Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kenai Landing

My friend Kaarin called us Friday morning and asked if we wanted to go to a flea market at a place called Kenai Landing. We were in need of an outing, so we joined her and her kids. It turned out that there was no flea market, but we made another cool discovery nonetheless!

This place is the site of the old Ward's Cove fish cannery and it's located right at the mouth of the Kenai River. Just two years ago, developers started to refurbish some of the old buildings and apparently, they are trying to convert the area into a waterfront resort type of thing. I guess it's still early in the summer season, so some of the shops aren't up and running yet (and the project is a new one, so it will be a while before everything really gets going there), but we browsed in one very cute little touristy shop and I found a bunch of "Alaska" stuff that I want to buy before we leave. Then we headed outside where the kids found some anchors and buoys to play on. I think we spent at least an hour there with the kids just climbing on the anchors and buoys and then running over to the dock to throw rocks down into the mud. I'm not sure if we'll be here long enough this summer, but I'd love to go back and see the place when it's booming. During the fishing season, I think you can actually go and watch boats bring fish in and then process them.

It was a bit windy, but the sun finally came out (we've had several cloudy rainy days) and the view was gorgeous. The docks overlook the Kenai waterfront, the Kenai river, the Cook Inlet, the Kenai Mountains and the Chigmit Mountains. We saw eagles and seagulls flying. It was a fun outing and we got to experience just a little bit of Kenai's history.

Kenai Candids

This photo doesn't show it, but he really does enjoy his sink baths!

Ammon loves to relax with Kenai on the couch. (Yes, that's a pink boppy! We want Kenai to be comfortable with femininity! Just kidding. We actually just haven't gotten a more masculine cover for the boppy pillow!)

Any opportunity he gets, Abraham loves to give Kenai hugs and kisses and just cuddle with him.

Ziya's new doll has come in very handy. Here we are taking care of our babies together!

This was the night we brought Kenai home from the hospital. Ammon and Abraham were already sleeping, so Ziya got some alone time with Kenai.

Kenai's new favorite position. Jacob's claim is that he, Kenai, likes the pressure on his little belly.

Just hanging out on the couch (we seem to be doing a lot of that these days!).

Boys' All-Nighter

On the night before the last day of school, one of Jacob's co-workers had a boys' all-nighter with his sons and a couple of his students. They stayed in the high school classroom all night and played video games, ate junk food and did other fun "boy" stuff. Jacob told us about it... and guess who decided this sounded like great loads of fun?? I suggested that this was something for older boys to do with their dads. My suggestion was vetoed. While Kenai and I had our own all-nighter in the living room (we've been having these since the day he was born!), Jacob, Ammon and Abraham stocked up on chips and candy, three movies and the laptop and had their all-nighter in the boys' bedroom. They only made it until 3:00 a.m., but they had a super time nevertheless. They were also supposed to play checkers and chess, but the movies won out.

The next day was an extremely grumpy day in the Munyer household. Next time, I will stick to my guns when I insist that this type of thing is for older kids.

Bike Riding

On May 16, Ammon got to go to his friend Jimmy's house for a "late-over" (we wouldn't let him spend the night, but we agreed that he could play until 9PM). Abraham caught wind of some fun stuff that Ammon was going to get to do with his buddies (like have a water fight with brand new water shooters and release 500 ladybugs and then try to find them!)... and this was devastating (to Abe!). Jacob quickly saved the day by suggesting a bike ride. These days, that's all it takes to make our kids happy - a bike ride - especially if it's with dad.

This was Ziya's first time riding on the back of Jacob's bike. She loved it! I held Kenai in a front pack carrier and I walked along. It was a gorgeous day and we all had a great time. Towards the end of our outing, Abraham decided to give riding a try without his training wheels. He tried for a few minutes and then decided that he'll wait "until later in the summer" to try again!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Real Story Behind Ammon's Strep Throat

On April 29, Ammon stayed home from school with a slight fever. On the 30th, I noticed that he was covered with bumps... the same bumps that he had when he had strep throat a few months ago. I took him to the doctor and she was surprised at how red and swollen his throat was. The funny thing (well, not for Ammon!) is that his throat didn't even hurt. He had a very slight fever and the bumps and a positive culture... and that was it! Of course, this was enough to keep him out of school for three days... and to change a lot of other things about that weekend.

