My baby is 2!

Ella turned 2 on the 25th of November. She is such an adorable , cute little girl! Everyday I say how cute something she did was. She's truly sweet ,& the new words she says are absolutely adorable. She also has the worst temper of my 3 and gets so angry ! She's been a great surprise,& I love watching her change and grow!

We had family over for some pizza and cake ,because I am not doing big parties for a long time .....or ever :)
I'm not sure how she got this old!

Cousins at the house.

She had been practicing blowing out her candle with Daddy all day!

I loved making her cake & she loved eating it ! 

This picture is her on the day she was born & then the night before she turned 2. Oh they have changed a lot! My kids are almost 2 years exactly apart , so it's fun to tell them this is how old you were when I had ________. I get sentimental about Thanksgiving & their births & Christmas because it all happened at the same time. I fully remember their first pictures with Santa ( days old for 2 of them), I remember Black Friday as being hooked up to monitors checking on baby ( for 2 of them), I remember taking a 2 year old boy to meet his week old sister in the NICU after Christmas Eve service,& I remember babies staring into the tree with blinking lights. { I want to add pictures with all of these memories, but everyone has seen them before. AND I'm on my phone 😂 }Landon had turned 2 the week before I had Lucy, Lucy turned 2 a week after I had Ella,& Ella turned 2 with no babies on the way! Of course with my surgery it felt normal to be recovering during birthday #2 . I remember Landon being obsessed with Toy Story & taking Woody everywhere--even to the L&D room where I had to stay monitored for days after having Lucy. Ok, so we have a picture of that. Landon and Woody being loud in my room, moments before my seizure. I look amazing! 

Speaking of Lucy's birth & the NICU : for the past 3 years, we have visited her nurses on her birthday. We take snacks to the L&D desk, snacks & cards to the NICU nurse/doctors,& take gifts to the babies. Last year Lucy took 27 blankets.
This year we are taking blankets again. We iron on a little tag that says Lucy's Love ,& put it (freshly washed) into a ziplock bag with a card that shows a picture at birth, a current picture ,& a little encouragement. Being away from your baby or being with your baby and away from family on Christmas isn't fun. It was such a good feeling to see something had been delivered to us from someone who had been in our shoes. I'm hoping to take more than last year. If you'd like to help spread some of Lucy's Love, let me know! All you have to do is pick up a pack of receiving blankets & get them to us. Any color, any brand, any will work ! We will wash them & get them ready. If you want to help, you can email me at mrsemmahowell@gmail.com , call, text, or FB me! I'm a little late this year, but we have 2 weeks to get it done! I've got plenty of time ;) Thanks in advance !

Catching up

I've had absolutely no motivation to get on the computer the last month. So as I'm laying in bed over this holiday weekend, and my kids are still asleep at 8:40, I'm catching up! I just looked at our calendar for this week. There have been times when I've thought I've officially joined motherhood. At least this isn't the time when my 1 year old puked on me, down my shirt, down my pants ,& all over her in the rocking chair , but this week is BUSY. Welcome to the holiday season / basketball season/ birthday season/ school program/church program ! We have a field trip, a birthday , 2 basketball practices, 2 church practices,2 nights of church program, birthday dinner out, handbells performance during church,1 school program,& and I haven't wrapped our Christmas books we open every night during advent ( tomorrow starts advent). We also have a drop & shop at church (yay!), so we will have a few hours Saturday morning to finish up presents for nieces & nephews without dragging kids along!
Lucy got her first hair cut a few weeks ago! It looks so short to me :( But it's still long enough to curl,& she loves it.

My first real trip out of the house after surgery was to the Ryman. Luke had gotten us tickets to see Phillip Phillips back in the summer , and it just happened to fall 2 weeks after surgery. Walking up steps was painful & sitting in a church pew with no leg room hurt, but it was an amazing show! 

Also that night was the episode of Nashville that I was an extra on. We shot for 4 days,& figured most of us would just be a blur in the background. This was my dress :
I watched when we got home from the Ryman. Of course I took a picture of every shot I was in :)
Time to head back to TN & get started on getting ready for next week! But not before a football game today! GO CARDS!


