March 26, 2014

Maddie the Detective is back. Of course.

I'm weird about dirty dishes. Sometimes I can ignore a whole counter piled high and not be bothered until we run out of forks. Other times, I can't focus on anything else until the counters are cleared and wiped down, even if it's just a few breakfast dishes.

Today was a day when I could not handle the sight of the messy kitchen so I told Madeline we would start school late and she could play until I was done. After her chores, she went in Caleb's room where much giggling abounded. I tried to peek in at one point but Madeline insisted on surprising me with something. I didn't know what that meant but no one was screaming so I went back to the kitchen.

Finally, I finished and my surprise was ready. I walked in and she was nearly beside herself with glee and trembling and announced, "I organized Caleb's room!" Now, in full disclosure, his room was bad. I had let it go the last few weeks and tried to not look around whenever I went in there. But my little people-pleasing firstborn straightened it up for me, cleaned under his crib and dressers and organized his diapers and wipes.

Her heart loves to serve others and she's just so precious to me.
Caleb is still Cheeky around here. I love that he still has such a baby face at times. I took this picture during school at the table. He wanted to sit on my lap but I have about five square centimeters of available lap space these days. I hate telling him no but there just isn't room so he settled for climbing on the side of the chair and hanging on, just to be close to me.

I love this little boy.
Madeline received a Paula Deen kids cookbook for Christmas from her aunt and uncle. (She still calls her "Paula Deen-ya" and no one better correct her.) She studies this book, I kid you not. When I told her last week we were going to a St. Patrick's Day party, she immediately told me all about a green punch "that's great for parties and PERFECT for St. Patrick's Day." She made it and it was a delicious hit.

Today, she made Applewiches from the cookbook for the first time. Sliced apples smeared with peanut butter and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese in between. She and Caleb devoured them so I'm guessing they were tasty. I did not partake because peanut butter has been dead to me this pregnancy (except in chocolate/peanut butter/banana smoothies, the ONLY exception).
A couple weeks ago, Madeline read "Nancy Clancy." It's the little girl from the "Fancy Nancy" series but it's a chapter book and Nancy is all about detective work. Well, Madeline immediately got into detective mode and spend days around our house in her trench coat (bathrobe) solving mysteries in her notebook. It led to awesome moments like this:
She finished the book quickly and while she waited to get the second book from the library, her detective passion waned a little bit. We picked up the second book a couple days ago so she's since donned the trench coat once again and sneaks around our house, hoping Joe and I don't spot her. 

I found a note on the kitchen table last night after she went to bed. It read, "Yes! Of course, I am back!" This morning, I asked her what that meant and she said Maddie the Detective was back at work and she just wanted to warn me.

I truly never know what's she going to be up to next.

March 25, 2014

Potty training will end, right?

I never thought I would homeschool my kids but two years in, I still really love it. Yes, some days are long and I tell Madeline often that I need Jesus desperately to be a good mom and I have to ask for her forgiveness almost daily when I blow it.

But I still love spending our days together and it's amazing to watch her learn. I truly have no idea how long we'll homeschool and when traditional school will enter her life. But for now, I love sitting next to her at the kitchen table. I get to hear her questions as she learns about a topic for the first time. I get to watch her face when she fully grasps a new concept. 

This time together is such a gift.
Today, we worked on our BSF questions on Matthew 26 and studied Martin Luther, dolphins, Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. She played with colored spaghetti and read aloud a chapter from "Nancy Clancy." She's learning clocks and coins and double-digit addition in math and recites Psalm 8 and two poems with dramatic flair.

In case you think that sounds ideal, you have to also know today was the kind of day when I constantly, constantly had to rely on God to give me patience and joy because I could not pull up my bootstraps and create some on my own. 

Caleb is in the middle of potty training and it's physically tiring and mentally draining. I kept repeating Psalm 1 and remembering the blessed man is one who meditates on the word of God and so he becomes like a tree whose fruit comes in the seasons and whose leaves don't wither and whatever he does prospers. 

I was clinging to that promise today, especially during those long hours in the bathroom. MY LEAVES WERE NOT GOING TO WITHER TODAY, Y'ALL.

Madeline is a rockstar at doing school with interruptions and she's so kind and encouraging to her little brother. She offered to read to him while he was in the bathroom and played cars with him to give me a break when he finished. He runs after her all day long, calling, "Sis-Sis! Sissyyyyyyyy!" and I'm just so happy that they spend their days together.

I'm also so very thankful for unlimited texting. I don't know how moms survived without it before. I truly believe the key to staying home and not losing your mind is having a good number of friends that you can send SOS texts to and they totally understand. 

Friends who respond to my cries for help with "Teen Mom" references, encouraging verses, crazy Japanese potty training YouTube videos and the ultimate hashtag, #deathtopoop.

I ended the night hanging out with the girls in my small group from church and Steak n Shake milkshakes. I'm exhausted but it's so refreshing to be around other women and hear their funny stories and bad moments and the trials each one is facing.

Then I came home and laid on the bed, resting and contracting, holding Joe's hand and really talking to him for the first time today because texts like "I'm gonna lose my mind!!!!" really don't count. I love him more than my luggage.

The days are long but the years are short and good friends are worth their weight in gold and a good husband is my rock and God is faithful. Amen.

March 23, 2014

A mighty fine weekend

Our weekend started by dropping Joe off at our church on Friday evening for an overnight men's retreat. I was so glad he was going but to be honest, I knew I was really going to miss him. He and I rarely spend a night apart and I just love hanging out with him in the evenings. 

Caleb cried fat tears when we dropped him off, partly because he knew Joe was leaving but also because he wanted to go into church and play. I love that my kids love their church and church friends.

