The Third Trimester Life

Have you seen those memes that say something to the affect of “When you’re pregnant, shaving your legs is an Olympic Sport”?  I always thought that meme was funny.  Maybe even clever.

But now that I’m three and a half weeks from my due date, I’m not finding it so humorous.  😉  Forget shaving…  I can barely handle putting on my pants.  Between  Kaitlyn practicing future ballet moves and digging her chubby toes into my ribcage, the sciatica that’s sending intense pain down my lower back and legs, the exhaustion and breathlessness of anemia, and the ginormous belly?  I can’t bend or get comfortable or walk.  I’m at the point that I have to sit down to just put on my makeup, because I don’t have the energy to stand.  I have to sit down to prepare dinner.  I have to sit down to put on my shoes.

I even have to sit down to eat chocolate if I want to enjoy it!


I do have this really awesome, penguin waddle going on though.  It’s totally sexy.  I feel like a confident, watermelon-toting Victoria’s Secret model marching down the runway.  Nate seriously can’t take his eyes off me…  (Although I have my suspicions that he’s sympathetically grimacing in pain while he watches me hobble by.  My belly looks as heavy as it feels these days.  I’ve officially passed the cute stage…  left behind the watermelon smuggler phase…  and now I’m entering blimp territory).   

I don’t even know how it’s possible that the 9 months aren’t up yet.  This third trimester really has been never-ending.

50 Funny Pregnancy Memes That Will Make You Pee Without Even Sneezing:

However, during this time, I’ve also mastered the art of kicking things into the air and catching them, which is quite impressive.  Bending down to pick things up is SO two months ago.  Even Brady is in awe of my mad reflexes.  I’m thinking of submitting a tape of myself and applying for America Ninja Warrior.  (I’ll bet being a mom has prepared me for most of the obstacles.  As for the warped wall, all they need to do is put a cup of iced coffee at the top, and – let me tell you – I’d make it up there in record speed.  Not even sure if my sneakers would need to touch the ground to get me up there…).

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In all seriousness though, this pregnancy has been completely different than my pregnancy with Brady.  I was so energized and active during that third trimester.   Of course, in between the energized activity, I did have time to nap and rest.  That doesn’t happen these days…  This time around, things have been much harder, because I’m constantly chasing after an ever-energetic little tyke.  (I feel like I’m even chasing him during the moments that I’m sitting down to pee.  I don’t know how that’s humanly possible, but – trust me – I do it.  Bathroom breaks are seriously no longer breaks…  It’s like trying to relieve yourself while being locked in a restroom with a wild monkey).  

Thanks to the added exhaustion and physical exertion, my body doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, resulting in more uncomfortable and painful pregnancy symptoms than last time.  And most times, my strong-willed toddler cooperates just as well.  😉   His favorite words right now are “in five minutes, Mama” or “no thanks.”


The more I reply with “No, Mama, needs you to listen now,” the more he seems to retreat into his little toddler world of Mickey Mouse, icecream, bubbles, and puppies.  Seriously, men get a bad rap for selective hearing, but toddlers have turned that into an art.  They really do live in their own little world!  I say “green beans,” and he hears “icecream”.  I say “time to change your bum,” and he hears “time to dump out all the blocks and play.”  I say “time to put your coat on,” and he hears “let’s dance”.


It’s a good thing that he’s cute, lovable, absolutely hilarious, and my entire world.  Because he’d be in trouble otherwise.  But, you know, despite the insanity, I just can’t imagine my long, exhausting days without him!  And he really is SUCH a good little boy.  He’s just, well, a toddler.  We’ve all had to go through that stage and drive our mothers a little crazy.  It’s like a requirement for growing up…

But yes, three and a half weeks.  That’s it.  That’s all that’s standing between me and meeting my precious baby girl.  And then, this will ALL be worth it… right down to the hairy legs, swollen feet, and out-of-control hormones.

For now, I’m going to do my best to see the humor.  To focus on our beautiful prize.  To be the best preggo mom that I can possibly be.  And to practice that sexy penguin waddle.  After putting in all this effort to learn it, I don’t want to forget how to do it just because I’m not pregnant anymore!  😉

50 Funny Pregnancy Memes That Will Make You Pee Without Even Sneezing:

Pregnancy is SUCH a blessing…  but it’s also a tough – often uncomfortable – journey.  Do you have a funny pregnancy story to share?




Up…Up… And Away!

Poop.  I was searching in the dark for lost poop.  This, my friends, is what my life had become.  I had reached an all-new low, and I wondered – for a moment – if there was any coming back from this.