Halloween week

We had a busy busy week the last week of October. I worked again this year at the pumpkin patch-- just 2 days a week during field trips. 
Landon also had a field trip this week. It was at a different farm than I work at, so of course I didn't have the best time ;) The kids had a blast! 
Next we had Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat at church Wednesday. The kids collect canned goods from the towers by church, then have a party. Lucy dressed as Snow White, Ella as Doc McStuffins,& Landon as Spider-Man.
On Thursday we decorated the suburban for Trunk or Treat at the Y. We all were Frozen characters . 
There was a serious line for Frozen tattoos .
On Friday Landon's school had a costume parade,& then his class went across the street to trick or treat at the nursing home. 
On Friday night Landon got to play in a small football game at his school, but first we attempted to trick or treat. We DROVE to 1 house. Too cold for me :)

I'm still alive !

Well, I made it through the hills of Cherokee Park! I actually didn't run more than 8 miles when training . I , unfortunately , spoke too soon about getting through just ONE race healthy. Somehow I ended up with an incisional hernia on my c-section incision. My OB & my surgeon gave me the go ahead to run ; they just said it would hurt. I didn't train again after a painful 6,7,&8 mile run. I maybe did a few 3 mile runs, so I had no clue how much I would be able to get through. I made it 5 miles before I stopped at a port o potty. As my running pants came down over me, I had that horrible pain . It felt like thousands of needles sticking me at once :( 5 miles I ran & 8.1 I jogged or walked. But I finished. I got some great pizza & a cool medal afterwards .

I'm about 99% sure I won't be running anymore long distance , for fear I will rip this again. I do not want to have this surgery again ! The race was on October 25th , we had a week to finish getting costumes together ,& then I had surgery on November 6th. 
This was an incisional hernia repair with mesh. Basically the layer of tissues & fat between my skin & organs were coming apart where it was stitched up. It can happen for a number of reasons. I'm sure there were many factors as to why I had this issue, but can't say for sure why.  The surgeon opened me back up,  just like another c-section, checked all around for other damage, sewed the inside back up & added mesh to that layer before closing me up. 
For some reason , I'd convinced myself that it couldn't be worse than a c-section. I was wrong. Once I was up walking around after babies, I felt good & didn't have too much pain. Right now ,3 weeks after surgery , I can barely lay or sleep on my sides, I'm just now able to lift my left leg up to put pants on, I can't bend over,& I can't lay down with my knees bent for very long. There is a different pain , a pinch & poke & cramp , that's going on from my skin incision & down -from  thigh to thigh. The swelling is still going down , and the bruises are almost completely gone. 
There was an aspect I didn't even consider going into surgery. There's still a part of me that isn't FULLY ok with having no more babies. Luke doesn't like the chances of my health { or my hormonal craziness}. I was NOT ok knowing I'd have another csection. I did not want another spinal ( that spinal headache after Ella did me in), and I did not want to be cut open and have to recover again. But we just weren't for sure done. I even backed out of my tubal during Ella's delivery. So as I laid in my bed a few days after surgery, I realized really that I was recovering from a c-section. But there was no baby to snuggle. I could have done it again. So that really hit me that my body is done making babies. I won't be cut open again for a 5th time ( Lord willing the stitches & mesh do their job). So there was physical and emotional pain that I wasn't ready for or expecting. But I am still very thankful that I woke up from surgery-- that really was my ONLY fear!
We are almost to the other side now of recovery.Hopefully not too much longer until I'm back to normal , picking up my babies, and back at the gym!
Ellen had her red chairs in town the day of surgery . Nashville was the first stop of her chairs' trip,& you had to find them and take a picture in them. I made Luke stop on the way home so I could try to win tickets. I tweeted that my nurse anesthetist told me that she was sending me to the Bahamas,& she lied . I needed an LA trip. Unfortunately she had no sympathy & did not pick me. But I was drugged up enough to tweet & IG this picture. #winning