The ITP Diagnosis.

No, that’s not an episode title for the Big Bang Theory. This was our week.

Oh, where to begin with this one. How about from the beginning? I’ll jump right in. (Buckle in, this will be a long one…)

*NOTE: I am not a medical professional and I might get something wrong. If so, please correct me!

On Monday morning before Ivor left for work, he mentioned that earlier that morning (like, middle of the night early) he had a weird taste in his mouth and some gum bleeding (which is unusual for him because he’s one of those people who flosses regularly lol). Weird, but we kind of brushed that off and went about our day.

Then he got to work and looked down at his arms and hands and noticed a rash. He sent me these pics:

Ok, that’s also weird. We’ve never seen a rash like that before. He then went to get a shower (because had just biked 26 miles into work), and discovered that the rash was all over his body. Cue immediate call to the doctor. We got him an appointment for a few hours later. We had no idea what it could be, but thought maybe it was just a contact reaction to something, nothing serious.

Apparently as soon as the doctor saw the rash, he looked very concerned and ordered blood work for him ASAP. The doc said it looked like it  was a “low platelet issue”  He went downstairs, got to cut the line at the lab and have it done right away. That sense of urgency was a little disconcerting….

Then we waited for the phone call with the results.

The call, of course, came while I was picking up the kids from preschool. Ivor was at home when he got the call, “your platelet count is extremely low, go to the ER now.” So I get the phone call from Ivor in the middle of the kid’s classroom while I’m picking them up, “Meet me at the ER, I’ll be at Good Sam.” (the hospital, Good Samaritan). And that’s all the information I had.

I did my best to keep my crap together in front of the kids, immediately called a friend who lived close by and asked if I could drop my kids off  at her house so I could be with Ivor in the ER. My friend, being the absolute rockstar and saint that she is, said “yes, absolutely” and took in my 3 kids for the night. So I dropped them off, and drove with a purpose (meaning I probably broke the speed limit a few times) to the hospital.

Ivor was already being seen by the time I got there (also disconcerting but good, that he was able to be seen immediately). They wanted to re-take the blood test in-house just to confirm, because they were shocked that his count was so dangerously low but he looked and acted totally fine. He literally had no other symptoms except for the rash and the gum bleeding earlier. Anyway, it wasn’t too long of a wait before we got those results back. It was confirmed. His platelet count was 4,000. To give you an idea of how low that is, normal counts are between 150,000 and 450,000. 

Thankfully, all other aspects of his blood work were normal (red and white blood cell count, etc.). So the ER doctor believed it to be an isolated platelet issue/ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) from the start. But a hematologist would need to take it from there and run other tests to confirm that by ruling out a bunch of other things.

In the meantime though, because his count was so low, they moved him to the ICU and began a platelet transfusion right away (donor blood, stripped of all the other things except for platelets. It kinda looked like a bag of pee. Platelets are yellow-ish…ya learn something new every day!)

Anyway. It was at this point that I think reality set in for me. The adrenaline/blur of the preceding events wore off,  my emotions caught up with me and I realized where we were. And where we weren’t. We weren’t at home together with our kids having dinner like we should’ve been, dealing with our usual chaos before bedtime. In an “instant” (a quick phone call), regular life stopped. Our kids were whisked off to a friend’s house immediately after school, and there we were in the hospital dealing with the unknown. It happened so fast.

I had googled “low platelet count” earlier in the day and knew all the serious possibilities (you know you’d do it too!) So my mind jumped to the worst case scenario, naturally, and thoughts of losing my husband, and my kids losing their daddy, filled my mind. And I was sick to my stomach. I’d love to say that “I was so strong and held it together like a boss”, but let’s be real………..I threw up in the middle of the ICU. It happened. I apologized to everyone around me, like they had never seen anything like that before (insert eye roll).

Moving on….

He got a room pretty quickly (because of the transfusion situation he definitely had to be admitted) and once he was settled in for the night and a friend brought me some Dramamine, my nausea wore off and I DID get my crap together after that. I ate some hospital jello.

He received 4 bags of platelets (unsure of exact amount) throughout the night. Not sure either one of us slept longer than 20 mins at a time that night…

There were more blood draws over the next few days, re-counting his numbers to check for improvement or any changes. The platelet transfusion helped a little at first, but his count eventually went back down to where it started. All the while other tests were being run to rule other things out. ITP is a “diagnosis of exclusion” which means they rule out all other possible causes (diseases, cancers, disorders, etc. etc.) and settle on ITP if all those tests are negative….it’s essentially a diagnosis that says “we have no idea what caused this.”

After what seemed like way too long, we finally got MOST of the other tests results back, which were negative, and ITP was the official diagnosis they were going to start treating. The first treatment was called Intravenous Immunoglobulin Thereapy (IVIG), which would only be a temporary fix but if it worked, it would support the diagnosis as the correct one. It did, and his platelet count went up significantly. So then they started him on a high-dose, 4-day steroid treatment called Dexamethasone, which should work fairly rapidly in getting his platelet level back to normal.

Since his levels were on the rise after beginning treatment, he was allowed to be discharged (yesterday just before lunchtime, and was back on his bike shortly thereafter 🙂 )

He has a follow-up appointment with the hematologist in a week and they will do another CBC (complete blood count) that day in the office to make sure everything still looks good.

The prognosis for ITP is a good one. It was definitely the best-case scenario in this situation, as opposed to all the other possibilities. It’s just kind of frustrating to be diagnosed with something that begins with “Idiopathic” -of unknown cause. No one likes the unknown. And Ivor lives an extremely healthy/active lifestyle and is only 37 years old. So it sort of threw us for a loop to have any sort of health problem at all.

