May 28, 2014



School is out. Summer is in session. The boys are in heaven. And we're loving all the upcoming outside time for sure. Bring it, summer. But, if you will, keep the hundred degree weather to a minimum. Please and thank you.

May 23, 2014

graham: one month old


One month, huh? To say that this month has flown by would pretty much be an understatement. But little dude, with the way you entered this world, I have a feeling things are going to be fast and furious for a long time.

You've had a pretty excellent first month, Graham. There was a little concern about your weight gain, but no worries, while we were at the doctor for your big brother's appointment, we weighed you again. And Dr. C referred to you as a fatty, so I think we're good there. Ha! You're nursing like a champ every two hours during the day. At night you wake once around 3 or 4ish and then go back to sleep for at least another three hours. So I guess the every two hours during the day is fine as long as you continue to sleep at night like that. (As a side note, both of your older brothers have always been wonderful sleepers. Perhaps that's just a gene that your daddy and I are able to give to all of you.)

You're starting to have a few more hours of alert time during the day, but you do still spend a lot of it sleeping. Your best friend is the ceiling fan. And you aren't picky, you'll make friends with any fan you come into contact with. Recently we've started laying you on your playmat. You show a little interest in it, but I imagine more interest will come later.

You still sleep in mommy and daddy's room in the pack & play. I think we'll continue to keep you in there until you start sleeping through the night entirely. You have a tendency to spit up a bit after we lay you down, so being able to hear you and address any choking issues quickly is important to us.

Speaking of your room, we still haven't finished it. I promise we will get it done eventually.

We are loving having you as the newest addition to our family. I hate to say it, because I'll probably jinx it, but it's really seemed quite effortless. Thank you for blessing us with your presence. We can't wait to see you grow!

weeks one through four

May 22, 2014

cayden: five years old


Our first born turned five this past Tuesday. Five. Five whole years since he blessed us with his presence and made us parents. When I think back to the day he was born, it seems like such a short time ago. But when I think about the actual days involved, that's a lot of days. Amazing days. Trying days. Couldn't-ask-for-better days. And everything in between.

We celebrated with corn dogs (of course) at a local place that overlooks a waterfall. The weather was perfect for sitting out on the patio, talking with our boys (all three of them!) and letting Cayden open his gifts. This year we're really trying to be more intentional with the gifts we pick for our kiddos. We did pretty good this year keeping it to something he wants, needs, wears and reads. The superhero mashers are a big hit with both of our older boys right now. And he needed some new underwear like woah (he wasn't so impressed with that gift!). We can never go wrong with anything Spiderman, so a new Spiderman shirt was also in his bag. And to round things out, we got him a new Leap Frog reader. He had the younger version, but now that he's really loving writing and figuring out how things are spelled, we thought this would be the perfect time to upgrade. He's loving everything, and not overwhelming him with too many gifts, was really the best way to go.

A whole hand, Cayden. Here's hoping the second hand goes a bit slower than the first.

May 21, 2014

last day of 4k.


Today was the last day of the 4k program at Cayden's school. It's still a little hard for us to believe that he'll be starting kindergarten in the fall. We went to a new parent orientation one night last week. I thought I would be really anxious about it, but once I got there, I was just really excited about all the fun things that he's going to get to do and learn in the next year. We even got to take Cayden back the next morning for a new student tour and he was completely cool with it. I think he only grabbed ours hands on the initial walk in, but otherwise was totally good to just do his thing.

Anyway, 4k... Cayden had an awesome year of learning and we've reassured that he's completely ready for kinder. And that's good to hear. I think every parent feels like their children are super smart, but you guys, Cayden IS super smart. I don't know what the normal going-into-kinder kids know, but I feel like we're good. He knows his letters, his numbers, tries to put letters together to actually read (dude, you JUST turned 5 yesterday), knows rhyming words and opposites and lots of other little things he seems too young to know. But I guess that's how it is. They grow up and stuff.


