Thursday, December 18, 2014

Glitter, Dreams, and Moments of Grace

First I need to say I might be the only mom of three girls that can't stand glitter. Now I like it when it is on crafts but the darn stuff never stays there. Thank goodness for the invention of glitter glue- it is a life saver. But to those of you who insist on sending glitter covered Christmas cards- I cringe each time I hear the crunching as I open the card. I've been known to throw away some extreme glitter cards without even removing them from their envelopes- I do read them and say prayers for the time they took to think of us but straight into the circular file they go! This year they haven't been too bad but oh glitter how you get everywhere!!! 

Okay can you tell life is better here now that my only grumble is glitter and such. Normalcy has settled back into our lives and the pure crazy is now back to a minimum. 

It all came with my mom and stepdad. They were the first to venture our way this holiday season. They were just stopping on their way on to their final destination but they got here on Monday afternoon and with them came a gust of fresh air that my mind, body and soul so desperately needed. They were able to visit, go see Santa with us, take us to dinner, give me time to grocery shop on my own, love on us and then off they were the next morning.

Then that week seemed to settle some- still not totally but some. We headed back to bible study after missing a week because of the 'bugs.' Lauren sang in the children's concert that was so precious to watch. I didn't get any good pictures of her but took videos and they were priceless. Matt appreciated it since he couldn't be there.

Then Matt's parents were here the following Saturday. They stayed in a hotel this time, which is something different. I appreciated it since it meant less clean up once they left and it was neat to try something new. Their presence gave us the time and rest we, Matt and I, so desperately craved. Matt and his dad got a lot of small projects down around the house and I got a few big ones done. I got the girls summer and fall clothes all packed up and set them home with my in-laws. They are so wonderful and house the billions of boxes of clothes we have accumulated- one reason I'm so super excited that baby three is another sweet girl! But that cleaned up my closets and just felt freeing and refreshing. I also got the crawl space door painted- yeah the one we put up just under a year ago. But it's done so now Matt can figure out how to insulate it and that project can officially be done.

Then if that wasn't enough my MIL cooked and took care of the girls the whole weekend. Then they took Lauren to sleep with them at the hotel Sunday night. It was so fun for her and Olivia who soaked up all the wonderful mommy and daddy love all for herself. Then on Monday I got to go workout in the morning, meet Matt for a date lunch, shop, go to a PT appointment, and grocery shop (again) for a few weeks worth of food- and all of this was done all by my lonesome. Then as an extended family we went to our local botanical gardens for the lights festival. The weekend was like a dream come true. I tell you I went through the ringer at the beginning of this month but God is sure giving me time to recover and rejuvenate. It was a wonderful time Monday but boy was I tired by Monday night- I had gotten so much in that day! Then the next morning they headed home. 

Tuesday morning had Lauren sick again. I tell you our house this year has been a revolving door of one nasty germ after another. Luckily she was the only one who came down with this 24 hour virus that left her just lifeless on the couch with a mild temperature. Since we had done oil in their hair again just to be double, triple sure all was well, they needed to take baths that morning. Lauren did a quick bath and then asked to lay on the couch, only to fall asleep (something my little girl hasn't done since her baby stage). Olivia was on my lap while I talked to Matt about Lauren and then she fell fast asleep, so I laid her down on the couch. There they napped. I had to snap a picture of this! They both sleep about two hours, staggered, but my goodness.

Wednesday was the first day since December 1st that we got some school in! In fact we had school again today- two days in a row!! And it's on the schedule for tomorrow too- yes that means we completed a whole week of school!! That is the lovely thing about homeschooling- besides the many other things- flexibility! But getting off schedule really throughs Lauren and I off- we both love routine and knowing what to expect so when everything goes wonky (Lauren loves that word) it throws us off. So glad to get back into the normalcy! 

So onto more exciting stuff, Olivia is now sleeping in her big girl bed. It is funny because with Lauren we set the beds for the first time when we were rearranging the house for impending Olivia's arrival and she just, on her own, went and slept in there and never looked back at the crib. With Olivia we've had her big girl bed set up since before her birth and it has always just been there. We've always called it "Olivia's Big Girl Bed." Lauren knew that one day she would come to sleep with her. In fact, she has been looking forward at least since the end of this summer. I wasn't sure exactly how to do it. One day, over a month ago, I attempted to nap with her in there but that was nuts. Then on Tuesday we were playing upstairs waiting for Matt to get home and she was just snuggled in there and she looked so ready. I thought we could give it a go and see how it all works out. Lauren was all for it and Olivia too. Matt said sure when he got home and now she is out of the crib and into her 'big girl bed.' We're two nights in and they did just fine. They took a bit longer to fall asleep due to the excitement of it all and Olivia and Annabelle are still working out this new arrangement (Annabelle woke her twice in the middle of the night by loving on her). Nap has been more of a learning curve for Lauren and I then anything. Lauren doesn't need a nap everyday and even when she does it is hard for her to head off to dreamland the nights she naps. So I've done 30 minutes of 'rest' time in bed and then an hour or so of 'quiet' time where she plays in her room and enjoys a small snack. Well now that Olivia is sleeping in there she has to leave after the 30 minutes of rest. And I still need my time and Lauren still needs her time, so I have her playing with toys in the nursery, but it just isn't the same as having all your toys, books, and games at your disposal to entertain yourself. She has had shorter quiet times the last few days and until something comes to me. I'm not sure how to solve the problem. Olivia sleeps like a rock but I can't expect Lauren to be pin drop quiet while she plays. I'm sure it will get figured out somehow. Until then, we'll roll with it. 

Anyway, I've enjoyed the moments of answered prayer and God's grace that have come my way in this past week and a half. I am looking forward to a continued calmness for the rest of December as we anticipate my dad and step-mom's arrival this coming week and Christmas excitement just around the corner. 

