Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Campbell's Story

Campbell Caroline Kell
September 13, 2016 8:17 pm
6 lb 4 oz 19 1/2 in.

For those who don't know, we welcomed a precious GIRL into our family this past week! For all the details of her birth and the surprise of our life, see below! 

Tuesday, September 13th was our due date for baby #4, which according to our 20-week ultrasound was another little Kell boy.  Knowing this would be our last baby, part of us was really hoping for a girl, but both Kreg & I adore being boy parents and just couldn't be happier that God blessed and entrusted us with 3 amazing little boys.  Even though Westin & Tucker prayed for months for a little sister, they were so gracious and excited when we told them they were getting another little brother.  Witnessing them process that information without letting it shake their precious little faith was SUCH a blessing to me. 

I had an appointment with my midwife at noon on the 13th & when I went in she asked if I had any interest in having my cervix checked (I LOVE that this is not mandatory & that I made it all the way to 40 weeks without being checked).  I told her I was good not knowing at this point but that if I made it another week I would probably be changing my tune! She was on board with this so we moved on to checking my blood pressure and we were both a little concerned when it read 147/90...twice. We checked my urine which had a trace of protein in it & my fundal height measurement which had dropped 3 1/2 cm from the week before.  So, worried that my amniotic fluid levels were low & that my blood pressure was not where it should be, my midwife told me she thought God might be telling us it was time for this baby to be born & we should probably reconsider checking my cervix. I agreed. I don't think I'll ever forget her reaction when she checked me! I believe her exact words were "Oh, Keleigh! You're a 6 & 80% effaced, baby's head is at station 2."  This made us both feel a little better because clearly that baby wasn't staying put MUCH longer. She stripped my membranes & told me if that didn't get things going we would go with plan B the next day.  Knowing that after we did this with both Tucker & Brooks that my labor started later that evening, I gave my family a "heads up" so they could be ready & Kreg headed home for the day. 

We had a really nice afternoon!  I finished up some last minute things I wanted to get done, we walked to the park with the boys, and met my parents & Kevin & Taylor for dinner.  I even took a few minutes to crawl in bed with Brooks while he napped so I could hold him as my baby one more time. Kreg was WONDERFUL and really took the utmost care in getting our room ready.  He blew up the tub, got our whole-house stereo system playing some soothing jazz through the speakers in our room, and some soothing essential oils diffusing.  He bought us some sunflowers and those added such a happy touch to the room as well.  It really was such a nice place to have a baby!

While we were having dinner I noticed some cramping that I was trying really hard to time but it was too hard to tell when it started and stopped it was that light (this was around 6pm).  My parents & Kevin & Taylor came over after dinner & my midwife checked in at 6:50 & I sat down to try to time the cramping & decided it was about every 2 minutes but just very mild.  She decided to come on over knowing how quickly my labor with Brooks progressed. She got her things ready & was here by about 7:40.  Kreg filled the tub because he was determined to have that thing filled this time! Right about 8:00 I realized I had started bleeding a little bit so I decided to kiss my boys goodnight (thank you Kevin & Taylor for getting them ready for bed!) and get in the water.  It was lovely, but I kept telling everyone I just wasn't sure these cramps were going to do the trick.
 About 8:15 I decided this might take a while & I should probably get out of the tub & use the bathroom.  I noticed when I got out that the cramping was more intense & as I headed into the bathroom I looked at Kreg who had followed me & told him I could feel "his" head RIGHT THERE & maybe I shouldn't use the bathroom after all.  As I got back into the water, I apologized to my midwife for whatever might happen as I was NOT able to use the bathroom because I could feel his head.  In her very calming way she told me not to worry about it & as she started noting my chart I told her I was pushing... and Kreg confirmed he could see his head.  I remember my midwife throwing her iPad and heading towards me & Taylor yelling to my mom, who had stepped out to use the bathroom the same time I did that she was "missing it!" and then at 8:17 this sweet baby COVERED in vernix was here, in my arms, after one push, and practically no active labor. 
 Jessica covered "him" and I up and the boys & Kevin came in to meet our Campbell. 

 Like any new mom I decided to check my baby over-- count fingers & toes and all that... and as I was doing so I realized something wasn't quite right...I looked over at my midwife who saw what I was doing and once again, I don't think I'll be able to forget her reaction as she looked and said, "oh my gosh! It's a girl!" I'm so thankful that Kortney was videoing at that moment because even after having a week and a half to process it, I still can't completely describe that moment.  It was like all the things about having a daughter I'd spent the past several months telling myself I didn't need came rushing through my mind and it opened up the floodgates of emotions.  We were all THRILLED to add this precious girl to our family and I've spent the past week and a half thinking on all the things her sweet presence really means. If you'd like to see the video, send me a message & I'll send you the link!

