Friday, August 29, 2008

We are the 12th Men!

Today was the start of College Football season, and, while I am a huge football fan myself, my husband was like a child on Christmas! Combining his love for football - especially Texas Aggie Football - and his three sons, he went a little crazy with some pictures of them in their gear. Notice the text that he added, and also Caleb's little Heisman pose. (Yes, I do know that the twins are not wearing pants. Jon took those of the boys just playing around, so they are totally unposed. I want to try to take a better one later - WITH PANTS. Also I'd like to get one with ALL THREE BOYS. hehehe - wish us luck there!)

For those who do not know the Aggie tradition of the 12th Man:

The tradition of the Twelfth Man was born on the second of January 1922, when an underdog Aggie team was playing Centre College, then the nation's top ranked team. As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggies dug deeply into their limited reserves, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform. He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill, and was a former football player who was only playing basketball. Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game, which A&M finally won 22-14. When the game ended, E. King Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, "I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me."

This gesture was more than enough for the Aggie Team. Although Gill did not play in the game, he had accepted the call to help his team. He came to be thought of as the Twelfth Man because he stood ready for duty in the event that the eleven men on the gridiron needed assistance. That spirit of readiness for service, desire to support, and enthusiasm helped kindle a flame of devotion among the entire student body; a spirit that has grown vigorously throughout the years. The entire student body at A&M is the Twelfth Man, and they stand during the entire game to show their support. The 12th Man is always in the stands waiting to be called upon if they are needed.

This tradition took on a new look in the 1980's when Coach Jackie Sherrill started the 12th Man Kick-Off Team composed of regular students through open tryouts. This 12th Man team performed very well and held opponents to one of the lowest yards per return averages in the league. Later, Head Coach R.C. Slocum changed the team to allow only one representative of the 12th Man on the kick off team. The 12th Man tradition also took musical form. The 12th Man sings this song after each game in which the Aggies are outscored.

Monday, August 25, 2008

One Week!

Here's our first full family picture, taken Saturday night.

Of course, I have ZERO make up on and look drowsy and it was almost the boys' bedtime, so they don't want much to do with a picture, but we're all there (minus Abby - but Jon can't keep both boys AND her off of my incision and Gabe for now)!

Baby Gabe is one week old today! Time is already starting to fly by. He is still doing very well, mostly sleeping and nursing. He rarely gets fussy, and when he does, he usually passes gas/poops soon after. (He'll really love me one day for telling the whole world that!)

Jacob and Caleb are really taking to Gabe, but we still have to be very careful around them, as they don't know their own strength. That's one thing that we are REALLY trying to work on this week - being GENTLE with "Baby Bubba."

Jon is working from home the next couple of weeks during the twins' nap time, but is still here to help by lifting them (since I had a c-section) and keeping them occupied during one of Gabe's 10-times-a-day feedings. So we have a little more time to get Jacob and Caleb adjusted to Gabe before I have to tackle it solo (*gulp*)!

Really things are going right along well! Here are a few pictures of us all HOME TOGETHER as a family:

Stepping back a little... here's a funny picture that I forgot to add to one of the previous blogs. It's Jon's "breakfast" on the way to the hospital Monday morning to have Gabe. Wasn't it WRONG of him to get a VENTI Mocha Frappuccino while his wife was not only pregnant with his third son, but also could not even have a sip (nothing to eat or drink after midnight)?! But we thought it made a for a funny picture - resting it right on Gabe! I had to carry it up to the L&D unit, as Jon was carrying all of the heavy bags, and you should have seen the looks on the nurses' faces as I come strolling in, ready for my c-section with THAT!

"New to the Game" - I love this little t-shirt! (You can tell that he's starting to pack on the pounds, uh, well, ounces too!)

On Friday night, we put Gabe in the swing on the other side of the gate (away from curious little hands), to get Jacob and Caleb used to having him somewhat hanging out in the same room for the first time.

You can see all of Gabe's hair in this picture. Plus, look at those cheeks!! We have no doubt he is getting enough milk from Mommy. (He goes back to the Pediatrician on Thursday for his first official weigh in.)

