Flying Solo: Part 3

Overall, today went pretty well, but I give full credit for that to my parents and the two hour nap they allowed me to take. The kids and I stayed the night at their house last night. Bedtime last night went pretty smoothly, but for some reason little miss Kate didn’t sleep nearly as well as she normally does.

Starting around 2 a.m. Kate woke up every two hours wanting to eat. She never really ate much before she fell back asleep, but regardless I had to wake up to tend to her. Which meant even though my mom took the first shift with the boys (Alex slept in until 5:15), I still didn’t get much sleep.

Kate must have felt awful about waking me up so much because I was rewarded this morning with her first legit smile, and it was a great big cheesy one. In fact, she was in a smiley mood for quite awhile. Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to capture a photo, but I’m certain there’s plenty more smiles coming.


We spent the day hanging out and watching the boys play. When Alex napped, Leo and I played Monopoly. After Alex woke, the boys played in grandma’s kiddie swimming pool and had fun splashing and jumping around. This evening we played darts and washers out in the barn.

It was a low-key day, but it’s exactly what I needed. Hopefully we can have a few more of those this week.

Flying Solo: Part Two

This single parent gig is rough. I did it for awhile with Leo after my divorce and found it challenging. But now, with three kids, it’s a whole new level. We’re only two days in and I’m already struggling. I’ll chalk a big portion of that up to my early wake up call.

Around 2:30 a.m. last night I was up with Kate for her nightly nursing and my pumping session. I was back to bed around 3:15 hoping I’d be able to grab a few more hours of sleep before the boys were up. That definitely didn’t happen. Instead I was back up at 4 a.m. with Alex, who decided it was time to start the day.

We watched cartoons (Paw Patrol and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse),crafty_alex ate breakfast and did art projects. Leo worked on his homework, creating a really cool poster all about him,
while Alex was coloring on sheets of construction paper. Even with the fun activities, it became very clear that with three kids, at least one of them was going to be upset and crying about half of the time.


Thankfully my parents came up to help me mid- morning, so while I had a busy day, at least for a good chunk of it, I wasn’t alone in trying to keep kids entertained and happy.


Flying Solo: Part One

Yesterday my husband Tony left with his best friend for a 10-day elk hunting trip. Hunting and the mountains are some of Tony’s great passions. He’s not been on a hunt since we were married three years ago, so I’ve been (or at least tried to be) really supportive of him going this year.

I caveat “or at least tried to be” because him being gone puts a bit of extra stress on me. This past month and a half has brought a lot of change for the family – baby Kate arrived and Leo changed schools to start first grade – so everyone’s in a bit of a transition phase. And transition phases always seems to make things extra stressful, crazy and over the top.

Only one day in, and I can already tell this next week is going to be a wild ride. So I’m going to document the spectacle that it is. Maybe others will enjoy the chaos and craziness. I know I plan to (as best I can).

Day One:
Bedtime last night was a bit of a disaster. Typically the boys go down for the night relatively smoothly, but not last night. Instead my six year old was a hot mess. It ended up taking about an hour and a half to finally get him to go to sleep. Tears. Attempted negotiations to sleep anywhere other than his bed. Frantic yelling across the house with him begging me to spank him… I was grateful and mentally exhausted when he finally managed to fall asleep.

This morning the baby projectile pooped on me. While that’s hardly noteworthy given how common that type of thing is with babies. But this was the first time Kate’s done that to me, so I was caught a little off-guard and unprepared.

At lunch I got the first call of the year from the school nurse. Leo was running a fever and had a sore throat. Turns out he has strep throat, and that myself and the other kids have already been exposed to it. So that’s going to be fun. I’m hoping I can luck out and the other kids won’t end up catching it, but since I’m parenting alone this week, I’m guessing we’ll end up with a full house of sickies before it’s all said and done.

Stay tuned for updates on the rest of our week. I’m sure there will be many examples of Murphy’s Law that should be good for a chuckle if nothing else.


Leo Lately – September 2015

my_soon_to_be_first_graderIt’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Leo Lately post, but I’m going to try to make an effort to blog more and document more of the kid’s lives. They’re growing up so fast, I’m hoping this will help me remember all of those great moments since I’m not exactly a scrapbook mom.

