Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dear Baby--Do you know....

Sweet baby in my belly, I hope that I have years and years to show you, to tell you, to kiss you,
just so you know how much I love you. I hope that you never go a moment or a second without knowing the depth that it runs. For it is deep and wide and overflowing. Just as your brothers burst their way into every crevice of my heart, you, my little one....have done the same. And I have yet to even see your face.

I have not been as good about writing to you as I was with your brothers. But I want to document the feelings, the ponderings that have been circulating my mind as I lay awake feeling your kicks and turns. And the one thing that I hope you will always always know is my love for you.

24 weeks

Did you know....

You were loved even before we knew you existed.

You were loved the instant I saw the positive test, the moment I called your Father to tell him the news, the moment Cole jumped with excitement and Bennett ran away saying "No, no, no".

You were loved when I saw you on the ultrasound screen for the first time, just barely bigger than a peanut, but there you were and there was my heart all wrapped up in you.

You were loved when we got the news that you might have a chromosomal abnormality, when we didn't know your health or what the future held, we knew one thing--we loved you deeply and without boundaries.

You were loved when the test results came back with positive answers! Our hearts rejoiced in the constant love that had captivated us.

You were loved even though you made your mama so so SO sick.

You were loved when the sickness went away and your mama felt the first flutters of movement.

You were loved when those flutters turned to punches and kicks that packed the force of a strong little man.

And here we are now, my love seems to grow right along with my belly as I watch you dance, as your brothers fight over who gets to feel your next kick. When I have more hands and heads draped across my belly because you are adored greatly by your two older brothers.

You are loved by the kiss of their lips, by their tender hugs, by the belly slaps to wake you up. They love you. And I, my darling boy love getting the closest front row seat watching their love unfold as they welcome you with open arms.

You are loved in the dark of the night when your dancing entrances me more than sleep. When I quietly whisper to you so that you will always know I'm near.

My love,

My little one,

My boy.

Never ever forget how much love is wrapped around you.  while you are in my belly and when you are welcomed into our world.

You are loved. Forever.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend became the weekend of pumpkin patching. We had previously planned our annual Nana and Papa pumpkin patch that they put on for the kids each year. But when Saturday rolled around, we had two little boys who simultaneously decided they didn't need naps...even though their grouchiness proved otherwise. We were desperate, and the only solution was to drive somewhere so that they would both pass out in the car.

So we drove to Sauvie Island, because it's a relatively longer drive than the more local ones here. And when our plan worked, we just continued to drive, soak in the beautiful scenery, and chat in the quiet of the car.

Unfortunately our plan wasn't seamless, Bennett seemed to want to hang on to his grouch bug awhile longer.

And that was the look and the reaction I got whenever I tried to get a picture of him. Cole seemed to be in a better mood....for awhile, and then had a meltdown and full on tantrum while getting a treat ( I had ordered a peanut covered caramel apple....and he preferred the M&M covered one) there was noooooooo way, I was going to load him up on that much sugar and chocolate, just wasn't going to happen. And he was NOT happy about it. So Kyle drug him out of line for a cool down, and I was half tempted to just chuck the dang apple, toss both boys back in the car and head home. Buuuuut, two little boys seemed to pull it together, yet again, last minute. So shared some of that ooey gooey goodness, and both boys had a sticky mess dripping down their chins.

Bennett still would not cooperate with the camera, and Cole tried his best.

That was about the extent of his excitement for being there.

He did finally decide it would be fun to stick his head through the sign after watching Cole (please forgive the totally over exposed picture).

We were cheapos and grabbed a free wagon, wheeled them around, took the free hay ride, stayed on and didn't get off to pick out pumpkins (we knew we would get free ones, and better ones the next day at Nana and Papa's)

Again, thanks for cooperating Mr B.

Yep, his experience in a nutshell of an expression....plastered all over his face. But at least it got us out of the house, kept us some what sane from what could have been a completely disastrous. napless afternoon.

Then on Sunday we gathered up the troops again, and headed to my Grandma's house where my parents grew their pumpkin patch. They always make it so much fun. My dad opens up his big storage area, they set up tables and chairs, serve us soup, donuts, coffee and then take the kiddos on endless hay rides around the property.

And guess who was old enough to actually steer the tractor? (with Papa's help of course)

He loved it. And felt all big boy and cool. I mean, just look at that face! Then of course little one had to claim his turn, and wasted no time shouting out orders.....