Thankfully, it doesn’t look like it will change his lifestyle at all. I was so worried he might not be allowed to ride his bike, but he just can’t play contact sports like football. Which he doesn’t do anymore anyway. With the platelet issue he could have a much higher risk of bleeding (because platelets are what causes your blood to clot and stop bleeding). We are so thankful that he didn’t experience any major bleeding at all while his platelet count was so low, which can be a possibility even without injury.

Throughout this whole thing there was no pain or suffering involved (physically anyway). Like I mentioned before, he felt totally fine and normal the whole time, no other symptoms. The last time he was hospitalized (because he apparently likes to make a habit of this:-P ), he had been in an accident and was in a LOT of physical pain and the aftermath of that (the recovery) was very difficult. THAT situation was draining in a whole other way. Thankfully, that is not the case this time.

So …..that was our week, how was yours?? 😀

I want to thank all of our AMAZING friends who stepped in to help us out while he was in the hospital. With childcare, meals, keeping Ivor company while I was with the kids at night, etc. If you’re on facebook, you’ll be tagged 🙂 It is so great to have friends who will drop everything to help you when stuff like this happens, especially when you don’t have family in the area. We love you all!!!

And thank you LORD that this was not more serious and that my husband is now out of that dang hospital! (another story for another time…but let’s just say, there were mistakes made by a nurse that THANKFULLY did not have any negative effect on him, but could have and we worry for her other patients who are not as alert and knowledgeable as my husband). Le sigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of Breastfeeding!

Finally getting around to posting something again! Sorry for all the blog radio silence. It’s because kids are overwhelming, and I’ve spent my time doing other things (like dishes and laundry and grocery shopping…lame stuff like that). But I’ve missed it and hope to get back to doing it regularly again, someday:)

Anyway, I wanted share my story of breastfeeding now that that particular chapter has closed. This is not a “breast is best” post. Seriously. I don’t care what you feed your child. All 3 of my kids have had formula at some point in their 1st year of life. And I feel no shame about that, and you shouldn’t either. I just want to share my story, cause it’s my own…and it’s what happened. It’s not implying anything negative about someone else’s story. (Because people love to get offended on the internet these days I feel like I have to say that).

Before I had my first kid, the majority of what I heard about breastfeeding is that “it’s so easy and natural and totally what’s best for your child.” That was it. No mention of clogged ducts or mastitis or any other difficulties that could come along with it. But I’m glad I dug a little deeper into my research and got a more realistic idea of what it’s like so I wasn’t too surprised going into it. Because…it was NOT easy. And I think being mentally prepared for that is half the battle. So, more than anything, my goal is to share a real-life nursing experience with you (to get more realistic stories out there), and to reflect for my own personal memories 🙂

It’s lengthy…sorry.

We’ll start with kid #1, Gwen. Right off the bat, before we even left the hospital, I was sore. Ya’ll…it hurt. And I had a night nurse who was a bit too aggressive with the breastfeeding thing in the middle of the night, basically shoving Gwen’s face into my boob. I cried. It hurt and I just wanted to sleep. My milk hadn’t even come in yet for goodness sake. So that already put a damper on the experience for me.

Then we went home. Still sore (everyyyyyywhere). But especially the boobs, because, ya know, they weren’t used to having a little piranha-like hungry baby attached to them. It was so bad one day, I stood there crying in the bathroom not wanting to wear a bra or shirt because anything touching them was too painful. I wanted to quit already. That’s where my support person came in- my husband. I think having a support person to encourage you during those first few weeks is CRUCIAL. He reminded me that the pain would go away, that I was strong and could do this and that I was already doing an amazing job. Then he went to Target and bought me a super soft, comfortable nightgown and “soothies” for my boobs lol. And he was right. After awhile (seemed like forever at the time), it did get better. The pain and soreness eventually went away and things got easier.

Then I got a clogged duct. I didn’t know that was a thing. But it was also painful and annoying. Gwen favored one side over the other, so the neglected boob was the problem side at first. I would try to pump on that side to make sure it was getting fully drained, and I felt like a cow being milked by a machine (I hate the pump). Eventually the clogged duct cleared and all was well again.

Fast forward (just a bit) to when Gwen was about 6 months old. Things started to go downhill. It seemed like my supply was dropping and she was pretty frustrated and fussy at the boob. She also wasn’t gaining weight as fast as she had been. Turns out…SURPRISE….I was pregnant (WHAT?!)….yes. I had a 6 month old, and was pregnant again. Ok then.

My OB basically told me to wean Gwen right away. Because I had a previous miscarriage, she said it was just better that I stop. I had read that some people breastfeed while pregnant with no issues, but since it wasn’t going well anyway at the time and because I was terrified of miscarrying again, we stopped and switched to formula after just a few more breastfeeding sessions. Fortunately, she took to formula in a bottle right away, and that’s what we did for the remainder of her 1st year. I was definitely sad at first and I struggled with the fact that my plan of breastfeeding her for an entire year was cut short. But seeing her eat well and start growing at a good pace again made me feel much better.

Kid #2, Ivor Baby. The first weeks were a little easier this time around. Still some soreness, but not nearly as bad. I was also at a new hospital this time with nurses who just let me do my thing and didn’t aggressively shove a baby on me (thank you Good Samaritan Hospital!) I experienced a few clogged ducts again in the first few months, 1 of them turned into mastitis (breast infection that causes fever, general crappy feeling, super painful boob, etc.). No fun. I took antibiotics and worked hard to clear it. It eventually cleared and all went smoothly again.