Our beautiful chaos! My mom and dad (the boys' Nan and Abuelo) came over to visit (and bring us Babe's Chicken!), so Abuelo wrestles with Caleb, Jacob takes his Tonka truck for a spin, while Mommy supervises and rests with Gabe.

"Playing" outside with his big brothers for the first time. He was bright-eyed and alert for most of the time out, but was dozing a little here. The biggest thing to notice about this picture - check out those LONG legs!!

The twins playing with their sand and water table with their Nan and Abuelo.

"NO - THROW - SAND, CALEB LUKE!" (But the picture did turn out really cool!)

The fun continues in the swings! (They were so happy to be able to get out and play hard again outside finally.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

More coming home pics

Here are a few more pictures of the hospital stay and coming home.

Gabe is such a sweet, sweet baby - thus far! ;-)

Alert and bright-eyed after getting his tummy all full.

A sweet picture Jon snuck in our hospital room on Thursday morning.

A "self-portrait" of half of the Seastrunk Family getting ready to go home and join the other half - Abby, Jacob, and Caleb.

Daddy has Gabe loaded up and ready to go home!

Here he comes...

To meet his eager big brothers!

Jacob immediately went to go get a bear for little Gabe. (The one that was given to him "from Gabe" in the hospital.) He proceeded to get the other to hand to Gabe as well... and then continued bringing him blankets, burp cloths, and other miscellaneous items throughout the day. What a big helper! Caleb was just in awe and would stare at Gabe, periodically pointing and saying "Bubba" with a wide-eyed expression.

Jacob brings Gabe the blanket that Mommy dropped while moving to the chair.

Gabe all settled in in our room - where he'll be sleeping for a few weeks - in the bassinet that was his Daddy's! Gabe's great-grandfather hand made that bassinet for Jon in 1977, and we are excited that four Seastrunk boys have now slept in it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We're Home!

Sorry for not posting an update as early as I thought we would. We could not get on Baylor's WiFi connection at all the whole time in the hospital!

As Jon posted last night, however, Gabe was born Monday morning at 11:19 am. He was MUCH smaller than any of us had anticipated, at 7 pounds even. (He was even smaller than both of my twins - 7 pounds 2 ounces and 7 pounds 12.5 ounces!!) He was 20.5 inches long. He's tall and skinny, but he very healthy and strong.

All went pretty uneventful with the c-section and recovery afterward. Since we were both rocking along, Gabe and I were released at right at 11:19 this morning - three days to the minute after he was born!

Gabe is a sweet, sweet boy, pretty much sleeping and nursing, only crying when hungry.

Nursing one baby has been pretty easy! My milk did come in with a vengeance, as I only stopped nursing TWO babies about 9 months ago. I am trying not to pump for now (even thought I am FULL), giving my body the "memo" that there is only one little mouth to feed this time. hahaha

Jacob and Caleb are adjusting to the new addition well thus far (of course, we've only been home about 10 hours). They are very curious about having "TWO Bubbas" now, and want to look at and touch Gabe often. We'll really be watching them closely for the time being.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers!

We have lot of pictures posted now, but will be uploading A LOT more tonight. Check out this link late Thursday night or Friday morning!

Here's a few highlights of the first day:

Nervous Momma ready to go for the c-section

Welcome to the world, Gabriel Elisha!

Jacob and Caleb meeting their "Bubba" for the first time.

Daddy showing the boys little Gabe.

The boys snuggling with Momma!

Lots more pictures to come!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Seastrunks welcome Gabriel Elisha into the world

This is Amber's husband, Jon, posting in Amber's behalf. Amber and Gabe are doing well... Gabe was delivered on Monday at 11:19 am and was 7 lbs. 0 oz. and 20 1/2". The c-section, other than a half hour delay for Dr. White, went extremely well.

Amber was able to get onto her feet Monday night and had her IV removed Tuesday morning. Gabe did not eat much the first day, but began to nurse well by Tuesday afternoon and is doing quite well.

Jacob and Caleb made a quick visit to see Momma and their new "bubba" Monday night and Caleb already seems to know that Gabe is his other bubba.