  • First-grade! Leo started first grade last week in the Santa Fe Trails school district. He had a great experience in Kindergarten last year at Whitson Elementary in Topeka, but we decided it was the right time to move him to a smaller school system. He’s in the same grade as many of the boys he played baseball with this summer, so he’s been excited to see them again. It’s so hard to believe that my oldest baby has officially entered elementary school! Next thing I know, he’ll be graduating from high school.
  • Baseball crazy. Leo LOVED baseball this summer. (I’m sure the fact that he played on a good team and was one of the stronger players helped.) But he really loved all of it – his teammates, hitting, fielding, games, practice – you name it, he loved it. He spent most of the season at first base and did a solid job. He had consistent baseball_Leooffensive production and hit several home runs (although he was really hoping for a grand slam). The thing I was the most proud of though, was his attitude and the way he payed attention so well. The kid constantly wanted the ball. How can you not love that?
  • My little hunter. For Christmas Tony and I gave Leo his first legitimate bow. A few months later, we realized Leo is left-eye dominant, which makes shooting his right-handed bow difficult. Since that time we (mostly Tony) have been working to transition him to shooting the other direction. Since there’s not a lot of options for left-handed bows in his size, Tony’s adapted his existing bow so it will work. I can’t believe how much the shift has improved his shooting. Leo’s become pretty obsessed with wanting to go out and shoot at our deer target. And he’s constantly asking when he’ll actually get to go hunting and shoot a real deer.
  • Quite the fisherman. The other thing Leo’s been pretty obsessed with lately is going fishing. Tony’s taken him fishing at our lake several times, and he goes with his dad all the time. I’m not much of a fisher(wo)man, so it’s an activity he does with his dads. I have enjoyed seeing how excited he gets when he’s caught something. And I appreciate the patience and determination he’s shown to continue going out, even when he’s not had a bite for a trip for two.


Kate’s Birth Story

Stahl women at the Birth CenterIf you’ve followed this blog, you know the weeks leading to Kate’s delivery were a bit crazy. She was transverse, then she was breech, then transverse and then breech again. Finally, after a weekend of bed rest with the occasional breech exercises, she moved heads down, and we (all three midwifes at the Birth & Women’s Center, myself and Tony) decided to induce at 39 weeks.

While the situation was much different, I had been induced with Cytotec for Leo’s birth six years ago so it was something I was comfortable with. At that time it very efficiently kicked me into labor, so I assumed it would happen like that again this time. But I was wrong.

Instead it took several days of induction meds. Each day I spent several hours laying down, waiting for something to happen. And each day, afternoon and night I had hours of contractions that resulted in nothing. It was starting to become a bit depressing, not to mention exhausting.

Finally, on Friday after the third day of inducing, I decided I wasn’t going to mention the contractions to anyone until I knew for sure I was actually in labor. (We’d had family come to Topeka several times before then thinking we were having the baby, only to have contractions come to a halt). My mom and I wrapped things up at the Birth Center and went to pick the boys up from day care. Little did I know at the time that I’d have Kate less than four hours later…

That evening Tony made dinner while I read the boys a book and sat on my exercise ball. My parents were with us, helping with the boys. As mom and Tony took them out on the deck to eat dinner, and I mentally noted that I had been having contractions every 2-3 minutes for about an hour. When Tony came inside I got up to start getting a few things gathered and told Tony he should probably call his parents.

As I walked around, contractions started coming faster and I was beginning to get a little nervous. The Birth Center is about 25 minutes from our house, and I was hoping I hadn’t waited too long. On the drive there, things didn’t slow any and I told Tony he needed to go a little faster.

Tony and me about an hour before Kate came
We made it to the Birth Center and got into the large birthing room around 7:30 p.m. By then contractions were coming pretty fast and were starting to get serious. I paced around for as long as I could (and stopped for a quick picture with Tony – a tradition we started with Alex’s delivery two years ago). Within about a half hour, I could tell I was getting close and got into the bathtub for a water birth.

From there, things went quickly. I was only in the tub for a few contractions before my water broke.

Working through a big contraction


Baby Kate fresh out of waterThen I started pushing and within a couple of pushes, I decided it was time.

I told Jodi with the next push I was going to deliver the baby. She gave me some last-minute instructions and Tony got ready to catch Kate as she came out. 

Sure enough, with one push her head was out. Mid-push I adjusted positioning and continued to push her body out too. Whew. I was glad that part was over. And then I realized I had delivered this tiny, perfect little girl with a beautiful head full of hair and dimples!

Kate finds her thumb

Shortly after I delivered (right before 9 p.m.), my Aunt Net arrived. (Tony’s mom made it there with about 10 minutes to spare, and my mom was there probably 20-30 minutes before that.)

It was so special to have so many influential women in my life present as I had my baby girl. I hope as she grows older Kate realizes what a great line of strong, caring women she comes from, and how much they love her!

Now we start life as a family of five. And while we’re all still in the midst of transitioning into this new configuration, the boys are totally in love with their little sister. Tony and I are too!

Our family of five