Saturday, November 27, 2010


For Halloween this year James was a cow (a super cute cow I might mention) and Quinn was Tigger. We went to our ward Trunk or Treat which was kinda crazy and a lot of fun. We didn't get to make our chili for the cookoff this year, which would have won hands down because it has chipotles and chocolate in it, but that day got super crazy so we had to skip it. I think Quinn liked getting the candy but he was way more excited about the decorations in the rooms. One room had a tunnel you could crawl through but he got side tracked by the pumpkin and we had to spend a few minutes persuading him to come out. He also liked the skulls that lit up.

A couple of days before Halloween an aquarium near us had free admission for those in costume so I took the boys in their costumes and I dressed up as a bumblebee. It was fun to see the exhibits. They even had a blue lobster!
James is so easy to photograph. I stick him in the chair and he coos while I take pictures
Quinn doesn't keep still
Nice still cow...
Moving Tigger

It was a blast and I can't wait for next Halloween

Updates on Quinn

Quinn has been really into dress up recently.

Don't you just love how they are upside down
I was going through our winter things and Quinn was trying them out
He has also been starting to role play. Curious George is in time out for hitting a lot these days. Bear and tigger have become good friends who always talk to each other when it is nap time. And Quinn loves taking care of the baby doll; making sure she has a cean diaper, a bath, her milk and is tucked into bed. Its really fun to see him interacting this way.

His vocab has also really taken off. He has always said mama and Daddy but now he really seems to make the connection that those are names and will request who he wants. He loves to say baby, especially when James is around. Other new words include ball, hole, knee, nee naw for nose, star, are, hello, milk, duck, nina (which is what he calls his Mrs. Noah in the Noah's ark, Noah and Jesus and a few others.

I love hanging out with this kid. He might protest naps a lot but he has a great sense of humor and is super silly. If you start to chase him he will run laughing the other way. He is very helpful and always puts things in the trash and in the dishwasher. He will get diapers and wipes for James and loves to help his little brother roll over. Something mom is not thrilled about. He will give James toys when he is sad and will try to burp him.

We have been doing learning time each afternoon and it is so great to see how excited he gets about learning new things. We have been learning about smell, touch, sight and sound this past week. He likes making art to represent what we talked about, especially since he is now allowed to use markers.
And this is the face he makes when we ask him to close his eyes for prayers. What a goof :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We love going up to the Orchards here. It is so beautiful. We went to pick our own pumpkin for Halloween this year.
Quinn was so cute trying to pick up this super heavy pumpkin.
We settled on this cute little pumpkin. Sadly we never did get a chance to carve it :-(
After we picked our pumpkin we had cider donuts and black and orange cookies which were delicious!
Greatma and Greatpa came to visit us at the beginning of October. My Grandparents are such amazing and fun people. We are so glad they took the time to come see us. We did lots of fun things including going to Edgerton park, Lyman Orchards, the park, and the Trolley museum.I'm glad they got to see James soon after he was born and Quinn and Greatpa struck up a great relationship. Greatpa was a good sport and kept Quinn entertained.
It was so wonderful to see them and can't wait to see them again!

Just had to share

I love this picture! It was taken a few days after James was born. Quinn crawled over and set his car carefully on top of James. It was very sweet.

The Zoo!

In the middle of October we decided to go to the zoo one last time before it got too cold. It was a lot of fun!

Quinn seemed more interested in the zoo itself instead of the animals. Like these stairs. I think he went up and down about 8 times before I was finally able to convince him to move on.
This is what James thought about it all.

Quinn had fun pretending to be a peacock,
seeing how long his arms were,

pretending to be a parrie dog, popping in and out of those holes, chasing a peacock, pretending to milk a cow and watching this Toucan.

I liked these fun signs they had up for Halloween

Thursday, November 11, 2010

James' Blessing

We were so lucky to have members from both of our families come out to meet James and to be here for his baby blessing.
Gramma and Papi
Grandma and Grandpa Bracken

A baby blessing is a special opportunity for the baby to receive a name and to to have special blessings promised that will help them throughout their life. We blessed James on August 29th. Peter performed the blessing and Grandpa, Papi, and our friend Nate also participated.
James looked super cute in his little white suit and bow tie that Grandma bought for him

Daddy and James

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Long or short?

I am in desperate need of a new haircut and style. I love having long hair but don't have the time to style it as much as I would like to and it takes for ever to dry and straighten. Either way I want to go I need it to be at least 3" shorter.

I like this first one a lot. I love all of the layers and feel that it would be pretty easy to maintain.

I am also really drawn to this type of hairstyle. It's cute and sassy but definitely a lot shorter and I am kinda scared to cut off all that hair. Also, the shorter my hair the more wavy, frizzy and curly it is so getting it straight is more of a challenge.

