Thursday, February 28, 2013

And Baby Makes...5.

Whew! This is NOT a post I thought I would be writing for quite a while.

Do you remember when I wrote that one of my New Year's goals was to get pregnant this year? In all honesty, in my mind, I simply put that down because I thought it  would be nice by the end of the year; as in, we wouldn't mind getting pregnant in November or December and have a baby sometime next Fall.

I thought it would just be nice to have it be a surprise this time instead of desperate joy. I wasn't actually anywhere close to even thinking about a baby!

God has an interesting sense of humor. 

After about two weeks at the end of January of feeling "off", I began to way...

Our only experience with pregnancy has truly been one of waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I have peed on more sticks than I can count while trying to get pregnant with Bella and Evelyn. I have convinced myself that we were pregnant only to find out that we weren't. I have cried and prayed and waited.

Since Evelyn's birth, though, I have been firmly entrenched in "baby" mode. After ten months, I'm still loving my little baby. And when those lines turned positive, all I could think was, "I'm not ready. I don't want this yet. I'm not ready."

And.......I know. I know millions of women have babies close together. Sometimes much closer. Many times intentionally. I know babies are an incredible blessing and when the time comes (and much sooner), I'll be overjoyed. All I can say at this exact moment is, I'm not ready yet. And I'm trying to be okay with that feeling instead of feeling overwhelmingly guilty.

Steve, by the way, has been amazing! (The man's a rock!) I was strangely nervous to tell him because he's about to change jobs and I was nervous about stressing him out. But when I told him, he was borderline giddy. What is it about men that they feel a fantastic sense of pride in getting their woman pregnant? (Sorry, mom.) He was so happy, he was cracking me up.

And for the record, I'm getting more ready. By today, I've had about a week and a half to process. Our parents know. Our close family and a few friends know. And we've been to the doctor to confirm how far along I am. (Only about 5 weeks.) So yeah, little by little, I'm getting more excited. I'm sure that by the time we go "public" (you know, besides talking about it on the internet), I'll be even more ready.

So...much sooner than we thought, Baby #3 will be joining us around November 2nd. Steve would like this final baby to be a boy, but I can honestly say, I have no expectations at this moment. Knowing me, I'm sure that will change.

When one stick just isn't enough...and really, when is one stick ever enough?

I wrote "+1" on my belly and showed Steve. There are much cooler ways to share the news, but I am not the girl who will ever have enough patience for those ideas. Plus, I was trying to not cry over the initial shock, so simple seemed like the way to go.

Bella's "big sister" t-shirt that we put her in to tell our family that we were expecting Evelyn. We put it on Evelyn to tell Steve's sisters about Baby #3. It's so big on her!

Pray for some of my crazy fears. I'm nervous for Bella to see me go through morning sickness again so soon without thinking I'm dying. I'm nervous to have a barely-toddler who won't understand why Mama has a new baby. I'm nervous what the hormones and emotions will do to me while Steve is traveling for his new job. And sometime very soon, we will definitely need to start saving for a minivan.

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

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

"And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"I Love Those Shoes!"

Things that have come out of Bella's mouth and made me chuckle the last few weeks:

Watching a DSW shoe commercial where girls were dancing on top of a piano in brightly-colored shoes, Bella gushed, "Mama! I loooooooove those shoes! Oooo! I loooooooove those pink shoes!"

"Mama, my bottom has crackers in it" (Whaaaaaaat?)

"I can't go yuckies right now because my yuckies are at the dinner table."

"Would you carry me up the stairs? My leg is trying to broke because I have a boo-boo."

"Mama, I told Evelyn, yes, she can pull my hair. It's okay because I said 'yes'."

Looking at Mel's green earrings..."Mel, I LOVE your eag-rings!"

Explaining about one of her school friends at the dinner table..."Mama, who's my friend with the green shirt with the pockets?" Since, of course, I had no idea who was wearing a green shirt today, I started listing everyone in her class until I came to Jack-Colton. Her eyes lit up and she looked at Mel. "Yeah! My friend, Tack Tolkien!"

