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?

 

 

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?  

 

Perspective

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Brady fractured his leg on Wednesday night at 6pm…  The cast wasn’t put on until about 4pm on Thursday.  The waiting game between those two time frames was brutal, especially since nurses continued to tell us that there was no guarantee they’d be able to squeeze him in that day.  The realization that a cast might not be put on until Friday was almost too much to stand.

We were told that the procedure had to take place in an operating room, as Brady would have to be asleep for the cast to be done.  So no food or drink for him until afterward.

As I suspected, Brady woke up that morning, looked around the hospital room in confusion, and then asked for a “Tumi.”  (His word for “smoothie”).  I nodded and said, “Okay!  In a few minutes.  We just need a doctor to fix your boo boo.”

An hour later, he was asking for “juice” and “gween popsicles”.  The asking turned to begging.

“Pwease, Mama.”

“I sorry,” he said at one point.  (Bah, I couldn’t handle it).

It stabbed me in the heart every time.  His lips were dry.  He’d just gotten over a fever and was obviously very thirsty.  And here I was denying him the one thing that would make him a bit more comfortable.  (I mean, on top of this, he was lying in the bed with a broken leg that had yet to be placed in a protective cast).

All they were giving him for pain meds was Tylenol every 6 hours.  When I asked for a higher dose or something stronger, a doctor refused my request.

By noon, Brady was begging and crying every ten minutes (I’m not exaggerating at all) for a popsicle, milk or juice.  The nurses decided to give him an IV, but they missed both times.  So the end result was a frightened, dehydrated toddler who had been stuck with a needle twice.  They tried again an hour later, and I had to hold him down while he begged, “Mama, all done!  Mama, all done!”

A nurse matter-of-factly said, “Well, he’s not too dehydrated, because he can still cry tears.”  I wanted to slap her.

They were successful that time in getting the IV into his little hand.  But it was one of several times that day that I just broke down and cried.  I couldn’t bear it.  I couldn’t watch it anymore.  But I couldn’t make it all better, like I was supposed to be able to do.

It was around that point that I had to leave the room, because I didn’t want my sobs to scare Brady.  One of the nurses (an amazing woman who I absolutely loved) followed me and directed me to a play room not far away.  “Take a few minutes off to just breathe,” she whispered to me, “and I’ll call the doctors again to see if there’s an update as to when they’ll take Brady.”

It was in the playroom that I met another mom.  She was sitting on one of the couches while her little boy – a handsome red head – played with blocks.  She made sure that I was okay, and we exchanged small-talk.  It came out that her little boy had been diagnosed with leukemia the week before and was going to have to come back to the hospital twice a week for chemo.

I was floored.  You see families on television talking about how cancer has shattered the normal lives of their children, but I’ve honestly never spoken to a mom facing it.  Her strength and resolve and hope inspired me.  But at the same time, my heart broke in two.  For her and for her child.

It was one of several times that I came face-to-face with the ugliness that sometimes plagues the lives of families.  I overheard a doctor talking with another physician, warning him that a 17 year old patient didn’t yet know he had cancer.  I heard a father talking on the phone, describing the condition of his teenage son who had been nearly killed in a devastating car accident.  I saw a teenage girl who was missing an eye and hooked up to a bag of chemo.

It didn’t make seeing Brady suffer any easier.  Not at all.   But it reminded me that I should count my blessings,because in six weeks Brady’s Spica cast will come off.  And then he will be able to run and play again (after a bit of exercise and potentially physical therapy).  His struggle will be a long one for him, because he doesn’t understand what’s happening.  But he’s not fighting for his life.

We are blessed!

I cried when they finally wheeled Brady’s little body into the operating room, and I had to sit behind in the waiting room.  I cried when I walked into recovery, and he looked up at me with pale face and lips.  I cried when the nurse offered him a popsicle (the popsicle he had been waiting for all day), and he replied, “Okay, let’s do it!”

I cried when I saw the restrictive, Spica cast that he will be forced to wear for 6 long weeks.

