The Third Trimester Life

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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!

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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.”

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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”.

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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?

 

 

Preggo Journal – Week 30 Recap

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How Far Along – I’m 31 weeks, which means 8 weeks until my C-section.  Okay, now I really need to pack my hospital bag!  😉  And pack Brady’s things… And make sure the hubby has a bag…  And finish washing / organizing the baby things…  And organize a few places in the house.

Yeah, I basically just need to get these projects started and finished, my friends!  🙂  Apparently pregnancy brings out the procrastinator in me.  (Or maybe it’s life with a toddler.  I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with it too).

Baby Name:   Kaitlyn Marie

First and Second Pregnancy, Comparison Pics:  

THEN –  (2014)

NOW (2017) –

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I’m Craving / Disliking:   Really no specific cravings.  I feel as though I’ve just been particular…  I’m usually a foodie who loves everything, but I’ve been very picky this pregnancy.  Like if someone offers to bring icecream over, I have a long list of flavors that they shouldn’t bring.  Ha, ha.  (For the record, normally I’ll eat any flavor of icecream).  For some reason though, I’ve been very specific about flavors during this pregnancy, whether it’s dessert or an entree.

Exercise:  I didn’t get any structured exercise in this week (as the temps dropped), but honestly chasing after Brady all day does count for something.  😉  I’m always on my feet, walking, carrying him or other things, and just all-around moving.  They should make a workout video that’s called ‘Toddler Mom’.  Seriously, it’s a full body workout!

Awkward Moment:   I survived the week without any awkwardness!

A Moment I Don’t Want to Forget:  While I was in line at the grocery store yesterday afternoon, an elderly veteran behind me pointed at my belly and said, “Miss, I just want you to know that I’ll be praying for a healthy pregnancy and delivery for mama and baby.” I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, adding that I appreciate every single prayer! And he said, “I go to church a lot so don’t think I’ll forget to pray for you!” Then he showed me pictures of his one-year-old granddaughter whom he was obviously very much infatuated with. I was completely touched by his kindness and by how sweet he was that I came dangerously close to bursting into tears. Oh pregnancy hormones!!  It was just a really special moment and reminded me that this insane world is still filled with wonderful people.

Ooh, AND I received my C-section paperwork in the mail just the other day!  My surgery has been scheduled for May 4th at 7:30am (which means Nate and I have to be at the hospital for 5:30am).  It’s SO weird to have a scheduled date and to know when I’m going to meet my precious baby girl.  At the same time, it is a little bit convenient, since I can arrange child-care for Brady that much easier.  😉  But still, please keep me and my nerves in your prayers!  I’m starting to get a tiny bit nervous about it…  C-sections do come with their risks, and the recovery afterward is no joke.  I’m just praying for a safe surgery and also that my recovery won’t be too bad (especially since I have a toddler at home this time around).  Honestly, last time, my recovery was pretty great; but I don’t want to get my hopes up that it’ll happen again.  😉

Something I Miss:  Energy.  And being able to bend down.  And coffee.  (As of two weeks ago, coffee gives me heartburn, so I’ve had to give up my treasured decaf).

Sleep:  Despite having to wake up every two hours to pee, I’m actually sleeping pretty well still.

To-Do List Completions:  Other than baby shopping, I got nothing done this week.  Yeah, I know, I need to get on that.

Purchases:  I have basically everything I need now for when baby Kaitlyn arrives… except for clothes.  I’ll probably focus on buying that closer to my due date.

Symptoms:  On Friday, I was diagnosed with SPD (or something like that. HA!).  Basically it has to do with my pelvis (or something like that).  Honestly, I have no idea what it is…  The doctor used big words and had a thick accent; so once I realized that it was nothing serious (and that it would go away on its own after the pregnancy), I kind of dazed off and just nodded in agreement to whatever was being said to me.  *sheepish grin* What I do know for sure is that it’s giving me sharp pains in my upper thigh every time I move, so – yeah – it’s no fun.

