And How

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Bargain Baby!

As I've mentioned before, this pregnancy was a surprise more than either of my other pregnancies.  Although we wanted another baby, our "plan" was to wait until next year (2012) to really make an effort.  One of my concerns early on in this pregnancy was how we would afford to get "baby things" during the most expensive time of the year (I've never had a winter baby before).  We set a limit of $500 to buy everything for the baby, including a crib, dresser, and carseat, but I had my doubts knowing how expensive these things can be and also knowing that we would need to buy more than just these three things (like clothes and diapers).  Even though this was our third child, almost all of our "required" baby gear was still being used by Penn and Jude, had been sold, or given away.  We were starting pretty much from scratch and I was stressed about it.

One day, I realized that all the things this baby would "need," were things we already had (mommy's milk, a safe home, and a loving family).  Everything else would just be considered extra.  I prayed for God to provide us with some of these "extras" and He absolutely did!  Every time I look at Anna's completed room, I am so thankful for the way God  has shown his love for us.  Sometimes, I think we feel guilty for asking God for things we consider to be "frivolous," but we forget that He is the "God of all Comfort," and "The God who Provides!"  As I said in this post, God cares about the little things too...the extras.

In this post, I would like to share with you some of the things that He provided us with, once we let him do his thing... (Side note:  Isn't it amazing how smoothly things go when we stop trying to control everything???)

Changing Table-$30
Pack bought this from a State Sale while he was traveling with work.
Crib and Mattress-$150
IKEA...we couldn't find a used one in good shape for this price!
Dresser-$20
Happened upon this at a yard sale and repainted it.
Rocking Chair-Free!
My Mother's Day present two years ago that I FINALLY repainted and found a home for:)

The rest of the pictures are things we bought from Craigslist...our favorite resource!
Moses Basket-$30

Carseat (new with tags and no recalls)-$35
Cloth diapers (over 80)-$220

The total amount we spent to furnish the nursery was $485 (under budget!!!) AND  we have the added bonus of not needing to add disposable diapers to our shopping list when Anna arrives!  Cloth diapers are a little more work, but every time I wash these diapers, I'll be thinking of how much money we're saving by not having to buy disposables.  $220 is a great price for diapers for one child that will last from birth until potty training!  I've also had a shower given by family where I got a bunch of cute clothes and accessories, bought some clothes on consignment, and received some way-cute hand-me-downs from Anna's cousin, Carmon!  We're set!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good news/Not so good news...

I had my 32 week check-up this morning (although I'll be 33 weeks tomorrow...oh well) and everything went smoothly.  I'm feeling great, baby is growing and in position, and I got to hear that sweet heartbeat.  I was mostly excited about the fact (or the FLUKE) that I only gained 2 oz. in the past two weeks.  I'm sure the doctor didn't mean that I should leave his office and go to Dunkin Donuts to indulge in a creme-filled donut, a pumpkin muffin, and a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant, but he didn't specify, so I just assumed it was okay...  I'm pretty thrilled that I'll probably finish this pregnancy just a little lighter than my end weights with Penn or Jude.

That was the good news.

The not so good news (not really bad...just disappointing, I guess) was when I started asking questions about what being Group B Strep-positive would mean for my upcoming labor and delivery.  I had pretty quick labors with both of the boys (even with inductions, which is fairly unusual) and chances are that I'll have another quick one with this little girl.  The concerning part is that if I end up at 39 weeks being 4 cm dilated, but not going into labor, odds are I'll end up having another induction so they can make sure I have antibiotics in my system for delivery.  I REALLY, REALLY want to avoid an induction for a lot of reasons, but that being said, I want to make sure my baby gets the dose of antibiotics that she needs to protect her.  From researching, I know that the risk is small that there would be anything that would go wrong even if we didn't get it, but in this situation (even if it is a precaution more than a necessity), I feel that the risks outweigh the benefits of foregoing the antibiotics, so I will be getting them.  On a more positive note, my doctor informed me that generally, a fast labor puts women at lower risks for passing an infection on to their babies, so that actually works in my favor and will give me peace of mind if I actually DO go into labor on my own this time.

Basically, if I start dilating early (as I usually do), then at 37 weeks, all systems are go for plan "Baby Makes Five."  This pregnant lady is going to do a lot of walking, eating pineapple, getting foot rubs, and doing "anything else" (wink, wink) that safely and naturally induces labor;).  Please pray that the rest of this pregnancy is uneventful and that labor happens on it's own, as this something I really feel would be best for me and baby.  The middle of January can't come too soon for me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One of these things is not like the others...

From the very early stages of this pregnancy, I have said that it was "different."  Originally, "different" meant "miserable," but over the course of the last few months, it's becoming less miserable and just more....ummm..."different." 

Here are a few of the differences I've noticed in all of my pregnancies:

Morning Sickness:  With this pregnancy, I've actually gotten sick less than either of the others, but during the first 10-12 weeks, I felt sick 24-7.  I drank and ate ginger snacks and drinks, I tried accupressure bands, I stopped cooking (or even walking in my kitchen) and I had to stop using almost all of my "natural" home cleaning products because I couldn't stand the smell of vinegar and tea tree oil.  I think Pack thought I was in the early stages of death since I wouldn't get off the couch to do anything.  It was a tough couple of months.

Heartburn:  Whoa...honestly, I didn't even know what heartburn really felt like before this pregnancy.  Yuck. Gross. Gag.  I'll be glad when my digestive system stops revolting.

Swelling:  There hasn't been any.  Well, I do have some swelling after I'm on my feet all day and after traveling, but nothing compared to the multiple liters of fluid that were in my legs and feet during my pregnancies with Penn and Jude.  My leg/foot swelling was actually pretty legendary at my former workplace and are "fondly" remembered as my "telephone poles" (thanks, Pack).

Weight Gain:  After all the fast food I consumed during my first trimester, I'm still shocked it hasn't been more out of hand.  The way things are looking, I will weigh about 10 pounds less this pregnancy than at the end of my pregnancies with Penn and Jude (where I ended up tipping the scales at +50lbs and +30lbs higher than my start weight with each child respectively).  I'm not done yet, so I hate to make any premature judgments on this, but with every doctor's appointment, I'm shocked I haven't gained more, although my belly definitely looks "bellier!"  So far, I've gained 15 pounds...I'm cool with that!

Baby Movement:  Most active baby yet (in utero, at least).  I've never had one keep me up at night moving, so this makes me really nervous about the little personality to follow...

How I Feel:  Overall...less anxious, more impatient.  I have decided that this baby will definitely be born as naturally as possible (i.e., no epidural or induction), so there is some nervousness that comes with this decision, but overall, I know I can birth a baby and I think the birth process will be much more enjoyable if it happens the way it was designed to.  I do feel that I'm having to educate myself from scratch on the labor and birth process, but I'm learning a ton and looking forward to putting all my new knowledge into practice.  I'm so ready to do this.

