
Ashton John Mahlke was born October 23rd at 4:03 am (one minute sooner than Aunt Sheila predicted). He weighed 8 lbs, 7 oz and was 20 inches long. His size was a huge shock since I was pretty small and measured under at my prenatal appointments. It was a neat and different experience to be able to hold my baby immediately after birth since I wasn't able to do so with Spencer. I ate up Ashton's 10 very long fingers and toes and enjoyed holding the little creature that caused such a ruckus in our lives 9 months ago. It was an indescribable moment.

Big bro Spenc holding lil bro Ashton for first time.
Being home as a family of four has been amazing. It is still a bit tricky balancing my time and attention between a needy newborn and a toddler who is used to his mommy's complete attention. It helps having Dave here to occupy Spencer and allow me the precious one-on-one time with my new baby. Spencer really has taken to his little brother, though. He is always concerned about what he's doing and where he's at. He loves holding him and giving him kisses. He is also a great helper. He throws diapers away and brings me pillows and blankets. He even brought mommy and baby presents from the park the other day--some sticks!

Our new family of four.

Going home!

Wrinkly, dry newborn baby feet!

Growth pictures: Spencer, 2; Ashton 2 days old.

Spencer sharing his love of tractors.

First bath.

A rare awake moment.
I know there is a long road ahead of us adjusting to this new normal, but I am very excited to get into a new sort of routine with my family of four. Who knew you could love two kids as much as you did one!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


This week we focused on the letter E. We didn't have much time to devote to our letter projects, though, because Spencer was sick. Monday morning he woke up with a 100.4 temperature. He had cold-like symptoms for a while and diarrhea, but never a fever before that point. I stripped off his clothes and gave him a popsicle and some Tylenol to bring his temperature down before bringing him to Urgent Care. The diaper bag was already in the van from the day before, so I didn't bother to look in it. When we got to the clinic, I changed Spencer's poopy diaper. By the small size of the runny poop, I knew from experience there was more to come. The only problem was I only had one diaper. I was hoping and praying he'd wait until the appointment was over before he finished his business, but nothing in the world ever works that way, right? Sure enough, before we were called in to see the doctor, Spencer took the biggest, explosive diarrhea poop!! What was I to do since I didn't have another diaper to change him? Luckily after explaining to the doctor my embarrassing predicament, he found a diaper for me. Lesson learned: when your kid has diarrhea, make sure you pack extra diapers!!! Turns out Spencer just has a virus that needs to work its way out. He has in the process gotten both mommy and daddy sick, too, though.

Our first letter project was learning about erasing. We used pencils to scribble on a piece of paper first. We drew lines and circles and polka dots and traced each other's hands (Spencer giggles because it tickles his fingers). Then we turned the pencils over to erase. Spencer wasn't a big fan of this, though. He preferred drawing over erasing. I cut out upper and lower case Es to make the flash card out of our pencil/eraser picture.

Ee photobook page.
We also learned that E is for Elmo. Spencer absolutely loves "Melmo." We don't watch much TV during the day. I don't even have it on for background noise. But he does get to watch Sesame Street at 8:00. And, yes, he does stand that close to the TV. For an Elmo project, I printed off templates of both Elmo and Big Bird and we glued/taped the pieces onto old toilet paper rolls.

Elmo and Big Bird are kissing.
Our final E activity was to explore our neighborhood. I carried a clipboard with a sheet of paper containing items we might see as we walked down our street. Then as we saw the items, I put a tally mark next to them on the paper. We saw a lot of basketball hoops, rocks, houses, boats and leaves.
(Doesn't he look like Ant Hopey here?)

I had my very last prenatal appointment today. It was a pretty good appointment since my doctor seems to be just as anxious as me to deliver this baby already!!! I am now dilated to 4 cm. He stripped my membranes again and said it should work this time since I am 40 weeks pregnant now (well, technically tomorrow). If for some reason I do not go into labor this weekend, though, I am scheduled for an induction on Tuesday. It is a relief and exciting to know there is an end date now. I can breathe a little easier. I'm very much hoping the little guy will come on his own, but I'm OK with being induced if it comes to that. Dave starts his 2 week paternity leave on Monday. It's all so real now!! I'm having this baby SOON!!!

My friend Tara took this maternity picture.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This week I really wanted to enjoy the nice fall weather before it turns into icky winter weather. I especially wanted to work in some Halloween-themed projects now in case I don't have time once the baby comes. I tried working these things into the letter D.

We first decorated pumpkins by painting them outside. I tried posing Spencer next to our beautiful artwork, but it is hard to get him to sit still for a picture these days.