Many blessings to you as we continue through the advent season- the season of hope and great expectations. Where we see God's grace through the celebration of the birth of a baby. Who came to rescue us from the sinfulness that can consume us if we let it. Who came to rescue us from the pain of this world as He brought the light that shows us the dream life in the next. Who came to remind us how to live life gracefully now and how to behave in a way that is pleasing to God. Who came to guide us and encourage us. Who came to, more than anything, show us God's unending love! 

Amen for that little baby boy!

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." Luke 2:6-7

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Today is Day 5

Day 1

I awoke at 4:30 in the morning, excited with anticipation. Today was the day we would find out if we had another girl or a baby boy on the way. What made today even more special was that Lauren was coming with us. She was going to be there when, hopefully, baby would cooperate and we'd find out the gender. I was excited for me, baby, Lauren, and of course my sweet husband. Both Matt and I had no inclination or hunch as to what this baby might be but when you would ask Lauren if the baby was boy or girl she would like right at you and say plain as day "a girl." It was the same way my MIL looked at me when I was pregnant with Lauren and didn't yet know she was a sweet little girl. So she had me leaning towards girl when I would talk with her but other than that, again I had not a clue.

After running around the house trying to get everyone out the door by 7:30 am we were on our way to drop off Olivia with Esther and family while the rest of us headed on to the doctors. Although we arrived on time it was another half hour or so before we walked into the room. Baby was not making it easy for the US tech. She tried twice without success to get baby in the right position to reveal to us the gender. She took her measurements and we all enjoyed watching the baby move, wiggle, and stretch, as well as Lauren's comments and questions, like "is there a baby inside the baby?" or "So when the baby pops out..." or "Is that the baby's eyes" for the better part of the time. Finally baby got into position and revealed to us that Lauren was indeed correct- it was another sweet baby girl. Matt smiled his same smile of excitement since his little girls adore him and he them- he still says he wouldn't know what to do with a boy- but I know he'd be fine no matter what, he's a great daddy. We were all excited. I immediately started talking names. We were all smiles. We had a new healthy baby girl in the womb!!

To top it off, when the doctor came in to check everything out, she let Lauren use the wand and make the picture of her little sister show up on the screen. She loved it and I Matt and I couldn't get enough of the joy exuding from her as she got to be the doctor. It was amounting to a wonderful day. We had so much to celebrate and be grateful for!

We called Matt's mom first as we made our way to my OB GyN just the next building over. I wanted to tell her first since we're using her mother's name for the middle name- that is set in stone but the first name is still being debated. I then called my mom and embraced the joy from her as well. Nothing was killing this good mood, not even when the receptionist informed me that they didn't have me down for my 20 week appointment that I was suppose to go to that day. She fit us into the schedule and we should only have to wait 45 minutes- no biggy. I still had many more phone calls to make and Lauren still had lots of stuff to color and do on her activity mat. Each call I made I let Lauren tell the person that she was going to have a baby sister. I could have listened to that all day.

My mood did start to change after the wait turned into a almost two hours. Lauren was doing sooooo well until she dropped something and bumped her head when she was trying to retrieve it. Then she started flopping around with annoyance and so I ushered her and all the stuff we had into the hallway to minimize the fallout. Thank goodness when we walked back in after a few minute cool down period the nurse was there to usher us into a room. The receptionist probably called back and said get this lady in the back! Either way we could relax in private now. We were enjoying our goofiness when she was sitting on my lap and I noticed something in her hair. As I looked closer I saw a bug. I told her to sick still, reached for the tissues and got it out. I killed it, examined it and tried not to panic. 

When I mentally talked myself down for panic we resumed the snuggles and chatter only for me to notice another one. This time though when I reached for a tissue it hid itself. Now I was starting to panic a bit. I put her on the counter and tried looking for it. I couldn't find it and of course this is when the doctor walks in. Just shy of two hour after arriving at the office. I couldn't focus on her and tried my hardest to answer her questions. She was in the room for less than five minutes and there was nothing I was concerned about and vise versa- I'm not sure it was worth the 2 hour wait. But off we went. Me trying to convince myself there was nothing wrong with Lauren and trying not to be too annoyed by the doctor visit wiat time.

We picked up lunch for everyone at good ol' McDonalds before arriving at Esther's house. We ate, played, and headed home for naptime. I told Esther about the bug incident but she agreed it was just a fluke. It wasn't until after putting Olivia down and getting ready to lay with Lauren for her book that it popped into my head again. I told her I just wanted to run a comb through her head to make sure it was nothing. 

Well it wasn't. My daughter had lice. I went into panic mode as soon as I used the internet to confirm that the bug I pulled out of her head with a comb was indeed a louse. I called the doctor to talk to the nurse but I had to leave a message. Then I called Matt and told him, and then told him he needed to head to the pharmacy stat to get the medicine needed to treat this situation.  Being a wonderful husband he left work to grab it, with full intention of heading back. That however never happened. Poor sweet Lauren did the best she could but she didn't understand what was going on and why she needed to do what we were asking of her. We spent about three hours total tending to her head and pulling out bug after bug. It was gross.

Not to mention the embarrassment of calling everyone we knew that we had come in contact with during the last two weeks. I wanted to be sure if we did pass it on that they needed to keep an eye out for it.

After Olivia sat in her crib for what I'm sure was long time after waking up from nap, we were so busy with Lauren and she was quiet and content- my sweet little girl, we checked her head. We found only one bug but it was enough to make me feel faint and nauseous. My babies had bugs!!! Nasty!!! We then had to eat and get them into bed. Only to have Matt check my head- I, like Olivia, just had one bug. Again, NASTY!!!! Matt was free and clear. This has made me contemplate buzzing my head a few times... 

