Month: December 2012

The news….

It’s a…….


it’s a… from Kate on Vimeo.

We went in for the ultrasound on Christmas eve (morning).  I was so anxious that I’d been sleeping terribly for many nights prior.  Thankfully, we had the great distraction of company to keep us occupied from Saturday evening up until that morning.  If they hadn’t been there, I might have driven myself crazy by continuously counting down the hours.  I was also furiously praying against a blizzard/the stomach flu/some random occurrence to keep us from going.  Fortunately, the blizzard held off 48 hours so the roads were perfectly clear. Unfortunately, the stomach flu prayers were answered for us, but not for the youngest member of the visiting company’s family.  Thankfully, no other setbacks arose, and we made it with 5 minutes to spare for our appointment.
They promptly called us back (thank goodness) and we had the nicest ultrasound tech.  She asked us right away if we wanted to know the gender and we gave her an enthusiastic, “yes!”
She peeked in on the baby and much to our dismay, the ankles were crossed and modestly drawn up….Allowing us no advantageous viewpoint.  “I’ll just give the baby a chance to move around.”  Once again, I furiously prayed, but this time for movement.
In the meantime, the tech began her measurements.  I loved that while she made her calculations, she educated us on every measurement that she made.  “The baby’s head should measure between this and this and yours is____.  Right on track”.  She ruled out club foot, cleft palate, cysts on the brain, kidney malfunctions, spinal problems, heart problems, blood flow issues, soft markers for Downs, etc.  So helpful! I’ve never had an ultrasound so informative.  I silently praised God for each healthy victory.  AND for the chubby cheeks that are already accumulating :).
Right after she pointed out the kidneys, she said, “Well, I think you can expect another little girl!”I don’t remember what N said, but I instantly began crying.  Probably more like a silent sob because my stomach was heaving from emotion.  She said, “I take it that is what you wanted to hear.”  The tech continued her measurements and then she said something about “her spine” and I started crying again.  Later, I realized that I cried the first time out of relief.  Relief of finally KNOWING.  I felt that instant connection to my baby, a baby girl!  A girl with a name and an identity.  Would I have done the same if it was a boy?  I really think so.  I was just so ready to know.
The second time I cried, I am positive it was because it finally sunk in that my baby is a girl.  All of our desires had come true.
(the front and back of the ornament we gave to our families to announce our news)
After the last of the the measurements, and one more gender sweep–just to be sure—, we went out to lunch and reveled in our secret.  A little girl, a sister, a daughter, would be joining our family!  We discussed the details of her name and then prayed specifically for her for the first time.
And of course, I just had to do a little shopping to close out the day. (but thankfully, I only need to do a little between now and May :)).
We are so, SO excited to add another little lady to our family.  And let’s be honest.  At this point, a boy wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Mayby was the best gift that came out of 2012.  We can’t wait to meet her in 2013!

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Blue or Pink, what do you think?

Okay, so I’ve already admitted I would prefer another little girl next.

But in just a few short hours, we will be handed our true fate.
What do the Old Wives think I’m having?
String Test: side-to-side motion…verdict: GIRL
Dream Test: 1 girl dream, 2 boy dreams…verdict: BOY
Chinese Calendar: verdict: BOY
Heartbeat Theory: all have been 140 or above…verdict: GIRL
Baking Soda Test: very fizzy….verdict: BOY
Ramzi Theory: baby was hanging out on the left….verdict: GIRL
Cravings: salty and sour, no taste for sweets…verdict: BOY
Key Test: picked it up from the top…verdict: BOY
Morning Sickness: extreme…verdict: GIRL
Carrying: high….verdict: GIRL
Sibling’s First Word: “dadda”….verdict: BOY
Sibling’s Hair line: straight across….verdict: GIRL
Bread Theory: no heels for me….verdict:GIRL
Beauty Theory: stolen….verdict: GIRL
Sympathy Belly Theory: Dad is as skinny as ever…verdict: BOY
Nose Theory: nose has stayed the same…verdict: GIRL
Of course, all of these have about a 50% accuracy rate, except the Ramzi test which is supposed to have an over 90% accuracy…but it’s really hard to correctly determine, so there is still some guessing involved.
What do I think I’m having?
At first, I was convinced it was a girl.  Mostly because all of my symptoms/cravings, etc, were the same.  But ever since about 15 weeks, I can’t get the thought of blue out of my head.  Maybe because I’ve still been feeling sick.  Maybe because I am trying to prepare myself.
Either way, we will know shortly.  Unfortunately, the news will not be public until after Christmas, as we are going to use this unique opportunity to tell all of our family in person.  But check in shortly after and we will post the big news.   Reaction to come too, of course.  The only thing I ask is if it is a boy, please don’t assume that I am sad.  It is impossible to predict how I will feel at the news (either direction), but I promise I will post my honest reaction at some point. And I highly doubt that I will feel anything under a shade of slight disappointment (mourning of course, the things I listed on Wednesday), followed by some warming up to the idea, followed by sheer excitement.  After all, we were dead wrong last time and look how happy we were now.  That, and you have to admit, having the element of surprise of something new and different is pretty cool too.
So, what do you think I’m having?

