Old fashioned ramblings

I miss the days of old when bloggers would write whatever was on their minds or going on that day. It felt like catching up over a cup of coffee whenever I got to sit down and read it. Nowadays, blogs have to have so much purpose, often trying to sell a product or tutorial. Those are great, but I do miss the way it used to be. 

On that note, how about some ramblings from this old blogger?

1. We have been postponing and avoiding the inevitable vehicle upgrade. When we got the Expedition after Audrey was born, it felt enormous. We couldn't imagine outgrowing it. Honestly, we haven't outgrown the vehicle size, but we are outgrowing the seat count. One of the things that made this vehicle affordable to us back then was that there were no third row seats. We didn't need them and we loved all the space in the back. It was quite convenient to leave the double stroller, beach toys, beach chairs, towels, a box going to the thrift store, and books in the back all of the time. Every time hubby thinks about buying something new, he laments over how we'll fit all of that and finally I just admitted to him that it's completely unrealistic to think that'll be possible. Nobody else does that! We just got used to it. 

Well, this week the Expedition decided not to start when the temps were well below zero. We've had no problems with this vehicle (seriously, we've never had to replace anything at all) so whatever it is, I'm not too concerned. Hubby has an idea what it is, has bought the part, and plans to give the vehicle a good cleaning once it's good to go and running again. And then we sell it. Just like that! Now I'm driving the (nicer, newer) truck while hubby drives the (older, very simple) work truck. He was a little upset that he couldn't get it running before he had to leave town for work, but we put things into perspective quickly when we realized that we are so blessed to have three vehicles so that we can do this shuffle, sell the vehicle, and take our time looking for a new one instead of buying the first thing we find. Also, a huge thing that we are so used to and take for granted, we'll be able to buy a new-to-us vehicle with cash, no loan needed. How can we grumble when we have the means to do that? So we start the week with good attitudes, knowing that God will provide what we need before we have four kids to seat instead of three. 

Well that one was long.

2. I keep asking Amelia where her baby brother is, just trying to get used to that word brother. She's been great at saying hi to the baby, giving my tummy hugs and kisses, and even initiating this little bit on her own without being asked. Mommy is the one that needs the help now. I've also been doing some online window shopping. I have a vague idea of what I want, but in all honesty the budget matters more than the style, so it's just for fun right now. I've never dressed a boy! It's so fun to look through all the options (there's more than you fellow boy moms let on) and see what I like and don't like. Already I've gotten some resistance from my hubby. He is not so much into anything hipster-like and apparently I am when it comes to baby boys. Who knew? 

I'm hoping to keep things veeeeery simple with this little guy. Think minimalist wardrobe. Naturals, earth tones, mix and match clothing, etc. With the girls, I always knew there'd be another girl to follow to wear what didn't get worn by older sisters. With this guy, I want to make sure we wear everything we have. I hate the idea of being wasteful. Or having way too much. It'll be a balancing act.

3. I'm itching to go through the clothes Amelia has outgrown. Those bins are absolutely overflowing and there are really only a handful of neutral clothes in there that I can set aside for this baby. I walk into the nursery and see those bins and just dream about how roomy that closet will be. When I see the overflowing dresser (also full of outgrown clothes) I dream about seeing it neatly divided into clothes for the toddler and clothes for the baby. I'm adulting hard over here. Who dreams about clean rooms?

The big girls' room is actually not overtaken with clothes. I know, that's shocking. Because Audrey can wear the next size below Josie, I don't have to pack it up and store it in between. The only thing that I store for them is summer clothes (one bin total) and shoes (another bin). Everything else is what Audrey has outgrown, waiting for Amelia, so it's in Amelia's room. That's also only two more bins. It's so nice to open their closets and see a reasonable amount of clothing that they can actually wear right now. 

4. Hubby busted me the other day on my lack of cooking this season. I was explaining to him how little I have to do throughout the week because of weekend leftovers, small group, etc, and he reminded me that he has been doing most of the weekend cooking. I can't help it that I'm always completely uninspired when pregnant. He comes up with all these great ideas while I sit there nodding, saying, "oh yes, that sounds good!" and then he says, "I'll just make it" since he has the idea in his head anyways. I want to enjoy cooking again, but I'm also realistic. Its most likely not going to happen until about six months after baby is born. Insert sad, frustrated face here.

5. I'm surprising myself with how little disappointment I've had with winter this year. I missed most of fall weather because of being sick all the time, so when winter came, I think I was just relieved to be able to hunker down at home without being sick. The older two girls are big enough to play outside without me so I'm able to lovingly shove them outside when they are driving me crazy. I know we have a solid three months more of winter, but I actually don't mind the cold and snow as long as the temps stay above or around 10 degrees or so. Of course, that won't happen consistently for a while now but it's a season, and right now I'm okay with being stuck inside most of the time.

Josie's been staying up a little later than her sisters these days and I've been teaching her how to play Crazy Eights to pass the time. Hubby saw this and immediately sat down to teach her Gin Rummy. It's harder so she wasn't quite as into it, but it was a blast and a peak into our future with more kids able to play our favorite games.


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: 

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.


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!")


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.