I have been putting this together for several months now but, OF COURSE, totally forgot to post it on Colin’s birthday! Typical!
Here is my sweet baby boy’s face over the last year.
So I often have GRAND plans – LOFTY goals. Sometimes they work out, other times – not so much. Luckily I have friends that take pity on my grand and lofty short-comings and pick up the slack. So you might remember this post: “With all my free time” where I talked about being inspired to MAKE something again. Well, as you saw – I bought all of the materials and had it all planned out to happen before Jack’s 3rd birthday. Nope, didn’t happen.
But that was OK because I could make it for Colin’s first birthday! Oh, that was perfect! I had PLENTY of time to do it – three months in fact. No problem!
This is the point where I am glad I have friends that can look at me and be honest with me. They can tell me, “Emily, you won’t do this – as much as you want to, it just isn’t going to happen.”
That friend was Bree. Sadly, she was right but LUCKILY she is super crafty and told me she would “help” me make it. The second she took my little bag of supplies, I knew there was no “helping” me do it.
Bree is AMAZING and stitched and glued together this adorable “Happy Birthday” banner that my kiddos will love for years to come!!
Of course now I don’t want to take it down because it is so cute – so they might just enjoy it for years to come!
I have to say – I just adore my little family and our circle of loving family and friends. I have had so many emotions this weekend regarding our family from our new phase as a non-baby family to the level of completeness I am still unsure about. It is a beautiful thing to see babies grow and learn, but can also be heartbreaking to start to let them go. In the end, though – it is all such a blessing to know we have been given this gift; the gift of raising Our Father’s children!
Saturday was so much fun as we threw Colin his first birthday party!! It was a grand ‘ol time with kids and adults alike. Colin also got his first taste of sugar!! Much to my mother’s dismay, I didn’t limit his intake, either. I gave him his smash cake and let him go to town! After a little bit of hesitation it wasn’t long before Colin was double fisting the cake into his mouth!
Other than the blue poops (and need to sun bleach his diapers) the next day – he was no worse for wear!
Sunday morning was Colin’s actual birthday. His Gamma had been dying to buy something pink for the boys and has shown great restraint in not turning my boys into little girls but she finally found the perfect “manly pink” for Colin! I figure since he is one now he can be strong enough in his manhood to wear pink! I think he looks great in it!
After church and naps we decided to have a sunset picnic at White Rock Lake. I LOVE picnics and this one was extra special! I had told Alan that this was all I really wanted for Mother’s Day – a picnic at White Rock Lake, but it couldn’t happen last week. I was happy to share my Mother’s Day gift with Colin’s Birthday! What a special night it was.
We then went on a little hike around part of the lake.
I just L.O.V.E. late evening sun in the Spring. It takes my breath away. Thank you LORD for late evening springtime sun.
Jack soon discovered that there was a small path just next to the paved one and it had horse hooves in the dirt! After that we HAD to walk on the horse path and, of course, he HAD to be the line leader.
My dear husband amazes me daily with his love and devotion to his family. I thank the Lord daily for him. However, some days he simply blows me away when he takes pictures like this one! Seriously? He says it was an accident. Dang, I wish I could “screw up” more often in my photography!!
Best weekend EVER!! Thank you Lord!
So this morning it was time to go outside and water the herbs so Jack could earn his commission for that for the week when he said to me “Mommy, I have plenty of toys – I don’t need Toby’s Windmill”. Wha – Wha – WHAT?
For a moment I thought this was just an attempt to get out of his chores, but sure enough, he is outside right now watering all the herbs and plants.
Kinda makes me want to go buy him that windmill now – but OF COURSE, I won’t.
Crazy kid. I ‘heart’ him.
On May 16, 2009, I woke up around 3:30 a.m. with very obvious contractions. I was 39 weeks pregnant and had been feeling the baby very low in my pelvis all week. The contractions were noticeable enough that I had to grip Alanâ€™s arm and rock back and forth. I have to rock or move to pain, or else I just canâ€™t stand it. It is a sensory distraction, I guess. I continued to have a few heavy contractions about every 15 to 20 minutes.
I donâ€™t know if I was excited – or just thinking I shouldnâ€™t bother going back to bed since I knew I would wake up again soon with another contraction – but I got up and started surfing around on the computer while bouncing on my birthing ball.
