Sunday, August 29, 2010


(Disclaimer: this may be too much information for some people. Beware!)

The night was dark. The night was quiet. The sleep had come, just as on any other night...much desired and well deserved. I had been contracting irregularly all day and to sleep was just the ticket, the relief I needed from the pains of the on-set of labor. I'd never felt contractions on my own with my last pregnancy. I had been induced with Alegria and had no idea what my body would do on its own. I had no idea if my water would even break on its own. Last time, they had to break my water on the day of my induction, and even then, I had no water left and so had no way to know what to expect. I only expected what I was told to expect...what I'd read to expect...that with my water breaking, my contractions would become regular and more intense as they became closer to each other, but that once my water broke, that was the time to begin counting the minutes between the contractions.

I've watched lots of shows on this stuff. I've seen the experiences of others and how once their water breaks, they have time to pack their bags, clean the house, and even sleep while they wait for the contractions to get closer together. That's what I expected...that's what I was hoping for, waiting for. Little did I know that my experience would not be like that at all.

At about 12:30 am, I could hear sounds coming from the master bathroom. I knew it was Cameron getting ready for bed, so I concentrated on getting back to sleep. Only ten tiny minutes later, it Cameron was climbing into bed and getting comfortable, my mind's eye imagined a scenario...blackness, with water in a puddle in the middle and spilling over the edges...a puddle to mimic a puddle that had been made when water had been spilled. In what seemed slow-motion to me, the puddle began contracting, getting smaller, spilling back into itself, like it was happening in reverse. What it contracted into was a tiny sphere of water...smaller than even a pea. As soon as it was back into its original shape, I heard a tiny "pop!" and then I felt a gush! My water had just broken!

I knew it was my water could it not be?! And yet, I was in awe and shock...I had no idea I would actually hear it break! I mean, I'd heard women say they'd heard it break, I guess I just didn't believe them! Now I believe!

As I contemplated what to do, whether to stay in bed and begin counting the minutes between the contractions or get up, I told Cameron, "I think my water just broke." Cameron jumped out of bed, turned the lights on, and sure enough, my water had broken. Thank goodness for forward thinking and the towel I had folded multiple times and laid under myself before getting into bed!

Two things happened then: 1) life turned into the fast lane for Cameron, 2) life stood still for me.

Before heading to bed, I had told Cameron that I hadn't finished packing my bag yet. His response had been not to worry, that once my water broke, we'd still have to wait for my friend, Andrea to arrive, so I could finish packing it at that time. I was sure he was right. Once my water broke, I'd have to start counting how far apart the contractions were anyway, so we'd have time.

Well, as soon as my feet hit the floor, the contractions did NOT start coming at regular intervals. I got a HUGE contraction that lasted...and lasted...and lasted! I couldn't move from the spot where my feet were planted! I waited for it to end...

At the same time, Cameron was asking me what he needed to do. I couldn't even find relief from the contraction to pick up my phone to call Andrea, so Cameron did that for me. Then Cameron asked me what else needed to be put in my bags and with eyes closed, hands balled into fists, and my body tense with the contraction, I read through the list in my mind and told him what was needed. He quickly obliged, running here and there, looking like a whirlwind from the corner of my eye, and getting things ready to go.

Finally, the contraction ended and I waddled to the bathroom. I told Cameron I would sit on the toilet until everything was in the car and the car door was opened for me. I had just sat down when the next contraction hit. I had to brace hand on the wall, one hand on the partition that stands next to the toilet. Eyes closed, I waited for it to end...

Cameron came in after me, mop in hand, and cleaned up. How grateful I was that he thought to do that!

Then I heard Andrea arrive. I think Cameron and I were both surprised at how fast she got there because we both thought that by the time she did, we'd have everything ready to go, but Cameron was still scrambling. I don't even know what he was doing!

I heard Andrea ask Cameron what she could do and he said that she should ask me. I told Andrea that all I needed were my sandals.

Andrea handed me my sandals and once she gave me the green light, we walked out to the car. I had thought I could make it on my own, but I was so grateful that she had thought to hold on to me and help me out.

Once outside, Andrea helped me into the car. The door was open for me and Cameron had put the seat into a fully reclined position. And Andrea even buckled me in. I felt so silly, but also so very grateful!

Then we were off!