Getting Prepared:  The baby's room has been completed for a month now.  Unprecedented.  Yeah...we could use a second coat of paint on the walls and a few pieces of art, but so long as she has clean sheets to sleep on and a few diapers lying around, I feel prepared.

Big Difference:  IT'S A GIRL!  I still am not 100% sold on this (which is why the nursery is painted blue with girly fabrics (easy to change if we're wrong), but I think this is the main reason this pregnancy has been so different.  I will not be suffering any gender disappointment if "Anna" turns out to be a "Silas (my choice for boy's name)," but I have had fun shopping in the "pink" department in the meantime:)

And just for comparison, here are a few pictures taken from each of my pregnancies...
8 Months with Penn (round all over)!
9 Months with Jude...whoa!
8 Months with Anna...hanging in there!
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On cloth diapering...

I've almost hit the 30-week mark in this pregnancy and I'm starting to try to wrap my head around all the practical preparations that I'll need to make before little Anna makes her arrival.  The nursery is baby-ready and we've gotten a sweet little Moses Basket all ready for her to lay her sweet little head in.  I've gotten a lot wiser by this third go-round.  I'm not so focused on making sure I've got a baby bath (which I never used with Penn or Jude anyway), or a high chair (which we won't be needing for quite some time), or things like that.  But, what I am realizing that I don't have, but will need is diapers...and a lot of them!

Penn and Jude were both diapered in the modern-traditional way...disposables...and aside from cringing from the amount of money we spent buying pack after pack, I didn't really consider anything else.  Then, when Jude was 17 months old (or so...I can't exactly remember), I made the switch to cloth diapering 24-7.  We used gDiapers (not the most economical choice for cloth diapering, but I was able to score all of my diapers used  on Craigslist and only spent less than $200 for all of my supplies (covers, liners, cloth inserts, and detergent) to last me until he was potty trained (which, as it turns out happened about three months later)...AND they are still in great shape to use again when Anna is big enough!  We were really happy with the choice and I was shocked at how simple cloth diapering really was and how nice it was to not have to worry about ever running out of diapers.  I was so excited about them, I even wrote a review here on the blog! 

So anyway...Baby #3 is on the way and I haven't considered that I would do anything else besides cloth diaper this little girl.  But since I've never cloth diapered a newborn before, I need a little advice from some veterans...

  • Do I need to buy "newborn" cloth diapers or will "smalls" be sufficient assuming I have another 8lb baby?
  • How many diapers will I need to have on hand?
  • Are there any "issues" with cloth diapering a newborn that I should be prepared for?
  • Considering that I'll probably have some disposables that I received as gifts, would it be too rough on a newborn's skin to switch back and forth (I only ask because I had problems with Jude's little hiney breaking out whenever I switched back and forth)?
  • Finally, since one of the huge factors in me cloth diapering is the "frugal" quality, what are your best tips for scoring great deals on cloth diapers?  I've had good luck on Craigslist for gDiapers, but I'd be interested in some other sources as well.  They don't have to be super cute or girly...but I do want them work well.
  • Is there anything I'm missing???

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Permission granted...

By writing a publishing this post, I hereby give myself permission to:
  • Forget about how much weight I gain or how big my belly will get.  The scale WILL go up and my belly WILL get big...really big.  It's okay.  I won't be pregnant forever.
  • Feel entitled to get special treatment because I'm pregnant (or a mom, or a woman, or a human...whichever excuse works to get a foot/back rub).  I'm not above groveling.  This can also apply to other situations designed to make life easier for a pregnant woman (i. e., I am going to start looking for the "expectant mothers" parking spaces.)
  • Shop in the girls' department without having to retrace my steps back to the boys department to get Penn and Jude something.  They have lots.  Anna...not so much.
  • Ask for help.  With chores.  Or watching the boys.  Or getting me off the couch (it's hard work these days...).  Just ask.
  • Just say no, sometimes.  To laundry.  To taking Penn and Jude somewhere every. single. day.  To getting off the couch (I said, "sometimes," not forever.).
Basically, my goal in the this third trimester is to loosen up and resist the urge to stress over those things I normally stress about.  Being pregnant is amazing (even the third time) and I want to be able to enjoy these last few weeks before Baby Girl makes her grand debut.  Because then, I figure, she'll be the one granting permission.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy THINGSgiving Month;)

This morning, when Penn and Jude came to our bed for our morning snuggle (or their morning wake-up wiggles), we were talking about what day it was.  Penn asked, "Is this the month where we give people things?"  I assumed he was talking about Christmas, but in fact, he's just been misunderstanding us when we've been telling him that it's "Thanksgiving month" and we are supposed to be giving THANKS (not things) for everything and everyone.  We enjoyed our little morning chuckle:)

On that note, here are a few things I'm thankful for this week:

  • Kisses from "super-heroes."
  • A husband who likes to thrift shop.
  • Feeling little Anna's hiccups for the first time this week.
  • Finding a store that is actually selling baking pumpkins after Halloween!
  • Having two churches (here and in SC) that we feel connected to.
  • A Savior that has been so patient with me as I learn how to hear and obey His voice and be more aware of Him working around me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reassurance.

Today I got some annoying news.  My doctor's office called to let me know that my glucose tolerance test came back "high," which meant I failed Part I of the gestational diabetes test and I need to come back and take the three hour version...hooray.  And, OH YEAH, my hemoglobin/hematocrit levels were low, so I need to start an iron regimen to combat my anemia.

I won't lie...I cried about it.  At the risk of sounding whiny, I had a horrible headache all day after I took the one hour test for GD and iron pills notoriously destroy my stomach and make me feel miserable.  The thought of having to do either of these things made me want to throw up, but that being said, I just wanted to get it over with right away.  Unfortunately, that was not to be either, so it looks like I'll have to dread it for another week or so.

Now, I know I was a little over-dramatic to cry about it.  After all, I failed the one hour test with Penn and passed (just barely) the three hour test.  And then with Jude, I passed the one hour test, but ended up being placed on the GD diet anyway later in my pregnancy, so I really shouldn't have been surprised.  Not to mention, I'm on iron pills at least once every year.  Crazy hormones...

So, I ended up feeling pretty annoyed for the rest of the day and was not looking forward to going to my class for Experiencing God tonight.  As a matter of fact, when I realized that I would have to leave our house without eating supper in order to make it on time, I almost decided that it wouldn't hurt me to stay home one night, but finally I decided that for some reason, I just wanted to go.

So I went.  I was hungry and had to use the restroom mega-bad, but had no extra time to satisfy my appetite or my bladder.  I shuffled into my chair and found a stack (or smiley face shaped assortment) of little candies sitting at my seat as if someone knew I might need a little chocolate to tide me over until I got the chance to eat my supper.  Then, as I got a little more settled, one of my classmates, who I haven't even met personally, walked over to me with two of the cutest little flower pops made from baby spoons and baby washcloths.  She said she wanted to give them to me for my baby on the way.  Such a small token that meant a lot to me.