I also have on-and-off nausea, backaches, heartburn, never-ending Braxton Hicks contractions, headaches, and extreme exhaustion.  This pregnancy is definitely a lot tougher than Brady’s pregnancy was (although I’m suspicious that much of that has to do with the fact that I’m running after a toddler all day).  😉  Still, I’m in good spirits, and I don’t complain… too much.  Ha, ha!!  I figured that pregnancy gives me some right to complain on occasion to my hubby.  And thankfully, he’s very understanding and hugs me after my vent sessions.  🙂

Final thought:    Nate and I really do plan for this to be our last pregnancy…  And although I’m not a huge fan of the process (despite the fact that it IS a huge blessing),  I’ve decided that I’m going to really embrace the remaining 8 weeks of the pregnancy… aches and ALL!  It really is a miraculous process, even if it involves discomfort and frustration at times, AND it is a very special time.  So I’m going to embrace it for as long as I can.  🙂

Babymoon in Boston (Part I)

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Nate and I don’t get into the city as much as we used to now that we have the little guy, so we both were really excited to spend our Babymoon there.  Although let’s be honest, we would have been just as excited had someone told us that we’d be spending our night away just one town over.  😉  We were both eager to spend quality time together, just the two of us.  (And I was REALLY excited about eating a quiet dinner, sleeping in, and walking at a normal pace.  😉  When you’re a mom, it really is about the little things!).

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Thanks to amazing off-season rates, Nate and I rented a room at the Boston Park Plaza for only $60.  If I were to give a review, I wouldn’t say that it was my favorite hotel ever, mainly because the decor felt more business than romantic.  But the lobby was beautiful, the location was great, and the rooms were quiet, modern, and very clean.  I’m glad we were able to stay there and check another Boston hotel off our to-try-one-day list.

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We didn’t arrive in Boston until late in the afternoon, but there was still plenty of sunlight left.  And oh my gracious, the weather was absolutely perfect!  The temps were in the 60’s, so we didn’t even need our jackets.  After weeks of being stuck in the house due to extreme cold, snowstorms, and ice, the spring-like weather was soooooo incredible!

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Normally we walk down Newbury St to window-shop the high end stores, but – this time – we decided to explore Charles’ St.  It had been years since I walked down that way, and I’d forgotten how quaint it is.  I definitely fell back in love with the brick sidewalks, specialty shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.  (I hadn’t realized that there’s a Sweets Cupcake Shop on the street now too…  That in itself is reason enough to explore that area).  🙂

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After walking a few side streets (and up a never-ending hill that I was sure would send me into early labor), we decided to head back towards the hotel for dinner.  The Park Plaza Hotel is conveniently located beside Maggiano’s Little Italy, so deciding on Italian was an easy choice.  After all the walking we did, we were starving!

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Nate and I both decided that next time, we really need to try an authentic Italian restaurant in the North End.  But we both love Maggiano’s, so we tend to keep going back there.  😉  Dinner was absolutely delicious, as always!

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We ordered dessert to go (cheesecake for me and Tiramisu for Nate) and ate it at the hotel while watching TV.  Dessert in bed…  Pajamas… and a quiet night to relax together.  Oh my goodness, it was absolute perfection!

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(…to be continued).

 

Marriage and Babies

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I’ve always heard that being a parent is a full-time job…  But can we just all pause a moment and agree on the fact that this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface?  I mean, let’s face it, even the most time-consuming of careers allow for sick days or a vacation here or there.  Parenthood, on the other hand, is more like full-time breathing.  Calm and even-paced at times; maybe a bit more ‘I’m-running-a-marathon’ type at others.  😉

But it is 24/7.

That’s probably one of the toughest adjustments for new parents.  For me, every stage has gotten easier, because Brady becomes more independent.  (And his sleeping through the night doesn’t hurt things either).  😉  But during those first few months (and even maybe through the the first year), you’re tired.  Tired ALL the time.  You’re figuring things out.

And you’re needed.  Needed ALL the time.