Which one do you think I should go with?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2 Months

Our cute smiley guy! After two months its hard to picture how things were without James. At his two month visit he weighed in at 10lbs 2 oz and 23" long. Quinn has definitely gotten used to having a little brother and is magnifying his roll as a big brother. If he hears James crying he is instantly there, trying to rock him, give him a binkie or patting him. He also loves shaking his hand while asking "How do you do?', giving James high fives and playing pat-a-cake.

Even though he looks a little mad in this picture I think James likes having Quinn around. Yesterday Quinn was holding James and James just snuggled right into Quinn and looked so content.

James loves sticking his tongue out. So dang cute!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Labor Story: Part III

We started the pitocin around 7:30pm. They started slowly turning the doses up every 30 minutes or so. After a while I noticed the the contractions were finally getting longer and steady. Around 9pm I decided that I should get up and walk around for a little. Since you have to be monitored continuously when you are on pitocin they hooked me up to a portable monitor. It was basically a big belly band with that could hold the monitors in place against my belly.

We walked out of the delivery room, turned right walked to the end of the hallway, turned around, and as we passed by our room in the middle of the hallway I was done! I did not feel good. So we decided to sit on the yoga ball. As soon as I sat down the contractions left me gasping. They had gone from being mild to full force in a matter of seconds. After about 30 minutes of laboring on the yoga ball I thought I was going to die. They told me that I was doing great, that I had gone from a 2 to a 5 in just a half hour and it was going really fast. Definitely not fast enough in my opinion.

Things were going quickly though. Soon I was at a 7 and I could not handle anymore. I couldn't remember a single reason for not wanting an epidural. All I knew was that I needed help and that the pain had to stop now. I felt satisfied that I had worked hard at this and it was time for some pain relief. So we asked for an epidural. Melanie said ok but warned me that James would probably be here before the epidural. I was comforted to know that I wouldn't have to stick it out much longer. Melanie was right and not too long after, our little Jimmy Bean was born

We love this little guy so much its hard to express. He is sweet and handsome and has a very wise old spirit. We are so glad he is a part of our family

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1 Month Pictures

So I have a ton of things I want to blog about but time has been a little short these past few weeks. We are slowly starting to figure out how to juggle our two wonderful little boys. Its fun and challenging. James is growing up fast. At his 1 month visit he weighed in at 8lbs 12oz and measured 21 inches. He had gained a little under 2lbs in 2 weeks. Most babies gain 30oz a day, James is gaining 60oz. For gaining so much weight and making up some ground he is still our little peanut. And I love it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Labor Story: Part II

I went to sleep fully expecting for some contractions to wake me up so when I did wake up having some nice regular and intense contractions I was really glad I had finally gone into labor. I decided I would try and sleep in between them so I could get as much rest as possible. So I was a little disappointed when I woke up the next morning and realized that I had slept through the rest of the night and nothing had happened :-( That meant we needed to head to the hospital to confirm that my water had broken.

During the pregnancy I had mused over how the drive to the hospital would be. With Quinn we were in New haven and delivering at Yale. All we needed to do was drive less than 5 minutes down one street to the hospital. With James we were delivering at St. Raphaels which is also in New Haven and on average about 15 minutes away. However, the freeway can get really busy with rush hour traffic and so I had hoped we would be heading to the hospital at a time when there wasn't a lot of traffic. What do you do if you are stuck in traffic and are in labor? Do you honk a lot? Do you drive down the shoulder? Maybe you just have the baby in the car???

Thankfully it was early on Sunday morning and I wasn't in labor so we didn't have to worry about that one. It felt kind of surreal driving to the hospital knowing we were going to have a baby but without actually being in labor.

We headed up to Labor and Delivery and they hooked me up to the monitor to check the baby's heartbeat and to measure any contractions. Nancy's shift had ended by the time we got there but Melanie was now on call. I was really glad.

The practice we went to had four midwives that you saw for your prenatal visits. I loved all of them except for one. Not that I didn't like her just this particular midwife we had only seen once and that was to confirm we were pregnant. She was nice enough but we just didn't really click. We randomly rotated through all of the midwives throughout the pregnancy but it just so happened we never saw the first midwife again except at the hospital tour where again I didn't feel a great connection. She had also delivered a friend's baby who didn't have the best experience with her. Then there were three other midwives that worked at the hospital, one of whom I had only met briefly at the hospital tour and had never seen for prenatal visits, so there was a chance that there could be a woman we had never met with previously delivering our baby. We were really pleased to hear that Melanie was there and that she would be on call for a while.