By the time we were all cleaned up and on my seventh or eighth load of laundry it was midnight when my bug infested head hit the pillow. That was the end of day 1.

Day 2

I woke up annoyed that a nurse from the doctors office never got back to me. But I was overjoyed that we already had Lauren's 4 year well visit scheduled for that morning. So I rushed everyone and got us out the door and to the doctors. There our fabulous pediatrician told me about Lice Doctors. I had so many questions for her. She told me that the chemicals we used only work at killing the bugs when they are on your head, which is only 10 minutes. We pulled a lot of live bugs off Lauren's head after putting that stuff on there. She told me that when her daughter got it they used this service and it was just a few weeks before all was back to normal, and going the chemical route could be six plus weeks. That right there was enough for me to give them a call. It was also a chemical free route which this pregnant lady liked- I'm not one for chemicals unless it's the only way. It was very expensive but worth every penny (as you'll read in day 3).

After getting back home from the doctors I blew up the air mattress and let the girls watch movie after movie. I made the soup I need to for church and I made about five hundred phone calls. I was very grateful for the outpour of support but if one more person asked if I knew where we got it...I was going to scream. I had no idea. If I did I wouldn't have been so caught of guard and we would have not gone to wherever that was. I've not heard of anyone I know having it, in fact I was the one telling my friends we had it and to check their children. No fun. Thankfully as of today we have not passed it on to anyone outside our nuclear family - and we were just at my sister's house for three day for Thanksgiving!

I also took the time to call the Lice Doctor service and make an appointment for the following day.

It was this day we started noticing Olivia wheezing a bit when she was breathing too. It didn't seem to slow her down any so we lumbered on.

I was exhausted as I went to bed that night. Glad that the lice doctor lady was coming the next day but overwhelmed with everything. I had a pile of clean laundry mounded on my couch. Piles in the office still left to do. And so much more left to be tended to. I had tried so hard that day to keep the laundry train going and keep everything in some sort of order. To get things systematically cleaned up but I just couldn't do enough. 

I was exhausted with no one to help me with all the physical labor. Matt had stayed at work late that day to try and make up for leaving so early the day before, and coming in an hour late since we had the baby appointment. I felt like I just needed some more support than a phone call. I needed someone to battle with me. I kept praying to God for the blessings I had received so far. First, finding it before it had gotten that much worse for all of us. Having Lauren's doctor appointment scheduled and getting to see HER doctor- whom I trust and adore. The help people had given me to pick up the slack of not being able to continue any commitments I had outside of the house. Friends and family that did lend me an ear when I needed to vent all the craziness out. My loving husband who was there to help when he could be. My sweet girls who were surviving just fine even when there mama was going nuts before their eyes. And the fact that this is a situation that can be handled and dealt with- no death sentence here. I did try and cling onto these blessings and try to give thanks for them when I had the energy. But mostly I felt overwhelmed and out of energy. 

Day 3

This day began very early. It was 12:33 am when I was startled awake by the worst cough imaginable. Olivia sounded like a little barking sea lion. She was sick with Croup. I picked up my wheezing baby and took her to our bed. There her and I took small catnaps as we lay there, me trying to elevate her head so she could breath. I wish I would have known that taking her into the cold night air would have helped relax her airways, but I didn't. Matt helped me a few times but taking her to his side of the bed so I could get some small bouts of rest- but she would slip down and start coughing and wheezing again, only to wake me up before I would scoop her back to my side. 

My exhausted body woke up a little late that morning. I heard Matt giving Lauren breakfast as Olivia and I stumbled out of the room. 

I spent most of this day trying to regain some order around the house and tending to the girls. Olivia's temperature was spiking all day long. The acetaminophen helped her but she just wanted to snuggle and I tried to take time to do that, but I didn't get to as much as I would have liked. Lauren was too wired to nap and I just ured for some quiet time I was not going to get. 

I also spent time preparing Lauren about the lady coming and what she was going to do, so Lauren wouldn't be so overwhelmed when she got here. I tried to remain positive. We received another blessing when my step-mom offered to pay some of the super high bill we were about to pay for the service. It would cut our out of pocket expenses for it in half. I also was grateful that we were able to use our flex spending account to pay for the service as well- this will be the first year we will have used that up before the new year began (we have a grace period and have until March of the following year to use it up). 

I did regain some order before Jane got here. She was another blessing. You would have thought it was her pleasure to remove bugs from our hair. The three hour process seemed to go pretty smoothly as we went through the family. It took her an hour to do my head and an hour to do Laurens. Then she did Matt, Olivia, and then the dry check on all three of us girls in the last hour. She was a preschool teacher by day and did this to supplement her income. We talked back and forth about everything under the sun, and I enjoyed the social interaction since I had been cooped up for the last few days. 

When she left I had a positive outlook and felt like our money (and my parents money) was well spent. I can do this!

Day 4

She left with the follow up instructions that has me putting Olive Oil in the girls and my hair each evening for seven days. Then every morning I need to go through our hair with a $17 nit comb I purchased at out local beauty store after she left (another blessing was the coupon I had for the store). I also purchased a few different kinds of "hair dresser" clips to help me be able to systematically go through each head. I also got a catsup bottle from bed, bath, and beyond to dispense the olive oil with more control. All that totalled to just over $20 and has been a huge help. After I go through their hair and Matt goes through mine, we wash our heads with blue dawn and shampoo. This process takes me close to a half hour each night, applying the olive oil to our three heads and then about two plus hours each morning combing and washing/bathing each of us clean. Then I've also been washing our towels and pillow cases, along with having new pj's each night. This amounts to lots-o- extra laundry. 