Until around the 10-month mark. My supply tanked, and he started losing weight (!) because he’s stubborn and resistant to change and would. not. accept. ANYTHING other than the boob. I tried everything. Formula in a bottle. Formula in a sippy cup (tried every single sippy cup on God’s green earth). I tried what little I had left of breastmilk in a cup.  He wasn’t having any of it. Our pediatrician referred us to a GI doctor (who scared the crap out of me with talk of a feeding tube to get his weight back up, and just generally had horrible bedside manner) . She recommended PediSure. PediaSure is basically a milkshake. It’s insanely sweet and I did not like giving it to him, but we were desperate…and it worked after the first few tries. He drank it out of a sippy cup and started gaining weight again. I slowly weaned him off that and onto cow’s milk by his 1st birthday, which he had JUST started accepting when we found out he was allergic to it. But that’s another story lol. He started drinking almond milk after that and now he’s a happy, healthy, growing boy! (Still stubborn and resistant to change though…lol)

Finally, kid #3…miss Fiona. My most successful breastfeeding experience of all 3. That’s not to say it was totally without struggle. At this point I knew I was prone to clogged ducts and although I tried hard to prevent them, I failed. I didn’t get a lot of them,  but 1 in particular developed QUICKLY into mastitis and I went to urgent care because we couldn’t get my fever down. I just needed to drink more water because I was dehydrated, which was making everything worse. Eventually of course, I got better and all was well again. After that, I felt so comfortable and natural breastfeeding her …to the point where it really was totally “easy and natural” (but it took me 3 kids to get there lol). I also abandoned that dang nursing cover by kid #3 too. #freedom

Around the 10-month mark (again) I feared that my supply might be dropping. She wasn’t losing any weight, but also wasn’t gaining much. Because I was terrified of the same thing happening to her that happened to Ivor Baby, I started to supplement with formula. She refused at first, but eventually took it. I never stopped breastfeeding and continued to try that first, and offer formula second. Closer to her 1st birthday I tried cow’s milk in a sippy cup, which took her awhile to accept so I kept breastfeeding, but gradually weaned down to twice a day. Then once a day.

And we officially ended our breastfeeding “chapter” just a few weeks ago, around 14.5 months. I’m pretty sure my supply was gone and it was more of a comfort thing for her in the last month (and let’s be honest…for me too). Because she’s my last baby, it took me a little longer to “let go” of that stage. Because now, it’s just done. It’s over. And it makes me a little sad 🙁

My husband asked me (after her 1st birthday) when I planned to stop. And I didn’t have a great answer. I knew I would just “know.” So I said “I don’t know….when it’s time.” The original plan was just for the 1st year, but again…this is my last baby. I wanted to hang on just a little longer and continuing past her 1st birthday just felt right.

So what made it the right time for us? A little bit of her getting frustrated and lacking interest and a little bit of inexplicable mom-instinct. We were both just ready. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.

And that’s my story.

Here are the things I will NOT miss about breastfeeding:

Sore nipples
Clogged ducts
Mastitis
Being the only one in the middle of the night to feed my child when I just wanted to sleep
Supply issues
Pumping

Here’s what I WILL miss about breastfeeding:

Being able to sustain my child’s life for the first 6 months of their life using ONLY my body (seriously mind-blowing how cool that is)

But most of all….this….

 

That little hand.

Such a sweet, precious time with my babies.  The good times really did outweigh the bad. And it’s over before you know it! For 4.5 years, breastfeeding was a big part of my mom-life. And now it’s just over. I have a 4.5 year old, 3.5 year old, and  15 month old, who no longer needs mommy in that way.

Ok. I’m gonna go cry now.

The End.

 

Fiona Joy is One <3

My sweet 3rd baby… 2nd daughter…rainbow after a big, big storm…miss Fiona Joy, is ONE YEAR OLD. Just like that. Her presence in our family has brought joy and hope…and a little chaos. She went from the best of the newborn sleepers (out of my 3) to the worst of them all. Bringing me to the brink of sleep-deprived madness as I sat with her at 3am, in tears, on Amazon prime, stress-eating chocolate….on more than 1 occasion. But praise be to Jesus, we’ve been sleeping through the night for a few months now ( ::insert raised hands emoji:: )

I have many feelings about the fact that my last baby is about to be promoted to toddler-status and that I’ll no longer have a BABY, but I’ll just save that for another sappier post and stick to the basics for now 😀

Fiona- you are fierce. Just like your big sister. A slightly more “determined to prove herself” type of fierce (#3rdkidprobs). You don’t care that you’re the smallest/youngest in the family, you’re going to do what you want, especially when you’re told “no” or that you “can’t” do something. Your determination to keep up with your siblings has meant reaching most baby milestones earlier than they did, which has certainly kept me on my toes! I love your determination (most of the time) and I hope you always have that. You’ve always been able to “hold your own” with Gwen and Ivor and even playfully “fight back” which is amazing/adorable. The sibling bond the 3 of you already have just melts my heart. You were definitely the missing piece that completed our little family.

So, here are your 1-year “stats”:

*You are sooooo close to walking. You took your first steps in Tahoe (the magical place that it is). And you’ve been taking more steps every day. One of these days, very soon, you’re just going to take off and not look back!

*You have 4 teeth

*You wear 12-mos clothing

*You babble a lot. “No” is your new favorite word. But you say phrases too, out of nowhere, that are pretty dang clear..like, “want milk’ , “want down” are the big ones. YOU’RE 1, HOW ARE YOU TALKING ALREADY?! I blame your sister.

*Your favorite food is bananas. You throw tantrums until you see the banana.

*Speaking of tantrums…you’ve already reached “toddler-status” in this category with throwing yourself face-down on the floor in a dramatic manner. Fun times.

*You’re starting to accept the sippy cup as more than a chew toy and even drank actual milk out of it recently, signaling the very near end of our nursing journey (also another post for another sappy day….)