Aren't they cute?  I'm totally stealing this idea...
After a long, emotionally exhausting day, she reminded me that I was where I needed to be.  And I am so glad I didn't miss it.  So, to this nice lady (who's name I forgot to ask...I know...so slack), thank you for going out of your way to do something nice for someone you didn't even know.  You could have never known what a big impact that little gesture would make:)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

God and the Little Things...

This is pretty choppy, but I'm pretty excited about it.  I couldn't figure out a way to write about this without it simply being a jumble of my thoughts, but I decided to put it out there anyway.  I hope you can find the meaning in it that I did.

Today I thought of something that I wanted (well really, it's something I've been wanting and trying to get for a little while now and it just hasn't worked out yet).  It was a somewhat selfish want...nothing like wanting health for my family or world peace or anything, but just something I wanted for Pack and I and our new baby girl.  No biggie.

After working through my Experiencing God workbook this morning, I had a rush of thoughts...

I wondered if what I wanted was something that was necessary for my home or just something for my and my family's comfort and enjoyment.  (comfort and enjoyment)

I wondered if God would be angry at me for interrupting His business of "preparing for eternity" while I ask Him to provide for something small.  (Would I be angry at my children for asking me to provide something small for them...HELLO...Christmas lists, anyone?)

I wondered what would happen if I just simply asked God for what I wanted and trusted that He would provide it.  (Either He would provide it, or He wouldn't...either way, I would survive)

So I did.  I selfishly, yet confidently asked God to provide me a way to get the couple of things that I had been wanting for our home in a way that would be impossible for me to do myself.

A strange series of events happened then.  Initially, I had an urge to write down exactly what I had asked for (which I didn't do because they boys got hungry and I had to make lunch).  Then, I forgot all about what I had originally wanted.  It completely left my mind, which was pretty unusual considering I've been thinking about it multiple times every day for a while now.  And finally...my husband called me (within a few hours) and told me that we were probably going to be seeing a little extra money in the next month or so, thanks to some changes that his work made (which will provide what I wanted plus extra!!!).

WHAT???!!!

Yep...by lunchtime, the God of the universe had shown me that He cares about my comfort and enjoyment...God cares about the little things.  He showed me that when I simply ask for something AND leave Him in charge (that's the kicker), He will provide it or something better.  God wants me to rely on Him for my every need and to express my wants to Him as well.

That was easy.

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Three.

My joy :)
I was reading the other day about a friend that just found out she's expecting her third baby (Congrats again, Chelsea!) and I was thinking to myself, "Wow...I can't believe she's going to have three children!"  Then I thought again and said to myself, "Whoa...wait a minute...I'M GOING TO HAVE THREE CHILDREN!"

It's amazing that I forget sometimes that this belly is going to someday turn into a baby, but I do.  The fact is, it never seems real until you bring that empty belly and lump of a baby home from the hospital.  There's no getting prepared for children.  You can prepare your house, but you can never really be prepared for how YOUR little baby is going to change your life. 

The funny thing is, even though I know that and even though I know how much crazier life can be with each additional child...I can't say three is it for me (and if Pack is reading this, he's probably cringing right now).  I just don't know how I can ever say that I'm done and I am a little jealous of the people I know who can "commit" to being DONE.  Very simply, I'm in love with the craziness of this life that we have been given and my children truly feel like a gift...how could I turn down more?

Are the pregnancy hormones making me crazy or what???

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rock me to sleep, Jesus

I'm taking an "Experiencing God" class at my church right now and the topic of quiet time came up tonight.  A consistent quiet time with God is always something that I struggle with and obviously, I'm not alone.  While we were discussing the topic tonight, someone chimed in with the response that we sometimes focus on the "block" of time we put aside for God, somehow thinking that if we put in our time, we can check "Time with God" off the list for the day and go about business as usual thinking that He'll bless that.

We're too busy to think about God during the day and then we're too tired at night.  Sounds like the life of a mom, right?

I know, as a mom of two (soon to be three) young ones, I spend many of my days in survival mode where I am in a constant state of exhaustion and motion and I can't really tell anyone why.  At the end of the day, the house is still a mess, we've done nothing educational, and sometimes haven't even stepped out of the front door.  Those are the days that life happens, I guess and as little time as I might have spent doing scholarly Bible study, those are also the days that I most desire to hear from my Savior.  When I crawl into bed some nights, I think about a passage that I read a long time ago in an awesome book by Brennan Manning.  He says,
The greatest gift any ragamuffin can receive from Jesus is the Abba experience. Jesus says we are to go to God with the unaffected simplicity of a child with his daddy. In  poignant psalm expressing childlike trust in God, David says, 'Enough for me to keep my soul tranquil and quiet like a child in its mother's arms, as content as a child that has been weaned.' (13:12) The little one is not an infant, but a weaned youngster of two or three who had been toddling around exploring the mysteries of his father's flashlight, key chain, and assorted coins left on an end table. The little ragamuffin suddenly wearies and staggers back into his mother's arms. Soothed by her affectionate words as she strokes his hair, the little guy falls asleep, tranquil and quiet.
Jesus invites us to become like a little child, to crawl into Abba's arms and let Him love on us. Though, as Alan Jones notes, "the most difficult part of mature faith is to allow ourselves to be the object of God's delight."
-- Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 234.
As I'm learning more about God and who He is and what His will is for my life, I'm able to understand that God doesn't want me to pencil Him into my morning.  He wants me to let Him weave himself into the fabric of my everyday (messy, crazy, unorganized) life.  He doesn't see me as a student to be taught, but a child to be loved on.  And if there's anything that I know for sure, it's that as a parent, you cherish those moments that your child crawls into your lap just to be close to you.  We don't get angry when our precious children fall asleep in our arms, so why would God be upset with us when we fall asleep with thoughts of Him?  So when the gears in my mind don't want to stop turning at the end of a busy day, I'm going to let my mind wander into my Jesus' lap and let Him rock me to sleep.

"At day's end, I'm ready for sound sleep; for you, God, put my life back together."   
Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top This...

A good night's sleep.

Seriously.  Those have been few and far between lately.  Between my growing belly, my shrinking bladder, and an injured shoulder on my right side, I have not been able to get comfortable at night lately.  I'm fine sleeping on my left side...for a while.  But then, I need to turn.  And there's nowhere to go.  And it stinks.

Then there's my boys.  Penn rarely has ever slept through the night and usually comes in our room at least once only to be sent back to his room.  This usually wakes Jude up who is not so easily directed back to he bed, so he ends up snuggling with us for a while, which brings Penn back in the room because "that's not fair," and so forth.  We sleep in a queen bed (although we REALLY REALLY want a king asap) and the problem is clear as to why four-across is not comfortable.  Add into the mix that Jude INSISTS on sleeping on my right arm (hence the shoulder injury...thanks, kiddo), and I usually wake up into one grumpy mama!

But last night...I slept.  No one woke me up in the middle of the night, my shoulder did not feel as if it was on fire when I laid on it, and I didn't have to go to the bathroom not even once!  Heaven for this tired gal!  I realize that tonight maybe just the opposite, but I am so thankful for one night of peaceful slumber...and these days, you can't top that!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby name...CHECK!

