Saturday, December 31, 2011

30 weeks is bittersweet

  30 weeks pregnant seems like a big milestone somehow.  It is actually a little bittersweet, knowing this will likely be the last time I am ever pregnant.  People say things like, "I'll bet you can't wait until that baby gets here!", and thats so far from the truth!  Of course I look forward to Avery's arrival, but I don't want time to speed up, no matter how uncomfortable I get.  I want to enjoy each and every day of this pregnancy.  I am going to treasure her delivery when it happens.  It already makes me sad thinking about it all being over.  Sad to think about having a brand new baby only one last time.  All this sad and nostalgia may have you thinking, that woman isn't done having kids!  Maybe you are right, and I don't know what God holds in store for us.  However, I just don't know how we will financially swing a fourth child, so I am preparing myself for life with three kiddos only, and treasuring the last weeks in a chapter in my life that feels like it is almost over.

  I started writing this post this past Tuesday, when I actually hit the 30 week mark.  Now its New Years Eve.  Tomorrow it will be 2012, and it will be the year we welcome our baby girl Avery and my big girls will turn 3 and then 6.  I know you are supposed to make New Year's resolutions, but really I just want to make a New Year's wish.  I wish for time to slow down!  I guess I can turn that into a resolution by saying, I pledge to enjoy every fleeting moment, both the good and the bad, because I can already see it going by in the blink of an eye!!

Monday, December 19, 2011


     Seems like so many family traditions revolve around the holidays.  I have lots of fond memories of the holidays of my childhood, and strangely, I don't have many real memories at all of the "things" I got from Santa.  I vividly remember walking through the snow with my dad and brother searching for the perfect (aka hideous) cedar tree to chop down and bring home.  Later in the years, my parents bought an artificial tree and my brothers went on Christmas strike because they hated it.  My parents tried to keep the tree tradition alive by taking us to the same farm we cut our trees from so we could instead, hunt mistletoe.  We always brought home a bunch!  One year, we were all tossing rocks at this particular branch to knock down a clump and my dad said, "hold on guys, quit throwing rocks for second.  I am going to walk under here and try to get it with a stick."  Can you picture what happens next?  My dad under the tree and my sister Melissa throws a rock anyhow, and busted my dad in the head!  My goodness, if I had that on video, we could've been million $$ winners on Funniest Home Video!!  We laughed like maniacs!  Well, dad not so much, but we all laugh at the story to this day!!  I still remember the way my dad used to hang our Christmas lights outside and how I loved the way it made our porch glow.  I also remember when my cousin spilled the beans about Santa to me, and how upset I was, and how my dad comforted me by saying he would let me be his little helper elf!  I will never forget helping him put out the Christmas gifts and how special it made me feel!! 
     I try to remember this with all the hustle and bustle of shopping and sales and toy adds.  I draw on those memories when I worry about whether Santa will be able to make the kids happy this Christmas.  We will never be a family whose kids get hundreds of dollars worth of things for Christmas, but mostly because I know what they need more are family memories that will last them a lifetime, not the "it" toy this year.  I am actually a little sad that when the girls open their gifts this Christmas, I won't get any credit for all the hard work and thoughtfulness!!  Really, why should Santa get all the credit?!  That being said, I am really excited to see their faces when the open the special things they are getting this year!!  I am more excited about sharing the joy of Christmas with family and making happy memories with them that they can smile or laugh about when they are older.
     I say this last, not because it is least important, but so its the last thing you read!  As kids, we did go to church as a family, and we did know the real reason we celebrated Christmas.  I am trying very hard to impress upon Lilly and Ryley the importance of the whole season, and why we celebrate at all.  Perhaps I am making a bigger impression than I think because the other day at the local library, we took the kids to hear a reading of "Llama llama, holiday drama".  (A must read!!)  The library worker was referring to Santa and Christmas and Lilly raised her hand and said, "We have Christmas because its Jesus's birthday!"  I was so proud of her!  Of course, being non-secular, the reader just said, "oh yes, some people celebrate that."  Luckily, Lilly was too busy beaming at me and giving me a thumbs up, so she didn't notice the lady's tone!  We have been missing out on church a lot lately because Carl and I have both been working Sundays.  It makes me sad to miss church because I want the girls always to remember why it is we celebrate this wonderful holiday.  Being pregnant myself, I think it makes Christmas especially poignant.  I frequently think about Mary riding a donkey for miles and miles and giving birth in a barn and having nothing but rags to wrap her newborn baby in.  Makes for quite a picture and it makes me especially thankful that she was willing to do that so we would all have a Saviour!!  What a miracle!  I think this year we may get a birthday cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning.  It seems like it might make a good impression, and how can you go wrong with an extra reason to have cake??
    I am going to leave you with a picture of the girls that I took at the end of a cookie baking/decorating/eating session.  Every single cookie Ryley iced, she asked, "can I eat this one?"  Even if I had said no to the previous 8 cookies, she still asked anyway.  Lilly was particularly focused and intense when decorating, carefully adding each sprinkle and chocolate chip.  I honestly just sat back and watched them both decorate, loving the looks on their tiny little faces, wishing I could freeze time!! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Lifetime of Thankfulness

I didn't take part in the whole "30 days of thankfulness" that seemed to sweep through my Facebook feed this month.  This was not because I don't have 1,000,000+1 things to be thankful for, its just that I am a slacker when it comes to keeping up with such things.  It also seems to me, its important to be thankful for all my blessings year-round, not just during the month of November.  That being said, I thought I would jot a few things down that I have to be thankful for this year.