*But speaking of, we made it a whole year nursing! Officially the longest, most-successful breastfeeding experience I’ve had (not that it was always smooth-sailing in the beginning….remember the mastitis?…the urgent care?…ugh). But, we made it. Cheers, baby girl!

*You love going for walks and hikes, being outside and just feeling the wind on your face. A girl after my own heart.

*Your favorite show is “Little Baby Bum” on Netflix. Anything with music, really.

*You’re rarely content to just “chill”. You need to be active and in on all the action that’s happening around you. “Places to go, people to see, Mom!”

*You love to clap your hands and dance to music (you’ll immediately stop what you’re doing when the music comes on to do so)

*Most of all, you love love love your family. And we love YOU.

Happy 1st birthday baby girl!

 

 

Ok, need to stop with the photos (for now) 🙂

 

 

 

Cowboy, Take Me Away!

And now for something completely different!

 

This blog is usually reserved for kid updates or Stitch Fix and  Trunk Club posts (whenever I actually get the time to post). But I’m adding a new category now: Outdoor Adventures!

Ivor and I have always loved the outdoors- having both grown up in rural PA. But setting aside time to actually wander and be “outdoorsy” took a back seat when we started having kids. We had 3 kids in 4 years, so that’s understandable, right? But, it’s time! Honestly, it’s never too early, in my opinion, to introduce the kids to it. So why NOT start now…. at ages 4, 3 and almost 1?!

I have a bunch of reasons for why I want family hikes and outdoor adventures to happen, why I think it will be good for all of us, etc. I’ll try to sum it up in 2 points:

*For me. I just love it. It’s refreshing and re-energizing. Being in nature is one of the places I feel like I can connect more to God. It’s a “reset” button for the absolute craziness of raising 3 kids. And it helps me find more contentment with where we live. The hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley gets to me sometimes. And the cost of housing…ugh…don’t get me started. But we are SURROUNDED by beauty on all sides- the mountains, the ocean, the rolling hills, lakes,  waterfalls, etc. etc. It’s amazing to me that we can find peace and solitude and “country life” just a quick drive away from the city.

*For my kids. I want them to spend more time outside. And yes, the backyard is really nice and well taken advantage of. But there’s so much more to explore and discover (and we’re SO close to it, it would really be a shame to not take advantage of that too). I hope they will grow to love the outdoors as much as my husband and I do, but if anything- it’s going to keep them active throughout their childhood (climbing mountains is excellent cardio btw!) and there are plenty of teachable moments for them on hikes 🙂

The goal: to go on a family hike or bike ride at least once a week. There are so many local county and state parks within a short driving distance of us (and sooooooo many trails) so it shouldn’t be too hard to make it happen. And then as often as our budget and schedule allows- travel a little farther away to discover even more amazing places. Next up on that list is LAKE TAHOE over 4th of July week! Woohoo!

The reality: it might not happen every week. Not every hike will go smoothly or as planned. Some might be total disasters (because…kids), but I expect/hope that *MOST* of them will be amazing. If anything, I’ll get some good pictures and a good workout out of it!

I’ll share on here as often as I can, but the majority of it will happen on instagram if you’d like to follow along (@gogriffiths). There is such a great community of outdoor enthusiasts and other hiking families that I’ve found on there. It’s been inspiring to see.

I hope it will inspire you too, to go adventure with your own family, if that sort of thing interests you. And don’t underestimate your kid’s abilities. They can probably handle more than you think they can! Gwen is out there killing these climbs!

Here are some photos from our latest hike at Quicksilver Almaden. We did the Hacienda Trail to Virl O Norton Trail Loop. 3 Miles, over 800 ft. elevation gain.


Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Photo by Krystal Griffiths

Ivor Baby Turns 3

My Dear Ivor Baby-

You are about to turn 3 and I have some feelings about this (mostly denial). Because you came into this world so soon after your big sister, and you’re already a big brother, the past 3 years of your life have been kind of a blur of craziness (and wonderfulness, all wrapped up into 1). So I want to take this time to talk all about you, my sweet middle child and only son, to reflect on all the things I love about you. But first- a quick reminder of how your story begins.

You were our planned, but unexpected in timing, 2nd child. Your big sister was just 6 months old, sleeping in her bouncy seat, when I first found out about you. I told your daddy about you through tears of happiness but also quite a bit of “HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO HANDLE THIS, WHAT HAVE WE DONE??” kind of emotions.

And in a similar manner, you entered the world. FAST.  You were ready to arrive before I had a chance to get an epidural or ANY pain meds whatsoever. So I felt every bit of you entering this world. Don’t you ever forget that 😛 Mama doesn’t usually have a potty mouth, but in the moments leading up to your birth, there were some words lol.

But from the moment you were out, you stole mama’s heart. You were so sweet and so snuggly. And you still are. I mean…look at you!!!

Which brings me to my list 🙂

*I love that you still cuddle with us and give the BEST HUGS EVER. It can melt the hardest of hearts on the worst of days.

*I love your dimple and those big brown eyes. You make it really hard to discipline you sometimes 😛

*I love that you got mama’s skin tone (and eyes). I also have 2 siblings with fair skin and light eyes, so I always stood out next to them. Likewise, your sisters are fair skinned with blue eyes. Seems silly…but I like that we have that in common.

*I LOVE how friendly, outgoing and social you are. Whether it’s a playground, Gwen’s classroom, church, or neighbors walking by, you say “hi” to everyone and make friends wherever you go. “Hi guys!!!!” -you, walking into any space where people are.

