Monday, September 29, 2014

Caroline Grace

Arriving on her due date, we welcomed Caroline Grace into our family last Tuesday afternoon. One of these days, I'll get around to a post about her arrival, but for now I'll leave you with a few pics I snapped at the hospital of our sweet little lady!
Caroline Grace
7 lbs 3 oz. * 19.5 inches * 1:13pm

We are healthy and happy and doing well! I'll be back soon with more pics and details and our normal life blog stuff! :)


Monday, September 22, 2014

40 weeks

So here we are at 40 weeks! We're ready to meet our little gal, but she is pretty cozy in there and is playing a little hard to get. 

 I was hoping, and hoping, and hoping that we'd get to wait this gal out and enjoy the surprise of her arrival, but due to a collection of unordinary, last minute army schedule changes we are scheduled to induce this Wednesday. I know it's a little selfish, but at the same time, I don't think it's too much to want Derek around for the labor and birth this time

How far along?: 40 weeks
How big is your baby?: My guess is right around 7 pounds (considering she's more fully "cooked" than my other kiddos.
Total weight gain?: 35ish, I think? I stopped doing the math on the scale once it became depressing. :)
Sex: Baby GIRL! 
Maternity clothes: I am so over maternity clothes! Ready for some new items to wear... though the cooler weather has been nice for me to switch up the wardrobe a bit. 
Sleep: Albeit pretty uncomfortable, I'm clocking in decent hours of sleep-- including snuggle naps with Belle. 
Symptoms: Everything. All of them. 
Movement: Lots and lots. The baby movements are no longer kicks or little punches. They are rolls and repositioning. Of course, there isn't a ton of room so those can get pretty uncomfortable, but it's still pretty neat to feel. 
Best moment this week: Getting the house clean! Mom helped a ton this weekend and I spent today sweeping, moping, vacuuming, doing laundry, etc. Feels so nice and relaxing! :)
Works moment this week: Aside from waiting over an hour (with a three year old) in the waiting room of my OBs office, after getting "checked" I have made zero progress for the last THREE appointments. 
Food cravings: Hmm... I haven't had too many cravings lately, well, besides the constant desire for carbs, carbs, and more carbs.  
Labor signs: As I mentioned above, they are pretty scarce. I am having a TON of braxton hicks contractions (fortunately they don't hurt) but my tummy squeezes lots and lots each evening. 
Belly button in or out: Out. And it's weird.
What I miss: Good sleep. And the worst part is knowing that the sleep issues aren't going to get better once the pregnancy is over! 
What I'm looking forward to:  Having Derek with me when we first meet her, watching my kids meet her, bringing her home, playing baby-girl dress up-- oh there's just so much! :)

Since this is likely my last pregnancy, I think I'll add what I'll miss, too: Baby movement, the excitement that pregnancy brings (knowing that no matter how crappy a day is, I'm still growing a baby!), and when Jackson and Belle giving the baby hugs and kisses in my tummy. 

I had Derek take my picture in front of the couch so we could do some comparing! The left is 39 weeks in 2011 and the right is 38 weeks in 2008-- these were both the "last pictures" before my babies came.

Here I am at 40 weeks here in 2014. :)

Talk about a WIDE LOAD coming through!!! Fortunately for me, I mostly just gain my pregnancy weight right in my tummy. People tell me all the time that I don't even look pregnant from behind, which is good-- even though it means that every pound I've gained has been in my stomach and it's bulky to carry around. 

I'll be back to share the news of our little bundle of joy soon! The best way to know ASAP is to follow me on Instagram! Or Twitter. Goodness knows that there will be no shortage of baby pics making their way to social media-- even if it might take awhile for me to make a blog post.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Odds and Ends

Today is just a bullet point kind of day! I have been SUPER productive today, but now I'm so incredibly tired. Tomorrow I've promised myself a nap and perhaps I'll get fancy and paint my fingernails. 
  • Yesterday marked a new milestone for me-- I'm officially at 39 weeks and am pregnant longer than I've ever been pregnant before. Jackson came at 38w5d and Belle came at 39 right to the day. I'm actually not overly eager to evict the little thing aside from the fact that I'm just tired of waiting to meet her! :) I am super glad that I was able to attend both the first meetings of my Bible study and MOPS, which were yesterday and today. She now officially has a green light to come, but hopefully not tonight. I'm so tired, I actually just want to sleep.
  • IF the baby would have made an appearance today, she would have shared a birthday with the class butterfly in Jack's classroom. I guess she's holding out for her own special day. Jackson has been talking about the chrysalis (and I seriously had to google that word because I'm clearly not "smarter than a kindergartner" and always thought it was called a cocoon.)
  • Last weekend, I was originally planning to drive over to Columbia to meet up with other friends, but... that didn't happen thanks to some false labor indicators. So she ended up driving FOUR hours out of her way to visit before she drove back to Chicago. It was wonderful to catch up, but I'm still a bit bummed that I didn't get to see the rest of the people I was hoping to visit! 

