My boys. My life.

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.)