Iris Lynn: A Birth Story

It’s been forever since I blogged but I know I want to write this down! Iris was due on January 10, 2019. I was scheduled for a repeat c section on January 8th. Thankfully I didn’t make it to that day!

It started the evening of December 27th. Just like every other night for the last few weeks I started getting contractions 5 minutes apart. Usually they stopped after a few hours but these went straight through the night into the next day. Finally around 9:00pm on the 28th they were 2-3 minutes apart and stronger. I decided I didn’t want to have to call my neighbor at 3 am to come watch the girls so I called her then. Thankfully she is the best and came over right away. We headed into Boise. The entire time I was pretty mad just knowing they were going to send me home and this was all for nothing.

We got into triage and they hooked me up. There was a bit of a scare when it took several minutest to find her heartbeat. I had just felt her move in the car so I wasn’t too worried, but still it was nerve wracking. The contractions were 2 minutes apart on the monitor and thankfully the nurse was so nice. I found out the doctor on call was one I hadn’t met before and that made me nervous. The nurse checked me and said I wasn’t dilated at all. I felt defeated. 24 hours of consistent contractions for nothing. The doctor came and said she thought the contractions were from dehydration and hooked me up to iv fluids. (I drink over 100 oz of water a day but the last 2 months of pregnancy I was throwing up a lot from the pain I was in).

After three bags of fluid my contractions were still going strong so they checked me again and this time I was actually dilated so the doctor came in and said it was baby time! I was instantly so excited and terrified. I thought about the girls at home asleep and how they had no idea what was happening.


Things happened pretty quickly after that. The anesthesiologist came in and explained all about the spinal block and what would happen. I was so afraid of the spinal block but he put me at ease. They rolled me back into the  operating room while Garren waited outside. They administered the spinal block, which was completely painless, and waited for it to take effect. I was panicking just a little bit and was convinced I could still feel everything but the anesthesiologist was able to explain to me what I was feeling (and what I wasn’t). Finally Garren came in and I instantly felt better.

They started the c section while Garren talked to me. He stood up to watch them take her out. They had to be fast because my placenta was in front and low so they ended up having to cut through it.  Which ironically was on of my fears and something I had asked my doctor about just two days before. They kept saying they had her and that she was out but I couldn’t hear her crying. I kept asking why she wasn’t crying and that’s when I found out she was breach. So all of her but her head was out at that point! Finally they had her out and she started crying. She was officially born at 3:24 am. The doctor held her over the sheet for me to see her. I instantly started crying. In that moment I thought she looked like Eleanor, though later I realized she really didn’t look like either girl… but also kind of looked like both of them? Yeah. I don’t know.

They cleaned her off and weighed her (7lbs .07 ounces exactly .02 ounces bigger than Blair making her my “biggest” baby) and then brought her over to me to lay her on my chest. It was more like her laying on my neck but thats fine.


I was so glad to just be holding my baby girl. After they were done closing me up they took me to a recovery room to monitor me for an hour before taking us to postpartum.


Despite this birth being a c section, and earlier than anticipated, this was by far my most peaceful and calm birthing experience. It was very healing for me, since Eleanor’s birth left me a little traumatized. I am so grateful she is here and is healthy and strong. I am so grateful for the friends and family who came to our aid so quickly to help out. We are so very blessed.

The best part was getting to call every one and say SURPRISE had a baby last night! The girls came later that day to meet her and they were instantly in love. Eleanor walked in and said, “Where’s the baby? I want to touch her!” then looked at the nurse and asked, “Does she have a mermaid tail?” Blair just kept exclaiming how cute she was and how she couldn’t believe we have a baby in the family now.

Iris Lynn you are so very loved.


