My boys. My life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 9/22

A while back I made an attempt to keep up two weekly blog posts. The busy-ness of life has gotten the best of me. I feel like a slacker, ha! Or perhaps it feels like we have been cruising along ordinary days and nothing has jumped out at me that you would find interesting. I feel compelled to write this morning, though. Thanks to some familiar faces yesterday.

Some friendships in life are tried and true, no matter what life brings. They stand the test of time. And of distance. The roots go deep. Yesterday we had the privilege of meeting two of our earliest friends as a married couple - a couple we were in small group with. We 'did life' with these people and have so many fond memories from when our paths crossed in time and location. When I close my eyes, I can still see us over at their house with the field across the road. I can see their kitchen and dining room. Even the lamp in their living room (not on purpose but we had the same set of lamps - we STILL have ours in our living room). I can smell food. I can hear the laughter. With my eyes shut, the memories are so vivid.

To back up a few paces, in case you didn't know this about us, after college Tim landed a job as an engineer at Cummins in Columbus, IN. He went there a semester before I did but once I finished college I joined him and we were married soon after. I can best describe our time in Columbus as fun, faith-filled, care-free, friendship-filled and lonely. Yes, all at the same time. It was such a time of transition for us. Learning how to be a married couple. Learning who 'we' were. In a town with no family, our friends became our day-to-day family, if that makes sense.

So a few months back when we learned two of our back-then family members would be in Fort Wayne for a few days we were excited. They had moved back to their home state of Texas a mere month or so after Bryce was born. They had a little boy they named Bryson (they call him 'Mav') a couple months before we had Bryce. They have since added two more to their family, as have we. But when they walked in the door at Cracker Barrel, we were all all-smiles. Even though so much had changed in our lives and theirs since we saw them last (4+ years ago), we were still all kinda the same, too. Still able to talk and laugh at just about anything. Sometimes it is challenging to carry on a conversation at a meal with kids in tow. We've experienced that plenty of times. So I wasn't sure what to expect with their five kids and our three. But the kids sat on each side of us parents so I sat next to Tami and Tim sat next to Trey. The kids were all mostly perfect. Thank you, Lord, for giving us well-behaved kiddos on this special day to catch up with our old friends.

Fort Wayne is home now and has been for some time. Maybe not the entire four years we have lived here. We moved up four years ago, late September and Tim started his job as an engineer at Parker Oct. 1, 2007. We have now been here longer than we had been in Columbus, but not by much. Fort Wayne is certainly home now (we feel pretty settled here now) but there will always be the Columbus connection ingrained in us. Our friendships we made there during our formative marriage years are tried and true and it's amazing when we have gone back to visit or we talk with friends from that time and place in our lives.... how quickly we pick up right where we left off. I was having a conversation yesterday with another tried-and-true, deeply-rooted friend in my life about how she and her husband and Tim and I had both lived in towns with no family before kids and how crazy-special those towns and friendships still are. We concluded that those years are our "good 'ole days." Nothing we would change now, nor would we go back to those times and places except to visit. But it's something that is forever a part of us and who we will always be. In fact, as I've mentioned, how our church family was our family. And the church pastor who married us... we named Shane's middle name after. We will forever be grateful for our Pastor Danny and all he taught us. Can't wait to visit Columbus again soon. We've wanted to for some time now again but I think yesterday definitely put the itch in us again.

Anyway, it was fun taking a step back in time for a couple hours yesterday. Suddenly it felt like the last four years had zipped by. And the Michael W. Smith song lyrics mean more: "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them." We have our growing families but our friends are still our friends and will always be. Along with their fun southern accents!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 8/11

I have a lot to be thankful for this week. But being on my own, this may be short and sweet.
These newborn days have gone so smooth and I have it pretty together most days. I have Shane to thank for that. He is continuing to do long stretches of sleep at night and then going back to sleep til mid-morning. I have enough time to eat breakfast, shower, feed Bryce and Ethan and even a few odds and ends. Even photo editing. I can't believe how perfect he is. He really is. God has blessed us with the ideal newborn. He cries when gassy and during baths. But he is so patient and calm otherwise. I love his sweet personality already. After two high-strung, intense newborns and now toddler/preschooler, his quiet and calm demeanor is a breath of fresh air. I love Bryce and Ethan and their unique ways very much. But God knew I needed a laid back child for #3. And knew this Momma needs her sleep to feel sane, too. Thank you, Lord!
I love this candid of him. Taken Tuesday morning, 8/9, when I was on my own for the first longer stretch and thought Tim was going to be gone overnight. I was very thankful when the trip went well and he returned late that night. But even so, Shane's peaceful demeanor made the long day go smoother for me than had he been your 'typical' newborn.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 8/4

This week has been simply amazing! I have soooo much to be thankful for and hope I don't leave anything out. I want to remember this week for the rest of my life. I know we have to get back to the ole routine but I wish the week didn't have to end. :-) It's been such an incredible week for our family. We welcomed our son last Friday at 12:54 pm and took him home with us Sunday afternoon. He weighed in at a plump 9 lbs 11 oz and 20.5 inches. We are so thankful for his healthy arrival. Early pregnancy things were looking iffy with the cyst on his neck. But thankfully that cleared by his 18-week ultrasound. Then at birth he wasn't breathing when they laid him on me. He turned blue and remained inactive for a solid minute. The nurses (including a NICU nurse) reacted quickly and put a tube down his mouth and nose. After lots of gurgly, choking sounds he eventually started breathing and then was at peace in my arms.
Then there was our neighbor-friends who took such good care of Bryce and Ethan for the first 24 hours. We dropped them off Friday morning and the kids had a great time while there. From playing outside to letter-shaped pancakes Saturday morning... we are truly blessed to have Dan, Kelly and Oliver Krieg in our lives.
And then the boys were taken care of by my family. My parents and grandma had a great time with them Saturday morning until we got home. And Tim's family will be on their way to see us tomorrow. We are so blessed by our families!
Shane has been an awesome newborn! The first night he was up off and on but ever since he has consistently slept 6-6.5 hour stretches. He has spoiled his Mommy and Daddy. I hope we don't backslide. Ethan did well the first week (but often slept with us in our bed) and then backslid around week 2. But Shane is larger in size and has been such a calm, patient newborn. It's crazy to think he's already on a predictable schedule. All week he has ate and been in his crib by midnight. Slept til 6-6:30 am. Then goes back to sleep in his crib. Wakes up again around 9-9:30 to eat. Eats around lunchtime. Eats mid-afternoon. Eats before we have dinner. Mid-evening feeding around 8. And then eats again before bedtime. I feel like I gave birth to a 1-2 month old. To already be on such a set schedule. He's such a blessing!
Then add family time. It's been soooo nice having Tim home. This transition has been the best yet. And I hope I don't feel different when we're back to reality and I'm on my own. But honestly I think that part will go well, too. Not that I won't be looking forward to Tim walking in the door, but I feel like my confidence is higher right now. And the boys have done so well, too. They love their little brother.
Bryce has been at VBS all week, too. Our neighbor-friend has been taking her son and Bryce to it. These two boys are such good friends and have really enjoyed Bible School. And the timing has been a blessing to us. Not that things have been real overwhelming but we are trying to maintain the house. Bryce would be getting bored if he were here. So this has been a wonderful, positive outlet for him during the mornings this week.
And lastly, we've had three straight nights of meals from friends. And a couple more weeks of meals provided. That is such an awesome help to not have to worry about cooking during this time of transition.
I just feel so happy and joyful. My cup is full! No... it's overflowing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's In A Name?

Now that Shane is here, I thought I would explain the significance of each of our boys' names. Their first names are not after anyone - just names we like. However, the middle names are each meaningful to us.

We settled on Bryce for a boy name before even finding out he was going to be a boy back in 2007. And the middle name was a very easy choice for us. Tim's middle name is Douglas, which is also his dad's first name. Thus, Bryce Douglas.

Then when we were due with Ethan in 2009, we thought a great middle name for him would be his other grandpa's first name - my dad's name. Thus, Ethan James.

