Friday, November 21, 2008

Benjamin is here! Here's the story...

Well, that was fast! I got off of bed rest on the 12th of November. We quit the terbutaline pump on Monday, the 17th and by early Thursday morning Benjamin starting making his way into the world. I contracted all morning long while the girls were at MDO not knowing for sure if I was really in labor. My contractions were eratic...never really taking a pattern and they didn't hurt that much.

Andrew came home just before 2 o'clock to go pick the girls up from school and that's when the situation became more clear. My contractions picked up substantially and we decided it was time to get to the hospital. We met Grandma and Grandpa Graesser at MDO where they took the carseats and the girls home with them. We sped on to the hospital and made it just 90 minutes before Benjamin was born. It happened very fast in fact, that there was no doctor present for the birth. My nurse caught Benjamin. My doctor didn't get there until about 10 minutes after he was born. Hard to blame her...she'd been told just an hour before that I was only 4 cm.

Anyway, it was fast and furious and a little scary. Benjamin came on November 20th at 4:17pm (36 weeks and 1 day). He was 5 lbs 0.3 ozs and 18 inches long. He looked perfect...was assigned an 8-9 Apgar, but then his breathing became labored. He was grunting a bit trying to get good breaths, so they rushed him off to the NICU where they got him started on some oxygen. His breathing came under control within a couple hours and they got him off the oxygen by about 7pm. We finally got to go be with him in the NICU around 7:45pm. The moment I saw him I was in love. He's so sweet...I just marvel and the blessings of God's creation.

We got to feed him at that point and visit for a while. We have continued to go back for each feed throughout the night and this morning. The nurses seem confident that he will go home with us on Saturday. We are looking forward to getting him to ourselves.

Thank you all for your prayers throughout this pregnancy. God has given us peace throughout this time and through our family and friends, has blessed us with His mighty provision. We could not have made it through this time so well without you all.

Thank you God for our precious baby boy! He is an amazing blessing to our lives, just as his sisters have been. Thank you for loving us so much.

Here's our sweet little boy...

Benjamin's blood pressure cuff. So tiny!

I finally got to meet Benjamin!

Benjamin and Daddy. My what a big head you have Daddy!

Baby Belly

I don't know why, but I feel weird taking pictures of my belly. There have been a few requests to see this growing I caved. Here it is in all it's glory at 35 weeks.

Two Birthdays and a Halloween

October absolutely flew by...even on bed rest. The girls both had their birthdays. Hannah turned the big 04 on the 22nd and Ellie hit the 2 year mark on the 31st. They had a party with friends. It was very pink and all about the princesses they are. They had a lot of fun, especially Hannah who has been talking about her 4th birthday for the last six months! Here are a few pictures from the party.

Hannah Grace and Ellie enjoying the candy from the pinata. It was a very girly hitting. They each pulled ribbons from the bottom and one lucky girl (Lauren) tugged on the one that opened the door at the bottom. Don't know that any of them would have been strong enough to actually whack that think open! Well, maybe Jacob! Either way - Candy for everyone!!

Hannah and Lauren pulling ribbons from the pinata.

The birthday cupcakes.

Sugar comma in 5...4...3...2...

Halloween was fun this year. Of course they got to celebrate twice dressing up for "circus day" at mother's day out and again on the 31st. For Hannah, this meant that she could be a princess and a ballerina for Halloween. What a deal!

Princess Hannah

Ellie the lady bug.

October 31, 2008

Even though Ellie was initially scared of the pumpkin (she would point at the huge orange thing and cry, "Hunkin, Mommy! Hunkin!"), she got over her fears in time to de-gut and carve! Again, there was girliness all over this holiday...we carved a flower in the pumpkin upon Hannah's request.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The trouble with Benjamin...

Well, life is never boring. Just before Hurricane Ike made its way to Houston, my doctor put me on bed rest. It seems that my body is more ready to have Benjamin out than Benjamin is ready to be out! I had dilated 1cm at 26 weeks. Crazy. So, as many women have done before me, I am on my behind for a total of 9 weeks. We even got to make a trip to labor and delivery the following day. Benjamin and I got a couple doses of steroids and I was sent home the next evening with a Terbutaline pump (which delivers meds into my leg 24/7) to keep me from contracting so much and a home contraction monitor. What fun!

If we learn nothing else from this experience, we will come away knowing how loved and blessed we are. God has put people in our lives who are so willing to take care of us. We've had friends bring food, take our kids and provide moral support. My mom has come to stay with us and is keeping my house better than I ever did...not to mention feeding us with great food! Andrew's parents have been so helpful in taking the kids when Mom needed to go home for a few days. I don't know how we could have done this without all the support and prayers from friends and family.