This morning started just like the last, Olivia waking in the middle of the night with coughing fits and then Lauren joined in on the middle of the night fun too since the shower cap we had covering her hair was bothering her but of course we didn't figure this out until after the twenty minute temper tantrum of frustration came out first. Thankfully everyone did sleep in their own beds after medicine was administered and the shower cap removed. But the morning still seemed to come too soon.

I spent the entire morning tending to breakfast and hair and bath. When I came downstairs after getting everyone dressed it was lunch time. I then tended to lunch and it was nap. I got Olivia down- she was so tired, her temperature continued to spike throughout the day and when it did she just wanted to be in mommy's arms or asleep. I couldn't blame a girl. I was grateful I was able to tend to her more than the day before. 

Lauren did, God bless, nap on this day. Allowing me the same joy. I took an hour nap on the couch- now clean of the laundry mound (some of which had moved to baskets and my bed but other that had been put away). I was awoken by Olivia's cough and cry. I went to get her still tired body and just rocked with her. The house was quiet, the small fake Christmas tree lite the hallway and I just didn't want the moment to pass. I knew I should wake Lauren so she would fall asleep before midnight but I just couldn't bring myself to put Olivia's warm, sweet, sick self down. So I didn't. About 45 minutes later Matt pulled up and join Olivia and I as she became more alert and awake. He woke Lauren and then entertained the kids while I put together dinner.

The nap had given me back a better outlook with my new revived energy level. I talked to Matt's mom after dinner and it felt like a little escape since Matt played with the girls and I got to enjoy a small bit of adult talk. 

I was still a little sad since it was this evening that I was suppose to leave and help chaperone the high school youth retreat. I had been looking forward to this weekend since early fall. I lead them in a Bible study each Wednesday night at church and have really enjoyed getting to know each them. I was looking forward to seeing them grow that much closer to God through the retreat and be there to again support their growth. I was also looking forward to a weekend away from being in charge since that role would be on Lisa, our youth leader. On top of it all, I didn't have to cook, clean, or change a single diaper, it would be a few days to enjoy being Jennifer. I love being mommy and wife but every now and then it is nice to be Jennifer.

So anyway, we put the girls down and enjoyed our first night of uninterrupted sleep in three days!

Day 5

So I thought that the sleep would help my outlook but today I woke up on the cranky side of the crib. I think me getting sleep gave my brain a chance to process all that had happened and all that I was about to endure as I continue to pull bugs out of my daughters head.

Lauren began the morning well, as did I. However, that did not last. She became extremely demanding and rude as the morning progressed- not usually her character and I just continued to get more irritated with each selfish remark. I sent her to her room at one point because I could feel my patience slip away from me. Even her apology after she calmed and we talked was uncharacteristically insincere. That should have prewarned me her bad attitude was going to continue and my patience was going to disappear. It ended with me screaming at her in anger and going into my room, closing the door, and crying. I was starting to feel the emotions I had no energy to feel over the past four days. I was upset that we have been so overwhelmed with bugs that my role as mommy just seemed overloaded. We haven't had a chance to embrace and enjoy the good news of our newest baby girl. I was missing out on a chance to get away and replenish myself with my God and friends. We were going to have to endure more canceled plans because it is going to take me two plus hours to get through the morning routine for the next five days. I felt awful for yelling with such anger at my daughter who yes was not being her best, but for sure didn't deserve the weight of mommy's world yelled at her.

As I cried in bed Matt came to check on me. I told him I just was looking forward to a little time away and instead I just got more added mommy responsibilities. I just was upset and frustrated by the change of plans. I was trying to calm myself with scripture but I just couldn't summons up anything that would bring me comfort- why was He calling me to stay home? Why couldn't I just have a little break? Why was I wondering why when I knew that His plan is always better? I felt like Lauren, I knew to do better but I just wanted to do it my way- I just wanted to grumble, fuss, and complain. 

I think I feel asleep for a bit and then emerged from my room to eat my breakfast, at 10:45. I've taken a back seat to the parenting thing and let Matt run the show for the day. I've spent plenty of time on here getting my feelings and thought out, in hopes that I will be able to regain some sanity and reflect on the blessings I've seen in the last few days.

Today's blessings continue to come. I've had quiet time, I've chatted with a great friend- who herself had been though the lice fun with her girls just a few years back, I've had a wonderful husband who has put himself last today in order for me to take a backseat, I've had some snuggle time with my still sick Olivia, I've enjoyed the smell of the crock pot meal Matt put together for dinner, I've enjoyed hearing the giggles and play that Lauren has had with her daddy. 

I'm a blessed woman and I know this. I just sometimes need to remind myself. I also need to remind myself that as much as I can feel alone, I'm not. I might not have gotten the physical helping hand that would have helped me through these five days but I did receive a lot of prayer help and a lot of people were there for me in a different way.

I also need to remember that often times after Lauren has gone through a physical growth spurt she often goes through a mental/emotional one where she retests all the boundaries to make sure they're still there and that might very well what we're dealing with here, just an old updated version- bless my soul. So prayer and patience and perseverance are the only things that are going to get us through such a time.

Off to tend to the little ones and come out of 'hiding' for a bit. Time to remind myself what a blessed lady I am by hugging those little girls and that big guy too!

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise-- in God I trust and am not afraid." 56:3-4a

Friday, November 14, 2014

Old Lady Gear

I've been trying all week to get on here, thoughts have been swirling in my head and I want to get them down. So here it is Friday and I'm getting to this post. 

Today was such a wonderful day. Mostly because it was very laid back- no rushing, no need to do this, that, and oh yeah that too (you know how life is). Nope today started with sleeping in! I think it was the wonderful husband who went out after putting the girls to sleep and got me Wendy's burgers that helped (oh he's an amazing man!). I didn't wake up starving and both girls slept in as well allowing me to embrace the cozy, warm bed just a little longer today. 

