"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday Tidbits

I have some serious posts that I want to get out, but right now I just need to download because I have had some serious brain fog the past few days.

  • Yesterday Isla ran away from me in a parking lot and got seriously close to being hit by a car and I totally lost my cool on her. I was scared but it was not cool to yell at a small child like that. Afterwards, Nick and I had a serious discussion on punishment vs. discipline and also from that discussion, we decided to make a family mission statement. You can read more about making one for your family HERE. We have a date night planned to really work on it.
  • By the way, I love Focus on the Family’s chart on Discipline Vs. Punishment and I though I would share… always a good reminder. Yesterday I think I hit every single one on the punishment list. I really want to be a better mommy than that.punishment-versus-discipline-chart
  • Isla has been begging me to let her and Gemma paint and yesterday I finally gave in… it was chaos.photo 2 (1)photo 3 (1)photo 4 (1)
  • At the time I was wondering what I was thinking, but after reviewing these pictures, I’d say it was completely worth it! How I wish I were better at enjoying the moment in the moment instead of stressing over keeping little paint covered hands off of Zoya!photo 1photo 2
  • This past Saturday, we went to the I-20 Wildlife Preserve & Jenna Welch (Laura Bush’s mom) Nature Study Center for a long walk. It was so much fun!photo 1 (3)photo 2 (2)photo 3 (2)
  • But also exhausting for one little girl. She didn’t even fight it when I put her in, she knew just what to do and stayed there until I put her in the car to go home! Smilephoto 4 (3)
  • For some reason the universe keeps pointing me in the direction of the blog, 100 Days of Real food. I hate it when people say no excuses, but I just have to say it… MAKE THE HOMEMADE LARABARS! No excuses. It takes 5 minutes and they are so delicious and healthy! We are all digging them.
  • Also for dinner the other night I made the crock pot chicken and then from that I made the chicken stock overnight. Both were so easy and healthy and CHEAP. I cannot tell you how happy I am over this frozen broth in my freezer! I stored them in 2 and 1 cup containers and also ice cube sized.photo 3
  • I switched up Isla’s school schedule so that she stays until 4 PM. You have the options to take your child home at 12, 2 and 4. Most people do 2, but it completely messes with Gemma’s nap schedule so at first I did the 12 option. It was a lot for me to unload and load up Gemma and Zoya, and also a lot for them over such a short period, plus any errands we needed to run. This is a win-win for everyone. It’s easier for me, I can take a nap with Gemma and Zoya, and I don’t have to fight Isla during quiet time. Plus it’s easier to get things done with 2 kids versus 3. And Isla is SO HAPPY to spend more time in school. She loves school more than any kid I have ever known, and loves being there longer, especially since she gets an extra recess in place of quiet time Smile. This is her when I picked her up today. I sure love this cutie pie. She really is such a sweetheart and tries so hard to be good.photo 5
  • This little punkin’ is going to be 4 weeks tomorrow! I really need to do a little post on her, but she is our fussiest, hardest baby yet. She definitely has a temper! Smile photo 4
  • But we adore her so much. How blessed we are to get to shepherd her and help her grow!photo 1 (1)
  • And her sisters really do adore her! (I would love to get a non-blurry picture of my toddler one of these days)photo
  • I just found this one on my phone… how cute are my girls?photo (2)
  • After being pregnant and nursing for over two years, I am ready for a wardrobe update. I haven’t bought anything non maternity since before I became pregnant with Gemma and no new shoes.  I am really ready to get my body back and feel cute again.  I treated myself to these new winter boots and I am obsessed with them! Wholesale-UGG-Classic-Cardy-5819-Grey_3
  • Also, my favorite jeans ripped this spring because I wore them to death. They were J brand, which are super expensive and out of my price range at full price. I had bought them on sale (50% off) and I had worn them to death over the past 3 years. I despaired of ever replacing them because they are so pricey, but they were on sale on Gilt for MORE than 50% off and only $89! Amazing.  I would never pay full price for those jeans, but since I wear them every single day, cost per wear is not too bad. I AM SO EXCITED! Now I just have to get back down weight wise into them.
  • Pregnancy weight loss is going well. I ended up gaining 39 lbs (yes, you read that right). However, its coming off pretty easily, I think that a lot of that was water weight, and I have now lost almost 30 lbs and I feel confident that I can lose the extra 9 over the next two months or so with breastfeeding and mild diet and exercise. I really need to keep a watch on my hypothyroidism though.
  • I cannot wait for date night with Nick this weekend! His parents will be watching the girls. We have always been really careful about spending time together, but now with 3 kids, I think we really need to make date nights more of a priority. I finally became serious and I have the names of 3 babysitters so that we can do this at least once monthly, and not just when the parents are in town.
  • And on a more glamorous note, I am off to scrub my toilets! Adios.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Deciding on Zoya moya’s Name