After they had monitored me and the baby for a while they checked to if my water had broken. And the test was positive. There was no turning back now. Melanie explained to us that in general when you water breaks you have 24 hours to have the baby. Now that there was a hole in the amniotic sack there was a high risk for infection. However the doctor that was currently on call was more of the opinion that you had 24 hours to go into labor. So that meant we had some decisions to make. I could go ahead and be induced then and there with Pitocin. Or we could try a more mild induction called Misoprostol. Or we could try walking, massage, sitting on the birthing ball etc to get things rolling. As I wanted to have as natural a childbirth as possible this seemed like a great option. I had been starting to have a few contractions and was hopeful my uterus would realize it was time to start working harder. We were officially omitted and started walking!

And walking and walking and walking....that hallway was not very long and it wasn't the most exciting walk. At one end there was the NICU, on the other the OR. Now normally I would be super excited about both of those places...from a medical point of view. But not today, I didn't want me or James ending up in either one of those rooms. ( I think that they should have an indoor track on the Labor and Delivery floor. )

It turned out to be a pretty fun morning. We walked, talked and laughed and then alternated the walking with resting, massage and sitting on the birthing ball watching some football. The contractions would start to pick up and be nice and strong and then they would stop again. Then they would be pick up and then die down. At some point in the morning Melanie came back to check how things were going and as we weren't having much luck asked if would like to try 'breaking my water" some more to see if that would help get things going.

No one really knows what causes a woman to go into labor but one thought is that the change in pressure from the loss of fluid when your water breaks can trigger it. As I really just had a tiny pinprick there hadn't been enough of a shift in pressure to get labor going. I was all for trying this. Sadly it didn't work. James' head was so low down that even though there was a tiny bulge of the amniotic sac in front of his head it was hard to get to. And man did it hurt! After trying to get it for a few minutes Melanie announced that she had gotten through the first layer, the Chorion but not the second, the Amnion. She said that hopefully though the procedure had released a few prostaglandins (the hormone is released when your membranes are stripped) and that even though she hadn't been able to let out any more fluid that maybe the hormone would get things going.

Around 1:00 we decided we would need to try something else. We were getting close to 5:30, the 24 hour mark, and so we thought we would step it up a notch with the Misoprostol. When we checked in I was at 2 cm and about 50% effaced. We hoped that the Miso would help me dilate a few more centimeters and become more effaced so that if we did need to induce with pitosin I would be more ready. The Miso seemed to get things going. The contractions became a little more regular and more intense. We kept walking for a while and then they put me back on the monitor to see how things were picking up. Melanie came in and said that things were looking very good.

And about 20 minutes later the contractions died down again. It was now 6:30. You can do Miso once every four hours and in general it takes about 2-4 rounds to get things going. You also can't be having too many contractions to be able to have it. By this point we were getting very tired and emotionally drained. If we kept doing the Miso it could be another 12 hours before anything happened and we didn't want to be so tired that we couldn't get through labor. That and for no other reason than it just felt right we decided it was time to try Pitocin. This was a big decision, Pitosin really scared me.

Now I have to mention the nurse that was assigned to us during the afternoon. As I want to be a nurse I have tried to make a mental log of things that I like about the nurses I have had and the things that I don't. The first nurse we had was great. Friendly, interested in us, good at what she did but kept a professional distance. The second nurse was nice but super opinionated. After hearing we were from Utah she made some very rude and snotty comments about our religion. This left me feeling uncomfortable around her. I didn't think she needed to agree with us or believe as we did but here was a person that might be helping bring our second son into the world yet obviously didn't respect us. Later on she bluntly told me that she thought way too women receive epidurals. Pain management during labor is a very personal thing, I don't think there is any right or wrong to it. Every labor and person is different and you have to make the decisions that are right for you. As a health care provider you should never express an opinion like that. I was a little offended. I was hoping to go through labor without an epidural, but what if I decided to get one? I didn't feel she would be very supportive. After we made the decision to start the pitocin she asked why we had made that decision in a tone obvious that she didn't approve. There I was feeling feeling very nervous about being induced with pitocin and she is questioning that decision.Thank goodness her shift ended a few minutes later. Compare her to Kira our third nurse of the say, who was completely supportive, was friendly and made us smile, spent time getting to know Peter as well as me (I feel husbands are often neglected during labor) and a great labor coach who stayed an hour after her shift ended to see things through to the end. I hope I am a Kira one day.

For all our Utah readers!

Remember these fantastic newborn pictures of Quinn?

These pictures were taken by our friend JoDee. Her pictures are super fun, candid and creative. We absolutely love them! She took some of little James this week and we can't wait to see them.