That's the story on the surface. The real story is that I believe a Higher Hand had a plan for us and the strep throat was a part of that plan. Jacob's original plan was to take the two boys to the Palmer Track & Field Relays for that weekend. Well, since Ammon does not do well with oral medication, we opted to have him take a three-day course of an antibiotic shot (done at the doctor's office, of course!). Because of that, Jacob decided to skip the track meet and stay home so he could help me nurse Ammon back to health (ha, ha!! Ammon was just ecstatic to not have to go to school... he felt totally fine had all of his normal energy - and then some!).

On Friday, May 1, we'd already been inside for two whole days and the kids were going crazy. We packed up a lunch and I took them to the park to burn some energy. They had a fantastic time playing soccer, jumping rope and drawing with sidewalk chalk. While they played, I got out my Windex and cleaned the back window of our Suburban. For weeks, I'd intended to put a vinyl cut-out of a representation of our family on our window, but I just hadn't found the opportunity. Here it was! Perfect!! With Kenai's representation on our car window, I guess he finally felt like we were ready for him to be born (he came on Sunday, May 3!).

In other words, instead of being split up by a couple of hundred miles, we had some really great family time for several days before baby Kenai was born... all because of strep throat!

Field Trip to Bishop's Beach in Homer

On April 28, Jacob took a personal day off from school and he and Abraham joined Ammon on a big end-of-year field trip to Bishop's Beach in Homer. They left early and were there in time for a low tide so that they could explore the beach for ocean treasures. It was a beautiful day and fun times were had by a father and his two boys.

These are some of the cool things they discovered on the beach... a really ugly dead wolf eel (quite a unique find! one of the dads took it with him to have it preserved by a taxidermist), an octopus, a little hermit crab and a huge sea star.

They went into the classrooms for mini-lessons about the ocean and its many wonders. They got to work on a sea otter puppet craft, touch some stuffed birds, explore some bones, look through microscopes and other learning activities. Abraham was thrilled to be part of the first grade group. After the day was over, he said he was totally ready for kindergarten now!

They also got to go to the Sea Life Center for more learning and playing and posing for pictures. They had a fantastic day!

Ziya Turns Two!!! (on April 21)

My sweet little Ziya turned two years old on April 21. All I have to say is that it's a really good thing that she's not old enough to be into the sibling comparison thing that her older brothers are so good at. She was super content to have her favorite meal for dinner -- spaghetti, salad with ranch dressing and fresh bread. And then she was even more thrilled when we brought out her quickly made birthday cake with an Easter basket Dora bubble blower plopped on top of it. Hey, it was Dora, and that's all that mattered to Ziya! The icing on the cake (ha, ha) was the ice cream that went with it all. She had a great time. She absolutely loved that we sang to her and that she was the one who got to blow out the candles all by herself this time.

My intention was to have a party with some of her little girlfriends; so we didn't even give her the present we'd purchased for her until a few weeks later when Kenai was born and we decided that her party probably wasn't going to happen. Additionally, she was in desperate need of her own doll to throw around and be rough with (instead of her little baby brother!). Again, she didn't even know that she'd been jipped. What a sweetheart she truly is! Happy Birthday little one!!!

Grandma Tita (my mom) got her this cute little yellow dress... a real ray of sunshine in our lives!!

Little Grandma (Jacob's mom) sent this cute little purple ballerina and a Dora backpack for Ziya. We're thankful for our grandmas who know just how to make their grandkids feel so special!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sibling Similarities??

As I was posting the last pictures of Kenai, I remembered that we took similar pictures of Ziya when she came home from the hospital. What do you think - sibling similarities??? I so wish I had digital pictures of Ammon and Abraham, too. We were old school back then and didn't have a digital camera and all of their baby pictures are in storage in Idaho. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun after those boxes get unpacked and I start comparing some more.

We're Home!

We've actually been home since Wednesday night, but as expected, the party of 6 thing is quite hectic and I haven't made it back to the computer.

Kenai's billirubin level actually got a bit higher after the first day of light treatment, so we had to stay at the hospital for the rest of Wednesday. Wednesday night, it was better and the doctor cleared us to come home. Hallelujah!!! Friday, I took him back in to see the nurses at the hospital. He passed his hearing screening (which he didn't pass the first time!) and he has gained back a good amount of weight. Now we just have to make sure to lay him in the sunlight every once in a while and make sure that he keeps nursing, and peeing and pooping lots -- all of which he is doing with style!

