Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time to Carve!

It's my favorite time of year. Cooler weather, the beautiful colors of leaves changing, roasting marshmallows around the fire pit...and pumpkins, of course! Not only do I love making everything I can with pumpkin purée (pancakes, muffins, cookies, cake pops, pumpkin crunch, etc - check out my recipes tab!)...we also love carving them!

This past weekend, we took the boys to a local church's pumpkin patch to pick their pumpkins. They had tons of beautiful ones! The boys had so much fun running around and checking out all of the pumpkins before selecting the ones they wanted to buy. Sorry for the poor quality iPhone pics. I didn't bring the good camera and it was really dark, so they don't look great.

My three little pumpkins at the patch! ;)

Cleaning out the pumpkins went much better this year than it did two years can check out that funny video here! Wow, Ethan looks so young there!!

Scooping out the seeds to be roasted later.

This year, we got fancy with our pumpkins and used Pumpkin Masters carving kits to help us out. You can find the kits at your local grocery, drug, or craft store, or at Walmart or Target. I love these kits because I know the boys can safely use the tools for carving, and we can avoid any dangerous situations with kitchen knives!

Look at all of those great tools!

Noah chose a ghost template for his pumpkin. It was super easy to use! You just tape the template onto the pumpkin as directed, then trace the outline with the pounce wheel. This pokes little dots into the surface of the pumpkin.

After removing the template, you just follow those dotted lines to carve out the correct areas on the design.


Noah was so proud of his pumpkin! :)

It will look great all lit up on Halloween night! Pumpkin Masters also has strobe lights that you can place inside your pumpkins so that you don't have to use a candle. With the little ones, this is a great, safe alternative!

Love it! So spooky! :)

We had such a great time carving our pumpkins! We want to get more this weekend to carve before Halloween. With all of the templates and tools, there are so many great designs we would like to try!

Pumpkin Masters is currently holding their annual carving contest. You can share a pic of your carved pumpkin via Instagram or Twitter with #PumpkinMasters2013, submit it via the Facebook app, or send it via email to: to enter for the chance to win one of six prizes, including $5,000 for the best pumpkin!! The contest runs through the 31st, so be sure to enter soon! You can find the details and official rules here.

To help you with your pumpkin carving this year, I am giving away one Pumpkin Masters carving kit (valued at $35!) which includes all of the great products shown in the above picture! To enter, just leave a comment on this post below for your chance to win. I'll be randomly selecting the winner on Monday, October 21st at 12 pm, so be sure to leave your comment before then. Only one entry per person/email address, please. Additional entries will not be eligible to win. To qualify to win, you must live in the United States. The winner will be notified by email. If they don't respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected. Good luck and happy carving!!

Congrats to the winner of the carving kit contest...Nikki! She was randomly picked as the winner as commenter #1! Thanks to those who entered. :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Amos is One Month Old!

Amos is one month old already!! He's actually six weeks old today...which means he is no longer a newborn! Wow. That also means I am a bit behind here, but I'm trying! He had a check-up with the doctor at two weeks, and doesn't go back until two months, so I had to collect his one-month stats myself. At two weeks, he had weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz (42nd percentile), measured up at 21 inches (65th percentile), and his head was 14.25 inches (33rd percentile). This meant he had gained one pound since birth, but nearly 1.5 pounds since his last weight check at 4 days old, so about 2 oz per day! His doctor said that they like to see a gain of at least 1 oz per day, so he was doing great (and I no longer needed to wake him to eat every 3 hours)! Everything looked great at his appointment and he even managed to roll over twice while the doctor was examining him! He said he gets extra credit for that. ;) Haha!

At one month, I measured him at 10 lbs 3 oz (62nd percentile) and 21.5 inches (50th percentile). Another impressive gain as he has continued to gain about 2 oz per day! He is definitely filling out nicely, including his cute little double chin, but has still retained his skinny little bird legs.