So, one of the perks of all this craziness is that we got to see a Perinatologist this past week and were able to see little Ben in 3D. What a cool thing - especially this far along. We've decided he's definitely got some Portele in him. I hope that he gets some of Andrew's features (eyes, for one).

The doctor reassured us that this little guy should make it to at least 35 weeks if we keep doing what we're doing. It was a relief to hear that. So, our scanner isn't working, but here's a picture of the ultrasound photo. Hopefully you can make out his face.

Trip to Sheboygan, WI and Chicago!

The trip to Sheboygan was a lot of fun. We got to spend time with almost all the Graesser's. Jason and Brandy couldn't make it and they were missed.

We got to meet baby Katelyn! She's a sweetheart. We were able to be there for her baptism. It had to be the smoothest baptism I've ever seen. Katelyn slept through everything! We also got to spend some time at Mel and Dave's house. They have made it into a wonderful home. Thanks for having us Mel and Dave!

Then we spent a couple days in Chicago before going home. It was fun going to the Navy Pier. The girls really enjoyed the rides. We got to do a little shopping on Michigan Avenue and spent some time at Millennium Park. We also took a little sunset cruise on the lake. Ellie screamed the whole time, but it was quite a view of the Chicago skyline. Too bad the camera died. Sadly, we have no pictures of that. We rode the bus a lot. The girls loved that it was so bumpy...wish I could say the same for myself! are the pictures.

Hannah holding Ellie for take-off out of Houston. The girls did great on the plane. Neither of them has acquired an "inside voice", but at least they weren't screaming!

All the Graesser cousins hanging out at Aunt Mel and Uncle Dave's house. Hannah loved being around all the babies! From left to right: Peter (Michael and Kim's son), Katelyn (Mel and Dave's daughter), Hannah and Ellie.

Katelyn's Baptism. Katelyn wore the same gown that Melissa wore when she was baptized.

Hannah and Ellie on the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier in Chicago.

Some of you haven't seen me recently...this is my belly pic at 24 weeks! Haha...we took this at Millennium park at the great big jelly bean (you can see it at We had fun taking some goofy pictures. By we I mean Andrew and me...the girls slept through the whole thing. At least we can still laugh at ourselves.

Hannah was our official tour guide at the Chicago Zoo. The zoo was free and a great last activity before we left for the airport.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Colorado Trip

We just got back yesterday from Pagosa Springs, CO where we spent a week on vacation with the Portele family. We got to see a great deal of West Texas and some of New Mexico on the way. Colorado was definitely the most beautiful part of the trip. The girls did great in the car.

The trip itself was a lot of fun. We got to do a lot of relaxing, some hiking, the boys did some golfing, and we even got to spend some time at the hot springs. What a gorgeous part of the country. The pictures don't even begin to do it justice. The weather was great, too. It was much cooler for the majority of our trip which was a nice break from 100 degree weather in Houston.

Most of all we loved getting to spend time with family. Hannah and Ellie had lots of time with their cousins Claire and Molly. This was our first time to meet Molly who's almost six months old now. She's a beautiful baby and so sweet, just like her sister.

Needless to say, we felt very fortunate to be able to make the trip. We thank God for His creation and His provision!

The two family pics above were taken right next to the top of this waterfall facing the other direction. What a breathtaking view! (It was a bit chilly up there, too.)

And Baby Makes 5!

Back in April, Andrew and I got a big surprise when we found out that we're going to have another blessing added to our family! We were even more surprised to find out just a few days ago that we're going to have a baby boy! We feel like God is orchestrating our family and we are so excited. We love our girls and we think that they are going to be great big sisters to their little brother. Andrew and I aren't sure what we're going to do with a little boy...invest in some toy trucks, I guess! Our whole vocabulary is going to change. Here's a snapshot of our little guy. Hope it doesn't offend anyone! We're due December 19th, so please pray for a a healthy baby in Decemeber...or November. Babies seem to make those decisions all on their own!

4th of July

We got to celebrate the 4th with Andrew's brother and sister-in-law Michael and Kim and our new little nephew Peter Joshua! We went up to Dallas on the 4th and stayed through the weekend. It was great to meet Peter. Hannah loved getting to hold him. He's really cute and so sweet. The girls also loved the pool in the backyard. There was a lot of fun to be had. Thanks, Michael and Kim for having us!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

27 Dresses, or maybe just 5

So, Hannah and I went on a shopping spree today. We stormed Walmart and Marshall's for the best deals we could find on dresses. Hannah would wear a dress every day if we had enough and the poor child has only had one dress to wear since Christmas. (Can you imagine the hardship?) So we did what any sane girl would do and we went out to find the best deals money could buy...then we came home and had a fashion show! What fun! Sadly, we can't keep them all and two of them don't fit, but it was still a productive trip. Hannah wanted to take pictures so that Daddy could see his princess in all her dresses when he got home.