As we drove, I could feel the contractions getting worse and they were definitely much closer together than they had been! Cameron called his parents and mine and then when I had a small window of relief from the pain, I looked for the number to the hospital and had Cameron call them to let them know we were on our way. this time, I had opened my eyes long enough between contractions to know that they were two minutes apart, so when I overheard the nurse on the other end telling Cameron to take me to Triage to be checked out first and then heard him hang up, as soon as I could take a breather from the current contraction, I told him that he needed to call her back and tell her that she didn't understand, that my contractions were two minutes apart and that there was no time for checking me! He called back, but her response was the same! AAAAAHHHHH!!!

So we kept on driving and as we did, I was just imagining how movie-like my situation was. The woman in labor, clutching her husband's hand in a death grip on their way to the hospital in the middle of the we crossed over the train tracks, the cameras zooming in on the way the tires hit the tracks, cameras back to the woman and her face full of agony, clenching her teeth and trying hard not to scream...

Minutes later, as we were STILL driving and the contractions were now getting so much worse, I recall telling Cameron, "I can feel her head! She's RIGHT THERE!!!" I can't even remember if Cameron responded, I was in such pain!

Finally, as we came to the gate on post, Cameron told the night guard on duty that I was in labor, so we didn't even have to show ID, the guard just told us to go right on through.

Then I started worrying even more...only three days before, Alegria and I had come to the hospital to take a tour of Labor and Delivery...Cameron hadn't been able to get out of work to join us. But it was ok, we thought. We'd originally been thinking that once we came to the hospital, I would be able to just lead Cameron to where ever we needed to go.

Well, I wasn't coherent enough to be of ANY assistance!

When we showed up at the main entrance to Darnall, Cameron ran inside to see if he could get a wheelchair. Luckily there was a gentleman on his phone right at the doors and Cameron quickly explained what was going on. There were wheelchairs somewhere there and the gentleman came with Cameron to the car...

This whole time, my mind again wandered to a scene from a movie...the woman in labor, clenching her teeth as hard as she can, closing her eyes as hard as she can, squeezing her hands on the door handle as hard as she can, the husband running in to the hospital, frantic, trying to find some help...

And then the two men were at the the door was opened, I don't even know by whom, I was in the middle of a contraction and I could hear the gentleman say something to Cameron like, "Once this contraction is over, we'll get her into the wheelchair and take her in." Boy, did I need help! The pain was intense, to say the least!!!

The contraction over and having only a few seconds before the next one hit, this gentleman without a face (at this point the contractions were pretty much on top of each other and my eyes were constantly closed and I was screaming with every contraction...something that I NEVER in a million years thought I would do!) and Cameron helped me into the wheelchair. As soon as I was in the chair, the next contraction was there with me!

I don't even know if it was this gentleman or Cameron who wheeled me in. I do remember the gentleman saying for me to put my feet on the foot rests, but in the commotion, only one of the foot rests had been lowered and so I placed my right foot on that one, and to try to avoid any inconvenience of my left foot dragging or what not, I held it straight out! So here I was, contracting, screaming, and trying to keep my foot balanced in the air...lovely!

Oh, the pain! The only relief I had was the screams that were coming out of me, and even that didn't help!

My mind saw the cameras that saw me screaming...I kept this really me screaming this loudly? Is this really me being like those women on TV that I never thought I'd be?

As we ventured deeper into the hospital, I heard Cameron making small talk with of his soldiers whose wife was also in labor that night, but apparently not in such a hurried fashion as myself! I squinted my eye for a quick peek before the screams came again...

I remember getting into the elevator...

And then we were in Triage. When they saw how in pain I was, they led me to the first available Triage bed. A nurse told me that before I got into the bed, I had to take my bottoms off. I didn't care. Those and my flip-flops were shed in a millisecond and I was on the bed.

As I writhed in pain and screamed, someone came to check me. I remember her saying that sure enough, I was fully dilated and that there was nothing there. I was completely effaced. And then they asked for ID from Cameron "for this young lady." Ah! I smiled in my head. :) "Young!" :) So I am! :)

Well...Cameron had left all of our stuff, IDs included, in the car. I don't blame him, so did I! Both our heads were wrapped around the fact that our little girl was almost here!

So...Cameron left my side...NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Athletic man that he is, he was back in a hospital bag in tow as well as our IDs. He told me that someone had been real nice and parked the car for us. I had forgotten that we'd left it running at the main entrance!

Back to the fact that I was complete and ready to deliver...the next thing I heard was that there was meconium in there! Oh no! That's dangerous to a baby! Meconium...a baby's first poop...if it happens when the baby's still inside, there's a risk that the baby could swallow it and have serious problems!