Obviously this pregnancy we did not know we were having a boy until he was born. But we knew the middle name would have to be significant no matter what we had. So there's a little story here to Shane's middle name. Tim and I were married in 2004 in Columbus, IN. We lived for several years in a town where our church friends were our family - at least our family away from family. We grew quite fond of our church and pastor, Danny. Thus, Shane Daniel. We thought this was an appropriate middle name of meaning for Shane, our third son. Since getting married is how "we" began.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday, 7/21

Today, at 39 weeks, I'm extremely thankful for air conditioning! Today's high is supposed to be around 100-101 and I know there are people who have died from this heat. Such a sad situation to be deprived of something so simple. This has seemed like the most challenging pregnancy for me physically, especially here towards the end, and a lot is due to the heat. But I'm trying to keep perspective and maintain a gracious attitude of how much worse things could be. And obviously, I'm very thankful that we will be meeting our bundle of joy soon. By next Thursday, I just might be writing about how thankful I am for our newest addition! :-)

Wednesday Wonders, 7/20

I'm still constantly amazed by Ethan's growing vocabulary and development. The other day Tim had on a shirt that read St. Thomas. Ethan was reading the letters off his shirt. For a long time he was clingy and antisocial. My husband had to take the boys on his own to T-ball last night since I had class. Though I'm sure it was frustrating for Tim, Ethan kept inching out towards the kids playing. He hasn't listened when we've told him to stay closer. When Tim told me about this, I brought up a positive point. He's wanting to be where kids are. And that's a big deal since for so long now he has steered far clear of other kids. Maybe he'll adjust to preschool fine in September afterall. :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Another regular blog I'm going to post is Thankful Thursday.

Today I am thankful I have had two nights in a row of decent sleep. Still very broken up. This is a very relative term. For most folks, these would be rough nights. But for me and the extremely little sleep I've been experiencing for 4-5 months, getting 2+ consecutive hours of sleep in a single night is a huge bonus. Usually I'm lucky to get one night like that a week and God has blessed me with two nights in a row! Add to that these past two nights, Bryce has slept til 8 as well! He's been up around 6:30 very consistently. He's good about coming downstairs, playing on his own and watching TV. But I would often be woken up by him playing a little too loud. I could get used to this routine. Yay sleep!!

Also thankful for outdoor toys, a deck with some shade and deck furniture. So I can use this extra boost of energy to get the kids outside for playtime and I can take it easy on the deck. This is another big plus because every step hurts. My hips seriously feel like they're bruised to the touch. So I can relax and feel good about the kids getting some outdoor time. :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Wonders

I'm going to start a new regular blog posting on Wednesdays called Wednesday Wonders. Just going to be a few tidbits of things my kids do or say the previous week that are amazing. To me anyway. :-)

Last night Tim had the TV remote upside down. Ethan was able to recognize all the numbers upside down. He did mix up the 6 and 9, but the rest were right. He can count to about 13 but didn't know he could visually recognize the numbers. Yesterday (EXACTLY) he was 2 years, 4 mos old. He also has the LeapFrog Leaptop that he plays with every day. He could recognize the letters when asked randomly on the laptop. Yay for learning milestones. :-)

Bryce reached another milestone in the past week. Sleeping through the night in underwear and staying dry. Nice to officially have him out of all diapers/pull-ups. Just in time for another one to join in diapers in the next couple weeks. And at lunch today, he said vegetables are his favorite part of a meal!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Full-Term (practically) Thoughts - I like to round up!

This morning I had an appointment with a nurse practitioner. It went great. My group B strep came back negative. And they decided to check if I'm showing any imminent signs of labor. Unfortunately, no. Physically I've been going through so much for so long with this pregnancy. So part of me is definitely ready to be done. But day at a time, we'll get there. Oh, and my blood pressure was great. Thankful for that, for sure.
The nurse checked my vitals and was really nice. She asked if we knew what we're having so explained that we don't. After she learned about Bryce and Ethan, she casually said, "Well, maybe it'll be pink this time."
Then I waited a while and the nurse practitioner came in. She, too, was very nice. We talked about sciatic nerve pain. There's not much they can do for me with that. I just have to wait it out. But I'm feeling upbeat (today at least - actually got more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep for once!). I'm also quickly approaching the 37-week FULL TERM mark this week. I'm convinced it will get better once this Baby is off whatever nerves are being pinched.
She, too, asked if we knew what we're having so explained the same story. Not sure we wanted to know and then Baby didn't cooperate. After learning about the boys, she said, "Aww, you need a girl." Followed with, "Maybe she was being bashful on the ultrasound."
I've had what I'd call different signs this pregnancy that seem to point to this baby being a girl. That seem to prepare me emotionally for what I've thought I've wanted since childhood. Whether they are signs from God or not is the question, though. If they are from God, then I'm convinced we will be having a daughter. If they are from the master deceiver, though, then this will be a lesson learned. We obviously are in love with our baby already. And feel incredibly blessed. Especially after the early scares with the cyst on the neck. I've learned and heard different scenarios that would have been a very scary road and God chose a different path for us. I keep thinking about that as we near the end of this pregnancy. He has given us such a precious gift in this baby already. A healthy baby. I took so much for granted with Bryce and Ethan's pregnancies. Experiencing the unknown of the first half of this pregnancy was certainly a wake-up call to that. And His freely-given grace that He has gifted us with.
I'm still soooo curious to know what we're having, of course, though. And can't wait to meet him or her. I still think about the nurse practitioner's words this morning, though, as she listened to Baby's heartbeat. "Well, if Baby cooperates, it should be a girl." Not sure if she was referring to the well-known heartrate theory or not. But I didn't ask. I didn't ask what the heartrate was this morning, even though I have at previous appointments (usually hovering around 145 bpm). This is higher than the boys' at this point in pregnancy if I remember right. But I've given up and let go of reading into wives' tales. Not that I'm still not curious about them, but just that I don't trust them. :-) God made it VERY clear He was setting aside the surprise for us at birth. Sure, Dr. Wheeler said we could come back to find out if we just had to know. Sure, I could try other gender-prediction methods like the pharmacy product that is supposed to tell you (intelligender) or the ever-popular Drain-O test. But I won't believe any theory/wives' tale until he or she is born and we experience the moment God has set aside for us to experience. I'm really excited to 'unwrap' God's surprise gift to us in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, friends. I'm excited to share our happy news whenever God and Baby decides it is time. It's up to them, not me. I'm just the vessel. The proud, uncomfortable, emotional, blessed vessel. :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All my pain will fade to memory....

"Once you feel the weight of glory
all your pain will fade to memory."



I've been singing those lyrics in my head the past couple nights as I've been fighting tears of pain.


(Open
this link in another window and listen to this song while reading the rest:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfWAG-bnttQ)



And throughout much of this pregnancy it's a song that often came to mind, too. I've kinda coined it as my pregnancy theme song. It's easy to think this pregnancy has been harder physically since it's what's here and now. But I've had pain I simply don't remember having in Bryce and Ethan's pregnancies. More of a constant pain from lower back to knees, which intensifies at night after a long day. Makes it hard to get to sleep. Especially the past week I've been overwhelmed with how constant and intense this pain is at night. It's worse the busier I am during the day so I try to take it easy. But with two kids, that can be a challenge. :-)
Anyway, back to the song.... I keep singing those lyrics because it makes me think of our baby. "Once you feel the weight of glory".... meaning once this 7-8 lb being is in my arms... my pain will fade. It will no longer matter even though it's what plagues me 24/7 right now. It's temporary. And for that I am thankful.
And later in the song....
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the hurt before the healing
Oh, the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning
I find such truth and peace in these lyrics. So even though I'm really seeing what it means to take life a day at a time during this short season, I find that comfort knowing Baby will be here in God's timing and my pain will fade. My body will heal. And we will just be embarking on a new wonderfully amazing journey with our little miracle.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Ethan are we going to get?