And a little comparison from the beginning of the year to the end. He maybe gained a pound, but grew at least four inches it seems... Also? Confidence. This little boy-man is bursting with it. And we couldn't be prouder!

May 14, 2014


Cayden, Sawyer & Graham: Small photo shoot for mother's day presents.

So I missed a few weeks of these, but I think I can forgive myself given the fact that we've been a little preoccupied. Seriously hoping to get back on track and continue to photograph all my boys at least once a week (and shooting for more!). Also, do you see that pun in the last sentence? Totally intended.

May 13, 2014

family of five.


We went out to eat at a sit down restaurant the other night (nothing fancy, just Steak N Shake), but it was the first time we were asked, "How many?" For the first time, we could answer, "Five!" And we quickly realized that very soon, we'll no long fit at a standard four-top table. We'll have to start waiting for bigger tables. I'm totally down with that. Five is such a nice number... but it IS an odd number, so we might have to do something about that in another year or so. Haha!

Anyway, our first family portrait as five. And photos of the older boys holding Graham upon their first meeting. They could barely wait to get their hands on him. Precious, precious moments!

May 12, 2014

easter 2014.


Easter kind of got left behind when I went into labor that night/early the next morning. But the Easter bunny did come to our house to bring the boys a few goodies. We had a fabulous lunch at my mom's house and a not-so-challenging easter egg hunt in the back yard afterward. Before we headed over to mom's, I asked Jeremy to take a couple of quick photos of the boys in their handsome easter clothes. Verdict? Quite possibly my favorite photos of the boys to date. One of these will be blown up and hang in their room for sure.

May 2, 2014



About two weeks ago, we were having dinner at my parents house with my sister and her family. Cayden and Sawyer had spent the afternoon playing with their cousin Ethan, and when we got there, Cayden randomly told us he wanted his hair cut like Ethan's. His hair was getting a little long, but I wasn't quite sure about cutting it as short as Ethan's. It involved clippers and number settings, and things I really know nothing about – hair cuts involve scissors and thinning shears as far as I'm concerned.

As dinner progressed, we talked about it a little bit more with Cayden, and he was set on a buzz cut. Uncle Justin asked if we had clippers. And once told that, yes, we do, he offered to cut Cayden's hair right then and there. Gulp.

Big boy's hair was so thick that we couldn't get the clippers to go through it. Crazy right? So Jeremy and Justin took scissors to it first to make it a little more manageable. Honestly? The uneven look of the scissor cut almost stuck. Throw on his skinny jeans and sneakers and he was the coolest looking four year old emo kid around.

Alas, Cayden wanted the shorter 'do, so Justin kept clipping. And clipping. And clipping. I don't think Justin realized quite what he was getting into volunteering to cut an Allen-child's hair. But it happened, and at first, I was like, "Nope! Never again."

But never again happened about five minutes later when Sawyer wanted his hair cut like brother's. The entire process started over. Unfortunately, the sun had gone down by this time, so photos didn't really turn out of Sawyer. Just imagine the same thing as Cayden's photos, just with darker hair.

Now that they both have uber-short hair, I'm realizing how easy this is going to be to maintain. Probably the best part? We can just do it ourselves. And the boys love it.

May 1, 2014

meet graham isaac.


Well, um, let me dust this blog off just a bit. It's been severely neglected over the last almost two weeks. And I suppose that has a little something to do with the surprise arrival of our sweet Graham Isaac. You see, he wasn't due until May 10, but he decided to come on April 21, catching us all off guard just a bit. Ok, more than a bit.

It was last Easter Sunday/early the next Monday when I woke up thinking I may have just peed on myself a bit. I hopped up as quickly as a nine month pregnant lady can and made my way to the restroom. For a split second I DID wonder if perhaps my water had broken, but having never actually experienced that before, I just chalked it up to poor muscle control and got back in bed.

Over the course of the next hour or so, right around two in the a.m., I realized that I might be having contractions. I was induced with both Cayden and Sawyer, so I technically have never felt contractions, so again, I was a little unsure. When I realized that there was a pattern to things, I woke Jeremy up, let him know what was going on and started timing everything. They were consistently about ten-ish minutes apart lasting for about a minute each. Never having gone into labor on my own before, the only thing going through my head was that they should be five minutes apart, lasting a minute, for an hour.