For those of you who don't know, when Hannah is wearing a dress, she is a princess. This is what we have been told. She doesn't say this with any vain conceit. It's just a matter of fact and from where I'm standing, it's good to know.

In the Eagle's Nest

Hannah and Ellie were invited to go to the zoo with their good friends Jacob and Hannah Cole earlier in the spring. It was a fun day and the kids all lasted for an extraordinarily long time. Anyhow, I just ran across the picture and decided to post it. This was a miracle shot in which all four kids were happy and looking at, okay at least facing the camera, so it deserves to be blogged about!

Time Out

The joys of sibling rivalry came with a little spat between sisters today. They both hit each other, so they both had to spend some time in time out. It was really funny. I doubt that either of them got the point of being disciplined with mommy taking pictures of them. (By the way, Hannah is wearing an infant bonnet...she insisted that I tie it on her. Gotta love her sense of style.)

Monday, April 21, 2008


I have some catching up to do...Easter was great. We spent it with my parents in San Antonio. The girls had a great time and we got to spend some time with Aunt Katie and Granny as well.

I think Hannah had three separate Easter egg hunts this year between MDO, church and Noni and Papa's house...Which basically means that she had way too much candy and I had to throw a lot away. It's great to have kids this young. She hasn't even asked what happened to all the candy.

The first couple pics are from our church egg hunt and the last several are from our time in San Antonio. We got to see the newly renovated Japanese Sunken Gardens. It's beautiful and the girls enjoyed a stroll through the path...okay, so we set that picture up, but it's a cute one. We all took a train ride through Breckenridge Park. I haven't done that in quite some time. I think the adults had even more fun than the kids!

Last, Ellie is officially walking. At about 17 months she decided it was time to get moving. She has definitely done things on her own time and she couldn't be more proud of herself! Hannah has entered the world of pretend and it's become difficult to tell when she's "just pretending". She now tells us that she has a big kid and her big kid's baby sister just like mommy. So, needless to say, she's very busy around the house taking care of her two children!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Life is funny

The girls have been so funny lately. Ellie is starting to walk a bit, which is a lot of fun. Hannah is her biggest chearleader...though she's frustrated because Ellie won't walk to her yet. You can see the video of her on youtube at the following link:

For those of you who are wondering...yes, those are raisins I'm bribing her with and yes, her head is partly cut off in most of the video...but it's the feet that really matter in this case!

Hannah is speaking more fluently lately. Of course, like any smart three year old, she's using her new found gift of expression to manipulate! On the way home from church last Sunday she asked Andrew if she could have something. When he didn't respond right away, she said,"Daddy, just say, 'Yes, Hannah"!

We said goodbye to Chris and Jess last weekend. It is sad to see them go, but we know they will do amazing things for God's Kingdom in Peru. Keep them in your prayers! Hannah and Ellie had lots of hugs and kisses for Joshua before we left!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Standing Up for Herself!

Ellie is excited about her newest accomplishment. She has started standing up all by hands! At 14 months, she's still taking her time and she's enjoying the ride. She even got herself to a standing position from the floor, but only once. It's so funny to watch her stand there and grin with pride. Then she flops down on her bottom as hard as she can, laughs and starts clapping for herself. Gotta love it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Just before the new year, the Graesser's took advantage of having the whole family in town and had some pictures taken. Since our last photo shoot, Ellie was born and we have two more babies on the way (Kim and Mel are both pregnant!). It'll be an exciting year.

Ellie's First Haircut

Ellie got her first haircut last week! All of a sudden, she seems like such a big girl! Who am I fooling? She's 14 months old and still showing no interest in walking...she's going to be my baby girl for a while! She's finally starting to call me "mama", but only after I ignore her first 12 attempts at calling me "Dada". All in all, she's very happy with herself!

A visitor

Joshua Rose came and stayed with us this weekend and the girls really enjoyed having a baby boy around. So, of course we had to take a couple incriminating pictures for later in life. Hannah gave baby Josh at least six dozen kisses over the course of a day and a half. He's a cutie!!
The poor guy fell victim to a house full of little girls! No neutral hooded towels to be found!