Sunday morning I woke up and hopped in the bath to try and ease some of the tension and fatigue from a night full of sporadic contractions. I had contractions about 10 minutes apart all day. That evening, Jake and Kate invited us over for some corn chowder and a movie, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of the house. I just wasn’t feeling well. Nate took Jace and I watched ‘The Bean Movie’ and had a bowl of Ramen Noodle. That’s finally when things started happening. This was the text conversation that I had with Nate:
6:52pm Nate: How you doin’, baby?
6:53pm Luisa: I’m doing alright, sweetie. I’m about to start timing these. I downloaded an app… Hope it helps, because I hate lapping thru the timer. I mess it up. How is the fam? Is it cool that I didn’t come?
6:54pm Nate: Hi baby! That’s awesome. Let me know how it goes! The fam is great and they totally understand. I’ll bring home some soup.
7:17pm Luisa: I just found one of your African pictures on Pinterest!
7:18pm Nate: That’s too funny. Which one? And how are you feeling?
7:19pm Luisa: I’m doing ok… contractions are 6 mins apart, but manageable. ; )
7:20pm Nate: 6 minutes!! Holy cow! That’s amazing baby! Keep me updated.
7:33pm Nate: Hey so would you like me to come home now? How long have they lasted 6 minutes apart?
7:34pm Luisa: Yes. I think you should come home. They are getting closer together. 3:50 apart. This hurts… I’m jumping in the tub.
7:35pm Nate: Would you like some soup?
7:36pm Nate: On our way!!!!
7:49pm Luisa: It’s time sweetie. This is it.
7:50pm Nate: ON MY WAY!!! HURRYING!!
Nate got home and we started getting together the last minute things that couldn’t already be packed. My contractions were getting pretty bad. They were finally the intensity that I remembered with Jace. I really tried to focus on my breathing rhythms, but I couldn’t quite find one that worked for me. Finally, my biggest aim was to just push the breaths out as hard as I could. Eventually I started throwing up, just like I had with Jace. That was when we knew for sure, FOR SURE that this was finally the real thing. We got Jace all bundled up back into the car, and headed BACK to Jake and Kate’s house to drop him off.
When the nurse came in to ‘check me’, I almost got nervous that she was going to tell me that I was STILL only dilated to a 3!!! There had to be SOME kind of progress!! And there was!! I was a 7cm! I almost started crying, I was so happy!! When my epidural finally started kicking in, I could relax and sip on water. After that, the real fun began. It was a quiet and sweet experience this time. When Jace was born, there was the ordeal with all the meconium, and the entire NICU team and the student were there to observe, etc. etc. This time it was just Nate and I, my nurse and Doctor West. He came to break my water, because I was almost fully dilated and it still hadn’t broken yet! And then…. it was time to push!! I felt like: “Woah, woah, woah!!! I’m not ready yet!” I had all the time in the world with Jace and this time I had none at all. When it was time to push, I just couldn’t believe it was time already. I anticipated this moment for so long!! I pushed for a total of 10 minutes, which was about 4 pushes. And then, Dr. West said: “Alright, just one more time… just a small one.” And then there she was!!! He gave her a good rub down until she had this healthy vibrant glow…. and then she started yelling at him. She let everyone know just how angry she was, and how uncomfortable that whole ordeal was on her. Dr. West put her up on my chest and OH! That feeling was incredible! I felt SO joyful and SO full!! I was brimming over with happiness and excitement and love for that precious little girl. They let me hold her as long as I wanted and she just cried and held onto my finger and I kissed her and told her how much I loved her from the bottom of my heart. It was a divine experience.
It wasn’t much later that Nate and Sofia fell asleep. I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt!!! I was really steady on my feet, and I just felt like a million bucks!! I didn’t have a baby in my tummy anymore, and that feeling is such a wonderful relief. I wasn’t in any pain or discomfort… it was just wonderful. But I didn’t sleep that night; she was born a little after midnight, and I didn’t sleep until 1-2pm the next day. For some reason, I wasn’t tired and I just wanted to see her and be with her and hold her. I couldn’t get enough of her. I breathed in her beautiful smell and kissed her face over and over again. I whispered to her how much I loved her, and how badly I had wanted her to arrive and join our family. Every single time the nurses would bring her to me to nurse, I was just SO dang excited to see her! I would say: “I MISSED YOU!” That night at about 7:00pm, Nate brought Jace in to see me and to meet Sofia. This was the moment we had all been anticipating. We knew that his world was going to get rocked, but we just didn’t know how it would manifest itself in his behavior. When he walked into the room, he yelled: “MAMA!!!” And that nearly made me burst into tears. And then, he was all about Sofie. He loved her from the very first moment he lay eyes on her. He came to the bed and gave me hugs and kisses, but then he tried to climb into the bassinet with Sofie. It was adorable. He gave her kisses too and pet her softly. This started one of the most beautiful nights of my life. We got Jace some presents from Sofie for becoming a big brother. He was so excited about the cars and the new book, but he was ALSO very psyched about all the buttons that were in the room. We brought a movie and some snacks, and all 4 of us climbed into my hospital bed, and fell asleep together. I don’t think I had ever been that happy.