This blog post is just me airing some feelings/concerns I have.
My younger son, Ethan, (soon to be middle-child) is a very unique child. I know, I know. They all are. God created no two alike. Ethan is an intense child, though. Either intensely happy or intensely mad. Tim and I often joke that we never know what Ethan we're going to get in various circumstances. I've taken Ethan to many doctor appointments, which surprises me that my blood pressure has remained low during this pregnancy. LOL. Earlier this week, Bryce had his 4-year check-up at his pediatrician's office. Again, Tim and I joked - never know what Ethan I'm going to get. He was fantastic during the appointment. I haven't had an appointment like that where he's been along in a long time. It went so smooth. I was happily surprised.
Bryce and Ethan could not be more night and day. Even at this age. Bryce was very independent, outgoing and social at a very early age. Ethan is clingy and cuddly. And in some circumstances to such an extreme it's very overwhelming. A week or two ago the kids and I went with Tim to Cleveland for a couple days. While Tim was at work that morning, I took the kids to Gymboree Play & Music for an art class. I had high hopes but also held back some nervousness about it. I kept an open mind to it, though, figuring at least Bryce would enjoy it. And hoped Ethan would, too. The teacher set out play-doh for the kids at the start of the class. Ethan enjoyed just holding it in his hand. He likes walking around carrying various things in his hands. I have heard I was much like that as a child. And especially younger, we (particularly my parents) have noted that my niece, Alyssa, would do this, too. Anyway, when it was time to put away the play-doh, the wrath of my second son was unleashed. I felt so helpless - perhaps more so than I ever have with him. I won't go into a lot of detail about what it was like, but it was basically intense, inconsolable screaming the next 45-50 minutes and him throwing himself on the ground. To the point I worried he was going to knock a tooth out! And other parents were visibly concerned as they got up to make sure he didn't hurt himself.
All this to say.... we seriously don't know what Ethan we're going to get in the coming months - both with the addition of our third child and with preschool. (Ethan will go two mornings a week.) I know I need to let go of my concerns... "Let go, Let God." I need Him to ease this Momma's ache in her heart. The ache of what it's going to be like for him to go from the baby of our family to the middle child. I pray almost daily that he makes this transition smoothly. I still hold back some fears that I wish I could ignore. In the end, I know adding a younger sibling will be good for him. Even if the first days and weeks are full of adjustment. I had similar concerns, although not as justified, when Bryce was 21 months and we added Ethan to his life. And I can now see in hindsight how awesome it is for Bryce to have Ethan, and for Ethan to have Bryce. So I know and trust we will get to that point this time around, too.
Ethan has pleasantly surprised us with some transitions. Where Bryce has transitioned well with certain stages, Ethan has seriously given us a run for our money. When we decided nearly a year ago that we'd transition Bryce to a twin bed and Ethan from the crib to Bryce's toddler bed after Christmas, I did not know what to expect. He has blown us away and far surpassed our expectations. In fact, I think I'd say he transitioned better than Bryce. I only hope the same will be true whenever we decide to tackle potty training. I've heard younger siblings watching older siblings can help with adjustments. In hindsight, I see that was the case with the toddler bed transition. Ethan would even start to climb in the toddler bed with or before Bryce before we transitioned them. And I do think Bryce will be an AWESOME big brother to Baby #3. So here's to hoping (and praying) and letting God.... that Ethan will again see his big brother's example and follow suit once again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Balance

This summer, more so than any previous, is about trying to strike a balance. And in a lot of ways. When the summer began, it was a mixed bag of emotions. Checking off another chapter of Bryce's childhood as he 'graduated' from the 3-class and will be in pre-k in the fall. (If you recall, I blogged about how I'm sadly and happily seeing my kids grow up right before my eyes.) Excited that the start of summer would mean we're nearing our baby's birth-day. Overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get through our open-scheduled days in late pregnancy and all that entails. And believe me, some days it entails a lot. Or at least it feels like it does.
However, today felt like a pretty good balance. There are days where I'm so exhausted and we don't accomplish much. Mickey Mouse is a household favorite, especially by my 2-year-old. So some days, Mickey gets an awful lot of attention. Especially rainy days. Then there's my 4-year-old, who I swear would almost agree to living outside ALL summer long. He just can't seem to get enough outdoor play time. And that is sometimes overwhelming. I know I can't pile on the Mommy-guilt saying "no" to him, but I can't say "yes" every time either. So again, striking that balance.
I did say today was a good balance. Took care of some household responsibilities this morning, cuddled with Ethan while watching his favorite mouse on Disney, and then made lunch and we ate on the deck... followed by a solid 1.5-2 hours of outdoor playtime. One of Bryce's best buds even came over from two doors down and played for much of that. My heart felt full - a nice balance of accomplishing tasks, giving the kids some Vitamin-D-filled playtime, and not overdoing it myself.
I have felt a good amount of pressure (all self-inflicted) to give the kids a fun summer, knowing some things will be more challenging THIS summer with being late pregnancy and then with a newborn. But all I can do is my best to try to do that, right? To try to give them a fun summer. Or at least make my best effort on the days I do feel up for it. On days like today. :-)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Treating Others Well

This is my Grandma's story but feel compelled to share... and I too want to remember this story...
The Friday of Memorial Day weekend she had a hi-def TV guy at her home much of the day getting her all set up. She knew the young man was probably in his 20s and sounded like they had an interesting afternoon. He spoke a lot of his grandparents and treated her as such. He was very kind to her. And likewise, she was to him. He told her if she had technical problems, she was his customer. To give him a call. That there was nothing she could do that he wouldn't be able to fix.
That evening his cousin wanted him to go with him on their motorcycles to the Illinois line - just for something to do. If you recall, the weather was dreary that week and he had spent much of the day at my Grandma's outside in the chilly, damp weather. My Grandma encouraged him to tell his cousin maybe another time.
Early on the next week, Grandma realized with her new contract she didn't have copies of any of the paperwork from the visit. But did remember the guy's name - Aaron. So she told herself each day she needed to call to ask for copies of the paperwork. Friday finally rolled around - a week later and she made the phone call. She mentioned the young man's name. What she was told on the phone next was very shocking. Aaron died in a motorcycle accideint that night - that Friday night. The very night he told her about after being at her house much of the day.
When I heard this, a chill ran up my spine. She had tried to talk him out of going. Now I believe everything that happens on earth is part of God's divine plan. It's a very sad story and one that has impacted my Grandma. And I think everyone who hears about this, on some level. For whatever reason(s), it was this young man's time. But as I told my Grandma, she gave him a positive experience that afternoon. Doing what he does, he may not always be treated well. You obviously have that some in service jobs with the public. But she gave him a positive afternoon.
I just think more and more about this story.... makes me think about ordinary, daily interactions more. Life is so fleeting and you never know what someone is going through or is about to go through. What if this 27-year-old had been servicing a very grouchy and rude person? Or what if he had been to someone's house who is usually kind but having a rough day and gave him the cold shoulder? I'm thankful he spent that time at my Grandma's house. I'm thankful the paperwork wasn't left so she could follow-up and learn of this sad story. If it wasn't for her needing to contact them, she would have likely never known about Aaron's fate that night.
God is at work in everything. Aaron was at her house for a reason. At least his last day in this life was a positive one, in large part due to my Grandma treating him well. I don't know about you, but I will certainly think of this and try to remember this in my daily interactions. Because like I said, you just never know what someone is going through or about to go through.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Life Changing Four Years

