Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Emry Kaye Gundersen!

For the second time in my life I get to experience the joy of being a proud mama to a beautiful baby girl. I wondered this entire pregnancy whether a delivery would be any different in loving a child than an adoption. I can honestly say now that there is no difference! I love my Braelyn Boo and my Emry Pie just the same. I can't tell you how special these two amazing blessings are in my life. Ben and I are so lucky to have been given two extremely different yet equally wonderful experiences.

Well since we've been able to share our special birth experience with Braelyn, which I hope someday she will read, I want to take the opportunity to share the welcoming of little miss Emry. I was so excited to attend my doctor's appointment on the morning of August 1st. I was hoping/praying that I would receive some promising news like, "Wow, this baby is coming soon!" Nope. It was a big fat, "Well, you're not dilated at all." Oh boy. I was so ticked off. The day continued, me being in a horrible mood, and Ben and I went to bed with no signs baby was coming. The second I laid down I noticed that I was getting cramps with each of my braxton hicks contractions. They weren't too bad so I thought nothing of it. I couldn't sleep so I went downstairs and did random chores around the house. 2:30 am rolled around and the contractions were closer together. I called my mom for advice, not knowing if I was in labor. She wasn't sure either. I woke Ben up and informed him that he would NOT be going to work because I wasn't getting any sleep and there would be no way I could watch Braelyn all day. I still wasn't really considering I was in labor. Finally around 4 am I decided to go to the hospital to play it safe. Long story short, my water had apparently broken sometime that day and I was in LABOR!

Needless to say it took another 12 hours of bouncing on a stupid exercise ball for me to dilate enough for an epidural. Talk about back labor! I've never been in so much pain in my life. Actually, it was completely bearable except for that last hour. Within 45 minutes I went from a 1.5 to a 7! And only 40 minutes after that I was ready to push. Miss Emry sure lacked patience in getting here. I had six practice pushes with the nurses and only three pushes with the doctor before she made her grand entrance. She was beautiful from the start and we couldn't be happier with our little addition.

Trying to be excited about the pain. Wahoo!

So glad my mom made it in time. She was my saving grace in getting the epidural when I did. I was in so much pain and she made the nurses check me again even though they just had about 30 minutes before. Luckily with her determination they came back and it was drug time!

Born at 5:05 pm weighing 6 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 19 in. long. Our little peanut!

The happy foursome together. We were so excited for Braelyn to finally see the "baby in mommy's tummy."

What a sweet angel face. She's a clone of Ben, but still so sweet!

Braelyn Boo is such a good big sister. She helps me all the time changing diapers, burping Emry, putting her pacifier in if she is crying, etc. The first day we were home, Ben took Braelyn to the park. As soon as they came home, Braelyn rushed inside and in such a big girl tone exclaimed, "Well, we're back! How was baby Emry while I was gone?!" I died laughing. She wants to make sure she's happy all the time.

Her first little outfit. Hopefully this mom can keep up with all the stylish baby trends. Not likely, but I'll try. =)

Waiting to go home from the hospital. We were anxious to get out of there and get back to our comfy house even if it meant facing the real world again.

Sisterly love! I really hope they are good friends.

Mommy getting some cuddle time on the couch. I love these times.

All dolled up for visitors.

Daddy and his precious daughters. I couldn't ask for a better hubby. He really loves his girls and makes them feel so special. Thanks for all your help babe!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourth of July!

Six years of living in Phoenix and not a single 4th of July here. Yep, we seem to always make our way out to see family over the Fourth. We've had our share of patriotic holidays in Chicago, Atlanta and good old Salt Lake City. But, this year soon to be born baby girl made sure that we were home for the first time ever to celebrate with friends, food and fireworks and we're so glad we did!

Thanks to our great friends the Knueppel's, we were able to have a mini Anthem vacation. We watched fireworks the night of the 3rd and spent the night. The next morning we lounged around in our pj's until about noon and let the kids run wild in the backyard. Seriously, best day ever!
Ben teaching the kids how to slip n' slide expert style.

Surprisingly my water shy Braelyn caught on pretty fast . . .

. . . and couldn't get enough of the fun.

These two sure do love each other.

Maybe a little too much. This time Braelyn was the one getting a little frisky. After the first kiss she kept asking Drew for more. We need to keep our eyes on these two love birds!