May Love be the Heart of this Home

This week’s update is late but only because we MOVED into our own HOME! This is huge and such an amazing blessing for us. I have moved so many times in my life and have never lived in a house or apartment for longer than 2 years. I use to daydream as a child about buying a house and having one of those walls where you mark how tall your children have grown over the years. Basically I use to dream of stability. While we have moved a lot in the 6 years of our marriage (9 times to be exact) this house isn’t what brought us stability. Our marriage, our relationship with Christ and our beautiful children are the stability I craved growing up. Now we just have our own home to house it in. I love knowing we have set down roots and I am so excited to watch my children grow up here! Ok onto the updates.

Garren: is tired. He is a rock star and has worked so hard to get us moved into this house without taking any time off work. One of my favorite things about Garren (and maybe it sometimes drives me nuts ;) )is how optimistic he is. It doesn’t matter how tired or worn out he is, or even how hard of a day he had at work he always has something positive to share. I know he is so tired but hasn’t complained once this week and every day when he comes home he asks, “Ok what do you want me to accomplish tonight?”

Larissa: I haven’t been able to stop smiling this week. Every day I wake up and think, “I can’t believe we are living in our own house!” I hate packing but I LOVE unpacking, organizing and decorating so I have been having fun this week. It’s a slow process because I really want to take the time to make our home the way we want it. I am really nervous for church on Sunday. The ward we were in has been my favorite ward I have ever lived in. I loved the people and my calling so much, I just want make this place just as wonderful. I do believe you get out of a ward what you put in (like anything in life) but I am still praying hard to find that same family feeling we had with the last ward. Luckily we are only about ten minutes away so my friendships are still intact. Just another opportunity to expand our friendships here in Nampa.

Blair: Loves her new playroom and LOVES sharing a room with her sister. We decided to have them share because I think it’s good for kids to share a space. They both love it, and we have enjoyed waking up to the sounds of them talking and giggling together. Their first night in the same room Eleanor began to cry so Blair got out of bed and rubbed Nelly’s back and sang “I am a Child of God” to her. Nelly calmed right down and went to sleep. I watched the whole thing on the baby monitored and cried like the sappy mom I am. Motherhood is amazing. Blair has had a bit of a hard time with the move. Her two best friends were within walking distance of our old house so it has been an adjustment. Lately she is really into “pinky promises” except she uses her pointer finger. Her most used phrase this week’s is, “I have an idea…” followed by a game, activity, or treat she thinks we should do/make.  Earlier this week she told me she missed living in Idaho (the old house) so I have been trying to explain that we still live in Idaho. Who knew the concept of states, cities and addresses could be so difficult to explain? I am thinking about putting her in swim lessons soon but I wonder how she will do. She is very cautious and doesn’t do anything until she is ready to do it. I asked her if she wanted to learn how to swim and she responded, “Yes. Can I learn how to ride a bike and turn on a TV too?”

Eleanor: She isn’t walking yet so I can still convince myself she is a baby. I know the toddler stage is just moments away so I am savoring this time. She has done fine with the move but she is getting four molars so that has been rough. Her mama obsession grows when she is in pain. Basically she spends the day following me around yelling, “Ma! Mama! Ma!” I have a love/hate relationship with being her favorite person. Mostly I love it. She will come over to me and rest her head on my shoulder and pat my back. It’s the sweetest thing. Our new next door neighbor has puppies and Eleanor LOVES them. She shrieks with joy anytime she sees them. I am a little nervous about the temper tantrums she is already throwing. Blair was never a tantrum throwing toddler so I think I may be in for it with this feisty little girl.


Moving Day!


Our new HOUSE!



One of my favorite parts of the house is all the counter space in the kitchen. 



Family Update

So I will come up with better titles as I do this every week but for the first one this will have to work. My friend Maddie has been doing this every week for a while and nearly every Sunday I tell myself I will do this too and then I always end up failing. I am attempting to commit to this because I know years from now I will be so happy I did this.