4 years later......
Four years ago, life changed FOREVER! Tim left work at Cummins (in Columbus, IN) with co-workers teasing him and wishing us luck that night. Afterall it was a full moon night. Actually, to be technical, it was a Blue Moon, where there were two full moons in the same month. This only occurs about once every 1.5 years or so. Thus, why it's called a Blue Moon. Tim shrugged off the teasing. We were 38 weeks along with our first son and had always heard first babies a lot of times go longer - closer to the due date, if not beyond. We had some things packed up for the hospital but seriously did not consider the birth to be that near yet.
We watched TV until too late that evening. Unusual for us. And after midnight, I was still trying to get comfortable. I shifted weight - felt something minor. Shifted again. HUGE gush. Yeah, my water broke. No disputing it. I won't go into all the labor details, but it took quite some time. My water broke but my body was obviously not ready for labor on its own. Bryce Douglas Louvar was born 19 hours later - at 7:12 pm.
Boy oh boy, I did not know how much life would change and has changed since then. There have been sooooo many joys and blessings. And some serious heartache, too. In some ways, the memories of him being a baby seem so near. And other times like it's been much longer than four years ago. I can remember trying really hard to make nursing work. I've inherited a low supply and so figuring that out the first time around and learning how much to supplement and when took us quite a long time. Once we figured out that balance, things got a little easier. Until then, it was a blur of exhaustion. Bryce didn't sleep well until we figured that out.
I can remember how Bryce would smile and babble so much. He was very talkative as a baby. Yeah, that hasn't changed one bit! Looking back I'm absolutely astonished how clearly he could say his name at such a young age. I kid you not - he started walking and saying his name around the same time - Mother's Day weekend 2008. A couple weeks shy of turning 1! I don't think I realized at the time just how amazing it was that he could articulate so clearly saying his name like that.
Ok... need to back up in time now. Our hearts soon longed to be near family again so Tim had a few job interviews Labor Day weekend 2007. Bryce was only a few months old at the time. He was offered and soon accepted a job at his current place of employment, Parker, as an engineer there. He was to start Oct. 1. That turned life upside down for a few weeks as we prepared to say good-bye to what had been our home, Columbus, IN, since even before we exchanged vows. We were married there. We developed a non-blood family there. We have visited a few times since moving to Fort Wayne 3.5 years ago. Columbus will always hold a dear place in our hearts. Our pastor there visited us in the hospital when Bryce was born, prayed that he would come to know Christ at an early age and also dedicated him a week or so before we made the big move.
The timeline is awfully sketchy for me as we tried to get settled into the big city life and make new friends with an infant. We rented a house first since the time to move was so brief. We didn't want to rush buying obviously, but also didn't want to move into an apartment. So we found a nice three-bedroom house to rent while we settled into our new town.
Soon after our move here, my dear Grandpa was injured at work. It really messed up his knee and he had months of therapy. He was almost ready for a procedure to be done on his knee when it was determined that he needed a pacemaker put in before he could be cleared for the surgery. The morning (late Jan. 2008) he was to have the pacemaker put in he was getting around at home and he collapsed, never to wake up. We were devestated by the news. I still miss him so much, but I'm thankful for many things. He got to see all his grandkids get married - my youngest cousin on this side of the family got married that Labor Day weekend we were visiting family and Tim interviewed for jobs. He also lived to see us move closer to familiy - something I knew he knew we really desired. As much as he enjoyed visiting us in Columbus (and before that, Terre Haute where Tim and I went to college), I think it must have brought him great joy and peace to see that our prayers of being closer to family had come to fruition. I only wish we coulda had longer with him, obviously, while being closer. So much of those fleeting months we were here were spent getting settled in here and then him attending therapy and experiencing limitations due to the injury.
The beginning of 2008 was rather rough, as I've already explained. And it sadly continued. About a month exactly after my grandfather's death, Tim's mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Feb. 28 to be exact - Tim's birthday. She had been experiencing pain and had to go to the hospital and underwent surgery to remove a cyst (or cysts) on her ovaries. She had a complete hysterectomy and they believed they got it all. They recommended chemotherapy more as a precauation. She had this for months and experienced the many ailments that go along with that. We were all hopeful, though, of course. My memory on the timeline is a little fuzzy, but she finished treatment and requested a follow-up to check her levels - to make sure the cancer hadn't returned. The doctor didn't even think that was necessary but of course she insisted. It had come back. Inside her liver. She resumed chemotherapy treatment, this time at the Cancer Treatment Center of America, just north of Chicago.
Bryce brought her much joy and we believe really helped her through her illness and treatments. It's amazing the hope a child can provide. The moments he, and eventually, Ethan had with her are truly pricless memories. And of course if you know me, captured a lot in pictures. She was in declining health and we learned she had mere months to live around Mother's Day 2009. It breaks my heart to say this, but the last goal in her life was to attend a combined party for our boys who meant the world to her. It was to celebrate Bryce's 2nd birthday and a welcome party for Ethan to meet more family in Iowa. We made the most of those precious hours at that party. I can remember someone saying it while there - how it was a celebration of life. Even though the party wasn't directed at Cindy, it was a chance for everyone to see her again, knowing what was unfortunately to come soon. She had declined so quickly. Tim talked to her the next weekend on the phone and literally was the last person she audibly spoke to. She passed away a mere couple days later - June 2, 2009. She hung on. She hung on for the party. She hung on to speak to Tim on the phone. Heck, I even believe she hung on for a smaller purpose - to not pass away on Bryce's birthday (May 31), nor her sister's birthday the day after his - June 1.
I know I got awfully distracted in this blog with some significant life events that don't directly relate to Bryce and his development the past four years. But it is still a significant part of his four years of life. So much has changed. And he has changed soooo much! One of the most significant joyful changes has been adding Ethan to his life. Having a brother close in age has been absolutely wonderful for Bryce. He has taken on the older brother role very well. I'm thrilled to see him again as a big brother to Baby #3, due in only 1.5-2 months. He was about 21 months old when Ethan was born and so didn't really get a lot of what it was about. He's so excited about the new baby. It will seriously be pure joy to add another blessing to our household, and of course part of that, to see the amazing bond Bryce and the new baby will have.
I see so much change in Bryce. He's grown so much. He's very articulate. He has thrived in the preschool setting for two years now. He's turned from toddler to little boy-hood. He expresses himself extremely well for his age. He's really grown into an awesome, caring, loving little person who means the world to me. And so many who know and love him.
He is so full of joy and life. He has the most infectious laugh I've ever heard. I treasure the sweet sound of his adorable voice. He has such a passion for life and I know that will take him far. He never ceases to amaze us with his intelligence. One of the recent things he's done is rattle off all 10-12 train characters from a Chuggington book we have for the boys. He does not hesitate. How he can remember that many character names is beyond me. His memory is simply amazing. It is true privilege to witness his growth and to see what he already is and will become in this life. He is truly destined for good things.
I can't say it enough - Bryce has such an energy and zest for life, to always make the most of every moment. He has taught me so much more than I could ever learn at any school or on any job. Through the joyful times and the times of sorrow we have experienced in these short few years of his life, he has taught me how to make the most of the days we have. They are so fleeting, after all. He has taught me how to be a better mom - simply by his example. I wouldn't be who I am without him. The journey we have been on the past four years with him have been so amazing. I couldn't imagine life without this 4-year-old little boy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Third Trimester Ramblings

Ok, so a small confession. This was just going to be my facebook status but it ended up too long so decided to post it as a blog instead. And ramble on a bit more, too :-)
I had class last night at IPFW. I don't know if it was this crazy weather or what, but the baby (ahem, MY baby) was extremely active. I find myself referring to him/her as "the" baby since we don't know the gender. I wondered earlier in pregnancy if I wouldn't feel as connected to "the" baby without knowing the gender. I wouldn't say it like that - it's just different. A completely different experience. Then again, this pregnancy has been a completely different experience from Day One!
Anyway, I digress.... I felt like MY baby was literally doing somersaults as I tried to focus in class. It's not necessarily painful but certainly a distraction. LOL. And definitely uncomfortable at times, depending on where he/she is kicking, punching, squirming. I couldn't believe how active he/she was. If "the" baby wasn't head down before last night, I'm going to guess that MY baby is now.
Sometimes I focus too much on my sleep deprivation that has been going on for months. But when I actually take the time to reflect and remember that there is this little life inside me wiggling around and trying to get comfy in tight quarters... I'm just in awe. Having a baby is truly a miracle, isn't it? And to know that God ordained Tim and I to be his/her parents.... I'm humbled by this blessing. Perhaps even more so as I get things ready for Bryce's 4th birthday this weekend. To get to experience a third child... sometimes I wonder why I/we get to be so lucky. We are incredibly blessed - two times over with the boys and soon enough a third time.
We have been really busy lately and we're finally getting to be in that home stretch. Probably a month or so ago we woulda had the nursery and LOTS of things ready by this time in Bryce and Ethan's pregnancy. What is it about the third time around? We still have a lot to do, and the preparation certainly is different this time without knowing OUR baby's gender. We need to paint the nursery - going to paint it brown like Bryce and Ethan's rooms. It will go with whatever nursery bedding ends up being in there. We also need to finalize name choices - again woulda been done long before now with the previous pregnancies. We have our girl name set. But need to figure out a boy name yet.
With this weekend being centered on Bryce's birthday and the next weekend is our Baby Moon getaway, just maybe by mid-June we'll start to get things more ready. Just maybe... :-) Then again, it is our third pregnancy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