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I cried a LOT that day!

But staying in that hospital did put everything into perspective for me.  And it has filled me with a renewed thankfulness for the blessings I have… and a greater determination to fiercely pray for those who are facing the unimaginable.

Six weeks is a long time for a little boy to not be able to walk or sit up.  (And it’s a long time for a mama to deal with caring for a toddler in a Spica cast, although more on that lovely green monster in a blog post later on).  🙂  But I will help him take this a day at a time.  And we’ll all get through this together!

 

Saved

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Hopefully I’ll have pics in my blogs starting tomorrow.   I had misplaced my point-and-shoot camera, but finally found it…  So pics will be back ASAP!  🙂  Also, I’ll have a pregnancy update blog coming up next.  Woo hoo!


 

I’d asked Brady to be patient for one minute too long.  He’d happily chatted his way through several stores, calling out “hello” to everyone we passed with great enthusiasm.  But that one last stop at Sears to check out snowsuits on sale pushed him over the edge.  Dr. Jekyll transformed into Mr. Hyde, and Brady let the entire mall know.

He wasn’t happy with his mama.

*Cue blood-curling screams*

I kept my cool, promising him a snack and a sippy cup filled with his favorite orange juice.  I spoke in soothing (slightly desperate) tones.   I managed to stay calm (for the post part) until he’d finally allowed me to place his writhing body back into his stroller.  But still, I know that by the end of the incident, I was red-faced, frazzled, and looking every bit the picture of a desperate, exhausted mom.

I stood up and nearly bumped into two young women (probably in their early twenties) who had approached me while I was buckling in my little guy.  They wore friendly, sincere smiles.  At the same time, their unbearably stylish makeup and outfits did make me very much aware that I hadn’t showered that morning.

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The taller of the two stepped closer and brightly said, “Hi, I’d like to invite you to an encouraging Bible study at my church this week.  Will you join us?”

I just stood there a moment, mouth slightly agape, as they eagerly awaited my answer.

Oh my gosh, I look like a desperate housewife.  Or someone who is in desperate need of saving.  Or a desperate, homeless person who needs a reason for living.

The first thing that came to my mind in that split second afterward was to tell them that this was just a bad day.  I’m actually a good mom.  I don’t always have a screaming toddler…  Or always go out in public when I didn’t have the chance to shower…  Sometimes, I can look cute and put together too.  I have a great husband, a warm home, plenty of food, and a supportive family.

And, oh yeah, I have a church.  I’m a worship leader.  And a Sunday School teacher.  And a nursery worker.

I’m not the one who needs saving!

But then it hit me really quickly…

I DO need saving.  Every…single…day…  I wake up; and I say a prayer, asking for wisdom, strength, and sanity.  These days, I’m Googling “How to entertain a toddler while you’re feeling nauseous.”  And I’m battling major mommy guilt for the moments that I have to sit my little guy in front of the TV, because I’m painfully exhausted or vomiting.  But I somehow still have to manage a household, cook meals, work, and run errands.

I don’t have it all together.  I never have, but I especially don’t now that I’m pregnant AND raising a little human in this crazy world.  I wish I could give Brady all the answers and help him avoid all the mistakes.  And I wish I could sprinkle him with fairy dust that made him always listen obediently… while still leaving him with his spunky, independent personality.  And I wish I didn’t always wonder, “What in the world am I supposed to do right now?”

Yes, I do need saving.  I’m human.  I have rough moments and rough days.  I make mistakes.  Sometimes I walk around Sears looking like a woman who’s at the end of her rope.

But in that split second, after pushing down the desire to defend myself, I suddenly felt this surge of pride for these two girls.  Because let’s face it, it took guts for them to come up to a complete stranger like that.  And honestly, they did it in the most sincere, earnest way possible.  They were just a couple of cool friends who thought an exhausted woman in the store needed some encouragement.  They were inviting me to hang out at a Bible study with them, and their kindness almost made me want to say “yes”.  🙂  I think that’s awesome!