I still can't believe it...
Penn (a.k.a.. Daniel Packard V) never had a "girl name."  We knew our first boy would be a namesake for Pack and we'd come up with a nickname, but amazingly, we never discussed girl names at all.  With Jude, after much deliberation, we had his "girl name" all picked out (although we never put a lot of thought into boy names until after we found out his gender).  His girl name would have been Riley Kay.  Fortunately, he ended up being a little boy, so we got to have a little fun with his name and choose something that meant something to us (Jude=a Biblical name with a good song and sounded good with Penn, and Tillman=for Tillman Hall at Clemson University where Pack graduated).  It all worked out because after a while, I decided I didn't really like the name Riley anyway.  It bothered me that Penn had a name with such great family heritage from both sides of our family and the next baby would have had a name that we just liked.  I wanted the name to have a story (and preferably a really good song).  For the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with choosing a name for your children that you simply like the sound of, but I wanted an equal amount of thought and sentiment to go into each of my children's names.  

And BOY did a lot of thought (and arguments and maybe a few tears) go into this one...

Anna Hazel

I had been thinking of the name Anna Hazel since after Jude was born.  Ann is a name that has been used in a lot of girl names in my family (my former middle name was DiANNe, as a matter of fact).  My mom's sister Ann is the eldest of eight children in her family, and although she has no children of her own, she has been like a mom to all of her nieces and nephews.  I've always wanted to be able to honor her by including her name in a little girl's name (if I ever had one).  My Aunt Ann is definitely the female leader in our family and is the best planner/hostess/baby holder you will ever meet.  Anna is going to adore her.

Hazel was my Grandmother on my Dad's side of the family.  She, along with her twin sister, Hallie, kept my twin sister and I from the time we were born until we were able to stay home by ourselves.  They taught us so, so much, and left us with a ton of awesome memories, but I'm always wishing we had paid attention even more.  We spent our time with them serving others, picking whatever vegetables or other foods were in season (WHEREVER they were in season), making crafts and home goods, and visiting relatives that I would probably have never know otherwise.  They definitely had a huge influence on the woman that I am now and I see a lot of both of them in me more and more every day.

The name for my new baby girl may seem ordinary or old fashioned to some, but the women that the name represents were and are truly extraordinary and I can't wait until the day when she understands where her name came from.  I know she'll be proud of it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blessings in the Storm

We are finally home from a really exciting, but really exhausting vacation.  We combined a birthday trip for the two of us (which I will blog about later) with a trip home to visit family and BOY was it an eventful week!  Aside from the fun things we had planned, we (along with the rest of the East Coast) dealt with an earthquake at the beginning of last week (whose epicenter was about 30 miles outside of our home) and a hurricane toward the end.

When we left Virginia last Friday (the 19th), we had no idea of what we would be missing...and I'm so thankful for so many things.  I was thankful that the earthquake wasn't more powerful than a 5.8, thankful that no one I know was hurt, and most importantly, thankful that we weren't home (because Pack would have been on the road and I would have been home with the boys...FREAKING OUT!).  And an earthquake is a scary thing, not even taking into consideration all the aftershocks that have continued to happen.  The scary part for us was that we had no idea if anything inside our house was damaged.  We would have to wait to get home to find out (not a thing was out of place, by the way...thankful).

And then there was Irene...

When we left Virginia, we knew there was a tropical storm in the ocean and we knew it was probably going to make landfall, but we figured it would probably strike the coastal areas (of which we are not), so we didn't make a lot of serious preparations before we left.  Just the normal security type stuff.  Then, while we were in San Francisco, we learned that Virginia was going to be pretty hard hit and all my friends in Midlothian were making emergency preparations.  We were thankful once again that we weren't home and that our boys would be safe in South Carolina while we were in hurricane-free California.  I knew we had a lot of trees around our home, but there wasn't a whole lot we could do about it, so we just didn't dwell on the worst case scenario and spend the time sightseeing and enjoying our time.  Then, on Saturday my next-door-neighbor called and I knew it must be bad news.  They were in the thick of the storm and called to let us know that a tree from their yard had fallen onto Pack's work truck....which was parked in the driveway next to the house.  They couldn't be sure there wasn't any damage done to the house itself, so once again, we had to just wait it out and see.

Well, we got home today and once again, we were thankful.  The tree that fell crushed the windshield of Pack's truck, but there was hardly any damage anywhere else on the truck.  Thankful.  Our house was unscathed (minus the yard, which is a wreck).  Thankful.  We have awesome neighbors that pulled out their chainsaw and went to town on the tree with Pack to make sure it was going to be light enough to move safely.  Thankful.  About five other men (three of which, we hardly even know), spent part of their Monday afternoon, lifting the giant walnut tree off of the truck while I backed it out the driveway.  Super-thankful.  Although the windshield was shattered, there was no water damage to any of Pack's things inside the cab.  Pack was thankful.  And the tree itself was VERY close to our house.  If we had been home, the family van would have probably been crushed instead.  If the tree had rolled off the truck, or fallen just a few inches in other directions, there would probably have been damage to the house.  As we cleaned up the yard and dragged branches and limbs to the curb, we couldn't complain about a thing.  We. just. felt. THANKFUL.  Thankful and glad to be home.

Oh, and we never liked that walnut tree anyway;)

TIMBER!!!

That was close...

The silver bullet saved the house!

The damage.  Could be worse!

Little Penn was working hard.  Jude was not interested.

Blowing sawdust out of the driveway.  Don't worry it's battery operated:)
 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Little Kicks...


So, this is how I imagine Little Bean in my belly (sans the over-permed hair and the bad outfit).  I'm still amazed that I can already feel this baby move!  I'm 15 weeks (just this Tuesday) and last night I felt him (or her) moving so strongly that it startled me.  Those little one or two inch legs are pretty powerful.  I actually was able to feel the kicks with my hand and see them a bit.  If I hadn't made Pack check it out, I would have thought it was in my imagination, but he felt it too and it (of course) freaked him out.  Something about there being a living, growing baby inside another person's body fascinates him and terrifies him all at the same time.  It's pretty funny.

This is where my pregnancies become so real to me.  I start daydreaming more and more about holding that sweet baby in my arms.  I'm so excited.  It will be another month before I find out what we're having, but I really haven't been thinking about that as much lately.  I think most people assume that I'm dying for a girl (and I'd be lying if I said I don't drool over little newborn baby girl clothes), but like I've told some friends recently, "How could I not want another boy after the two sweet, cutie-pies that I've already got?"  Seriously.  These boys are my heart and as much as would like to think I'd be a great Mama to a little girl, I KNOW I was meant to bring up boys.  What a messy/busy/active/loud JOY they are.  I'm so thankful.