School Days - and how it affects a mom

(Above picture was him running off to get in the van all excited about first day of preschool back in September.)
Bryce just completed his second year of preschool. Today was his last day in the 3-year class. And though I'm excited about what this summer, especially, will bring (Baby #3), I'm kinda mush inside. Is this normal?
I remember his first day last year - in the 2 class. I walked him in as I decided I would at the beginning of each year (preschool at least - hopefully I break this habit by high school when I'm no longer 'cool')... and when I walked out, I was overcome with emotion. I knew he'd love preschool and even in the 2 class he got so much more than I ever thought he would out of it. He learned what friendship means. He learned to pray to God and saw a glimpse that the world is bigger than him. He grew so much throughout the year.
As was the case this year, the year gets going and I lose that sentimental emotion about it. We're in the routine. I enjoy hearing about his morning each day when I pick him up and I enjoy the schedule (break) it provides me. Same thing happened this year. When I walked out that first day of this year, I was overcome with emotion again. This time for almost sadness. He looked kinda lost. What he knew of preschool was the previous year. And when he didn't see those familiar friends who were to be in a different class this year from him, he looked a little lost. Thankfully that quickly changed and he adapted, which I soon realized was a great thing for him to experience. So much with school is learning to adapt. Thinking back, I don't think I really knew who was in my grade til late elementary. I'm glad he got to experience this early on in his childhood. I think that adaptive skill was healthy for him to learn.
Then there's the last days.... reflecting back on how much he grew from the start of preschool til the last day... again, overcome with happy/sad/confusing mush. I felt that way last year at the end. And again today. Seeing how much more animated and comfortable the kids were today, especially as they joyfully sang some of their favorite songs. Then when his teacher, Miss Traci, said, "It's time to sing this song one last time," I couldn't hold back my teary-eyed mushy state any longer. The song is, "It is time to say good-bye to all my friends." At the close of each preschool day the kids happily sing this song together. Do they really know what that meant today? Once again, the class will not be the same next year. Today marked the end of another chapter in Bryce's early childhood. And I'm overcome with emotional mush inside.
I can only imagine how I will be the first and last days of preschool next year. The first day, I will have a 1.5-ish month old infant and will be dropping off both Bryce AND Ethan. TWO kids in preschool! Bryce will be going to four-day pre-k and Ethan will be in two days of the 2-year-old class. So if you see me on those first and last days next year and I'm looking like I'm about to lose it, don't mind me. I'm happily rejoicing and yet semi-sad mush on the inside realizing that my kids are growing up right before my eyes.
(Below picture is right before leaving home on the last day of preschool.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Zoo Membership = Zoo Memories!

I have been on the fence for some time now on whether or not to renew our zoo membership for this summer. I've wondered if I'd feel up to going enough to make it worth it. I think today made up my mind and looking back at our zoo pictures from the past couple years. My body has been dealing with a lot lately and that unfortunately will probably continue. But these are the days! The days to make memories with the kids. I need a distraction. Let's face it. When you don't feel good day in and day out, the easy solution can be to hibernate. But I feel an element of responsibility to still try my best to give the kids an enjoyable summer, even if I don't feel like I'm enjoying the summer. Sure, once our little bambino is here, the zoo outings my decrease. But after looking at these pictures, I wonder how I coulda considered not going to the zoo throughout the summer. What fun memories!! Here are a few of my faves from the past couple years....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Bedding Poll - just for fun

This is probably a "hope-for" for now, but eventually we want to re-do our bedding decor. We've had the same comforter since getting married and it hasn't held up or cleaned up the greatest. So eventually, we plan to do the same brown carpet in our bedroom, probably the same brown paint and a new bedding set. We love the bedroom furniture collection we have - it's the same furniture Raymond and Deborah have on Everybody Loves Raymond. :-) We did NOT know that when we bought the set. We learned that from the movers from the furniture store we got it almost 7 years ago.
Anyway, thought I'd conduct a fun little poll. I don't want you to be swayed by brand/price, so going to leave that info out. Just going to include pictures below. Please vote for your favorite. :-) We'll end up picking the one we like best of course, but just thought it'd be fun to see what is most popular among my friends. (PS - we would NOT be getting the peace sign pillow in the last. Just not our style.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Healthy Baby!!

On the way to my ultrasound I was still a tad nervous. I've felt pretty confident that we would have a healthy baby but that doubt the past 6 weeks has certainly been unsettling. To say the least. Reading sad stories about babies with certain defects either not surviving pregnancy or past a few days in this world has been heart-breaking. We knew full well we were not in the clear yet. Dr. Wheeler, the perinatologist (high risk OB dr), gave us maybe a 2% risk of having a baby with a defect when we were in his office six weeks ago. We were mostly at peace because the odds were so strong for us and that everything else about the baby at the previous ultrasounds looked fine. But still... 2% is still 2%. Scared us. Humbled us. We prayed so many times in the six weeks. This experience has certainly brought us closer to our Creator.

During the ultrasound the room was eerily quiet at first. The ultrasound tech took various measurements. Some probably normal - hard to remember from a couple years ago. But several also of the head/neck. Baby's ticker was beating away at a healthy 152 bpm. Dr. Wheeler came in and they both said things looked fine. He said, "I don't see anything wrong." He affirmed that 2% is hard to be objective about when it's your own baby. Gave me a happy pat on the ankle and walked out. I looked at my dear, sweet husband and realized this is what true relief feels like. This is pure joy!
The ultrasound tech continued to look over our healthy little one. Got to the tummy/legs area and I finally said something - something to the affect of, "We aren't sure we want to know the gender." She just kinda laughed and said, "I can't see anything." The baby was breeched position and sitting cross-legged on his/her feet. Then Dr. Wheeler walked back in. So I then explained that we just said we weren't sure we wanted to know, so not to blurt anything out if they see anything. He said, "All I see between the legs is a foot." Oh, I got such a laugh at all this turn of events.

A month ago I could NOT wait til Feb. 21. Just had to know what we're having. Our hearts changed since then and we debated whether or not we would even find out the gender. We concluded we would take a compromised approach - have the gender disclosed in an envelope to decide if/when later to open it. I had planned on laying this envelope in the baby's crib. I distinctly remember chatting with a good friend a week or so ago, saying, "Wouldn't that just be God's humor shining through if the baby wouldn't cooperate?!" I almost hoped it would happen this way, but had my doubts. Sure enough, it did. And I couldn't be more thrilled. When my heart changed on this, I didn't want to be in the position of making a decision.
It's so intriguing to me that had we not had a two-week window of question, this would have been our first ultrasound and we would have never even known different!! Also, had that been the case, we probably would have wanted to find out the gender and would have been disappointed to not find out. Instead, I was finding myself telling the tech - it's ok. Decision made for us. Really I was kind-of encouraging her to stop trying to get a look. It's such strong conviction to me that God is ALWAYS in control of every single detail of life and His ways are so much better than we could ever imagine. I would never wish this scare on anyone, but it has brought us closer to Him, taught us to trust Him more, reprioritize what really matters in life... it's impacted us and so in that way, it has been worth the questionable few months we have with this pregnancy.

Dr. Wheeler said if we really wanted to know what we're having we could come back to his office for an ultrasound later to find out. But no. This was a pretty obvious sign from God that we are supposed to wait this pregnancy. And we are 100% at peace with that. My only curiosity is those of you who have waited til birth to find out.... how did you prepare? Just curious to hear stories about what it's like to wait since this is completely new, unfamiliar territory for us.