But first, let me start from the beginning…

My two-year-old son is in a Spica cast due to a broken Femur.  The story doesn’t fit the trauma of the injury and healing process.  He fell to the kitchen floor during playtime while trying on one of my husband’s shoes.  The end result was a trip to the ER, a two-night hospital stay, and 5-6 weeks in a body cast that doesn’t allow him to sit up or walk.

My poor baby boy was traumatized by the entire situation and spent the first few nights back home sleeping in bed with me and my husband.  I was scared to death of touching him, moving him… and of changing his diaper.  I was especially  terrified of poop.  The doctor had thought that it would be entertaining –  or helpful –  to tell us stories of toddlers who needed their casts completely redone, because poop had exploded up through their diaper into the inside of their cast.

Thank you for that image, Doc.  

Because of this, I was almost relieved that Brady was very constipated for his first bowel movement.  It was 3am in the morning; and he woke me and Nate up, asking for a cup of juice.  That’s when I smelled ‘it’ and sent Nate to get the juice while I tackled the diaper in the dark.  I’m not exaggerating… I was so freaked out about getting poop on the cast that I was sweating and basically lamaze breathing as I undid the diaper.

But then I realized that the poor kid had pushed out a hard, golf ball of poop.  I made a mental note to buy prune juice just as I breathed a sigh of relief at how easy it would be to clean up.

Okay, maybe not.  Brady decided to twist and kick in that moment.  He might as well have shouted “FOUR!”  That ball of poop took flight and landed… somewhere.

I just sat there, stunned, staring at the now-empty diaper.  Like seriously, does this actually happen in real life?  I squinted my eyes and tried to see better in the darkness, but I didn’t see the poop ball in the immediate area around us.  So I started pulling back the sheets a bit.  And then, as I searched and tried to keep my toddler from wriggling away, it hit me.  I had lost a hard lump of poop in our bed.

The hysterical laughter that hit me immediately afterward mixed with sobs.  I really wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so I laugh-cried.  (Totally a thing).  It was 3am, I was exhausted, there was a now wide-awake toddler lying naked on my bed, and I was looking for lost poop.

This.  This is what my life had come to.

It’s not that I ever imagined the mommy life as being glamorous; but – let’s face it – we all hope that we’ll turn into that mom who miraculously holds it all together.  You know, the June Cleaver of moms who manages to place a warm meal onto the table every night, while keeping a tidy home, looking effortlessly glamorous, and still finding the time for reading with her husband every night.  They just don’t make them like that anymore.

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This is more my reality these days.

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Spica-cast inspired melt-downs…  Tears…  Frustration…  And lost poop.

In the end, the flying poo turned up on Nate’s side of the bed.  (At 2 years old, Brady is already quite athletic.  Move over, Tiger Woods).  In my exhaustion, I briefly wondered if I could just grab it with a baby wipe and then wait to tell Nate the story in like 30 years from now.  But even if I’m no June Cleaver, I am very clean, hygienic, and humane, so I sighed in defeat and realized the diaper change had now turned into a sheet change.  Unfortunately, after waiting for a diaper change and a bed-sheet change, there was no going back to bed for the little guy.

That’s okay, sleep and morning showers are totally overrated, so early morning cartoons it was.

As we snuggled in bed and watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Brady gently cupped my face in his hands as if he wanted to keep me as close as possible.  Every once in awhile, he’d whisper “Mama” and then look up at me with his big eyes, as though to make sure that I was still there.  (It’s something he has done quite frequently since our stay at the hospital).  And I was reminded that even if the mommy life is far from glamorous (and that it does stink at times… literally), it is sweet.  And beautiful.  And precious.

Our little ones make it worth it, each and every day.  Because the love we have for them is unexplainable and unstoppable, even if it sometimes leaves us looking for lost poop at 3am.



Look on the Sunny Side

It’s official, my friends.  After weeks of training and completing a road test, my husband is now a school bus driver!  This begins a new journey for us and – in a way – closes a difficult chapter that we have been more than ready to put behind us.

My husband had thought that he would always be a Correctional Officer.  That he would work his way up the chain of command and earn safer positions / better pay.  We purchased a home based on his salary and on the raises we felt sure he would receive.  Nate’s job felt secure, and our financial future looked very promising.

The assault changed all that.  For four years, Nate was on disability, and we were left in limbo, wondering what the future might bring.  Over the past few months, his retirement was settled, and he has been allowed to return to work part-time.  But his income has been capped off, so he will never be allowed to make more money than he does now.  (It’s an unfortunate restriction that comes with such retirements, but he was never medically cleared to return to his former employer.  And quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been able to handle him stepping back into such a dangerous position).

