Tuesday, October 17, 2017


post by casey.

we welcomed our 3rd son into the world. Third son. Fourth child. 

HOW?!??!!?!? - I'll tell you 'how' in just a minute but I gots to compose myself:')))).

IKE Ewalt Smith
October 15, 2017 . 151AM
8lbs 2oz . 19-3/4"

IKE: in Hebrew the meaning is, He Laughs. Laughter:) We also just liked it!

EWALT: a family name on my dad's side. My dad's mom, my grandmother's maiden name. I was named after my great-grandmother, Mildred Arlene Ewalt (Casey M-A-E...I was also born on her birthday, March 23rd:).
Some people have also mentioned that it sounds very Starwars-ey. Which Jacob is totally cool with;).

i know most love a good birth story but I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet - similar to all my births!:)

Ike came 3 days early, after about 5 hours in the Hospital and 2 pushes. You did wonderful, baby boy:).

some of the highlights were:

- me calling the Birthing Center at 7PM on 10/14/17 to let them know we were coming BUT that I planned to stop at Target first...and then we'd be there...they later told us that they all laughed prettyyyyy hard after getting off the phone with me!!!!;)
I also hung-up after that call and looked at Jacob and said: "WHY DID I SAY THAT??!?!? WHYYYYYY DID I TELL THEM THAT?!??!?". SO embarrassing...so typical;).

SIDE NOTE: contractions were too intense and we did end up skipping Target;(.

- unlike with the other kids' births, I was able to walk around at the Hospital and try to keep things going on my own this time around.
When we arrived at 830PM, I was 6CM dilated, which I was really happy with. I felt really calm and somewhat motivated to let things happen naturally for a while...it just...felt...right!!! I declined the epidural and wondered if I might actually do this shit au'natural...BY CHOICE...this time - if you remember...we didn't have time for it with Rocky and so that shit went down fast and painful but you know, crossed Natural Birth off the Bucket List;) - Rocky's Birth Story HERE.
After 2 hours of wandering the halls and trying the Birthing Ball for one contraction, I was STILL 6CM.


- I do have to say...I've had wonderful experiences with the Epidural and this time may have been the best yet. It most definitely 'took the edge off' but it was much more localized to my stomach/contractions and so I was able to, very much so, recognize contractions/feel that intense pressure/pain - but on a smaller pain level - and my legs hardly went numb but I felt really present for the birth and aware and it was really perfect for me.

- the epidural did slow things down. My contractions were about 3MIN apart prior and then slowed to about 8MIN:/
We even inquired with our doc about what happens after you're at the hospital for more than 6HRS?!?!?;) We've never been at the Hospital for longer than 6HRS before birthing a baby...which has been wonderful:).

- I was 8CM at 1AM on 10/15/17 and so they broke my water

- sometime after 130AM on Sunday, October 15, 2017...2 contractions and 2 pushes...Ike was born at 151AM:)

one of my favorite parts was them asking us if we knew what we were having and how excited they always get about the not-knowing and surprise to come:). Of course, they asked Jacob and I what we thought we were having and I replied Girl - and explained that I've guessed wrong with EACH baby so far...and Jacob, boy.

when they laid the baby on my chest they said to me: "You were RIGHT!!!!" and so I excitedly said: "OMG!!! We had a girl!!!!???!!!!". To which the doctor replied: "No, you were right...you ARE always wrong! It's a BOY!!!!".
We all died laughing!!:)

it's taken 4 pregnancies and 4 births for me to find this place of pure contentment:). They've ALL been wonderful. We are SO fortunate. Lucky. Blessed!! They've all been so so good and different and perfect in all the ways. But this time around, especially...I wasn't too anxious. I felt at peace about what was coming and what would happen...the unknown. I feel especially excited about the future. 

this isn't me announcing that we're 'done'. :)

but what I think I'm trying to say is that I'm finally embracing the hard and the easy and the scary and the recovery and finding patience and...I'm finally taking the time to take care of myself in all of this. It's SOOO much about this family and these babies. But I finally feel like I'm still here too. And I can have them and give them all that I have...but that doesn't have to be it. I get a little bit too and that's OKAY!!!! If anything...me taking care of ME is going to pay off for them as well:).