So I replied something to the affect of, “Wow, thank you SO much for that!  I already have a church…  And I have Jesus!  But thank you for inviting me.  I know this took guts, and I think it’s awesome.”

We chatted a bit before parting ways, but I was left with the reminder that I do need help.  And that’s okay!  That’s why I need my faith.  And it’s also why we need each other.  We can’t make it through this crazy life on our own…

Maybe we all need to be a little braver and willing to reach out when we see someone else in need of a friend.  We’ve all been there.  But sometimes, we forget that we aren’t in this alone.  🙂

 

 

The LOL Mommy Life

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The mom life…  It’s a fast-paced ride, one that’ll buck you here and attempt to throw you there, leaving you with smudged makeup, disheveled clothes, and hair more appropriate for a zombie apocalypse movie.  But it’s all good, really, because your adorable kiddo’s are SO worth it.  Prayer can get you through any day.  And the gas station up the street sells an endless supply of chocolate, coffee, and Dt. Coke.

You’ve totally got this!

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But then moments happen that leave you realizing that maybe you don’t exactly ‘got this’.  I mean, you’re surviving.  And everyone in your household is surviving (minus the potted plant you keep forgetting to water).  Still, you’re reminded that the mom life isn’t always a graceful one…  Sometimes, it’s hard.  And confusing.  And oftentimes – oh man, too many times – embarrassing.

I remember more seasoned moms telling me that – once I became a mom – I’d no longer have any shame or personal pride left.  I always took that to mean that the birthing and breast-feeding process would rip every ounce of modesty from my being.  I mean, after you’ve gone through that, everything else feels pretty tame.

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But then I became the mom of a rambunctious toddler, and I realized that releasing your pride is just a part of the journey.  You have to learn to laugh at yourself.  Or else you’ll be forced to create a disguise and move to another part of the country.

Thankfully, I’m pretty good at laughing at myself…  😉

Just the other day at the grocery store, I was waiting in line at the fish market, when Brady started to get fidgety and protested having to sit in the shopping cart.  I decided to make a game of asking him to touch and name the body parts he’s learned so far.  As he happily named his eyes, ears, nose, knee, toes, and hair, I felt this surge of pride.  Man, this was a mommy success story right here.  Even the people waiting around us looked impressed that the whining toddler was now suddenly giggling and grinning ear-to-ear.

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But then he exclaimed, “Belly!”, reached out with both hands, and grabbed my breast.  The kid wasn’t letting go.  He was proudly looking up at me with a beaming face, both of his chubby hands holding on with a deathlike grip.  It was one of those time-stands-still moments, and I should have reacted as apposed to just stand there.  But I just stood there, realizing that we obviously needed another anatomy lesson ASAP.  And the people around me all awkwardly shifted their attention elsewhere.  (Well, all except the elderly man whose mouth gaped open so huge, I was afraid he might lose his dentures).

The shopping trip afterward wasn’t all that much more graceful.  Thanks to a nasty head cold, I had a horrible coughing fit in the middle of a crowded aisle.  One of those coughing fits that leave tears running down your face, because you’re pretty much gasping for air.  I desperately needed something to drink, and the only beverage I had access to in the soup aisle was Brady’s sippy cup.  Sooooo, yeah, I totally gulped from a sippy cup in the middle of a crowded supermarket.  I got some looks for that one, let me tell you.

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And then there was the Walmart trip where – again – surrounded by people, Brady let out a very loud toot (thanks to a hearty lunch of baked beans).  He then followed that up with a very loud “AMEN!”  I burst into laughter.  Everyone else looked at me coldly as though I had disgraced the holy aisles of Halloween candy.  In a moment of ‘Nicole just got pushed over the edge’, I cheerfully told Brady, “Awww, I’m sorry, no one has a sense of humor today.”

Yeahhhh, I might have to create an alias for myself after that one.  I’m normally not one to be confrontational, but I was beyond agitated at how everyone was glaring at my happy little boy.  Relax people, am I right?!?