I'm also getting back into my pregnancy groove (thank you second trimester!).  I've got more energy, the worst symptoms are practically gone, and I'm looking more and more like a pregnant lady.  As much as my first trimester tried to convince me that this baby was going to be "it," I'm starting to dig being pregnant again.  And if I completely ignore the scale (and the fact that Penn and Jude keep telling me that the baby feels "squishy"), I feel pretty awesome.

So here's to the remaining 25 (or so) weeks.  I'm finally up for the challenge:)

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Works for Us...right now

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post, kind of dictating the struggle we were going through with Penn's current stage.  After I wrote it, I really became conscious of what kinds of things I would say and do to try and get Penn to cooperate when we were in a tense situation.  I thought I would share with you, a few things from my arsenal that have worked (although they may not work every time).

This first strategy is something that I've been doing a lot lately.  I read about this idea on a blog months ago (but I don't remember which one).  I can't help but think this would be beneficial for a lot of age groups.  As a matter of fact, if I were still teaching fifth grade, I could see myself saying this a lot.  It's just four simple words:  "Let's try that again."  What I realized is that children (and adults even) sometime say the first thing that comes to their mind.  When my husband asks me if I can iron his clothes for work, my whole body wants to say, "No!"  But I know he needs clean, neat clothes to wear to work and as much as I hate ironing, I do it because I want him to feel confident at work.  But as an adult, I usually  know how to bite my tongue an think about things before I share them (as Pack has told me, rightfully so..."Kimberly, you don't always have to say EVERTHING that's on your mind.")  On the same note, when I ask Penn to pick up the blueberries off the kitchen floor that fell down there while he was eating, his first instinct is to tell me "No, you can do it."  Why yes I can (and probably faster and better), but that doesn't teach a lot of responsibility, does it?  When I say, "Let's try that again," it really helps him rethink the situation and make the decision on his own to do the right thing.  Most times, that's all it takes.

There are times when the above strategy doesn't work.  My next attempt is usually this quick question.  "Are you going to choose to obey Mommy or to disobey by not doing what I've asked you?"  It's amazing that he's old enough to understand these words, but what also impresses me is that every single time, he wants to obey.  He wants to follow the rules.  Whether it's cleaning his room or going to time out when he's sent, by giving him the chance to think about consciously breaking the rules (and getting consequences), this question will usually end whatever conflict has started.  It also helps to keep me cool-headed in a tense situation.

My boy still hates to clean.  Really hates it.  So in that situation, I have started following the advice of another friend.  Anything that has not been picked up in a reasonable amount of time goes in a trash bag.  The trash bag goes in the garage.  After a week (or so), I'll give him another chance to take the toys out of the trash bag and put them where they belong.  If they don't end up where they supposed to go the second time around, they will get trashed or donated.  Penn MIGHT get his Mobigo back today...

The same friend who suggested the above strategy, also told me months ago about something else that she does when her kids are fighting over toys.  It works beautifully.  It's called "toy time-out."  When Penn and Jude are fighting over a toy, I don't try to figure out who had it first.  I take it away and put it in a "spot" until they agree to share or take turns.  They will almost always choose to share rather than not have the toy at all.

When all else fails...

Penn is finally old enough to know what it means when I tell him to go to his room and lay on his bed (or if we are in public, I tell him we're going to the car to sit).  I try to save this one for when nothing else seems to work because I want it to have impact.  This sometimes results in him screaming, crying, growling, or whatever else he might think would let me know how he really feels.  As awful as these times are, I just remind him that it's okay to be mad at mommy or mad at his behavior, but he still has to have consequences.  When something doesn't go my way, I get furious.  Why do we adults think it's not acceptable for kids to get upset  either?  After I let him get some screaming out, I tell him to stop whenever he feels like talking and we can discuss.  I never prompt this, but he almost always follows the crying with, "I'm sorry for breaking the rules, Mommy."  And I always forgive him (even though it's hard to let go).  And then there's usually a nap around the corner...all that crying really can wear a boy out;)

It's amazing the perspective that can change with some sleep.  I have even found that when I can't seem to pull it together to stay calm enough to try anything that I mentioned above, it's usually because I'm the one that needs some sleep!  Keeping that in mind, really changes my outlook. 

Now I'm going to put a disclaimer out there and tell you that this hasn't solved every discipline problem we've had and good parenting, is all about learning what works best for you and your family.  I also hope that some of my mom friends that have struggled with not knowing how to discipline their preschoolers find something here that will work for them (or if you've tried any of these, please share your experience). Please remember, although I'm not up for a parenting debate (it's hard enough being a parent without having to defend every decision that you make), I'm always open to new advice, so please share YOUR strategies for dealing with conflicts with your kiddos also.  It never hurts to share what works...it may help someone else!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

No plans, just go.

My awesome hubby told us earlier this week that he wanted to take the kids (and me, of course) to Virginia Beach since we hadn't actually been to a beach at all this summer.  Out of the two of us, I am definitely more of the "planner" (which actually doesn't say much because I'm actually not a planner at all) and Pack is usually the "anti-decision maker" (because, well...he has a VERY difficult time committing to dates and thinking ahead unless it's work-related).  BUT....he booked us a hotel for a night and got us all psyched up for an overnight vacation (which, to be honest, is about all we can handle with out little guys lately).

Our plan was to have a nice supper, let the boys get some energy out in the hotel pool, and then hit the hay so we could have lots of go-juice for the beach on Saturday.  We did all those things, but it didn't go as smoothly as we had planned.  We had our celebratory supper (celebrating not cooking, of course) at the Cheesecake Factory and realized we were demonstrating why many restaurants are banning children these days.  We saw not just one, but three couples opt to wait longer for table than sit next to us (Oh, WHY didn't they let us have a booth????).  In our defense, we had to eat and at least we went early before the crowd really started pouring in...

On the walk back to the hotel, we passed a cute little cupcake shop and I thought a little sugar would help get my stress level back on track, so we picked up some to have after our swim and hurried on to hit the pool.  The pool was great and the boys had fun (after Jude got over his 15 minutes of being terrified of the cold water and begging for the hot tub).  We thought after a nice dessert, bath, and prayers, the boys would go right to sleep while we watched HGTV.  We were wrong.  It took Jude an hour to give up the fight (after many threats) and then Penn decided he didn't want to be awake alone and tried to wake Jude up by bending his finger backwards.  What was he thinking???!!!  After settling that, we cut the T.V. off and we all drifted off to sleep.


This morning, our boys woke up with plenty of "go-juice."  We were all eager to get out of the little hotel room and hit the beach.  After an awesome breakfast at our hotel and a quick shopping trip for beach snacks and a couple more toys, we were ready.  Getting a parking place close to our spot, was grossly expensive, but worth it when we were having to lug a beach bag, shovels, buckets of toys, umbrella, and two wild little men across a busy street.  Once we touched the sand though, we hit our stride.


From mid-morning until mid-afternoon, we did a lot of playing in the water and a lot of this:

Yeah...I'm the mom that packs a disposable cup and spoon for sand toys...so what!

