Monday, May 8, 2017

Welcome to the Family Colin David

As we adjust to becoming parents of 4 children.... (I can't believe God has deemed us responsible enough to care for 4 children).... we wanted to share some pictures of Colin meeting the rest of his family.

We were so lucky to have Missy and Brian Norrell to watch our 3 during this time, and they are quickly integrating their way into our children's hearts and our family's life. So we were so glad to have them with us to meet Colin upon his arrival.

We've been grateful for all the love and care that has surrounded our family. Even though things sometimes become challenging or difficult, someone has always helped us. And for that we are truly grateful and will never forget that kindness and love they add to our family.

Sophie continues to be proud to be a big sister, but sometimes views her role being more of a "younger parent". We are still working on the job title with her as well as her roles and responsibilities.

Connor is very happy to have a brother whom will share his room and hopefully his energy for finding worms and digging tunnels in the sandbox. Although he did promise that he would teach Colin NOT to pee on his sisters (something Connor has done); he thought it was pretty cool that when he held Colin... Colin farted on him. He loved it. I guess that is how the Oney boys bond.

Ainsley is still learning about what it means to have a "baby" in the family. But she loves to point at him and call him "baby". Plus she enjoys pointing out his "toes", "ears", "head", and other various features. She continues to have a strong bond with Sophie, which will hopefully help her get through the transition from my "littlest little" to a "big sister".

And Brian has another boy. And another child that looks like him. I mean the rest of the kids all look like him... why not another? Right now, Ainsley is definitely a daddy's girl, so hopefully Colin doesn't complicate that relationship, but enhances the kids' love for their father.

Thank you for all the well wishes, the cards, the caring words, the loving deeds, and the prayers you send to our family. We continue to find God's grace in our lives.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Going Fourth

Since the fall, our family has been expecting the addition of our fourth child. The kids have been super excited about baby brother. Connor is ready to have a brother whom he can share a bedroom with, while Sophie has been critical of most of our names (her choices of Noah and Jose were rejected poor child). And Ainsley, well she didn't know much what to expect except to point to my stomach and say "Baby".

After many doctor appointments, a week of bed rest, a panicked run to the hospital on a Sunday, we eventually managed to start the process of evicting our son from my body on Monday, May 1st. We visited Dr. Martin, who encouraged us to go to Baylor after our 10:15 appointment.

Once monitored and settled, it was clear Colin had received our eviction notice, but was taking his time- which actually worked in our favor considering I had Strep B and needed to extra time for the antibiotics to enter my body and thus help him.

Originally we were hoping that we could be done and have him before Sophie's school ended at 3:30, but no such luck. Instead they managed to just get my epidural in around 3pm and poke me with an IV about 6 times on my arms. Brian had to collect the kids and get them prepared for a possible long night in the hospital. When he was gone, the doctor wanted to break my water. I managed to get them to push the time back a bit so Brian could be with me (sans children) when it happened.

Luckily, 30 minutes later he had dropped off all 3 children with Ms. Norrell and was in the room beside me. There is something so helpful in having someone there. We had lots of good jokes, games with antacids, and funny memories of previous births that helped create memories.

After breaking my water, it took about an hour to go from a 6 to a 10. After 4 series of pushes (roughly 30 minutes maybe), Colin David Oney was out of my womb and into the world.

And I have to say... I LOVE my doctor- Dr. Amy Martin.

And our nurse Erin was fantastic as well!

If it wasn't for their help- I'm not sure it would have been as easy to evict a little someone.

Brian's Beliefs
Monday was quite a day...I drove all of the kids to school and then headed to work. I finished off a couple hours of work before Stacey showed up. We left for her appointment and later we found out that only an hour after we had left there was officer shot only a couple blocks from my work (and they locked down the entire area - so luckily we weren't there).

We completed Stacey's newest tradition of taking a walk around the park near her Dr (while I ate the Subway sandwich that Stacey bought me) and then headed to Baylor hospital. I was hoping that Colin would come along by around 1 or 2...but I knew better. Then we realized that we hadn't really planned for the possibility, so I undertook #OperationOney to drive from the hospital to daycare (pick up 2 youngest) to home (to get overnight and next day clothes for kids) to school (to hand off kids & clothes to Ms. Norrell) to the hospital. This was a 50 mile roundtrip that took nearly 2 was a rush and the kids did a good job of focusing on getting everything done timely...except for Ainsely who told me halfway to the van at daycare that she needed to potty, ha.

Stacey did all of the hard work..and a few times I was worried about her shade of blue face...but it was good that I didn't work out because helping her really wore out my arms and shoulders, ha. It was tough waiting around in the morning to have things happen, but then it was probably more tiring with all of the activity after birth. Fortunately for Colin we figured out his name before the day of birth, unlike Ainsley, ha.

Luckily, things proceeded quickly enough that the kids were able to spend the night at home with me. The kids were able to see baby brother, but they all needed some sleep and so did I, as we got home around 11pm.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Hunt is On

With no family nearby and me restricted to the city of Dallas due to my pregnancy, we tried to do some fun family things around home for Easter. One of those things was an Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the city of Rockwall.

The kids' current Easter buckets were full of goodies and hidden and we couldn't locate the previous years' Easter baskets- so each kid ended up carrying a reusable bag. Oh well. The point is it's functionally able to complete the job.

They had the field divided into age groups, so Connor and Ainsley got to go first. Sophie helped raise the rope for everyone when it was time to start. Connor, a natural at this by now, quickly shoved every egg he could fine in his bag with Brian beside him giving him advice (and maybe even a spaghetti diagram of the field and opportunity analysis of collection techniques).

