Monday, October 7, 2019

Baby Moon!

Towards the end of August Peter and I were able to sneak away for 4 fantastic nights away to enjoy one last trip before baby comes.  We purposely timed it towards the end of the 2nd trimester knowing that the 3rd trimester can be a bit unpredictable for me.  We brainstormed several ideas of places to go but ultimately decided to head in the direction of one of our most favorite areas - Central Oregon.  Man, we love it down there, and getting to spend a few days just the two of us (and baby in the belly) was refreshing and relaxing and perfectly what we needed!

We didn't do anything big or exciting, definitely went on some walks and enjoyed the scenery of which there is so much to enjoy!  

Checked out the high desert museum

And amazingly neither of us have ever been to Smith Rock before which is just crazy with how many trips we've taken to the area.  We did some very light hikes there and got to see lots of the views but we definitely would like to go back post baby and check out some of the more challenging hikes. 

Lots of rock climbers 

But the best part was just being together. The kids wear us out at home, and Peter has been completely crazy at work (and will continue to be with deadlines right up to the end of this pregnancy) so a few days to just be "us" was truly wonderful. I love this guy and we always enjoy our time together, can't wait to hold our newest little baby together soon! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Family Day

I love that the adoption world introduced us to a concept called "Family Day" (aka Gotcha Day).  This is the day that you celebrate meeting your kids or your kids coming home.  It so worked out in our family that these dates for our two adopted kiddos actually happen during the same week of the year. In fact LB came home one day before we celebrate the day that we met Malachi.  

Every year we look forward to taking some time to just celebrate that we are a family! On Malachi's actual day we met him, we like to celebrate with a little bit of Ethiopian food.  Some of our kids are picky but this year they all jumped right in and devoured! 

Another fun tradition is that we set a day aside to just go have some fun! The last couple years the kids have picked the beach.  We were a little bit worried about the weather because we've had a lot of rain this year but the weather at the beach was perfect and the kids were quickly running around in swimsuits! We have the perfect little secluded beach area that is never busy and the kids just have a blast running around and playing. The beach is a favorite of our kids and we always have to drag them away at the end of the day.  This year has been so busy so a day at the beach was just the perfect way to get some time together just enjoying life together. We as the parents could just sit back and relax and watch and laugh at this crazy family we've made together!  But boy are we blessed. 

And just because her salt water curls are amazing! 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

New School Year

Now that everyone is back in school in our area it feels like life is settling into that fall routine.  We're actually about 5 weeks into our school year over here, later than we start most years but early enough that I hope we can accomplish a lot before baby comes!  

It has been a bit of an adjustment period for our family, especially starting in August when the August schedule was as busy as it was.  But I think we are getting into a good routine now. It still has its challenges for sure but I know this is the right path for our family and its awesome to see how much the kids are learning and how capable each and every one of them are!  I cannot even believe I have kids in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade.  I'm starting to picture middle school in the not so far off future - wow! I am proud of these kids and how hard they work! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Letters To My Baby - Second Trimester

Week 13:
Well little one, we have made it to the next trimester. Amazingly it seems all of your organs are in place and doing what they should be doing which is pretty darn impressive! Now you grow and grow and grow!  For my part in the whole process, I am still a bit sick depending on the day and so so tired still. I've been able to be a bit more productive in getting life more organized after that first trimester but it is still proving to be a challenge with how tired I am or how sick I still feel in the evenings.  But I can't complain because I'm just so happy that we've hung in there together through trimester one and onward through the next. I'm hoping this next trimester will be smooth and we can avoid any of the issues I encountered with your big sister. I guess only time will tell!  So lets keep doing what we are doing, growing bigger and bigger!

Week 14:
How's it going in there Smalls?  You are really starting to make your presence known, now the size of a peach and I'm growing bigger and bigger. I think I might be noticeably showing now.  I am also for sure starting to feel little thumps from you which will eventually be my favorite part of this whole experience. You seem to be as active in there as your big sister as opposed to your big brother who I barely felt move.  Your Daddy was able to feel your big sister kick by 18 weeks so he is eagerly waiting to feel you move too. But for now, we just wait for you to grow a little bit bigger and stronger! I can very easily find your heartbeat now with the at home doppler as you've settled right at about 150 bpm.  This doesn't help me try to guess your gender! Otherwise we are starting to prepare for your arrival, we've planned out the nursery, are scouring the baby name books, and even ordered your car seat this week as there is so much we need to get this time around so no better time than now to start preparing!  We can't wait to meet you in November (hopefully)!