 I LOVE that everyone was in the room for that moment! Everyone's reactions were absolutely priceless... among my very favorites were Westin, who burst into huge crocodile tears as he kept saying "I'm so happy, I'm so happy!," Tucker, whose grin filled his whole face as he said "God answered my prayers! I learned in Bible class that God answers our happy prayers.," and Kevin, who yelled that he KNEW it in his heart and started picking people up and hugging them.  Kreg's reaction was of course, priceless, as he jumped up & yelled & laughed-- he then came straight over and hugged me and we laughed & cried together.  We've spent several conversations since talking about how much we have to learn about being parents to a daughter.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to raise this sweet soul.  

Everyone wants to know "what happened with the ultrasound??" so here is what I know: my midwife said that this was the first time this has happened in her whole career-- it happens the other way around-- "girl" ends up being a "boy" much more often.  But we think she was just swollen enough for the ultrasound that her little girl parts looked like little boy parts. 
 After we calmed down from our surprise just a little, I nursed my little girl for the first time and was so thrilled with how she took to it right away.
 Westin & Tucker wanted to cut the umbilical cord, so after I delivered the placenta and the cord stopped pulsing, we were ready... but Tucker realized as soon as he looked that he wasn't going to be able to cut it... or even watch! He said it looked like it would hurt her-- I just love his sweet, sensitive spirit.  He decided he could hold the cord while Westin cut it so that worked out perfectly and made for a priceless photo!

 When I was ready to get out and get cleaned up, it was Kreg's turn to hold our amazing little surprise.  His face says it all, friends.

 When I was cleaned up, I needed some more baby snuggles and she was ready to nurse again so Kreg got on the phone to start relaying our exciting news to our family who couldn't be here.  Once again, HIS FACE!

She passed all her little tests with flying colors and Kreg got to dress her for the first time... in boy clothes.  I was amazed as I watched her over the next several hours and ALL  that vernix just soaked right in to moisturize and protect her precious baby skin! 

 Of course everyone there was so eager to hold her!  We passed her around a little before everyone started heading home. So thankful for all these pictures!

Drake & Morgan came over as soon as they finished buying a new car :) 
 Kreg and I didn't sleep much that first night (shocking!) so we talked quite a bit about what to do about her name.  As thrilled as I was to have a daughter, I was hung up on the fact that I bonded with Campbell over the past several months and was having a hard time letting go of that name... even though we had LOTS of other girl names on our running list that I'm sure would have suited her beautifully.  By morning Kreg was on board with Campbell and we agreed quickly on the middle name Caroline-- to honor his mom Carol-- as Kreg put it "with a twist!" He said he would call her "Cami" and we decided on the spelling of it to honor MY mom, "Tami."  This little girl doesn't know it yet but she is so very blessed with wonderful role models in both of her grandmothers and I'm so excited for her to get to know them and love them.

What fun we have had this past week and a half!  We have been so overwhelmed with everyone's excitement and generosity as you have dropped off clothes, flowers, cards, blankets, and sent your sweet messages and texts.  I have treasured up all of it in my mommy heart and can't wait to tell her her story someday.  Kreg and I enjoyed shopping for her room and I'm excited to post about the transformation from Boy Campbell's nursery to Girl Campbell's nursery once we get it complete! I have yet to buy her any clothes but you better believe I'm excited to do so!  And once again, I'm just floored with the generosity of all our friends and family who have clothed her so beautifully already without me buying one article of clothing. 

Campbell Caroline, you are so loved! We are so glad you are part of our family and are so excited to watch you grow.  If only you knew how much you have changed our world in such a short amount of time! I'm so glad God picked me to be your mommy & I am praying earnestly that He will help me be just what you need.  I can't even begin to list out all of the hopes and dreams I already have for you!  I know I'm very partial but I think you have the very best Daddy & big brothers in the whole world and I know they agree with me when I say that you are absolutely a dream come true.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Dear Tucker {5th Edition}

Dear Sweet Tucker Boy,

Today we are celebrating five years of loving you!! I'm so thankful every day that God sent you to us to love and for the enormous blessing you are to each of us.  You keep us in stitches every day and show us a whole new level of compassion & thoughtfulness.  You continue to amaze us at how one person can be the master of both button pushing & peace making.  