A roof over my head and a working heater to keep us warm.  A husband that works hard to pay for said home and heater, amongst other things.  For his friendship, partnership and love.  Beautiful, healthy, intelligent daughters who brighten my life.  Wonderful friends and an even better family.  A new church family where we feel like we belong and are slowly learning and growing our faith!  A love and appreciation for all the simple things in life.  A 26 week old baby girl growing in my womb.  A loyal boxer and onery kitten that round out our lives.  And more important than all of those things, I am thankful for the One who loves me enough to let me have all these things, who loves me despites all my faults and short comings.  Jesus Christ, whom I am still learning to lean on more and who makes all these things possible!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The side effects of Pregnancy

The other night, I had the T.V. on E! News, which I don't make a habit of watching.  Now I remember why.  I feel like a whale and I HATE seeing fabulous, stylish, trendy women when I feel this way!  I would prefer to assume the whole rest of the world feels the same as me!  Here comes more hatred:  someone was interviewing a black leather mini-skirt clad Hilary Duff.  Who is apparently 20 weeks or so pregnant with her first child.   She was going on and on about how fabulous she felt and how she hadn't been sick at all, hadn't gained ANY weight, yadayadayada!  I promise you this, if my husband didn't love our T.V. almost as much as he loves me, I might have thrown the remote right through it!!  Obviously, this is mostly pregnancy hormones, but seriously?!  Either she is lying, or I have done something to piss of the pregnancy gods!!  Don't get me wrong, I do love being pregnant and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, but it got me to thinking.  So I started to make a list.  All the changes I have experienced while being pregnant.  Here's what I HAD heard about being pregnant before actually experiencing it.  You hear about the "morning" sickness, which must have been named by someone who never actually experienced puking morning, noon and night.  Oh yeah, don't forget the supposed "cravings" or stretch marks.  These were things I had previously associated with pregnancy.  Now that I am halfway done with my third pregnancy, and once I started to jot down pregnancy symptoms and side effects, I couldn't write fast enough!!

  First, there was exhaustion.  Tired doesn't even being to describe this feeling.  Third time around, I sort of felt like I was in a drug induced fog for a little while.  Perhaps it was trying to keep up with two kids, who knows.  Then the sometimes predictable, sometimes fickle, nausea.  This goes hand in hand with the intense smell aversion.  ANYTHING that smelled strongly, and not necessarily bad, was disgusting.  Things that were previously pleasant smelling, now, not so much.  Food aversions, too.  Something I used to love, now sounded disgusting.  Weird dreams, anxiety, swollen hands, feet, legs.  Clothes that don't fit, and not just in the tummy.  Not everyone is blessed with a cute little beach ball belly!  Some of us get big butts, double chins, swollen boobs, etc.  Sore nipples doesn't even being to describe the changes in that area!  Stretch marks?  Not just on your tummy sometimes!  Full lucsious hair?  Maybe, but also, extra hair growth everywhere!  Don't even get me started on the "glowing skin" assumption! Does "glowing" mean acne like a teenager for the first 14 weeks or so, and now roseacea-like irritated skin that's dry and itchy later on?  Oh, the itchy skin!!  Weepy, hormonal and emotional. Vision changes.  Let's not forget what is dubbed as "pregnancy brain".  A once educated-sounding female now sounds a bit like the guy you knew in college who smoked too much pot: unable to recall any information or thoughts that were just in her head!!  And lets not even get started with the pain.  "Round ligament pain" that happens when it stretches as the uterus grows.  Achy feet.  Achy back.  Leg cramps.  Braxton Hicks.  Pelvic pain.  In the last few weeks of my first pregnancy, it started to feel like my pelvic bone was breaking into two pieces.  When I described this pain to my doctor, she just said, "well, that's sort of what's happening!"  Your pubic symphysis, which connects the two halves of your pelvis, is literally stretching wide open, getting ready for labor.  And then the ultimate pain.  Labor!  It is called this for a reason people! 
  After re-reading what I have written, I must sound like a horrible, miserable, ungrateful person.  I know plenty of ladies who either had it easier, worse, or would just feel incredibly blessed to experience the joy of pregnancy.  This is not meant to sound selfish or thankless.  I feel so blessed by God to get to experience the miracle of carrying a child.  All the negatives are momentously worth it.  It sort of makes you feel like super-woman!  Growing a living thing inside you is so cool sometimes, even if it is HARD WORK!  Pregnancy is an awesome experience, despite the good, the bad and the ugly!