*I love that you also have an “I do what I want” attitude (except of course when it’s ME telling you what to do lol). But that one time on the playground when those older boys tried to tell you that you weren’t “allowed” on “their” play structure, you stayed and played anyway. And eventually even they could not resist being your friend and playing with  you. I hope you always stand your ground and don’t allow yourself to be pushed around.

*I love watching you embrace your big brother role with Fiona. You give her hugs and kisses, watch out for her and play with her. It took some time, but you’re there now 🙂 Sometimes I get sad that you don’t have a brother to “rough-house” with (though Gwen is certainly always happy to do so lol), but you have plenty of wonderful men in your life and having sisters will give you lots of practice with how to treat women. My prayer for you is that you’ll be gentle, kind, and respectful to all women. That you’ll treat a girl the way you’d want someone to treat your sisters, and if someone ever MIStreats them, that you’ll stand up for them (not because they can’t stand up for themselves, but because it’s just the right thing to do). Anyway…I digress.

*I love how you mispronounce certain words. “Doy” (door) “Stoy” (store)”Ryyyye” (roar), dinnay (dinner), backyeeaahd (backyard), etc etc.

*I love how much you love water (any body of water- ocean, lakes, rivers, etc., the bath tub, pools, sprinklers, etc.) Which makes swim lessons a big priority this summer!

Oh, there’s more I could say but I’m running out of time to write this! Just know that you you bring us so much joy and laughter (and gray hairs :-P). We love you so much Ivor Baby. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

 

 

 

Motherhood & Why I’m Done Having Kids

I always find it odd/annoying how people give their opinions on 1. Whether or not you should have kids 2. When you should have them 3. How many you should have, and 4. How many years is appropriate between each of them.

To be blunt, ain’t nobody’s business but your own and your husband’s. BUT…I do enjoy hearing other people’s stories and their own reasons for those things, particularly when they decide to be done. So I’m going to share my own haha 😛

From 2012 to 2016, I was pregnant 5 times. I had a miscarriage (2012). I had Gwen (2013). Surprise! I had Ivor Baby (2014). I had another miscarriage (twins- 2015). Then I had Fiona (2016).

Friends, I am done.

The last 5 years have been insane. Amazing. Beautiful. Lonely. Devastating. Joyful.

Pregnant. Nursing. Pushing out babies and feeling every bit of it because my body rejects epidurals apparently (yeah…).

Sleepless nights. Tears. Laughter. Isolation. Connection.

Discovering how wretched I can be when little people push my buttons. Discovering the depths of a love I never knew possible (3 times over).

I remember a fleeting thought once (most likely during a very rough night with Ivor Baby), where I thought maybe we could be done. I had the “perfect” family. 1 girl and 1 boy. Though lots of people probably wouldn’t think having them 14 months apart is “perfect”. But after a little while I realized that “nope…someone’s missing.” So we eventually started trying again. And then miscarriage #2 happened. At that point I REALLY thought “maybe we should be done”…but only because I was terrified of going through the pain of another loss …AGAIN. But no….our family still felt incomplete. In fact, that loss confirmed even more how badly I wanted just 1 more.

A friend said something recently about having a 3rd baby (but really it could apply to lots of things)…

“If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder. If you do, you’ll never regret it.”

That’s exactly how I felt before Fiona. Was I risking the pain of another miscarriage? Yes. But was she worth it? Um, absolutely! Without her, I’d always wonder what it would be like to have 3 kids. And now that I have her, I would never ever regret it. Even though 3 kids, ages 4 and under, is a circus most days 😛

But now I have contentment in my heart. It feels complete. I don’t have that same wonder about 4 kids as I did about 3 kids. And quite honestly, I’m just done with the highs/lows of pregnancy and those early baby days. The crazy hormones. The weepies. And I really don’t want to go through the anxiety of pregnancy again, wondering “will it stick?…will I lose this one too?” I’m just done with the season of having babies, and now I’m ready for the season of raising them.

Don’t get me wrong, God COULD have other plans and miraculously gives us another child, even though it’s not our plan. And I might freak out. And have a nervous breakdown. But I’d certainly love that child as much as the first 3 and never ever regret him/her either. But as far as MY plan goes…we are done lol.

I guess it might seem like an odd subject for a Mother’s Day post (“Why I’m done having kids”) lol…I don’t mean it to be negative in any way. Just a reflection on my journey into motherhood (becoming a mother), and embracing the NEXT season of motherhood 🙂

So to all the mamas out there with their own unique and beautiful stories, from my circus to yours- HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

Motherhood & Why I'm Done Having Kids

 

 

Griffiths On The Move!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, we’re moving! Sorry PA friends and family…we’ll still be in CA. About 2 miles from our current place haha. But we’re pretty darn excited about it for several reasons. As with everything in life, there are pros AND cons to the new place of course.  But in the spirit of learning to be grateful and content I’m going to focus on the positive and list every possible thing I can think of to be happy about regarding this move (there are way more pros than cons, and the pros are HUGE for me).

Here you go:

new house

*House hunting in the Bay Area (especially for a large family) is extremely stressful unless you’re loaded. And loaded we are not. Though if you looked at the numbers (of our total income) and we lived just about anywhere else in the country, you could easily put us in the “loaded” category. No joke…we could possibly live in a legit mansion anywhere else. But alas, this is where God has us. And we’ve embraced it (aside from the housing market, it is a really great place to live and we’re happy here). But I digress. Whether buying OR renting, it can be stressful. It’s competitive. We had competition for this place. With another family. And that other family had a pregnant woman in it. I was sure we were going to lose it to that family. But our future landlord “had a good feeling” about us (we may have brought our cute baby along with us to the house showing for sympathy points…#noshame #dowhatyagottado). But praise be to God, we were chosen! Thank you cute baby and “good feelings.” So pro #1 is just the fact that we got it at all lol.