  • I've been planning small tasks to complete each evening for the next day. I don't want to feel too rushed, but I want don't want to be bored either. This poster was my most important obligation this week! I have done some baking, cleaning, laundry, errands, and finishing up random projects around the house. Oh, and lots of snuggles with Belle. Tomorrow, my big task to take the comforter to the laundry mat because it was peed on during nap time (on my side of the bed, of course). Another reason I don't want the baby to come tonight-- I'd prefer my last night of sleep to not be in a makeshift blanket mess avoiding the urine spot. 

  • My dad has been coming over almost every night after work and the past several weekends to work on our master bath. He has great helpers, doesn't he? Jackson particularly LOVES to do odds and ends jobs and Belle likes to make up her own jobs. It's cute, the both of them! The bathroom is looking awesome and I cannot wait to enjoy our new bathroom. 

  • Belle drew this picture at MOPS today. I was so shocked when the teachers told me she drew it all by herself! I had no idea she could draw people so well. And isn't it so fun that she drew the baby on the outside. :) This week, Belle also informed me that "she likes boys" (out of the blue, no idea what she meant!) and then she asked me in the car, "Mom, what's government?" Uhm.... let's discuss this when you're older, k? 

  • Fantasy football is going terrible for me this year. My best players were injured in the first week and/or expelled from their teams. It's a humbling experience to know I will continue to lose for weeks on out. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate losing? 

  • Jackson has been adamant about going over a fire escape plan for the past week or two and tonight Derek and Jackson worked on drawing the house and marking where we'll meet if there's an emergency. Basically, Jackson just told Derek how to draw, what colors to use, etc and Derek obliged. Even if it was silly, it was something that we've never discussed before, so I'm glad we did it! 
Off to bed! Well, I think we'll squeeze in an episode of The New Girl! Season 3 just became available on Netflix. Maybe I'll add this to the list of things to do tomorrow, too! :)


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Day in the Life

Jack has been in school for a month now. It's taken a little bit of adjustment from each of us in the family, but we have adapted a new routine and it's working pretty well. Day-in-the-life posts are my favorite to read and something I have always wish I would have taken the time to do more often! It was just a regular Monday and the idea popped in my head this morning and so I just went with it. Here's our day!

Derek gets up at 6:45 and my alarm goes off at 7:10. Derek gives us all goodbye kisses and takes off around 7:15.  Today I was dragging and didn't get up until around 7:20. Most of the time, the kids are already awake, but sometimes I'll have to go in and wake Jackson up. Jack lays out his school clothes the night before, so getting ready is super quick!

Breakfast this morning: homemade cinnamon oatmeal with raisins

We head for school at 7:55ish and it's a literal 2-3 minute drive. During this time, the kids will practice their Bible verse of the week and we'll pray. Jack prayed today. The car prayer requests were 1) me: baby continues to grow and deliver safely, 2) Belle: puppies and her Minnie and 3) Jack: for his lunch to be yummy. :) 

I came home and showered and then Belle and I headed out for a playdate! Belle loved playing with her friend, Savannah, and I enjoyed visiting with her Mama. 

Belle requested the same lunch that I had sent with Jackson to school, so I obliged! They both had some apple with peanut butter, a cheese stick, carrots, and a few crackers. 

After lunch is naptime! Belle will only fall asleep if I lay with her and rub her tummy (otherwise, she'll just never settle down). So this is our naptime sound track, I'll lay with her and I often take a short nap, too! 

Today, I spent the afternoon catching up on an episode of Big Brother, catching up on some blogs, and on facebook. My days are generally not so lazy, but as I approach 39 weeks of pregnancy tomorrow, I have granted myself permission to be super lazy these days. Plus, we have a picnic for dinner tonight and so I didn't have any dinner prep to do. We pick Jackson up from school at 3:15 and we'll listen to the VBS CD on the way.