Warning:  if you are one of the lucky ones like Hilary Duff, please refrain from commenting on how fabulous and perfect you felt the whole nine months.  Thank you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wholly Outnumbered!

   It has taken me a few days to get it together and post about our big ultrasound!!  Three days ago, we went for our Level II 20 week ultrasound in Lexington.  I was 20 weeks exactly.  I hardly slept the night before, though only partially because I was anxious about the upcoming ultrasound.  Carl and I took the girls with us, and they were (mostly) very well behaved and very curious about what was going on!  The technician was amazing and explained everything she was measuring and taking pictures of.  She'd say, "there's the baby's hand, or head, or kidneys, etc, etc."  Thankfully, the tech was able to get great pictures of the baby's heart and it looked completely normal!  My husband has a sister who died as a newborn from complications of a congenital heart defect.  Because it is hereditary, and despite the fact that Carl is healthy, he could still potentially pass on this defect to our children!  Since I have a decent medical background, I had huge tears rolling down my face as the technician scanned and measured the baby's heart.  I could see all four chambers and all four valves working away!  I could see the blood flow coloring going in all the appropriate places!  It was truly a relief!  The baby measured right on schedule, not effecting the due date at all!  The last pictures the technician printed for us were between the baby's legs.  She said, "I'll bet mom and dad know what those three white lines mean!  Its a girl!" 

Here is a picture of her profile!  It reminds me of
 what Lilly's looked like when I was pregnant with her!

   I have to be honest here, and I know this sort of opinion is usually scoffed at.  I was really hoping this baby was a boy.  I actually don't mind the idea of having three daughters, in fact, I am really looking forward to it!  Its just that we are pretty much done having children and it was very sad for me to think that I will never have a son.  I felt guilty for feeling disappointed in any way, because she was beautiful, healthy and perfect!  But emotions are emotions, and to say I was thrilled Tuesday afternoon wouldn't be honest.   I am just sad I may never have a mommy's little boy.  It wasn't an easy afternoon for me, but a few days and a little perspective really helps.  Also, buying her an adorable girly newborn cloth diaper really helped me bond more with the idea of having baby girl #3!!  My husband was outnumbered before, but now, wholly outnumbered!  Tonight, he was leaving to go camping with my brothers for a bachelor celebration, and my girls were both begging him to stay home and giving him teary puppy dog eyes.  They both adore him, and he said, "how could you not want three of these little adoring fans?"  He makes my heart melt!  He is, however, already planning his basement room next door to the existing man cave so he can retreat when the girls are teens and its "that time of the month"!  Also, there has been much discussion between Lilly and Ryley about whether the baby will have brown eyes or blue!  This is the tie breaker we are all going to be looking forward to! 
   After a few days of discussion, we've settled on a name.  Circumstances caused us to change our girl name choice earlier in the pregnancy.  Despite that, she was easier to name than Ryley was.  We started calling the baby this sooner than we were ready to say, this is definitely her name!  I wish I was a "surprise" kind of girl, and we could keep the name to ourselves until she was born, but I just can't do it!  Tiny and perfect, Avery Pearl will join our family sometime in February or March, and I am really looking forward to meeting her!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lilly turns five!

A little trip down memory lane to celebrate my Lilly girl's fifth birthday! 

Lillian Elaine born 10-10-06, 7 pounds,
2 ounces, 19 inches at 9:56 pm!

First birthday!

Second birthday!

Third birthday!  (Celebrating at the beach!)

Fourth birthday!  (10-10-10 first weekend in our new house!)

Fifth birthday!

It is a little sad to scroll through and really see how much she has grown and changed!  She has been such a joy in our lives and is so smart and fun to be around!  She asked today since she was 5 now, could she go to Kindergarden now?  Thankfully, I can still wait on that one!  Happy Birthday Lilly girl!  Mom loves you!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Changing my mind...