(Read here if you’re new and unfamiliar with the story of my husband’s assault).

So Nate took the retirement… as well as the school bus, driving position that had opened up in the area.

We’re okay for the moment, but inflation (and the rising cost of raising two children) terrifies us when we think about his income being capped off.  Most people can look forward to making more money over the years if they work hard.  Nate’s income is forever stuck where it is now.

Now granted, I plan to grow my piano business in the future, when our children are older.  So that will obviously help out!  But still, Nate’s pay restrictions were a HUGE blow to our financial plans and dreams.

When we think or talk about it, it’s easy for us to feel unsettled; because finances seem to have been taken out of our hands.  But that’s life sometimes, isn’t it?  Whether it’s home or car repairs, health issues, job changes, or even large decisions that loom before us…  Life doesn’t always seem to play fair.  Sometimes those goals and plans we set out before us don’t quite work out as easily as it had looked on paper.  And although the sudden change in course may direct us to something even more incredible than we had imagined, it really is so much easier to focus on all the things that could potentially go wrong.

God has brought me and Nate through SO much… time and time again.  There was provision when there should have been none.  There was healing, both physical and emotional.  There was victory when there should have been defeat.

We were blessed in ways that overflowed our needs and left us nothing short of overwhelmed.

And so as we step foot into another chapter, I am left with one of two choices.  I can worry about what may be.  Or I can thank God for what He has brought us through and what He has provided.  And I can trust that if we continue to be faithful, He will continue to provide.

Right now, Nate is loving his new job.  He’s very good at driving, and he’s made some new friendships with some great guys.  He has no problem waking up early in the morning, and he comes home with a smile on his face.  (Brady has always been obsessed with school buses, so you should have seen his eyes light up when Nate drove a school bus home one afternoon).

It makes my heart happy.

And so I am going to embrace this journey we are on and trust that God already holds our future.  🙂  Because I know that He does!  So I am choosing to be excited about what He has done so far… and about what He will continue to do.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

The Real Reason for Christmas Lights

I have to say that there’s nothing cozier than a house filled with the warm glow of Christmas lights.  My day may have been hectic and I might resemble a character from a terrifying zombie movie; but the minute those bright, white lights are plugged in for the evening?   It’s instant happiness, and a feeling of calm, and a reminder to sit still a moment.

It’s warm, and soothing, and…  Oh no, Brady, we don’t put our hands in the Christmas tree water!

Okay, mostly soothing.  The reality of mom life still continues.  😉  But still, I wish we could sprinkle our homes with pretty, twinkling lights all year long.  Don’t we moms deserve this?  After running around wiping noses, saving toddlers from falling off of kitchen tables (don’t ask), and making sure our husbands don’t walk out the door wearing that, don’t we deserve this small luxury in our lives?

For a moment, let’s just disregard the electric bills that would soon require us to work second jobs (and the devastating possibility that the cozy glow would potentially lose its magical charm) and just all agree that this would be amazing.

I mean, my house has been cleaner all week, because I am determined to keep it in its purest, cozy state.  Because let’s face it, nothing breaks the warm glow of a Christmas tree quite like stinky socks.  I have been on top of the organizing and putting away of clutter.  (Just please just don’t open the door to the spare bedroom.  There is a very real possibility that some things have been stashed there for the time being…But the rest of the house is oh-so-clean).   🙂

My house is glowing bright and beautiful!  So much so that I’ve been re-inspired to learn my DSLR camera, and it feels pretty awesome to be working on a hobby just for myself.  (Not that I don’t enjoy coloring Curious George pages with Brady, but – you know – learning photography is more my thing.  I never was very good at drawing or painting).  And I’ve made time to curl up on the couch with a book.  (It’s been so long since I’ve opened a book, I’m shocked I still know how to read).  😉  And I even just sat one day…  Just sat, took in the lights, and petted a fuzzy-headed cat.

For the past few months, I’ve been really bad about escaping for a mom’s night out (although I have a few really fun ones planned for December), but I feel as though I’ve appreciated each night at home this week.  It’s been relaxing, and being surrounded by so much prettiness has been good for the soul, so to speak.

It also doesn’t hurt that there’s coconut custard pie in the fridge left over from my hubby’s birthday.  Christmas lights, an episode of This is Us, and a piece of pie?  It doesn’t get much better than that.  (Although a pedicure would be nice…  But yeah, let’s not get greedy).