And that's when the whole movie scene came back on!

"We need to get her to Delivery Room 1 STAT! There's meconium, we have to get her delivered!" (Or something like that!)

At that point, they put the sides up on the Triage bed, unlocked the wheels, and wheeled me out of the room towards the delivery room.

As we were leaving the room, cameras zoomed in on the wheels of the bed and the bump that we crossed, then to the door that my bed banged as they wheeled me out of there...and back to the face of the screaming lady...

I was still screaming loudly!

At various times throughout this whole ordeal, I remember nurses telling me to breathe and try not to scream...

I KNEW I wouldn't be getting that epidural and I was SOOO dreading getting to the delivery room...

When we got to the delivery room, the on-call midwife was there, a few nurses were there, Cameron was a cute blue set of scrubs. Awwwww! :)

They couldn't give me an epidural, there was no time, so I was going to have to do it all on my own. They did hook me up to a heart monitor, I think it was. It covered my finger...and all I could think about was the fact that I wanted to smooth my hair down but that this contraption on my finger wouldn't let me! I must look atrocious, I thought! I literally came to the hospital the way I was RIGHT out of bed...hadn't even pulled my hair back into a presentable ponytail, hadn't even checked to see if any residual makeup was making circles under my eyes...nope, nothing...

The delivery was fast. I was in so much pain and screaming so loudly and so much, though, one of the nurses had to literally get in my face...she was about an inch away from me...and as I looked at her through wild-crazed eyes, she told me to use the energy of my screams to push.

So I pushed...

Oh, the pain!!! The pain was so horrible I felt like it was going to turn me into a mad woman! It was going to make me literally go crazy!!!

I am so grateful that Odette was in such a rush to get here because after only a few minutes of pushing, our little Odette Marie showed up, healthy and beautiful!

The span of time from the time my water broke to the time Odette was born was only 1 hour and 16 minutes. We'd been at the hospital for about 20 minutes when she was born. We barely made it.


The proud Daddy, cutting Odette's umbilical cord:

Odette Marie Marlow: born on Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 1:56 am weighing 8 pounds 5.5 ounces, 20.5 inches in length. With no epidural, she was quite alert right at birth:

As I feared, I looked horrific! But I was so happy to finally have our little girl here and to be free of the pain of natural childbirth, that I didn't care:

When I see my hair in this picture, I think of those Troll dolls with the fuzzy hair that sticks up in a cone's a good thing babies don't get embarassed when they're seen with their parents at this age!

Thank you, Cameron, for being my strength! When I needed you the most, you were there for said all of the right things, did all of the right things, and even though I looked a mess, you love me! And I love you, too! And our two beautiful girls!

Cameron told me later on that as he was getting ready for bed that night, he had debated taking his contacts out...but ended up leaving them in...just in case! And he was absolutely right! I'm so glad he thought ahead!

The hospital was pretty full that night. In fact, there were no rooms available after I'd given birth to Odette, and we three had to wait in the delivery room for a while...

Finally, we were brought into a recovery room, me and our little Odette, asleep and resting from her hurried entrance into the world!

Cameron, Odette, and I got some much-needed rest. It wasn't until about 9 am that the on-call nurse came in to get all of the administrative mumbo-jumbo done. Yeah. We'd come in and Odette came so fast that they'd hardly had time to ask our names! In fact, the nurse that was attending me that night after Odette was born...well, as they wheeled me in to the recovery room, she looked at me and said, "Oh! You're the one who came in screaming!"

Yes, that was me.

I was in a double room and when our neighbors came in and were hearing the nurse talk to Cameron and me about Odette's fast birth, the father then said, "Oh! That was you!? When I heard you, it scared me!" And that's because this was HIS second child, too! Great! Now I was the screamer that scares people!

Well...if that wasn't great enough already...

The nurse asked if I needed help getting to the bathroom. I didn't. So I walked over there and she left to go get something. As I was getting up, Cameron was talking to me as he held Odette. Suddenly I heard him saying very loudly "Lehilina, sit down! Sit down!" I recall thinking, "Where?" There was a small bench by the shower, but it was covered in extra hospital gowns and socks and stuff, so I didn't want to sit there...

I don't remember what happened then...all I remember is that the next second, I was on the floor and there were nurses and the on-call midwife all around me and Cameron looking on as he continued holding Odette.