*We’re FINALLY going to be living in a detached, single family house. For the first time since being married. No more shared walls. No more rules and regulations or limited parking for our friends who visit. . We’ll have a driveway plus street parking- with no time limit!

*We’re going to have a back yard. Having 3 kids, this makes me so very happy. I can say daily, “for the love of God, please go outside and play!” while I stay inside and only semi-supervise them. Yes, that’s right, I said SEMI-supervise. I used to play in the back woods and in junk yards when I was a kid, with little to no supervision okay?  Don’t you dare go calling CPS on me for letting my kids play in their own fenced-in back yard. I WILL check in on them, I promise 😛

*Said back yard also has a really nice-sized patio area for outdoor dining. When the weather isn’t in its current state (bye bye drought), it’s really nice to sit outside and eat a meal. Also we love grilling. So you can expect lots of BBQs at The Griffiths house this summer.

*Natural light. Lots of natural light. I may be extra sensitive to this because I’m a photographer, but it’s really important to me. It makes me happy (darkness = gloom and despair, light = happiness). And my indoor photos of the kids will be SO much better. The kitchen in particular has a lot of natural light- basically an entire wall is windows and the sliding glass door to the back yard. So I can do dishes/cook while keeping an eye on the kids outside (see, I told you I’d keep an eye on them).

*Hardwood floors in the entire place. No more carpet. Again, having 3 smalls kids and a cat- this makes me happy. Speaking of the cat- finding a rental that accepts pets is also really difficult. So we’re very thankful.

*A HUGE bedroom for the kids. Like, actual space to put things other than just their beds.

*An office/recording/creative space WITH A LOCKED DOOR that my kids will no longer have access to. This also allows my husband to be able to work from home more easily- which is really important to us.

*The upstairs bathroom, which will be the kids bathroom, has 2 sinks. So Gwen and Ivor Baby can brush their teeth at the same time without fighting over who goes first. This is huge. You have no idea how much this will help the dreaded “bedtime routine.”

*It’s a cute house from the outside (see above picture). It’s blue with a red door. White fence with yellow flowers. Both the front and back yard is well manicured (Gardening is included). Great curb appeal!

*Location, location, location. Close to the shopping center we like.  Close to freeway access. Still close to Gwen’s preschool. Friends within walking distance. And from what I hear, the street we’re living on has other families with kids. And it’s safe (I always check crimereports.com because I’m paranoid).

*Master suite on the first floor is a decent size with a nice bathroom (the whole house was renovated/updated just a few years ago).

*Now that we don’t have to park in the garage, we have more space for our home gym! I’m not sure if it’s a California thing because of the weather, but no one here parks vehicles in their garage if they have a driveway. It’s basically considered an additional room in the house. So that’s a lot more usable space for us.

*I’m happy that the laundry area is NOT in the garage, like a lot of places we’ve seen. It is right inside the garage door, inside the house, but still. It’s own area lol. With shelves and a good spot for the cat litter box (a little thing, but important).

*Landlord is letting us bring our own washer/dryer. While it is an added expense, we can swing it and I’m just really excited to pick out my own washer and dryer (the one he was going to put in for us is way too small. I have 3 kids and a king sized bed..I need a big washing machine. This matters. So I’m happy he’s cool with it.

*Speaking of- the landord and his wife seem really cool. They also have kids. Their adorable son, around Gwen’s age, picked a flower for me the day we signed the lease. I melted <3

*A fresh start in a new place is just good for the soul. I look forward to decorating and putting personal touches around the house. Arranging furniture, picking out curtains and area rugs. Oh goodness, I am about to turn 32 aren’t I???

 

If you’re curious about the cons, here they are:

*Not a ton of closet space. Our current place has a lot more. That said, it will force us to live more simply and de-clutter and NOT use closets as storage spaces for crap.

*The ideal home for our family is a 4 bedroom (this is a 3 bedroom). But while the kids are still little, sharing a room is not a big deal at all. They don’t need their privacy just yet and they love playing together. We can make do.

*No central AC. Kind of a bummer because contrary to what people  say- it does get REALLY hot here in the summer. And running portable floor unit ACs makes the electric bill insanely high. BUT the landlord did say he’d consider putting it in for us. So this con could be moot. We shall see.

 

Anyway, T-Minus 4 days until the move! I have no idea when I’ll post again- probably not until we’re somewhat settled in the new place. But when I do, I’ll share some pictures- beautifully lit pictures 😉

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

A few weeks ago Ivor and I attended his office New Years party. It was held at an old Theater, built in 1929. As such, the “theme” of the party was the Roaring 20’s (so fun!) What I loved most about it though was that Ivor’s band got to play and I got to photograph it. We did get to mingle, and eat/drink at the beginning of the party like everyone else. But then he got on stage, and I got behind my camera. I love that we get that opportunity every once in awhile- to express our individual creative passions at the same time.

For those of you unaware, who may only read my fashion-related posts and don’t actually know me very well- I love photography 🙂 At some point, when motherhood calms down a bit and my kids are no longer 3, 2  and brand new, I will pursue it more. For now, it’s a passion mostly “at rest”  (as my friend and MOPS mentor mom once said). I  could really write an entirely separate post just about that- but the short version is this: sometimes in early motherhood, we may feel as though our whole identity revolves around being “mommy.” Any dreams or passions we have outside of motherhood feel as though they have died. But they haven’t. They’re still there. We are not JUST moms. We have other skills and talents you know.  But the reality for some of us is that for the time being, with very small children at home who are so dependent on us, we may need to temporarily let those dreams rest, just for a season. And that is OKAY. Anyway- I’ll stop there before I start rambling (I’ll save that for a longer post on another day). Back to Team Griffiths- working with your spouse!