Christmas lights.  I’m seeing them in a whole new light this holiday…  I always thought they were just a fun tradition we do for the kids.  But now I’ve come to realize something…  The lights are actually for us moms (and busy ladies).

Wow, who knew!?!


God Wins!

It’s been four years since Nate’s assault, which really just blows my mind.  It feels like a lifetime ago… but somehow it also feels like just yesterday too.  You don’t ever completely put something like that behind you, because it changes you to your very core.  It molds you, shapes you, puts you through fire until you’re burnt… or purified like gold.

But I’m constantly reminded that God can turn ashes into beauty; because the pain, and the fear, and the feeling of ultimate helplessness taught me to trust the only One who controls tomorrow.  I used to struggle with levels of anxiety that just weren’t healthy.  I thought through every worst-case scenario and worried about it until I felt sick.

The journey to find emotional healing after Nate’s assault really taught me to tackle one problem at a time… and to trust the unknown in the hands of a miraculous God.  I remember sitting by Nate’s bedside in the ICU, holding his hand and realizing that we might not have the money to pay for that month’s mortgage.  And for the first time in my life, I completely surrendered a problem into God’s capable hands.  I physically didn’t have the energy or strength to worry about money, because Nate needed my complete attention.  I had to trust that God would take care of what I couldn’t…  So I prayed, asked God to intervene, and left my fears at His feet.

I felt peace after that prayer, and I really did refuse to think about finances for one more moment.

And that very day, someone paid that month’s mortgage… and others donated money to help us with groceries, car payments, gas, etc.  We had so much extra money left over that we were able to pay the mechanic in cash, when our cars both had extremely expensive repairs later that year!  God not only provided for the concerns at hand, but He also provided for a problem that we didn’t even know about yet.

My God is big.  He’s bigger than any situation that this universe can throw at me.  And it’s easy to forget that, because there’s a lot of hurt and pain in this world.  Sometimes, we feel alone.  Sometimes we wonder, where is He?

The thing is that this world isn’t perfect… but God is.  And while heaven will be beautiful and nothing but peace and happiness, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work here.  It doesn’t mean that He can’t work in every single situation if we let him.  Even amidst the toughest of situations, He is good.

He is peace.  He is strength.  He is the guidance we need to rise above the circumstance with grace and joy.

Even during those tragic circumstances, He wins.  He brings people together.  He teaches us to trust.  He gives us hope amidst the darkness.  He shows us how to love, to forgive, and to face tomorrow with a solid foundation beneath our feet.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as Nate and I are about to put the legal side of this experience behind us for good.  We’re smack-dab in the middle of paying lawyer fees and signing retirement papers, but Nate is going to officially be retired from the CO position… which means we can finally move on.  It comes with restrictions, because he will only be cleared to work part-time.  And there will be a pay cap for the rest of his life, which isn’t ideal (since he’s only 32, and inflation could potentially hurt us one day).

BUT we’re trusting. And we’re praying about decisions.  And we’re calmly formulating a plan.  (Paying off our mortgage as quickly as possible is the biggest part of the plan, so we’ll be coming up with a pretty tight budget in the near future).

I thought about it this morning and realized that none of this had been in me and Nate’s plans, when we got married and began our life together.  It’s unfamiliar territory.  It’s a little daunting, because it’s so unique of a situation.  (You can’t exactly buy a finance book on how to deal with your future, should you find yourself in this sort of predicament).

BUT God wins.  The Bible doesn’t promise that the road we travel will be easy, but it does promise that we will not walk it alone.  And it doesn’t promise that we will be rich, but it promises that we will be provided for.

Nate and I always have been.  We’ve been provided for, protected, and held.  I truly believe that we always will be.

And that puts a smile on my face, because I can face this particular situation with confidence, hope, and joy.  I’m not scared.  I’m just excited to see how God shows off next!



Mommy Marathons… and Retail Therapy

I’d heard about the 18 month sleep regression, but absolutely nothing could have prepared me for it.  It’s a tough one, my friends.  To be completely honest, this has been tougher than the newborn stage.  It has brought the same exhaustion and uncertainty; except now my precious bundle of joy is a very strong, stubborn, tantrum-throwing toddler.


Day after day, I’ve survived on very little sleep.  I’ve met screaming with a patient smile and an “I love you.” I’ve cuddled, and played chase, and kissed boo boo’s.  And when tantrums are thrown before bed, I sing lullabies and patiently hold a very heavy, little boy, letting him know how much I love him.