We headed over to my friend Emily's house to hang out with other moms and kids whose husbands left too. Five moms, 15 kids and one big trampoline. Heads might have bumped. 

Emily gave me three brownies to take home for the kids and me. There's a possibility the kids didn't eat a single one. I ate one as soon as I put the kids down on Friday night and may or may not have had a brownie for breakfast on Saturday. Being the kind and generous person I am, I split the last one with Joe when he came home.

On Saturday, we went to the zoo with my parents, Peter, my nephew and niece.

Baby Vaida is simply gorgeous.
Caleb squeals with joy every time he gets to hang out with Beckett. Seriously, they just look at each other and start screaming and running around. I can't even imagine the trouble these two will cause together in fifteen years.
We've taken the kids to the zoo three times in the last couple of weeks. Each time, Madeline has asked for face painting but I told her it's something we'll probably never do. My parents got us a zoo membership for Christmas so it's a free family outing for us and we intend to keep it that way.

But then we went to the zoo with Mimi and Poppi and she looked like this after 20 minutes.
Only Madeline would pick colors to match her fleece. Love that girl.

We went to my parents' house afterward and they ordered food from our favorite Mexican restaurant. I was completely exhausted from the zoo and was feeling pretty bad so I spent the next few hours watching The Pioneer Woman episodes while eating queso in a big recliner while they took care of Madeline and Caleb.

It's so nice to still be able to go home and be parented, isn't it?

We picked Joe up in the evening and headed home. I still wasn't feeling good and Caleb was so tired since he didn't nap. That's the only reason Joe was able to snap this photo. I love my little blond boy.
We went to the late service on Sunday morning and the kids ran around like tiny fools while we talked to people afterward. Anyone else have strong memories of staying late at church and playing with friends? It stresses me out but I also love that my kids are making those memories now.

While the kids napped, I decided to join the 21st century and created a Google calendar. Joe has wanted me to do this for years now but I just love a real paper planner too much to switch. But now things are getting busier and we're constantly having to check in with each other before planning things. I do see the benefit of shared digital calendars and I really want to give it my best shot but I'm already mourning the loss of my handy planner.

After Madeline woke up, she and I went to Target for an essential toothpaste trip. Somehow, I found myself in the maternity clothes section. (It's right next to the toothpaste aisle.) I found a dress I liked which led to this conversation:

Madeline: "Are you going to try it on?"
Me: "No, I'll try it on at home." (because I just wanted to get back home quickly)

Madeline: "Oh, do you not want to try it on here because you're afraid you'll pop a big ol' hole in it?"

She keeps me and my big belly humble.

While we were gone, I got this text from Joe.
Oh, that boy. We love him but he keeps us on our toes.

We finished the night with popcorn and old-school Daffy Duck cartoons. I'm very tired but I sure do love the weekends with my family.

March 19, 2014

Baby girl: week 32

I've been meaning to do a baby update for awhile but it just never seemed right. Without turning this blog post into a novella, I'll just say this hasn't been the smoothest pregnancy but baby girl is doing great, is never under stress and appears healthy at every checkup and ultrasound.

January was rough. I got sick with respiratory flu and it knocked me out for a solid two weeks. I found out I've already dilated a bit. I had a terrible pain in my side and needed a gallbladder and liver scan and blood tests (all of which showed nothing and eventually the pain went away). We learned I have a cyst on an ovary.

February wasn't much better. I started contracting irregularly but frequently for a couple weeks and then had one really bad night of intense, regular, time-able contractions. It resulted in a night drive to the hospital in a bad snowstorm. (That drive was so relaxing.) I found out I've already effaced a bit. I started getting more frequent pains from the cyst.
Since then, I've been trying hard to rest as much as possible, drink lots of water and hand my fear of premature labor over to God. So many family members and friends are praying for baby girl and I and I really, truly believe that's why the contractions are very infrequent now.

March brought news that I'm measuring big again. At week 30, I measured 36 weeks. An ultrasound showed there is extra fluid and baby girl is measuring big at 4 pounds,10 ounces. Thankfully, no obvious concerns or abnormalities showed up in the ultrasound. 

She already has quite a bit of hair and the Mayes nose and lips. I'm quite smitten with her already.
I feel as big as the comments I've been getting. I can't fault the people who stop to ask how soon I'm delivering. I look full-term and most days, my belly surprises me too. I waddle everywhere and can't carry laundry baskets up and down the stairs. It's a stretch to even wash the dishes without banging into the counter. 

I'm just big, y'all.
I'm now 32 weeks today and measured 37 weeks at our checkup yesterday. Baby girl moves and spins like crazy, especially at night. She still doesn't have a name and, just like her brother and sister, she probably won't be named until a day or so after she's born.

The two tops I'm wearing in these pictures are my maternity uniform. I wear the black-wrap top and gray sweatshirt pretty much every day. Add in some black fleece-lined leggings and green rain boots and that's all I've worn the last three months. I discovered a small bleach stain on the gray sweatshirt last week and nearly cried. I'm still going to wear it anyways.

I still want spicy food all the time, especially Thai curry. I ate Yats' chili cheese etouffee for five meals in a row last week after scoring leftovers at a church event. I would eat a bowl of it again if you brought it to me right now. After months and months of waiting and wondering if my loves would ever return, I'm finally able to eat Jimmy John's and mashed potatoes again. Hallelujah.

Thanks to awesome friends and family, we've gotten tons of baby girl clothes from newborn size to six months. Just looking at the tiny tank tops and sleepers makes me giddy in anticipation. 

I'm so excited to meet our third child, our second daughter.