Around 5 a.m. I noticed Alanâ€™s cousin Lindsay was on Facebook; I am not sure if she messaged me or I messaged her, but we started talking online. She had been up nursing Robbie and wondered what I was doing up. Of course I had to tell her that I might be in labor, but assuming this labor would be another marathon like my last I asked her not to say anything but to pray.
Soon enough, Jack and Alan woke up. I was still having pretty sporadic contractions but they were picking up a bit in intensity. It was a rainy day, so I couldnâ€™t go walk around the block to see if I could get things going; instead, around 11 a.m. I suggested that we all three go to Target so I could walk. We did a little shopping and the contractions all but sputtered out. While we were there, Alanâ€™s sister called and asked if I wanted to meet her at the mall. I told her that I was having some contractions but that I might want to do that so I could get more walking in. My only fear was that I would be in the middle of the mall and start having massive contractions.
On the drive home from Target, the mother of all contractions hit. I was sitting up and not able to move – the worst position for me to labor in. Jack was in the back seat and was very concerned for Mommyâ€™s moaning. I guess I was pretty loud, because I think Alan got a little nervous. When we got home, we immediately put Jack down for a nap not thinking that we would be having the baby anytime soon. Alanâ€™s parents were setting up for a party at their house that evening, so we didnâ€™t want to ask them to take him.
The next few hours kind of run together. I had my first major contraction around 12:30 (the one in the car), and they were still fluctuating in intensity, duration and time apart. I was texting back and forth between my doula and my midwife. They were giving me advice on some things to do to speed things along. Because things were so sporadic no one thought it would be any time soon. Around 1 p.m., I told Alan he might want to start setting up the birthing tub â€“ you know, â€œjust in caseâ€. He was having some trouble getting it inflated, I remember.
Around 2 p.m., I started to take this labor seriously. I had been in and out of the shower several times trying to relax and let hot water run on my back. By about 3:30, my contractions were intense and very regular. At one point I had to get back in the shower because I felt like they never ended or another one started before the last one ended. It was intense. Around that time I called Elizabeth, our Doula and photographer, and told her to come. About this time is also when Jack woke up â€“ I think we all forgot that Jack was still sleeping in the next room! Alan immediately ran out the door with Jack and pretty much threw him into the arms of his parents who had a house full of people.
Elizabeth arrived just before Alan left, and she worked on getting the birthing tub filled while running back to me with every contraction to roll a ball on my back and talk me through the contraction â€“ all the while taking pictures! She was amazing!
Honestly I donâ€™t remember the exact time I called Amy and told her this was for real, I think it was around 3:30 or a little after. Again, itâ€™s all a blur. I remember at one point being crouched down on my knees with my head laying on the edge of my bed and telling Elizabeth that I felt pressure and her response was â€œI bet you are!â€ At that point I finally started to think this was real. Yes, I was just then thinking this was real.
Alan raced back into the door and by 4:27 Amy arrived after I had been in the tub for a short while. Being in the warm water was amazing! When people say it is like a natural epidural, they are right! It was heavenly!
Amy immediately checked the babyâ€™s heart rate and me for dilation. I remember grunting to her, â€œI only want to hear good news!â€ Her response: â€œIs 7 centimeters good?â€ I said â€œI would have preferred 10â€. I told Amy that I was feeling pressure, and she told me that if I felt like I needed to bear down a little with the next contraction, I could. That helped so much, because I felt like I had been really tensing up and that allowed me to release that pain and tension. I had at least one more massive contraction just after that, and then my water broke. I immediately had the most insane urge to push. Seeing as two minutes before she said I was only 7 centimeters, I was afraid to push – but the urge was uncontrollable. Amy said it was fine, so I did.
Amy then checked the babyâ€™s heart rate again and we both heard the same thing – or rather, lack thereof. There was a VERY slow heart rate. Amy immediately told me to get out of the water and into the bed. I was in the middle of a push and somehow between Alan, Elizabeth and Amy they all levitated me into my bed. After about one and a half additional pushes, Colin Gabriel Melson was born at 4:59 with his cord wrapped around his neck.
Amy told me that I was about 5 to 7 minutes away from having the water birth we wanted, but with Colinâ€™s heart rate, we didnâ€™t have 5 to 7 minutes. Praise the Lord for Amyâ€™s quick thinking and calm determination. She is truly amazing.