Hard to really describe what this kind of joy and relief really feels like. It's amazing! It's humbling! Such a blessing! All I can think now is, "Dr. Wheeler, no offense, but I'm thrilled I won't be seeing you again or coming to your office again this pregnancy." I'm sure he doesn't mind one bit. :- )

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gender Anticipation

I can't deny it. I won't deny it. I want this pregnancy to result in a HEALTHY baby GIRL more than anything! The wait til my ultrasound is driving me a little crazy. We still have a 98% chance of a healthy baby. Good odds. I'm really at peace with those odds. The peace of mind will be good, though, obviously. This issue is #1 most important but since the odds are so greatly in our favor, finding out the gender is still getting a lot of attention in this house. Some would debate the calculated chance we have of having another boy, compared to a girl. I have read up on this and there seems to be much debate on this topic. Some would say that EVERY pregnancy is close to 50/50. And that having two of the same gender only SLIGHTLY (we're talking 1-3%) raises your chance of #3 being the same. Others would argue that it's more like a 75-25 split. I don't know who is right. I don't really care. From the get go, we knew having another baby would possibly result in a third son. We knew the desire to try for #3 being a girl would be there. We even considered a book and such (taboo) suggestions of how to conceive the gender you want. I went off birth control and we started investigating such means. We were going to pursue at least some of them. (I'll spare details.) We figured we had plenty of time. It had taken over a year to conceive Bryce (and on clomid, I will add) and 4-5 months (sans clomid) to get pregnant with Ethan. We had a small window (3-4ish months) to get pregnant this time as we didn't want to be due around my brother-in-law's wedding in September/October this year so I could still safely travel to it. So figured we'd just go for it and if it didn't happen in that window we would try again 5-6 months later. Without getting to pursue our methods, we soon found out we got pregnant right away. Yes, we know what causes that. ha ha ha. funny. Sorry for sarcasm. My point in explaining all this is God is bigger! He is bigger than statistics. Bigger than genetics. If He wants us to have a girl, He can make it happen. But He is also bigger than our plans and visions, too. His way is best. We know that. We trust that.

All that said, I have dreamed since a little girl of having both a boy and girl. One of each. It's what I had growing up. It's what I saw for my future family. And after two boys, I long to have a daughter to do girl things with. Tim and his brother had a wonderful upbringing. Scouts. Sports. Boy stuff. Etc. I would love to have a daughter to do girl things with. I think the different dynamics (father/daugther, father/son, mother/son, mother/daughter) are all extremely special and unique. When Ethan's pregnancy was as rough as it was, I was convinced I was done having kids. Until we learned he was a boy. After his ultrasound, I cried. I wanted a girl so bad, but almost as badly, I never wanted to be pregnant again. Time heals. The second he was born, I was in love. I did overcome my disappointment - my vision for life was different than the outcome. Obviously a childhood dream and adult reality probably seldom go together. The intense desire to still experience what it's like to have both re-entered the scene. Our family just did not feel complete. Whether #3 is a boy or a girl, I think Ethan was a boy for a pretty obvious reason. God did not want us to stop at two kids. He had more in store for us. I would have been ready to tie things up (or snip) if Ethan had been a girl.

Fast forward to present day. We have a little over a week until our ultrasound. We have debated whether to find out the gender. And I still wonder. At least in that office. (Might have the big news concealed in an envelope or something and to learn the gender in the privacy of our own home.) I won't deny it. I think I will be in tears regardless of what we find out. Either overwhelming, intense joy, or disappointment. I don't want to open this up to psycho-analysis of me. Unless you have experienced the intense desire to have one or the other and the desire is unfulfilled (or I definitely know - any kids at all - which I know is WAY different than this), I don't think you truly know what this feels like. That part is slightly frustrating to me - how few people I have who can truly relate. Even if we go back to our grandmas. All our grandmas experienced both. My mom had one of each (obviously). My aunts have all had both. On Tim's side, his mom had two sons (yet two miscarriages. We have never heard if the genders of the two miscarriages were ever known). His aunts all had both, except one (who had two boys). On the cousin/sibling level (this generation), my brother and sister-in-law have two of each. On my mom's side, one of my cousins has a girl and two boys. Another cousin has two boys and they are thrilled. They only wanted boys. On my dad's side, there's a lot of experiences of both. (There is also some infertility which makes me feel bad for writing this.) On Tim's dad's side - they have had both. On his mom's side - all girl children. One is an only child right now. The other are two sisters. All this to say, family probably has a hard time understanding where we're coming from - for the most part.

I would not trade Ethan or Bryce for the world. I LOVE THEM TO PIECES!!! Three kids feels like a good fit for our family. So there's a finality to this. Tim and I BOTH hope and dream of having a little girl. And if it's not to be, we will deal with that. We will love this child NO MATTER WHAT. That goes without saying. We know we are beyond blessed regardless. Having Bryce and Ethan, along with getting married, have been the absolute best things that have happened to us. This baby will certainly add to that regardless. To be completely honest, I often feel undeserved of such blessings. God's grace can be difficult to understand and accept sometimes. Like I said, I hear of infertility and losses during/after pregnancy and absolutely cannot fathom that. So it's hard to feel like we're fortunate enough to be sheltered from the bad stuff. And I know I should be grateful simply to have a healthy baby. To have had three of them. There's just an unexplainable void for a little girl. And if the void is not filled by a daughter, we know God will fill it. He WILL meet our needs/desires, one way or another.

I do feel like all signs point to having a girl (and there have been signs but I won't share those now). However, since I was soooo much more sick during Ethan's pregnancy, I thought he was going to be a girl. So I don't want to set myself up to expect a girl and be disappointed. So every day now I am trying to prepare myself to find out we are having boy #3. In doing so, I am going to make a list of pros/advantages to having a little boy. I don't want to be disappointed to hear we are having a third son. Obviously it wouldn't be his fault. So I am trying to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for that outcome so I can still be the best mom possible to him. And if we hear it's a girl instead, well.... yay!

BOY PROS

1. SONS ARE PRECIOUS! Nothing quite like them! Seriously. These boys melt this Mommy's heart daily.
2. Son #3 could possibly relate better and play better with Bryce and Ethan. Not that a daughter wouldn't, but get what I mean? And likewise, maybe the boys would relate better/enjoy more a brother as compared to a sister. Obviously, they (and we) will love child #3 regardless. That goes without saying.
3. We have boy clothing out our ears here. (Bryce and Ethan's sizes/seasons didn't match up for the first year!) Though I would want this baby to have some of his own special clothes/toys/etc., we are physically prepared for boys in this house.
4. Speaking of toys - no need to "make room" for a whole different kind of toys.
5. Would save $$$$. We would use the same crib bedding/decor as we used for both Bryce and Ethan. We wouldn't need the new bedroom stuff, new/different baby blankets, bibs, sleepers, CLOTHES, etc. It truly would save a good amount of money.
6. Having another boy would possibly affect Ethan less. If we have a little princess instead, we would love all our children to the moon and back of course. But I could see the middle child issue being more obvious for Ethan if we get the daughter we dream of. Being conscious of that, if we do have a girl, we will make extra effort to make sure he doesn't feel middle child syndrome issues.
7. We would get to contemplate boy names. We are 100% set on a girl name (have been since Ethan's pregnancy). So getting to discuss names again would be fun.
8. So many say/think that Bryce looks like Tim and Ethan looks like me. Who would son #3 look like?
9. Raising boys to be responsible, thoughtful, strong, loving, Christian men is true privilege. Hopefully we will mold them to be wonderful, loving, Christ-centered husbands someday to someone else's present-day little princess. That's a priceless gift in itself. And to be wonderful daddies someday, too - like their incredible daddy.

Who am I kidding? I still want a girl. But I want my attitude about having son #3 to be as prepared and positive come Feb. 21 as possible. So I will continue to think positive thoughts and pray about this big day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ethan's new toddler room

And here's Ethan's new toddler bedroom. We chose a sports theme for him. He too gets excited about trains, especially train cartoons on TV - Chuggington and the Choo Choo Soul lady who sings on Disney. "All aboard the choo choo train..." So cute how he sings along. But even earlier than his excitement about trains, we noticed he would pick up various ball toys - toy basketball, small rubber balls, etc. Maybe he'll be an athlete. Maybe not. But we thought a sports theme would be fun for him since he seems to like soccer balls, basketballs, etc. And we want him to have his own special room - not a repeat of Bryce's toddler room. Again... this came from Target... We got it for him for Christmas, as well as getting Bryce his train comforter from Pottery Barn Kids. Ethan's bedding set alone was only $30. I think Bryce's toddler set was closer to $60. $30 is a pretty good deal for a toddler bedding set anywhere. Especially one that is this cute.