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You’re giving so much that sometimes you don’t feel as though there’s anything left to give.  It’s really easy to lose focus.  Because all the baby books, and the attention from family, and the never-ending articles are centered around one thing:  your beautiful baby.

It is ridiculously easy to get frustrated with each other when things go wrong.  To find excuses as to why you don’t have time to cuddle, talk, laugh, or be intimate.  To be condescending when the other does things differently than you would do.

But that is when a tough stretch for a marriage takes a turn towards the dangerous.  When you forget that your love came first.  And that your love needs to always come first.

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I firmly believe that a safe, loving home for a child begins when they see just how fiercely their parents love each other.  And respect each other.

Respect is huge.

Brady is only two, and some of these goals that Nate and I hold close have already been tested.  But it is always our main focus.  We make sure Brady sees us hug and kiss.  We never disrespect the other or talk down the other to him (this includes sarcasm).  If Daddy or Mommy says ‘no’, than the significant other backs them up.  And just as important as we view quality time with our little guy, we treasure our quality time together.  Although it doesn’t happen enough, it is a priority for us (whether it’s our monthly date night out or even just putting aside social media and playing a game / snuggling on the couch to watch a movie together).

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I have to say that as Brady gets older, especially over these past few months, I find Nate and I slipping back into some of the comfortable routines we once held.  Or maybe our  new efforts to make time for each other, despite the craziness of parenthood, are starting to feel familiar.  Whatever the reason, it’s an incredible feeling.

With another baby on the way, we fully realize that things are about to jump back into unfamiliar, and exhausting, territory.  But I have to say that – this time around –  I’m not worried about how a baby will affect our marriage.  I’m really not.  I know that things will be tougher for awhile, but I also know that we’ll get through it together.  That we’ll make time for precious moments…

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And that we’ll only grow more and more in love during the entire process.

Of course, we have to make sure that we keep our priorities straight!  🙂  And what better way to keep our focus right than to go on a one-night Babymoon?  (Babymoon post coming next…).  🙂

 

My Snowy Valentine

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A week ago, there wasn’t an inch of white stuff on the ground and the temps were nearing 50 degrees.  Flash forward 6 days and two snowstorms, our mailbox is almost buried under the snow and temps are blustery to say the least.  It almost feels as though winter decided to bide its time – skipping over December and January – so that it could focus the entirety of its fury onto February.

That’s New England for ya…  Our winters are as unpredictable as our sports teams.  If you don’t like the weather / score, wait five minutes.  Things’ll change.  😉

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With two snowstorms hitting New England this week, Valentine’s Day actually crept up on me a bit.  I know, I know, I’m usually the queen of planning and happily anticipating fun holidays and activities.  But I’m very pregnant.  And I’m constantly chasing after a toddler who only knows three speeds:  fast, faster, and fastest.  And there’s laundry, and piano lessons, and teaching Kid’s Church, and cooking for my two hungry men.  As of late, the days have been blending together even more than normal.

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So, yes, I basically forgot Valentine’s Day until it was staring me in the face.  I realize this sounds a little sad, but it was honestly the best thing that could have happened.  Because let’s face it, I’m a “go big or go home” kind of girl.  I completely realize that I always bake, decorate, and plan too much.  But I also realize that I live for that.  I love it!  I love making my home look festive and baking so that others feel special.  It’s totally my thing.

But you know what I love even more than that right now?  Sleep…  Having a few free moments to put my feet up…  Fruit cups filled with melon, grapes, and blueberries…  Chocolate.

Yep, I’m officially feeling very pregnant, and it totally trumps my Type-A, planner personality.  Sooooo realizing last minute that Valentine’s Day had arrived was the best possible thing for me this year.  I didn’t decorate.  I didn’t plan.  I just celebrated preggo-mom style.

I had Valentine M&M’s in the cupboard (since I can never resist buying holiday-themed baking supplies the minute they hit the supermarket shelves), which I decided to whip into cookies.  (I used my favorite Hershey’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and just substituted the chocolate chips with a cup of m&m’s.  Both the hubby and toddler approved, and I have to admit that they are quite “dewishus”, as Brady would say).

