Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome, Nora Ann!

Now that Nora is two weeks old, I figured it was time to get some photos up and tell her story about how she came into this world.  Each of my three birthing experiences have been so different- each so wonderful in their own way.  This go around, I feel that the Lord has been teaching me one giant lesson in trusting Him- casting my fears and anxieties on Him and trusting that His timing is best.

We all (Andy and I, my family, my midwives...) expected Nora to come early.  The others were early, fast labors, and at 37 weeks I was already progressing and baby was LOW and ready to come any moment.  Add to that the fact that starting at 37 weeks, at every appointment my midwife told me "oh it will be any day now- I bet 3 days, tops.  You DEFINITELY won't go another week..." we were ready and expecting a baby SOON. So the first night I had contractions 10 minutes apart from 11pm to 5am, I was SURE a baby was coming, that night.  I fell asleep around 5am to get some rest and awoke two hours later to find that the contractions had stopped and so had "labor"... no baby today.  Which was fine- she was healthy, I was still early, and I had a TON of things left to get done, so a few more days wouldn't hurt anything!  But then it happened again.  And again.  For two weeks. And with each bout of "false" labor I became more exhausted and more discouraged.  I started to worry that my body just didn't know what to do this time.  I worried that something was wrong with the baby- so much so that I went in for a non stress test and ultrasound to be sure everything was ok (and it was, of course).  As the window for my mom to stay and help out started closing, I worried that I would be alone after she was born.  I worried about my job- the longer it took for her to come, the longer I would be away from students during the most important part of the semester.  Isn't it interesting how worry just feeds on itself?  How your fears and anxieties just spiral out of control until you're in full-on panic mode?  What started out as a minor inconvenience  morphed into something else entirely. Instead of trusting and resting in the Lord I let my worries overcome me and I was miserable.
Well, thankfully I had the right mind to call a very wise woman who reminded me of the simple, but true, truth that God held all of Nora's days in his hands and was bringing her into this world in His good timing, and that I could trust that he was preparing my body to do what it needed to do when it needed to do it.  And she prayed for me, over the phone, and ordered me a day of rest.  And so of course, once I stopped trying to make labor happen on my own and prayed to be able to rest in Him and trust His timing, I finally went into labor FOR REAL that night and Nora was born bright and early the next morning.  
And WHEW what a whirlwind it was!  My midwives promised I would go fast, and they were right! Contractions started 10 mins apart at around 10pm, my water broke at midnight, we jumped in the car around 12:30am, got set up in our room by 1am, and she was born at 1:34am! 

When I look at this picture it all comes flooding back.. the relief, the awe, the bewilderment that God would choose to bless me AGAIN with such an amazing gift- how humbling, when I consider how quick I am to doubt His goodness to me, His desire to give me good things.  And when I consider what a fool I am and how undeserving of such grace.  And it is all grace, every moment with her.

Visitors didn't start arriving until close to 10am that morning, so Andy and I had a few sweet hours with her all to ourselves.  

Eleanor Ann (Nora)
7lb 15 oz, 20 inches

Once we had rested a bit, and Nora had been adequately measured, weighed, poked, snuggled, and nursed, visitors began to arrive.

First to meet her- the big sisters. Let me just tell you- these girls cannot get enough of their baby sister.  They LOVE her.  They cannot stop touching her, kissing her, hugging her, poking fingers into her eyes (what is it about baby eyes that are so IRRESISTIBLE to toddlers?).  She is their new favorite person EVER.  

When Charlotte climbed up on the bed next to Nora, all I could think about was how she looked like such a MONSTER.  Her hands are huge! Her feet are big and smelly! And don't get me started on her diapers! She is SO BIG! How did this happen?  She is definitely not a baby anymore.

The girls were fascinated by Nora's belly button, and her tiny feet and hands.  