Filling the bucket with sand so I could dump it over and break it...oops!
Sweet beach baby:)
It was pretty fun getting sandy...and thanks, Pack for not making me look like a fatty:)
Hey mom...you sunscreened your boys, now would be a good time to sunscreen yourself!
Beach play wipes you out!
More creative sand toys:)
When we decided it was time to go, we grabbed hot dogs for the boys, some Chick-fil-a for us, and we were homeward bound.  It was a great trip and I'm so thankful that our life here allows us to make no "real" plans and just go.  I'm also thankful for a husband who knows how to "roll with it" and take some initiative when I don't even know that I need him to.  We had a blast and I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hellloooo Second Trimester!

I can't tell you how long I've been waiting to say those words.  Let's face it...this baby has made me pretty miserable these first 12 weeks, but it looks like the tides are turning!  I started feeling a little more human about a week ago, but then we had a very busy weekend of LOTS of traveling and late nights.  Needless to say, it took me a while to recover.  I'm proud to say I've been Phenergan-free for three days now (a big deal, even though I was only taking half a pill before bed each night) and tonight I made my first home-cooked meal in...a long time.  And it's not chicken nuggets or anything frozen either...HA!

Dinner's a big deal because I literally have not been able to stomach the thought of cooking for a huge percentage of this pregnancy.  Honestly, I don't even like to grocery shop and I normally LOVE to shop here!  But today I made a decision to subscribe to a meal planning program that will make my shopping trips less stressful and I don't have to think ahead as much (because, as we all know, thinking and pregnancy do not go well together).  It's a highly-recommended site and it only costs me $1.25 per week (paid every three months).  It's a price I'm happy to pay to be able to provide healthy meals for my family again.  If you aren't organized or motivated (ME!  ME!) enough to plan your own meals right now, definitely check out E-Mealz.com.  From what I can tell, the meals are simple and can be customized to a particular diet (low-fat, gluten-free, etc.) or even to what store you shop at (Walmart, Kroger, etc.).  I can't wait to try out some more and get some new meals into our rotation.

In closing, I'll leave you with a picture of our first E-Mealz attempt and my first homeade attempt at much of anything lately.  If you try it, let me know what you think! (By the way, this is obviously a picture of the leftovers...lunch tomorrow-CHECK!)
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole (not pretty, but yummy and easy on the heartburn)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Typical Jude

We're in Florence now, which means I get to sleep in while the kids wake up and watch cartoons with Grandaddy and gorge themselves on chocolate chip cookies every morning (Why fight it when we're staying at Grandma's for free???). Anyway, I was happy that this trip home coincided with some other fun things like Vacation Bible School at "the old church" and my Daddy's birthday (which is today...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADDY!). Mom asked me if I would decorate a sheet cake for him if she made it and since I LOVE my daddy AND my mom's cakes, I said, "Certainly!" Now I don't do cakes very often...mainly just family birthdays and I've always known that I could never sell them. There are three main reasons for this:

1. I don't think my cakes look good enough to sell (and I'm not just being modest.)
2. I get tired of doing it VERY quickly.
3. Jude...read on.

I thought originally that I should wait until the boys were napping to give it a go (that "thought" was actually the voice of reason and good sense), but then I reconsidered thinking that I might want a nap as well. Bad idea. The cake itself didn't take very long and I thought it turned out pretty cute since I only had three colors to work with. I sent Pack a picture of it with the message, "How does this look? By the way, it's too late to make changes, so tell me good things:)" Here was the finished product with some wonky stripes.


Less than one minute after I took this picture, I left the kitchen to find the large cake box that my mom had put in a hallway closet for me to put the cake it. I new it didn't have a chance to stay uncovered. I was gone two minutes...two minutes too long. When I came back, Jude was holding a broom and the cake looked like this...


I sent Pack a picture with another message that said, "I could cry." I really almost did.  After reminding myself that I am NOT an abusive parent, I "monitored and adjusted." This was my best attempt at fixing it...


And it's not even lunch time yet...  Oh well, Happy Birthday to my sweet, loving, handy-man Daddy.  Hope you like the cake that YOUR grandson and I made together;)  Love you tons!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Where I Am

For me, it doesn't matter how many times I've been through this, I'm always reminded of how precious and fragile a baby is. I'm 10 weeks now and although my morning sickness is not completely gone yet, I'm definitely feeling good more than bad. But I'm painfully aware of how welcome even the bad is for women that are longing for their babies. I'm really trying hard not to focus on my sickness, but to give thanks for each week that passes. This baby is growing and I have the muffin top to prove it;)

My two little big boys though are really...ummmm...teaching me a lot lately about discipline. You can hear me yelling "NO, JUDE!!!!!!!!" all throughout the house lately because little man has either spilled powder all over the bathroom, gotten a stubborn stain on the carpet, dumped the sugar dish in the kitchen, or some done something else that my hormones perceive as a disaster. And a conversations with Penn lately goes something like this:

Me: Penn, please clean up your room.
Penn: Um, no thanks, but thanks for asking.
Me: I wasn't asking, Penn...clean it!
Penn: No...you can do it.

And that's usually as far as I make it before I start losing it...I am not known for my patience. I feel like I've tried all my tricks. I've asked nicely, I've made it a game, I've done time out, I've taken away his costumes (which is huge), I've put him on t.v. and computer restriction, and I've spanked (which doesn't seem to work for us, by the way), but nothing seems to work and I'm exhausted. So if you've got any fresh thoughts on the "Penn refuses to follow directions" situation, I would be most willing to try. I'm pretty desperate.

I do however, LOVE my boys and I know God is using them to help point out a lot of flaws in my own character. Maybe I'm the one that needs to be worked on the most. Well...I guess that's all I've got for now. And Jude just got too quiet, so I should probably check that out...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Trimester blahs...

Just so you know, I have every intention of this blog turning into a pregnancy blog temporarily.  I'm sure I'll still be putting up family updates and other things every now and then, but now that my "secret" is out, I really just want a place to commiserate with some sympathetic friends.

That being said, here we go...

First and foremost, this pregnancy was a surprise.  We knew we wanted at least one more baby, but our plan was not to try for another baby until the end of the year.  Obviously, God had other plans (YAY!).  I began to suspect I was pregnant or that I was anemic (again) when I started getting really, really sleepy at like 9:30 or 10 in the morning.  I was struggling to get up in the morning and to stay awake if I was still at any point during the day.  Pack went out of town with work and I took the boys with me to the store to buy a pregnancy test and I took it as soon as I got home.  

I smiled.
After the realization set it, I got really nervous about telling Pack.  Should I wait until he got home to tell him, call him immediately, or wait and send him a picture (that picture) later?  I opted to send the picture.  That may sound tacky, but here's why...  When I found out I was pregnant with Penn and Jude, Pack (God love him) had a less than desirable reaction, in my opinion.  He had to lay down after he found out about Penn and with Jude, he didn't really say much, but went to work.  He was fine later and made me feel much better, but I guess that's the way things have to sink in for him.  He needs a little time...it shocks him every time.  So, having learned the hard way, I texted him the picture and he called to verify what it was.  I could tell he was going through his "thing" so I told him that he could react however he wanted and then react the way I wanted him to when he got home the next day (aren't I a good wife???).  It worked beautifully.  I was greeted with a warm hug and the excitement my heart needed as soon as he walked in the door.