So I was all caught up on laundry but I’m behind again, and my clean yesterday house is once again dirty and I don’t want to deal with it… however I’m almost caught up on thank you cards, everyone has been fed, and everyone is happy and we had lots of love and cuddles today so things could be worse at the Wann house! And now I need to record how we picked out Zoya moya’s name.

So, how we originally picked Isla’s name can be found HERE and how we picked Gemma’s name and a little more on Isla’s backstory can be found HERE. We received so many complements on Isla and Gemma’s names that I really felt like the pressure was on with this one! My friend Janie gave me props, I believe her exact words were “unusual without being weird”… which was awesome and exactly what we were hoping for!

So one thing that I have never touched on in all of my minutia laden posts on naming my children is my naming criteria.

If we ever have a boy, he will be named after a King of England (James or Henry) and/or maybe Israel (David). Traditional. Strong. Like Nick. Nick actually likes more unusual names, even for boys, but I guess if we ever had a boy, I would want him to be just like his daddy and so I always push names that speak the qualities I would love to have in a son. Plus these names all have some sort of sentimental/family attachment.

For girls, we feel like we can be a little more creative, but I still have some standards (although note, each of our girls’ names had broken at least one of these rules). My name definitely breaks some of these rules, but I had no control over that.

  • Nothing too weird, made up or ethnic. We are WASPs. We get it. I would love to have a Santiago or Valentina, but I just don’t think we are cool enough to get away with it.
  • No alternative spellings, some are standard like Isla or Ayla, but no replacing ‘I’ with ‘Y’ just for the heck of it.
  • Have a family or sentimental connection.
  • Nothing common, preferably not in the top 100 most common names in the US. You can look up a name ranking HERE if you are curious. And yes, I totally chart my kids’ names popularity. Consider me a certified name geek.
  • A strong name for a strong woman, a name that could work for a girl or a professional woman one day.  Example – no nicknames for names, like Annie, she can be Anne or Anna and called Annie, but not have it as her legal name.

With Isla, I only knew of the actress, Isla Fisher, and I still remember the first time I considered it as a name, although I knew I didn’t love it.  However, as you know Nick loved it when he heard it immediately and that’s why we chose it. At the time it was not common. It wasn’t even a top 1000 name in the US in 2007, but it jumped to the 621st most popular name in the US in 2008 and then 345th most popular name in 2009 (see red circle). It was concerning, but I hoped that it wouldn’t increase too much in popularity… I was wrong. Since then it has continued to climb and I really hope that it doesn’t go the way of Ava (my old favorite before it was so popular) and become a top 10 name in a few years!


Right after we named Isla, I learned that Isla was the 27th or 29th most popular name in the United Kingdom! Wha-what? I had NO IDEA, and I wasn’t happy about it. By the way… it’s now like the 8th most popular name there. It annoyed me for a while, but then I just decided to embrace it and not fight it. I loved Isla so much by then, and I thought that maybe I would see what other names were popular names in the UK that weren’t as well known here in the US… which is how I found Gemma.

I technically remember hearing the name Gemma in 2008 when I watched the movie Fool’s Gold that had a character named Gemma. I liked it, and remember thinking “like Jenna, but with ‘ms’”, but it wasn’t a name I really considered until I started mining for name gold in the UK. That’s when I found out that in the 80’s, Gemma was super popular there. It was like Jennifer or Ashley in the US for that time period, but it was never popular here and in fact it’s definitely out of style there and just last year fell off the name list entirely. It is currently holding steady in the 300s in the US and so passed the not-too-popular criteria. Anyway, with that, I loved it, and so it became my top girl name for Two Baby.

I think sibling names should go together and have some sort of theme, so in that vein, I started searching for girls names in the UK for Baby Shaka. My first choice was Cora! It would have gone perfectly with Isla and Gemma. It is rising in popularity like Isla, but still not a top 100 name and thanks to Downton Abbey, it feels super British to me (even though Cora is American on the show – actually that makes it ever better!) However Nick and I do NOT call names until we see our babies – that’s just a rule, Isla and Gemma would have been named something different if we had gone with our technical first choices and we also don’t really advertise the names we are considering because we don’t want to hear the negative comments that so many other people have received.