Always letting us know who is in charge. He reluctantly gave up sole authority for a few brief moments. But then may have tried to reclaim it by using his head as a pushing mechanism on his brother..... always being resourceful of his assets.

We managed to get a couple cute shots of both boys prior to heading out to search for the perfect pumpkin.

And I just have to make a note of Bennett's flannel.....

Um, yah...... so my little Bennett is still rocking clothes Cole wore at half his age. I just thought it was kind of funny and cute that they both wore the same shirt while hunting down pumpkins.

Cole was first to find and claim his pumpkin.

And then typical little brother had to go and pick the exact same pumpkin. Thankfully we found one that looked almost identical and the situation was avoided.

Again, notice the avoidance of the camera....why I even try.....

At least Cole gave this mama some love.

Gosh, I love my two completely opposite boys.

We even attempted to try and capture all of the cousins on my side, together, in one picture.....all i can say is, it could have been worse.

Oh well, you take what you can get when you have that many little rascals in one picture. Afterwards we let the kids run with Papa down the field to dig for potatoes. Someone always ended up trailing behind....

Actually, for the first part of potato digging he seemed to be a bit hesitant, and kind of hung back...doing his own thing...checking in from the distance.

I was laughing while looking through pictures, because you can literally see him gradually making his way closer and closer to the action. Until finally he dug in, and got his hands dirty looking for potatoes.

And then he stood there holding onto the same little potato....

Such a funny boy. Always his own agenda. Always the observer first, and then the doer.

And always true to himself and what he is feeling in the moment. All of this completely evident while looking for pumpkins and potatoes.

And why not. It's what makes days like these so special, little glimpses into their little hearts, the things that make them tick. I want to forever remember all the moments, especially ones made surrounded by so much family.

How thankful I am for this time of Harvest, and this time of growth. This time to be with those that are so dear to me and my boys.

We are blessed, so very blessed.

All five of us.

Monday, October 13, 2014

23 weeks Belly

I know that I am only 23 weeks and 3 days along......but seriously, I feel like I am about 30 weeks. And judging from looking at pictures of my past pregnancies, I'm not that far off. I am by far the largest at this point in the game than any of the others, but I suppose that happens with #3. 

Just to prove that I'm not crazy, here I am at 31 weeks with Cole.

And this is 31, almost 32 weeks pregnant with Bennett.

And as of my last OB appointment at 21 weeks I was measuring one week ahead. Also, a first for any of my pregnancies. So either this little boy is going to be bigger than his brothers (Kyle, is crossing his fingers) or my body is just letting it all go.

I was also shocked to learn that I had gained 7 pounds since my appointment at 17 weeks. SEVEN POUNDS. Apparently when you stop throwing, up you actually gain weight. My doctor was very pleased with the weight gain, and honestly, I really don't care...I just think it's kind of funny more than anything. She thought that Mr. boy had just gone through a growth spurt, hence the measuring ahead. So we will blame it on him. And not the fact that I specifically remember not ever being able to make myself full. It seemed as soon as I ate anything, I would be ready to devour whatever crossed my line of eyesight within seconds. Thankfully, that seems to have tapered off some. And I find myself eating normal meals, and a snack in between each. However, if i don't have food the moment hunger pains barely start, then I am in trouble...and so is anyone that may get in between me and my food. Just ask Kyle, he will vouch.

 Let me add this, before I get into all of the basic weekly update stuff. Originally when I found out that I was going to be pregnant through the fall and winter....I freaked out. I had no clue what I would wear....with both my other pregnancies I lived in summer dresses, maxi skirts, and flip flops. At the end of my pregnancy with Cole I developed preeclampsia, and my feet swelled up like two little marshmallow stubs. There was absolutely no way I could even get my feet into the shaft of my boots. I had to live in flip flops in October.

I am praying and hoping that I don't swell up like that again. But I have however found a solution to the clothing dilemma. LEGGINGS. Good grief, I could live in them every day. Then throw on a flannel (so thankful they are back in style!) and I might as well be running around in my pajamas. I also, found these awesome leggings called preggers, that are also compression leggings, but come in the cutest colors. If you are pregnant or even just had a baby....heck, who even cares if you had a baby, you should get some. I'm hoping they will aid in my swelling...and also add some new life into the same monotonous outfits later on.  So prepare yourself for a lot of tunics, leggings, boyfriend sweaters and a growing supply of flannel.

And a forever growing belly.

How far along: 23 weeks and 3 days.

