1/07/2017

Baby #4 with all the details

Well look at that! Happy New Year, since this is my first post of 2017. And what a great year it's turning out to be. We are seven days in, and we've already made this fun announcement: 


video


I've already posted it on facebook, so if you aren't feeling like watching, or you already have, the short summary is this: We are expecting our fourth kiddo, due in May, and we found out that it is a boy yesterday at our ultrasound. Josie thought or at least hoped it was a boy, and Amelia copied Audrey with her guess that it was a girl. Hubby and I both assumed girl, because up until now that's all we've known.



Alright, so now a bit more information, because I know you love the details. 


The first trimester coincided with starting homeschool which worked in my favor in multiple ways. When most of the kids were going back to school and starting strict schedules to follow and new routines to get used to, we resumed life as normal and added in an hour or two of school. I was very typically nauseous almost 100% of the time so you can imagine my relief when we were able to stay home and take things slow. Because I had expected this, I had worked hard with Josie to get ahead in her formal books (math and writing) so when the sickness hit hard we were able to take days off here and there without falling behind. The younger ladies have loved "doing school" at the table with us so I haven't had to worry about them causing trouble while I'm focusing on Jo. 



But this post isn't about homeschooling. This post is about this baby! We told our friends and family around seven or eight weeks because I cannot hide my fatigue and sickness well, ever, and we wanted the support and prayers that we knew we'd get (and did get). Once those people knew, I basically just stayed at home as much as possible and kept the schedule clear. 

It felt like forever! But as always, it eased up around 13 weeks and I was able to resume life. Around this time and the few weeks prior, I had a handful of friends text or message me wondering how we were doing, saying they missed us, and making sure everything was okay. Can I just tell you how much that meant to me? If you ever think of someone and have a fleeting thought to reach out, do it. It's always worth it. 

Health insurance being as awful as it is, and this pregnancy going as smoothly as it did, I pushed off the first appointment until I was 18 weeks along. The ultrasound was at 23 weeks, which is where we are now. My midwife was definitely surprised that I had waited to come in, but this is not my first time. She quickly got over it and agreed that we can play it by ear for future appointments and not necessarily have them quite as often. Whew. Glad to get that part out of the way.

So, other than normal sickness, how has this pregnancy been? Because I'm in that joyful second trimester, it's quite easy to say that it's fabulous. Ha! I have minimal discomfort, and really only have any when I push myself physically with house cleaning, shoveling, and snowblowing all in one day. I've gained a fair amount as I always do in the second trimester, and I can already tell that my appetite is diminishing as baby takes up more room against my stomach. I do feel like I've had a few more days of general stomach discomfort, where foods don't sound as good or I just feel full enough to be uncomfortable even if I haven't really eaten much. It isn't all the time and it's nothing to complain about but I don't want to forget one of the few differences I've had with this baby. 

Honestly, there aren't a lot of differences! With the girls, none of them were positioned exactly the same (high vs low, centered vs more to one side). This baby seems to sit pretty high, but I know he's not the only one that did. The sickness was almost identical, and the weight gain has been too. I've had some bad headaches but it's not a regular thing. No wonder I assumed he was a girl, right? 



I had such a clear vision of a family of four girls. I could picture them in a year, five years, ten years, even as young adults. I had been saying "she" accidentally for this whole pregnancy, so now my brain is freaking out a bit trying to get used to the thought of a boy. 

I've been asked a few times if I'm disappointed, rightfully so because we were expecting a girl, but I can say wholeheartedly that I'm not. Sure, it'll be completely different to have a son in many ways, but I was shocked when we had our first girl and that turned out to be great! I'm excited to pick out boy clothes since I've spent years avoiding that section and buying them only as gifts for others. There are some cute clothes out there for boys that I can finally get into! Ha!

In all seriousness though, it'll take me a while to get used to the thought of a boy in the various stages. A baby isn't so hard, but an eight year old? A teenager? A young adult? I can't see it. Not yet, and that's fine. The other thing I'm allowing myself to grieve is the thought of not having another baby girl. It may seem silly because we already had three, but when Amelia outgrew things or stages, I told myself that we'd have one more lady coming along and, well, now we don't! It's funny how little things will hit me, like seeing these little newborn moccasins that we won't use. They were so cute, but they will be the wrong season, or the little girly bonnets that are nowhere near worn out, or the little baby swimsuits, Christmas dresses, and hair bows. You get the idea. It's making me appreciate Amelia in a different light as our baby girl. She'll always be our youngest girl. So many thoughts running through my mind.

I'm ready for the typical questions or statements and I'll just throw out a few of our responses in case you were wondering.

"Now Mike isn't so outnumbered!"  True. Good math, my friend.

"Now Mike has a hunting buddy"  He's working on the girls and they aren't against it, so more accurately, one could say that he may have another hunting buddy. One can dream, as I tell him.