WELL… guess what? My sister-in-law is pregnant and due in November. The week after she found out she was having a girl I received a text message announcing that they had decided to name her Cora Irene! I about died. Tiffany did not know that we were considering it and I would never take a name from someone since I know and understand first hand how hard it is to find the perfect name. It was a blow, but we took it as a sign that Cora was not the name for us. We also couldn’t find any names from the UK that we loved. Nichola was a consideration because it was apparently the Gemma of the 70’s but Nick was adamantly against it (I LOVE IT!). The rest were also too popular in the US as well… So UK names were out… bummer, because I would have loved to have continued that tradition.

We were back to the drawing board! We just felt so lost. We had a list of about 10 names going in to Shaka’s birth, the longest we have ever had. Most of them broke many of our name rules because we were so desperate and none of them had the wow factor that we felt we had with Isla and Gemma. I don’t usually advertise our second choice names but they were: Ava, Gloria, Lucia, Zoya, Aria, Dasha, Vera, and maybe a few more because it seems like we had 10. I really loved Gloria going into the birth, but when Shaka came out, Nick and I took one look at her and she was either an Aria or a Zoya. The other names seemed ridiculous to us.

Aria was one that really came to our attention about a week before Zoya was born. Aria means “melody” which is Nick’s mother’s name and we love her. Nick wanted to go with Arya, which I refused! Another thing I don’t love to advertise because of the smut, I am a HUGE A Song of Ice and Fire fan. I hate that it’s so smutty, but it’s just so well written and the storytelling is fantastic and the characters are actually three-dimensional, but I would not name my kid after one of the characters because of the smut factor.

Zoya was a Russian name, and Nick loved the idea of using a Russian name. Ok, so I promise I don’t make a habit of reading smut, but way back in high school, I read a lot of books, good books, bad books, books that just happened to be around, usually I had three or four going at a time and I read them in a day. One day I picked up a Danielle Steel novel called Zoya and I read it and that was that. At this point in my life, I avoid the romance genre, I was never a fan, but I would read them if they were around… I promise. I would not touch that trash now! I don’t get to read as much as I used to so when I do, I am much more picky. Anyway, the point is, that’s where I first heard the name. And then I follow the blog of a family that adopted their beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome from Russia and they named her Zoya and that’s when I thought… hrmm… we could use that name for our daughter if we have another. One interesting thing to note: we never met a Zoya the entire time we were in Russia.

So deciding between Aria and Zoya was so hard! We liked both names and neither of us felt strongly towards one or the other (unlike Nick with Isla and me with Gemma). We went back and forth for over 24 hours. Nick would convince me to go with Zoya and I would convince him to go with Aria, then we would switch sides! Thank goodness no one was in there with us because they would have been SO annoyed listening to us go back and forth. The main strike against Zoya was that it was too ethnic and maybe too unusual, bordering on weird. Aria was too popular and also, it felt a little weak because of all of the vowels (I felt the same way about Isla originally). In the end. Aria’s popularity was the hurdle that we couldn’t get passed – check out it’s meteoric rise on the name charts, and already a top 50 name! It is destined to be a top 10, and we wanted to avoid that if we could. We are all non conformists in our own ways. If it ever plateaus or loses it popularity and we have another girl, it will be our top choice.


Earlier in the day the name lady had come by to collect Zoya’s name and I had sent her away. She promised to come to us last, but if we didn’t have a name by then, then we would have to come back to the hospital on Tuesday after discharge, which we did not want to have to do. Once we finally decided on Zoya, she came by literally one minute later for our last call and we took that as a sign!

Isla had originally been pushing for the name Kaylinn, after her best friend. It’s a lovely name, but not one that felt right to us. When we decided on Zoya, Nick said “How much do you want to bet that when we tell Isla her name is Zoya, she will say ‘wait, what about Kaylinn?’” When Isla showed up on Saturday evening, we immediately told her Zoya’s name the first words out of her mouth, after a thoughtful pause, were “well that’s way better than Kaylinn!” So we took that as another good sign Smile.

So that is how we named our Zoya and it is growing on us more each day. Thankfully we haven’t received any bad reactions to it, and if she feels it’s too weird when she grows up, she can always use the nickname Zoey, since Zoya is the Russian form of Zoey.