The first month was a challenging one. I don't remember the newborn stage being quite so difficult with the other two, but perhaps my memory is failing me. It wouldn't be the first time! It could also be due to the fact that I also have two other children to take care of, too? Amos loves to eat. Sometimes every hour, especially at night. Lucky me! It wouldn't be so bad if I could just feed him and lay him back down to sleep right away. I know this worked with the other two with no problems. Amos, however, does not like to be laid down on his back in his crib. That is an understatement. He actually despises it and makes his feelings quite known. Sigh. He also was not a fan of being swaddled, so we gave up on that after a few weeks. Noah wasn't either, so nothing new there. So, after feeding him, I have to wait until he is really passed out before putting him back in his crib, or those little eyes will pop back open to look at me! Oftentimes, I end up falling asleep during this process, and I'll wake up a couple hours later, still sitting in the chair holding him. He sleeps great when being held! So, I have to decide what is better - being less comfortable sleeping in the chair and getting longer stretches of sleep, or being comfortable in my bed, but for very short periods at a time. Neither is ideal obviously. :/ His longest stretches of sleep were when he was 5-7 days old. Go figure. Things went downhill from there. He started waking up after just 1-2 hours, sometimes 3, at night pretty regularly. That makes for one tired mama. Fortunately, things have gotten better the past few days, but I'll talk more about that with his 2-month post. :)

Below is a pic of Amos at one month, wearing a 12-month onesie. I will be taking a pic each month in this onesie to show how much he grows each month, just as I did for both Ethan and Noah.

And here is a comparison of all three at one month, just for fun. As of now, Amos appears to be big brother Noah's twin! Wow! I still see Ethan in him sometimes, too, so we'll see what happens later. :)

Ethan, Noah, Amos (each at one month old)

Accomplishments this month:
  • Rolling over (front to back)
  • Holding his head up
He has rolled over a few times, including at the doctor's office, but it's not something that happens every day, so I'm not sure if it really counts or not. ;) When you put him on his tummy, he can make his body pretty stiff if he's mad, so he can just roll on over pretty easily. Haha!

Our boys have all had freakishly strong necks. So strong that they have all been able to hold up their heads within a week after being born. It's pretty crazy. Here is Amos holding his up at just 2 days old. It probably helped that his head was smaller than the other two! Haha!

It's hard to believe I'll be posting another update in another couple of weeks (ideally, that is)! It's amazing how fast it all goes after the first child!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Welcome, Baby Amos!

Introducing our newest addition...

We had Amos's newborn pictures done at 8 days old with our photographer, Kristy Vest. I used those photos to put together the front and back of his birth announcement, pictured above. Below are some of my favorites from the session. :)

Welcome, baby Amos!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Amos's Birth Story

It's time for another birth story! :) It's been four weeks now since his birth (say what?!?), so I want to get all the details down in print before I forget them! For a look back at the others, you can find Ethan's story here, and Noah's here. This will be pretty detailed, so read on at your own risk!! ;)

As I posted in my last bump update, at my 37-week appointment, I was still at 2-3 cm. At my 38-week appointment, I was dilated a solid 3 cm, and at my 39-week appointment, on the 4th, I was dilated 3-4 cm, and starting to thin out some. I was also measuring at 40 weeks. They offered to induce me anytime I wanted to, but I was still hoping to go into labor on my own. That night, I started having more contractions and they stuck around through the night, instead of going away like they normally did when I laid down. When I woke up that morning to get ready to take the boys to preschool, the contractions still weren't stopping, and I had a feeling that these were different, though they still weren't painful. I had Josh stay home from work and my mom took the boys to school (fortunately, I had her come back down a couple days before that day). I went ahead and finished packing my hospital bag while Josh tied up loose ends with work. The contractions were getting closer and more uncomfortable. We finally loaded up the 4-Runner and made our way towards the hospital. Not long after we were on the road, the contractions started getting really painful, and were lasting around a minute, mostly under 5 minutes apart. At this point, I knew I was in labor, no doubts about it!

One last pic with the boys before heading to the hospital!

We arrived at the hospital and Josh dropped me off at the front while he parked. A nice employee must have noticed my pain and offered me a wheelchair to get me upstairs to Labor & Delivery. We made our way up, checked in, and were in an L&D suite in minutes. They started through the usual checklist of questions while I got ready to be checked. At that point, the nurse found that I was already dilated 6 cm, 70% effaced, and baby was at station 0!