Garren: So he has now been graduated for a little over a year and loves his job working at a pediatric therapy clinic. Nearly every night he tells me how grateful he is for “normal developing children” and I think it has made him an even better father. …Although he is often testing our kids abilities and I have to remind him they aren’t his patients. His work schedule isn’t my favorite since he often doesn’t even see Eleanor 3 days a week but he does get off at one in the afternoon on Fridays so longer weekends make up for it. Now that spring is here we are back to enjoying our family walks and trips to the park.

Larissa: I have been working hard on some new things I have planned for Allplant Mama but that has all taken a backseat to some pretty exciting things going on later this week. More on that to come. I am absolutely loving Nampa and feel like we have finally found home. We get out several times a week to meet up with different friends and have a long list of things we want to do and see this summer. I had an unfortunate and some what traumatic nursing experience a few nights ago which lead to me cutting Eleanor off;  So for the first time in 4 years I am not nursing or pregnant.  HALLELUJAH! We will be keeping it that way for a while.

Blair: This girl is life. She is constantly surprising me by spouting of random knowledge or announcing to whoever will listen that she is getting a baby brother. Can’t figure out how to redirect that desire. Right now if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will tell you, “A doctor and a Bakery. Oh and a mommy.” She loves to help with any and everything. Laundry now takes a lot longer but the desire she has to be helpful. is inspiring. Her favorite color is currently yellow and my favorite thing she says is , “Mom it’s morning day!” every single morning. Nana was here for a little over a week and then Papa and Aunt Ashlee came for the weekend.  Her bond with them is so special. I am grateful for their relationship with our kids. Watching her face crumple and the tears start when they leave is always heartbreaking.

Eleanor: Our baby turned one this last week and I can hardly believe it. She is still in 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothing. Our tiny baby girl makes up for size with her massive personality. She isn’t afraid to let you know how she feels and is the queen of the stink face. I kind of love this about her, even if her orneriness can drive me a little nuts. She will stand up in the middle of the room all on her own, but doesn’t seem interested in walking just yet. She sleeps through the night (except last night when she screamed bloody murder from midnight to 5am) and takes one 1.5 hour nap a day if I am lucky. I don’t understand why my children don’t understand the joy that is napping. This girl is a MACHINE when it comes to food and packs it away. Where it goes, no one knows.


Eleanor clearly inherited her stink face from her nana.


My People


Eleanor Blake: A Birth Story

It has been about a year since I have posted on this blog. My initial excuse was Blair broke my laptop, but I have been lazy. What better excuse to start again than the birth story of our second daughter.

After Blair’s birth I was a little terrified of the labor and delivery process and I was determined to change that this time around. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

On Tuesday March 22, 2016 we left for the hospital at 4 am. I was scheduled to be induced because Garren is working in Meridian, Idaho and we obviously wanted him to be at the birth of our daughter. Every night for a week I would have very consistent contractions for a few hours that would end up stopping. It was very frustrating. When we got to the hospital I was still 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. They gave me one dose of cytotec (it helps soften the cervix) and my contractions started on their own soon after. They were getting stronger when my doctor came in at 7 am to break my water. Once it was broken we had our first terrifying experience of the day. My nurse couldn’t find the baby’s heart beat. She had me flipping over in different positions and managed to get a monitor up on the babies head and found her heart beat. She wasn’t handling my contractions well so they ended up giving me a shot to stop them.

Around 8:30 the contractions started again pretty consistently. They were instantly much more painful than they had been earlier and already 2 minutes apart. The nurse checked me and I was 80% effaced and 4 cm dilated. (at this point I was feeling pretty good about that because with Blair I stayed at 2 cm for nearly 16 hours) I decided to get the epidural. Unfortunately it only worked on the left side of my body, but after some adjustment it worked on both sides. I love epidurals.