After school, Jackson undresses immediately. Wearing a shirt inside the house rarely happens. Then the kids will do 15 minutes of quiet reading time. This is something that was implemented after school started and it's the perfect activity to help Jackson unwind and decompress from school. Plus, reading is super important. After the timer beeped, we read a few chapters from a book we're reading together. 

Then, we made Rice Krispie treats. Yum! We've gotten to the point where the only thing I really do is to get ingredients ready and then pour it into the pan when it's all done! 

The kids play pretty well in the afternoon together. There wasn't ANY fighting today! These are fun little pegs that I checked out from our local resource center. I love picking out new toys for them to play with every couple of weeks. Today I spent this time trying to declutter the kitchen and dining room. I have a goal to have my sink emptied and clean at some point of every day. Today, I succeeded! (again, it helps that I didn't have dinner to prepare!)

 It's a big deal when Daddy comes home, which is often between 5:20-5:45. 

Derek is great about taking the time to play with the kiddos after work.  Today, he was working on his push-ups for an upcoming army PT test. For whatever reason, the kids LOVE to join in.

Normally, we'd be working to get dinner finished up and trying to set the table when Derek comes home, but tonight was a special picnic at school. I threw together a pretty basic picnic type meal. I made deli sandwiches for Derek and me and pulled some homemade uncrustables out of the freezer for the kiddos. We had some chips, oranges, cheese sticks, and raisins-- and the school provided ice cream!

 We left the picnic early so we could make it to Jackson's soccer practice. Derek came home to help my dad on our bathroom remodel and I went to the soccer fields with Jackson. 

My sister-in-law saw us drive into the park and she brought the kiddos over to say hi! I enlisted Eli to help keep my lap warm-- I was chilly! :)

Jackson finishes up soccer right around bedtime, so our bedtime routine isn't as thorough on Monday nights. The kids do pick up, put their shoes and laundry away, and brush their teeth. And of course we have to make the Xs on the chart! 

We try to have our kids in bed as close to 8:00 as possible, but especially on Monday's it's more often 8:15 or later. We did take extra time to read a special book before bed because it's about not being scared about getting shots, which Jackson has to do tomorrow. We'll see if it helps! There is always time for bedtime hugs and kisses (in the right order!) and Jackson will fall asleep almost as soon as his head hits the pillow. Belle wiggles, talks, and plays until around 9:00 or so. 

Derek and Dad worked until after 8:30 finishing up the tile in our master bathroom. I'm such a lucky gal! 

Despite having a fairly lazy day and taking a short nap with Belle this afternoon, it's 10:30 and I'm already pretty sleepy, so I'll head to bed soon!

I know our routine is about to become upside down, inside out, and backwards... but this is what's working for us right now! I'm super glad we have several weeks of school routine under our belts before baby girl comes. It's been good for all of us! And since this kind of schedule is working for us-- we'll try to get back to normal as soon as possible! I can't wait to share about our Bible devotion book we've been using (we LOVE it!) and our chore chart system that is working LIKE A CHARM. If you blog about A Day in the Life-- let me know! Those are my favorite posts to read!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

A few pics from our current, not-picture-worthy life

I got to thinking tonight that I haven't posted many pics lately and so I went back through my phone and Instagram pictures only to realize that I just haven't really been taking that many! Life is just pretty calm and not super photo-worthy lately (mainly because I put a lot of my effort into merely staying awake and attentive all day). Like today, Belle and I grocery shopped and I made a dozen bean burritos to stock the fridge for after the baby comes. We played outside, read books, and put away laundry after school. There wasn't one second of my day that I thought, "Hey! We should take a pic! I am sure my inner shutterbug will resurface once the baby comes. :)

 I did find a few, with some dating back to July, that never made their way here to the blog. 

Derek with our kiddos and our nephews. I love this pic!

He's done a lot of growing in 4 years... but the chocolate custard face remains the same!!! 

Great Grandpa, books, and Frozen-- three of Belle's favorite things!

Belle and I play Princesses a lot while Jack is at school. She pretty much just tells me what to say and do... and then she'll ask, "Is it time to go pick up Jack?"

Belle has worn these boots ALL summer long-- and they FINALLY met rain for the first time this weekend.

The kids had so much fun at Home Depot on Saturday morning making birdhouses! Such a neat program they have. Hopefully we will get in a routine in going each month!

Jack started soccer this week. Isn't this boy handsome?