You kept us waiting to meet you, waiting for just the right day to be born-- but you were worth the wait!  My very first thought when I saw you for the first time was amazement and how different you already were from your brother-- and you continue to break the mold and give us new reasons to love you for all the things that make you you!  

I'm so excited to watch you grow over this next year as I know it will be such a big year for you.  I'll always be thankful God made me your mommy and for giving us the special relationship that we share.  I love you sweet boy, happy, happy birthday to you!!



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dear Westin {7th Edition}

To the little boy who stole my heart 7 years ago today: Happy Birthday, baby!!

As I think back on that very loooong day 7 years ago when we first got to meet you, it's so hard to imagine not having you in our world! You are a huge part of what makes us "us" and I'm so thankful God knew to send you to us at just the right time.  

That first night while everyone else passed out from exhaustion, you & I stayed up and got to know each other.  I remember studying your deep dimples & your "helmet" of soft black hair & thinking you were the most perfect thing in the world.  We've definitely had our moments of ups & downs over the past 7 years, but I still study your sweet face & thank God that he made you mine!  I have loved every moment of learning about you and watching the darling personality that goes with those deep dimples unfold.  You are a blessing to everyone whose life you touch and I am so proud of you every day!
 This has been such a big year for us as you've started school & learned an all new independence! As hard as I knew that would be for my mommy heart, you made it so easy and gave me so many more reasons to be proud of you.  It's been such a pleasure to observe you as you found your place among your peers and we couldn't be more thrilled with the leader that you are in and out of your classroom.  Our prayer for you is that you continue to develop those leadership skills and that your heart will always be for people-- always looking for the opportunities to love and serve them!

I'm eager to enjoy our day with you and your fun-loving, energetic self!  Thank you for being my baby and my big boy, all wrapped up in one delightful person~ I love you to the moon & back, to infinity & beyond!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baby Kell #4 is...

Kreg & I got to see our sweet baby this morning!

Look at that beautiful profile.

The boys have been so anxious to know if they are getting another brother or a sister so as soon as Westin got home we lined them up to tell them all at once! 

It's a BOY! 

There's no doubt in my mind now that God made me to be a boy mom.  It's a privilege to raise these boys into men and a responsibility Kreg & I do not take lightly.

It will be wild.
It will be loud.
It will be dirty.
It will be treasured.

These boys are obviously just fine with another brother!
I know everyone will naturally ask "are you done, then?" and the answer is yes.  This is our last baby! I'm not sure I will ever be completely at peace with that but I'm so thankful for Kreg's leadership and vision for our family and as we immerse ourselves fully in the world of boys I look forward to the adventures to come with our complete family of 6!

Baby's name is Campbell Curtis Kell

In keeping with our tradition of giving our boys middle names to honor another family member, we chose Curtis to honor Kreg's mom and the amazing family she comes from!  We are so thrilled to be able to use this strong name for our baby boy and can't wait to meet him and see how he makes his name come to life!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Kreg & I planted this aspen tree outside our house when we bought it in 2008 and Kreg has carved all the names & birth dates of our babies in it since then.  We are SO thrilled to announce to all our friends that we are planning to add one more name & birth date to it in mid-September!  

And for those who (like me) think that ultrasound babies are SO CUTE, here is our little cutie today at 12 weeks 2 days! So loved already by all 5 of us.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tucker {4 years old}

 Tucker Kreg {4 years old}

 Oh, Tucker!  Where do I even start?  Tucker Kreg turned four this summer! My blond hair, green-eyed boy has broken the Kell Boy mold in many ways.

Tucker & I do preschool together a few days a week and it is such a treasure to me to have this time with him "one-on-one..." I put that in quotation marks because Brooks is very much here with us but I do my best to keep him occupied long enough to give Tucker as much of my undivided attention as possible.  And let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to get this boy one-on-one, you are in for a real treat.  Getting a little insight into how his mind works is jut fascinating!  He thinks outside the box and I can't wait to see how that develops as he gets older.   Right now its just plain fun :)

Like the rest of the Kell boys, Tucker loves being outside and being active.  He's been able to play soccer, basketball, and take swimming lessons this year, and he excels in every sport.   He struggles when he's too young to do something Westin is already doing and I think this just gives him that little extra motivation, not to mention an upper hand at understanding said sport, to be the very best when he does get his chance to play!  He blew our minds with his rock climbing skills when we found a gym that allowed him to give it a try-- he just climbed all the way up like he was Spiderman!  He was THRILLED that he was allowed to climb :)

His favorite color is green and he frequently points out that he & I are the only ones in the family with "matching green eyes." 