His plan was to wait to tell everyone until Fathers' Day weekend, which was four weeks away at that point.  I didn't really like that plan, especially since I had already told two people (like I said, I'm not good at secrets...).  But as the first trimester started wearing on me, I wanted to let people know what was up. 

Mainly, I wanted to be able to complain to someone because I. felt. like. crap.  I was managing the the fatigue, cramps, headaches, backaches, bloating, moodiness, and all that fun stuff.  But this week, the morning sickness hit me like a truck.  Within two days, I knew this was not what I had been through with Penn and Jude.  I can barely be in a vertical position for more than a few minutes without feeling nauseous.  And to make things worse, I can't actually get sick to relieve the feeling at all.  It's just nauseousness all day.  I'll get a craving for something and then by the time I can get it, the thought of eating (or smelling) it disgusts me.  At this point, I can't even open my refrigerator.  Poor Penn and Jude. Lots of take-out and T.V. for us lately. 

Needless to say, this has been a LONG week!  I'm hoping my body adjusts and things level out so that I can get some relief.  I want to be able to cook for my family again at some point.  At least my boys are treating me well.  They are trying their hardest to take care of me and not cause too much trouble (although messes seem to follow Jude around).  And my sweet husband is being awesome...picking up some of my slack by preparing meals, watching the boys, or folding laundry, and showing the perfect amount of sympathy for me.  I love him.

Hopefully, my next post won't be such a pity party, but I gotta be real.  And my new mantra?  "This too shall pass."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Secret's Out!

Secrets...

I hate them.  I mean, I love the juicy stuff that secrets are made of, but I just can't seem to keep them.  And I've got one right now.  I can't even think of anything to blog about except this secret (that may not be the best-kept secret already) and I know that it will continue to be part of my writer's block until it's completely out.  So until then, I'm avoiding my blog.  Just wanted to put it all out there without really putting anything out there...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our Guinea Pig is Four!

Sweet, sweet Penn...I don't want to believe he's four.  I distinctly remember telling Pack when we had just brought our baby home from the hospital that I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have a four-year-old.  He seemed so still, good, quiet, and perfect, and I loved him so much more that I ever imagined I could.

Now that he's...I hate to say it...FOUR, I love him exponentially more than I did then, but I've learned that he is RARELY still, HARDLY EVER quiet, NOT-QUITE perfect, and sometimes...he's just the OPPOSITE of good...you know, like a regular human being (but, shhhhhh, don't tell anyone) ;-)  But I can't imagine him any other way.

So, this is what "four" looks like at our house:

 Yep, those sweet blue eyes that have won me over since day one.  We think they look like little teardrops when he smiles really big.  And he's got the cutest little eye dimples on the outside corners of each eye that also make an appearance when he flashes a genuine grin.  And that cute little nose!  Oh, and check out those sweet rosy cheeks...if you can kiss the skin off someone's face, his are well on their way to being worn out.  Man, I love that face!!!!



The kid is learning so much!  I know some of it is from the TV shows that we probably let him watch too much of, but he is forever naming dinosaurs that I never knew existed, telling us what pulleys are and finding them all over the place, explaining the difference between a chrysalis and and a coccoon (making his mom--the teacher--feel like an idiot), and learning millions of other new things each day.  Basically, he knows "a-wot" about stuff...



He loves his brother, Baba Jude.  I love when I come into the room unnoticed and see my big boy helping his brother.  Of course, he's not always helping him do something constructive (and I'm thinking of how he taught Jude to jump off the coffee table onto the couch).  He prays every night for God to help him "be thoughtful to his wittaw brover.  I don't always think he know what thoughtful means...like when he tries to coax Jude to sneak downstairs during naptime to see him get in trouble), but I know they are best friends...most of the time;-)

Oh man...he is such a GAMER!  Obviously, a trait he got from his dad and not his "I'm good at trivia" mom.  Penn could have named all the elements of the Periodic Table and his daddy would not have been prouder than the first time he typed in the web address for PBS Kids all by himself.  And not only is he good at computer games, but he's also better than me at all the games on my phone (that don't require reading), he's taken over my pink Nintendo DS as his own, and has mastered all the games on his Mobigo.  Just look at that face...he cheats, right?


He loves making friends, whether it's the 10 year-old kids in our neighborhood, the kids his age from church, or just the shoppers at at our garage sale.  He never meets a stranger.  And if someone refuses to wave back at him, he takes it as a personal insult.


Although he names his brother and cousins (ALL of them) as being his best friends, he also talks regularly about...GET THIS...his future WIFE (Sweet Samantha).  Yep...apparently the two of them have this all planned out.  They are going to get married, at which time, Penn says he will wear "a fancy shirt, a fancy jacket, and tap shoes (????)," and his betrothed will be clad in a beautiful princess dress.  After that, they will both be firefighters.  Sounds completely logical to me!


One of my favorite things about Penn is how much he loves his mommy and daddy.  We often wonder at what point he'll figure out that we don't really know what we're doing...we're kind of playing it all by ear.  Maybe he's humoring us, I don't know.  On thing I do know is that I simply melt when I walk out the bathroom with a robe on and a towel on my head and immediately hear, "Mommy, you're beautiful AND pretty.  And you smell good."  And I'm sure it doesn't hurt Pack's ego a bit when Penn says, "Daddy, YOU'RE COOL!"  It's so easy to love that boy (even though nothing else about parenting is easy).  I can't imagine what the Love of God must feel like!

 
So, whether I'm ready or not...he's four.  And although he barely fits in my lap anymore, he's my first baby and I'll always make room for him.  I hope he'll always know that we couldn't give him everything he ever wanted (and we wouldn't if we could...a boy's gotta have dreams, right?), but that we have prayed our hearts out for him!!!


Happy Birthday to our (not-so) Little Penn!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lipstick Kisses

When I was young, my sister Karen and I used to wake up early in the morning before our mom went to work.  She'd make us breakfast and we'd fall back asleep until it was time to get ready for school.  While we were asleep, mom would sneak off to go to work, but not before planting a freshly lipsticked kiss on each of our faces.  We were, of course, careful to remove the lip stains off our faces before going to school, but it always made me feel good to know my mom didn't want us to think she had forgotten to tell us goodbye.

Now that I'm a parent, I realize that I will never be able to kiss my babies enough. I think, on the conservative side, I probably give them around 1000 kisses a day, each.  They never seem to mind, but they don't usually ask for it either (as if I'd give them a chance...).  And I'm noticing that I'm starting to have to fight for some of those kisses as they get older.