We chose red for his name letters. Thought it'd look good against the brown walls and above the baseball shelf. Bryce has the same 12-month frame on his shelf and they both have a small Longaberger basket with a baby tie-on depicting their year of birth. Also on Bryce's shelf is an engraved train pewter bank. We got Ethan a pewter soccer ball bank with his name and birthdate engraved. Thinking of saving that to include in his Easter basket. Or give to him for his upcoming birthday (March 5). The soccer bank will go on his shelf as well.

We'll eventually put books on the shelf (it is bolted to the wall so it won't fall over on him). Just want him to get used to a simple room without distractions from sleep first.And this was taken the day the carpet guy was still here. He was working on the nursery and finishing up Bryce's room after putting Ethan down for his nap. It was loud upstairs but a later naptime. Ethan had no trouble falling asleep. He has napped and slept at night really well in his toddler bed. When asked, he crawls into bed and curls up with his head on top of the pillow. The first night he did fall out. We heard a thud and went to him immediately - expecting him to burst into tears. However, he was soooo tired, he basically had fallen back to sleep on the floor where he landed. Other than that instance, he has done exceptionally well with the transition. Better than expected. Areas of development Bryce has done well with, Ethan has given us a run for our money. And Bryce did so-so with the toddler bed transition. We thought Ethan would be more of a challenge. So proud of him for doing so well with this! It is kinda bitter-sweet to see him in Bryce's old room. Sure, we started Bryce in the room even younger than Ethan is now. But Bryce has grown and changed a lot over the course of time he has used the toddler bedroom. So we were used to an older child being in there. Seeing our little guy in the toddler room now is a reminder of how our kids are growing up. See the following post about the transition and our empty nursery.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bryce's new room

When Bryce was barely out of the baby stage, he quickly grew a love for trains so we picked a toddler set with trains of course! And other modes of transportation as well. Love Target for toddler bedding. Good deals and cute bedding! Bryce's grandparents (Tim's parents) got him this toddler bedding set his second Christmas. We moved him to the toddler bed around 19 months to save us from having to buy another crib. So first here are some pics of Bryce's old/toddler room....
Now time for pics of his new room. We had to continue his love of trains (he still loves choo choos)............

Name letters. We started that with Bryce's first bedroom - his nursery in Columbus, IN. We have painted the letters to coordinate with his room ever since. Ethan also has name letters and we will do the same for Baby #3. Kinda fun for a kid's room to have their name on the wall. It's basically what taught Bryce how to spell his name at a pretty young age. He'd read the letters from his toddler room.
These were etsy/ebay finds. The canvas art through Pottery Barn Kids is very expensive. Plus, I don't think it's even available anymore for Bryce's bedding set. I found someone on etsy who paints pictures very similar to his quilt/sheets. They are on heavy paper (not even cardstock) but when framed in these inexpensive wood frames, the look is stunning. Not bad for $20 plus shipping! We bought cheap white wood frames and spray painted them navy. Below the framed art is Bryce's name train his grandparents got him his first birthday. That's kind-of what started his love of trains - was that gift. Found this train track/shelf specifically designed for these personalized name trains. Nice little addition to his room...
This came from a children's resale a couple years ago. So did the yellow railroad sign hung close to Bryce's bed.
One from before hanging up window treatments... to show Bryce's memo board. Hope to put wallets/snapshots of his friends there, and preschool crafts, too. Found the memo board on ebay. The fabric used is the same as his bed sheets.
Bottom line... we have one very happy little boy in love with his new choo choo big boy room!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mixed Emotions

For some reason, I was a little surprised with a tad overwhelming feeling. We just put the boys in their new beds and Bryce is so excited and Ethan did well at naptime and is doing well so far in the toddler bed here tonight. It's been fun to get their rooms ready. And we still have some finishing touches to do. Their rooms are going to be so nice when they're done. That will be a future blog post full of pictures. Soon. Don't worry.

So anyway, after getting them tucked in for the night, I took some of the boys' decor we haven't hung up yet and placed them in our empty nursery. Kinda got that emotional gulp in my throat. Our nursery is EMPTY. We haven't had an empty nursery since before Bryce was born. Take that back - it was empty for a brief spell after Bryce moved to the toddler bed before Ethan was born. But at that point, we knew we were having another boy and soon settled on his name so we could buy and paint wood letters to put above the crib. We immediately got the room ready for Baby #2. This time feels different. The crib is in there - but no bedding on it as we wait to discover if we're having another little boy or a little girl this time. If we have a boy, he will use the same nursery decor the boys both had. If we have a girl, she will get a new girly set. So we wait. And the nursery sits empty. Just waiting. As are we... to learn if we will for sure have a healthy baby. Gosh that's on my mind almost hourly - praying a hundred times a day for our little bundle. ... But also as we wait to learn what will likely be the completion of our family. Two boys and a girl. Or three boys.

I'm so excited for the boys in their new rooms. Bryce especially is really excited and Ethan seems to be doing as well as expected so far with his transition. The crib is all he has ever known so wasn't sure what to expect from him. But part of me is a little sad they are growing into their next stages - bigger beds, meaning they're growing up. I'm so thankful and feel so blessed we have another little bundle on the way to sleep in the nursery and fill our hearts and home with joy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cat Got My Tongue

So it was a typical naptime here a bit ago. Told Bryce while he was snuggled up under the sheet and blankie of his toddler bed that we only have a couple more days and the new carpet would be installed and he'd get to sleep in his new bed. He answered, "And Ethan gets to sleep in here." I said, "Right," and that the baby will get the nursery.

"How does the baby get out of your tummy," inquired Bryce.
Ummmmmmmm
"The baby just comes out," I answered, hoping that was that. Oh no.... Bryce has to be among the most curious 3-year-olds out there.
"But HOW does the baby get out?"

He has asked before and I couldn't think for the life of me in this moment how I answered then. I was just so thrown off by this and couldn't come up with a good response.

So I told him to ask Daddy when he gets home. Not the best response, I know. Suppose I should warn Tim.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mothering Frustrations... this isn't pretty

I am starting this blog post today, not sure what direction it will take, or if I will have the guts to post it. To be this open and honest....

Today has been one of those days.... very full. Too much on the to-do list. Can you say stress? I was crossing things off the checklist, however, and the day was going fine. Until.... preschool pick-up line. Bryce and his friend, Lizzie got in the van and I immediately knew what happened. Bryce pooped in his underwear at preschool. He hasn't gone for several days and I worked with him a lot yesterday, trying to get him to go. Again this morning before preschool. We ran out of time and headed out the door a tad late, as usual. I told Bryce if he has to go, he has to tell his teachers and go at preschool. He knew full well what was expected of him. This has been an issue - he won't go at preschool. He won't ask others for help. He barely poops here at home. This has been a source of frustration for some time now. We need to keep working with him so he is self-sufficient. He currently is not. I'll leave it at that.

This turned the day into chaos. It was at least manageable up to this point. But we were expecting a neighbor-friend over after lunch and my plate now became overflowing with too much to do in too little time. A very frustrated Mom (I said the potty issue has been a battle, keep this in mind) cleaned up a huge mess and had Bryce climb in the bath tub. No toys. Water running with him standing. He hated it. I had more cleaning up to do, and laundry. Threw the huge mess of underwear in the trash. Not worth cleaning up. Had to clean out his jeans. It was seriously everywhere. All down his legs. Gross.

After his bath, while I was in the midst of cleaning up and trying to get lunch around, I made Bryce stand with his nose touching the wall. Which he hated. He did this until I had MY lunch in the microwave warming up. His was already ready, I just wanted to make a point to him. I felt like saying his friend will not be coming over, but I did not want to punish his friend for his mistakes. He ate lunch in silence. After cleaning him up, he went back to the wall with his nose against it. I finished cleaning up. And got in touch with my neighbor-friend. She said another day would suit them better. At this point I released Bryce from his nose-against-the-wall timeout and said he could go play.