Last night I went to Zumba- can I just laugh at the fact that I can't go an hour without needing to use the facilities during the class. The first night I finally went back to lovely Zumba since exiting the first trimester my sweet instructor thought something was wrong but kindly replied that all that jumping made baby enjoy my bladder like it was a trampoline! She laughed and gave me a big hug- she is a wonderful woman inside and out and I enjoy dancing around like a goof with her.

So yes my lovely body is still moving but not very fast. I continue to be introspective on the differences between your first baby and your third. Maybe I didn't do this as much with Olivia in the womb because I wasn't quite as old as I am with this one or maybe it's just baby number three that sends you over the edge with your body changing more rapidly during pregnancy. This time around I've needed to go regularly to a physical therapist. My hip issues started after Lauren was born but I noticed it the most when I started running again. I went to the Chiropractor then and they were able to put my poor bones back where they belonged for me and my muscles were still pretty strong that they stayed in place pretty well. During my pregnancy with Olivia I contemplated going to PT (my doctor doesn't like me going to the chiropractor while pregnant and I follow what she says) but never did. I just waited until Olivia was born and then headed back in. It wasn't as bad from what I can remember but I do remember my poor muscles being a little more weak after her- needing more secessions to get my hips to stay in place. Well this time I couldn't wait, my hips ached and still sometimes do. It was to the point that I struggled with sitting on the floor to play with the girls and oh boy getting up- it was sometimes downright painful. I felt like I couldn't wait until after birth this time around. So I've been to the see a wonderful PT who specializes in pregnant women and was recommended by my doctor. It has helped immensely and she has given me some exercises to do which help strengthen the lovely muscles around my hips- now I just need to be better at doing them more regularly. She also introduced me to this fabulous belt that helps give your muscles a little rest and holds your hips in place- it's called a sacroiliac belt. Lucky for me I've found a friend who has one and is willing to lend it to me. I'm looking forward to getting it from her since there are some days (mostly nights though) that I would love some help. I've had a few evening shopping trips where I felt like an old women, hobbling around Target and the grocery store. Oh I'm sure I was a sight. 

So if that wasn't enough...lol...my lovely leg looks like someone took a nice softball or hardball to it. Just like the hips I've had a patch of varicose veins that developed with pregnancy number one. They faded after giving birth and come back a little bigger/widespread with pregnancy number two and never fully went away afterwards. Well baby number three must be taking lots of long naps on the right side of my body putting lots of extra pressure on my inferior vena cava making these puppies just that much bigger and better ;-). So today the whole family took a trip to a great old school pharmacy near Matt's work to get mommy some support hose! Yes, my name is Jennifer, I'm 33 years old and I now own two pairs of support hose. I tell you once I get this belt, to accompany my support hose, Matt is going to go wild for his old lady wife!! Hahaha!!! I know he will love me with all my stuff anyway but I'm know I'll look like an ailing women for sure. And I do not plan on posting any pictures of me with my old lady gear on either, sorry!

Speaking of pictures I told Matt we need to snap a few this weekend of my ever growing belly. It looks so cute- like I did when I was about 23 weeks with Lauren...I'm just 17 now. I'm slathering extra belly butter on this time around! I kept laughing since my MIL and stepmom had sent me a handful of maternity clothes they got from friends and garage sales for me and each of them was a size large. I was laughing at God because I'm a medium but he must know something about how my mediums might not cut it with this baby. I'm bracing myself. As of now I've gained 10 pound which seems about right where I was with the other too so I'm not worried but I'm just laughing- this baby is going to be born with a sense of humor that's for sure.

I also wanted to write about how schooling was going. It's very funny since being a teacher you would think I would be use to things being off schedule and constantly having to shift things around and reorganize my plans but the core of me is still a planner and enjoys when things happen the day that it says so on the 'schedule.' Well that is just not how life works and I try my hardest to roll with it all. We've had a few sick days and some days where things popped up or we were cut short on time so I didn't get to everything so now I feel like I'm in catch up mode. I keep telling myself this is the best part of homeschooling - it doesn't always have to follow the proper schedule. I'm going to do some school tomorrow (a Saturday and typically a day we wouldn't do any school). But I'm behind in my 'unit' work and with the holidays it's hard to get off with that. So tomorrow we're going to do Thanksgiving activities and the letter D. By the way the letter and number writing has been the first thing that hasn't come 'naturally' to my smart girl and I've seen her get frustrated. It has been a learning curve for me- but I've got my secret weapon...colored pens! They have saved my life since she loves using them so it insentive to do the learning with the pencil and then she can do the practice with the pens. I also have to remember the special education students I use to deal with and how this is nothing compared to what I would deal with then, so perspective Jennifer,  perspective. 

I'm excited about the holidays, family coming to visit, and all the fun that goes into decorating things. Starting next weekend life is going to be busy, but busy with things that make us smile, laugh, and enjoy each other so no complaints here. Hoping I do have some time to capture the memories on here. But such as life!!

 Sweetness being crazy!

Cuteness being goofy!

"Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blood Thirty Mama!

Okay first Happy Halloween! I have to make this post fast so I can make an M for Matt's shirt so he can be a green M&M with the girls tonight! The baby is going to be a red M&M mini (I'm putting the small M on my baby bump...hehehe). We're all excited about having fun as a family and getting some candy!!

So let's get right to this "blood thirsty Mama" thing. Okay I am a pretty neat person, most friends and family would say I'm extremely neat and clean, but I know that as my family has changed over the the last four years my housekeeping has slowly slipped down the totem pole of importance. But I never thought it could get so bad...okay I'm being a little dramatic here.