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Honestly, Tuesdays are usually a little crazy around here, since I have to prep for piano lessons, clean the house, and pack Brady meals for my mom’s house.  But whatever the reason, this one was actually quite smooth-sailing.  Somehow we’d managed to keep the house rather clean during the week, I didn’t have much prep to do, and Brady was in a spectacular mood.  Like spectacular mood!

If every day was like this, the mom life would be easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

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Nate and I didn’t have our typical Valentine’s dinner together, because we decided to hold off for now (since the Babymoon is just around the corner).  Plus he had work… and then church tonight.  BUT we spontaneously danced to a favorite song and had a really sweet moment… And we finished the house-cleaning together while chatting about our night away…  And, I don’t know, we just made the absolute best of a busy day, and it was really special.

For dinner, during the one hour Nate was able to be home tonight, I made these pork chops (which are delicious) and this Strikeout Pasta Salad.  (It’s a homemade version of your typical, Italian-dressing pasta.  The dressing is really simple to make but has a ton of fresh flavor.  Both Nate and Brady LOVE it, as do I).

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Then, when the little guy was finally in bed for the evening and Nate was home from church, Nate and I cuddled on the couch and watched The Middle.  SUCH a great Valentine’s Day… even if I almost forgot it.  🙂

 

Planning Our Second Babymoon

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Babymoons are fairly new concepts, but whoever came up with the idea is nothing short of brilliant.  Let’s face it, once baby arrives, life changes dramatically.  And in so many ways, the changes are good.  They’re beautiful changes that fill your heart with so much love it just might explode.

But at the same time, those sleepless nights, endless days of entertaining a little one, and never-ending piles of laundry do add some new challenges to one’s marriage.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you might remember that one of my biggest fears going into motherhood was how becoming a mom could potentially affect my marriage in a negative light.

And yeah, sure, it has been tougher.

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When a baby comes, it’s not just you and your hubby anymore…  You can’t spontaneously step out of the house for a movie or bite to eat.  Traveling becomes more difficult, partly due to lack of money and partly due to inconvenience.  The romance is tougher to make time and energy for, because you literally crash the moment baby falls asleep.

And suddenly the advice of more seasoned parents makes sense:  “Marriage takes work.”

But here’s the thing…  I think I’ve said it before, and now I’m just more convinced than ever.  Marriage actually takes fun.  

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Because it’s soooooo easy to forget to laugh together…   Just you two.  Not over your toddler’s silly antics, but because you and your husband (your best friend) both got caught up in a tickle match. It’s easy to forget to kiss – like really kiss – instead of the quick-peck that becomes habit when you’re in a rush.  To forget to talk – like really talk – about books, and fun plans, and the day’s activities.

It’s just easier to fall into a worn-out routine that needs a bit of spontaneity and spice.

Maybe life is busier now and won’t go back to that ‘just us’ stage, but it doesn’t mean that your marriage can’t be just as strong.  As with any stage of life, change happens.  You and your husband will change once babies arrive, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be madly in love.  And best friends.  And happy.

It will just be different.  And yeah, it will just take more work.  (Or, more accurately, more effort to make time for fun).

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I’d say that Nate and I have more challenging days since becoming parents than we did before.  But those rough moments usually happen when we’ve been too busy.  When we’ve lost focus on what should come first – our marriage.  (Well, after God, of course).  🙂

So Babymoons…  I am ALL for them!  I think they’re important, almost like a promise to each other that you’ll always make time for special, ‘just us’ moments.  It’s a fun experience, an amazing memory, and a great way to jump into the role of parenthood.

Many people go away for several nights (or even up to a week), but Nate and I have never been able to swing that.  BUT just going away for the night and spending a day or two together is really all it takes.  It’s just important to  put aside the busy stuff and to spend quality time together.  🙂  For our last Babymoon, we spent the day in Boston and then stayed in a hotel that was halfway between the city and our home.  It was SO much fun!