Cameron told me later that as I was walking towards him, he saw my eyes start to roll back in my head, which is when he started yelling at me. Luckily, I had come close enough to him that he had been able to grab a hold of me with his free arm and had lowered me down to the floor so I wouldn't fall and hit my head or anything. Once I was safely on the ground, he had pulled the emergency cord in the bathroom and all of the nurses and the midwife had come rushing in.

Back to where I was sitting on the floor with the nurses all around me and Cameron looking on...

The midwife told him to go put Odette in her crib so that he could help out with me....

Mind you, I had been in the bathroom and so I was only wearing my hospital booties and some lovely hospital undies...yes, that is ALL...and I had all of these strangers looking at me...nurses, yes...but did one of them HAVE to be a young male nurse?! AAAHHH!!!

To make matters worse, the on-call mid-wife was a slight woman, so when the nurses saw that she was about to put herself in front of me to help lift me up and had ordered Cameron behind me to push me up off the ground, they all suggested that the young male nurse be in front! Yes...newly nursing boobs and everything...right there in front of him for him and all the rest of the world to see!

If I hadn't just given birth to an 8-pound baby, I might have cared more, but at that point, all of my dignity was already out the WHATEVER!

After that, I was labeled "Fall Risk" and had to have a nurse there with me any time I needed to get up for anything.

Oh. Well.

We finally all got rested up a bit and after a bit of sleep, Cameron went home to relieve Andrea of her Alegria-watching duty. Alegria had been fine the whole time Andrea was there, but when she'd first woken up that morning, Andrea texted me to tell me that Alegria had woken up, had kind of done a double-take when she saw Andrea there, was fine, but that when Andrea told her we weren't there, Alegria had gone to our bedroom, looking for us, to make sure that we weren't hiding in there!

While Cameron was gone, my friend, Kerri came to visit me. Unfortunately, Odette slept the whole time and Kerri wasn't able to hold her. :( But she and I visited for a good while. It was so nice to get a visitor! :)

Finally, Cameron came back with Alegria to introduce her to her new baby sister! Here she's signing "Mommy" and then she signed "Baby." Such a cutie! Loved her sister from the very beginning!

Admiring tiny Odette as she sleeps...

Daddy holding Odette while I have some Alegria time...

Alegria wasn't very interested in just being still in my arms while I hugged her...she preferred to be running around inspecting everything and being very loud! I felt bad for our I gave her a sucker to keep her quiet!

Proud Daddy with his two beautiful girls! (Alegria was trying to run around and he had to catch her and hold her tight to get the picture taken!)

Then she got interested in Odette again and wanted to kiss her!

But when we tried getting a picture of Alegria kissing Odette, the moment was over and she wouldn't anymore...

Abilehi had been in Arizona on vacation and barely got back today. Her friend, Ryan, picked her up from the airport and brought her straight over so she could meet her newest niece...and also see Alegria....which she would be taking care of for us for the next couple of days...

(By the way, Ryan was very sweet and brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers!)

After we said our goodbyes, Cameron, Alegria, Abilehi and Ryan left. Cameron went back home to get the boppy for me and a few other items and to settle Alegria down for the night and explain to her that we would be staying at the hospital with her new baby sister but that she could come back and visit tomorrow. It's a good thing Alegria loves her Aunt Abilehi because Cameron had no problem with her when he left!

Back at the hospital, Daddy gets some bonding time with Odette...she has so much hair compared to what Alegria had when she was born!!!

Love the shirt that says that Odette is Government Property...!

You're probably wondering about the IV in Odette's arm...well...I was diagnosed with Group B Strep (GBS) towards the end of my pregnancy. The plan was to treat me as soon as I arrived at the hospital after my water broke. What they had told me was that they would hook me up to an IV when I showed up and that every four or eight hours, I forget which, they would dose me with some medicine of some sort so that I wouldn't pass it to Odette. you just read (if indeed you read all of my entry and not just looked at the pictures), there was no time for anything for me! So...plan B was to put an IV in Odette's arm, take a culture from her, and then after 48 hours, if the culture came back positive for GBS, then they'd treat her directly and the IV would already be in place...and if it came back negative, they would just remove the IV at that point. Needless to say, we felt horrible that she had to have that IV sticking in her tiny arm! And since she is so tiny, they had to secure it with a stiff board of some sort! How uncomfortable!

Walking around with Odette...

So that was Odette's birth story.