Maybe the moral of the story is that I should avoid shopping centers?  Maybe…  But then again, I think it’s just the mommy life sometimes.  There are just moments when being a mom is embarrassing.  So you’ve just got to laugh!  (Or buy that disguise quick while they’re on sale…).  😉

 

 

 

Stronger Together

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As excited as I had been to meet my baby boy, one of my biggest pregnancy fears was regarding the change that would come when our little family jumped from two to three.  Nate and I were in a really good place…  Like a really good place!  And I knew that our marriage was barreling towards the most exciting – and draining – chapter yet.

We shut our eyes, held on tight, and braced for impact, not unlike someone insane enough to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Flash forward 19 months; and I feel as though we’re just now stretching out our legs a bit and maybe peeking over the top of the barrel in the hopes of catching a breath of fresh air.

Being a parent has been hard on our marriage, mainly because we just don’t have free time… ever.  Brady goes to bed around 9pm now (thanks to the 18 month sleep regression), and he’s up at the crack of dawn.  That leaves us with very little time (and absolutely no energy) for just us.  

It’s a phase… it’s a phase… it’s a phase.

I remind myself of that often.

Last week, Nate and I went on our first date in months.  The prep for it wasn’t exactly the way I’d used to get ready for dates…  😉  I’d run out of my deodorant, so I smelled of men’s Old Spice and baby wipes.  I never had time to do my hair or a proper makeup job.  And my house was trashed.  But I was sporting a cute new t-shirt, I had a handsome guy by my side, and I actually had the opportunity to sit still during an entire movie.

Oh goodness, it… was… amazing!  Nate and I went to see Now You See Me 2 and then we sat in a coffee shop and put together a date bucket-list for the summer.  Since I have the summer off from teaching, my mom can watch the little guy here and there just so that Nate and I can have time together.  It is SO very much needed!

Being a parent definitely puts a marriage through the ringer.  And like every chapter in life, it brings about its own set of challenges… and awesomeness too, of course.  Sometimes, you just have to pray and fight your way through the tough patches, because there are so many wonderful moments to be experienced too.

But it’s true that it’s easy to lose the romance.  That it’s sometimes hard to remember to put your marriage first.  That it’s ridiculously easy to go through an entire day without really talking (because toddler-talk doesn’t count but you’re doing it so much that you feel talked out).  That life is overwhelming, and can be lonely, and you really do need to fight, fight, fight for each other.

Every single day, you have to make that conscious decision to put each other first.  You have to decide to enthusiastically support each other, even though you’re tired.  You have to kiss and mean it…  hold each other close and tight… and FLIRT!   (You’ve spent your entire day changing diapers and playing hide-and-seek.  Flirt  a little and remind yourself to have fun and to not take everything too seriously).  🙂

Bit by bit, as one of the tough toddler stages is coming to a close and life is settling back to a more comfortable pace, Nate and I are making time for us again and rediscovering our love for each other.

Parenthood sure isn’t easy.  Marriage isn’t either.  But they’re both worth it.  And I’m really excited – and proud – that we’re learning to find balance while prioritizing what’s important to us!

 

 

A Toddler on Vacation

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It was only 15-20 minutes into the drive of our mini-vacation getaway, and the concern started to set in.  What had we gotten ourselves into?  I mean, I had known that Brady started to call out, “Go walk?”  And “All done!”  And *insert high-pitched screaming noises that make you want to bury your head under a thousand pillows, except you’re stuck in a car for another 2 hours*.

Stopping for dinner wasn’t much easier…  Looking back, trying to convince a 19 month old to sit still in a highchair after he’s been locked in a carseat for 2 hours probably wasn’t the smartest of ideas.  But we were hungry.  And Friendlys is the happiest place for kids of all ages, right?

(I got him to smile for this photo, even if I had to cheat and tickle him a bit).