and I'm not just talking about making time for a Target run;). I'm talking about asking for help. And putting things off. Embracing our messy days. Letting go of the guilt. Taking time to use the fancy/organic butt spray;). 

i'm very happy:) 

the kiddos are in love and have already started physically fighting each other for their place in line to hold baby Ike. That's gonna be cute for like 37 seconds;).

now that I'm home...we're settling in and Jacob and I have already talked about our game. How we're gonna do this. The answer is: we have NO clue;). BUT we're not scared about that. We're just pumping ourselves and each other up!!!

"let's not yell at them!!!"

"let's try to be SUPER patient!!!"

"let's not argue over who has it harder or has gotten less sleep or is more stressed out...at 227AM!"

"if the baby is screaming and I haven't slept in 4-1/2 dayssssss and Homer's hiding behind the chair with my phone playing a video game I said no to and Theo is screaming cause she can't watch Spirit on Netflix and Rocky just came out of the bathroom wearing my $27 lash lengthening mascara all over his god.damn.face...We will NOT . TURN . ON . ONE . ANOTHER!!"

i know that all of this is bound to happen and saying it out loud and preparing for the worst...has actually only benefited us:). I couldn't do this without Jacob - wait, I currently am...cause he's at some sort of Sportsman's Banquet on my 1st night home...!?!?!?!?!! - I encouraged him to go...no worries:).

SO...baby Ike. Good grief. We love you so much. You're surrounded by a mess of love. SO much of it. It's evident to me on the most mundane of days, how much love there is in this family. But especially, every time these babies arrive:)

Find your tribe. Love them hard.

"In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul."
- Lisa T. Shepherd

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

thirty-eight weeks.

post by Casey.

these might, DEFINITELY, be my fav maternity photos...OF all.time.

38WEEKKKKSSSSSS. It's about this time where it gets a tad more 'real' to me. I never feel too anxious about 'gettin' this thing outta me' or anything like that...more so, excited about the story, how it will begin, who we'll be meeting at the end of all of this:). 
I feel really good and so I'm really in NO hurry to get to the end. We've been very fortunate.

this is also about the time where I don't, so much, like people - see: strangers - looking at me;). I take great offense to stares that aren't followed up with "you look so great!" or "your 4th? NO, I don't believe it!! I retract my first statement and replace Great with UNBELIEVABLE!!!". JUST staring is, basically, unacceptable.

i'll also go for my walks after dark or in the peace and quiet of the very early mornings. NO, I'm not trying to 'get things started'. I'm a human, with another human in me...out walking my big body...like a normal human. STOP STARING AT ME!!!!;)

you guys. I've also gained LESS than 45lbs, so far! I mean...I can do a lot of damage in 2 weeks but this is a RECORD low for me! Diet-inducing-heatburn FOR.THE.WIN;).

i'm so exciteddddddd!!!!!!!!

jacob and I settled on 4 names. 2 girls and 2 boys. We've got a pretty clear idea of what direction we're going to go but we like to wait and see what the baby looks like - HA. Just kidding. If we did that, we'd probably name it: What's That White Stuff On His Face Smith. OR just the sound of me sobbing...we're  working out the spelling on that;).
Nahhhh, we just like to wait until the baby is here and we've always just had a feeling in that moment. Nothing really to do with what the baby looks like:).

so I'm hoping to be back with another round of photos and a 40WK update in 2WKS!:)
Really though, how did we get here already?!:(

also. My hair has changed colors (liking the lighter better) and grown a measly 2IN in 9MO. I'm annoyed.

all the beautiful photos, courtesy of Courtney Smith Photography.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

today's the day.

I met a man today, while waiting in the lab (prior to my 36WK baby appt.).
I'm not really one to believe in 'meant to be'. I'm more of a 'timing' gal. Today I got there early...normally I'd be running late, find a spot off by myself and stick my face in my phone. BUT today it was packed in there and I made the decision to find some friendly faces to wedge myself between and try to make small-talk and keep the phone at bay.

