Tinley Joy

Our little peanut finally arrived! To say the wait was worth it would be a tremendous understatement! I do not even know how we could be so amazingly blessed by her in our first three days. The kids absolutely adore her and are amazing at holding, talking and helping out with her! But it's not only the kids... Rob and I seem to spoil her rotten wanting to hold her ALL of the time :) Yes, she's the baby of the family and is already getting a little special treatment!

I have to share our labor story because it was truly an answer to prayer! I'll try not to draw it out too long, but bear with me... It began on Tuesday, February 21st (41 weeks) when I had a NST scheduled along with a possible dose of Cytotec (a drug that can be used to help begin contractions which often lead into labor). Leading up to Tuesday I felt more and more like I really wanted labor to begin on its own and wanted to avoid inducing drugs if at all possible. When I shared with the nurses that I decided not to do the Cytotec, you could tell that they were somewhat surprised... likely because most people at 41 weeks are anxious to be done. But to be completely honest, I was still feeling fantastic (even ran that week!).

Anyway... NST went great, skipped Cytotec and went on my way home. Next NST was scheduled for Saturday with the option of Cytotec again. Following that, I would be scheduled for an induction (with Cytotec) on Monday night followed by Pitocin on Tuesday, if necessary. Needless to say, I was seriously struggling with the decision. I really wanted to avoid Pitocin, but I honestly still was hoping that something would happen on its own. I prayed and prayed and prayed (and so did the kids, bless their hearts... they really wanted to meet their little sibling). I've never wanted pain so badly!

Friday early morning, I began having occasional contractions that woke me up. Finally, around 4:00, I figured that it was time to get up and see if this was the real thing. I timed them and they were 4-5 minutes apart... YEAH! I hopped in the shower, woke Rob up around 5:00 and called the in-laws to come and watch the kiddos. I told them to take their time, so they got here around 6:00 (both kids had woken up from the noise and were tremendously excited to hear that we were headed to the hospital) and Rob and I made it through the crazy snow storm (that closed the kids' schools) by 6:30.

By 8:00 I was fully admitted, dilated to 4 cm, 60% effaced, and was given the opportunity to request my epidural. I felt okay, but knew that I wanted it before too long, so gave the go-ahead. By 9:00 I had it and was ever so grateful (I was now 8 cm and 80% or 90% effaced)! I had been to the point that things were getting quite painful (I have no idea how you women do it without!). And speaking of my epidural, my anesthesiologist was a guy that I've gone running with! I don't know him well, but recall one run that we did from Hudsonville to Wealthy Street Bakery in Grand Rapids last year. Anyway, he did a phenomenal job :)

After that I think I was ready by 10:00 or so, but the nurse waited until 11:00 to check me and sure enough, we were more than ready! My wonderful doctor came in and two contractions later we had our perfect baby girl! In fact, she was born at 11:09 am :) She was 8 lbs. 12 oz. (one ounce bigger than her big brother was), and 21" long. She's a lengthy little thing!

I am still amazed at how He answered our prayer so perfectly!

The snow!

Happily in labor (thank you epidural)

Proud Daddy

Big brother!

Big Sis!

Holding her never gets old!

Daddy and his baby girls!

Out of order Valentine's Post

Although I have plenty of backlogging to do yet, I'm feeling in the Valentine's spirit and therefore feel the desire to post pictures from this month. One of the greatest things that we did this month was write "love" letters to each other and put them in these cute little mailboxes (from Target dollar spot, thanks for the tip KT!), which I added vinyl letters to at one of our monthly craft nights (thanks KT & Theresa!). The idea came from a friend at our MOPS group and several of our friends jumped at the cute idea.

"Daddy I love you. This is LD. Love, LD"
"I love you so very much so much. I love you. I hope you are going to have fun at school tomorrow. I love just so much. Love, Madisyn Dykema XOXOXOXOXO"
To Madisyn, from Landon,"Madisyn Landon I love you" (picture of monkey)
"Mommy, I love you. Thank you for making food. LD"
"Mommy, I love you so much. I miss you 'cause you are on the treadmill. Love, Madisyn XOXOX" My favorite are the letters between Madisyn and Landon, they are just so sweet! They have even written the baby (white mailbox) some! I may just have to pull these out in six months or so, because we all seem to love it so much!

Hot Chocolate 15k

Who would have known that there is a 15k race out there?! What a perfect distance! I hope that I can do it again this year! This race was one of my favorites of 2011, not because of the chocolate fondue or hot chocolate following the race, but because it was fun to go down to Chicago with some of my running group friends (Cindy, Tammy, Kristin H., Kristin L., Heather) and run the entire race together! Aside from the 1/2 in October (where I ran with Rob, Doug, David, Rudy), I don't recall a road race where I've run with a group of friends the entire time! Not to mention, some of my dear other friends (KMac, KT & Theresa) were down there running it for the first time too! Hopefully they'll run it again this year too :)

38 w 2 d

For the few of you who aren't on FB, here is the most recent belly picture! I still have plenty of backlogging to do, but I figured if I posted this when the baby is four months old, it may not be relevant anymore. So far, so good! I'm feeling better at this point than I did with either of the other two, so I'm planning on at least a week late and if baby arrives anytime before then, it will be a wonderful surprise! In fact, Rob is more anxious than I am! I was still able to run this week (3 miles, with a few walking breaks), but I have yet to determine if there will be anymore running in my future :)

(photograph by Tina Vink, link on picture as well as below)
We are a busy family of five! I enjoy time with my husband and kids, running, being outdoors, shopping for deals, and cuddling. My wonderful husband keeps busy playing with the kiddos, hunting, fishing, exercising and working on projects around the house. Madisyn is six, in 1st grade, loves being outdoors and isn't one bit afraid of bugs or worms! Landon is four, a spitting image of Daddy, and is the sweetest, naughtiest and funniest little boy, all in one! Tinley was born February 24, 2012 and has already blessed us beyond belief! Here's a glimpse into our crazy and wonderful lives... hope you enjoy!

Tiece of Cake

I've finally decided to make a blog (Tiece of cake) dedicated to cakes... as to not consume the family blog.

(photograph by Mindy Leigh Photography, link on picture as well as below)

Madisyn Grace

Madisyn Grace
"Baby" & "M" (photograph by Melissa @ M Design and Photography, link on picture as well as below)

Landon Adrian

Landon Adrian
"LD" & "Bubba" (photograph by Melissa @ M Design and Photography, link on picture as well as below)