Lately, Penn  has not wanted to go to bed without "a snuggle."  Our deal is that if he and Jude lay down quietly for a few minutes without playing, knocking on the door, or turning the lights on, I'll come back in for a kiss and a snuggle.  Usually, they are both asleep by the time I get back in there.  So, reminded of my sweet mom, I started going back in and planting a set of fresh, pink lips on their foreheads or cheeks so I have proof that I actually kept my word.

I promised them candy if they sat still for me to take this picture:)  It almost worked.
I know that one day, lipstick kisses (from mom) won't seem so cool, but for now, I'll take 'em however I can get 'em!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Gibson Girl!

Well, really she's a "Coker" girl.  Carmon Avery Coker.  But she's the first girl born in the Gibson family in...UMMMM...a long time.  And she's my niece:)
If you're a friend of ours on FB, you've probably seen this pic a ton already, but it's all I've got!

There is so much I love about living here in Virginia.  Our life here is generally slow-paced and quiet.  We never thought we would ever be living out of South Carolina, but we are, and we love it.  But today, I was reminded why our goal is to someday make it back to our family.  My twin sister Karen, gave birth to sweet Carmon (I haven't met her...I'm just ASSUMING she's sweet...She has good genes) at around 2:30 pm.  She was 8 lbs, 1 oz and 20 inches of pure girl with super cute arm rolls and a couple of sweet chins (sidenote:  I wish someone would describe me like that).  I wanted to be there so badly so I could do a great post of the labor lay by play just like Karen did for me when I had Jude.  (Okay, so I know it wasn't ALL about me, but I hadn't started blogging at that point, so it was all I had)  And she made me look like a pro. 

Anyway, I can't change that I wasn't there for her and she's probably glad I wasn't so she didn't have to make it get "all awkward" by having the nurses remove me from the delivery room because I want to see a live birth SO BADLY!  I'm pretty into pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding if you haven't noticed.  Oh yeah, and babies.  I'm perpetually baby crazy.

I digress.

So from what I hear, Karen had a smooth and thankfully uneventful labor and delivery.  This was a sharp contrast to her labor and delivery with Jac, which had lots of crazy twists and turns and involved magnesium, an uncomfortable "balloon," and a vaccuum...

Carmon came into the world just as a lady should...peaceful and uncomplicated.  And as my big sister Amy said, "We all needed some sugar and spice."

We really did.

Now Penn and Jude are baby crazy (yes, it was my two wild men who were fighting over  who got to "feed" the baby dolls at the coffee shop today) and it's only a matter of time before it rubs off on me (HA!).  I seriously can't wait to get home and hold, smell, and play dress-up with my new little niece.  She's a keeper, I can tell;)

Things I Dig

In response to my grump list...here are some "things I dig."

  • Lists (obviously...)
  • Babies (my twin sis is having one RIGHT NOW...there will be another post on this)
  • Camping
  • Window shopping
  • My boys
  • Having a husband who tours VA wineries when he travels on his off time.
  • White Merlot (see above)
  • Dessert
  • Bubbles
  • Reading 
  • Trying new foods
  • Seeing moms breastfeed in public (go ahead and roll your eyes, I'm cool with that)
  • Ice (preferably from Jumpin' J's in Florence)
  • Making my husband a meal that he requests to eat again (chicken spaghetti, baked eggrolls, Ramen casserole???)
  • Making my kids a healthy meal that they will actually eat 
  • Sappy, romantic, cheesy stuff
  • Perfume, blush, and lip gloss (on a deserted island, this is what I'd miss)
  • My parents, siblings, and in-laws
  • Having a friend nearby to do free date night exchanges with
  • The "rainbow" selection at the car wash
  • Coffee someone else makes 
  • Having a husband who is "not a natural," but gives it all he's got ;)
  • Facebook
  • Learning to make my own "stuff"
  • Peace (the groovy, hippie kind) 
  • Peace (that passes understanding)
  • Having a Savior.  Enough said.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Overrated...

A list of things I'm not into...right now.

  • Sorting laundry
  • Politics
  • Measuring before hanging pictures
  • Recipes without substitutions
  • Grass (as in "lawns")
  • Preschool
  • Disposable Products
  • "Me Time" (I kind of like my husband and kiddos)
  • Shopping for Clothes
  • War on Germs (aka "antibacterial" everything)
  • Washing clothes before wearing them
  • Stuff (aka "dust catchers" or "attic fillers")
  • Meat as the main dish (I'm sorry, Pack...it's not you, it's me.)
  • Phone calls
  • Eyebrow maintenance
  • Running
  • Having to CLEAN a washing machine (seriously, my oven can practically clean itself, but the washer???)     Speaking of...
  • Front loading, HE washers
  • Itineraries on vacations
  • Coupons
  • Uninterrupted sleep (who needs it, anyway!?)

Actually, it sounds like I might need a few nights of uninterrupted sleep...I sound like a complete grump!  Maybe I'll make a new list of things I actually like...some other time.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How far I've come...


I once would have called my cooking style "semi-homemade," but this, folks...THIS is a slice of our homemade bread (Pack's first loaf) covered in homemade strawberry jelly that we made from the strawberries that we hand-picked at a local farm. Oh...and it's really good;) My, how Virginia has changed us.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pack, this one's just for you:)

Eleven years ago (when I was a junior in high school), I had this crush on a guy who may or may not have known I existed (and who may or may not have known which "twin" I was).  We "talked."  We flirted.  We went to a concert together.  I told him I had a thing for big, strong, tall guys.  He said he always like petite girls.  He gave me a piggyback ride on the beach because I didn't have shoes with me on the shell-littered shore.  We had our first kiss at his house and we became "boyfriend and girlfriend."  After a sweet summer with lots more kisses, I was addicted.

Sometime that first year.
 Then...he went away to college...FOR FOUR LONG YEARS (well, four-and-a-half, if I'm being honest).  I tried going to college close to him (it didn't work).  He thought about coming home to be close to me (he didn't).  There were a couple of times that we both thought it just might not work (but, it did).

One month after he graduated (on my 21st birthday), he asked me to marry him at a picnic on the grounds of the university I was attending.  I still can't believe I didn't cry.

Telling the Family!
Just a few short months later, in April of 2005, I married him...at last (and I still didn't cry)!

The kiss!
Now, six years after that most perfect wedding day, I'm living in someplace I never imagined I'd be with someone I never imagined I would be able to love more and more each day, and I have the job of my dreams...as the mother of his children.

Nowadays...
He makes me laugh all. the. time.  He is such an awesome dad.  He makes me feel beautiful (even though very little about me still resembles that "petite girl") and I have never doubted his faithfulness.  He prays with me and for me.  He always surprises me.  He never stops trying to be better--at his job and at home.  He makes me walk on the inside of the road with the children so he can protect us from traffic.  He's an awesome guitarist.  He is honest with me.  He is such a professional and his work makes me so proud.  He's a friend to everyone.  He's mine and I know he loves me.

Me with my best friend!

Pack, thank you for kissing me, loving me, and asking me to marry you six years ago.  You are very simply the best husband I could ever dream of and I'm so thankful that God saved you for me!

Happy (late) Anniversary!!!