  I figure, as a pregnant women, you have a built in right to be fickle.  To change your mind whenever you want.  To love Mexican food one day, and just the thought of it the next day makes you want to vomit.  I think for all the work and strain growing a baby can cause, the right to change your mind should be a given! 
  Also, when you consider all the plans and decisions that a baby brings into the picture, it makes "making up your mind" a very difficult task sometimes.  I don't typically find myself to be a wishy-washy person.  There are just a few things I am finding it hard to decide about, and others decisions that I don't have as much control over.  Or that I will have to wait much longer to decide what is right.  I HATE being in limbo!  I like making a plan!  I don't mind adapting or changing a plan, and I find myself pretty flexible when it comes to these things.
  Seems like the rantings of a hormonal preggo lady?  Guess you are right.  Its just a few things have been weighing on my mind and there is just no answer in sight.  The biggest decision (or choice) I am facing is about the delivery of the baby.  When I was pregnant the first time, I only just worried about what delivery would be like, but not really how different my expectations would be from reality. 
  A bit of a background of my baby deliveries:  at 38 weeks 1 day with Lilly, I started "leaking" fluid in the afternoon.  By the next morning, still leaking but not in labor I went to the hospital.  I was strep B positive, so they induced labor with pitocin.  I started off barely a fingertip dilated.  After 8 hours I was only 2 cm and the pitocin was awful!  They just kept bumping it up and up and up and it was excruciating, and to top it off, not doing anything!!  8 hours after that, I got an epidural, I was only 4 cm, exhausted and ready to give up.  They let me labor a while longer, which didn't change my cervix, and because I had ruptured so long ago, they thought it best to deliver by c-section.  I gave in and in less than an hour, we had Lilly!  The recovery was painful, but I didn't know any different. I think I had a touch of post partum depression, which makes for not-so-good memories of those first few days and weeks.  You know what they say, "if I knew then what I know now......"
  With Ryley, I was determined to have a VBAC, a vaginal birth after cesarean.  It is quite common, very safe, and recommend by the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AACOG) as the first choice for delivery of moms who are a "good candidate".  I qualified as a good candidate and did not want a repeat c-section!!  When I went into labor on my own at home at 38 weeks exactly, I was thrilled!  No pitocin for me!  (Besides, most docs won't induce a VBAC, it increases risk for uterine rupture)  I labored at home, then at work and then at home again for 12 hours.  It started slow and small, like it should and steadily got harder, longer and closer together.  When the contractions were only about 5 minutes apart, Carl took me to the hospital!  I was so stoked!  I was doing it!  I was gonna finally have what I wanted, a vaginal birth!  HAHA, NOT! says Ryley!  After I was settled in at the hospital, my water had broken by this time, the nurse doing the first internal exam says, "hmmmm.  I don't think that's a head down there."  EXCUSE ME?!  What do you mean not a head?!  In fact, when Dr. Horn came in with ultrasound, he confirmed her suspicions that Ryley was breech, her head up in my ribs!  Since I had had a prior c-section, I was not a candidate for a version, which is an attempt to manually turn the baby from the outside.  So, I was prepped for and wheeled into surgery, and at 3:56 am my stubborn Ryley girl was born butt first!  I have to be honest here.  I had a spinal block and not an epidural this time, and after surgery I could feel my legs really quickly.  The recovery from the second c-section was a breeze, even if I know it was more painful than the average vaginal birth.  I relished in my new baby daughter but a part of me was (is still) really frustrated!  I know it was not any one's "fault"  but I still feel kind of cheated!
  Every woman's body is built to have babies.  One hundred years ago, there weren't these extreme medical interventions.  I appreciate what medicine and technology brings to the table as far as safety, the health of the baby and my own health are concerned but I feel left out of what could be such a normal, natural thing.  Even though the AACOG still recommends VBAC as a safe alternative to elective c-sections, even after two surgeries, it is next to impossible to find a doctor that thinks a VBA2C (vag birth after two cesareans) is a good idea.  Indeed, risk for mom and baby does increase with each c-section performed.  But the risk of elective major abdominal surgery looms large too!  The risks for both are very real, and very different.  When meeting with my doctors, even early on, not one of them thinks a VBA2C is a good idea.  They all recommend elective c-sections at 39 weeks.  It also seems like they want to try to scare you with the risks that trying for a vaginal birth brings, but no one wants to talk about the risks for major abdominal surgery.  I definitely do not want to labor again, be disappointed again, and end up with a c-section again.  In that aspect, it might be nice just to schedule it and not have to ever labor.  But a HUGE part of me wants the whole natural experience.  Doing it the way nature intended.  Dr. Hess says she will support me as long as they are convinced baby is small (how are they gonna know that?!) and that I don't get too close to my due date.  At which time, she will insist I schedule a c-section.  There is ONE doctor in all of Kentucky that will work with, and recommends VBA2Cs.  He is one hour away, and does not take my insurance, so that is out of the question. 
  As I re-read this, I realize that it has turned into quite a long rant.  I didn't mean for it to turn out quite so long to read, and thanks to anyone who made it all the way to the end of my frustrating story.  So, despite it all, I am left to wait and see.  Wait and see if baby is "big or small"?  will I go into labor naturally?  early enough?  Can my body do it? but what about, can it do it in a way that allows the docs to let me have my way?  We all just want whats best for baby, but its not going to be easy to stand up to a doctor who also claims to have baby's best interest in mind.  But they are licensed professionals.  I am just a mom.  What do I know???