Bella has been struggling with nightmares lately. (Mostly about sharks coming into her room; so sad, right?) Steve and I talked to her and told her that if she wakes up scared, she can pray to Jesus and ask him to protect her and help her not be scared. She's told us multiple times since then that she has prayed to Jesus at night and He has helped her. So sweet! I love seeing what her mind processes and how she retains information. It has made me much more careful about how I answer her questions instead of giving her a distracted "mm-hhhmm",

Reading my Bible on the couch, Bella asked if I would read out loud. I started to read about Jesus being tempted in the desert. The line was, "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert..." Bella interrupted me with a gasp and said, "Was he a HORSE!?!" (One of Bella's favorite movie is Disney's Spirit about a horse and she was convinced that the Holy Spirit was a horse who talked to Jesus. It was awesome.) And in all honesty, I had absolutely no idea how to explain the Holy Spirit to a three-year old. By the time I was fumbling around for a simple explanation, she was already on to something else.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Catching Up With Pictures

Has it really been a week since I last posted? When life gets busy around here, the blog takes a hit. Around here, most of our "busy" has been mental. Lots of talks and prayers about jobs, futures, plans, changes, etc. 

More on all of that later...

So instead of getting too wordy, we'll just share some pictures of all the fun, in-between moments we've had.

We puppy-sat Lucie for one night this past week. Bella loved her, but Evelyn was definitely confused by the wet, hairy thing in our house. (You think she'd be used to Bella!) Just to prove we are really good parents, I put dabs of peanut butter on Evelyn's cheeks so Lucie would follow her around and lick her. We're weird, but it was really cute! I love this picture because it looks like Evelyn is photo-bombing Lucie!

Bella wasn't thrilled that I was taking her picture, but she actually asked to hold Evelyn! (She's been doing that more lately.) This was during their recovery week, so we were all cuddled up in PJ's.

I love catching pictures of them looking at each other. Evelyn just adores Bella!

My first attempt at the Valentine's-craft-that-never-was. My idea was for the kids to take a picture in front of this tree, but Steve said my original tree was too creepy.

My second attempt. I loved it! (I'm so humble.) I was so excited to see how the mom in our class (who is a professional photographer) would be able to turn this backdrop into super-cute pictures, but sickness kept us from delivering it to school on time. 

My sickie model. Bella still talks about "her party", so I'm hoping we can stall her until her birthday. 

Some much-needed bonding time with Daddy. I love how much the girls light up when Steve comes home. Evelyn starts squealing and smiling, and Bella can't wait to share with him what she did that day.

What's not to love about reading some books in a tent shaped like a tree? Bella loves it!

Since we couldn't bring the backdrop to school, we dressed the girls up in their Valentine's outfits from Grandma and took our own pictures!

Both smiling at the same time! Wahoo!

It's just too cute to handle!

Chubby and cute. I'm not sure why I needed this many pictures of the girls, but it was just too cute to pass up.

Sickness works in Daddy's favor. Bella becomes much more willing to lay still while we snuggle with her.

She devoured a chocolate-covered cookie and got a little messy.

Peek-a-boo! Evelyn is getting a top tooth!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life Happens. Just Keep Breathing.

I did not do a great job of taking my own advice this week. Kind of like when I had great intentions of staying calm and quiet throughout my labor, but then contractions snuck up on me so quick and intense that I groaned and wailed for most of the time. Well, I would say "groaned"; I'm pretty sure Steve would say "wailed."

 It's hard to communicate the stress of the week now that it's mostly passed. Bella's been sick since last Thursday and it was a rough week. I can say this calmly now, because I'm starting to act like a normal person again. She wasn't deathly ill or anything, but the most she's ever been sick was maybe a longer cold or an ear infection. This is the first time that Bella's had a fever that lasted this long, coupled with a cough and a lot of sleepless nights and early hours. It just started to drain on all of us. 