I can't decide yet whether I prefer having been induced with Alegria and the sweet drugged-up labor I had with her...or the natural yet very fast child birth I had with Odette. (Odette's birth was so fast, I realized afterwards that I had given birth in the shirt I walked into the hospital in! We didn't even have time to get me into a hospital gown!) Granted, Alegria's birth was still a fast one for a first-time mom...I only labored with her for 3 1/2 hours! But I had an IV sticking in MY arm that time...which is why I was sad that Odette had to suffer through that! I would have preferred it being me! But with Odette, even though the labor was so painful, it only lasted 1.25 hours altogether and I didn't have any IV sticking in my arm and didn't have to wait for any drugs to wear off! But I think I'll just wait a few years until I have to cross that bridge again before I decide!

Anyway. Today I experienced child birth the natural way, with no drugs. I had never wanted to do it that way. I never thought I COULD do it that way. I didn't think I'd be strong enough to stand the pain and that I had been born at a time where there was pain medication for a use it! But as the saying goes:

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

And today being strong was the only choice I had.

HAPPY BIRTH DAY, ODETTE!!! You were worth all of the waiting and all of the pain. WE LOVE YOU!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


What a busy yet very fun day!!!

This morning I got up early to finish Alegria's birthday cake. Since Alegria loves Elmo so much, that was the decided theme for her birthday party. The cake, of course, would be Elmo! I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but wasn't too sure on how to proceed, so I searched and searched online to see if anyone had attempted a similar cake and I was lucky to find that someone had! She gave me the details on which cake pans to use for the different body parts, so I baked those yesterday and put them together this morning to get a "skeleton" for the cake. Here's what the "skeleton" looked like:

The base is a triple chocolate sheet cake. The body is yellow cake baked in the Wilton doll mold pan. The head is white cake baked in the Wilton sports ball pan. The arms, hands, leg, and feet are all fondant.

Thank goodness Nefilinda had gotten here last night! She got up early this morning to help me by playing with Alegria while I finished up the cake. Thanks, again, Nefilinda! I would never have been able to finish without your help!!! Normally, I would have pulled an all-nighter and finished the cake, but being that I'm 8 months pregnant, I was just too tired to do that with this cake. But thankfully, I got it all done! Here's the end result!

The "water" in the fish bowl is blue jello and "Dorothy," Elmo's goldfish, is a Swedish fish. I wanted to use an orange Juju fish, but I was unable to find a place here that sold those! Oh well! :)

Abilehi showed up after work (she only worked a half-day today), bearing pizzas from Little Caesar's. I had been so busy with Alegria's cake, that I'd forgotten to eat! And Nefilinda hadn't eaten either, she'd only fed Alegria. So we asked Abilehi to pick something up on her way over...we were ever so grateful! Thanks again, Abilehi!!! :)

Finally done eating, we finished decorating for the party.

Here's the kitchen set-up for the craft-making (an Elmo puppet) while we wait for everyone to show up:

Here are the Elmo visors I made to give the kids when we go play outside. We don't want anyone getting a sunburn! :)

Here is the set-up for the game "Fish for Dorothy:"

Here are the Elmo gift bags full of goodies for the kids to take home:

Here's a view of the gift table and the "Pin the Nose on Elmo" game:

That's Alegria's Elmo doll as the centerpiece and a box with Elmo maracas for our goodbye parade at the end of the party!

Materials for our "Fill Dorothy's Fish Bowl" relay race:

And finally, the outside decor:

Once people started showing up, we had them go over to the kitchen to pass the time putting together their Elmo puppets. I used the Paint program on my computer to take a picture of Elmo and dissect him into the head and body and then all of his limbs. Then I blew them up to a large size and printed the different parts on red cardstock. I had bought red brads and had made orange cardstock noses and the eyes out of white cardstock. Abilehi helped me cut all of the pieces out a few nights ago and then today, the guests just had to put it all together to get a cute Elmo puppet!

Alegria showing off her Elmo puppet:

Once most of the guests had arrived, we moved on over to the living room to play "Pin the Nose on Elmo." Everyone did pretty well considering their ages...

...especially Lacey, she got Elmo's nose the closest...

...but Alegria, for some reason, did not get his nose even on his body!

Neither did Sariah! We were all surprised because Alegria and Sariah are the oldest and we thought for sure they would get Elmo's nose the closest to where it should go! Oh well! Maybe because they saw the actual nose already on Elmo, they decided there just needed to be a second sun...!

Next we played "Fish for Dorothy." The children got to use a large net to "fish" and then got to keep the fish they caught! Sariah was the first to go and pretty much just grabbed one and put it in her net! Too funny!