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Are we long-lost sisters?

What do you think?

My cousin found this old video somewhere collecting dust at my grandparents house.  It was originally filmed in 8mm film and then converted a few times..so it’s old (did I really just admit that about a video of myself?).
I am just under 2 years old, so very close to the same age MG is now.  Which, to see as a mom, is a priceless gift.
It is a little fuzzy in the beginning but towards the end, there are some close-ups of my face.  So what do you think?  Do MG and I look alike?  People like to tell us that on a daily basis, but other than the eyes, I just don’t see it as much as they do.  I definitely think she looks more like her Daddy at this age.
 

 

If nothing else, as my Mom put it, “MG and you would have been great friends!”.  Of that, I have no doubt.

PhotobucketP.S. We woke up to snow today, did you?

Sister girls

I want them so badly.

I want a little sister for MG.  A playmate, a buddy, a lifelong friend.

A confidant, a personal shopper, a maid-of-honor, a pregnancy partner.

A pair that will fight but always make up, stay up too late laughing, and always have each other’s back.

I felt it the most on a day we went to the splash park this summer.  All of the other kids were there in groups.  She was the only one flying solo.  Our friends were easy to find there, but a part from them, it was just the two of us.  And I fiercely wanted a buddy for her.  A built-in-life-long friend.

A sister-brother relationship has infinite value, to be sure, but it’s one that I know nothing about.  I am ready for another little girl.  So I’m just going to put it out there now.

Mayby, if you are a boy, I will probably erase this someday so that you won’t read it.  But I might not either, because maybe I will be able to tell you about how I “ordered” a girl (as my Nanow would say) but God had other plans for me.  And I never would have known the love for a little boy if I didn’t have you.  And I hope you will cut me some slack (if you even care at all….).  Because….

when I think about having a boy, these are the questions I wonder:

who will wear all of MG’s ‘very gently’ worn baby clothes?  I miss them already.
what if we don’t get to use our girl name that we love so much?
where do I find cute boy clothes? And (more importantly) what if he’s bald?  you can’t exactly use a huge bow to cover that up.
what do I do during that awkward/clumsy/pre-pubescent 4th-8th grade boy phase?  I just don’t get it.
what if all he wants to do is play soccer?  I loathe watching soccer.
how will our house hold up under the weight of a crazy/clumsy/muddy/sweaty little boy?
I spent 2.5 years learning how to be a mom of a girl.  How hard is it going to be to change gears come May? 

And the one that scares me the most:
-what if I never have another little girl?

And the one that keeps N awake:
what if I attach more to a relationship with my son to the detriment of my relationship with MG?

These are the questions that plague me/us at night.  So, Mamas of boys, should the ultrasound turn up blue, I’m going to need you to talk me through these, okay?  Consider yourselves warned.

On the plus side,

+I do love watching football
+I can make some pretty mean animal noises
+Having to do some more baby clothes shopping doesn’t sound like the worst idea…and…
+Old Navy has the cutest, grey chevron onesies, PLUS H&M just opened up a kids section here
+I do consider myself quite the Lego-building-extraordinarre
+We live mere minutes (okay maybe a couple hours) away from Dinosaur World.
+It would be nice to have another gentleman (in-training) in the house
+Having a Mama’s boy doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world

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I’m definitely having some Mommy instincts about what I’m having and I plan to share those with you soon.  Then you can all weigh in with me and predict what we’re having.  Unfortunately, we still have 5 terribly long days to wait until we know for sure.  In the meantime, I’ll be pinning cute boy clothes and lots and lots of tiny hats.  Just in case,
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Friday

This past Friday, I was on top of the world.  MG and I had spent the morning at the local Y for open gym time and she loved it.  Plus, my little Mommy heart was tickled when she went over to a baby’s mom and began asking questions about him, when she shared sweetly with her friends, and then when she spontaneously helped clean up.  After, we ran about an hour’s worth of errands, which can be trying on us both, but spirits remained high as we dashed from store to store.  On top of that, N and I had a baby-free night to look forward to, eating out at a new Mediterranean restaurant and finishing up the last of our Christmas shopping.