But this wasn't without words and thoughts that are harsh that is why I'm hesitant to post this.... I thought about making him skip lunch, or severely limiting it. I gave Ethan a little chocolate Santa and him none, and I ate a piece in front of him, too. It gets worse... I told him if he can't learn to go to potty at preschool I would skip registering him tomorrow and he just wouldn't go. What Mom says that? I also thought to myself that there's less than an hour til naptime. If either child, but particularly Bryce, does one more thing, it will just push me over the edge. Through putting up with him....

Now comes the perspective... What if God would say that to me? If that Abbie screws up one more time.... If Abbie doesn't learn this lesson that I've been trying to teach her for probably years.... then what? God doesn't do that. He doesn't say that or feel that. So now I'm seeing where I fall short. And I'm in tears as I type this. Motherhood can be such pure joy... a glimpse of Heaven. Seriously! Such a wonderful blessing that is impossible to imagine life otherwise. And then other times... it can be more frustration than ya ever thought possible. At those low of low moments, sometimes it feels impossible to extend the grace and loving attitude towards our kids that God unfailingly extends to us - his kids. We are called to love one another as God loves us. Unfailingly. No matter what. I will try to remember this the next time Bryce, or Ethan, or Baby #3, pushes me over the edge of calmness and into chaos. There no doubt will be a next time. And I no doubt will have a next time with God.

So, thank you Jesus, for your unfailing love and example. Guide me... help me to walk in your ways in this journey. And I pray that my kids can see you in me and through the grace and patience I will try harder to have.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Trimester - Ultrasound Update

There was a two-week question mark on the due date this time around. More definite than the other two. With Bryce and Ethan, we had no idea when we were due. So I was proud to be this sure. But I still had an ultrasound a couple weeks ago to determine this due date, as I mentioned in my previous blog post.

The afternoon of that ultrasound my OB doctor called and said there was some concern. Gasp. This doesn't sound good. The doctor explained there was a cyst on the back of our baby's neck. That it could clear up on its own, but I needed to get it checked out. He referred me to Dr. Wheeler, the doctor for the Fort Wayne Perinatal Center located at Dupont Hospital. He wanted me to schedule an ultrasound for two weeks from then - today's appointment. Pregnancy emotions ranged quite a bit that first 24 hours. I was nervous. What could this mean? Doing a little research online to self-diagnose is never a good idea. But curiousity got the best of me. It could be anything. Seriously. Could be Down's Syndrome... could be nothing still.

Not wanting to unnecessarily worry anyone, we kept this potential scare fairly quiet - just sharing with a few folks to pray for us. For the baby. And for peace. I must say I definitely felt that. By the time this two-week wait was up, I was cool as a cucumber and excited to see the baby again via ultrasound. I felt like I would have nothing to worry about.

My nerves started to kick back in a little at the start of the ultrasound. The tech was able to really zoom in and get some accurate measurements of the baby's neck. Dr. Wheeler came in and the long-story-short version is good news. We should have a normal, healthy baby. Now for the longer version details.... He did, however, say there is some thickness that he can't quite call normal. So that didn't completely go away unfortunately. He was able to look at various other features of the baby (specifically around the nose) and determine that we do not have a baby with Down's Syndrome. Basically, he said we have maybe a 2% risk still of the baby having some kind of heart defect or chromosomal abnormality. If we just had to know for sure today, he could have done an amnio, but that would pose a 1% risk of miscarriage. Not worth it. So we leave our baby in God's hands - just like we have the past two weeks. That's the best place for him/her to be anyway.

I go back in two weeks to my normal OB doctor for a normal OB appointment and then four weeks after that, I go back to the Perinatal Center for another ultrasound and OB appointment with Dr. Wheeler. He assured us we shouldn't worry. And if this is truly nothing, this thickness should go away by then. I'll be around 18 weeks for that appointment - Feb. 21. So we shall see.

We are so thankful for God's goodness, grace and care He is placing on our baby during this time. We would have preferred to have the thickness completely gone. But 2%.... it could be worse. I can live with those odds.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pregnancy Journey - First Trimester

I have been bad about blogging but want to try starting again.

As you likely know by now, we are expecting #3. We are due July 28 and very excited about this next addition to our family. I am relieved, thankful and humbled to feel as good as I do this pregnancy. With Bryce's, I was pretty sick in the evenings, often throwing up. Had one or two spells where I needed medical intervention because I kept getting sick. Ethan's pregnancy was a different story. I didn't know if I'd ever want to be pregnant again after his. I was extremely sick at like 4.5 weeks! I had to go to the ER because I kept getting sick (like a dozen times in 2-3 hours). I was getting very dehydrated and my stomach was just too sick to settle down. It was awful. I threw up at least once every day, multiple times if we had to drive anywhere because of how motion sick I was. It was a very long pregnancy, where I didn't feel like I had a 2nd trimester. I went straight from being sick from the minute I woke up til the minute I went to bed... this lasted several months... to being big and uncomfortable. He was 9 lbs 2 oz at birth and a couple months before he was born I was in a decent amount of pain carrying him. Looking back, I think he was growing at a faster rate than what my skin could stretch. I was joyful at the miracle growing inside me, but there wasn't much I enjoyed about his pregnancy. I was thrilled when I delivered him, and rather relieved. I felt better giving birth and recovering than what I did during his pregnancy.

When we found out about this pregnancy, we were in the midst of battling some stomach bugs in our house. I thought I had caught something from a recent bout one of our kids had, but then I realized I was feeling mostly alright during the day but worse in the evening. Hmm.... I'd seen this before. I had Tim pick up pizza that night since I didn't feel like cooking and pizza didn't sound good when he arrived with it. I also had him pick up a home pregnancy test, just in case. I tested right away, figuring if my recent evening woes were from pregnancy, my HCG levels would be high enough to read a positive result even though it was evening and not first thing in the morning like many tests recommend. He picked up an indisputable test that gave a digital reading. When it showed up "Pregnant" a few moments later, I just kinda laughed as I showed the test to Tim. Obviously we were excited, it just kinda threw us off. It's not that this pregnancy was a surprise/accident, just unexpected. It had taken over a year to get pregnant with Bryce and 4-5 months to get pregnant with Ethan. This was the first month. So that's why we were thrown off. Happily thrown off.

My evening sickness quickly got worse. And no, I do not believe it had anything to do with the positive result. Morning sickness (or evening, or all day) is not in the head. It is a real, true symptom as many of you know. At that point we calculated that we were around 7 weeks along. I thought, ok - further along than being sick with Ethan so insanely early on. But I could still have a rough road ahead. That Sunday at church, the pastor mentioned the tear-off tab and reminded us if we had a concern to submit a prayer request. I thought to myself, "It couldn't hurt." I thought even though I was so sick with Ethan, God is bigger than this. I don't have to be that sick again - He could help me through it. I asked for prayers for health and strength in the coming month or two, when my sickness would be at its worst. I am thrilled to admit, I haven't thrown up since and overall feel better. Thank you, God. I felt insantly humbled by His goodness. Of all the things going on in the world, He cared enough to take away this concern for me. Wow!

Sometimes I think God just wants us to humble ourselves and acknowledge His control over everything in life. Easier said than done, I know. And I know often times we pray things that seemingly go unanswered. I don't have answers for those circumstances. I know life is tough and often unfair. All I can think about those situations is that God sees the big picture and we don't. However, in some cases, I think when we admit His control in life and just ask for something, He wants to give us our desires. He wants to answer our prayers. I'm thankful and relieved He answered this one anyway. With two little boys and many more responsibilities and a busier schedule than either of their pregnancies, I am thankful my road was paved a little smoother for this pregnancy.

We have an ultrasound Monday afternoon and I will share that update then. I'm at a little over 11 weeks and only feel queasy for 2-3 hours in the evening. Much more manageable for me, especially since that's when Tim is home to help with the kids. There are so many aspects of this pregnancy that are different from Bryce and Ethan's. And even though I'm far more tired, it's a happy, peaceful tired. I've got it pretty good!