At 5:30, when things seemed to just be staying the same, I decided to just go on and shower thinking that they might eventually stop. It was at the moment that I pulled out some of the paperwork they give you at the beginning of your pregnancy. Perhaps I should have looked at that sooner... because there was a little sidenote about being in labor and how if this wasn't your first child and your contractions were ten minutes apart, then just maybe you need to call ahead and get your hiney to the hospital. Oh.

So I showered anyway, called the hospital and let them know what was going on ("Please come in as soon as you can, but be careful!"), gave my mom a heads-up that we'd be dropping the boys off earlier than normal and oh yeah, packed my hospital bag.

My contractions were starting to get closer... probably about five minutes apart. We loved on the boys, dropped them off and started making our way toward the hospital. It's probably a 30 minute drive on a good day without traffic. And even though we were hitting everything right at rush hour, I don't recall there being a ton of traffic. I do however recall how every dip and bump in the road felt while having a contraction. Not good.

We got to the hospital and all checked in around 7:54 a.m. Please note the time. It's kind of significant.

I got all dressed in my lovely gown, and our nurse checked to see if my water had indeed broken earlier. She was getting both positive and negative signs, so she just decided to see if I was dilated. (And y'all, believe me, if they had sent me home at this point, I was going to lose my cool.) Surprise, 4.5 cm dilated! I had turned down my check at my appointment just three days earlier; now I'm wondering if that was a good idea.

I was asked if I wanted an epidural (heck, yes!) and so blood work needed to be done first. After blowing out a vein in my arm, my nurse finally got what she needed. In the meantime, I'm huffing and puffing through contractions that are definitely coming at least every one to two minutes. And I'm redlining on the machine with those things. Anyway, nurse walks out the door, says she'll be back in a minute, and if for some reason, I feel like I need to push, to call her back immediately.

It was like those words being announced made it ok that I needed to push. Because not thirty seconds after she left, I looked at Jeremy (panicked, I'm sure) and told him I needed to push. At that very minute, another nurse walked in bringing some equipment and she just knew. She was our savior that morning for sure. She checked me again (maybe it was 8:25ish at this point, again, time, it's important) and I was at 9 cm and Graham's head was right there.

At this point, there was pure craziness in our room. All sorts of equipment being wheeled in and out. Trying to find a doctor (mine was called: "Um, yeah, I'm in Tuscaloosa. You might want to get someone else in there!") to help deliver. And me? Oh, I'm apparently just going to push this baby on out without any drugs at all.

And that's just what I did. It is still all very surreal, and I have to laugh to myself when I think about it, because it was just so very awesome. I made sounds that I never knew would come out of my body, but at that point, my body had completely taken over and I was just going with it. The only words I said were, "I'm sorry," to Jeremy repeatedly. Mostly because I was afraid that I was scaring him and there was nothing either of us could do about it. But he was my rock and told me to stop worrying about it and that I was doing a great job. (Later I was asked if I used the "F" word. When stated that no, in fact there was no cussing going on, I was told that I did really, really good then!)

Delivering naturally was kind of, sort of on my list to try at some point, but it wasn't on my list for that day. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Not to gross anyone out, but being able to feel Graham exiting my body was one of the most amazing feelings ever. And delivering the placenta was almost as painful as the birthing part. But... being able to walk around immediately after his delivery was a huge bonus... and had me thinking that the next time (and most likely, final time) I have a baby, I might try this again.

Graham Isaac Allen arrived at 8:57 a.m. – barely an hour after we checked into the hospital. He weighed in at six pounds, ten ounces and was nineteen and a quarter inches long. Our smallest baby by a pound, but loved just as much. Oh, and big brothers Cayden and Sawyer? They adored him and asked to hold him within minutes upon meeting him. Y'all this mom of three boys thing? It's going to be incredible.
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