Meeting Gramma and Papa Bruce- we are so glad they live so close! And Papa Bruce was our hero again this time by bringing Doumars for lunch.  Because, what else do you want to eat right after giving birth but an old fashioned diner burger and limeade?  I am not joking. It's all I wanted.

I included this one just because it's cute.  She is such a mess.

My dad had come into town the night before, for the weekend, regardless of whether or not she decided to come while he was here, just to keep us company.  I was so glad he got to meet her!!

My dear friend Chelle- her due date was just 10 days after mine.  We were hoping baby William would get the "memo" to get a move on and come meet his buddy!

Aunt Katie and Uncle Dan drove down from Richmond to meet Nora.  I love this pic of Dan and Nora.  So much love!  My girls have the BEST aunts and uncles.  

Finally going home!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Does she look like her sisters or what?

Nora, 3 days old:

Charlotte, about 2 or 3 weeks old:

Abby, 3 weeks old:

Yup, I'de say there's a family resemblance...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Girl Bed

Last week, we switched Charlotte out of her crib and into her big-girl toddler bed.  We did this with Abby around the time Charlotte was born (actually, I seem to remember Matt spray-painting the rails the DAY before C was born, and it got set up that day, just hours before I went into labor...).  We wanted to have a little bit more transition time this go-around since we will have THREE kiddos to care for soon.  The less drama, the better...

And, it has been dramatic.  Oh my.  We spend about 45 minutes every night sitting outside their door, going back in to quietly put C back into her bed over and over and over and over again.  After about 5 minutes, Abby falls asleep, and stays asleep for the rest of the night.  Charlotte then takes every. single. stuffed. animal. from her bed and lines them up on Abby's bed. She stands there, staring at Abby, and I can only assume she is waiting and hoping that Ab will wake up and play with her.  
No dice, kiddo.

Eventually, the pitter-patter stops and she falls asleep. And we are so exhausted WE go to bed. But not before checking on her one last time.  

And finding this:

And the next night, this:

(please note all of the items that HAD to be in bed with her: pillow, pillow pet, bwankie, giraffe, pink giraffe, dolly, bear, puppy, and my personal fave: the giraffe sunglasses.)

And last night, this:

My theory is that she finally gives up on Abby joining her party and just conks out, leaning against her bed.  Whatever the reason, it's hilarious.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


A preview of things to come:

Summer is in full swing here and we are LOVING it. Can you tell?

More to come!

(Are you happy, MATT?)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

She said "yes," too!!!

And then, just a week later, MY brother, my BABY brother, convinced his beloved to marry him!

(I am still a little stuck on the fact that he is even old enough to get engaged, let alone married.  MARRIED. As in, a husband... whaaaaa? It seems like just yesterday we were moving him into his dorm at Tech.)

I have lots of pictures from their engagement, because we were there for it!  Well, not the actual proposal- Matt wisely chose to keep that private and just between the two of them.  But, we threw them an engagement party afterwards to celebrate!

(The banner says "She Said 'Yes!'" Thank you, Pinterest!)

Abby was totally jazzed up because she LOVES Becca. And parties.  And people.  She's a bit of an extrovert....

Aaaaaand aparently my mom was a bit jazzed up too...

So glad Meredith could come!  She is a good friend of our family, a former student of mine, and now my co-worker!  

Abby waited very patiently for them to arrive

Here they come here they come!!

After visiting for a bit (and getting food!  The food was amazing!), Matt and Becca shared the story of their engagement.  He sent her on a scavenger hunt around Williamsburg to all of the places that hold special memories for them and their relationship.  And he had a sweet note for her at each of the stops.  Isn't that so sweet and creative?

Here we are!  The new and improved, ever growing Berlin family!  Looking at this picture, it takes my breath away a little bit to realize how blessed we really are.