About a week ago we started noticing some fruit flies in the kitchen- that happens, not a big deal. They come in on the fruit from the store and they usually don't last too long. Well, we started noticing more and more. I felt like I killed the one or two I noticed and figured I'd taken care of the problem but oh no I hadn't. It was about one week ago that Matt and I realized that we must have something, somewhere in the house that was unnoticed where they were living, breeding, and thriving (gross!). So I set up my usual trap of apple cider vinegar mixed with a little dish soap to trap them. Well that is when I changed from normal everyday Mama to BLOOD THIRSTY MAMA!!! I was just going insane because they just didn't seem to be going away and I just couldn't stop myself from excitedly killing these little suckers. I'm serious when I say that on Saturday I had a kill count going. Last night Lauren was running through the house proclaiming "Mommy's the bug killer! Mommy's a killer of bugs!" I was mortified to hear her say this! I abruptly told her that I only kill bugs inside our house and nothing else (yikes- look what I've become!). Maybe it's the season or the Mama bear coming out as I feel my nest/den is being attacked. All I know is that I've become a fruit fly killing machine!

This is the woman who desperately wanted to learn to shoot a bow and shotgun as a kid (my father was an avid deer hunter back then) but deep down I knew that I could never kill a deer or any living creature purposefully. Yes, I eat meat and love it and don't mind eating the meat of animals others kill but I'm not sure, unless life depended on it, that I could do it. I did have a fatal accident with a deer once driving down a rural road. Poor thing had just eaten breakfast in the apple orchard and then dashed across the road too fast for me to react, making full contact with the front of my vehicle. Oh I was a wreck. Sobbing in some stranger's arms- a man driving the opposite direction than me on the road saw everything that happened, stopped to help out and stayed with me the whole time. Oh I wished after that I had gotten his name- he was a true "good Samaritan" to me. The state trooper came and had to shoot it twice to put the deer to rest so it didn't suffer anymore. It was a very traumatic experience and I felt awful. Of course my dad wanted to know why I didn't bring it home with me- oh fathers! So I'm not a hunter by nature, no no, but this last week has taught me different.

We have since located the onion house the pesky little things had made and gotten rid of it (oh I almost tossed my cookies when Matt found it- so disgusting). We also got rid of the bananas we had at the time- thus eliminating all of the possible food homes. I've killed a billion by hand and another billion with my vinegar traps. I'm slowly seeing less and less. All the produce I purchased last night at the store is now being housed in the fridge. So in our near future I can return to just being normal, everyday Mama and I can let the hunter return to the gatherer. But it just goes to show you that you never know what you will do or become in any given situation- all the more reason to never go on a reality TV show!

Now I'm off to make a few more M&M's. So have a sweet Halloween and not a blood thirsty one!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build" Ecclesiastes 3:1,3

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Difference between 1, 2, & 3

No I'm not going to give you a math lesson, although I love teaching math, but instead I'm going to do something much more fun than that...I'm letting my avid readers (all one of you...okay maybe two of you) know that I'm no longer in survival mode but happily enjoy the second trimester of pregnancy of our third child!!! Yes, that's right there is a bun in the oven and we're jumping for joy over here (but not too high or there might be a spill on aisle five no one wants to clean up)!!! Like I said I pretty much spent the last six to seven weeks in full survival mode. I prayed for energy and would collapse each day at naptime and then right after dinner. Poor Matt was basically a single dad each night since I was in bed, asleep before the girls and him. Last night I was able to be there when the girls got out of bath and help get them dressed for bed and you would have thought someone handed my sweet husband an million dollars- he was so grateful for the help- as I would be if I were him. Haha, I always say you know I'm pregnant or really sick when he's running circles around me.

So how are things different this time. Well let me tell you the four miscarriages have really taken a toll on my mental health. In the last few weeks I've had a few doctor appointments where I've had to fill out the tons of forms, you know the drill, and on there it asked about postpartum depression and it really got me to thinking. I've never suffered from this, in fact I'm often the happiest after baby arrives, but I think there needs to be awareness about 1st trimester depression. The emotional and physical issues I go through during those 12 weeks is one of the hardest thing I've had to do. The constant worry, prayer, and then worry creeps right back up on you. The nausea and endless desire to want to crawl in the bed and just hibernate through the time. I feel like I am literally in survival mode and I'm not the happiest person to be around. I felt like I was just trying to make it through each day and some days each hour. I'm soooo super lucky to have two wonderful children who only a handful of days made mommy want to hide in the closet until daddy got home. And for the almost all of the time Matt was able to tend to the kids for me and let me take a break once he got home from work, and I'm so grateful for this. I also had a few great friends bring us food to help alleviate some burden there. Lots of prayer and a great support system has gotten me through it- the grace of God alone on most days. I don't want to seem overly dramatic but this time is such a struggle for me and is very taxing on Matt too. I just want others to know that they're not alone if they too struggle through this time due to a pregnancy loss. It's scary, to say the least. 

I'm also very grateful for my wonderful doctor, nurse practitioner and overall doctors office. I was in there every two weeks. I had my initial ultrasound around 6 weeks 5 days. Then I had a second two weeks later and then two weeks after that we were able to check for baby's heartbeat via the Doppler and then two weeks later was my 12 week ultrasound. I have found from experience that I can only last about two weeks and then I need reassurance. If I'm going to be honest, it is more like a week but then I just pray, pray and pray some more to make it through that second week. Some people say that the morning sickness helps calm them but not for me. I've been pregnant seven times and each time I was sick as a dog so it does nothing but make me miserable. Right now I'm a week and a half in and I have to wait a full 4 weeks this go round (yikes), but making it to the second trimester does help calm the nerves and also the every growing belly helps too.