My nurse told me to get some rest so I tried to take a nap. The baby’s heart rate was still dipping with each contraction but was coming up after them so they were just monitoring her. Finally I looked at Garren and said,” Something is wrong”. Within a minute my room was filled with nurses. Her heart rate had dropped with the last contraction and wasn’t coming back up. It was between 50 and 60 some times dipping even lower. They told me I needed to get on my hands and knees. I couldn’t feel anything from the chest down so this was physically the hardest thing I have ever done but we got me on my hands and knees. Unfortunately it still did nothing for her heart rate. My nurse was amazing. I could tell the situation was emergent but she was very much in control and calming. She told me I needed a c section. My doctor walked in and while every one was running around getting me unhooked from things he said he thought she had a knot in her cord or the cord was around her neck. She needed to come out now.

I looked over at the monitor and saw her heart rate plummet again just as they unhooked it and started racing me to the OR. While running the nurse gave me another shot to stop the contractions. This was the worst 30 seconds of my life. I truly believed we had lost our daughter. They made Garren stay back and get dressed in scrubs while they prepped me. From the moment we got into the ER to the moment they got her out was only 2 minutes. I felt pressure and then heard the most amazing sound of my whole life; a very mad, screaming baby. I guess her heart rate had gone right back up after that shot to stop my contractions. My father in law was the respiratory therapist in the room and they looked her over and saw that she was perfectly fine. The nurse brought her over and immediately put her on my chest, which was amazing. Unfortunately at this point I got really sick. My heart rate was over 160 and my blood pressure was 55/45. I asked them to take her because I was afraid I was going to throw up on her. They gave me a few different medications to help my blood pressure and nausea while the doctor stitched me up. Once he was done he came over and said they have no idea why she wasn’t tolerating the contractions. Her cord looked perfect. They did send off her placenta to see if anything was wrong with it. Best guess is she was compressing the cord in whatever position she was in during contractions.

Garren brought her back from the nursery and I finally got to officially meet my precious baby girl. I was shocked to hear she was 6 lbs 7 oz and 18.5 inches long. I was certain this baby was going to be huge. Thankfully she latched on right away and nursed very well despite having a tongue tie that we later had clipped. Her name is Eleanor Blake, Blake after my brother and Garren’s Dad, and we couldn’t love her more. I am still in shock from the whole ordeal and trying to deal with my emotions from it.

Thankfully the scariest day of my life also ended as one of the best. Looking forward to life as a family of four :)



Blair Monroe: 10 and 11 months

I know…. it’s super late….


10 Months

10 Months

11 Months

11 Months

Height: I don’t have an update for this

Weight: She did go to the doctor a couple of times so at 10 months she weighed 16 lbs 7 oz and at 11 months she weighed 16 lbs 8 oz. Lets just say month 10 was rough.

Doctors Appointments: Blair was sick basically all of December. First she had a cold, then an ear infection, then a crazy teething experience, it was her 8th tooth but the first one that really bothered her, she had a fever of 102 for a few days, then she had quite a few vomiting spells that we figured out was due to her milk allergy. (At first the doctor said she wasn’t allergic to milk so we tried things like mac and cheese… but no definitely allergic to milk)

Clothing: Still in 6-9 month clothes for months 10 and 11. This little nugget sure gets a lot of use out of her clothing! (Good thing too, she has a ridiculous amount)

Diapers: We are still doing cloth but she is in disposable at night. She sleeps better in them since it doesn’t feel as wet all night. We are still lovers of the cloth :)

Eating: She is still nursing the same through out the day and solid food is still a struggle. We were referred to a specialist that we will see on January 22 to have her evaluated. (Note: Since turning 11 months she has made so much improvement, she is eating all kinds of food! yay progress!)

Sleep: There was a glorious week in December where she was only waking up once at night. Then the sickness insued. She went back to waking up every couple of hours. We eventually let her cry it out a couple of times and she is now waking up twice a night consistently. It got to the point where she just wanted to play so once I realized she was well fed, not in pain, had a dry diaper and was well loved, she just needed to learn to get her self to sleep. She now goes down so easily at night. In a month I plan on weaning her from one of those feedings. Its clear she wont be sleeping through the night by one, but I am determined to have her sleeping through the night by the time we move back to Utah in May.

