Wednesday, July 30, 2014

32 Weeks (with the baby we didn't think we'd have!)

Today marks week 32 of this pregnancy! My sister came over a couple weeks ago and she helped me sort and hang up all the tiny baby clothes in the closet. Sometimes, I just stop by to take a peek! On the list of things to do in the near future is to take down Belle's old bed and put up the crib. After that, there won't be too many more things to do around the house until baby girl arrives!

Hello baby clothes!

Nothing much has changed in the past few weeks. I feel huge, baby girl has gotten a head start for practicing for the 2032 olympics gymnastics team, and my belly button has become an outie for the first time ever. Instead of the normal pregnancy update form I typically use, I thought I'd go back to the beginning and share the journey and the surprise of finding out we were having another baby!

It's been no secret around here that I had bad case of baby fever practically ever since Belle was born! In February 2013, we stopped taking birth control. I was finishing up my internship and grad school and I just knew that a baby would have been the perfect graduation present!

Only, it never happened. It wasn't only that we weren't getting pregnant, but my cycle wasn't regular and things were just off. We waited several months for my body to readjust to it's own cycle, but nothing changed. Finally, when the initial blood work and other preliminary tests (like an ultrasound of my ovaries) didn't supply any answers, the doctor eventually ordered a 3 hour glucose test. The results-- My glucose levels were fine (yay! no diabetes.) However, the doctor called and told me I was insulin resistant.

The results were shocking. I obviously didn't like the news, but it didn't take long for me to realize that my biggest health concern wasn't the struggle to get pregnant. It didn't take long for something to shift in my mindset and my health became the priority. I mean, when the doctor prescribed the medicine to regulate my insulin, I wasn't taking it so that my body would become fertile again. I took the medicine because I was dead set on doing everything possible to not end up diabetic! Fortunately, we had already made our big change into our whole food diet and so we were already on the right path.

That's not to say it wasn't a devastating blow to my plans to have another baby. The doctor was decently confident the medicine would lead me to getting pregnant eventually, but I was never quite so sure. And honestly, eventually wasn't really what I was hoping for at all. My doctor mentioned the use of fertility drugs with ease even giving us the option to start one right away or to wait and see if the regulating my insulin would work things out on it's own. Fertility drugs just weren't really an option for us. Not when my body wasn't working properly already and I wasn't up for the side effects or the disappointment if things didn't work out.

The time when we could have had a newborn in our arms (if we had conceived right away) came and passed by with major disappointment. And not to mention, the pregnancy announcement from three friends in a single week. When for the first time ever in my life, I was bitter about the news of a sweet new baby, I knew it was time to reach out for support.

It's harder than it sounds and I wasn't sure where to turn. I mean, I wasn't technically infertile... or was I? Plus, I have two kids already-- I shouldn't be sad, I just need to be thankful for the kids I have, right? And I have certainly never experienced the loss of a pregnancy, so is it even fair to be so sad? Would it be too hard on a fellow infertile friend to ever hear that we eventually did become pregnancy? It was really hard to know where it was okay for me to turn for help.

Well, (unfortunately), I knew just the friend to reach out to.... one who I knew would be loving and understanding and more importantly, she's firmly grounded in God's word, which is exactly what I needed. I messaged her to let her know that I had joined the club no one wants to be in, that it's a crappy place to be, and that I have become grumpy and bitter about the news of new pregnancies. As expected, she was so sympathetic and encouraging. Honestly, it felt really good to have someone simply know. But she didn't stop at letting me have a pity party for myself-- she said this:
Amy, all I can say is that through all of this you will, one way or another, come to accept God's providence and plan. And I hope you will recognize in a deeper way what a miracle each child that any women in THE WHOLE WORLD is carrying in her own womb.
Seriously, what a great friend. I took this to heart. And I immediately began praying these things in my life!  And even looking back on it now, it is STILL my prayer for my life!

You obviously know where this story ends up, but there's more in between. I'll be back, hopefully next week, with part 2!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Canoeing and cave exploring

This past weekend, Derek and I traveled down to the Ozarks with my family for a nice weekend getaway. All except my brother, who spent his summer in Africa and is back in Richmond preparing for his second year of med school. He would have thrown off our canoeing numbers anyway. 