Total weight gain: About 15 lbs.

Maternity Clothes: Yes and No. Yes on leggings, jeans...basically anything on the bottom half. It's more comfortable that way. And I'm still mostly non maternity on top and in dresses.

Sleep: I sleep the best I have in years, except for the little munchkins that like to wake up at the oddest hours. Cole, do yourself a favor....quit making 4:30 your rise and shine time. It's just a bad idea. Trust me. (Oh, and we are going to just pretend last night didn't happen....Cole.....)

Best Moment the Week: I was sitting on the couch and Cole sat down next to me and then rested his head on my belly, at that moment baby boy started kicking and squirming. Cole and I were giggling and he was so excited that he felt the baby kick his face!

This isn't pregnancy related at all, but another great moment this week was I got a whole evening/night/morning with just my husband and I. My sweet inlaws took BOTH boys Friday night. So together Kyle and I were able to hit up happy hour, meander around downtown and NW 23rd, sit in Moonstruck (a place we used to frequent often while dating) and just talk. We then got to have one full night of uninterrupted sleep and slept in until 7AM. While 7AM may seem pretty lame to some, to us it felt like we had slept in until noon. That is until we picked up both boys, and the boys who had been perfect angels for their grandparents, slept all night, and did all things good....turned into little monsters by the time we got them home! They BOTH refused to nap, so we decided to save our sanity, pack them both up, and drive to Sauvie Island in search of a fun pumpkin patch. Thankfully we semi-diverted the bouts of grouch they seemed to have, and they both passed out on the car ride we drove round and round enjoying the pretty scenery and soaking in the quiet of the car. :)

Food Cravings: All things fall.... warm soups, curries, coconut milk based dishes, and beans. I have also been eating oatmeal like there's no tomorrow. Baked oatmeal is even better. I finally fulfilled my craving of baked pumpkin oatmeal (Recipe Here, I always double it and bake in a 9x9 pan)....we had it for dinner one night, and then again for breakfast the next morning. And my tummy may never have been so happy. Last week I couldn't get my favorite Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili out of my head (Recipe Here), it is the best chili ever! I finally caved and made it even though it was nearly 80 degrees outside....a mama's gotta eat what a mama's gotta eat. I also have had a thing for dark chocolate salted butterscotch caramels from Trader Joe's. They are seriously a little bite of heaven. And one or two a day seems to do the trick. Oh, and don't get me started on a  sandwich made with cold deli meat (turkey to be exact), cheese and tomatoes. So weird, because even not pregnant we rarely ate deli meat. But what I would give to have one right now.....and sorry, microwaving deli meat grosses me out, totally not the same.

Food Aversions: Garlic. Cilantro. Fatty foods. Spinach smoothies.....I tried, I couldn't do it.

Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks. I have had several bouts of some strong BH about 4 to 5 an hour. And then they will stop. Still hoping they aren't an omen for pre-term labor.

Movement: Good grief this little one is busy! I love love love feeling him move. His movements are starting to get more fluid and rolly polly like. He seems to also enjoy waking up with Cole at around 4:30-5:00 AM.....I suppose I should just cut my losses and get used to it. But seriously, even if I am up all night (ahem, thanks Cole for the wake ups at 11:30. 3:30, 4:30, 5:00, and then Kyle gave up at 6....No, I do not need you prepping me for what is to come, thank you very much) I still can't help but smile when I feel him twisting, turning, and stretching those little legs. There is nothing quite like it.

How are you feeling: I've actually been feeling really great! I still get worn out quite easily, but manage to hold it together until the boy's go down for their naps. We even managed a zoo trip on quite possibly the busiest day of the year! Why I didn't put two and two together that the reason my niece didn't have school was the reason 50 billion other kids didn't have school as well! While I pretty much wanted to drop dead at the end, I was happy that I am finally to the point of even being able to take my kids out again.

There it is, probably a bit longer than most anticipated. But we are just so thankful for a healthy pregnancy this far. We have another ultrasound at our next appointment just to check up on the little guy, and make sure everything is progressing as it should. So we will be praying for a good solid report from that. Other than that we are just cruising right along and soaking up everything about this growing little boy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrating a Two and Four Year Old

Finally, we were able to get everyone together to celebrate Bennett who turned 2 almost a month ago and Cole who will be 4 at the end of the month. I decided awhile ago that that I would do a combined party, simply for the fact that I didn't think I would have the energy to do two parties back to back. Also, this would probably be the last year I could actually pull it off without one of the boys being super bummed about not having their own shindig.