So, I tell people that I feel like I had about a 3-hour labor, but in all it was about 14 hours. Granted, many of those hours were not intense at all, so I didnâ€™t really even consider them labor.
When Alan and I decided to have a home birth, there were many factors – but one of the most important catalysts was the need for our privacy. I really felt like I needed to kind of do this on my own. I just didnâ€™t realize how much â€œon my ownâ€ I would do!
This experience was the most exhilarating and empowering times in my life. I felt like I was high on life for a long time after that birth.
Colin started nursing almost immediately, and ate like a champ! Alan went to get Jack very soon after Colinâ€™s birth. To see the look on his face when he saw his baby brother filled my heart with the purest love. It was beautiful.
For the next several hours family and friends stopped by to meet little Colin. It was so wonderful to be in my own home in my own bed. That night Colin wasnâ€™t too interested in nursing so I put his sweet warm skin against mine and threw a blanket over both of us. We slept like that for about 6 hours. It was heavenly to wake up with my precious newborn asleep on my chest. He then nursed beautifully.
We had more family and friends come over that next day. Jack had spent the night at Alanâ€™s parentâ€™s house and being a Sunday he went to church with them also. When he got home that afternoon he and Colin exchanged their gifts to each other and we all settled in as a newly formed family of four!
All photos (except last one) taken by Earth Mama Photography
I’ll just say it – I did not have sound financial guidance while growing up. As a result I have made mistakes that I am still paying for now, literally. I won’t get into details but there was a lot of crap in my head about money and what was actually responsible and sound before I met Alan. Like a fungus, my horrible ideas about finances and debt started to grow on him too. We dug an even deeper hole for ourselves early on in marriage. That is until we “met” Dave Ramsey. That man may have saved our marriage – or at least our home. Now, we weren’t THAT bad off – but if we had not changed our ways and had continued to live the next 30 years like we were, it would have been THAT bad. I am a cheerleader for Uncle Dave, oh yes I am.
So, Alan and I are back on track. We have our emergency fund, we are snowballing our debt, we have a pretty solid budget, we live off mostly cash, we haven’t touched (NOT ONCE) a credit card in over two years – we are pretty much rockin’ the Dave-o plan.
My main job now is to not repeat the mistakes of my upbringing and instill a sound financial core into my own children. I want them to have a prosperous and abundant life that they have earned and worked hard for. I desperately want that for my sons. That all starts now and it starts with Jack. Yes, I know he is just three but he is already realizing that there isn’t this magic fairy that floats down and buys all the toys he wants. He knows things cost “money” – whatever that is.
Luckily, I don’t have to figure this all out on my own. Luckily, Uncle Dave has a plan for me to follow. I am stealing this next part directly off daveramsey.com.
Start paying them a commission for chores they do around the house.
Typically, one dollar per completed chore is sufficient with a list of five or six chores each week. Remember that each child is going to respond differently. Just keep evaluating your child’s maturity level and make sure their chores are age-appropriate.
Do not give them an allowance.
After all, what are you making an allowance for? You don’t want to have the kind of kids who think money grows on trees, do you? Don’t set them up for frustration and unrealistic expectations. And don’t miss out on the teachable moments that come when you give them a commission instead of an allowance.
Send them off to work.
Child abuse is letting a kid sit in front of a TV all day playing video games and eating junk food. Kids need to understand what a little dirt under the fingernails means. Delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, or working at a concession stand are some appropriate jobs they can handle.
Ok, so I can easily start with those first two bullets. I don’t know how much success I would have with Jack working at a snow cone stand right now. We have talked to him about earning rewards already, so he gets that. Now we need to help him understand the idea of earning money.
Jack has his heart set on getting Toby’s Windmill for his Thomas the Train set.
Ok, fine – it’s cute – but it costs upwards of $40!! Sure I can find it cheaper or better yet used on craigslist, but still – this sucker ain’t cheap. So this Mama put her kid to work! If he wants this, he has to EARN IT!
This kind of started on a whim, so I haven’t put together a detailed plan yet, but basically I will give him small chores for him to earn money towards Toby’s Windmill. Understandably, he doesn’t yet get the difference between $1 and $40 so after one chore he asked if we could go out and get the windmill! My plan is basically three fold: 1) help him to understand the value of a dollar and that hard work is what it takes to get anything or anywhere in life but also 2) that after all that hard work, the money might be a little sweeter left in the piggie bank and not spent on a toy. That 2nd one will have to be his choice because I really can’t expect (but I can hope and pray) that he will have the realization that after doing ALL that work he might not want to blow it all on one little windmill. Who knows, the kid has surprised me before. 3) Most importantly my kids need to know that we are simply stewards of God’s gifts and all that we have is because of Him so we also need to be responsible with how we use those gifts.