Alegria copied her! :)

Kim and Jace showed up a little late and couldn't stay long, but they were just in time for Jace to try his hand at fishing!

Because the kids would be swimming later, I decided we'd have the cake cutting before that so that we didn't have to cut into their play time. I was so excited about the cake cutting, imagining that Alegria would be so happy with her Elmo cake, especially since she kept excitedly saying "Melmo" (her version of "Elmo") the whole time she saw me decorating her cake this morning...

...unfortunately, such was not the case. I don't know if she realizes that a knife cuts and hurts people, but when she saw we were going to cut her precious friend, Elmo, she went into hysterics! She did NOT want Elmo being hurt! I guess I did too good of a job making him look life-like (in her eyes)!

I was disappointed that I didn't get any pictures of Alegria smiling with her cake. This was the best we could do for a family photo with her cake:

Alegria wanted nothing to do with the knife hurting Elmo, so we didn't even get a picture of her cutting her own cake...Daddy had to do it:

At first, Alegria didn't want any cake, either, but luckily we were able to give her a taste and then she decided she's have some.

Finally a content little girl!

I guess she got curious, too...

Note to self: don't make any character cakes for Alegria anymore...she's too sensitive to her beloved friends getting hurt!!!

Then it was time for everyone to get into their swimsuits for some outdoor water play! A picture of the Birthday Girl before she gets out of her birthday dress that her Aunt Abilehi bought for her...Elmo, of course!

Mostly everyone joined in the fun. Here's Lacey:

However; Alegria was being a little possessive and anti-social. I don't know if the traumatic cake-cutting experience had anything to do with it, but she didn't want to share the water toys she was playing with OR the pool she was playing in...poor Josh only wanted to play!

Luckily, not only did we have two kiddie pools of our own, but we'd also borrowed a couple, so there was plenty for the kids to play with. Here are Lacey and Sariah playing in Alegria's alligator pool:

We also borrowed a slip-n-slide. Josh LOVED that! Here's Big Josh teaching Little Josh how to slide and splash while Jim and Mollie watch from the sidelines:

Quinn, though, is not too fond of pools yet, so Kerri attempted to get him on the swing so that he could enjoy playing outside, too...but he wasn't very thrilled. Maybe because the swing is pink...?

Little Mollie got her feet wet:

Here's Alegria trying to grab every little frog and alligator squirter toy to bring back to "her" pool. Maybe we should have taught her how to place them in a bucket for easier carrying...

Little Tucker is still too tiny for playing in the pools, but he still joined us outside for some socializing. Here's Kerri holding him:

After a while, Alegria finally decided she was ready to play in a pool with some of the others:

After a good while outside, we brought everyone inside for Alegria to open her presents. This year, Alegria did much better at opening the presents all on her own!

Alegria's expressions were so cute as she opened a lot of her presents! I got quite a few videos, but I'll only post two as a small glimpse of these darling expressions:

Daddy helped Alegria open her gifts (don't mind Cameron's clothes! He was the one in charge of all of the pools and water toys, so he got a little wet in the process!), mostly to keep her on task or else she would have gone off after just the first one to start playing with it and probably would not have returned:

Alegria got so many neat toys, clothes, hair clips and bows, and even nail polish from all of her friends! I wish I had remembered to take a picture of her with all of her gifts at the end of the party like we did last year. In any case, thank you to all who came and made her birthday special! We had such a fun time!

After opening all of her presents, we let each child pick out a maraca and played our Elmo goodbye song. No one marched around like I was hoping they would (I guess I should have assigned an adult leader to lead them!), but they all shook their maracas (except Alegria, who was too busy playing with her new toys) and got to keep one to add to their bag of goodies at the end of the party.

Thank you to all who came to Alegria's 2nd birthday party! You made it special and we had such a fun time! was clean-up time! Alegria enjoyed putting all of her newly-acquired alphabet magnets on the dishwasher door while we cleaned up.

Thank goodness we had two of my sisters here to help clean up! I was so exhausted by the end of the party, even though it only lasted two hours, exactly like I had planned! And I'm sure glad we had the party when we did, too! Being 8 months pregnant and hosting a party with that many people in attendance (we had about 25 people here in our little house, give or take a few!)...well...that just takes a lot out of you! I don't think I could have pulled it off it it had been closer to Alegria's birthday date!

Well, that was our day! Have a wonderful night! :)

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