I snapped this pic on Tuesday. It was the first day that Belle and I have had that was totally awesome together-- just as I was really hoping we'd have while Jack is at school and before baby girl comes.

And lastly, this doesn't contain any new pics, but I did put this collage together today because it's my sister's birthday today! She's a great sister and an Awesome Aunt Laura! 


Monday, September 8, 2014

38 weeks (with a pregnancy that has changed me inside and out)

Tomorrow marks 38 weeks and I have officially made it to term with this pregnancy! It's still considered early term, but the baby is safe to decide whenever she wants to make an appearance. Part of me wants to be done being pregnant, but I also realize this is likely my last pregnancy and so I'm trying to enjoy the short remaining time of baby kicks and the miracle of growing a baby! I'm also so ready to just meet this little lady, but then I have some things on my calendar that I'd actually prefer to not be interrupted. So... we're just hanging out waiting to see what God has planned for her arrival.
God, if you're reading this I'd love to stay pregnant until Sept. 18 and I'd really rather not go past my due date, the 23rd... especially since Derek's army drill weekend got rescheduled for the 27th and I am just not eager to have another baby without him! Also, I'd also like to request that the labor be easy and pain free. Oh, and lastly, if baby girl could be sleeping through the night by the time we come home from the hospital, that'd be great too!

But first things first, the baby can't arrive without the conclusion of the story about the beginning of our expanding family! Back at 32 weeks, I shared about how we didn't think we'd become pregnant again. And then at 34 weeks, I shared about how we decided not to pursue a pregnancy and move forward with foster care!

Today, we're going to venture back to the very beginning of the new year. Derek was between jobs and we enjoyed a relaxing weekend down in Florida. We were filling out paperwork for the foster care system and contemplating how to reveal the news to our families! In my heart, I was at peace with everything we had going on from knowing God would provide the right job for Derek to being completely okay with (and even glad!) to never having to deal with the exhausting newborn stage.

We came back from vacation and I started having really weird and vivid dreams. That lasted about a week and then I recognized a few more symptoms... time for a pregnancy test. Derek wanted to be the revealer-of-news this time. I had already climbed into bed wondering why and how this could possibly happen when Derek came in and sat down beside me. While both smiling and looking completely terrified at the same time, he told me it was positive. I took the news really well-- I'm pretty sure I hit him, buried my head under the covers, and then cried.

Here's the opening from a post dated January 28th of this year:
This year, all 28 days, is happening all upside down and backwards from how I thought it was going to be. Did I mention it's only been 28 days? It's not bad, but just different. 
It wasn't that I didn't want to be pregnant. I was shocked. I was confused. And let's face it-- I was pregnant, so hello hormones! Seriously, I was really confused and just struggling with why God had me go through the pain and acceptance of not having another baby. Why everything was aligning so perfectly, so divinely as we initiated the foster care system. I was relying on Him more than ever and there was such a peace about it all. And then I feel like God kind of stole the rug out from under my feet!

Of course, it wasn't long before the thought of little feet pittering around the house made me smile. Remembering the first smiles, the baby giggles, all the exciting milestones... we were thrilled! And we began to tell our family and close friends the news! I quickly realized, though, that I wasn't ready for all of the congratulations and excitement. While the thought of bringing new life into the world was thrilling, I was also mourning the idea of offering our home and our love to kids that desperately need it*. Along with happy and excited, I was overwhelmed, scared, and confused.

So, we didn't really tell many others for quite some time. It really didn't have to do with people saying or doing the wrong things, it was about me being ready to accept and embrace this new (old) path for expanding our family! When we did share at 14 weeks, though, we were absolutely excited in every way possible!

All along, I thought I was being super faithful to just let go of my desire for a new baby and be super open and excited about foster care! I have always felt as if I am a pretty flexible person in general. I don't operate by a strict schedule and I can adapt to the craziest of things (remember when I was a mother of a two year old, pregnant, in grad school, hosting a foreign exchange student while my husband was on active duty, circa 2010-11!?!) like it's no big thing. I don't take setbacks too personally and I can often find a "new door" to open if once closes.

But as I reflect back, I sense God was really wanting me to just "walk down the hall" with Him. All along it was ME who had shut the door to having another baby. And it was ME who entered the foster care door and pulled it shut behind me.

It was so easy for me to feel as if I was doing everything God wanted me to do, but in reality, I was still doing things my way. My way is having a plan. Even if my plans were well-intentioned and super flexible to doing what I thought God wanted, I was creating a plan. In reality, he was saying "Wait on me. Just wait WITH me."