For all you dedicated Dave-o followers, yes, we have talked about giving and saving too. He actually got a gift card recently and he had to spend 10% of it towards a gift that he could donate to a child that was less fortunate. I think he got more joy out of that than buying something for himself.
Chore #1: helping plant herbs with Mommy. $1
He really gets into this because they recently planted a vegetable garden at his preschool. Afterward he was asked to water the herbs and even the grass a bit. (I think he might have watered himself a little more, though!)
Chore #2: working in the yard with Daddy. $1
He was asked to pick up all the sticks in the yard, help Daddy sweep and do some other things to get ready for Colin’s birthday party this weekend.
Chore #3: Watering the plants in the yard, daily. $1 per week.
This one is super fun for him. I barely turn on the hose so he can water to his heart’s content.
After all that work, he deserves fun playtime too!
If he chooses not to do a chore on a given day, that’s ok – but he doesn’t get his commission for it- and he REALLY wants Toby’s Windmill!
I am sure many people would think I am mean and that I should just buy my kid the stupid windmill – trust me, I know there are some of you out there. Well, that isn’t what I want my kids to learn. I am so proud of the two days that Jack has been working towards his goal. It is such a blessing to see him embracing this new way of thinking about “stuff”. Sure, we have to redirect him multiple times per task, but he is excited to be doing things that are useful and productive.
I’ll keep you updated on the windmill. He actually already has about $12 in his piggie bank so far, but after tithing and setting some aside for long-term savings, we have a little ways to go before poor Toby can get his windmill, but I am pretty confident it will happen!
So, seriously – how has it been almost year since Colin was born? It is actually harder on me than I thought it would be. He is my baby after all, not an almost toddler. Right? I think this is tougher because I have a very different and special bond with Colin. It might be because I have been with him almost every moment of every day since his birth, unlike Jack’s first year. I don’t feel an ounce of guilt or regret over working after Jack was born, but it did make our relationship, early on, different than the one I have with Colin. Different isn’t wrong or bad, it’s just different.
I am deeply grateful that God made it possible for me to stay home with both boys and especially during this first year with Colin. I have grown as a mother and as a woman of faith. I have learned to rely on my friends more and to reach out to them as a source of strength and as a reminder of God’s purpose for me. I have the most amazing group of sisters in Christ who have helped carry me through this year. God has so obviously placed these women in my life to teach me, pray with me but also to allow me to step forward as a confident leader and help me to see myself as a much stronger woman and mother than I ever thought I could be. Thank you Lord!
Alan tagged along to the Arboretum Saturday while I had a photo session and afterwards I took some ‘one year’ pics of Colin. It still amazes me that I could be so deserving of this red-headed, brown eyed, laughing, smiling, cuddling, sweet smelling, precious baby boy! Even after having the amazing Jack – I still deserved Colin somehow! God’s favor on my family has NOT and will NEVER go unnoticed or unappreciated.
I also wanted to congratulate Jack on completing his first year as a big brother! His heart has grown in ways that cannot be explained in words. The love he shows and shares is so pure and perfect.
We are so looking forward to celebrating one year with Colin next Saturday! It’ll be so fun!
ps. I have not forgotten that I promised almost a year ago to write a detailed birth story of Colin’s AMAZING birth – but if I haven’t said it already, this year kinda flew by! I still want to do that and will try like mad to do that this week so I can post it on his birthday. Don’t hate me if I don’t do it, but I will make every effort.
We had a wonderful Mother’s Day at our house today! Breakfast, coffee, present, flowers – and that was all before 8am! We then had all the fam over for a super yummy and healthy brunch. Well, healthy until we got to the desert! Gamma – aka Mom brought over a decadent cookie cake!
It was a lovely day with our wonderful family all around! I am so blessed – so very blessed!!
What a life – getting to snuggle these two babes everyday!
Thank you Colin for making my first Mother-of-two-Day oh so special!
Cheers! Yes, this is how I stayed the better part of the afternoon after everyone left. Margarita in hand and lounging in my chair. It’s a good life!