Unfortunately, we cannot seem to connect to Baylor's Wi-Fi from the room, so we have been unable to post as much as we'd like, but we do have some initial pictures up on our Picasa Web Album.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers and hopefully Amber will be able to post something once she's home sometime on Thursday.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ready or not... :-)

Next post most likely be from Jon, live via the hospital room! Wish us well and send lots of prayers for a safe delivery of Gabe tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.

I have posted a lot the last several days, so you should have lots to look at until I return to blogging again when I feel up to doing so and have the time. (I imagine it won't be long - but the updates will most likely be shorter then!)

By the way, something that I didn't mention on the other post - NO, Jon's work did not know that our Baby Celebration theme or Gabe's Room was brown and blue with bears! Just another cool "coincidence" - just like us staying in Gabriel's Room for our Babymoon!

Anyway, all is as ready as I can make it around the Seastrunk Casa. My mom will be staying at our house with the boys while I am in the hospital. We figured that they would already be going through enough changes and excitement that we didn't want to also have them stay at my parents' house without their usual beds, toys, etc. They are the only "thing" that I am really worried about at this point. They are so young and don't fully understand what is going on - I don't want them to think that Mommy just LEFT them for a few days and then brought home a new baby to replace them. Jon will be home with us for three weeks, however, so I am sure that they will be spoiled rotten by the time he goes back! I am really looking forward to him being here and us getting to all bond as a complete family for a bit. Just remember little Jacob and Caleb in your prayers as you think about us on Monday morning.

We had an AWESOME weekend together as a family, including a trip to The Cheesecake Factory with some friends (ask Mommy and Caleb about the highly recommended 30th Anniversary cheesecake - two layers Original Cheesecake and two layers of creamy chocolate fudge cake filled with chocolate cream and finished with crunchy pearls of Valrhona chocolate - yum!); a family birthday party (Happy 5th, Kade!); church (it was promotion Sunday, and the boys got moved up to a "big boy" room!); and just hanging around together.

Barefoot and pregnant

The excited Mommy and Daddy of Jacob Alan, Caleb Luke, and Gabriel Elisha taking their famous self-portrait!

Next post I will have three little boys in this world!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's Saturday night...

... the boys are down, and Jon and I are chillin' out, enjoying a little Cowboys' Pre-Season Football!

One more post tomorrow with a few more pics!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jacob and Caleb's 18 Month Well Child Exam and More!!

Yesterday was Jon's last day at work for 3 weeks! He'll be with us exclusively for one week, and then plans on working from home a little the over the next two weeks as we help Jacob and Caleb make the transition to being BIG BROTHERS!

People are SO SWEET to us, as this was waiting on his desk when he arrived Thursday morning.

Isn't is gorgeous?! The only problem with it is that I don't want to disassemble it to use the items!

There were also 280 additional diapers! We got so many diapers and wipes this time between the Baby Celebration, the shower with Jon's other group at work (he works with two different groups a lot), and our Tiny Tots Playgroup. With three little butts to change, however, we'll definitely use them all! Again, I cannot believe how generous everyone has been. Jon and I are sincerely overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness of so many people.

Today we had the boys' 18 month well child visit. Of course, I posted a
LONG update on the actual day they turned 18 months, but now we know the big thing everyone that wants to know - what are their stats!!

Jacob Alan:

Weight = 28 pounds even, which puts him at the 80th percentile
Height = 33 1/2 inches, which puts him at the 85th percentile

Caleb Luke:

Weight = 28 pounds even, which puts him at the 80th percentile
Height = 33 inches even, which puts him at the 80th percentile

So, both boys are drastically slowing down on growth, as they had both consistently been 90 - 97 percent until now. We knew that they had to slow down at some point since Jon and I are both pretty average sized.

On another note, BOTH BOYS ARE FINALLY WALKING WELL! Caleb still looks a little like Frankenstein when he walks (hands out in front, legs a little stiff), but he's doing it SOLO at last! (WOOOHOOO CALEB!! Good job, Big Boy!)

The funny thing is, several months ago I was confident that he would AT LEAST be walking before Gabe joined our family. Well, a week ago when ECI came out again, I mentioned that I suppose Caleb WOULDN'T walk before Gabe came at this point. I think our little stinker listened to that and wanted to challenge Mommy, because he began making leaps and bounds soon after.

