Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Purple dresses from our friend Kittie's trip to Mexico.

Hopefully getting all of the silliness out BEFORE the actual wedding
Practice pom-pom bouquets
Don't worry, Ringbearer Nui recovered in time to entertain Mali all through dinner. With so many kids there, the banquet room at Papa Vino's looked more like Chuck E. Cheese!

Brinnly didn't seem to notice the other kids and was content to sit surrounded by a captive audience of adults at dinner.

If only I had taken pictures of the bruschetta...

Monday, July 26, 2010


Five on Monday

1) In the past eight days we have been to a funeral visitation, VBS, a family dinner, a bridesmaid luncheon, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding, and a first birthday party. Whoa.

2) It's a boy! Joshua Allen Wissing, age 30, joined our family as official brother-in-law on Saturday. Woo-hoo!

3) Brinnly read her first book "by heart" to Carrigan this morning. Carrigan loved hearing her favorite "Gossie" by her. She did REALLY well even though we haven't read it for a few days. I had no idea she had it memorized! It reminded me so much of Mali reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to Brinnly when she was about that age.

4) Two years ago this past weekend we moved to Grand Rapids. What a bittersweet time period! This past weekend made us especially glad to be so close to all of our family.

5) We have really good friends. Really good. Friends that travel for big events and send us fun packages in the mail and love our kids. Friends that are more generous than we could have imagined. Thank you--all of you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twelve Months Old

She stopped playing in her new princess chair long enough to pose for the final picture with Pooh. I have never seen a little girl love sitting (and standing and climbing) on chairs so much! Her big sisters suggested that she try eating lunch in it with them and she was SO proud to be such a big girl.

This has been quite a week for Miss Carri-Grace. The bigger girls and I have headed to VBS each evening so far, leaving Carrigan and Daddy at home together. They have loved their time reading books, tending the garden, and playing crawling hide-and-seek. She now sits frontward-facing in a big girl car seat and even used a fork and spoon at meals a few times. She still only has one tooth but her hair can occasionally hold in a barrette. All of a sudden she loves getting dressed and being "pretty". Good thing we have so many princess dress-up clothes here.

None of our kids have been particularly difficult babies (other stages have been a different story!) but Carrigan had an especially easy first year. She'll probably pay us back in some way in the future for that. She's still even-keel and generally sweet. Just keep that food coming at meal times and don't expect her to sign "more". She freely gives hugs, kisses, and waves and still says "Yay", "Mama" and "Dada". She adores her sisters but does need space from them. We expect her to take a few steps in the next few weeks.

Carrigan, you have filled our family with so much joy this past year. We love you Care-Bear!

***her onesise in the first picture does say "Cal"...our boy name for her that we never needed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One year ago...

One year ago yesterday I started the day with a scheduled midwife visit and a bag in the car. Our good friend Amanda was called in to watch the girls but I was getting impatient so I called my sister to be ready as back-up.

Our midwife, Amy, said she had been on-call all weekend and had expected to see me in the hospital then. Unfortunately. no. But she did an exam and sent me for an ultrasound (we had been monitoring the baby's growth for a while since a few sonograms showed she was was on the small side). The good news was, the baby looked great and there was no reason to induce. The bad news was, there was no reason to induce. Since Mali and and Brinnly were both induced labors, I was afraid I'd have to wait for another week or so, and THEN be induced.

But, baby "Sprinkles" as we called her back then, had a plan of her own. My contractions started very lightly even in the office but we were afraid that it was just a result of the exam. So I went home and waited, Aunt Kara arrived. Jonathan stayed at work so he could be home as much as possible when I really needed him.

During nap time I rested and then called the midwife to say my contractions were regular, but still light. She suggested a walk. I decided to walk around the block to say hi to my neighbor. By the time I made it there I realized I was in no shape to talk to anybody so I just walked home.

Jonathan's favorite part of the story: I then decided to go pick up his dry-cleaning. (Just trying to check things off the to-do list before the hospital!) I very clearly remember a contraction during the transaction. But on the way home, he called me and asked if I was in labor. I said that I thought so and was heading home. He then told me the drycleaners just called him to report that I had left all of the clothes there. So after a quick trip BACK to the cleaners, I was headed home.

That was our heads-up that something was really going to happen. Jonathan came home, we all ate dinner, and the midwife said to head in to the hospital. After quick good-bye kisses to the girls we were off to St. Mary's hospital as planned. However, an insurance confusion sent us instead over to Spectrum-Butterworth. (That's a story for another post..involving ineffective health care, unemployment and confusion). Yes, I transferred hospitals while in labor. In retrospect, we were thrilled with the care at Spectrum and glad everything worked out as it did. I do still have the slipper-socks from the one-hour stay at St. Mary's.

Triage determined that Sprinkles would be appearing that night. I was about 6 cm, fully effaced with regular contractions. Sandy, the other midwife met us there. Grandma Sandy arrived shortly after that. Grandma Deni did a few hours after that--her first time at the hospital for a granddaughter's birth! The epidural was matter-of-fact and we began to focus on passing the time. Once again, the Ryan family had supplied us with good laboring tunes. We still smile when we hear "I can tell that we are going to be friends" and "Littlest Bird".

Eventually. they broke my water and it was time to push. The grandmas graciously retreated to the waiting room. I remembered feeling terrified as both of my previous deliveries were difficult. But Sandy the midwife was so comforting and darkened the room making for a quiet and calm atmosphere. Jonathan, of course, was a pro and knew exactly what to say and do.

After about twenty minutes of manageable, controlled pushes, our third baby entered the world. Right into her daddy's arms (with a help from the midwife). 1:58 a.m. on July 21, 2010--only two hours after her due date! They placed her on my chest and we could see how strong and beautiful she way. "Another girl!" we announced. Seven pounds, two ounces. Little tufts of light blond hair and bright blue eyes made her look similar to her sisters but yet unique.

We had entered the hospital with a list of 10 or so names starting with "C" but during labor we had decided the name would be Carrigan for a girl. Carrigan Grace for her great-great aunt Grace was perfect.

We sang her the same welcome songs that we greeted Amalia and Brinnly with when they were born and doted on her for quite some time. The grandmas were then allowed in to meet her and the next day the proud big sisters came to the hospital too for a joyful visit.

Were we hoping for a boy? We hear that question often. Thankfully, life doesn't allow for checking off either the "boy" or "girl" preference box. As soon as we met her any thought of boy vs. girl left our mind. All we wanted was our Carrigan. Still do. We can't imagine it any better than our family of five with our three little girls.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July, the first part

We celebrated Mali's birthday belatedly with the Stevens. She was already dressed for the next holiday!

We made our second-annual appearance at the Alger Heights Bike Parade. Mali and Brinnly each one prizes in the tricycle category which we quickly redeemed for free ice cream cones that night.

We were also very fortunate to spend a day at Spring Lake on our friends' parents' boat. Beautiful! Mali loved every second of being in the water. Brinn, on the other hand, preferred to "drive". She was also perfectly happy to come back in and cuddle up for a few stories. Carrigan stayed back in the condo and made good use of the new toys there.
As if we hadn't had enough water fun for one weekend, we visited Kirk Park Beach on Monday, July 5th. We had planned on just staying home and finally focusing on a few home tasks that day but the weather got the best of us. It was a fantastic, small, family beach and we held our belated Father's Day celebration for Jonathan there and even picked up Arby's on the way for him. It was an absolutely perfect outing. So perfect, in fact, that we forgot to even take the camera out of the beach bag. Our sunburns will have to serve as the reminders of that day.