And our one-night Babymoon for this pregnancy is coming up quickly, and I am soooooo excited.  Nate has been busy with work; I’ve been busy caring for a toddler and growing a baby.  We definitely need this time away to spend time together AND to spend time feeling excited about our upcoming arrival.

AND this mama just needs a break with her man.  🙂  I’m SO looking forward to sitting down to eat dinner in a restaurant, and sleeping in, and enjoying a slower-paced couple of days.  I’d say that our Babymoon can’t come fast enough, but – well – I do love the anticipation and planning stage too!!  🙂

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Have you ever gone on a Babymoon?  If you’re a parent, what’s something that you do to make sure that you and your significant other are setting aside quality  time for each other?  

 

Up…Up… And Away!

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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.

 

 

Christmas Shopping… Done!

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Since coming home from our two-night stay at the hospital, I’ve been busy shifting around our crazy schedule into one that has been wiped clean.  Getting Brady around isn’t going to be an option for me, as his cast is heavy and cumbersome.  So I guess you could say that the next six weeks are going to be a staycation with a toddler in a lime green Spica cast.

Makeup is optional.  Yoga pants a must.  Travel by wagon…  Well, is there any other way to get around?  Even a poor little dude with a broken leg can’t resist giggling (and smiling from ear-to-ear) when the mode of transportation is a red, Radio Flyer.

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I wish I could say that I just shrugged off the cancellation of our fun, upcoming holiday plans with ease; but to be completely honest, I had to let myself have a bit of a pity-party today.   Although I always search for the humor and positive side of things, I don’t always jump to that conclusion automatically.  Sometimes, I have to let myself be pulled – kicking and screaming -to the place where I can find laughter or a reason to be thankful.

Need some parenting humor to help you laugh about the hardest job on earth? I round up all the funny parenting memes full of quotes from real parents to help you laugh and find the humor in raising our kids.":

 

I mean, I was totally okay with having to reschedule a dentist appointment.  (It’s not like I flossed as promised anyway).  And I can live with the fact that piano lessons are going to be half days in January (although it’s not ideal).  But then I started to get to all the fun plans we had scheduled over the next few weeks, and hitting the delete button was a bit tougher.

Okay, okay.  A lot tougher.

First, I had to come to the realization that Nate might not make it with me to our gender-reveal ultrasound on Thursday.  (And we definitely can’t make it to the dinner plans we had made to celebrate afterward).  Brady has special needs right now, and we wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving him with someone who hadn’t been trained in Spica cast care.

I had to cancel my Christmas shopping trip with my sister and a dinner date with a close friend.

We hope to make it to my family’s Christmas Eve party, but it all depends on how Brady is feeling.  We probably won’t make it to Nate’s side of the family on Christmas Day.  And none of Brady’s toys are appropriate for a little boy in a cast, so we have to put them aside to give them to him after Christmas (as apposed to the special, energetic Christmas morning we had planned).

And then I took a celebrity look-alike quiz on Facebook, and my result was Hilary Clinton.  (Okay, so that last thing is completely unrelated, but being compared to a 69 year old politician wasn’t the highlight of my day.  Kick me when I’m down, Facebook.  Kick me when I’m down).

I had to regroup a bit today.  I had to let myself feel sad for just a bit, acknowledging the fun plans that I had to let go of.  (If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that burying one’s feelings and ‘pretending them away’ doesn’t work).  Then I had to take a deep breath and decide to focus on the good things that can come with the change of plans.

After all, I am very much Type A.  I love to create plans and lists.  If anyone can make these next few weeks special by creating replacement memories, I can!

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I think I can…  I think I can…

I know I can!

And I decided to start right away with my Christmas shopping.  I originally had planned to finish my Christmas shopping on Thursday, but instead spent the evening at the hospital with Brady and Nate.  I realized this morning that I still had gifts to buy…  Granted, I didn’t have too much to buy this year.  Finances are a little tight this year (with Nate just starting the school bus driving job), so I could only afford to buy for family.  But still, I hadn’t bought Nate his gifts yet (sheepish grin), I had a Yankee Swap gift to pick up, there were a few odds and ends to grab, and I needed to pick up a few things for Brady.