Now we have been going for REAL family walks outside. Jacob likes to walk alone and ahead of the group, not holding anyone's hand, while Caleb is still working on balance and likes to hold a hand. We take the wagon along and make them ride once we get to the end of the street (after almost 1/4 mile!). Caleb's little legs are usually ready for the rest, however Jacob screams when we try to make him sit down. Below are a couple of pictures we took on our venture out the other night. I also took a video that I'll try to upload later.

Another thing to mention - and I am almost ashamed to admit - I FINALLY have them watching a TV show! Both boys have refused to watch any television show at all until recently - no Baby Einsteins, no Sesame Street, NOTHING! Call me a "bad Momma," but I have been really trying to find a show that they will watch. Until now it hasn't been a huge issue, as I make dinner, wash dishes, do laundry, etc. all during their nap time. Well, Gabe might be on a different schedule than them for a few weeks, so I desperately wanted something - ANYTHING - to distract them for AT LEAST 15 minutes! EUREKA, I FOUND IT!! My boys LOVE SuperWhy! And because my boys love it and will actually watch it, Jon and I are both in love with it too!! The little ADD toddlers still won't sit down to watch it, but, as you can see, it keeps their attention.

"Calling all Super Readers... To the Book Club!!"

I am glad so that they chose to watch something educational so that I don't feel too bad leaving them in front of the TV. As "Princess P" sounds out letters, the boys will often repeat her! SWEET - they are learning letters, phonics, AND letting me get something done! What more could a Mommy want?!

Did I mention that I really love SuperWhy?! ;-)

We are going to dinner with friends tonight (The Cheesecake Factory - YUM!) as well as a family birthday party tomorrow, so good tummy shots will be taken at some point. I'll make my best effort to post those by Sunday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

39 Weeks - 4 days left to grow!

Can you believe I am 39 weeks pregnant?! Today was my very last appointment pregnant - ever - unless God really has a sense of humor (I won't put anything past Him)! It does make me sad, but I'm trying to remember that The Seastrunk Family will move on to bigger and even more exciting things to come - like taking our three boys camping, hiking in Colorado, fishing at the Gulf Coast, to Disney World, etc!

Anyway, back to the NOW...

All is still going on the same. Weight has hit the 30 pounds mark ;-), blood pressure was 90/48 (WOW!), everything else is also pretty much the same.

So, we'll be going in at 10:00 am Monday morning - August 18th - to pull this "little" guy out!

Speaking of "little guy," feel free to email me or leave a comment with how big you think Gabriel will be. We have already polled all of the grandparents and some other family. It will be fun to see who gets the closest. (Maybe I really am bigger than what I feel, as I have the chosen LIGHTEST weight thus far!)

For those who want an update live via the hospital, please send me an email or comment with your email address. I have an email list going for Jon, as he will send an update ASAP from his iPhone! Since our hospital does have WiFi, the MacBook will also go along, so there will most likely be a blog and update to the family website ( later in the day.

Also if you want specific info on where we will be (for visiting purposes), let us know. We'll also have my cell phone along too, but it may be off for a while.

We are requesting NOT to have visitors at the hospital Monday morning. Since I am having a surgery (c-section), it's hospital policy too (I can only have one person back with me until I get settled into a Mother/Baby room - and that person would be my hubby and Gabe's Daddy, obviously).

Since they plan on keeping me in for 3-4 days, however, we would love to see friends and family as early as Monday afternoon and throughout Thursday! Just give me a little time to fully "wake up" from the anesthesia, make sure they have had time to do Gabe's newborn exam and get him back to us for him to nurse, let Jon and I meet our newest son, and introduce him to his big bros. If all goes as well as we anticipate (ie: not in loopy "Mag-Sulfate-Land" this time), I am sure by Tuesday I'll be up and at it, ready to bust out of that joint - or at least see some familiar faces!

Tomorrow I'll try to get up some tummy shots! Also Jacob and Caleb will have their 18 month well child exam, so I'll definitely have stats on our BIG BOYS!

Life's Better Outside!

And I couldn't agree more!

