Welcome Owen Bryce!

The night before I went into labor, Darin thought I should take a belly shot, not knowing this was his last night in the womb!  38 1/2 weeks!

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Well, I have to say, he must be a child with his own mind. He must have heard me brag to everyone that my kids come on their due dates (because the other two did) and he decided to change things up! Funny thing, my mom stopped by about an hour before my water broke, so when I called her a few hours later, we just had to laugh that she would be coming back!

Yep, my water broke (seems to be the trend to get me to the hospital). I had a check up that day and contractions were registering on the monitors but nothing painful or alarming. My back had been hurting all day, but no biggie (ummm, back labor Nada? …never crossed my mind!) I waited until almost 5:00 to call Darin (had to finish some laundry and dishes and give him time to hopefully finish up with his patient load). I tried to calmly have him head home, but I hear he just left everything and headed out the door. Silly guy!

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We got to the hospital about 6, got checked- water definitely broke. Settled into the birth room and started actually paying attention to contractions. They went ahead and gave me some Pitocin to get them closer together. And they got closer and more intense. The anesthesiologist came around 9 and gave me an epidural. Of course, like with the others, it worked really well with my right leg, but I could still REALLY feel the contractions. The good doctor figured I was progressing faster than the medicine was dosing.  A little before 10 pm, he came back and gave me an extra shot of something—something good. Everything numbed, and my right leg was as dead as could be.  So when Dr. Riley came in to check me Darin and I were laughing at how I couldn’t feel anything in my right leg (and he was pinching and poking) and she said, oh its time, he’s crowning!

After 3 or 4 minutes of pushing, I had a beautiful, healthy, baby boy cradled in my arms. He cried of course, but calmed right down as I held him close and talked to him. I couldn’t believe he was finally here!

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Of course, everyone asked his name, but we just hadn’t decided yet. But that’s okay. Baby Boy Payne was born January 9th at 10:23 pm. He weighed in at 6 lbs 5 oz and about 19 inches long. He was adorable.

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This lighter hair with reddish tones surprised us! The others were dark, dark, dark-headed …once again telling me that this little guy will do things his way! The next few hours were crazy with all the excitement and joy keeping us going into the wee hours of the morning. I think we finally slept a bit, and of course on and off the next day. Every time I would wake up, Darin would ask “what are we going to name this baby?” 

Grandma brought the kids over before school and they were quite shy.

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But then they came by afterwards and were a little more animated!

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They also made special gifts for him. Luke made him an angel and Natalie made him glittery snow.

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By the time they returned, we decided his name would be Owen Bryce. Once we decided, it just seemed right!

Welcome Owen! We are so happy to have you in our eternal family!

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Oh the holidays…

It was hard to believe Christmas was just around the corner with the sunny 60s weather a week beforehand.

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But we took advantage of the sunshine, because it was followed by cold rain, snow, and dropping temperatures! The kids’ Santa letters appeared in the paper, thanks Southern Standard.

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Of course, Luke wanted to write him again, because he realized he would rather have Star Wars guys (go figure, Daddy knew that all along) and luckily Santa got word before Christmas Eve.

Well, we talked it over and figured it would be fun to spend all weekend with the family, to try and maximize our time with those visiting from a far. So we loaded the van for our four night/day stay, and I can’t believe how much that entailed!

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I thought since we were bringing some stuff to give away, it would be better on the way home, but it was still tight!

Gratefully, Darin and I got to attend the youth baptism trip Saturday morning to start the weekend off on the right foot. Then the other guests began arriving at Hotel Whitaker, complete with mints on the pillows! It was great getting to be with so much family. Uncle Don came for a few days and Grandpa and Grandma Keck arrived Christmas Eve!

There were foot rubs and movies…

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relaxing, gaming, silliness…

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cuddling…

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(Doesn’t it look like Scott and Marissa watching a movie?! Christina is sandwiched in between!)

All smiles…

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Gingerbread houses, letter from Santa…

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and surprises from Santa…

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and Christmas Eve jammies and lightsaber flashlights!

Just a note to remember… Natalie had been struggling with bedtime and throwing fits for the past few weeks, so Christmas Eve was quite a struggle. We tried all tactics to get the girl to go to asleep but to no avail. Darin drove her around for almost an hour, only to have her wake up the moment he opened the door to get her out! The excitement, not sleeping in her own bed at her own house, and pure exhaustion that leads to a second wind are hard to counter. I’m sure everyone was amazed when the crying finally stopped.  (I am happy to report that we are finally seeing improvement last night and tonight.)

CHRISTMAS!

finding stockings, so excited (oh, there are the new jammies!)…

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Rudolph ring pops…

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surprises from Grandpa and Grandma Payne…

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new tents and sleeping bags!

So here’s a glimpse of the major big preggers belly…

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Santa and Santa’s little helpers…

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excitement and gifts all around…

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hanging out with Great Grandpa…

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a few just ran out of steam…

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treasure hunts led Luke to an AT-AT Walker and General Grievous, Natalie to a Dreamlite and this much candy (raise your hands above your head or let Uncle Nathan measure it by kids)…

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Darin found a tool chest, and Nada, the iphone audio plug in for the van.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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There was also lots of eating, cooking, laughing, eating, cooking, laughing! We had a great time and really appreciate all that Mom and Dad and Marissa did for us to be there.  I know that what my kids will remember most will be the time with family, not the new toys, clothes or treats. I know because that’s what I remember of my childhood Christmases.