Saturday morning, we left the hotel around 8am for a fun day of canoeing down the river. Our 12 mile float took us about 6 hours. We would've had a more relaxing pace if we would have gone on a weekday and didn't have to maneuver around every drunken college student in the state of Missouri the large weekend crowd. We had a great time and every one we came across was pleasant and just as excited as we were to be enjoying the river on a hot July Saturday. 

It nearly killed me to set out on a fun adventure without my phone to take pics. But I certainly wasn't going to risk taking it on the river. The adults paired up and the kids sat in little camp chairs in two of the canoes. We packed water shooters from the Dollar Store, which the kids and my dad enjoyed the most. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't collateral damage so often. The water was COLD. 

We made periodic stops, mostly for snacking, wading, water fights. Like I mentioned, the Niangua River is pretty chilly. Jackson and I were the only ones to get fully in the water-- and I was only doing it because we found a log that was perfect for him to climb and jump. His little body was shivering like crazy, but he was having too much fun to care.  

Belle was slow to warm up to being in the canoe, but eventually came around to enjoy it. At one point, she even fell asleep and took a nap on a bed made of life jackets. Both kids loved the opportunity to help paddle and were expert "middle seat drivers." At one point, Belle was pointing out the logs in the river that we DIDN'T hit because the number was smaller than the ones we did. In my defense, it's tricky to paddle with 3 year old on your pregnant lap and to not whack her in the head with every movement. 

In a stream of bad luck, Derek's sandals both broke within the first hour or so of our float. They were older than our marriage, so it wasn't all that devastating, aside from him having to maneuver the canoe at times barefoot. I also wish I could've taken a picture of the pink, too-small flip flops my mom leant him on the way back to our vans. 

We came home after floating to enjoy some BBQ pork sandwiches. Traveling with my mom at a place where there is even a tiny kitchen is fantastic! So much better than eating out for every meal for mediocre food. Due to a booking miscommunication, we ended up with a large cooking space that was wonderful for the kids to have some indoor, air conditioned space to play. We played games, ventured out for ice cream, and just relaxed the rest of the evening.

We had a lazy Sunday morning packing up and getting ready to head home, but before we journeyed out-- we had to explore the small cave on site. Belle didn't have fun-- my Dad told her there were dinosaurs and so she was scared. Jackson had fun exploring, though! 

It was a great weekend to spend together with family! Our family is getting old and spread out enough that we are only all (or mostly) together maybe once to twice a year, so even though canoeing is a rigorous communication activity-- it was great to be together. Most of the time. Well, that's my opinion. You may ask the others and they may or may not agree. :)

It was wonderful to sleep in my own bed last night with my arsenal of pillows to keep me comfy! I'm pretty sure that's our last big adventure before baby girl gets here soon! I think I've begun to push the limits of my 7 month pregnant body. No regrets though! We've had a super fun summer!!!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hugs first!

Being three is hard. Especially if you're a younger sibling and you're trying to assert your own independence not only with the parental figures, but from a bossy older brother too.

Being a parent to a three year old is hard. Especially when you're a million months pregnant and the aforementioned three year old avoids potty training at any and all costs.

Fortunately, it's not all tough. I think the most accurate way to describe my precious three year old is this: when she's sweet, she's the sweetest of all sweet things; when she's sour, she's the sourest of all sour things.

Belle and I had a "Girl Party" the other night, which is clearly more fun than a Girls Night Out, which is what I attempted to call our ice cream date. 

Belle is in a pretty strong mommy-phase right now. I can only assume this is because she knows that her life is about to turn crazy in a few months. But this also makes her SUPER affectionate with her actions and words. I'm soaking it up. My favorite is when she stops in the middle of playing and we have this conversation:

Belle: You're Mine!
Me: Well, good! Because you're MINE! 
Belle: For forever?
Me: Of course! 

The best way to keep things sweet in our house is to do our best to conform to the terrorist-type demands and procedures that are really important to her. Such as using a certain brush, keeping certain items in exactly the right place, and most importantly-- her bedtime hug and kiss routine. To ensure a smooth bedtime experience, it's best to follow the proper procedure:

  1. Hugs First!! (She'll say this every time just so you won't forget). This is her giving you a hug. 
  2. She'll give two kisses: one on each cheek. She may or may not perform a "scratchies" test before giving kisses, even if you're not Daddy. 
  3. Tuck her in. 
  4. You may now hug her. (She's laying down at this point)
  5. You give her kisses. You'll ask if she wants 1 or 100 and she'll chose one hundred. You'll kiss her like crazy, she'll giggle. 
  6. Say Goodnight. 
  7. She'll repeat it back.
  8. She'll say, "I love you!" Important: She must be the first I-love-you sayer. 
  9. You need to reply, "I love you, too" The "too" is VERY important. If you say "I love you" first or if you forget the "too" you'll likely get a lecture that includes tears, so PLEASE remember. 
Disruption in any of these events may end up you starting back at step 1 plus the extra task of deescalating the emotional aftermath of messing things up. 