"So now you can be done, right?" Such an inappropriate question to ask someone, yet it comes up all the time. We had no plans to try for a boy if this had been a girl, and we don't have any permanent plans to prevent pregnancies in the future, so we answer that this is our last planned pregnancy and we'll happily take any other babies God sends our way. I mean, I'm thirty, so there's quite a bit of time left where that could happen. Who can know for certain?

"You finally got your boy!" I see why this is a popular one too, but I cringe a little when this is said in the vicinity of the girls, as if we were just biding time with them waiting on the beloved son. My response is that we are happy to mix it up and have a boy but we sure do love our girls, each and every one of them.

And before you think I'm persnickety with those responses, I want to assure you that I realize people just want to talk about it because having a baby is exciting and it's fun to dream together. I'm not knocking the typical questions. It's really just a way to start the conversation. It's just funny how many times I hear the same questions over and over again.

How long do you give me before I start the purging process of baby girl items? I won't necessarily get rid of it, but it's definitely got to stop taking up precious storage space in the nursery. I'm giving myself a month tops. 


Oh, and because I'm sure a few will wonder, how confident are we about the boy proclamation made by the ultrasound tech? When she was looking between the legs, I was looking for the three lines (sign that it's a girl) and was annoyed that there was clearly something else in the way. Then, she pointed to that something else and declared him a boy. What?? I didn't even realize it when it was staring me in the face. I think that was hubby's experience too. A while later, he had moved a bit and she had an even better view and said that he was making it very easy to see now. Before she had even checked, the heartbeat was 132 which was quite a bit lower than the girls' were at any point in my pregnancies with them. Apparently, when the heartbeat is below 140, that often means boy. All that to say that yes, we're pretty confident. 


Really, this is the only time it's appropriate for a shot like this, am I right?

See any resemblance yet?

The sweetest thing.

I just can't get used to saying "he." Give me a minute or two.







12/25/2016

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We are celebrating with family today and hunkering down as the snow storm rolls in. We couldn't ask for more. We pray that your Christmas is a bright spot in your year and that you are able to celebrate with loved ones as well. Mostly, we pray that Christ is the center and that you can grow in your relationship with Him this year. 

Again, Merry Christmas! 
(fun fact: the original meaning is "Rejoice! Christ was sent!")




12/21/2016

Little bakers

I've cut back on yearly traditions. We know this, though, right? I've written about this before. A few have stuck around, and one of my favorites is decorating sugar cookies. I've spent a lot of my time finding good recipes, techniques, and even tools to do a decent job without a lot of frustration. This year, we didn't do a cookie exchange with anyone and we don't really have a reason to have dozens and dozens of them, so I just made one batch. I grabbed a few for me to decorate and then handed the frosting over to the girls and let them do their child magic. 



She's cute, but she didn't decorate. She's more like our comic relief.


I love them. Imperfect, beautiful, touched with their love cookies. I learned while watching them that they are very neat, almost to a fault. They didn't get any on their clothes and hardly any frosting got on the table. In fact, I had to keep reminding them to put more frosting on each cookie because I hate throwing it away and we all know it's more fun when the cookie is loaded down with sugar. 




We didn't do the white base because of lack of time (that's a whole additional step that takes time to dry) but again, they are just for us. It doesn't matter! 

Also, the girls have already requested heart cookies, so we will be baking and decorating again come February. I'm already excited about it.




My imperfect few, blurry and all

Josie's on the left, Audrey's on the right

The one time of year that dirty dishes are kind of pretty.



12/09/2016

Birthdays and snow days

Audrey Joy had her 4th birthday a few weeks ago and we celebrated her exactly how she wanted. In the morning, we went to our favorite place, Sandy's Donuts for breakfast. It snowed that day so the big girls went outside during quiet time. When they came in, I had hot chocolate ready in their tea cups. I got the meal ready for her party, and we had our close family over for some pasta, cake, and play time on that evening. It was not a long get-together but it was exactly perfect for our girl that doesn't necessarily love having a lot of attention aimed at her. Can I just say that this girl is such a delight? She had been building excitement for weeks about her upcoming birthday but it was so innocent and sweet. {sweet -- the word forever tied to this girl, it seems} She so happily shared her birthday treats with her sisters and it just didn't go to her head at all that it was her special day. 



  





Just one week later, we headed to the lake to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We had so much fun with everyone that I didn't even think to get photos of it. Puzzles were made, naps were had, food was consumed. What more can you ask for? I did snag a few family photos. The first is us, the second is my aunt Shary's family. 

The rest of the weekend involved us going to a horse and light's parade in a nearby town and going on long walks through the woods and field. The snow was melting rapidly but we managed to hunt down some that had managed to stick around. It was a beautiful weekend.