Those days in the hospital were sacred to me. Some might think that all that cleanliness and whiteness in a hospital is just because a hospital is sterile. Not at all. It was a sacred place, because a sacred thing had happened there, and I felt like I was glowing. Maybe I was? My bond with Sofie began THE moment that she was born and they put her on my chest. I would venture to say that our bond began when I was about 6 months pregnant. Sofie has been SO calm and gentle from the time that she was in the womb, until now. She is tender, and kind and calming and peaceful. She is just incredible. Her eyes are intensely alert but they are also so intelligent. Everything about her just calms me down. She has been SO good to me…. and I hope she feels the same about me. This birth has brought me closer to Lord. I know better, with each child, what it must be like to be Him. Some parents worry that when they have a second child, that their love will be divided between the two children or that they will never be able to love that second child as much as they love their first. They worry that they will have love the first child less in order to make room in their hearts for the second. But that is not the case. The reality is that their heart grows…. it doubles in size. Their capability and their capacity to love has been magnified.
When my second child was born, I didn’t love less. I loved MORE.
It is a wonderful thing when the fair comes to town! We had such a blast being there, and granted, we didn’t stay too long. But we saw the art exhibits and LOTS of animals. We ate gyros, corn dogs, popcorn, scones, strawberry lemonade, elephant ears and cotton candy. Fair food just might be the best thing about it. We were unwilling to wait in line for hours to get tickets and get on any rides, so we skipped that part this year, but next year Jace will for sure ride that ‘choo-choo train’ that he was so enamored with. At the end of the night, we took Jace to the petting zoo section, and he had so much fun! He liked the baby goats the best and the baby chicks. We bravely fed them some oats, and we are excited for him to milk a cow next year. ; )
There comes a time in the existence of every family that all the little birds leave the nest and scatter to the 4 corners of the earth. My family is almost to that point, so my parents have set the goal to have a family reunion every single year to make new memories and keep old traditions. We congregated on the East Coast, just north of Boston where I grew up. Nate and I LOVE having both of parents living so close to each other so that we can see both when we travel home. The festivities began the day that we arrived with the celebrating of my Dad’s birthday. We made his favorite dessert: Banana Splits and Root Beer Floats. Unfortunately, the ice cream melted quite a bit with the burning of all those candles. ; ) The next day we headed to the beach, Ogunquit, and it was DIVINE to hear the ocean waves again and smell the salty air.
We also took Jace to the Children’s Museum. He LOVED IT!! There were just so many buttons to push that he could have spent numerous days there. After that, my family traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to do some camping. I hadn’t been to Martha’s Vineyard since I was an early teen. This little island was SO much fun, and so different and exciting. They have THE BEST seafood around, dozens of lighthouses to see, beautiful beaches, quaint homes and shops… and for us, a fun little camp ground. Here we are on the ferry over from the mainland… I know, my hair has some explaining to do. ; )Every little girls first love will always be her Daddy… I sure love mine. These adorable painted casitas are called ‘The Painted Ladies’. There were hundreds of them, all with unique names and themes. This blue and yellow one was one of my favorites because it had a wrap around porch, a large backyard and those honeycomb doors. I love it!The same day that we got back Boston, my siblings and I threw my parents a surprise 30th Anniversary Party. We had it at Winnekini Castle and it was one of the most special nights of our entire trip. We sang to them, we provided live quality entertainment [dancers], we dedicated a speech to them and we made a slideshow of their last 30 years. At the end of the speech, my brother Andrew announced that he and his wife, Danella, are expecting a baby!!! She is due 2 months after me, and we could not be more excited for them! We ate, we danced, we laughed and we cried, and it was such a magical, wonderful night. I hope that my parents felt our love and appreciation towards them. Here is the whole motley crew [from back left to right]: Andrew [brother], Nate & Jace, Alexander [brother], Lecy [aunt], Danella [sister-in-law], Javier & Sebastian [cousins], my Mom & Dad, Shannon [sister], Me, my Abuela, a family friend, Brooke [niece], Cameron [nephew] and Melanie [little sister].
