Wednesday, January 6, 2016

13 Weeks Thus Far

Last week photo
In the past, I've been pretty good at documenting my pregnancies with pictures and commentary, but somehow thirteen weeks have gone by with few photos or weekly blog posts. In summary, you should be reading that I'm tired and after watching three wild Indians all day long, I just want to collapse in a heap on the bed. That's what I'm doing now, but then it dawned on me that my husband's job gives him all sorts of fancy electronics and pays to service them so here I am in bed with his ipad, bringing every thought I'm having to you. Lucky, lucky you.
I was planning on doing the panorama test that scans my blood to check the baby's dna to determine various trisomy types and the sex of the baby. I was excited to find out, but then I went to the doctor to talk some more about it with her and I think she missed her calling, y'all. Ole gal should be a psychologist (and I should know!). I want to go back to her every month and just talk. Anyway, as we discussed I began thinking that I might not want to know if there's anything special about the baby growing inside of me. Is Trisomy something one can prepare for? I don't know, but I doubt it. I know it's completely different, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for having a deaf child except walking the road myself. Knowing there could be something different about this baby wouldn't change anything about my feelings toward this pregnancy and so I decided I just didn't need to know. Sure, it would have been nice to know the sex of the baby and get "normal" test results, but I can wait. I decided I don't need to spend $100 to speed up that knowledge. I'll know in time. What I DO know now, I'll share with you, though...
I had an ultrasound at that appointment on Monday. The baby was very active. I got to see a clearly visible hand waving at me as he or she moved about kicking and rolling around. Even with baby number four, it's still such an amazing experience to see the heartbeat, to hear it, and to see how the Master is forming this little person in my womb at even just thirteen weeks gestation. Beautiful. Having a baby as a civilian family versus an Army family is so different. The ease with which the tech talked to me and described what we were seeing was refreshing. Ultrasounds in the Army were few and far between in my experience and I was told nothing except what had to be said and then I waited on the doctor to chime in later. The ultrasound tech said if I was just a week or so more progressed in this pregnancy then she would venture a guess to whether it's a boy or a girl, but she was afraid to since it was too soon. She did tell me that there were no obvious boy parts but she wasn't ready to count that out. The gender scan will now be on February 1. I'm excited. Part of me yearns for a daughter, but I think I'll be perfectly happy with another boy. It's what I know and my boys have my heart. Either way, we're ecstatic.
This pregnancy I've been sick. The last two days have been great as far as mornings go. I still feel pretty icky in the evenings. It's as though the flu creeps into my body for a couple hours every night and I wonder how I'll ever make it twenty seven more weeks. I know my due date will be here before I know it, though. I'm trying to enjoy the process as much as I can muster. I've never been one to enjoy pregnancy and the toll it takes on me. I'm at the uncomfortable stage where I look like I have a massive beer belly instead of a cute, obvious baby bump. I feel as if I'm showing pretty early and that discourages me for some reason. I want to stay in the best shape as possible and the first trimester was hard on me. I'll continue to work hard in the gym (and kitchen, let's be honest) to make sure I'm staying healthy for baby and me, but what I still need to focus on is my self-talk. Looking in the mirror, I don't often see an amazing, adaptable body with which God allows me to carry, birth, and nurture our children(without medication I might add!). Instead, I see society's definition of "letting herself go" whether it's true or not. I don't want to be that mom who isn't proud of herself. I want to be one who sets an example for her children, an example of good body image and hard work. Well, that and I want labor to be easier if at all possible and I know being physically fit helps.

I've rambled on and on and have yet to tell you that baby is the size of a peach this week! How's your week going?

Monday, January 4, 2016

SIX


Six years ago to the day, I woke up and began getting ready for my wedding day. Our day did not consist of nerves, tons of money, or preparations. It DID consist of a tiny white dress and a handsome Army Officer in dress blues. He picked me up at my house, all decked out, and drove us to our little ceremony in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, just the two of us. It was snowing and beautiful as we started our lives together. These six years have been wonderful, difficult, happy, exciting, and full of change. We have moved houses nine times. We've lived in five different states in that time. We've created four sweet souls. We have transitioned through some hard times and been joyful through some really great times. I'm thankful for a man who will orient us to our Heavenly Father to lead us through this life together. I'm thankful to God for bringing this man home to me from war and blessing our marriage on that snowy Tennessee day six years ago.