I'll try to keep this short (hahhhaaaaaahhhaaa;).

You wouldn't have been able to tell from looking at him, that the man I chose to befriend, was sick. I would guess he was maybe in his upper 60's and looked like a perfectly healthy and good-looking man!:) He has 5 kids (I may have used 'meant-to-be' when telling Jacob abut this man and why we need 5 kids;) and a wife and they're all very close. Soon he'll be spending 5WKS in the hospital to undergo a Stem Cell Transplant. Each of his 5 children have taken a week of vacation to spend time with him at the Hospital so that he never has to be alone.

We talked about my pregnancy and he was surprised to hear that it was our 4th and said that I looked too young to be having a 4th baby and that pregnancy must agree with me! Obviously, at that point, I asked him to run away with me;).

All of that led us to talk about life and how quickly it passes and that reminded me of how sometimes I think I have a difficult time falling asleep at night because I have a legitimate fear that the next time I open my eyes, 30YRS will have passed. He said it feels an awful lot like that when you're on the other side of it.

He told me that for a lot of years him and his wife looked forward to retirement and all the things they'd do once things slowed down. Once they got the kids through school. Once they paid off their home. They did all those things and worked really hard and when they finally reached retirement...he got sick.

He wasn't necessarily sad in telling me these things. Or telling me not to get my kids through school or blow off the mortgage or that working hard was a waste of time.  His advice was simply to be sure to do the things we wanted. Not to wait. Make time and make it happen.
*cut to me trading in the Astro van for a new ride on the way home to hug my kids and book tickets to Paris in the Spring and then online shopping the rest of the afternoon;) - or maybe I missed his point;)*

After his upcoming procedure, they hope he'll have 4 more years to live. 

After he got called in for his lab, I spent the rest of my wait holding back tears - unsuccessfully...but who's surprised at seeing a very pregnant looking woman crying for no apparent reason!?;). I had my baby appt. and the baby is head down and perfect. It was a sunny and beautiful day and I know this might sound a little dramatic...but I don't think I'll forget about my conversation with this man for quite some time, if ever. 

We took these family photos the same day and not that I needed the reminder, because this crew IS my world...but having talked to someone is his position made it incredibly clear that what I have is really beyond anything I could ever hope for. A happy and healthy family. A LOT of fucking love. Life is not 'perfect'. Not always 'easy'. But the right now...the books I'm trying to read and haven't started, the noses (and asses;) that need to be wiped, the crying at Kindergarten drop-off, the vacations I have planned and not yet booked, the babies we're making, the 3RD trip back upstairs to put a certain 3YR old back in bed, the unprompted hugs and I Love You's, the last minute Date Days, the early morning walks and late night laughs with my one and only, the old/true friends and the strangers who change your day/life...this is really it:).

Well, as you can imagine...I'm a fucking mess and these pregnancy hormones are realllllll;').
I cried...uhhhhhhh LOT...yesterday. 
- dropping Homer off at school
- meeting this man
- there may have been some stress and an awkward conversation with my OB over the state/size of my vagina;)
- the realization that Theo will be 4YRS old in March...this was super upsetting...
- TB only gave us 7 packets of Mild Sauce for our order of SEVEN quesadillas and one burrito!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD!!??!?!??!;)

I called Jacob at least 5 times, in tears. That man is a saint for humoring me:). 

I'll leave you with this quote:

"Life is passing rapidly. Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and remember it. Record it. Fully, whole-heartedly inhabit it. Awareness is one of the greatest things you can possess in this life as it is as important as the very air we breathe and water we drink to stay alive."
- Victoria Erickson

36 Weeks:)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

thirty-four weeks.