Next we made Drawing Dough by mixing some flour, water, salt and paint. Spencer had fun mixing the paint into the separate color dishes. He used spoons to paint onto a piece of cardboard. Once this dried, I cut out the Ds for the Dd flashcard.

Dd flashcard.

We also learned that D is for Daddy.
Dd photobook.

We enjoyed the nice fall day outside playing in the leaves as well.

I had my weekly prenatal doctor appointment today and discovered I am now dilated to 3 cm! I asked the doctor if he would strip my membranes, which he did, after explaining he will be out of town this weekend. Since stripping my membranes could start my labor within a day or two, I am a little bummed my normal doctor would probably not be the one delivering my baby. Fortunately, I do like the other doctor, though. I am just ready to have this baby and wanted to take whatever measures available to me to hurry this process along! I'm not sleeping well because I can't get comfortable. I end up tossing and turning all night long. Not to mention my frequent trips to the bathroom! At least my rib pain has eased up a bit since the baby has labored down in preparation for the birth. 

Speaking of preparations, we are all organized on our end. Bags packed. Car seat installed. Baby's room set up. Baby gear out. Plans A-Z on what to do once I do go into labor ironed out. It was easier last time for two reasons: (A) I lived in the same town as my hospital and (B) I didn't have another kid to consider. Now it depends on when I go into labor what we do with Spencer. I'm crossing my fingers we won't be waiting too much longer!!!

On a side note: I have ankles again!! The swelling gradually went down. And I didn't gain a single pound since last week, which is a huge improvement over gaining 4 pounds last week.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cc what a great husband I have

Prom 1999.
Homecoming week 1998.
This has been a very long week. Physically and mentally exhausting. Early Monday morning my childhood best friend lost her battle with cancer. It was something we all knew was coming, yet it didn't make the actual event of her death any easier to handle. She was 29 years old and had a lot of life left to live. She recently celebrated her son's 4th birthday in the nursing home where she spent her last days.

Wednesday after my doctor appointment I headed back home for the wake and funeral. Dave took off work to stay home with Spencer. He said it's hard work being a stay at home dad and had to go to bed early. Although it was hard saying good-bye to Annie, it was good to see so many old friends and family, and to share our memories of Annie. It took a toll on my body physically, though, and I now have no ankles. I am very swollen and uncomfortable and very ready to have this baby.
Halloween 1998.

To keep myself busy prior to the funeral, Spencer and I still lead our normal lives, including the letter activities. To start off the letter C, we took a field trip to a Corn Maze. Spencer got to pet some animals at the petting zoo, watch pigs race, go on a hayride and ride in a wagon as we tried to navigate the "small" corn maze. Luckily, we ran into some nice workers and they guided us out of the maze. Who knows how long we would have been wandering around in the corn field otherwise. Neither my husband or I are very good at maps.

Spencer colored with Crayons to make the Cc flashcard.
We also made cars out of toilet paper rolls. First Spenc painted the toilet paper rolls. Once they dried, I cut out a hole in the top for the cockpit and then added the wheels.

Our final project was to make a numbers photobook to help with counting. I took pictures of his stuff and Spenc had fun helping me print them off and add them to the photo album.

While I was gone, Dave did a project with Spencer, too. He came up with the idea all by himself to make a caterpillar out of paper plates. First Spencer colored on them with markers. Then Dave cut out the circles and Spencer helped glue them onto a sheet of paper. Dave said he was very crazy with the glue stick.

Besides doing a letter project, Dave kept Spencer very busy. They went to the park a few times and threw rocks into the river. But Spencer's very favorite activity was when daddy brought him to see the tractors at the implement store. The workers let Spencer sit in the tractors and even start a combine. They were nice enough to give him a few catalogs to take home, too. Dave said that Spencer spent a long time looking through the catalogs, pointing and saying "big tractor, little tractor." He also got to see the field across the street being combined. Every time the farmer came by, Spencer would wave really big and the farmer would wave back. The kid is obsessed with tractors!

When Spencer was whining this morning before school, Dave was quick to point out that Spencer didn't whine the entire time I was gone. Who would be crabby when you're spoiled by daddy? I put Spenc in a timeout and informed him Boring Mommy is back. ;)

As I said earlier, I had a doctor appointment on Wednesday morning. I have not progressed any further than last week. I am still dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced. I was slightly relieved to hear this since I was concerned about going into labor while I was away from my doctor and hospital and husband. I also learned I gained 4 pounds in one week!! I know I've been eating a lot lately, but that's a lot of weight to gain in one week!! I'm hoping to have this baby within the next week, but I have a feeling the little guy is pretty comfy in the Mommy Hotel and it could be a while yet.