Social: These two months were huge for her. She started waving, shaking her head no in response to questions, giving kisses to her doll and bear, dancing to any kind of music, and fake laughing when she hears other people laugh. She has been so fun the past few months. She loves to climb all over you and play with her toys, she still loves going shopping and seeing people. She also met a lot of extended family when we went to Texas for Thanksgiving. She did so well! I love how adaptable she is!

Likes: Her new walker toy, her doll Stella, her bear Ruby, dancing, shopping, taking on the phone to nana and papa, nursing, her minky blankets, playing on mommy and daddy’s bed, being thrown in the air, and reading books

Dislikes: being alone or over tired, sitting still for longer than 2 minutes, waiting to nurse

New This Month: Her hair is long enough for lots of different hairstyles now. I love getting her ready each morning! It’s so fun having a girl.

Fun Things We Did:

  • Went to Texas
  • First Thanksgiving
  • First Christmas
  • Went to Portsmouth
  • Went to the movies

Looking Forward To:


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Our Love Story: Part 5: Engagement

Garren and I dated for 4 months before we got engaged. Yes only 4 months, but keep in mind we had known each other for 6 years by then. We already loved each other we just had to see if we were in love. SPOILER ALERT: We were definitely IN love ;)

Here is the story of the day we got engaged!

Garren took me snowshoeing! We headed up the mountain at around noon. Not going to lie. I hated snowshoeing at first. I couldn’t do it. I already am not the most coordinated person in the world so it was super awkward at first, but I eventually got the hang of it. We hiked 2.5 miles completely up hill. At one point I seriously considered laying down in the snow and telling him to go on with out me. He was incredibly patient and encouraging to me the entire time. I feel like I can do anything when he is supporting me. I always make fun of him for being impatient while driving or in other circumstances but when it comes to me he is the most patient man in the world. Any way getting to the top was MORE than worth it. The view was breath taking. One of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. We ate lunch and then I joked with Garren that I deserved a trophy or something for making it. He agreed and told me he had a prize. He made me close my eyes… and eventually, let me open them. When I did he was on one knee with the most beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. He said other things, but I honestly can’t remember a single thing he said, other than the life changing question. I think I said yes a hundred times and possibly cried a little bit.  My hands were too cold to take my mittens off so I had to wait till we hiked back down the two miles to put my ring on. Talk about making me work for it! So worth it.

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Our Love Story: Part 4: “I Think I Like You”

Love Story Part 1

Love Story Part 2

Love Story Part 3

Garren and I talked on the phone a lot when he got home from his mission. One night I was nursing a broken heart when Garren called me. We talked for a long time and he managed to get me smiling. A few weeks later I was going down to Cedar for my nephews birthday and Garren asked if we could hang out. He picked me up Sunday morning and made me breakfast and we watched conference together. I could tell something was on his mind but I didn’t want to force him to talk to me.

I kept waiting for him to say something between conference sessions but he didn’t. Finally right after the second session started, he said, ” Larissa, what if, I think I like you?” All I said back was, ” You think you like me?” Really what kind of statement is I think I like you? So he took it back and said he liked me and that he wanted to date me.

I was speechless. We had been friends for so long I just didn’t think this was really happening. He asked me what I thought about it and I gave the excuse that my favorite apostle was speaking so he had to wait until the talk was over. Really I was freaking out inside wondering if this was going to ruin our friendship or if our lives were about to change for the better. I was too nervous to speak so I wrote down everything I was feeling and gave it to him to read. He still has that embarrassing piece of paper somewhere.

A part of me was really nervous that things would get weird between us but the transition from best friends to falling in love was the easiest thing I have ever done in my life. Being with him just felt right. Life has thrown us some curve balls and there have been some very hard trials but being with him has never been hard. Our love story is my very favorite :)

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