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cloth diapering

    Recently, I was in line at Babys R Us and a young couple, obviously expecting a child, was checking out in front of me.  They had a tower of disposable diapers in their cart, and their total came to well over $300!  A small part of me wanted to scream at them, "you should look into cloth!  You could nearly diaper your child from birth to potty training with that much money!"  So that price is a small exageration, but it really does ring true!  You can diaper your baby from birth through potty training for a fraction of the cost of disposables!  If for no other reason, you should look into it!  Help me spread the word!  Everyone knows someone who has a baby!  For me, it has become a small obsession to shop for, research, and spread the good word about cloth diapering.  But I have to be honest, it wasn't always this way for me.  I used disposable diapers for Lilly and never batted an eye.  Even when battling rashes that were obviously caused by a particular brand of diaper, I never even considered cloth.  Why?  Because I was uninformed.  I am convinced if two things changed, everyone (or nearly everyone) would be using modern cloth diapers.  1)  Information.  If people were informed about the whats, why's and hows of cloth, everyone would choose cloth over disposable.  and  2) Accessibility.  A friend offered to let me borrow a few cloth diapers and try them out, which convinced me to get some of my own.  And for the most part, cloth is only purchasable online.  This makes it difficult to convince someone to try it because its hard to think of making an investment without trying it out in person first.
There are so many reasons why I love cloth, and I think at least one of each of those reasons can speak to every mom.  They are environmentally friendly, cost effective, better for baby and stinkin' adorable (pun intended)!  For me, cost was a huge plus.  I started cloth diapering Ryley at 14 months old and my diapers still paid for themselves in about 5 months time.  She still uses cloth at night, and occasionally during naps, so it has been a huge savings for us.  Now, I have a stash of cloth diapers ready to go for baby #3!  I won't lie, I will probably buy a few new diapers after we find out the sex of the baby, but I know I will be saving a ton in money and for mother earth.  I know lots of moms are skeptical about cloth, and I was too, but it has been one of the best choices and changes I have made as a parent.  I would LOVE to answer anyone's questions about switching to cloth, and remember, its not too late even if you don't have a small baby! 

   Here are some cool links to check out with more info about cloth.  This first link is a blog post about the cost savings of cloth diapering.

This is a three part series put together by my friend Krista at The Playdate Crashers.  It REALLY breaks down some of the questions, concerns, costs, etc about cloth!  Krista was the "friend" I mentioned earlier in the post that let me borrow a few cloth diapers to give it a try!  I will always be thankful to her for that!

This blog is titled "Why I went cloth, and you can too!"  Very relatable!

  Now for some pictures!  Here are some adorable shots of my Ryley bug in her prized diapers! 

(Raspberry Knickernappies pocket diaper)

(Blue Stars Kawaii pocket diaper)

And here are my baby nephews Jude to the left, Pax to the right.  Jude is modeling a gray gdiaper and Pax a brown Fuzzibunz pocket diaper.

Last but not least, my adored "stash" of diapers pretty-ing up my laundry line!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Introducing Jasmine!

Back in June, our family cat Frankie was killed by a neighbors car.  Our girls were devastated.  He was a stray cat that was so sweet and lovable! 

Lilly had been asking for a kitten for a while now, but our excuse had always been, "but we already have a cat!"  Well, now that excuse didn't hold water, and shortly after Frankie died, they started asking for a kitten.  A friend at work told us she knew someone that had kittens and was getting them all fixed, and it would be free to us!  An excellent situation!  We agreed and the girls even went out to her farm to visit and pick out a kitten.  Lilly debated back and forth the merits of naming it Ariel for a girl or Sebastian for a boy.  The kittens were still too small to come home with us, so we had to wait.  A few weeks later, my friend came to me upset.  The lady was not going to give her kittens away after all, she had decided just to keep them! :(  Lilly was devastated when I told her, she cried and cried about her long lost stripey kitten. 
Fast forward to one week ago today.  A knock on our door, a neighbor lady with a tiny stripey kitten in a carrier.  City workers found it in the sewer drain being worked on near our home.  She thought the kitten might be ours.  Lilly squealed!  "My stripey kittie!!" It wasn't ours before, but now she is!  Lilly changed her mind about the name and decided on Jasmine, and we have been calling her Jazzy!  I feel like I scold the girls constantly to put her down, Ryley especially!  But Jazzy is such a sweet smart girl, tolerant of all the handling, also she's really getting used to the dog and already filling out some!  She has been a great addition to the family!  Best part?  Since I am pregnant someone else (aka Carl) has to do the litter box cleaning!
Here our some pictures of our little addition Jasmine!
Lilly has her playing dress up already!

Curious about bathtime!  She hopped up there herself!

So cute!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

a fun filled MOPS weekend!