Here's a really cool site that I found from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, promoting "unstructured play time in nature." I hope to use it as soon as Gabe is ready to join his big brothers outside more. Jon and I cannot wait to take them all for their first camping trip, possibly in the Spring.

And, something I hope to have the boys logged into in a few years to learn more about animals, wildflowers, and the diverse Texas terrain - their "Outdoor Kids" site!

I have my 39 week appointment later today, so look for another update tonight!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A - bit - sporadic update!

Since my last post, we've had a lot happen in addition to the usual nesting, cleaning, cooking/freezing meals to feed us after Gabe is here, taking care of two little toddlers, etc. - oh, and trying to get some rest. ;-)

Tuesday the 5th - I loaded up Jacob, Caleb, and 40+ stuffed animals and headed to Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, where we met my dad and delivered the stuffed animals from Baby Gabe's Celebration! They were very grateful to receive the animals, and assured me that they would go to children who definitely need them.

Wednesday the 6th - We headed out to Azle to see "Dr. Jessi," our chiropractor, where the boys and I got our last adjustment before Gabe arrives - and for probably sometime after. My mom - "Nan" - met us there and we all headed over to Dairy Queen after getting loosened up. The boys loved it, as always (nothing like taking a break from Mom's healthy cooking, right bro?!)!

Gotta throw in a couple of DQ pics since the boys are always so cute there!

Jacob oblivious to the bit of mayo on his face after sneaking a bite of Nan's Dude.

Nan taught the boys how to dip their fries, chicken, or whatever in ketchup, and created a monster with Caleb in the process!

Thursday the 7th - I had my 38 week appointment for little Gabriel. All was still going GREAT! Gained about 25 - 30 pounds total, blood pressure 102/50, Gabe still head down (locked in place at this point) with his little booty up in the air (like it matters with a scheduled c-section any way), and really nothing more to report! After the appointment, I got my last HUGE Wal-Mart trip out of the way. (OK, "my last trip" sounds so dramatically permanent! How about, my last big trip for the unforeseeable future.) Pushing that incredibly heavy basket around the store flat wore me out, so I just had to stop at Sonic on the way home to get Gabe a Lemon-Berry slush. ;-)

Friday the 8th - It's 08/08/08, and Jon finally had a day off! ECI came out at 9:30 and worked with the boys (mostly Caleb at this point) until almost 11:00. Afterward, we loaded up the boys and headed to Grapevine Mills Mall - with specific intentions of heading to the Stride Rite outlet for some REAL big boy shoes since Jacob and Caleb are walking like big boys now. (We made a big deal about going to get BIG BOY SHOES - and they were SO PROUD!) We got some cool shoes, grabbed some Dickey's barbeque in the food court for lunch (we were going to go to Rainforest Cafe, but figured that, since it was already 12:45, we already pushing our luck with the boys and the wait would be too much), and then walked around the mall for a while. In the car, Jon and I tried to keep the boys awake until we got home, but we were barely out of the parking lot when Jacob crashed. We figured while we were out and in the Grapevine area, Jon stayed in the van with the sleepy boys and let me run into a scary place to send me unsupervised - The Nesting Place! I was on a mission, however, and really wanted to maximize the boys' nap time in their own beds, so just ran in and out. I only got one $5 item that I've been wanting to get before Gabe arrives - a Mother's Minder Bracelet. I figure it will be a good way to track nursing times with a singleton baby rather than my crazy "Double Time" notebook I used to keep track of what was up and down those first few months with the boys!

Here's a few pics of the proud boys trying on their new shoes after they got up from nap. Ignore the redneck attire (ie: camo onesies with no shorts and red, white, and blue socks with tennis shoes!), as we just put the boys in a little onesie for nap since it is so hot and we didn't want to get them dressed to just run around the house in their shoes!

The boys actually remembered the shoes when we pulled out the boxes after nap, and were eager to dig inside!

Caleb doesn't want to wait for Mommy or Daddy to help him - since he's a big boy, HE can get his own shoes on!

Caleb kept looking down at his feet, and then breaking into a big grin!

And Jacob just walked through the house staring at his feet!