Time and time again in this pregnancy, this same lesson has presented itself to me. From expecting to find out we were having a boy, to realizing our infant car seat was moldy. Even the idea of letting this baby girl come on her own, instead of scheduling her, has been tough! It's gone beyond just pregnancy related issues into career and licensing issues, and into what-if scenarios that are years down the line. I am SO over this lesson to be patient, to give up my plan-making, to wait on the Lord. But clearly, I haven't grasped it yet.

Here's how that post from January ended:
I'll be blogging more once things get a little more steady.  Or perhaps I just need to be better at accepting not being in control and always planning two or three steps ahead. Or maybe a combination of the two? 
Being in the "hallway" is my Everest. And to be honest, I want to be in the hallway with God more than I want to be heading through a door that's not what He has planned. But it's hard to give up the control that at least I'm doing something to aid the process along. Here it is September 8th and I'm still working on my control and planning issues. What can I say, I'm a work in progress! :)

I feel as if this pregnancy has been a great physical representation for the heart-wrenching, behind-the-scene spiritual transformation that has taken place over the same time period. There's been an abundant amount of growth and there's been more than a fair share of annoyances and inconveniences. But just like knowing that my pregnancy symptoms will come to an end, I do know that for everything else, "This, too, shall pass" and I'll end up with greater-than-great rewards in terms of faith, peace, and relationship with the Lord!

Thanks for hanging in there with me! I didn't expect this to take six weeks to tell the whole story and I'm shocked that these posts have been so popular. I have loved all of the feedback by every email, comment, and facebook message that you've sent letting me know that I have offered encouragement to the many of you who relate to aspects of my own journey. I've prayed for you all-- keep me posted and I'd love to pray for you if you just send me an email!

*Our foster journey isn't completely closed forever. We considered moving forward with the process, but there were honestly just a lot of logistical issues that prevented that from happening at the moment. We take the Biblical mandate to care for the orphans very seriously and are completely open to exploring many of the different avenues to doing our part!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Today's accomplishment: staying awake!

Holy tiredness, Batman! I have about a mile-long to do list and a half dozen partial posts waiting to be finished. I started my week with the intention of completing several! At some moment on Tuesday, a tidal wave of tiredness came over me and I have been like a walking zombie ever since! I don't remember feeling this tired at the end of pregnancy before, but wowzers!!! .......ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz......

I've managed to be productive other days this week, but today I've simply managed to stay awake. Well, my nephew did come over after school and is spending the night because his younger brother was admitted into the hospital early this morning for a nasty upper respiratory infection. He's doing better, but is staying at the hospital for observation tonight. So say a quick prayer for him-- and his parents who definitely need some good sleep! And in other news, we're super thankful that my mother-in-law is home safe-and-sound after a lockdown on the college campus this afternoon due to a student having a weapon! It was kind of a crazy day for Derek's side of the family!

Besides waiting for text updates and refreshing the news on my phone, I did actually manage to cook dinner. Only it was disgusting. Thanks for the recipe, pinterest!

Oh, and in a period of anxiousness to meet my littlest baby girl, I did manage to go through newborn pics of Jack and Belle. It's clearly the best kind of productive I've been all day. :)

How cute are these babies?!?

I'm off to bed. I know heading to bed at my own leisure is a luxury that will fade away once baby girl arrives (along with snuggle naps with Belle!), so I'm trying to just let go of my to-do list and rest up! Even if that means I still have so many unfinished posts to share. They'll get done..... eventually! 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend

We enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We started out the weekend with a date night-- we had a nice dinner, good conversation, and best of all a Goo Goo Dolls concert! I bought the tickets in April and have been waiting impatiently to go to the show... and of course, I loved it. :)

After our night out, we actually spent the rest of the the weekend doing quite a bit of labor. (Not the baby kind of labor, though!). Even the kids joined in. Don't they look thrilled? Derek is actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow so his body can rest from all of the hard work. :) The good news is that we are making some serious headway on some house projects!

We spent time at the pool, we spent time with both of our family, and we devoured some super delicious smores ice cream cake-- all the makings of a great weekend! Shouldn't every weekend be a three day weekend?!? Yes, please! 

And now that it's September-- it's officially BABY MONTH! We have several family birthdays this month already: Aunt Laura, Uncle Brad, Julie (our once foreign exchange student)... and we're excited to add another birthday to celebrate. Yay! Happy September! :)



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