Besides being a bit hectic, all is well. We'll see what I have to say when Jacob goes back to work on Monday. He has been sooooo super helpful.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blue Light Special

I had my bags packed, I was dressed in normal clothes and I was totally ready to leave the hospital and take my new baby home this morning so we could start our big party of six thing. Then the pediatrician showed up... and thought that Kenai looked a little too yellow. So he had some blood drawn and sure enough, Kenai's billirubin level is borderline high. So we are staying in the hospital for 24 hours more so that Kenai can get what one nurse called "the blue light special." He is hanging out on a special blue light that will help his little body metabolize the billirubin easier. We are also on a stricter nursing schedule (every 2 hours without fail) and we're weighing diapers to make sure that he is expelling everything that needs to come out. He's being a trooper. I'm kind of bummed because I'm supposed to have him on the light as much as possible; which means that as soon as we're done nursing, I have to put him right back in his little stratjacket - so while I'm hanging out here in this too quiet hospital room, I can't even hold my baby! At the same time though, I'm thankful for an observant doctor who decided to take the safe route. He'll get his billirubin level checked first thing tomorrow morning and hopefully then, we'll really be on our way home!

Ziya Meets Kenai... Again

This time she was awake... and very, very curious. "Kenai, baby, hat, blanket," she observed. I wrote on my last post that I thought Kenai would have to grow on Ziya. Well, he already has!

I quickly realized that it's going to be tricky to nurse so often with Ziya around. She wanted to be involved in every single part of the whole process. I had been feeling guilty because we intended to have a little birthday party for Ziya** but we never did it. Anyway, we bought her a very real looking doll that was going to be her gift for the party. Its little cheeks actually move in a sucking motion when you put a bottle in its mouth and it also has a scary real sounding cry. Now I realize that it was a really good thing she didn't get the doll yet. I think we'll give it to her when we take Kenai home so she can do her own little thing with her doll while I nurse Kenai. Hopefully that will keep her entertained!

**(I will soon get around to posting pictures of the little family dinner we did manage to have - her 2nd birthday was on April 21)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Welcome to Kenai!

Last night (actually at 2AM Sunday morning), I was up taking pictures of my own pregnant belly in front of the bathroom mirror. Then Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m., I was on my hands and knees scrubbing my shower. Call it intuition and sick nesting... I don't know. Be what it may, my very quick labor process started this morning at about 7:30 a.m. and Kenai Elias Munyer was born at 11:35 a.m. He weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. and he's 21 inches long. I'll write the rest of the labor and delivery story later, but for those who want the pictures NOW, here they are!

I had my first totally positive epidural experience. Actually, it wasn't even an epidural - it was a spinal tap and I LOVED IT!!! This birthing experience was soooo smooth and easy compared to the other three.

I was immediately overcome with emotion when he was born. He's absolutely perfect and the miracle of it all just spilled out of my eyes.

Even though I was half-heartedly wishing he would come a week after his due date of May 15 (for the sake of convenience with our schedules right now), I'm really, really thankful he came when he did... especially since he weighed in at 9 lbs. 4 oz.!!! He could have been 10 or 10 1/2 pounds!

Jacob was a wonderful help throughout the entire day. He kept the mood humorous and light and he knew just what to do to help me. Here he is admiring every little detail - and loving it all!

He loved the first bath... but only for a minute.

Ammon had strep throat earlier in the week, so we made him wear a mask... which meant that Abe needed one, too! They were really cute about meeting their new little brother. They were a bit shy at first, but then loosened up, started asking all their questions and just being wonderful big brothers!

It's still unreal to me. I go to bed with a baby inside my stomach... and now he's out laying on top of me!

Abe's first meeting with Kenai. These two are going to have a special bond. I can feel it already.

Abe loves the story we tell of how when Ammon went to the hospital in Long Beach to meet him, his new little brother for the first time, the first thing he did was lick him! Abe decided that was how he wanted to welcome his own little brother into the world, too!

Ammon's questions were very mature. He was most interested in knowing about Kenai's bubble and he was just a tad disappointed that we didn't save it for him to see.

Ziya was knocked out for most of her first visit.

I think they really look alike - absolute angels, both of them!

I remember when Jacob and I used to fly standby on United Airlines while we were engaged and when we first got married. The employees would yell out, "Munyer, party of two!" when a flight came open that we could jump on. Now we're a party of six. It's hard to believe. I am so blessed.

She finally woke up to meet him. She wasn't too horribly curious. I think he's going to have to grow on her!