After a relaxing day we headed back home to Gilbert where we put on our own little family fireworks show. I have to admit we know Braelyn hates fireworks, but we just couldn't pass up the tradition. The only reason she is smiling in this picture is because she has absolutely no idea what is about to take place.
We told her that daddy had a surprise waiting for her outside. So we set up the blanket and got comfy.

Bahahahahahaha! Am I an awful mom?! I can't help but get a kick out of this picture. She hid behind me the whole time. Once they were all over she says, "I like the pretty colors, but the fireworks are too loud!" Well, there's always next year.


So our friends told us the circus was coming to town and we could get discount tickets. In my mind the circus equals FUN! Why wouldn't we go? Good company, fun entertainment and . . . uh . . . did I mention discount?! Any loving mom would jump on this opportunity to go. Yeah, this decision didn't exactly earn me the "Best Mom of the Year Award".

Before the circus:

During the circus:
We might have permanently traumatized our child. I'll just say she was a little freaked out of . . . well everything. Ooops! Oh well, Ben and I had fun!


I may never want to live in Utah (family, don't be offended. It's the weather, not you!) but we sure do love visiting! I can't even tell you how much fun we had with all our family and friends for a solid two weeks. Actually, yes I can tell you! And here it goes:

First up was the annual Orem parade! We left 100 degrees in Phoenix and ended up with 65 degrees in Utah. Let's just say it was a chilly night for a parade.
Nonetheless, Braelyn wrapped herself up in a poofy coat and braved the cold. What a trooper.

This picture scares me. Braelyn had way too much fun driving the Powerwheels at Grandma and Grandpa Goggins' house.
Hopefully she won't take after either of her parents with her driving skills. Ben and I both tend to crash into inanimate objects: garages, light poles, drive-thru posts, etc. They pop out of nowhere!

Then we celebrated Father's Day with all the best dads in the world, minus the best one of all. Poor Ben was stuck all by his lonesome in Phoenix while his little family ditched him. Sorry babe!
Helping Grandpa Randy open his gifts.

Loving her Great Grandpa Sawyer.

And what is a family party without some games?! Of course we busted out the parachute!

Then we got to spend time with Grandpa Cal and Grandma Kaye.

She has this grandpa wrapped around her little finger!

They loved drawing self portraits together. They're working on Grandpa Cal's timeless mustache in this picture.

And who ended up with the best present of all? You guessed it! Braelyn scored her very first bike thanks to Grandpa Cal. She loved it so much we had to buy a duplicate when we got home. She's a true biker chick!

Braelyn was obsessed with her cool uncle Landon! She was stuck to him like glue whenever this busy college boy found some time to visit us.
But trust me, swimming is not as fun in Utah as it is in Phoenix. Talk about freezing!

One of the best activities was going to Wheeler Farm. So much fun! And so free!
It may look like I'm stowing away a basketball under my shirt, but I promise there is legitimately a baby in there!

Riding the tractor with Grandma Kaye.

Petting the oh so smelly goats. If I recall correctly, I think there might have been a mini meltdown when it was finally time to leave. There's just too much entertainment with Grandparents around!

And this is just a taste of the adventures we had. I'm so thankful that both Ben's and my family live in Utah now. That way we get to see them even more instead of splitting up vacations. Thanks for putting up with us for two weeks and spoiling us with all kinds of yummy food, cool toys, much needed babysitting and awesome outings. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Memorable Memorial Day!

We had such an amazing Memorial Day weekend! What made it amazing was not just the fact that Ben got a day off work which equals extra help with Braelyn, but we were able to get tons of stuff done plus have lots of family and friend time. The weekend started with reorganizing boxes of baby clothes getting ready for girl #2, probably Ben's least fond memory of the weekend. Afterwards we geared up for a long day of mattress shopping. We planned on being out for hours with Braelyn going from store to store. If I wasn't pregnant I probably would have prefaced this adventure with a Xanax. Just kidding! One store and twenty minutes later we scored on a mattress for a smoking deal thanks to my bartering skills. Hallelujah to some peaceful nights of rest for the next few weeks!