I swung back and forth between feeling crazy parent-guilt and wanting to put Bella out on the curb. We were stuck inside the house with cold weather and just when it seemed like she was feeling better, her fever would come back. Evelyn started coughing on Wednesday, which made us nervous, too.

I was praying like crazy on Wednesday, and that helped me stay calm and feel like a better mom, too, but Thursday was our "coup de grace". We had plans all week for Bella to travel down to Florida with Mel for the weekend and they were planning on leaving Thursday night. It was also Bella's Valentine's Day party at preschool, and I had been praying she would be healthy enough to participate.

Thursday morning she woke up with a 103 fever and her cough sounding worse. I finally called the pediatrician, and the nurse said to come in and let them test for strep. I had to call the other moms that were planning the Valentine's party with me and tell them that the craft I was supposed to bring would not be there. Then, I couldn't find my keys. Seriously, I couldn't find my keys! Two girls, completely dressed, 30 minutes until we had to be at our last-minute doctor's appointment, and I was tearing the house apart looking for my keys. It was one of those moments when I thought, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" We weren't going to make it to the party, Bella's trip to Florida was cancelled, and I was so disappointed and frazzled!

Steve was already downtown, so I had to call Mel and beg her to come home from work and drive us to the doctor. (I owe you, Mel!!!) We spent 4 hours between the pediatrician's and the lab, getting a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. The x-ray came back clear and ironically, Bella seemed to finally be improving as the day went on. We still cancelled Florida and the party, but Steve was able to take a half day and meet me at the lab to take Evelyn home for a nap while I stayed with Bella for her x-ray. The rest of the day was pretty calm, and Steve made me an AMAZING dinner for Valentine's Day! 

We put the girls to bed a little early and started dinner prep. Steve made filets with yummy toppings (mine was a thin slice of fresh mozzarella; his was mushrooms), steamed green beans, slices of tomato and mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar, parmesan mashed potatoes, and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. 

Dinner was so good and so relaxing, and it made the whole week just melt away. We got to talk and be calm and not think about sick babies. We had forgotten to buy each other Valentine's cards, so we decided to write a little note on post-it notes. Welp. We forgot to do that, too. We ended up toasting each other with our champagne served in juice glasses. ('Cause we're super classy like that.)

The weekend has been a lot better, and Steve has been an incredible help! We've chilled and let the girls rest. They still have a little bit of a cough, but the fever has been gone for a solid 48 hours. Thank you, God! Steve has off on Monday, so we're looking forward to some good, family time. We're crossing our fingers and planning on taking the girls to church tomorrow morning. Can't wait to interact with some adults!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making Healthier Choices

In a perfect world, I would buy organic fruit, milk, and meat for my family. Heck, in a really perfect world, I would buy organic everything! Since the last time I checked, Aldi doesn't have an organic section, I've been doing my best to find other ways to make healthier food options for us as a family.

To be perfectly honest, I love McDonald's. And Dunkin' Donuts. And Pizza Hut. Ooo! And Chinese take-out! My initial motivation to start cooking more and making things from scratch was simply that I thought it was cool. (I know, kind of pathetic.) I liked all of my mason jars lined up on my shelves with ingredients like oats, flax seed, and  wheat germ. But it was very intimidating to actually use these ingredients in ways my family (cough...Steve...cough) would actually eat. 

I'm a firm believer that if no one thinks it tastes good, it's not a habit that will last, but most of the websites I checked out were all-or-nothing. They made me feel like I was poisoning my family if we didn't eat 100% homemade, from-scratch, organic, farm-raised foods at all times. 

Here are my two favorite resources:
  • Online: 100 Days Of Real Food ( This is going to sound like a weird promo to a very small audience, but I love this website! She eats way more organic and healthy options than I do, but this woman has educated me greatly on how to take baby steps towards healthier eating. If I can only change a few things at a time, I still feel like I'm doing good! Plus, she has a bajillion recipes for kids' lunches, easy breakfasts, all that jazz, and she writes everything in a very laid-back, down-to-earth, and non-judgmental way. I have a serious crush on this website. 