* Not pictured: His Ranger Tab! He left his Ranger Tab in Alaska and he was very disappointed to not have one while swearing his brother into the Army AND getting married in his dress blues. For his sake, just pretend it's there, ok? :)

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, BABE!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

One, Two, Three, Four

I had my life together with two kids, as much as one can. When I had Kinley, my life was thrown upside down. He asserted his big personality from birth. I remember being in the hospital with my screaming newborn unable to calm him and a kind nurse came in to relieve me. They didn't even have a nursery at that hospital, but she offered to take him so I could rest. That's how long he screamed. Then, when we got home it was no different. That first night, my sister ended up sleeping with him on the couch because no one else could get him to calm down. Yes, his personality was fierce. He wanted something, wasn't always all-together sure what it was, but he wanted it now. He continued to assert his opinion when his brother arrived fifteen months later. He was not a fan of Abel, this new squirmy baby who took his time away from mom. He is determined, spirited, and often challenging, but I know these traits will serve him well in life. Even though I had two under two, I took control of my health, went back to grad school, spent time in the Word, and truly started believing in myself as a mother.

Then I got pregnant with Merit. They say that going from two to three is harder than one to two and I agree with that, for sure. I continued to, for the most part, hold on to the things that were most important to me while I grew baby number three in my body. Despite Abe's diagnosis during this time, I was doing okay. Then, Merit graced us with his presence and he was the easiest, sweetest baby. He was only twenty months younger than Abel which meant I had, briefly, three children under the age of three. I cried a lot looking at my kids. I couldn't believe they were entrusted to me, someone who deep down felt as if she wasn't capable. The year has gone by quickly and I'm finally (finally) at a point where Kinley and Abel are becoming friends. Everyone told me they would be close, but I questioned it. But with age comes another stage, right? Now the tables have turned again and Abel and Merit are the ones who constantly compete for attention and fight over Mama. It's incredibly exhausting. When one graduates out of a stage, I always have another one coming into the same one. That's what's hard about my job. The endlessness of it. All through the day, all through the night if they decide not to sleep well. I go through my day just trying to make it through instead of living, being productive, or anything else. This has been a big year for me that I shouldn't discount. I did that little facebook analysis the other day to see what my most popular photos and posts were and it turned out to be quite a good recap of the year:
1. I obtained my Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy (and I did it while mothering three young children!).

2. Abel was released from the surgeon's care after over a year post op!

3. And, of course, we found out we'd be adding to the madness!

I write this so I can focus on me for a few minutes, to realize I still have more to offer than being around for my children. I'm capable of a lot. I've learned that over these last four crazy years. I still have me. I'm not totally gone, although it feels that way more often than not. In 2016, I'm going to try to remember that as best I can. I have some of my writing being published this upcoming Spring. Then by Summer, we'll be welcoming Baby #4. There ARE good things coming.

One kid felt hard. Two felt like a breeze. Three kids=challenging. Do you see the pattern? I think four is our lucky even number. You let me have that hope, ok? ;)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thoughts on Baby Four

I used to be so good at sharing our lives through a blog. It would be unthinkable to announce a pregnancy online and not accompany it with all my thoughts on the new bundle of joy on the way. Those are often among the most popular posts, too (followed closely by birth stories (1, 2, and 3) and periods of extreme pregnant meltdowns. See here or here.). This being said, I hope you'll forgive me for the delay in writing this. If we're not pals on social media other than this space...


I'm pregnant! Yay! Are you shocked? We weren't either.

Honestly, I've been feeling for awhile that our family wasn't done growing. I dared not admit it to anyone because people can't seem to blend the ideas that I could be occasionally stressed by our lot of young boys AND considering wanting more, too. But deep down I know what's important to our family and we see children as a blessing because God's word tells us that's exactly what they are (Psalm 127:3). How could we not be so happy to add to the chaos? Another precious gift from God. I was talking with a friend the other day and told her that I didn't know anyone who got to the end of their life and said, "I wish I'd had less children." Perhaps four children will mean less vacations or the latest, greatest iPhone or whatever. But what is that to us really? NOTHING. 

Honestly, I was nervous for the response we would receive from family and friends. I wanted them to be happy for us (for them!) and they were. Other people who might question us don't matter. We don't ask for help. Our kids are not deprived of love and attention, but instead they're learning now the importance of family, inclusion of differences/disabilities and blending of personalities, sharing, and so much more. We're not perfect, far from it, but just because you might see a glimpse of a naughty preschooler or toddler of mine does not mean that we are not good parents and we're too overwhelmed to have more. What you don't often get to see is the kindness of my four year old, the loving kisses my three year old dishes out, or the laughter and closeness my one year old shows to each of his brothers and his parents. They are great kids. Number four is just as celebrated and important as when I saw the two pink lines for the very first time after trying to get pregnant for months with Kinley. We are feeling blessed, loved, provided for, and oh, so excited.