So let's talk about this ever growing belly. Here is where I'm going to distinguish between pregnancies 1, 2, and 3- like my title says. I remember with Lauren longing to wear maternity clothes and wanting that big ol' round belly, and it felt like my belly was in slow grow mode and it was never going to happen. I remember with Olivia things in the belly growing department happening quicker and needing those maternity clothes that much sooner. But folks...I was wear maternity clothes, specifically bottoms, at 8 weeks this go round. I think I was just putting them on for the fun of it at like 13 weeks with Lauren. Maybe your slow growing belly with baby number one allows you to slowly acquire the new wardrobe where with babies two and three that tub is ready and waiting a lot earlier, thank goodness. My belly at 12 weeks with baby number three was the same as 20 weeks with baby number one. Oh my abs were so nice a tight and then Lauren and Olivia stretched those puppies out. The funny thing I've only gained 1.5 pound, according to the scale at last weeks appointment. So not sure where this belly is coming from...okay maybe the fettuccine alfredo I've been enjoying, or the extra helping here and there, and those tacos...just maybe. So my sweet baby bump this time has been a source of comfort and discomfort- silly little thing, or is that big thing?!? Oh who knows with me!

So this pregnancy is more reminiscent of my pregnancy with Lauren. With her I desired sleep, sleep, and more sleep. I remember coming home from work and not even eating dinner but passing out on the couch. With Olivia I just desired sweets all the time. I wanted ice cream, cake, pie, candy. My sweet tooth was off the charts and this is not normal with me. Yes, I get the hinkering (what kind of word is that?) for a cupcake or peanut butter anything but not the same with Olivia- I was in overdrive. No not this one though. I want meat and pasta, a nice sandwich with all the trimmings or a good soup and crackers. More of the comfort foods and I was the same with Lauren. And that sleep. All the sleep I can get I take. I sometimes feel like I can't get enough, sort of like I was with Olivia and sweets.

This time I have no instinct of baby's gender. It's interesting to hear others take on it. A lot of the old people at church were very interested in know if we knew already. I told them that fun news won't come until December, if baby cooperates. Lots of people have mentioned a boy since we've got two girls. But Matt and I could care less- happy and healthy is all we ask. It would be more convenient if it was a girl you know the thousands of dollars worth of clothes we already own, we're already in girl mode and I wouldn't need to redecorate. Lol I remember when I was all about redecorating with the other two- this time I could care less- maybe its since with Olivia we had to move the whole house around and that was a task of it own I'm not ready to repeat. On the other hand a boy would be different and new, we'd finally get to use that boy name we've been holding on to since Lauren was in the womb. So really it's all good. I feel like that is a big swing change from pregnancy number one, where we were all about what the gender was going to be. Speaking of that I just want to throw out there, since this is really bugging me lately, finding out the babies gender- no matter when- is a surprise! So many people say, are you going to let it be a surprise and I want to say back well no matter when we find out it's a surprise. Whether it's at the 20 week ultrasound or on the day that baby pops out (ha, like it's that easy...lol) it is a surprise. Anyway, I'm getting off that soapbox. And just a sidenote whatever anyone else does- wait until baby comes or finds out and doesn't tell others or finds out and tells the world that is their choice and I think they're all just great. I just prefer to find out when I can because I can. If it were the old days and I had to wait I'd be just fine but since I can know I would like too. Plus, I love having their name ready and calling them their name and saying it to the baby in utero too. It's just my preference. I'm not condemning anyone else's preference. Okay moving on.

This baby has been so much more fun with Lauren. When I was prego with Lauren there was no sibling around to enjoy it with. Then when I was prego with Olivia, Lauren was a little young to really grasp what was happening, nor did she seem to care (about the same attitude she had when Olivia came home). Where now she's got a concept of there being baby in there and I'm sure as my big belly gets bigger she'll enjoy that too. We plan on bring her to the 20 week ultrasound to see the baby on the TV and found out with us boy or girl (if baby wants to cooperate). We've asked her about names, lol, she said we should name baby Olivia- lol. When we asked if it was a boy or girl she said girl. She's come up with some goofy names too, but they're escaping me now. She understood what she was looking at when we showed her the fuzzy ultrasound pictures. 

That's another thing. Okay with Lauren we got tons of pictures. They were beautiful and clear. With Olivia we got a lot less. In fact, at our 12 week ultrasound we got one and it looked like a cattle skull hanging from a ranch sign and I had to ask the lady for a profile picture. This one, poor baby number three, has had about the same amount as Olivia but they're all so fuzzy and if you haven't a clue what you might be looking at you might as well be drawing it picture with your own imagination. They're that bad. A friend laughed at me and said "I thought technology would be improving but not according to your pictures." Oh I can hope for a great ultrasound tech at the 20 week or we'll just have to make up for it when baby comes out. 

Oh that's another thing. Olivia and Lauren had nicknames before we had a gender to put a real name to. Well I haven't gotten past baby. My sister nicknamed it Pedro since I was overjoyed about taco night at church and was telling her how baby and I couldn't wait to get our hands on the yummy food. Maybe one will come to me, until then sweet little one we'll call you baby.

And another thing, despite the very long and cumbersome first trimester, time seems to be flying. When I was chatting it up with my sister I have been so busy counting weeks I haven't even thought of what month I'm in. So she brought it to my attention that I'm already 4 months prego. Wow, really. Only 5 months to go- that seems so short in the grand scheme of life. April will be here before you know it. 

That is the other thing about this pregnancy is the timing and seasons are so different. Both the girls were pretty close to the same- spring/summer first trimester, summer second trimester, and then a fall/winter third trimester. Well this baby is spicing things up. I've been sick all fall- my favorite season. But I'm really enjoying the cold weather since hot flashes are so much more bearable in the cold. I've felt no need to turn the heat on and just keep the kids bundled. It will also be nice since baby's due date is at the end of the month so I'm more sure this one will be born in the same month in which it was due even if he/she wants to follow in their sister's footsteps by showing up three week early! 