  • Book: The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making. This cookbook fits in the category of "the woman I would like to be" while at the same time, inspiring me to make changes where I can. You have to know your own limits and what you actually want to do, because she includes everything from making your own oatmeal (Score!) to making your own ricotta cheese. (Something I care 0% about.) Oh, and she also lives on a pretty large farm, so I've learned to take things with a grain of salt. So far, I've made my own crackers (I didn't roll them thin enough and they came out like really dry biscuits.), granola, and I'm dying to make my own peanut butter. For me, cost is a huge factor, so I'm looking for things that we eat a lot of that I can make myself for less money, while also being a little healthier in the process. 
I still drink coke and buy fries. I still forget to plan ahead and grab donuts for Bella and I on the way to preschool. (You're welcome, Ms. Cheryl!)  But, baby steps! Steve now takes almonds in his lunch instead of Cheetos, and he keeps carrots and hummus (Homemade! What up!) at his desk in case he's starving. I cook dinner 5 nights a week. It may be macaroni and cheese or pizza, but it's homemade and 80% from scratch. 
I still really struggle with breakfast options for Bella and I on preschool mornings, especially foods that won't make a mess in the car! (Because, you know, sugar donuts are so clean.) But I've gotten better and better at planning ahead and finding options Bella will actually eat. I also (finally!) learned that if I offer the healthy option multiple times and don't have anything else for her, she'll eventually eat it (about 70% of the time).

So, there you go! It's not perfect, but it's working for us! My goal is to get more comfortable with making things from scratch like peanut butter, salad dressings, and bread. I'd like to be able to do it without feeling like it's such a big process. I think my TV infomercial is done! Thanks for listening!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sickies - 3

Father/Daughter Date - 0

Steve's had a cough for a couple of weeks now, but with everything going on with jobs and the girls, we hadn't really thought about it. It's seemed to get worse the last few days, so he finally went to a CVS minute-clinic after work yesterday and found out he has bronchitis. The doctor gave him a prescription for amoxicillin  and a cough suppressant, so hopefully, he'll be feeling better soon! More than anything, his body is just exhausted from coughing, and he's still going to work, so we're going to make sure he gets a lot of rest this weekend.

We were planning on Bella and Steve going to a Valentine's father/daughter date at the church tonight and I'm going to a friend's jewelry show on Saturday night, so I arranged  to have a babysitter come over last night for just an hour, so Steve and I could have a surprise, quick date. (The sushi restaurant is right down the road and we are the world's quickest eaters, so we really only needed an hour.)

About 30 minutes before the babysitter showed up, Bella started throwing up all over the living room. Yep. For reals. Ever since I was pregnant and Bella got to see my morning sickness, the girl has an over-dramatic gag reflex, so at first I thought it was just a fluke. The babysitter showed up, and like super responsible parents, we decided to do a quick date anyway. (In hindsight, maybe not the best decision ever.)

We made it through the very end of dinner when the babysitter started calling and said Bella was throwing up again. We got home, begged our apologies to Courtney for leaving her alone with a puking child, and tried to get Bella to drink some liquids. 

Bella was refusing to drink Pedialyte, so I called Whitney. (Whit's our resident expert on sick children, and I'm fairly certain she has witch doctor blood running through her veins, so she's my go-to whenever the girls aren't doing great.) She suggested getting some Coke and saltines; anything Bella was willing to try. I forgot to tell Bella to drink slowly, so she chugged her first glass of Coke and threw it all back up about 10 seconds later. We tried again with small sips and it went much better!

We had Bella sleep in our bed until about 1:00 AM when I couldn't stand getting slapped in the face by a flailing toddler anymore. She woke up again around 4:00 to go to the bathroom, which was really encouraging because we knew she wasn't dehydrated! She's been on a steady diet this morning of Coke, saltine crackers, and popsicles. (She's going to be pretty disappointed when I tell her that her stomach is better and she can't have anymore Coke.)