Week 15:
This week we had another doctors appointment. All seems to be going great and your heart beat was super easy to find now, still right around 150! The only issue continues to be high blood pressure, it was higher this time than last time. I am concerned but doctor said it still wasn't too bad.  I just don't want to have any blood pressure issues near the end of this thing like I had with your sister.  I was able to borrow my parents blood pressure monitor for home use though and at home it ranges pretty low and is ideal so maybe it just has something to do with going to the doctor, and I am grateful that maybe it isn't as big of an issue as I've thought it was.  We have also started test driving two names for you, a boy and a girl name to see how we really feel. The boy name is one that we have always loved but because it didn't follow ALL of the silly rules we've come up with for naming our kids we haven't used it yet. Your daddy finally looked at me because we do love the name and said, "we make the rules, we can break the rules." So right now it is the front runner. Our girl name was not the girl name we thought we had picked out for you. But it was a name when we went through the baby book that we both really liked and so we are testing it out too. I hope you like whatever we come up with!

Week 16:
Hello my busy little baby! You have definitely picked up the movement this week and I am loving it! From feeling well enough to be a productive member of society again, to feeling you jab and kick, this is the best part of pregnancy. When we feel you kick we can't help but try to see if we can feel it from the outside yet because we can't wait for Daddy to feel you too. It is an exciting time for sure! This week I was able to get the nursery cleaned up and cleaned out, it had become a catch all and extra toy room for the other kids over the last couple years. We also picked out paint and are ready to get moving on your room. I feel a lot of nesting instinct already, maybe because while I don't PLAN on going on bedrest for the 3rd trimester again, I want to be prepared in case it does happen. So that means getting ready for you in the 2nd trimester. And I guess the bonus of that is, even if we don't have complications this time I know that once your siblings start soccer and fall baseball and school again that time is going to fly and it will be time to meet you before we know it! It still feels soooo long before we get to see you face to face but I am enjoying the process, savoring the special gift that you are to us, knowing that a lot of these moments will be "lasts" for me and wanting to enjoy every second that I have with you inside me because I know once you are born you are going to grow up far faster than I want you to.  So we enjoy where we are in the journey at this moment.

Week 17:
How's it going in there Smalls?  You seem to have a lot of energy and that makes me happy as you kick and wiggle all the time! The best part of this week is that your Daddy was already able to feel you thump and wiggle around in there! You little overachiever you!  We are just enjoying almost every part of pregnancy this time, from that growing bump to all the wiggles and movements, I know these moments will pass by and that I will miss it! Your anatomy scan seems so far away still and I am so eager to see you again, it feels so long since that last ultrasound at 7 weeks.  We have fallen completely head over heels in love with you already!

Week 18:
Another week slowly passes. It seems the days are just dragging at this point because I am so eager for that anatomy scan to see you and make sure you are doing well in there. The most exciting part of this week is that over the long 4th of July weekend your Daddy was able to get your nursery painted, it is an exciting time to really start prepping for you! You've been a bit quieter this week which made me a bit nervous, fortunately I still have that at home doppler when I go all night and all morning without feeling you. Your heartbeat has dropped down into "boy" range now in the 130's to 140's.  Fortunately by the very end of this week you were back to your crazy antics of kick kick kicking it!  You must have just changed position in there for a couple of days to where it was harder to find you but I just love feeling you wiggle and move and kick and punch and I will try my best to not complain once those feet are reaching up under my ribs!

Week 19:
This has been a really good week, I have had more days where I've felt great as opposed to feeling a bit yucky. I'm hoping the yucky days are behind us! You are definitely a busy little bee this week as you kick and wiggle and move what feels like constantly, but I love it so it's good! I feel huge already but I'm trying to be okay with it and embrace the journey. I think my favorite part is that your strong movements make it super easy to bond with you and maybe get a little glimpse of who you are! I can't wait to meet you but lets keep on kicking on for now!