In general, in our marriage we try not to have any part of our lives totally separate from each other. We are married, and 2 separate individuals have now become 1 unit. 1 team. Team Griffiths (or Team “Krivor” as our wedding party dubbed us….they made t-shirts). That doesn’t mean that we never do things apart from each other. My goodness, no. Every couple needs *some* time apart- we’d go crazy. I have my girl time. He has guy time. He may play video games or jam on his guitar while I veg in front of the TV watching This Is Us (because it’s way too “touchy feely” for his taste). But I mean when it comes to something he’s passionate about, something that’s important to him and is a big part of his life (like music) he brings me into it and makes me a part of it. I support him and help him where I can. Give him my very honest opinions, etc. And he does the same for me.  He’s not super into photography or writing/blogging.  But he supports me and helps me. He’s my photographer when I need to “model” my Stitch Fix or Trunk Club clothes, and HE models for me occasionally (and you know that’s love because he’s really not comfortable having his picture taken unless he’s on stage performing with a guitar in his hands, totally candid). And like I  mentioned earlier, it just so happens that both of our biggest interests/passions can work really well together.

One day we hope to take over the world with our multimedia empire. We have big plans. But I digress 🙂

Marriage is hard. We’re in the thick of year 7, with 3 kids, 3 and under. Nothing about that is easy. So anything we can do to foster unity and togetherness in our marriage, we’ve made a priority. Sharing our creative outlets with each other is just one of them. And we’ve found it to be beneficial in a few ways:

  1. Simply put, it’s more time spent together, instead of  apart. We could (and sometimes do out of necessity) work on those things separately from each other. But it’s always better when we’re together. And yes, I believe I did just quote a Jack Johnson song, not at all on purpose.
  2. We inspire each other to be better at whatever it is we’re doing.  Yes, through some constructive criticism of each other’s work, but also just through the support we receive from one another. We’ve both, at times, shown lack of interest in each other’s work/passions because we were too caught up in our own thing and as a result, those things suffered.  I’m a better photographer and writer when I feel fully supported by my husband. And likewise, he’s a better musician/entrepreneur when he knows he has my support. There is so much power in showing genuine interest and taking part in those things together.
  3. Piggybacking off of #2, we benefit from each other’s skills.  He understands the business aspect of what I do creatively. He’s a business guy, tech guy, legal guy, ad-words guy, etc. I let him worry about those things, and I just create. Likewise, I help him administratively with the band, promoting him with killer photos and sharing on social media, responding to email inquiries from prospective clients, being the keeper of the calendar, etc… and he does the making-music part, because, well, he’s the musician 🙂 It makes us a really great team.

The creative passions and talents God has given us are meant to be shared. And you should be excited to share it with your spouse, don’t you think? Whenever Ivor starts writing a new song, he says “Hey, come check this out! What do you think?” Or when I’m really excited about a photo I took, I say something similar to him. When we’re excited about something, we can’t wait to share it with each other.  We’re not always great at this, but we always see the benefits in our marriage (and our business) when we make the effort to go “check it out” and on the flip-side, we feel the repercussions of the lack thereof.

What might this look like in your marriage? Is there anything you’re passionate about that you’d love your spouse to be part of too? Is there something you can show more interest in that he/she really loves? Do you each have skills/talents that can be beneficial to each other? It’s something worth exploring 🙂

Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse Team Griffiths- Working With Your Spouse

And for a totally shameless plug of his band, here are some videos! Let me know if you’d like to book them for a party 😉

Gwen, Ivor & Fiona

Gosh, its been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’ve wanted to a bunch of times. But, life. There are so many different things I could write about, but I’m going to focus on my biggest reason for NOT blogging much anymore: my beautiful babies 🙂

These updates aren’t just for far away family members, they’re for me too. In lieu of a physical baby book or journal, I have this. It’s helpful to remember milestones, sure. But it also causes me to actually pause and reflect on their little personalities and what I love about them.

Gwendolyn (3 years old):

gwencollage

Miss Gwen continues to love preschool. She is really thriving there and from what I hear from her teachers, she is very much a leader. She loves to pretend to be the teacher, which doesn’t surprise me at all. She informs others when they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing. While I don’t want to her to be the class “tattle-tale” or teacher’s pet, I am hopeful that this personality trait means that she will not be so easily influenced by her peers and will always stick to what she knows is right. Having a strong-willed child is really difficult at times, but if parented and guided correctly (God help me), I think those leadership qualities will serve her well someday 🙂

She’s a great big sister and oldest child. Much like in the classroom, she’s definitely the leader of the siblings at home too. She takes great care of Fiona and bounces her when she’s fussy, tries to talk to her and tell her “it’ll be okay”, etc. She can butt heads with Ivor Baby quite a bit, but they are best buddies and she’s learning to deal with him a little better (nicer…gentler lol). She loves to learn, loves to be a big helper, loves to be independent. She retains so much information it scares me. She still loves to sing and play instruments and she’s actually quite good at singing. But dangit if she didn’t get my stage fright :-/ I hope she grows out of it. Both at preschool and church I’ve been told that she rarely participates in group musical activities/singing. She only does it on her terms lol. If you TELL her to sing and put her on the spot…it won’t happen. But will you find her in her own little world singing at all other times of the day? Yes you will. Sigh…she is me. (In that regard).

Other fun things: She would wear tutus every single day if she could. She even wears them to bed. I don’t fight it anymore. She loves to put bows in her hair and brush her hair while looking in the mirror. She loves to wear my shoes and try on my clothes and dance around in the living room.