Monday was the real party. We headed up to Anthem to spend the day with our friends. We met at the park and enjoyed a picnic, a train ride and some great gossip . . . uh, I mean conversation. =) I'm so glad that we still have friends up in Anthem so we can take advantage of all the fun things to do up there.

People always think that Braelyn gets her olive skin from her daddy. I would think the same thing! Lucky ducks.
She loved looking out the windows of the caboose. She was waving to all the kids as we passed.

All the kiddos together. They had such a blast playing the day away!
Of course we had to indulge in some frozen treats and merry go round rides.
It may have taken a while, but eventually the popsicle was no more! Well the majority of it was gone and the rest was all over her face, hands, arms and clothes. Well worth the mess!

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May Happenings!

Another month has gone by?! Are you sure about that?! I swear these last few weeks have come and gone before I can even blink an eye. I guess that's a good thing, though. When most pregnant women are complaining about how long it takes to cook a baby, I feel like she'll be here in no time. Of course I'm not too far into that dreaded third trimester so I shouldn't speak so soon.

Even though the days feel like seconds, we still manage to get quite a bit done while the blazing sun is out. Here are a few of our "May happenings" that have made this a memorable month thus far.

The most amazing thing that happened this month was our birth mother's graduation. It was so special to be able to see her walk across the stage to receive her associates degree. And best of all, she's going to ASU for her bachelors so we'll have her here in good old Phoenix for at least another few years.

The happy graduate and proud supporters. Don't be deceived by Braelyn's devilish face. She really did clap and cheer when Jana's name was called!

We're still going to the pool, well, daily! Hey, it's hot here!
Best buds! Only because dad gets down and dirty by getting all wet and crazy. Mom likes to slowly get into the pool.
Can you say just a little tan???

We finally got the rooms all switched so Braelyn has a new room and the nursery is all ready to go.
She LOVES having her princess tent all to herself in her "big girl room".

I was asked to make cupcakes for a church activity a few weeks ago. I made 180 mini cupcakes in three different flavors and they were a HIT! I have to admit they were pretty yummy.
The beginnings of the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Yes, those are mini Reese's cups cooked into the middle. Is there anything better than that?!
Lemon drop cupcakes.
All three. The last one was a snicker doodle cupcake with mini homemade snicker doodles on top.
Braelyn approved, especially of the chocolate peanut butter one!

We are so lucky to have a temple being built only five minutes away. Braelyn always spots the temple off the side of the freeway. Even before I can see it she's yelling, "Mommy look at the temple! They're building it so fast!" I love that she knows what temples are.
This is a pre-Angel Moroni picture. Now that the angel is on top of the steeple, Braelyn gets even more excited to drive past.

105 degrees?! Who cares! That doesn't stop us from getting out and going on our morning runs or walks, depending on how motivated I'm feeling that day. I'll have to say I'm pretty darn proud of myself. I'm almost 29 weeks pregnant and still running about 4 miles three times a week. Wahoo!
Her sweet smile . . .
. . . and her crazy face!

We attempted a trip to Ikea because we heard they have a free babysitting center as long as your child is potty trained. Well apparently there is a height requirement as well and we failed that part. So what did we do?
Got Ikea frozen yogurt! And boy was it delicious!

In the midst of the hot weather we've had one rainy day. We had to take advantage so on went the flip flops and the puddle splashing begun!

Being pregnant has its cravings. Mmmm! Homemade cookies sure hit the spot. The problem is I couldn't decide what flavor I wanted. Problem solved . . .
. . . make all three! Reese's pieces and peanut butter cup, white chocolate macadamia, and classic chocolate chip. Sad thing is, once they were all finished I only really ate a bite of each. The craving had passed. Oh well, I have plenty in the freezer for next time!

Dress up is a big hit now.
Thanks Grandma Kaye for my cute Snow White outfit! This girl lives in her princess high heels. In fact this afternoon she insisted on doing some yoga. As soon as I had the mats and music ready, she came running out of her playroom with a beanie, bracelets and her high heels on all ready to go. Now that's how you do yoga!

Along with the daily pool trips, we try to fit in a few splash pads here and there. Braelyn isn't always a huge fan of the water.
But she sure does know how to get the most out of a toy bucket!

Life is definitely crazy busy, but that's the way I like it. Bring on some more fun and activities. I like the challenge and it makes the waiting for baby girl #2 so much easier. Here we come summer!