I've been feeling great. It has been much different than the other three pregnancies. It gave me something extra to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving- no sickness. Praise the Lord. I'm still in the first trimester, but looking forward to another sweet babe joining us by July. Thanks be to God! Here's to four kids, four and under!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Captiva

In my last post, I talked about a yearning I had to just get away. After a quick family text reading, "Can you watch the kids?" Jordan and I were off on a birthday get-away to celebrate the big three o. The kids did everything in their power to keep us from boarding the plane. Their bags had been packed for days, but the morning of I was frantically tossing in my summer clothes, trying to think of everything I might need to spend a weekend in South Florida. I forgot my makeup and all hair products and tools, but perhaps it was better that way. Anyway, that morning I had our babysitter coming over until the kids would be divided up among family members when they all got off work. Abel woke up feeling a little sluggish and by the time we were "ready" to leave, he was burning up with fever. Of course. Then Merit's diaper rash was the worst I've ever seen it when he woke up. And Kinley? He was insisting he join us as the beach, his favorite place. I told him that his Pap was coming to get him so he could spend the weekend there and naturally, he expected that to happen RIGHT NOW. Our poor sitter is a trooper to inherit those three as we took off flying to the airport so as not to miss our flight. We were off to a rough start, but by the time we arrived our worries were behind us...

We booked ourselves a mini vacay in Captiva Island, FL in a resort on the island. We appreciated the small things, though. A cat-nap on the beach. Time to read. Sunsets. Not having to prepare food for little people that would soon be refused anyway. Sleep. Chatting with new friends. Sunrises. The beauty of being alone together. It was perfect, honestly. The best birthday.

We also took time to fish, ride bikes, go down water slides, swim in the ocean, dip in the pool, and remember what it was like before we had all these little people to attend to. It was great, but our little clan was beckoning us back home because even though we enjoy a break every now and then, these kids make our lives worth living!
Hopefully the next time we get away alone won't be another five years in the making!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Messy Life


"Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul."

 I just have to laugh. It's incredible the messes that I clean up on a daily basis. Earlier this week I cleaned up an entire bottle of baby powder that was sprinkled throughout the house followed closely by an entire box of cheerios. I'm still finding remnants of both. WHY LITTLE PEOPLE?!
This was a new one, though. Dog food in a Christmas decoration. 
This was also the day of this:
 so I was ready for an early bedtime, as you can imagine. The first thing I did the following morning was clean up a broken glass. It's always something. There's never time to just sit and enjoy a clean, quiet house. Never. Still I know that this time is fleeting and so I try to just laugh. It's funny isn't it? As I approach my 30th birthday, I've been reflective on my goals. It's bizarre to think back about where I thought I would be at 30. I thought I would ADOPT my FIRST child by this age. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would have three children that I nurtured and grew in my body before my thirtieth birthday. It's a new kind of wild life that I wouldn't trade for all the vacations in the world. 

I'd take a vacation, though. I'd take it gladly.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Goals Updated and Created: October


It's October 1st and Fall is in the air. I truly love this time of year. Despite having to actually clothe my children when we play outside, I enjoy every bit of this season. September seemed to fly by! Perhaps that's one of the reasons why my monthly goals went un-accomplished. I thought I would revisit those and then create some new ones. Last month I wanted to accomplish these:

1. 8 glasses of water a day
2. Limit 2 cups of coffee (what? I can't give up everything!)
3. #50milesinSeptember
4. Regular weekly exercise
5. Lose 5 lbs (Starting weight: 124)

I failed to finish the fifty miles this month. I stopped somewhere in the thirty mile frame. I was struggling because my husband has been working long hours and they don't exactly make a three child running stroller. Anyway, that will change though because I've finally signed my oldest up for preschool. The other goal of 8 glasses of water a day was probably accomplished 75% of the time. It's not hard for me to drink water when I remember. I love it. For October, I have some new goals I hope to accomplish:
  1. Continue with regular exercise and water in addition to completing the October Ab Challenge I created a few years ago. 
  2. Spend an hour (at least) each week working on my writing and publications.
  3. Go to a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or both!
  4. Bake again.
  5. Create fun Halloween costumes.
  6. Take at least four bags of donations to KARM.
I hope each of you enjoy a cup of joe on your porch as the leaves fall around you. I hope you build piles of leaves for your kids to jump in. I hope you dress up on All Hallows Eve and disperse candy or trick-or-treat. I hope your football team makes you happy (unless of course it makes us VOL fans sad). I hope you carve pumpkins and bake apple pies. I hope you climb a mountain and feel God's presence as you look out on all the magnificent colors this time of year brings. Happy Fall, y'all.
 
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