Evelyn seems to be doing fine other than a crusty, snotty nose. Although now I'm wondering if her throwing up earlier in the week was any sort of bug or really just the pineapples. I'm making sure she gets a lot of sleep and stays inside, so she doesn't get any worse.

Thankfully, even thought the last 16 hours or so haven't been the most fun, we seem to be in recovery-mode now. My living room still smells like puke, but hopefully, I can deep-clean the carpets when the girls go down for naps in the afternoon. Right now I'm just walking around the house and disinfecting everything I can!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Girl Loves To Jump!

I was folding laundry on the bed; Bella decided to bounce around!

Everytime we've had an opportunity to visit a gymnastics facility, Bella has loved it! The trampolines, the bars, the balance beam; she always has a blast and gets braver each time.

I can't wait to sign her up for gymnastics one day!

Poop, Poop, And More Poop!

I swear my child doesn't have diphtheria! For some reason, Evelyn is just extra juicy lately!

I went to get her up from her nap and thought, "Whew! That's a good poop!"

Unfortunately, the poop had squished out of her diaper, onto her sheets, her duck lovey, and the tip of her nose! I can handle poop without getting too grossed out, but the biggest hassle is how hard it is to clean up! Poop gets everywhere, especially with wiggling babies!

Surprise, everybody! It looked like there was mud splattered all over her back.

There was just a tiny bit on her nose and the top of her lip, but really...any poop on your face is too much.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Puke And Pineapple

It's never a good sign to walk into your child's room and smell puke. Last night, I fed Evelyn pineapples for the first time, and apparently they didn't sit well!

She was covered in it! There was puke matted all in her hair and crusted over her face! I didn't have time to clean her up before we had to leave to take Bella to preschool, so I had to nurse her and put her in the car still matted and crusty!

This picture just doesn't do it justice! I had already wiped off her face before grabbing the camera, and it's hard to see all the chunks of pineapple.

Eeeeewww! Even with warm water and soap, I had to cut out a couple of chunks from her hair.

I can't get this picture to turn the right way, but look at her hair! It's growing down past her neck!

Trying to climb out of the sink. She's getting so big!

Cute, chubby, and naked!

All clean and fuzzy-headed! I love her squinty smile.

No more pineapple for a long time!

Super Bowl Sunday

We are not football fans. We are not sports fans. I know the big names involved in MMA fighting and the X-Games, but that's it. And when I say "big names", I mean the top one or two guys that probably the average person could also name. So deciding to host a Super Bowl party was really just an excuse to have people over.

Since all of our friends know we're not sports fans, we kind of assumed that most people would end up going to a party that involved some crazy cheering and people who at least knew the names of the two quarterbacks. Apparently, we have a lot of people in our Sunday School class who also don't care about football! What we thought would be half a dozen people ended up being about 30!

We had an absolute blast! We ate too much dip, cheered when Trey cheered (true story), and got to hang out with a ton of cool people. Beyonce's halftime show was a mix of emotions...I will admit that I just think she has crazy talent. The show was very impressive, but I found it weirdly awkward to know that 15 guys from our Sunday School class were also having to watch her choice of clothing and her dance moves. I was thinking this while also marveling at her ability to move her hips that quickly and wondering if Mel and I could teach ourselves those moves. (Way to take the moral high ground, Kate!)

Ellen, Clark, and Rhea Adkins, Whitney, and Heather Phillips. Mr. and Mrs. Adkins are some of my new favorite people! I love that they are in our class along with their two grown girls. They bring a lot of godly wisdom and experience to our group.

 Watching football, corralling kids, and talking.

Melissa and I were sitting right next to the TV, which made us feel super-special anytime someone cheered!

Getting to catch up with Melissa...I don't think she's been to the house since Bella's second birthday, so it was great to sit and catch up with her!

Trey and some of the other guys were still there went I went to bed. Thankfully, Steve decided to tough it out and stay up for the whole thing!Go Ravens!