  MOPS.  Are you familiar?  And no, its not a handy (mostly unused in my house) cleaning utensil.  It stands for Mothers of Preschoolers.  It has become so close to my heart.  I joined MOPS at my sister in law's urging shortly after Lilly was born.  For me, it started as a morning off to get together with other moms, eat breakfast and chit chat.  However, the more I attended MOPS meetings, the more I loved it!  What a need MOPS filled in my life.  It's so isolating sometimes to have a small child and to stay at home with it all day--and for me, especially worse because it was winter time.  I recall mourning on days when MOPS was cancelled because of inclement weather!  Slowly, I took small leadership roles in my group.  Slowly, I gleaned more and more growth from the experience, both as a mother, a women and as a Christian.  Its a Christian based organization, but our group strives to make all moms feel welcome, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations.    Eventually, I accepted the role as coordinator of the group, and now with a great team of ladies behind me, we plan and prepare our monthly meetings.  From the outside it may seem like we are just a sort of moms group who get together and hang out once a month.  But we are so much more and I am proud of that!
   This past weekend reiterated to me how big and powerful MOPS can be.  It is an International organization, with more than 4000+ groups worldwide, effecting 14.3 million moms in over 30 countries (and those are 2009 statistics)!  Last night, I returned home from a fast-paced, fun-filled weekend of fellowship at the MOPS Int. Convention in Nashville, TN.  We stayed at the Opryland Hotel and spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday at workshops, concerts, hearing speakers and worshipping the Lord.  I grew up in the Catholic Church where loud "amens" never happened.  I now attend a fairly small church and let me tell you, there is NOTHING like worshipping with 3,000 women to live Christian music!  Its a totally new experience for me and there is nothing like it!  I made new friends and cemented existing friendships.  I laughed like I haven't laughed in sometime.  We all SLEPT IN one morning-it was 9:30 am CST (which is 10:30 am my time!!)  We walked like crazy, learned so much my brain was overflowing, and was recharged spiritually to the brim!!
  MOPS may not be as earth-shattering for you as it is for me.  However, what mom can't benefit from the friendship of other moms?  I guarantee you, there is a MOPS group near you!  You can check out and search for a group near you!  And don't think if you are a working mom, or don't have preschoolers anymore that you are left out!  There are now groups for mothers of school-aged kids called MOMSnext and are geared specifically towards those needs.  There are also groups that meet at night, during the day, and on the weekend.  There is a group for you! 
  This years MOPS theme verse is "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold, loving and sensible." 2 Timothy 1:7  All the discussion this weekend revolving around this theme verse reminds me that everyone has different gifts and talents, but they all deserve to be cultivated, cherished and shared!  So I encourage everyone to get out there, find yourself a MOPS group and get to sharing already!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

And baby makes five!

  There is nothing quite like seeing your wiggly little baby on a big T.V. screen.  It really helps make it more real for me.  I know I am pregnant, we are making plans and getting prepared but I can't say it has really felt real yet.  Seeing a moving living heart beating thing that you and your partner created, that is a powerful thing.  The baby measured right on schedule and my due date is officially March 6, 2012.  Since I have had two previous c-sections, Dr. Saxena insists I schedule a c-section this time.  I trust her and I am going to go with this plan, but I can honestly say I am a little disappointed.  I really wanted, at least one time, a different birth experience.  I hoped and prayed for a VBAC with Ryley but she stubbornly decided to be breech at the last minute (after 12 hours of labor thank you!).  I guess its just not in the cards for me, and after seeing a good friend go through a torturous delivery with uterine rupture, I am just going to have to be okay with scheduled c-section.  The one nice thing may be getting to pick the baby's birthday.  Both the girls were born at 38 weeks, so we may not make it to 39.  BUT if we do, 39 weeks puts me on or around Leap Year Day Feb. 29.  Not sure how I feel about that.  Could be weird, could be cool, any thoughts?  Also, since Ryley is already a February baby, I've thought about waiting till March 1st so they'd have different birth months.  There's still plenty of time for all that, I was just so glad to see our little gummy bear looking baby on the screen!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Out of Order

  Recently I was reading on my friend Krista's blog  a little debate among moms.  When is your child old enough to use a public restroom by his/herself?  There was also talk about genders and age-appropriateness, but we can talk about that at a later date.  My question is, when DO you know if your kiddo is old enough?  Obviously all kids are different, and each situation unique.  I am also convinced I have seen the inside of every.single.public.restroom in Frankfort, and lots more on our well traveled routes.  This is surely an integral part of successful potty training, and Ryley has done tremendously well.  Part of that success is Mommy's willingness to stop whatever whenever and take her to the restroom.   Two year olds cannot hold it for long. 
  It is inevitable, when at a restaurant, without another adult, when our butts hit the seat, one kid will say, "I needa go potty!"  Usually it is Ryley.  Tonight, it was Lilly.  In a place like Walmart with huge bathrooms and lots of people, I would never consider letting her go alone.  In Taco Bell, with no other patrons, in a two stall bathroom, I thought I would let her give it a shot.  So I waited patiently at our table with a direct line of site to the bathroom door.  A few minutes ticked by.  A lady went into the bathroom.  The same lady came out of the bathroom.  I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to check on her.  I opened the bathroom door just in time to see Lilly come strolling out of a stall with a huge sign on it marked OUT OF ORDER.  Headslap!!!!  Seriously?!  She can "read" enough to know men's from women's and is recognizing all her letters and sounds but obviously could not read the sign!! So, lesson learned.  If your child is not old enough to read potential "out of order" signs, she is probably not old enough to go to a public restroom alone.