PHEW! So that’s it, I mean that’s a lot, but I’m finally finished. We are always so thankful when the ordeals of naming our kids is over! It definitely ranks high in stress for us!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zoya’s Birth Story, part 2

So… taking care of 3 kids is hard and a lot of work! I never have downtime anymore… not that I am complaining because I am in baby/toddler/preschooler HEAVEN and pretty much I get kisses and hugs and cuddles whenever I want, but downtime has been limited so its just trade-off time. As in, what am I neglecting right now to get blogging done? Right now its laundry. Man my laundry lately has had a dryer to drawer turnaround time of at least 3 days, that’s if it makes it to the drawer!  So, what’s another hour…

Let me back up on September 12th to Big Sister Day! The night before I had made sure to remind Isla to come and check our chain and get the last link for Big Sister Day when she woke up. Instead I had prepared a banner and surprise for her. I had hoped that she and Gemma might be up at 7:30 when we left the house, but they weren’t so it was just the girls and Boo and Grandpa.

I also left them surprise big sister outfits out and a little toy to help pass the time because I knew that everyone would be bored and dying to come and visit us at the hospital.


The girls pretty much played all day while Boo and Grandpa worked to keep them clean in their Big Sister Outfits. Isla wanted to badly to come to the hospital all day.

IMG_0775Since my surgery was pushed back to so late, I would have preferred a little more time to rest up before the girls showed up, but it was all fine in the end. It was close to 7 before Isla and Gemma arrived! I made sure that Nick put Zoya in her “Baby Sister” shirt Smile before Isla and Gemma showed up! Its all about priorities people.


Isla immediately fell in love with Zoya and has been in love ever since!  Gemma was clueless, but I expected that. She mostly kept pulling out and putting in her bows. Here are some pictures that I shared on Facebook.


I love this picture of Nick and his girls!

photo 5 (8)IMG_0837

It was 9 before everyone left and since the surgery had been so late and I was SO groggy up until the girls showed up, this was my first time to really be able to share the news on Facebook and call and text friends.  So my apologies to everyone who was expecting a midday notice!

That night Zoya slept really deeply, and I couldn’t rest because I kept checking to make sure that she was breathing. So I finally sent her to the nursery because I knew that they would make sure she was breathing so I could get some rest!  However, I set the timer on my phone and thank goodness I did because at one point they kept her for four hours and I had to call her back.  NOT good for breastfeeding!  In fact they came and took her a lot and for long periods for evaluation throughout the hospital stay. At Gemma’s hospital they didn’t even have a nursery that you could send the baby to, and at Isla’s they brought her to me every two hours. Its just funny how laid back this hospital was about everything.

The next day was typical post c-section day day. I had to get out of bed and walk around a bit. The only new thing was a terrible pain in my shoulders… it was awful and I was sure that I had a blood clot or something. It turns out that it was caused by gas in my stomach! It is very common. The nurses gave me a concoction of Dr Pepper, prune juice and melted butter to help get things moving along (tasted like Saturday night at the movies) with some prescription medication… I also walked and walked and walked which is supposed to help with the gas too. Unfortunately I walked way too much and over did it!  By the time the girls showed up again that evening I was in a lot of pain.  Either way, I couldn’t win, get up and walk to get rid of the gas pains and deal with abdominal pain or rest and deal with the horrible pain in my shoulder!

Having the girls come back again was a welcome distraction along with the Aggie game that was on that night Smile. I love this picture snapped from my bedside!


Saturday night after the girls left, I had to break down and ask for more pain medication. This hospital did things very differently and instead of staying ahead of the pain with consistent dosing at consistent intervals, they sort of gave me medication based on how I was feeling. At this point, they added prescription Ibuprofen and increased my hydrocodone. I also cuddled with Nick in my hospital bed, which helped!  Zoya was once again shipped to the nursery between midnight and 8ish other than for breastfeeding and I monitored them much closer and called her back every 3 hours. She really slept well! I remember Isla was so fussy and they kept bringing her back so often, Zoya and Gemma were just perfectly newborn sleepy.

Thankfully by Sunday I felt 100% better. If you had asked me Saturday if I would be up for going home on Sunday, I would have said NO WAY! However, I felt so good Saturday, my IV was out and all I needed was oral pain medication at that point so I decided to go home. I would have liked to have stayed one more day just because hospitals are so peaceful, compared to a home with a toddler and preschooler, but I also hated being away from my toddler and preschooler!  So Sunday afternoon, we were on our way home Smile.


Next up… deciding on girly’s name!

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