Writing all of this down really makes me chuckle. I'm sure it sounds like I'm exaggerating here, but I promise you I'm not. Isn't she funny? 

Ultimately, the best way I've found to help Belle regulate her emotions are to offer more snuggles, more hugs, and more one-on-one time at the beginning of a meltdown or when I am making her do things she doesn't want to do, like taking naps and eating vegetables. I think it's good for both of us! :)


Sunday, July 20, 2014

y-y-y-yes to v-v-vbs

The kids finished up another week of Vacation Bible School this week. The kids really enjoyed the Agency D3 curriculum at a local church during the week when Derek was down at army training. Jackson has been singing the songs and doing the motions ever since! Another local church was doing the same curriculum this week and I knew the kids would love it. At the young ages of my kiddos, repetition is key and I figured the lessons might sink in a little deeper if they had the same lessons again.

My heart was so happy several times this week as the kids talked about VBS and I'm so thankful for the churches who put on these programs, not only to reach unchurched families of the community, but to offer a chance for "church kids" to grow, too!

The first was on Wednesday morning, when Jackson dug through his piggy bank to give money for the offering. Not only was he so eager to contribute his own money (a dollar bill plus six coins!!!), but he gave an equal quantity to Belle could give an "offbring" too. He gathered and shared coins with Belle for the rest of the week. I was sure to contribute, as well, because I was so proud! :)

Next was Thursday. Our church was putting on a backyard Bible club a few days this week and Jackson had the choice to chose either VBS and this day he went to the park. A friend snapped this picture and shared it with me. My heart melted into a giant puddle. I was so proud to know that Jack volunteered to pray in front of his group. I only wish I could've heard the prayer!

I have caught Belle singing VBS songs this week, which might not sound like much of an accomplishment. But, my sweet little girl can be difficult sometimes... She doesn't really like questions and knows how to shut down further questions pretty quick. When I ask about VBS she "doesn't have fun", the Bible lesson "is boring" and at music time, "I don't like the music, so I don't sing. But the other kids do." The one thing I could get her to talk about was snack time, but that always involved popsicles! So back to the point, catching Belle singing her songs when I wasn't watching made me happy. And believe me... I knew better than to let her know I was watching because it would have stopped REALLY quickly. 

Here's the VBS "performance" from earlier this summer:

That's my little darling in the middle in yellow. Ya know, the one with the scowl. This picture is a little deceiving. She was alternating between the scowl and waving enthusiastically at us. Either way, she did anything BUT participate with her little peers.

Jackson, on the other hand, was a rockstar, which is a far cry from where he was a year ago when he blew spit bubbles instead of singing. He's the tiny one in blue in the middle of the pic. 

Lessons from VBS, as told by Jackson:
  • Jesus healed a blonde man. (eventually, EVENTUALLY I was able to deduce that he meant "blind") 
  • Jesus dying on the cross is a "very complicated" story.
  • Jesus is better than cupcakes. When you have a cupcake and eat it, it's all gone. But Jesus is always there!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another T-ball Trophy!

We finished up another season of t-ball this week and Jackson earned another trophy. I know that eventually he'll have to work hard to earn more than just a participation trophy, but it's so fun for now to watch him boast with pride with his growing trophy collection! His favorite thing about this season is that the coach gave them gum whenever they played outfield. Oh, and the time he hit a home run. 

Jackson loves to play ball and watches to practice and play every single day. Derek even spray painted bases on the grass in our back yard at one point this summer. Otherwise, we'll use a ball gloves, trees, branches, miscellaneous toys-- anything than can be a makeshift ball field! Jackson has become very knowledgable about the game itself and can get into a ballgame, even if it's on tv. We've even been reading books lately on the KC Royals and learning about legendary players like George Brett and Bo Jackson. 

Even though the season is over, Jackson is far from putting down hit bat and glove. He desperately wants to make it to a batting cage to practice some machine pitches. Hopefully Derek will be able to take him in the next week or two! 



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