Womesn Restroom with ISA

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


  My in-laws live about two hours away from us.  Carl is an only child, so our kids will be my in-laws only grand kids.  I come from a family of four kids, and my parents have already been blessed with four grand babies, and another on the way.  Two of their kids are still waiting to be married and start their families and add big numbers to our already big and blessed family.  I struggle to remember that though all grandchildren are cherished, but to my in-laws, my gals are IT!  Literally and figuratively.  Sometimes its a struggle when I feel the seemingly constant need I feel to say no to something that a child asks of a grandparent.  My in-laws are wonderful special people and have always (and I am sure will continue to) honor our wishes as parents.  They aren't the go-behind-the-back types in any way.  But I sometimes find myself giving in to an otherwise definite no situation. 
  That being said, this past weekend we spent some time at their house attending a wedding of Carl's high school pal.  As the weekend was coming to a close, Lilly insisted that she should spend, "five days at Grandpa's house."  A family friend, 11 years old, was staying too, and she would have someone to play with all week long.  Grandpa is home during the day, so there is really no reason to say no here.  I knew Grandpa and Grandma would love some special one-on-one Lilly time.  Aside from my insides screaming,  "but she's just a baby!!  My baby!  I am not ready and she is not ready and I don't want her to stay.  But I am going to let her and I am not going to like it!"  We drive away with only Ryley in the backseat, Lilly waving at me from the porch as we drive away.  I cried all the way to the interstate and was teary half way home.  Even Carl was teary, it just didn't feel right without her with us. 
  Fast forward to today, Tuesday (less than two days later).  A teary Lilly on the phone saying, "I miss you mommy I wanna come home!".  We were going to meet halfway on Friday and pick her up, but instead the exchanged happened today instead.  Mostly, I am relieved my little girl is home, back where things feel right.  I should be disappointed she didn't make it all week long like a big girl, but secretly (or not so secretly, now) I am glad she couldn't do it.  I am glad my baby missed me.  Its a nice reminder that I still mean something to her, she still needs me.  These moments feel so fleeting, it feels like she needs me less and less every day.  Maybe that's why its an appealing thought to keep having babies, so I will always feel needed.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Ahhh bedtime.  My favorite time of the day!  Don't get me wrong, I love my girls so much.  If I didn't I wouldn't have had them, and wouldn't choose to be a (mostly) SAHM.  I can't venture to say if all moms feel this way, but I imagine most do.  I love the way they smell fresh and clean from a bath.  I love their attentive little faces as we read a book (or two, or five, like tonight).  I love their sleepy little eyes and the way they have the same requests every night.  Rock me this way.  Sing this song to me.  Butterfly kisses.  Scratch my back.  Drink of water?  Some days this routine feels so monotonous I could scream.  However, when I hold them or rub their hair before they fall asleep, its a reminder of how fleeting this time is.  This sounds so cliche, but I feel like it was only yesterday that we were bringing Lilly home from the hospital.  So I know it will be another blink of the eye and she'll think she won't need me anymore and will be embarrassed by me.  They'll both be ganging up on me and saying stuff like, "but MOM, its not fair!"  "Why can't I stay out past curfew?!" 
So for now at least, the house is all quiet, signaling the end of another day.  Sigh....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The infamous lovey.

   For what its worth, no one at our house has a lovey.  They have names for heaven's sake!  You should address them properly, lest you be harshly corrected by a four year old.  We have what seems like hundreds of stuffed animals and dolls lying around the house.  I wonder what it is about a certain one that makes it so special in a childs eyes?  Why do these few particular animals need to be hidden when the girls older cousin Payton comes for a visit? 

   Lilly has had Georgie the giraffe since she was about 18 months old.  We had stopped at a rest area on a trip to Paducah and she spotted this stuffed giraffe.  Being the frugal bunch that we are, we told her no.  She must have been destined to have that giraffe because we found one identical at the local Paducah thrift store that very same weekend (it was only $2!).  I always assumed Georgie was a boy.  More recently, Lilly informed me it was a nickname and SHE was actually called Georgina.  Duh, mom!  Lilly also treasures a little stuffed doggie called PeeWee.  She also has a blankie she calls silkie that is a yard sale recieving blankie that I cut in two long ago so I could wash one half at a time.  She is old enough not to NEED these items anymore, but she still treasures them like gold.

  Ryley got a stuffed pig for her first Christmas, his name is Pig William (like Olivia's brother).  She also has a little dog called Pearl thats a pink poodle, but her favor has moved of late to a little Ty beenie baby dog called Tracker "he's a basket hound"  she'll say.  She, too has a little silkie taggie blanket I made for her before she was born.  She likes to rub on it as she goes to sleep. 
  I can only imagine what our house is going to be like as we add to our brood, and thus add to the piles of toys and clothes.  But what I can't imagine is how its going to feel years from now, coming across one of these once cherished animals and remembering my babies when they were young.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The game changer.