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Thank goodness for Amazon Prime’s two-day free shipping!!!  While Brady napped, I finished my shopping in the comfort of my own home.  (There’s something to be said for that…  It’s a lot less crowded.  Browsing isn’t as rushed.  You don’t have to feel embarrassed by your chipped nail polish.  And the hot cocoa is a lot cheaper, even if you do have to wash your own mug afterward).

I’m going to make the best of these next six weeks, even if they will be different than planned!  Take that, Spica cast.  Take that!  This Type A mama has got this!

I mean, look at me go!  I finished my Christmas shopping, and it’s not even Christmas Eve yet.  🙂

 

Look on the Sunny Side

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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

Return of the Preggo Brain

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Pregnancy brain is absolutely no joke….

To be honest, when I was pregnant with Brady, it terrified me.  From leaving my camera on top of my car and driving away, to holding a toothbrush in my hand and forgetting why I was in the bathroom, to driving on the highway and forgetting my destination, to burning one too many meals…   I was convinced that there was no way all this was caused by the innocent little baby growing inside my body.  There was something seriously wrong with my brain!

It was pretty intense at times.  But then I had Brady, and it all went away.  Sure, it was replaced with the occasional absentmindedness thanks to exhaustion.  But it wasn’t nearly as bad.

Now that I’m pregnant with our second child, I can feel pregnancy brain creeping back into my life.  Only this time, it’s a more lethal dose of pregnancy brain mixed with mommy brain.  Oh heaven help us…  This is going to be a fun ride.

There I was, whipping together a nutritious dinner on time.  I cut a butternut squash in half, threw it into the oven for 45 minutes, and then prepped a chicken for the crockpot and potatoes for boiling.  I was supermom.  One hour later, the chicken and potatoes are cooking away and nearly done.  Suddenly I’m thinking, “Oh, wait, but what will I serve for a vegetable?  We need a vegetable!  Every meal needs a vegetable!”

Oh, thank goodness, there are peas in the freezer.  I pour the peas into a pot, add water, and set them on the stove to boil.  Sniff, sniff.  What in the world is burning?

I open the oven in shock.  Wait, seriously?!?  How could I have forgotten that I’d already prepped and set a vegetable to cook?  And how did I not smell the now-blackened, coal-encrusted veggie sooner?

(See what I mean about terrifying loss of brain function?  Like I said, it’s NO joke!).

And just this afternoon, I started the car to warm it up before I took Brady to my Pepere’s house for a visit.  Only Brady suddenly acted super constipated and in pain, so I found myself rubbing a toddler’s belly…  and giving a toddler a warm bath… and feeding a toddler prunes… and changing a toddler’s diaper.

An hour later, we were finally ready to leave the house.

An HOUR later!  You guys, my car was running in the driveway the entire time, and I had completely forgotten about it!

 

It’s a good thing that money grows on trees, gasoline pours out of the faucet in our backyard, and I like to pollute the planet…

I still haven’t been able to bring myself to tell Nate.  I kind of feel as though I should start off the short – but not so sweet – story with, “Just remember that you did this to me…”  After all, guys get the fun part, and then we wives are left to face the penalty of pregnancy-brain mishaps.  Shouldn’t our husbands also be partly to blame as well, since they’re the ones who technically got the pregnancy brain rolling?

It kind of only seems fair.

Since I’m on a role, Nate is also responsible for finishing off the last bit of icecream in the freezer.  Really, he should start eating more veggies at night before bed instead.  It’s better for the baby.

Oh pregnancy brain.  I have it BAD.  It has so far costed us a butternut squash, an hour’s worth of gas, and… Hmmm, I totally forgot the last thing.  *sheepish grin*

But hey, Brady was worth every moment.  And Spring Baby will be worth it too!

So for now, I’m going to hang on for dear life and hope I don’t burn the house down.  🙂