Week 20:
The week I have been waiting for! This week I finally got to see you. It is also hopefully the week we passed the halfway mark, but I don't want you to come too early okay?  I already feel so bonded to you that the ultrasound was just icing on the cake! I finally caught a little glimpse of who you are. You had all of us laughing as you were so stubborn. You had kicked hard all morning and I thought for sure you were napping as we went in for the ultrasound but the images said otherwise. The tech said you were one of the busiest baby's she had ever worked with.  That explains all that movement I'm already feeling!  You did not cooperate at all and we weren't able to get great images of your heart or face, but she eventually got you to move so she could see your face but then you stuck your thumb in your mouth and kept it there until the very end where we got a very brief look at your face.  From what we could tell, you look like your daddy or big brother.  I don't think that necessarily means anything about gender though because your sister looked like your daddy too!  So even though I didn't get the best look at you, everything looks great, you are measuring a week ahead at 14 ounces! I seriously can't wait to meet you and snuggle you!


Week 21:
Another week cruised by!  Things are going well.  We laughed this week as you were making my belly bounce all over from the outside. It is crazy how much earlier your high activity level is making things happen! But this is the best part in my opinion so I am happy! In slightly more worrisome news, the braxton hicks contractions are definitely picking up.  I am probably averaging 3-4 a day and I know they can be very normal especially the more pregnancies I have but it still makes me nervous as the contractions were often enough to start creating issues at 28 weeks last time.  So I am remaining optimistic but cautious.  I want to avoid bed rest but I will obviously do whatever it takes to keep you healthy and get you to full term. But let's put that aside for now and just enjoy where we are!

Week 22:
Hello my little coconut! That is what my app says you are this week! And you should have broken the 1 pound mark this week!  But if your 14 ounce estimate was correct 2 weeks ago, you probably broke that before now.  This week I felt you hiccup for the first time which is so cute and sweet and I also felt you do a full on rollover in there - ouch!  You clearly still have plenty of room for all these antics so enjoy it while you got it, because the day is coming where it's gonna get a little more tight in there!

Week 23:
Well little one, this has been a tough week! This week I had a really bad cold and was tired and miserable making it hard to rest or get any sleep at night. Summer colds or pregnant colds should not be a thing!  My ribs which are already sore as they spread out to make room for organs hurt extra bad from all the coughing I was doing! Fortunately I am on the mend now and you are just as strong and it seems happy as ever in there!  Have I told you just how insanely loved you are?!?   We are right on the cusp of viability this week, meaning if you didn't stay put (you better stay put) some hospitals would be able to save your life!  That's pretty darn remarkable. Every week from here the rate of survival just gets better and better so lets keep on keeping on together and show those big siblings that came early or needed bed rest how impressive you are and that we won't need either option to make it to full term this time ;)

Week 24:
 This week we had our last second trimester check up! Wow! Here I am now getting all nostalgic because this is very likely the last time I get to experience all this and it feels like the end is getting near!  We did a lot more work in your nursery this week and added the rocking chair, I can't wait for all the bedtime snuggles we will soon be sharing in there! The doctor appointment went well and we talked over the gestational diabetes test and some alternatives I am going to try (like taking the a1c test and checking my blood sugar numbers at home) before they make me fast for 12 hours and take the 2 hour test. My tummy still doesn't feel great most mornings so I am hoping my at home test numbers save me from having to take a test that will likely make me sick. We also discussed the increasing amount of contractions I am getting, it scares me because I feel like I am on a very similar trajectory to last time and I really don't want to have to worry about you and go on bedrest to keep you in there!  Fortunately for now, we are still going strong and as long as they don't become regular or increase in intensity I will just try to rest and drink water when they hit!  You are now the size of a canteloupe and I feel like I feel every flip, wiggle punch and kick!  I love it!


Week 25:
 This week was full of highs and lows. The low is that I agreed to test my blood sugars and it took less than a day for me to realize that my body was not cooperating with these sugars and I am pretty darn sure I have gestational diabetes like I did with your big brother (but not with your sister). I still remember a lot of the knowledge I gained and what I didn't know, I quickly was able to research online.  It is hard to feel like I am failing you, even though I know it is a part of pregnancy hormones and I would never blame someone else if they had it. I just hate knowing my body is not taking care of you as well as it should. If it's not a cervix that is shortening, apparently it is overloading you with sugar.  But I am working my tail off and researching like crazy to get this all under control.  The good news is that my daytime numbers easily aligned as I lowered carbs, unfortunately the one number I can't necessarily control, my fasting numbers are not cooperating at all. I am going to do everything I can to try and get that number down without meds but if for some reason I need meds for this time period to protect you and keep you safe, I will.  On a high note, your daddy and I got away for a little "baby moon".  Our last hurrah before we settle into fall and anticipate your arrival! We went to one of our favorite places, did a little bit of hiking and sightseeing, I was able to take the most fabulous quiet naps.  We ate some yummy food but the timing of figuring out all this sugar stuff definitely cut into how much we could enjoy the food! Regardless, we had a great time and are more ready than ever to get through these next few months and meet you!