Here is the video that we played for them. It really captures what we feel for our parents, and what they have taught us. “I won’t give up on us… even when the skies get rough. I’m giving you all I’ve got, I’m still looking up.” I love my family and I loved the time that we were able to spend together. I am so grateful for the life my parents have given me… they have sacrificed so much and have been such wonderful examples. I love them and I feel loved by them. I hope that I am as good of parents to my own children as they were to me.
I awoke this morning to a feeling of dread and foreboding. ‘The time has come; the time is now…” Jace is finally getting his first haircut at almost 1 1/2 years old. It really helped that today was 104 degrees, and the A/C went out in our car. I was literally pouring water all over Jace in the car to try and keep him cool. Nate said: “He’ll be SO MUCH happier once he has short hair.” We shall see. As you can see in this picture, he is shedding a tear on behalf of beautiful hair everywhere. He does look happy, doesn’t he? -
Nate and I have fought long and hard about this topic. We agree on almost everything that really matters in life… but on this, we DID NOT agree. JACE’S HAIR. I think that Nate wanted to start cutting it a year ago. I thought it was miraculous in the first place that we ended up with such a beautiful towhead; not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my blonde haired-blue eyed baby. Well, my reasoning was that most likely, his hair will darken with age. And most likely the curls will lose their volume once we cut it. Nate, however, was raised by a VERY wonderful mother who encouraged her boys to look well-groomed and handsome. A valid point. Nate and I struck a few deals and both made some compromises and finally the date was set. One of my conditions was that we had to do a photo shoot with Jace before his cut… Nate’s condition was that I had to do it. It was HOT. It was late. Jace was tired and so was I – but here is what I captured in our 20 min photo session the day before his haircut.“Girls? Gag.”Goodbye, luxurious locks. “Ok, Mom. You ran out of jellybeans, so…. I’m done. Let’s go find Dad.”
This might be one of Nate’s favorite holidays of the year: nothing brings out the inner child in grown men more than lighting things on fire and watching them explode. But before we began our evening festivities, we decided to head to Eagle Island State Park and swim to our hearts content. Sometimes I forget, and Jace needs to remind me, that he is PURE BOY. His life is composed of rocks, balls, cars, sticks, getting dirty, throwing things and of course, eating. This fun day was filled with such simplicity. We had a little of everything that Jace loves, and a little of everything that I love: my two boys, sun, water, relaxation and some great food. In the evening, we got together with the fam for our own private fireworks show and BBQ. It was a wonderful day! Happy Independence Day!!Oh, I must mention Jace’s injury on his face. He took a little tumble at church and caught himself with his face. The rug burn went from his nose to his forehead! Poor guy! Nate obligingly took it out of this last photo, which is my favorite of the day. Those gorgeous eyes, however, are NOT enhanced. I’ve never seen anything so gorgeous.
We are having a girl!! For some reason, that just seems right. This pregnancy has been much different than Jace’s was. Apparently, his was a piece of cake, but this little chica has been putting me through the ringer. Not only did the morning sickness hit WAY earlier than Jace’s ever did, it has lasted longer and has been much more intense. But you know what… if it means that she gets to come to our family, every single thing is worth it. During our ultrasound the nurse told us that everything looks perfect; her brain, all of her organs, her heart, all of her limbs. She is the model of perfection thus far, and we are SO grateful that she is healthy. It was astonishing to watch the technician point out different parts, that to us, looked like smudges or splotches on the screen. They can see so many things! I CAN NOT wait to meet her!!! Make way, World!! Here comes Baby Perkes #2 to take over!!
After a gorgeous bike ride on the Green Belt in Downtown Boise, we went to Jake and Kate’s for a BBQ. The lighting was just divine and we couldn’t help but bring out the camera.
That’s right, folks. We are on our way to adding a fourth member to our family and we could not be more excited!!
My entire side of the family, the Morales’, all had the opportunity to get together to celebrate the graduation’s of Andrew, my little brother and his darling wife, Danella. We came from far and wide and gathered in UT for the occasion. We began our festivities by going to the temple, enjoying a session there and later wandering around the beautiful Temple Square.
The next day was the actual graduation, where Jace LOVED being entertained by his two older cousins, Cameron and Brooke. After we had a guided mini-tour of the BYU campus, saw the BYU Museum of Art, had Ice Cream at the famous Creamery, ate at Danella and Andrew’s favorite Korean Restaurant, we all got ready to head down to Moab to see Arches National Park. Here was the moment when we revealed the news to the family… Nate said: “Alright, everybody! Say Cheese on 1-2-3! Now, everyone say: Luisa’s Pregnant on 1-2-3!!! AHHH!!!”Our trip back to Boise. We stopped at a truck stop to fill up on gas and to get me a soft serve ice cream. Jace enjoyed it as well. ; ) It was a great trip and it was so good to be together! Can’t wait for our family reunion in August!!!