Ivor Baby (2 years old):

ivorcollage

Oh my little middle-child and only son. He is growing so much (dude is solid and well-built lol). And he’s learning so much every day. He’s talking a lot more now which I looooove because of how he pronounces things. My favorite are words that end in “er”. He pronounces it “ehh” instead. Like crackers…”cwackehhs…want cwackehhs mommy”. And dark is “doyk”. I love this stage. Soon enough he’ll be using proper English, which is boring. He is still hands-down THE best cuddler ever. I’ve been coming to realize that touch is so important to him. He is very tactile and loves to just touch stuff and feel it in his hands. A bunch of crayons rolling underneath his hands, applesauce smearing on the table- finger paint style, water play tables that he can splash in, sand running through his fingers, etc. Not sure what that could mean for his future career…something where he can work with his hands, and build stuff probably. He loves to build things. We’ve been quite impresses with his block towers.

He is still a wild, crazy, mischievous, fearless and reckless little guy whose screams can make your ears bleed, but he can also be the SWEETEST boy ever with those big brown eyes, saying “yuh you daddy, goobye!” (which happened as Daddy left for work this morning). Ugh. Can’t stand it (in the best way). He’s also obsessed with waffles. He’d eat them for every meal if I’d let him. Daddy made chicken and waffles (homemade from scratch) one day, and he asked for it for breakfast for at least a week after. Can you blame him though?

Fiona (4 months old, almost):

fionacollage

Miss Fiona is also growing like a weed. She’s now in mostly 6 mos. clothing. She has chubby little cheeks and thighs and I just love it. Her hair is still pure awesomeness. I’m so glad she hasn’t lost it all. It sticks straight up in the front 🙂 She is super social and loves to interact with people. When she smiles, her entire face smiles. She even lets out a giggle or two if you catch her in the right mood. She has discovered her voice and loves to use it. She had me cracking up last night as I was trying to get her down for bedtime. I was singing Christmas carols to her (yes, I’m one of those pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrators and I am not ashamed). Anyway. I was singing to her and she joined in. Loudly. And then eventually passed out. She is back to sleeping well through the night, but giving me a hard time during the day. She’s been pretty fussy and clingy, needing to be held or entertained constantly until she falls asleep, which has been a struggle during the day. This is a new development. She chews on everything- fingers are her favorite. Super drooley. Starting to get more distracted while nursing. Fun times ahead lol. I look forward to watching her personality blossom and change as she gets bigger. I suspect she’ll be hitting certain milestones a little sooner. From what I’ve heard (though I’m sure there are always exceptions), 3rd babies do everything sooner because they want to keep up with their siblings. Ya know, climbing stairs by 8 months old, stuff like that. We shall see!

Until next time, friends!

 

 

Life Update

Gwen is in school. The other 2 kids are napping at the same time (!) House is (mostly) in order. So I’m taking a few minutes to blog (which I miss dearly).

It occurred to me that I never did a 1-month update on Fiona. I wrote monthly updates for the first year of both Gwen’s and Ivor Baby’s life. Oops. Already dropping the ball with baby #3. Sorry, Fiona.

I’ll start with her:

 

FIONA JOY:

*She’s growing quickly. Already in 3mos clothing (and has been for awhile). I packed up all the newborn clothes and they’ll be out of the house tomorrow. Waaa 🙁

*She’s nursing well (see above) and aside from the clogged ducts and mastitis in the early days, I’ve really been enjoying our nursing relationship. Especially now that she’s more alert during the day. She looks up at me with wide eyes and sometimes even gives a little smirk. Then goes right back to eating.

*Speaking of, we’ve been getting lots of smiles from her in the last week or so! It’s so cool to see her look at me like “Hey…I know you! You’re my mama.” and then give a great big smile. UGH. Melt my heart why don’t you. And then occasionally she smiles right after spitting-up all over me. So there’s that.

*She really loves baths, and being held/snuggled/bounced/swung.

*She really hates her car seat when it’s not in motion.

*She’s still sleeping very well at night. But my next goal is to get her to bed a bit earlier and establish a good bedtime routine. Right now she’s still hanging with us most of the evening (sometimes sleeping, sometimes not) until we all go upstairs together.

 

As for “Thing 1 and Thing 2″…

 

GWENDOLYN JANE:

*Someone needs to stop this girl from growing up. Even her preschool teachers commented on how mature she is (they could tell she was the older child of the family lol). And she is LOVING preschool so much. She talks all about what she learns and who she plays with, what snacks she eats, the projects she works on, etc. She is so happy on school days. It makes my heart happy. I’m constantly amazed by how much she can absorb and remember. Still struggling with disobedience/defiance/stubbornness/etc. She is very much a “threenager” sometimes. But we’re learning and growing together.

 

IVOR ALAN:

*His vocabulary is really exploding at the moment and it’s getting much easier to communicate to each other. I’ve really been enjoying my time spent with him lately. Yes, he is still a whirlwind ball of energy and craziness sometimes. But he is also RIDICULOUSLY adorable and sweet and snuggly. I was chatting with our friend this morning about how he will be the BEST boyfriend and husband ever and will make some girl very happy one day with all that love and affection. Unless of course he finds a girl who hates affection. But I have yet to meet such a female 😛 Anyway, I think I may have mentioned this in my last post, but it seems like he changed overnight once Gwen started school. He actually plays with things now, instead of just throwing them around and destroying things. He is so much fun and I love him to pieces. And he pronounces the word “bananas” as “ba-neee-nas.” I can’t.

 

That’s all for now. Here are snapshots of recent days…

img_20160914_203145 img_20160911_153041 img_20160911_152200 img_20160911_134003 img_20160911_133915 4251060077657482859-account_id1 img_20160910_064428