Just A Wee Traumatized

Last Thursday was Evelyn's 9-month checkup. Steve was home with me, so it was an easy visit - we dropped Bella off at preschool and actually outnumbered the children!

The visit itself was pretty quick and we got a good report! Evelyn is 20 lbs. and 29 inches long. I love our pediatrician and Evelyn loves him, too! Dr. Andrews pretty much coos at her the entire time he's examining her, so what's not to love?

He asked if we would be interested in being part of a research study, and I said sure! I've done this twice before with Bella, and it's always been very uneventful...we're lucky to have children who don't react negatively to vaccines or antibiotics, and in Bella's case, being part of a study meant she actually got less shots! A win-win in my book!

They weren't able to schedule us for the initial vaccination for the study on that day, so I told the woman that I could come back the next day, no problem.

On Friday, I was down to one adult and two kids, but Bella was in a good mood and I brought snacks, so we decided to brave it! I had read in the paperwork that they would need to take a blood sample, but in the past, they've done this through Bella's big toe and it wasn't a big deal.

This visit definitely solidified that a nurse can make or break your experience at a doctor's office. All of Dr. Andrews' nurses have been wonderful, but this was our first experience with the research nurse at this location, and she was definitely more concerned with the details of her research protocol than with being understanding of the parents. 

My first frustrating moment was when she insisted that Dr. Andrews give Evelyn a physical before getting her shot, even though we had just been there less than 24 hours ago. She finally "okayed" everything, and said the lab technician would be in soon to take a blood sample from Evelyn.

When the lab tech walked in, I realized that they were planning on using a tourniquet and IV needle to get the blood. I've seen lab techs my entire life do this same thing on Rachel, and my experience has been that the techs aren't great at finding a vein in children. I asked her what her plan was since Evelyn was so small and obviously wouldn't hold still on her own. The research nurse chimed in like this was no big deal and said the tech would be just fine.

I held Evelyn's body and legs while the research nurse held her arm down and the lab tech tied the tourniquet and worked the needle. Oh my word, it was awful! So unbelievably awful! I know babies don't like to be restricted and I know that they cry when getting shots, but the image of Evelyn with a tourniquet around her little arm and the tech searching for a vein with a needle is pretty much seared into my brain forever.

In her left arm, they were able to fill one vial before the tech "blew the vein" (the tech's own words, not mine), and the blood started pooling under the skin. The research nurse looked at me nonchalantly and said they would need to switch arms. Why I even let them do this, I have no idea, but we did the same process with Evelyn's right arm until I realized that the tech couldn't find the vein and was just moving the needle around under her skin while Evelyn was laying there screaming.

By this time, I was trying desperately not to be the mother that cried, so I just stood up and said, "I'm out." The nurse looked at me, and I said, "She's not finding the vein, so we're going to stop." There was no apology from the nurse at all; she just said okay and when I asked what this meant for the study, she said I had 30 days to come back in and do it ALL OVER AGAIN...if I still wanted Evelyn to be involved! (This was all while Evelyn was still screaming.)

I know that there are mothers who have seen their children go through this over and over again out of medical necessity, and to them, I probably sound like an easily frazzled mother. Luckily for us, there was no necessity. I barely spoke to the nurse after that. I just scooped up Evelyn, grabbed Bella's hand, and walked out of the room. The whole way out to the car, I just kept saying, "Mama's so sorry. Mama's so sorry. I didn't know. I promise we'll never do that again." Bella walked out completely unfazed except to complain that Evelyn had been too loud.

I was able to call them later and tell them that Evelyn was not going to be a part of the study because there was absolutely no way I was going to bring her in for a blood draw again.

So that's our story. (Our very long story!) I'm still a little angry and a little traumatized. I realize that there are probably hundreds of other children involved in this study and the blood sample didn't permanently scar Evelyn in any way. I just have no interest in putting Evelyn through that for three more visits, and I'm perfectly okay if that means I'm a little weaker than I thought.