I also decided that I wanted to do a cow and tractor party. Bennett's first animal sound and animal love was the cow or (moo) as he calls it. And Cole has loved tractors for as long as I can remember. If there is a tractor around he will ditch all else to crawl up on the seat of it and pretend to drive it. Lucky for the me, the two separate themes coincided quite nicely into one party.

Originally we were going to have the party several weeks ago, and then my whole family came down with a nasty bug. Poor Bennett, seems that his birthday time is when we all catch the plague. Fortunately, I am so happy to say that this year we managed to avoid him having another febrile seizure. Which is huge, and a party in itself. Once they are seizure free for a year, the likelihood of it reoccurring lessens. 

So celebrate we did!

And this is what we dealt with when first, we asked Cole to get dressed (he had just got up from his nap and was running around in tidy whities). And then this, was when we asked Bennett to come inside for his party. he wanted to keep doing this....

Oh well, after the rocky start both kids shaped up and we had so much fun!

We had "tractor wheels" (oreos), "cow pies" (homemade rocky road candies),

animal cookies, chocolate and white chocolate covered pretzels, homemade white chocolate popcorn,

and last but not least, cookies and cream cupcakes. Along with lots of tractors and cows.

I had ordered some adorable signage that coordinated with the cupcake toppers. And the "MOO" poster. But they seemed have gone MIA, along with my calendar....

I ordered the signage from the sweetest lady off of Etsy. Her shop is called Lauren Haddox Design (Link Here). I first saw the signage she did on a blog I follow called, The Macs. Instantly I fell in love with the simplicity and playfulness of it. She wasn't currently selling the cow party any more but quickly whipped it up for me as a custom order. And I couldn't have been any happier with it...well, except if I hadn't lost half of it. Sure, I could have printed some more out...but when push came to shove, I just got lazy.

I had so many plans for this party, and if I hadn't been sick most of this pregnancy, I probably would have conquered more of them. I planned to make a pin the tail on the cow game, construct some cute cow ear headbands for the kiddos, and paint their noses black like cows. I originally planned on having it outside with hay bales to sit, and hang donuts (tractor wheels) from the tree as a game to see who could eat them first. I envisioned tractor races, kids running everywhere and lots of sunshine.

The sunshine and kiddos we had.....but the energy I didn't.

Oh well, such is life. Honestly, I don't think either boy noticed the lack of games. They were having too much fun running around with their cousins. They both were pink-cheeked and sweaty by present time. Not to mention hopped up on sugar with the cupcakes, treats and "Moo Malts" that they partook in.

One thing I learned is that doing a joint party is nice, but it gets really hard to capture all the special moments of the day. With two birthday boys to take pictures of I felt like I really didn't get some of the pictures I a family one. Or one with me and the boys, or their dad and the boys. However, amongst the chaos I was able to snap a few during the opening of presents.

And, It.Was.Chaotic.

They both started ripping into their gifts with barely a moments notice, I didn't even have a chance to see who each one was from. So thank you notes should be interesting.

(Please ignore the crazy face I was making, at least I made it in a photo!) And the finale present was from the Bramma and Brampa. And has already been well worth the effort of putting it together.

We had a few too many cooks in the kitchen for the remainder of the evening. Made for a lot of squawking, shoving, and fighting over who got to flip the pancakes.

Thankfully we had a cupcake and milk break to ease the bickering.

Bramma also jumped in and saved Bennett's fingers as he went straight for the flame. And then he went straight for the frosting.

And then just like that, it was over. What a whirlwind of a party.

And I realize that another year has come and gone. My babies aren't such babies any fact, if I call Cole my baby he will adamantly correct me. Bennett still likes to be my baby though. Not gonna say I mind it, I will take it for as long as I can milk it. I can't help but think of all the ways our lives will be different in another year. I'm sure it will it will bring many more smiles, many more tears, many ups and many downs. But I have no doubt that there are going to be a lot of sweet memories made, a lot of hearts growing fuller, a lot of brother camaraderie.

And I can't wait to see how each little boy will grow, as much as I would like to stop time...I know growing is something I need to embrace. So that is what this year is going to be about. Embracing the chaos, change, and growing. We are so blessed to have another year with our sweet boys, I still can't get over how my love seems to grow right along with them.

Happy Birthday my big 2 and 4 year old!!!!