Week 26: 
Hi Sweet baby!  Here we go another week behind us. As usual, it feels like the 20 weeks seem to just drag on and on.  I'm still figuring out a lot with my blood sugars and what works and what doesn't.  Trying to figure out the right compromise between moving and walking to help keep my sugars down, but not walking so much as to cause a bunch of contractions and pressure.  It's a balancing act and honestly I am so paranoid about keeping you as safe as possible that I'm constantly stressing.  Your brother spending time in the NICU certainly scared me straight into not being able to have a blissfully unaware pregnancy. I knew the third trimester would be one full of anxiety for me, but I just remind myself that a lot is out of my control and I pray a lot.  I remind myself that as much as I love you, you have a heavenly Father who loves you even more than I do, and I have to trust that He has this, no matter the outcome.  I am already counting down every week and know that prematurity outcomes get better at 28 weeks and 32 weeks and 34 weeks and 36 weeks. We just countdown every milestone. At this point, I just can't wait until you are born and healthy and I can take that sigh of relief with you when you cry out into this world.  Ah pregnancy hormones at their finest!  You are still the most active baby and we love watching you and feeling you kick and bounce and roll and hiccup.  You are one strong feisty baby so I know we got this last trimester!

So here we go!  The countdown begins as we enter the third trimester! Less than 13 weeks to go! I am starting to see all the signs that the 3rd trimester is here.  Lots of back pain, pressure in my pelvis, ready for bed by 9:00, swelling in my hands is beginning, harder to breathe as my organs get pressed farther into my chest.  It really is all downhill from here!  But on the plus side, baby is now 2 to 2 1/2 lbs, growing bigger and stronger and I can tell! Every week the risks associated with premature delivery go down more.  I have contractions here and there but so far they aren't as bad as they were last time when I was already getting FFN tests so I am optimistic for now that bed rest will not be a part of the protocol.  We are definitely entering into the stage where I worry more because there are so many unknowns as we approach these last stages, but we are doing about as good as can be expected and I have no complaints.  Even if there are twists and turns in this journey, I know that you are worth every single second of hardship!  You are a long awaited blessing to our family and we could not be any more excited to watch the weather turn from summer into fall and know that it won't be long now until we meet you face to face.  I look forward to every single snuggle coming my way!

Friday, August 30, 2019

13 Years

Peter and I recently celebrated our 13th anniversary together. It certainly doesn't seem real that 13 years has come and gone so fast, but then we realize we have a 9 year old and somehow the math behind the years adds up!  I feel so fortunate to have met the love of my life and my best friend at such a young age because it has just given us even more time to spend together and grow together. 13 years, what can I say? We've learned a lot about each other and know one another well. We "get" each other. And yet we still have that feeling of young love, we still hate Monday's because it means we have a work week of not seeing each other very much and I can't wait to see him walk in the door in the evening and even better put the kids to bed so we can have some time to chat and catch up!   I love knowing that where we are right now is still just the beginning and we still have so many good years ahead of each other where we will continue to get to know one another even better and grow closer.

We've been married long enough now that we've gone through some challenges, faced many peaks and valleys but always have stayed committed to the betterment of our relationship.  This past year was no different. We still spent a significant portion of this year figuring out Peter's new work schedule and longer commute, how the extra responsibility and longer hours would affect Peter's stress level, how I would handle more of the work on the home front.  And don't even get me started on how hard infertility becomes on a relationship. That is ultimately a lot of the reason we were leaning towards letting go of that dream, it was taking a toll on our marriage and family.  But in the midst of it all, there was so much good too. This time when we had struggles, we immediately leaned into God and leaned into each other. We communicated instead of fought.  We always pursued closeness instead of retreat. 

Here we are passing another anniversary and we look at each other and can both honestly say that our relationship is the best it has ever been! Yes, we are in a season of abundant blessing at the moment but I have no doubt that even if we were continuing with struggles we'd still be just as close as we are right now. We are in love, happy, and feel incredibly blessed!  I think we've adjusted well to Peter's work schedule now, and of course this baby on the way is an amazingly wonderful blessing in our marriage family! We can't wait and are so happy to be parents again! 