And this next series, I call "the faces of Charlie..."
The "I want a piece of cake right now!" face

The "I just had a piece of chocolate cake and I'm HYYYYYper!" face

The "seriously?  You are cutting my off?  I want more cake" face

And lastly, I had to include these two.  Charlie parked herself in Dan's lap at one point and it was so sweet.  She loves him.  And, I think she reminds me of him a little?  I wonder if she's going to be like him one day.  Which would be fun since Abby is pretty much a carbon copy of me.  And I happen to think the world of him.  So it gives me hope that they will be great friends one day.

We are all so happy and excited for Matt and Becca.  They are such a great match and compliment each other so well.  They love the Lord and are committed to pursuing a Godly marriage that keeps Christ at the center.  It has been a privilege to watch them start making some of their first big decisions together and really start living out what it looks like to take all of the advice, wisdom, and opinions of others, weigh them all, and make a wise and discerning choice about what is best for THEM, even if it's not necessarily what others would have chosen.  And, I couldn't be happier about his choice for a bride. I can't wait to have Becca as a sister! 

Congrats guys!! We love you!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

She said "yes"

So many exciting things have been happening around here lately!

First, this guy:

convinced this girl: (the one in the middle..):

to MARRY him!!!

Andy's brother Chris is getting hitched!!! This fall!! To one of the coolest, most laid-back, easy to talk to, creative, BEAUTIFUL girls ever.  Seriously, we love Su and could not be happier.  She and Chris are the perfect compliments of each other.
And I'm also pretty sure that out of everyone, Abby is the most excited about it. She's going to be a flower girl and will NOT stop talking about it.  We even watched a youtube video of some flower girls the other day so she could learn the proper petal scattering technique- she is very concerned about doing it "just the right way."
We are so happy for Christ, and so happy to have Su join the family this fall!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Abby's first crush

This post will probably TOTALLY embarrass Abby when she's 16 8, but I HAVE to record this huge moment in her life.

Abby has her first crush.

It's really cute.  One afternoon last week she came up to me while I was working on dinner in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, I want to marry Matthew.  He is SOOOOO handsome."
Then the other day while we were at the library, the girls were playing with some letter magnets on the wall.  Abby turned to me and asked, "Mommy, how do you spell 'Matthew?'"

Ohboy, here we go.  We are really in for it.

I have to add, I asked her teacher, Mrs. Edwards, to point Matthew out to me and told her I thought Abby had a little crush on him. She told me that that made sense, because Abby and Matthew are the two "leaders" in their class, and naturally they gravitate towards each other.  Haha. That just made me crack up, I don't know why. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In other news...

Also, in other news, Little Benson #3 is looking to make his/her debut in early August. I'm 16 weeks as of yesterday, just starting to feel the fog of early pregnancy beginning to lift (including the all day nausea and vomiting, praise God!!), heard the heartbeat again on Tuesday and just started feeling movement this week.  There is nothing in the world like that.  Even the third time around it hasn't gotten old, and it hasn't become any less amazing or miraculous.
In fact, I think this one feels almost more miraculous to me.  A lot of people I love have struggled or are struggling to get/stay pregnant right now.  It's a hard, painful place to be. I feel more aware than ever that I have no control over the life and health of this child. That there is absolutely nothing I did to deserve this baby (or my other two amazing girls, for that matter).  Sometimes it seems so unfair. And, I struggle with emotions that seem so conflicting- grief and deep sadness for my friends, guilt (why me and not them??), fear- there is so much that could still go wrong, hope (I felt a kick! Everything will be okay!), excitement and love for this new life inside of me.  Sometimes I just don't know how to reconcile it all.  But maybe that's not the point?
 So, most days, I just try to be thankful.  To have gratitude.  To learn the daily eucharisteo.  It's all from Him, anyways.

So focused

We take our art verrrrry seriously around here

As you can see

Our silliness, too..

It's all quite exhausting, really

Sneaky girl

This is her favorite thing to do lately:

Drag a chair over to the counter and climb up,

Start eating whatever food has been left on the counter (in this instance, sprinkles from our Valentine's Cupcakes)

Get as many as she can before Mom notices...

But who could deny this face?