And then around 1 o’clock pm, I happened to turn on the tv and everything stopped.
For hours, I refreshed Google News, read status updates as friends verbalized their feelings, and let myself feel everything until my heart physically ached.
I’m sure you have a similar story to mine.
What happened on Friday affected me (and us all) on so many levels.
First as a parent.  During the four school shootings in recent history, I’ve yet to experience one as a parent. It is a whole new and terrible dynamic. My grief for those affected families (both who lost children and those who had children witness it) is profound.   That could have been any of our babies in that school.
Then as a (former) teacher.  I was once asked, early, early on in my career, “Would you take a bullet for these students?”.  I was reminded of that indelible moment as I read the heroic stories of the teachers, administrators, and staff who saved lives at great risk to their own.  There are so many educators in my family, not to mention friends and coworkers. It could have been any of them.  And I know beyond a doubt they would have done the same.  A hundred times over.  Today had to be a very hard and emotional one as they returned to their jobs with this tragedy so fresh in their minds.
As the world grieves, we look for hope.  In the past days since the shooting, I’ve noticed more than ever people drawn to MG.  Like the elderly lady at the grocery store today who patted her little hand with tears in her eyes.  And our neighbor who said, “It’s just nice to see a sweet little one on a day like today.”  It is no wonder that the Savior of the world came to us in such a tiny, innocent package.
There have been many wise words spoken and I really don’t have any to add, but my favorite words have come from a prayer attributed to Max Lucado:

Dear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately. These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated. The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?  Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.  Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.  Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Hopefully,
Your Children

 

Come soon, LORD Jesus!

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The Sweetest Potato

This week, Mayby is the size of a sweet potato.

But let’s be real, sweet potatoes come in all different shapes and sizes: some wimpy and tubular, others warped and overgrown.  So that doesn’t really give me much to go off of.
We have crossed into 18 weeks and surprisingly the nausea has still.not.left.  Granted, it is not nearly, NEARLY what it used to be.  But it still catches me off guard every single night has I reach for a snack, without fail, two hours after dinner.  It then resurfaces two hours after snack.  At least it is remedied by carbs.
No crazy cravings anymore, just normal ones (I get food cravings in regular life, not just pregnancy life).  Every day I’ve had some kind of soup and a grilled cheese for lunch.  Oh and those clementine cuties too.  I’ve never been fond of citrus other than grapefruits…but right now I can’t get enough.
Eighteen weeks also means that the BIG ultrasound is a little over a week away.  Still lots of thoughts to share about that (all to come next week).  But I’ve been having some crazy dreams about it lately.  The first one was pretty normal.  First they told me it was a boy, but then after careful examination said, “nope, it’s a girl.”  The second two both came on the same night and both involved somehow missing the ultrasound.  Which was crazy stressful because apparently we were driving from over two hours away and made it with only an hour to spare until closing.  The tech refused to see us but said that we were definitely having a boy.  That was fine, but I was sure that I needed proof.  I begged her to examine me, but she refused.  Ahh, the beautiful stage of crazy pregnancy dreams.  I’m ready for them just to put me out of my misery and tell me one way or the other.

Other than that, sleep has been pretty mercifully easy.  I still catch myself sleeping on my belly, but I know the time for that is drawing to a close.  About time to break out the body pillow!

N was able to feel our little potato kicking around for the first time last night.  It is crazy how much we’ve both forgotten since last time.  It makes this one feel new and fresh and I love that.
It has also made this pregnancy fly by.  We are nearing the half-way mark which is just ludicrous.  The mothering instinct is kicking in hardcore as I try to figure out how to make room for another little person in my nest.
Only 5 more months!  Let the feathering begin!

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Tra-di-tion!

Don’t you just love this time of year?

 

From Thanksgiving, to MG’s birthday, and then finally to the culmination of Christmas, it is quite busy–but in a lovely way.  My to-do list has powered me through many a nap time; but right now it is full of only fun things, like: finish that one book before book club Christmas dinner, address Christmas cards, and embroider tree skirt.  The calendar is punctuated by nights out with friends, cookie and ornament exchanges,  living nativities, and Christmas parties.  Everyone is feeling festive and that means lots of extra time spent with friends and family.