Peter's name means rock and he has always been my rock! This pregnancy has taken a toll on me and even after working 10 hours a day and commuting 2-3 hours he is ready to do whatever I need in the evening. If I need help with dinner, he is on it, if there's cleaning he just does it, if a kid needs ran to a practice he just takes them. His sacrificial leadership of our family gives me so much respect for him! We've really grown in teamwork and there are ebs and flows to that, sometimes one partner needing another partner to pick up more of the load and this season has put Peter into a place where he's doing more than he should have to. But he never complains, just leads on and makes my heart leap with more love for him with every sacrifice he makes. I am so fortunate that he is mine!

So here's to the next year of life together. The kids keeping us busier and busier.  The blessing of a new life joining our family, the adjustment to having 5 kids and our love continuing to grow.  We have some amazing memories to make, that's for sure!

Friday, August 2, 2019

LB's 5th Birthday

Somehow our baby girl has hit the big number 5! 5 is one that definitely hits to the gut as you realize the toddler days are gone and now all of a sudden you have this child who is school age and growing up and becoming more and more independent. And how in the heck did 5 years come and go so quickly?!?

This year our girl has been asking for 11 months when her birthday was coming, she was more than a little excited and it was finally her turn. She had it all planned out! 

Her actual birthday we brainstormed what would make our girl happy, and decided that a food tour would be perfect for her! She loves to eat, even though she is TINY!  She can out eat her 9 year old brother! 

First stop Daddy went to get some super yummy donuts so we could celebrate her with the family before starting her day of fun with just mom and dad!

And then we were off!  She loved having complete control of where we went on her day out! 

First stop she picked, a local park!

And then she had a tough debate between pizza, hot dogs, or tacos but decided on some pizza! 

And then ice cream

Next she wanted to go to a local splashpad! She had a lot of fun here!

And then she was insistent on getting a hot dog from one of her favorite places!  

She was wearing down by this point but we kept the fun going by letting her go to a very fun candy store and filling up on candy and cotton candy!

I would say she was thoroughly spoiled as any kid should be on their birthday.  

Happy Birthday sweet girl!  I look back at your baby pictures and don't understand how it is possible that 5 years has come and gone so fast!    I feel so honored that we get to be your parents and watch you become unique you! You are silly, always making us laugh.  You're tough and determined and strong.  You give amazing hugs and love to snuggle.  You have a way of warming the hearts all around you with your beautiful smile.  It is a privilege to watch you grow and I truly cannot wait to see where life takes you because I know there is nothing you can't accomplish with the level of determination and heart you have!  You are so loved and I can't wait to be a part of everything this year of life has in store for you! Bring it on! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Peter's Birthday

This weekend we celebrated my favorite person in the worlds birthday! He never takes any time for himself and he rarely gets to do the things he enjoys doing so we tried to plan a day with a few of his favorite things. 

Starting with a stop to get some of his favorite donuts 

And the flavor of the month just so happened to be delicious raspberry! 

We normally do a "real" hike but between the pregnancy, hot weather and kids who really don't enjoy hiking we took it a little bit easier this year and just did a short local hike with some fun views of Portland.

We were all a bit tired and hot and cranky (did I mention the kids don't like hiking?)  but Peter's favorite lunch stop cured everyone of the grumpy's! 

Even better we were able to come home and take naps and then enjoy the evening with the kids and Peter's family!  It's never much fun to have to work on your birthday but hopefully the little bit of time we got to spend with Peter for his birthday was fun enough! 

Peter, I love you so very much and count my blessings that you were born and are a constant part of my life! I could not imagine life without you in it. You love your family so sacrificially and I hate that at times I take amazing you for granted! You work so stinkin hard for your family, working and commuting long hours and during this pregnancy you have been such a rock for me. Never complaining but willing to put aside your own stresses, step right in and help with the kids, help with dinner, help with cleaning, run out at 9:30 to fulfill a craving. It's not fair to you but your efforts are not going unnoticed.  I know it's hard work and yet you make it all look so easy. You are one amazing guy and these years I've got to spend with you in my life have been the best kind of blessing.  I hope someday I can love you as well as you always love me. I hope you felt a little bit of that love and appreciation as we celebrated you this weekend. One of the best blessings ever is seeing how much our kids adore and look up to you.  You are so loved by all of us every day of the year but I hope you really felt it for your birthday!