you guys...we're 34.freaking.weeks.pregnant. A baby will come out.of.me in 6ISH-WEEKS. That's happening and I feel like, even though I've done this multiple times, I'm againnnnnn just being let in on those minor/painful details!!!!;)

to be completely honest (eeeekkkkkk), I had a prettyyyyyyyyyy - still going - yyyyyyyyy long-winded post drafted earlier. One in which I did a rather large dump of complaining about various ridiculous and petty things. See: My Face Is Fat. My Ass Is Even Fatter. The Bags Under My Eyes Are Eating My Fat Face. I'm Not Sleeping. I Have Reflux But Still Eat Hardees At 1130PM. Why Have I Gained 40LBS...So Far.

maybe it's the fact that my 'work day' with the kids - I've been babysitting the last few weeks and I gottaaaaaa say....I hate it;) - is over. Or that Jacob took Homer to work after school and they're making/bringing home dinner - I gottaaaaa say...I don't enjoy cooking;). OR maybe it being our 6YR Wedding Anniversary tomorrow has be feeling a bit brighter - even though all we have planned is an hour away from the kids to walk to Kwik Trip for hot chocolate...:).

regardless. I'm turning it around and that feels a hell of a lot better than what I was moaning and groaning about before. I mean...I still have my moments and I have my warranted and very much NOT warranted moments of complaints but I'm gonna lock that up today.

i've been having those 'moments' a tad more often over the last few weeks and I blame hormones, entirely. BUT it's hard to snap out of it. Some things that I've found to reallyyyyyy help: contributing somehow, making it about someone else, paying it forward, giving back!!! Unfortunately, we don't have the means to contribute too much financially and unfortunatelyyyyy, there are enough sad things happening around the globe that we could choose to give our attention to:( BUT over the last few weeks, I've found 3 different ways to 'give-back' and selfishly, it's really helped ME to feel better!!

1 throwing a small 'care package' together for an old friend who was going through a stressful time!:)

2 we donated $15 to a wonderful group of people that were purchasing and shipping much needed supplies for those affected by Hurricane Harvey!
- be sure to do your research on such things. For Example: if you're wanting to make a monetary donation, The Red Cross might not be the place to donate. From what we're hearing/reading, very little of what's donated actually ends up in the hands of those that need it most. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

3 i put together a bag of like-new clothes for a family that lost nearly all their belongings in the Montana Wildfires.

now, normally I'd go on a little online shopping binge while sitting in bed at 1130PM, surrounded by Hardees;). This felt better:)

so even though, some nights, these hormones (and reflux:/) have me crying myself to sleep because of a fat face and ass;) and the fear of the impending birth of this child and my OLD kids and lifeeeeeee and deathhhhhhhhh;)...there's always something that can be done to - as we tell the kids:)'turn it around'.

we're SOOOOOOO excited for this baby and MOST nights I definitely go to bed dreaming about what we'll name this little one - ohhhhh, we're close to some solid decisions on that front!!!:) - and what he/she will look like and how the birth will go and when and how it'll start and all those sleepless nights I'll be cuddled up nursing a little baby and on and on. Any of those down moments/days are beyond worth it:).

ALSO. I've started a Baby Pool and I'd be SO pumped if any of you wanted to join! Just comment with your guesses - comment here or on our FB Page! We need:
We are collecting $1 per guess, winner takes all...so maybe you'd have to meet up with me to put in your dollar OR Paypal!?!? Let me know!!!:)

details that might help you make an educated guess:
Homer was born 4 days early - 104PM - 7lbs4oz - 20-1/2"
Theo was born right on time - 528AM - 8lbs12oz - 20-1/2"
Rocky was born 3 days late - 1045PM - 7lbs15oz - 21"

jean jacket: vintage/my moms:):)
slip dress: St. Vinnies - Marshfield, WI
boots: Goodwill- Marshfield, WI

i've gained 40LBS in the last 34WKS. Right on track in comparison to my last 3 pregnancies. I do feel like I gained it more...obviously??...this time, if that makes sense.

jacob has suggested and I've veto'd the names: Jasper and Juno. I really like those names but I like the names we have better...but I've said before...we're ALWAYS open to hearing more/new names! We go in with multiple options and keep ourselves open for anything right up until the end:).
If you have a favorite name you never got to use or one you just think we'll love...Please let us know!!!!:):) I'd love to hear them!!!