I continued to contract regularly, with increasing pain. I hadn't decided whether or not I wanted to get an epidural, but as time went on, with little progression, I decided to go ahead and get one. The epidural was done by 11:30 am. It took pretty well, with no feeling on the left side, but enough feeling on the right side to experience a little bit of the pain of the contractions. By 12:30 pm, I was dilated 8 cm. My doctor came and broke my water around 1:30 pm, to help speed things up. By 3:15 pm, I was finally dilated to 9 cm. Things started to get a little scary for a bit, as baby's heart rate started dropping every time I had a contraction. My doctor was worried about the position of his cord. They tried to have me keep changing positions so that his heart rate would stabilize. As I neared full dilation, I think the epidural prevented me from knowing when I felt like I needed to start pushing. By the time I told the nurse that I thought I was ready, I was really ready, but my doctor had not arrived yet. When she finally came in the room and started gowning up, she took a look and had to tell me to hold on! Apparently, the little guy wasn't waiting, as he was crowning already! She quickly got some gloves on and had me start trying to push. I pushed once and he continued to make his way out. By the 2nd push, his head was out and she was able to guide the rest of him on out! Craziness! It's amazing the difference between birthing the 1st and the 3rd! I pushed with Ethan for four very long hours. With Noah, it was much, much shorter, around 10 minutes, but I was quite surprised when this baby came out after just 2 pushes! Yahoo!

Amos James made his arrival at 4:51 pm on September 5th, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7.3 ounces...

Our smallest baby, weighing in at 7 lbs, 7.3 oz!
...and measuring 20.5 inches long. His head was 13.5 inches...much smaller than his big brothers, who had 14+ inch heads!

Tied for longest baby, with Noah, at 20.5 inches!
He was perfect!!

Opening his eyes to meet Mommy for the first time! :)

We decided to name him after two of his Great Grandfathers. Amos was Josh's father's father and James was my mother's father. Amos is a family name that has been in the Seeley family for a very long time. The name has been used as a first or middle name in nearly every generation dating back to the early 19th century. So, we thought it might be neat to carry on the tradition! :) Here's a look at the history of the name...

After the delivery, we were able to stay in the L&D suite for a bit, as it was time for a shift change.

Happy he had finally arrived! His first feeding, in the L&D suite.

They brought dinner in and once the night staff was on, they took me to my room. My mom brought the boys up to the hospital so they could meet the little guy!

The boys meeting their little brother for the first time!

I was unsure how Noah would react to having a little brother. Ethan wasn't super excited when Noah was born, and didn't want to hold him for weeks. Noah, however, is in love! He couldn't stop touching, or patting him, and pointing out/naming all of his tiny body parts. It was absolutely adorable. He is still really fascinated by him and loves giving him hugs and kisses. :)

Noah was absolutely smitten with Amos! :)

After their visit, the boys headed home and we settled in for the night. We had the nursery keep him that night, so I would be able to rest up a bit easier. They brought him in several times to eat that night. He caught on very quickly to that, and is still a super eater now! Haha!

The next day, he was checked out by the on-call pediatrician, as our regular pediatrician doesn't make rounds at the hospital we had to deliver at. He looked great and was given the go ahead to head home after his bloodwork was checked at 24 hours. We ended up having to wait around awhile to get those results, and were finally able to head home around 9 pm that night.

One day old and ready to leave the hospital! :)

The boys wanted to wait up to see the little guy again. They were so excited!

I love all my guys! :)

The morning after coming home, we were scheduled to visit our regular pediatrician's office to be sure that he still looked good, with no signs of jaundice. He looked great (his levels were excellent, so no threat of him becoming jaundiced), but they wanted to see him again in a couple days to be sure he was gaining enough weight. At that 2nd visit, at just 4 days old, he was back up to his birth weight, so they were happy with that.

We're now adjusting to life as a family of six (yep, Daisy still counts!). It is definitely an adjustment! Now that they outnumber us, it's a bit harder at times, but Ethan and Noah have been great helpers so far.

Ethan is ready to help take care of littlest brother!

Welcome to the family, Amos!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Click! Take a Pic!

It's that time pictures! Yes, my oldest two are just in preschool, but it's never too early to start taking school pictures, right?!? Just as they did last year, Teddy Bear Portraits managed to talk me into buying the pictures they take as a fundraiser for the preschool. Despite the fact that we had literally just had professional pictures taken four days prior to these (baby boy's newborn pics...coming soon!), I couldn't skip on Noah's first preschool pictures! I know, I'm a sucker. Oh well, these will look nice hanging on the wall with the fall decorations. :) So, here's a collage I made of the little cuties...

...yes, it doesn't really get much cuter than that! Once again, they didn't sucker me into buying their collage. I purchased an 8 x 10 of each of these pics and made my own! :) Ethan is looking as ornery as ever. Surprise! Poor little Noah was actually home sick with a fever that week, but we took him in just to get pics. We finally managed to get a smile out of him at the very end. He did require a car in hand though. ;) I can't believe how quickly they are growing...or the fact that next year, I'll be buying Ethan's kindergarten pics. Wow.