JoDee will be in Utah booking mini photography sessions September 9th-11th. Her pictures are fabulous, don't miss out!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Labor Story: Part I

Note: Gushing fluids, bodily functions, goop, pain, more gushing fluid, more pain, tender moments, football and love are discussed in this series of posts. After all it is a labor story :-)

The week before James was born had been really busy! Lots of fun activities for Quinn which we both enjoyed but when Friday came around it was time to have Mommy and Quinn time! I also had a feeling that James would be here really soon and I wanted to make sure I snuck in those last few precious one-on-one moments which I knew were going to be more rare in the up coming weeks. We had a fun relaxing day which was sorely needed. I was so big and tired it felt good just to lay on the floor and play. I had been having intense Braxton Hicks contractions for the past couple of nights and a couple false alarms and was feeling a little emotional as well as physical exhausted.

Saturday I felt pretty sick. Just nauseas and weird. I spent a lot of the afternoon sleeping. I remembered that the day before I had Quinn I had felt sick also and wondered if this was a sign James would be here soon. And maybe this is TMI, but as this is a true story I will mention that I had to go #2 a lot. something that I knew could happen before labor starts. That, the nasueas and the feeling that labor was coming made me sure it would be within the next couple of days but after feeling like I had been going into labor for a week I definitely did not think it would be that night. Especially since I still had two more weeks to go!

Around 5:30pm I was standing in the living room talking with Peter when all of a sudden I felt a little gush of fluid. I said "uh-oh!" and raced to the bathroom. Peter came running behind me. "What is it?"
"I think my water just broke" I replied but I felt stupid even as I said it. There was barely any fluid. It was probably just some lost bladder control, which made me feel even more stupid. I had been thinking I was going to labor so many times that week that I was jumping on every little thing. Yet at the same time it had felt a little different. I wasn't sure what had happened.

We discussed calling the midwives and decided that maybe we would wait a little just to be sure. We were supposed to be babysitting our friends' kids in about a half hour and I wasn't sure whether we should call and cancel. I would have hated to have called and said that we couldn't come to find out it really wasn't my water that had broken and that they had missed out on their date because I had no bladder control.

I decided to take a quick shower and as I was getting dressed noticed that there was a little more fluid. I ran, well waddled into the living room and told Peter I was pretty sure that it was my water that had broken. We called to cancel babysitting and worked on making some dinner. Bangers and Mash! I know England doesn't have a great culinary reputation but you can't beat bangers and mash, its awesome! Almost as good as fish and chips and probably just about as good for you.

After dinner I noticed, well ...nothing! We put Quinn to bed and turned on a movie. It was a great distraction but after it was over I was feeling really foolish. I wasn't in labor, I wasn't even feeling crampy like I had constantly all week. I went to the bathroom again because at 38 weeks pregnant thats pretty much all you ever do. This time however I noticed a lot more fluid. I was so relieved that I wasn't crazy and felt a lot more confident that it was my water that had broken. We called the midwife who was on call, Nancy. Yay for Nancy, she was one of the midwives I felt very comfortable with. The call was slightly discouraging though. She said that it sound a little suspicious that it really was my water that had broken as there was so little fluid but we should come in and be checked. She said we could come in that night or wait until morning. We opted to wait until the morning. We still had Quinn at home, and while Nancy had put a little doubt in my mind that my water had broken I was still sure that that was what was going on and was pretty sure I would go into labor if I just gave it a little time.

We were both getting pretty excited. Our little Jimmy bean would be here soon! We started putting some last minute things into the hospital bag, packed a bag for Quinn, put the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and tried to get things as ready as possible. I found our cell phones so we could charge them and I noticed we had missed a call from Jodee, the friend we were supposed to be babysitting for that night, offering to take Quinn for the night in case I did go into labor. We decided this was a good idea and took Quinn downstairs to their apartment. (Note to self: Always live in an apartment building with awesome friends with awesome kids that you trade babysitting with. Its fantastic!) I felt sad as I gave Quinn a hug goodbye. I was so unsure of how our family dynamic was going to change. I felt worried that I wouldn't be able to give Quinn the time and attention he needed. Even though its hard to stay home sometimes I wouldn't trade it for anything and I loved him and me just hanging out doing our thing. I was going to miss that, even if I was excited for another little son. I also didn't want this to be the last time I held him. It sounds so pessimistic but even with modern medicine things can go wrong in labor. It is one of the hardest things your body can do and even though the possibility is small women still lose their lives giving birth. I let myself be sad until Peter got back from taking him downstairs and they told my self to snap out of it. Everything was going to be fine. We were ready for another baby, we could do this! We went to bed feeling calm and excited, me still a little sad but happy at the same time and convinced that in a few hours I would be in labor.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

James Benjamin Bracken

August 8, 2010
5lbs 15oz