Brady, apparently, wasn’t happy enough for Friendlys.  He tossed crayons.  Grabbed for anyone walking past us.  Whined, tried to get out of the chair, and threw a small tantrum.  (According to my doctor, the negativity and even slight aggression is very common at this age, as toddlers test out their parent’s authority and their own emotions.  But going through it in the moment, that isn’t always reassuring enough).  😉

Brady also discovered that if he throws chunks of grilled cheese hard enough, it gets stuck in my hair.

The kid has impeccable aim.  (I left the restaurant with enough crumbs in my hair to feed Fievel’s family for a week).

I thought I’d planned brilliantly by coming up with fun, toddler-approved activities while still leaving enough free time for relaxing, napping, snacking, and exploring at a little one’s pace.  But if something can go wrong when you’re on vacation with a toddler, it will.  And there is nothing more horrifying than being stuck in a hotel room at 5am with a screaming 19 month old who won’t be soothed.

(You know the people that you don’t want to be renting a room near in the hotel, because their child makes a ton of noise first thing in the morning?  We were those people…  I apologize to the people renting the hotel rooms on either side of us).

On our first (and only) full day, the beach had been on the agenda.  It rained shortly after arrival, but we were able to squeeze in some quality time in the sand and waves.  It was most definitely the highlight of our trip!  Brady loved running along the sand, chasing seagulls, and dipping his toes into the ice-cold water.  (And, well, you all already know how much I adore the ocean…).

Since it was still very early, and since Brady had successfully taken a 3 hour nap, we decided to go to the Aquarium that afternoon.  The kid is obsessed with fishies and could spend all day at Petco watching them swim around.  I’d been excited about taking him to the aquarium for weeks!  

Apparently he just has a thing for Petco fish though…  We paid $70 to get into the aquarium, and he insisted on leaving 15-20 minutes into the visit (after whining the entire time for food, even though we had just eaten lunch).

Hmmmm, who forgot to pack the snack bag???

I really couldn’t believe it!  I mean, we were standing in front of a ginormous tank, when this swam by…

Oops, wrong picture.

…this swam by!

My breath was taken away at seeing such a magnificent, large creature up close.  Brady, on the other hand, decided that he wasn’t interested.  So we set out to find the clock that had captured his attention, completely ignoring the whale, penguins, seals, brightly colored fish…and sharks!

It’s okay, Brady.  I get hangry sometimes too!

Thank goodness for general stores that sell popsicles AND fresh, fried dough.  Like the beach, this was a win-win for all parties involved.

That night, when back at the hotel and trying to unwind a toddler who was bouncing off the hotel walls, we received a call from the lawyer who’s handling Nate’s disability case. She told us that Nate had a mandatory meeting in the city the next day.  We had to go home a day early.

I was part devastated… and part relieved, since Brady had been throwing tantrums and whining all day.  Nate, meanwhile, canceled our hotel for August, because Brady just isn’t ready for travel.  Or maybe we aren’t ready for travel with Brady…  😉  Either way, we decided that we’ll go away one night in October instead for our anniversary (since my mom is willing to watch Brady).

But Nate will stay home in August, and I’ll travel with my sister to the 5k I’ve already signed up for.

 

I love Brady more than anything on this earth and having him was the greatest miracle we’ve ever experienced.  But yeah, sometimes it’s hard to be mommy and daddy (especially when you’re going through one of the tougher stages, like the newborn stage or the terrible 2’s).

Now you all know me and know that I bounce back really quickly…  😉  I’m already coming up with smaller activities that can be enjoyed as day trips, since that seems to be our sweet spot this summer.  I still plan to make this summer incredible!

Maybe we won’t travel as much as we used to…  But different doesn’t have to mean less special or memorable!

If I’ve learned one thing as a parent so far, it’s that there will be days that are hard; because you -in a way – will mourn for the way things used to be.  (Because those are the good ol’ days you remember and cherish).  BUT also remember that you’re forging new traditions.  New memories.

And although change can be hard, you can also focus on how amazing the new, different way of doing things can be.

And trust me, I fully expect to laugh about this vacation one day.  And when he’s older, I also plan to remind Brady of what he put us through.  Ha!  🙂   Just kidding!

Mostly…