A few weeks ago, we had a MOPS speaker that talked about Christmas traditions.She specifically said that she felt unqualified to speak about it because she didn’t think her family had many traditions. But the neat things was that when she started questioning her kids they listed off many things that she had never realized that they held so important about the way their family celebrated Christmas.
That night N and I sat around the dinner table for a lot longer than usual (it is a good night if we get 20 minutes of eating time before a little someone starts begging to be released :)).   I told him about the speaker’s family traditions and also the ones that came out of natural discussion at our table.  Some were funny, some were serious, some were dear and common.  We both felt like we also didn’t have many traditions, but when we starting thinking about the things we do exactly the same, year after year, we were amazed at how many we already had in place.
Some of our annual traditions include:
putting up decorations the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving has been declared a very important and not-to-be-overlooked holiday in our house.  So we will give it the respect it is due and will wait to pull out the decorations and music until it is over.  And then we will go full-out Christmas.  No offense if you do it any other way…that’s just how we roll 🙂
listening to Christmas music non-stop.  Pandora is set to *NSYNC Christmas and we also have a meager collection of Christmas CD’s.  Not to be overlooked: my BIL has an awesome Christmas album.  It is currently on repeat in the car.
Christmas morning breakfast. The past few years, we’ve traveled on Christmas day for convenience sake.  To see my side of the family requires a road trip and there is usually less traffic and problems if you go on Christmas day.  Christmas eve is reserved for my in-laws.  But afterwards, N and I have exchanged our stockings and gifts and then had a big breakfast on Christmas morning.
Night at Bethlehem, Living Nativity, Breakfast in Bethlehem.  We aren’t always able to do all of these events every year, but we try to do at least one with MG.  She loves seeing the live animals and it will mean a lot more to her as she gets older.

Christmas cookies.   My mom has the BEST recipe.  We’ve made them most years and given some away to friends and neighbors.
Celebrating Advent.  Every year it has looked different.  One year I gave small gifts each day, one year it was only words of affirmation.  This year we are following a source I found online and doing verses each night. I am also following the She Reads Truth (claim to fame: SRT was co-started by my college friend Kacia!) Advent devotional.   It is definitely a great way to prepare for Christmas.  Along those same lines, we purchased One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.  It is for children just a little bit older than MG but tells the Christmas story starting in the Old Testament and weaves everything together for His birth at the end.  Plus it has amazing illustrations.  I look forward to reading a section a night with MG + co. starting next year.
(the bottom half of our Advent calendar)
Watching It’s  a Wonderful Life with N.  Would you believe he had never seen it until we were married?  We both love it.
Observing Hannukah. N’s mom’s side of the family are Ashkenazi Jews.  She grew up going to temple and while they were not extremely Orthodox, she observed some Jewish traditions.  She converted to Christianity in college, as did the rest of her living family.  It is still a big part of her life, as she has been to Israel several times and has become passionate about sharing her heritage with her children and grandchildren.   The past few years we have observed the first night of Hanukkah with a traditional Jewish meal (including latkes and macaroons) and bless the LORD in Hebrew as we light the menorah.  Every time it gives me chills.  It is true that the LORD kept His promise to the Jews to not destroy them and out of the Jewish line came the Savior of the world.  Had it not been for Hanukkah, we would not have Christmas.  

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After we discuessed our annual traditions, we talked about things that we want to incorporate with our kid(s) in addition to or in place of ones above. Like: looking at lights/Starbucks, making/each picking out an ornament each year, making a felt tree that they can decorate, and having a special Christmas breakfast and reading the Christmas story (Luke 2).  As far as Santa goes, he probably won’t be a big deal in our house, but we would definitely like to share with our kids the tradition of where Santa came from–St. Nicholas.  Maybe we will incorporate some “St. Nicholas” activities for them to do every year too.

The best part about this conversation was that we were able to talk about what we wanted our future family to look like.  What traditions we wanted our kids to focus on and what we hoped they would hold in their hearts when they looked back on Christmases past.  It made me a little weepy to think that this time next year, we will have a 3 year old who will understand so much more and truly be able to start getting excited about all things Christmas and also a little, unknown right now, 6-month old who will bring a whole new dimension to our family.  For some reason, having two kids (!) makes celebrating Christmas traditions as a family feel so much more important.

So, we hereby declare, that Christmas of 2012 will be the year where we sort through our traditions, add to the growing list, refine the ones that just won’t work anymore, and decide what is important for our family. I can’t wait to see the outcome!
Merry Christmas,

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Resolute (part 2)

Okay so it has been a long, dare I say, suspenseful wait since this post.