We thought the day would never come, and we would be lying if we told you that we weren’t worried just a little. But finally… he walks!! It has been so much fun teaching him and watching him improve every single time that he practices. He obviously still prefers to crawl, since he can do so much more quickly, but that won’t last long. He gets better and better every day! Love this little guy!!
I CANNOT believe how time flies. 4 years… really?? Life is never better than when you are married to the person of your dreams, and I can literally say that. These have been the best years of my life. Thank you, Nate, for making me so happy! On our day, we took Jace to the Zoo and then tried out a fantastic new restaurant in downtown Boise: Fork’s. Aside from Jace throwing Cheerios across the restaurant, the day was perfect! I realized that Nate and I didn’t get any pictures together, so I included my favorite picture from our Engagement shoot. To many more years to come!!
Children definitely bring back the magic of the holidays. I COULD NOT WAIT for this year when Jace will be able to participate more readily in all the celebrations of the holidays. Easter is our first experience!! Although Jace had a blast, he seemed content to get only two eggs – one for each hand- and then proceed to open them and get out all the candy. He would shove everything in his mouth, wrappers and all, and then go in search of a ball to play with. We had a HUGE Easter Egg Hunt at Jake & Kate’s house [Nate's brother and family], and then had a huge breakfast complete with pancakes, eggs, bacon and more toppings than you could imagine… the most important being Coconut Syrup which “can make even dirt taste good.”
This is Jace’s lovely cousin, Adelle. We think that she is exactly what Jace would look like if he were a girl. ; ) Isn’t she just delicious?!?!
Breakfast is the best time to take pictures of Jace. Not only is he literally strapped into one location, but he is pleasantly distracted by things delicious. Nate also took this opportunity to teach me lots about a photo technique called rim lighting. This situation was MUCH less stressful than trying to learn this with a bride.
“Ok, Dad. I’m done.”
There are a few things about Boise that we ABSOLUTELY love. This is one of them. We had our first picnic of the year today. A one year old shouldn’t have to be stuck indoors all day like Jace was this winter. He goes a little stir crazy, but finally, we are coming into Spring and he LOVES IT! Nate had a little work meeting, so Jace and I took some books, bubbles, balls and snacks outside and waited for him to come home. When he did, we took turns taking pictures. ; )Here are a couple funny things that Jace does: first, on the left, sometimes he seems to gaze off into the distance and reach his hand out like he could touch some cloud or distant star. It is always very dramatic, so here is Nate impersonating it. On the right, Jace is really not a fan of the feeling of grass. He doesn’t like to sit in it, step on it or touch it. He isn’t walking in that picture, he is trying to avoid it.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. We almost missed our flight because we passed out without setting our alarm clocks, but miraculously… we made it. Here we are in SLC again at one of our favorite places: Bruges Waffles. We met Max, our little brother, there for breakfast and then we met up with some of our closest friends, Josh & Lacey and their brand new baby, Cohen. After that, we were on our way up to Logan to pick up our Mr. Wonderful. It was SO good to see him again. The Erickson’s were just so wonderful in taking great care of him. I doubt he has EVER received so much attention. The kids were so darling… and they shed a few tears when it was time for Jace to leave. ; )
Together at last…
I cannot believe that my little baby boy is already 1 year old. Time has seriously flown. This past year has been one of the best of my life; I can’t imagine that life gets any better than this. So that we could be with family on this special day, we all decided to head up to the mountains in McCall [about 2 hours north of Boise] and get a cabin. We were there with Jake & Kate and their 5 kids as well as Max and his sweetheart, Ashlee. We had so much fun skiing and sledding and eating at THE Pancake House. It was just such a winter wonderland!! Jace isn’t a fan of loud noises or big crowds so we tried to keep it low key. We quietly sang him Happy Birthday, and unsuccessfully tried to teach him how to blow out his candle. The cousins were more than willing to help him out with that. And then we let him have free reign of his mini-cake [everyone else got cupcakes]…. BUT, apparently Jace doesn’t like sweet things, or to get dirty or sticky [he started to cry when I put his hands in the cake.... ooops]. Jace has definitely developed in his ‘present-unwrapping-skills’ since Christmas, and he has LOOOOOVVVVEEED his new toys. He plays with them daily… especially the balls. Anyways, WE LOVE OUR ‘BIG’ BOY!!!! He is seriously the joy of our lives. We were so excited to celebrate this birthday with him and in the words of my ‘Grammy’: “And many more!!!!”