Ainsley took an alternative collection method and picked up every pink or purple egg she could find. All those eggs of alternative colors (yellow, blue, or green) were discarded in order to fill her bag up with more pink and purple eggs. She was so proud of herself as she walked away from the field with a bag full of only pink and purple eggs.

Sophie got a larger field with more egg-celent opportunities. Brian gave her the pep talk, but when the whistle sounded she raced out into the field alone. We actually ended up losing track of her a bit due to all the kids, but she came back smiling with a large load of eggs.

Afterwards, the kids helped separate the candy from the plastic eggs.

We then went to go see the Easter Bunny. Sophie and Connor had no problem going up and getting a picture. Ainsley wouldn't touch the Easter bunny with a 10 foot pole. Even when Connor and Sophie showed her how harmless the Easter bunny was she was still not convinced.

Before heading back home for lunch and a nap, the kids went to one of the 'bounce houses'. Well... kind of. Sophie and Connor made it all the way up and then down the slide. Ainsley made it up all the way except for the last 2 steps, then saw how far up she was and worked her way back down the makeshift ladder.

Even though the kids got a bit of a sugar high it was a nice outing to take the kids.

Brian's Beliefs
It was clear that there were more shenanigans in the lower age group egg hunt with parents. Always interesting how competitive or degenerate parents get when it comes to getting free stuff for their kids. In all fairness, it wasn't as interesting as our egg hunt in Camden Arkansas.

I have to admit that I did strategize with Sophie since her field had many kids...the plan was to head to the middle of the field where the mother-lode was located. The first photo was Sophie sprinting out to the spot and the 2nd photo is immediately after she had literally dove onto the grass to commence egg collection.

Overall it was good weather and a good time.

Night in a Castle

Interesting story that started 10 plus years ago...

Long ago in Kansas, when I was still single but engaged to Brian, we were planning our wedding and honeymoon. Brian was in control of the budget for the wedding and honeymoon- wisely so. As we worked together planning our vacation in Ireland (me the fun stuff; Brian the financial stuff), Brian informed me that if we stayed in a cheap hotel on our wedding night we could spend one night in a castle in Ireland.

One night in a cheap hotel in exchange for one night in a castle- YES!

So we spent our wedding night in a low rated hotel in Kansas, but that's ok, because we were going to stay in a castle in Ireland. Well bed and breakfasts came and went and we never spent the night in a castle in Ireland.

So 10 years later, Brian plans and budgets our trip to Europe. He doesn't promise me a castle, which even if he did, I'm not sure I would have believed him. I did help some with selecting some of the hotels along the trip, but none of them were castles.

So when we arrived in England, Brian surprised me with a night in a castle. And not just 1 castle, but 2 castles. Brian told me he was trying to make up for Ireland.

So without further ado- our hotel castle experience.

Our first stop was Dalhousie Castle, which is near the border of England and Scotland. Fun history fact, King Edward I (Longshanks) stayed the night in Ramsey's castle (Dalhousie) before going to the Battle of Falkirk, where he met defeated William Wallace. Later William Ramsey changed sides and sided with Robert the Bruce and helped him to win the Battle of Bannokburn. The inside was pretty neat and it was fun to poke around the castle.

Our next castle was Hazlewood Castle. This castle can be found in the Doomsday book belonging to William de Percy. Only parts of the original castle still exist as many parts were burned down (either by accident or by war). During World War 2, it became a maternity hospital and inside is a large book of all the babies born at Hazlewood Castle.

I think between the 2 castles, this one was our favorite. Writing this months later I can't exactly remember why.

I can tell you that between all the places we stayed on our trip- the best hotel we stayed at was the Swan Inn Streately on the Thames. Just peaceful countryside and the Thames rushing quietly by. Plus if I remember correctly, the internet was great. I know that sounds kind of absurd that a strong internet connection would be so desirable- but when you've left your little children many time zones away, internet becomes an important link back to them.

Chauffeur’s Corner
The one clarification on the history…yes I was hoping to stay at a castle, but with the self-drive and B&B package that we purchased for our honeymoon did not really include a castle option and for some reason at that point the only castles I could find were $300-$400/night…which was a significant amount of our budget. So now that we have higher paying jobs and the advent of more booking websites to increase availability, it made sense to try for a couple castles.
It was nice to end our trip with stays in castles.

I had chosen Dalhousie Castle almost purely due to its historical importance. We arrived in the evening after coming from St. Andrews (and a significant amount of driving that day)…it was a welcome relief to arrive and it was pretty at night with its landscaping lighting. The castle was pretty neat however the room we were given was rather disappointing as it was “garden level” such that we were looking out directly at grass level (aka no scenic view). We explored the several nooks and crannies of the castle and it was clear that this is a 5-star property as it had a spa, high-class restaurant and our presence definitely was below the average clientele.
We trekked out to the nearby town (suburbs of Edinburgh) to an Italian restaurant, which was nice.
We slept ok and got up at dawn to explore the grounds, including the falconry (we did not pay the $200ish to spend 30 minutes with a bird) and some of the trails. After breakfast we headed off to Edinburgh Castle.

Then we drove to Hazelwood Castle which was about halfway to London from Edinburgh. We arrived in the evening again and we had already enjoyed a fine meal from McDonald’s so we were able to spend time exploring this castle as well. The grounds were probably nicer than Dalhousie and the castle was more spread out and unfortunately with it being dark we weren’t able to see a lot of the countryside. The bed wasn’t as good as Dalhousie, but the shower was better and overall the castle just felt more comfortable (maybe not so pretentious).

We will try to go into more detail about each of our accommodations in a later post…now that Stacey has oodles of time on her hands ;)