But it just didn’t feel right to talk about my New Year’s Resolution until I had actually spent some time putting it into practice.  Plus, with the nature of it, I didn’t want people to spend all year second guessing my motives.
My NYE Resolution for 2012 was to be a better friend.
I didn’t really know what it would look like and didn’t really have any specific goals.  I just felt very convicted that it was something that I needed to refine in my life.  Being a INFJ (for all you Meyers-Briggs people) means that I prefer friendships to come to me.  I would much rather be the pursued than the pursuer.  But I realized in the course of this that I had been leeching off of a lot of great friendships but wasn’t really giving up my fair share.
I asked God to open up opportunities for me and just lead me in the right direction.
I also found this verse, which I felt fit the theme quite nicely.
And mark that you do this with humility and discipline–not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” Eph 4:2-3
Here are some practical ways I set out to ensure my resolution:
-Started a new play group this summer with some friends from church
-threw several “Pinterest parties”  (guests bring a craft and supplies to work on while I supplied food, drinks, and basics like scissors and a hot glue gun.  We all walked away with an accomplished project or two!)
-hosted one or two date nights for friends (N and I picked a specific night and kept all of the children–of relatively the same age–while the parents got a free night out)
-Studied my friends that seem to come easy to friendship and tried to imitate their ways
-Developed a “Bring a friend” clause.  Just like Jay Kessler (former president of Taylor University) talks about how to accomplish missions when you have a family: he says whatever you do, “bring a kid” along with you.  I decided that whenever I was venturing out to a new restaurant, the museum with MG, or even to run off-the wall errands, I would call a friend to join me.
While some of you come very easy to these standards (lucky!) and others of you totally feel me, these things that I set out to do are all outside of my normal comfort zone.  I have to admit, I would much prefer someone else to be in charge of playdates, others to initiate invitations, and I greatly enjoy my independence when I shop.  But there was never a time that I regretted my decision to do otherwise (at least after the event was over) and I actually received much more blessing in return (imagine that!)
Some unexpected but fun things that came out of it:
-New friendships and blossoming old ones
-A realization of how blessed I am
-Feeling like I finally have a “community” around me.  Friends to call when something goes wrong, or I need an emergency babysitter, or I even need to borrow a quarter cup of oil (yes we do actually have neighbors that will give you this stuff!  I might never have discovered it if I hadn’t asked :))
-MG is being socialized with some of the best and brightest friendships I could ask for.  I am relishing that I get to choose all of her relationships right now and they all stem from families that I know and trust.  Even though she doesn’t yet have a sibling, she is learning how to interact with others on a weekly, supervised basis.  The best!
-A very rich and full year
In conclusion, I am so thankful that God urged me to do this.  I have learned so much about myself and others.  I have gained so much more than I gave.  And I do feel like I have quite a long way to go, but I feel like I am on the right track to progress.  One of the main lessons I learned is that there are so many women (SAHMs, especially) who are looking for the exact same thing I am.  All I had to do was put myself out there and they opened themselves up to me.  I do feel that my resolution slacked, specifically from September to November, as I was struggling each day just to get out of my pajamas.  But looking back, it was during this time that I was able to reap some of the benefit of the friendships I had discovered throughout the year, as I felt friends, both new and old, give to me much more than I had spent the first 8 months giving.

All of the lessons and blessing from this year’s resolution were so worth it.

So what is my resolution for 2013?  Still working on it.  But I do hope that my 2012 resolution is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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Just Go With It

I wrote this at the end of my first trimester and decided to post it today in honor of my last post.  Enjoy 🙂

I thought about titling this one  Surviving Mamaland: Morning Sickness with a Toddler.

But quickly realized I had no sound advice that is guaranteed to work.  Instead, it is more of a working philosophy consisting of four words: Just go with it.  

Your house hasn’t been cleaned in two weeks?  Just go with it.
You suddenly hit a spurt of energy at 12am and all you want to do is dust?  Just go with it.

The only appealing thing you have in the pantry for lunch is nacho cheese cheese puffs and vanilla yogurt: Just go with it.
Your toddler requests the same meal?  Just go with it.

You spend the morning glued to the couch and your child has never seen a full episode of Sesame Street?  Just go with it
Your child now requests and is obsessed with Elmo at every waking moment: Just go with it

Your child is so used to you sitting in the chair during “playtime” that she now directs you to it immediately after lunch: Just go with it
What you lack in energy, you make up for enthusiasm (“Wow!!  You are such a good picker-upper.  I wonder if you could reach Mommy’s book for her?”): Just go with it.

Thankfully, I also had the help of a fantastic husband who worked full-time and then came home to take on much of my workload and the aid of wonderful friends/family who came to my rescue at just the right times.  But I do have to say, I am happy to kiss the first trimester woes behind and get back to the structured and routined lifestyle that I know and love so well.  One can only just go with it for so long!

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