His favorite food is pizza & pineapples... at least that's what he said when I asked him!  He's a great eater and will try just about anything.  No food fear for this 4-year-old. 

His favorite game is "Lego Star Wars" on the ipad-- he and Westin put their hard earned money together to each come up with $3.50 to pay for the full game so they could stop playing the one free level :) Thank goodness for the family icloud sharing!

His favorite movie is Star Wars-- the Force Awakens 

He would like to have a baby pig for a pet and discusses this possibility with us frequently.  He told us recently he would like a farm for his birthday so he can finally get his baby pig.  This child.

He is fascinated by tornadoes so we had to start watching tornado documentaries because he asked questions I had NO idea how to answer.  He's the expert if you ever want to know any random twister facts!


 Tucker has the biggest heart and is always so conscientious of other people and their feelings.  He also has a classic ornery streak and its always so fascinating to me to see how these traits go hand in hand so well :)  He's the perfect middle brother-- he holds his ground with Westin & his friends and his gentle side comes out with Brooks-- and really ALL babies.  He's the first one to give up something that belongs to him to make someone else happy. He's protective and playful and we just love him to pieces. 

Thank you, God, for our Tucker Kreg!  Please bless him as he continues to grow and learn and love You and Your people and Your creation so deeply. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Westin {6 years old}

 Westin Wayne, 6 years old
 Our biggest boy turned six this year! He continues to be a delight to our family and such a large part of what makes us "us!"
 He started Kindergarten this fall and is doing FABULOUS.  I couldn't have asked for better!  He's a bright, capable student, a willing helper, and a friend to all.  He enjoys reading and creating, and understanding how things work.  His latest obsession is dinosaurs.  He knows far more about them than I do and we have made our way through many a messy dinosaur-dig-kits.   
 He continues to enjoy being active and played basketball, soccer, and baseball this year as well as took several months of swimming lessons.

I recently asked him which sport was his favorite-- which one he would choose if he could only play one.  His eyes teared up and he said, "only one?" HAHA-- guess we're not there, yet! This was a huge year for him in soccer-- he played two ourdoor seasons, did 2 soccer camps, and one indoor season, just in 2015.  It was amazing to me to watch him go from really just being out there to socialize, to using real skills and moves and becoming an active participant in the game.  This most recent season he had a 3-week scoring streak and was THRILLED with this accomplishment!  Baseball was a fun adventure this summer-- this was our first venture outside of t-ball and he did great! I can't get over the fun of watching the pride and joy on his face when he accomplishes something new.    

He's a little fish in the water-- we spent hours and hours at the pool this summer and it was a delight to watch him!  He loved the ocean this summer as well and frequently talks about going back.
 Wes also started taking piano lessons from a sweet friend of ours this year and has loved it so far!  He's always seemed to be drawn to music and its fun to watch him practice because he can't help but sing along while he plays.  Coming from a *former* pianist, this amazes me because I always found it impossible to do both at once!
 His favorite color still is, and will probably always be blue.  He gravitates towards blue everything and we all associate it with Wes in the Kell house.

His favorite food is bison hot dogs.  He's also a wonderful veggie eater and prefers to snack on celery, carrots, and broccoli throughout the day.

His favorite game is "Wits & Wagers" which we keep up at the cabin in Estes.  He's quite good at it and we all enjoy playing with him.

His favorite movies are the Star Wars & Jurassic Park collections, all of which his Daddy has enjoyed introducing him to this year!

His favorite TV show is, get this, The Magic Schoolbus.  It's on Netflix these days!  Like I said, he loves learning how things work. 
 Westin is the most extroverted, social person I have ever met.  I'm a giant introvert so this has stretched me pretty much his entire life-- one of the parts of being a mom that I'm really so grateful for.  He gets along with people of all ages and is constantly asking for play dates.  He says all the time how great it is he has brothers because "it's like having built-in friends." This introverted mama is thankful for those built-in friends!

It's been an absolute joy to me to watch his faith grow this year.  His precious prayers have extended beyond the "thank you God for [insert literally everything here, which is also a great phase]" to being full of depth about the needs of others that he sees and asking for character traits for himself like being a good leader and a good friend and a hard worker.  He's quick to share his faith with others and ask them about their own.  I know God's word is being hidden in his little heart as he has been able to apply verses and stories to his day-to-day this year and nothing in the world could make me more proud! Thank you, God, for our Westin Wayne!  He is a joy and our lives are forever better because you sent him to us to love.