So many fun things. So much I want to remember. I want time to go a little slower but as life goes we forge ahead and move along! I know from pregnancies 1 and 2 this time is something I need to cherish and embrace and eat up each moment. I want to enjoy my sweet family of four since this baby will shake it up, change it around, and give us all more to enjoy and more to do. Oh I wish I could put each of the wonderful blessings down, but I've got more blessings than I do time so I'll just have to smile and try and hold onto those memories as best I can. Matt and I were just talking the other night after dinner that it's really hard to remember what life was like with no kids or just one (other than it being much, much quieter) and how we wouldn't want to go back. So here's to our happy news and praise to the Heavenly Father who created in us a new tiny blessing!

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will received the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Friday, September 26, 2014

That Moment When...

...you realize it's 2:30 in the afternoon and you haven't brushed your teeth.

...you wonder if you're making a difference.

...you put socks on your feet so you can't feel the mess on your floor.

...you think, "didn't I just do the dishes?"

...you wonder how the day flew by so fast and you couldn't tell a living soul what you accomplished.

...you wonder how the day could be going so slow...is daddy home yet?

...you walk by that mess for the seven zillionth time and wonder if it will ever just clean itself up!

...you're just so tired.

...it's you, not the kids, that dropped the fruit in the grocery store aisle making a royal mess- secretly you're grateful you don't have to clean it up.

...the house is quiet...

...your child's smile lights up your heart.

...the giggles and laughs from the other room make you feel like you're doing something right.

...you see your child learn, grow, and love.

...your baby falls asleep in your arms and you wish you could stay in that moment forever.

...the perfect person shows up at the perfect time and you just praise God.

...you actually wish to slow down time because the realization that they're growing up so fast overcomes your inner soul.

...the hug comes out of no where and it makes your day.

...everyone is in bed and you give thanks to God for each blessing, each struggle, and each moment of weakness where you saw His grace, mercy, and compassion and you can't wait to get up and do it again!

Monday, September 8, 2014

More than you can ask for!

This past weekend we had the joy of celebrating Matt's birthday. We had a great day and he sweetly said to me Sunday morning "Thanks for making my day so special." Melt my heart, what a wonderful husband I have- and he's taken ladies!! LOL...just being silly. Lauren's reaction was the best and I need to put this one down so I don't forget it...we descended the stairs after I got her up and reminded her it was daddy's birthday and her exact words as we entered the living room "Where's the big pile of gifts for him to open?" She was so disappointed for him, and her too I think, that there wasn't a pile of birthday presents like there is for her special day. I had to explain that as you get older you need and want less...she didn't buy it but left it at that. I also explained that we made him lots of beautiful cards and we were going to make him a special breakfast. Then she asked where his cake was....poor thing. I then had to explain that daddy wanted to go to an ice cream place with all of us instead of cake. She did seem okay with that answer (amen!). Here are a few pictures I got at the ice cream shop:

I picked a bad table to sit at because I guess the bees had already claimed the table. So poor Matt had to deal with me fussing to get my babies away from the bees. They were landing on Olivia's bib and her and I was in pure panic mode. His ice cream for some reason was melting fast while I held it and he relocated the girls and swished away the bees. I'm sure the people next to us were secretly laughing at me- but what is a mama to do when bees are walking on your baby?! I hate bees! Olivia kept cracking us up because she kept going to the ice cream poster that measured the kids to see if they were short enough of a free cone (A+ both girls were free, nice- plus Matt had a free birthday cone coupon and a coupon for 75 cents off mine, the bill was under $4). I think Olivia wanted to bring Ice Cream Guy home. Lauren was so excited to see that this ice cream place had been here all along, next to many of our favorite places to shop- I'm surprised she didn't ask why we never went there before (oh we have, just without you...hehehe...mean parents). 

We ended the day with a fun time swinging on our new swing set! Matt's parents came down the weekend before and stayed a few days. Matt and his dad built a swingset for the girls. We just wanted swings and something strong enough that we could enjoy it with them. Since it was end the season Matt got a great deal on everything except the wood and did a wonderful job planning and shopping. He's truly a wonderful husband and dad- incase I didn't mention that yet ;-) Matt's dad called it industrial quality- and they did such a beautiful job on it. The girls love it too!!

Then today was Lauren's first day of preschool!

We started with bible time- Learning about
creation and God. 

We made a play-doh mixture
and then created things with it.

Lauren's dump truck joined the fun

We're doing a little Math with cars

Olivia used some lovies - she was right
along with Lauren, too smart these girls

Art time - tracing weather symbols

Olivia just coloring along too

She's all done with day 1!

The morning went so smoothly. I was more anxious then she was, because I wanted it all to go right. One thing got mixed up but it was quickly taken care of. One of the activities was making a name tag. I had these little name tag sleeves and I have no idea where on earth I put them. You would think they were with the stuff I had all prepared, but no. So I just used index cards and foam letters instead- they didn't know the difference and had just a grand time. I was amazed at how well Olivia stayed right along with us. She was more distractible at reading time, which was on the couch, aka her personal romping grounds, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. She looked through books but wasn't much interested in the ones we were actually reading together. Lauren on the other hand was just in love with each book we read. Both girls picked two books from the school bin and I picked one. Lauren sat through all five and loved them all. One that Olivia picked was a book on CD and Lauren especial enjoyed that treat. But I would have to say that Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs got the best reaction from her. 

I was so excited to be there to share these moments with her. I was so proud of how well she did and found it interesting how she almost seemed to enjoy the routine of it (can you tell she's my daughter, ha!). The morning went fast and we all enjoyed it together. I am looking forward to the next 107 days of school!

Our character trait is compassion and I've had Hillsong - Mighty to Save stuck in my head all morning. Such a great song! So today I'll end with our memory verse:

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12