There aren't too many single words that can change your whole world quite like "pregnant".  Don't get me wrong, we were definitely "trying" to get pregnant.  In fact, we had been for some time.  I have been diagnosed with something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS for short.  I got diagnosed when we were having trouble getting pregnant with our first.  For me, a medicine to help correct my insulin resistance also helped to correct my hormone imbalance and we got pregnant quickly.  The second time around, it was even quicker!  So, I hoped the third time around would be just as easy.  Wrong.  I know lots of ladies struggle with infertility and 8 months doesn't seem like a long time, but it sure felt like it. 

If you have ever seen this screen in your own home, or a more traditional "2 pink lines" test, your brain has ridden the proverbial emotional roller coaster.  Even now, more than a week later, I am still in shock and continue to have all manner of emotions ranging from thrilled and excited, to terrified and worried.  "What are we doing?! We're gonna be outnumbered!"  mixed with "We're completing our family! and "We're so blessed!!"  Also, because we have two daughters, there have already been loads of comments like, "don't you want a boy now?" or "Are you hoping for a boy?".  As much as I would like a son, sometimes I resent the comments, even though I never let on.  Am I supposed to feel like somethings missing because I only have girls?  Well, I won't be upset either way this time.  Maybe God just realizes how good we are at raising intelligent, beautiful sweetheart young ladies!  I guess only time will tell!

Monday, July 4, 2011


I figure, first things, first.   I should introduce my important "peeps".  As most moms would agree, I do not put myself first in my life.  Everyone else's needs always seem to come first on a daily basis.  Its something I am always trying to work on, making time for me.  So, I'll start with me.  I realized as I surfed through the billions of pictures I have saved on my computer, I have very few of just me.  The one's I do have a me, obviously I took myself.  You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it  yourself! 

Second, the love of my life.  Carl and I met in a class in college in January 2002.  He was so dang cute and he sat right next to me every Friday morning.  If you went to Eastern Kentucky University between 1999-2003, you know that Thursday nights were a big, fun night!  Friday morning 8 am classes were the pits.  I am not sure I was ever showered or presentable in that class, but somehow I caught his eye.  He stumbled upon me one afternoon in April working the drivethru at Arby's, and as they say, the rest, is history!  We married April 2004 and I am more in love with him every day!

Next, my oldest daughter Lilly (or as she would tell you Lillian Elaine).  She is four, almost five, and its unbelievable how fast these past few years have gone by.  She reminds me so much of myself, not just in looks but in personality and spirit.  She's a soft-hearted soul, a people pleaser and a real leader (a.k.a. bossy).  She's very sensitve and gets her feelings hurt easily.  She's a budding ballerina, and she includes dancer in her extensive list of things she wants to be when she grows up, including chef, horse rider, veterinarian and princess.  I'm glad she was born just after the kindergarden cutoff, or she would be off to school this fall. Momma's not ready for that yet, and I'm glad I get to keep her home with me one more year!

Last, but not least, my daughter Ryley.  She was two in February and is as feisty as her sister is sweet.  They have a few commonalities when it comes to looks and personality, but they are so different!  Ryley is a real sweetheart when she wants to be, but she can be a firecracker!  She's more mischevious than her sister ever was, she's curious, adventurous and scared of nothing (except strangers, of course).  She is so easy to love with a big wide smile and sparkling blue eyes.  I can never stay mad at her very long!  She reminds me so much of her dad, and that makes me love her even more!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Into the trenches!

   I love my journal.  It's an actual bound notebook full of lined pages that I started when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first daughter, Lilly.  It was February 2006.  I kept that journal religiously throughout the entire pregnancy, and into her first years.  Slowly, the entries became fewer and further between.  I started having to jot down dates and notes on scrap paper, and eventually transfer them to the journal.  I continued to journal through the birth of our second daughter, the purchase of our second home, and lots of highs and lows in between.  I love to write down funny little things the girls say or do, describe things that we did or places we went.  Its a nice compilation of feelings and thoughts, notes to my daughters.  Anyone have a grandparent that has a family bible that has births and deaths written on the inside cover?  (Maybe its a country thing?)  My journal has been this for me, a place to see who's babies have entered the world, and losses our family has suffered.  You can read about the daily frustrations and joys of my motherhood experience. 
   So why should I put this journaling skill into a blog, you might ask?  I can't really explain it.  I am little addicted to the internet.  Sometimes, it gives me a feeling of being connected to other moms, other people like me, even if they are perfect stranger's.  Will I give up my pen and paper journal?  No way.  Its so important to me, I really should keep it in a fireproof safe.  I consider my journal a gift to my girls, something for them to some day read and enjoy.  This blog, it's a gift to myself.  Will anyone else read it?  I don't care.  Will they like it?  I don't care about that either.  But I have something to share with myself and maybe the world, and this seems like a nice place start.
  So, welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in the mommyhood trenches as much as I enjoy experiencing (and living) them!