Saturday the 9th - I finished the LAST batch of Strawberry-Banana muffins to have for the boys on hand in the freezer. We also cleaned to van and rearranged the car seats to fit one more! We now have one "big boy" in the far back, one "big boy" in the driver side middle row, and Gabe's infant carrier in the passenger middle row. After dinner we decided to load the boys up in their wagon so that they were well contained, and I could give them a good hair cut outside. Yes, it's easy to brush the cut locks away while in the wagon and outdoors, but also it works well so that we can immediately do one of the favorite things in both of their little worlds after the "torture" - go for a walk. Well, Caleb's allergies strike again!! On the walk, I noticed he was wheezing a little. We kept going, and I thought I'd just watch him.

Long story as short as possible, Jon and I were up until 2:00 am giving Caleb hot apple juice, and going between the hot steamy bathroom to the front of the freezer, trying to get rid of his nasty, wheezy, raspy, croupy cough. By the morning, he was a little better - although still not 100%. (Yes, our son does come first, so the little toot made us miss much of the Cowboys' first preseason game! hehehe From looking at "highlights" the next day, us missing the game may have been a blessing in disguise.)

Sunday the 10th - Needless to say, the boys (nor Mommy and Daddy) weren't up and at it in time for church! Which, I have to admit, was a little nice to have a day HOME.

This week things have been going right along, but I'll update more later. I think my body's finally giving out though. My hips hurt, my back hurts, my groin area hurts - and today even my right shoulder has begun to really hurt! BUT, I am still really active with the boys and going for family walks in the evening, so I can't complain too much.

Up next is my very last OB/GYN appointment (Sure, I'll be going back for my post-op and then yearly exams, but this will be my last one ever to check on a baby. Makes me a little sad...) and also Jacob and Caleb's 18 month appointment.

Hopefully I'll have the next update out tomorrow night, but, well, you know how that goes!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gabe's Room

This week was quite a busy week, which continued as I started writing this post around midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning, however I'll get to all of that another time! I'll try to make a catch up post about it tomorrow. Do know, however, that all is still going well. Today marks 38 weeks and 2 days!

But I realized that I haven't yet posted pictures or even described Gabe's new "crib" to y'all! He room is decorated in a Sports Bear Theme. I think it turned out pretty cute!

There are a few blank spots on the walls. The frame that is above the crib will have his "Birthday Keepsake," just like his big brothers' bed - of course, we need his date and time of birth and vital stats before we can place the order. At the head of his bed, next to the blue cross, we will add another frame that will have his Baby Dedication certificate once Gabe is dedicated (big brothers were dedicated at 3 months). Also there is another picture frame (not shown in the pictures) that says "We've loved you since the moment we saw you" in which I will add pictures from after Gabe is born.

On the back of the rocker is our How to Really Love a Child throw that was given to us as a gift when I was pregnant with the boys. It kept me warm and snugly several nights while nursing Caleb (who nursed for an hour at a time in the beginning days) and then Jacob right after wards (before they were big enough to tandem nurse). Oftentimes I would just catch a 30 minute power nap there in that rocker until it was time to start nursing Caleb yet again (the days of the every two hour feedings). Ahhhh, please God, SURELY it will be easier with one baby...

Anyway - back to the NOW!

I love his little sheets and blankie! How cute to combine bears with sports! (I think someone designed this pattern in an attempt to make both Mommy and Daddy super excited about the child's nursery! hehehe) Gabe also has both a prayer angel and a lovie embroidered with his name to match his older brothers' (thanks Kristen, if you are reading this).

Of course, the toy chest and rocker/ottoman don't match 100% since they came from Jacob and Caleb's room. (And we couldn't find the crib/changer combo that we like so much in the same color that we had/have for the twins.) The boys actually love that we moved all of that "baby stuff" out of their room, as they have more space to play now! Besides, all the rocker was being used for anymore was for them to rock it with their hands, beating the wall in the process. Ahhh, yes, we have TODDLERS on our hands!

That's a quick run through the nursery. I'll try to catch up on the past week - including the 38 week appointment - soon. It's been a NIGHT, and I need to try to get some sleep! (It's now 1:50am and Caleb is still awake... whew!)