Day…after day… after day…

The thing about being a mom is that you’re running a marathon.  Except there isn’t a crowd of supporters lining the sidelines, cheering you on and celebrating every steep hill you sprint.  The selfless loving and constant giving is given, because you can’t imagine doing anything else.  But that doesn’t mean there won’t be moments that leave you feeling exhausted beyond belief.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be moments that leave you drained and empty, in need of those cheerleaders whose cheers never come.  Because moms are the unsung heroes.  Their acts of mercy, never-ending love, and tender care surround their families, not because appreciation is expected, but because they would do anything for the ones they love.

June has been a tough one for me…  Mentally and physically, I sooooo needed a mommy break. So I was beyond excited to ‘escape’ for the day (leaving my little guy in the capable hands of my husband) and go shopping with my mom and sister.

We used to go on Mother / Daughter shopping trips all the time, but it’s obviously much more difficult now.  (I’ve only been able to go with them once since Brady was born).  So I honestly looked forward to the day with excitement I couldn’t contain.

And the day didn’t disappoint!  Food… Fashion… Fun…

I thought we were going to get kicked out of the Loft dressing room, we were all laughing SO hard!  (Don’t worry, the stores were really quiet, and we had the place to ourselves.  So we really weren’t disturbing anyone).  🙂

And in true fashion (like we always used to do during our all-day trips), we had to eat out.  This mamma doesn’t get to enjoy a leisurely meal all that often, since I’m usually eating bites between feeding a toddler.  So to just sit and enjoy a pretty (and delicious) meal that I didn’t even have to prepare or clean up after?  Yeah, it was pretty amazing.

(I think the waiter found us hilarious; because we all ordered off of the Cheesecake Factory Skinnylicious menu… but then promptly asked for bread, more butter, and cheese for the salad).  🙂

During the course of the day, I purchased a dress, necklace, and sandals (making a complete outfit.  I love that each piece is versatile and can be used to create various outfits though)!

The day away gave me a new perspective and a renewed sense of energy.

And I realized – as I arrived home and smothered my little guy with hugs and kisses – that every time I act selfless, I am teaching my little boy to do the same.  I am teaching him to love fiercely.  To put others first.  To give unconditionally.

As moms, we might not have a squad of cheerleaders praising our every accomplishment.  But the lives that we raise to be kind, loving, patient, hard-working men and women will be our greatest trophy.  And that makes the marathon worth running!  🙂

What do you do to recharge?  

Breathe (Part 1)


So I hit a really rough patch a few weeks ago, and it left this mama feeling like a failure.  I really did feel like a honest-to-goodness failure.  I hadn’t slept well in four nights, I saw how messy my house was, there was a crying little boy grabbing at my legs, dinner was burning on the stove for the second night in a row, and I realized that I hadn’t finished correcting piano theory for lessons the next day.  I had a worship service to plan out for church, so much laundry piling up that I wasn’t sure what was clean, cats who were tripping up my feet since they hadn’t been fed, and an upcoming piano recital to organize.

I was balancing so much that I was dropping absolutely everything.

In that moment, I wanted to run away from it all.  I want to run somewhere quiet, and safe, and still…just so that I could maybe cry for a minute and let all those emotions escape before the lump in my throat made it impossible to breathe.  Then I wanted to eat cake.  Lots and lots of cake.

Instead, I swallowed it all and put on a brave smile.  Because that’s what moms do, right?  They manage their household with patience and grace.  They always have time, and answers, and encouragement.  They always have enough to give…

But every new struggle, emotional need, and responsibility caught up with me until the cracks in my mom-shield were too great to ignore.  I knew – truly knew – that I was at the end of my rope when I took out my camera one afternoon to snap a pic for my blog…and I couldn’t smile.  I couldn’t lie to the camera and pretend that I was happy and feeling joyful, when all I really wanted to do was cry.  And scream.  And flail my arms to pull myself up out of the water that was drowning me.

After days of this, I finally decided that enough was enough.   And instead of burying how overwhelmed I was, I faced the pain, anxiety, and loneliness head on.

So many of us have been told that – as women – we are strong and unbreakable.  We can do anything.  We are the glue that binds our families, and shame on us if we can’t keep a smile on our face.  Shame on us if we can’t keep everything together.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength” so – for goodness sake – act joyful!

Yes, God made us strong!  He created us with a selfless love that goes beyond this world’s comprehension.  And He does provide joy, even amidst the worst of circumstances.  But let’s not forget that He also created us human.  We were created with emotions and our own set of needs.  We have the ability to fall and get back up again.   But we were also created to cry sometimes.  To rest. To be still.  And to need fulfillment of our own.

We can’t juggle it all.  At least not all the time.  (…to be continued tomorrow!)  🙂