Monday, January 29, 2018

A letter to my 4 year old.

(Grace turned 4 last Thursday... and I failed to get this post published with all the celebrations the last week have entailed.  She's 4 with all the sass to boot!)

My sweet Grace Elaine,

As I write you this letter you are still 3.  But in so many way you have already transformed into a 4 year old and mommy could not be more proud of you and the little lady you are becoming.

This year brought many changes in your life and you handled them all just like you always have... easily.  Maybe a meltdown or two (or five hundred), but you made it to the the other side and always know when a hug or an "I love you" is extra needed.  We moved into our forever home this year, marking your 4th move since birth.  You tackled your fear of water head on this summer with swim lessons and many hours spent hanging out in the lake with family.  You developed a passion for gymnastics and love your coach Miss. Gina.  Plus you started preschool in September.  Something you literally jump out of bed for.  You've made new friends at preschool (Esmeara and Nora) and learned so much in just 5 short months.

Your speech has started developing a bit more, which we may be able to contribute to Ms. Lisa and your once a week speech meetings.  You are smart as a whip and love to help mommy and daddy with everything from decorating the Christmas tree to helping with Brooke or Diesel.  You potty trained this year, finally!  Waiting until the month of July with a September 1st preschool start date and deadline.  You are independent as can be but hold my hand when walking in the parking lot and still ask for help putting the toothpaste on the brush.

We call you our emotional one.  You feel everything so deeply.  Sometimes it can be exhausting when everything leads to tears or frustration but we wouldn't trade the compassion you have developed and how you care so deeply for everything and everyone you love.

It has been such an honor being your mom.  You have made things so very easy, probably too easy looking back.  Your beautiful big blue eyes just get me in every way.  You have us all wrapped around your finger even when your dramatics start to show.  It has been so fun watching you grow into your personality and really develop into your own little person.  I'm forever proud to be your mom.

I hope that your 4th year of life is even better than anything you could hope for.  When you hold your 4 little fingers up and exclaim that you are going to be 4 you remind mommy of just how fast this adventure has gone.  You made me a mom and everyday you teach me something about yourself.  I can't wait to see what the next year is like for you.

But for now I am going to snuggle your sweet sleeping 3 year old self (and Doggy, of course!) and try not to let my crazy pregnant emotions get the best of me.

Happy birthday baby girl!
Mommy loves you so very much.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

On being a new mom in the military world.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way.  All opinions are entirely my own.

Photo credit : Whit Meza Photography

So you just found out you are expecting a baby, but you don't know what to expect.  After all, you married someone in the military and your life is largely unknown.  You are probably away from most of your family and friends and there is always the possibility of welcoming this baby by yourself in a military hospital somewhere.  It's daunting, and scary... but I promise you... you can do it.

I've been there.  Twice.  And somehow I made it out the other side with two healthy beautiful girls that make all the anxiety absolutely worth it.

Photo credit : Whit Meza Photography

How did I do it?

--- Relax.  Your life is not able to be planned.  Who knows where you will be in 9 months.  I get it... that can be stressful.  But if you can calm the anxieties and roll with the punches, take it one step at a time, you will get through those long weeks of pregnancy a whole lot easier.

--- Ask questions.  You are not the first, nor are you the last woman to give birth to a baby in the military.  Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on Fort Campbell, where I gave birth to Brooke, delivers over 101 babies every. single. month.  That's a lot of babies.  Find the wives pages, or the new mom pages and ask the questions you have.  Someone will be able to guide you through the unknowns.

--- Utilize your resources.  Through 1 Natural Way and Tricare, you can receive top of the line insurance breast pumps such as Medela, Spectra and Kiinde, along with accessories, compression socks and postpartum supplies at NO cost to you.  1 Natural Way does all the work for you, by contacting Tricare and your doctor to get all your needs taken care of.  Just another thing to check off of your pregnancy to do list.

--- Find your person.  Your spouse will eventually go back to work and you will have to settle into a new routine of some kind.  Working moms and stay at home moms all need that one person they can reach out to that can offer them a different perspective and the answers to their questions.  For me, I am very grateful that my mom is always just a text away.  I could never not give her the credit for answering so many of my new-mom questions.

Photo credit : Whit Meza Photography

--- Be thankful.  Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in how long it may take to schedule an appointment or how long a wait may be in a waiting room.  It may not be the best or quickest care, but it is free and most of the providers do genuinely care about you and your experience.  I'll never forget my OBGYN I saw on Fort Gordon with Grace.  Dr. Homeyer was old and partially deaf, I believe, but he calmed so many of my fears with my blood clotting gene early on in my pregnancy and walked me through every step of my first pregnancy patiently answering countless new mom questions.

--- Shop used.  Baby gear is expensive.  There is no doubt about it.  But it is also used for very short periods of time.  So if you see a rock'n'play on the local for sale page that looks almost brand new at a fraction of the cost.  BUY IT.  Baby stuff is rarely broken in because they move on to the next stage in their growing process so quickly.  Save money where you can.

--- Enjoy it.  It may be the most stressful time of your life with no family right down the road, but I promise you it will go quickly.  So enjoy every last moment.  All the late night cuddle sessions and the small but mighty achievements.  Before you know it your first born will be turning 4 and your family may be growing.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

26 Weeks//28 Weeks//Baby #3

Admittedly we are a bit all over the place with bump updates for this baby.  But at least there is SOMETHING being recorded for her.  I just opened Brooke's baby book to update it... and it hasn't been updated since she was 4 months old.  She turns 2 in March.... oops.  So the fact that there is anything out here for this sweet girl, is a major accomplishment in my book.  Sorry sweet cheeks!

What Fruit are you // scallion // large eggplant
Due date // April 12th
How far along // 26 weeks // 28 weeks
Next appointment // Jan 18th.. 28 weeks. // today!
Gender // it's a girl!
Total weight gain/loss // wellll according to the home scale Rob accidentally broke a few days ago, I was actually dropping just a bit of weight.  With that being said I am hovering somewhere around 20 pounds gained, already.  Oye.  Side note, my doctors office has their scales set to kg.  Which is awesome because it keeps me from stressing over it. // dunno... didn't ask them to convert it to lb. ;)
Swelling // none recently.
Maternity clothes // if it isn't sweatpants, its maternity clothing. // only when I leave the house though.
Belly button // in
Sleep // acceptable... I can't complain too much except I would love more of it... all the time. // eh.  I have a bedhog husband and an almost 4 year old that still insists on squeezing herself into our bed... so it could certainly be better.
Food cravings // food in general. Nothing in particular. // Caesar salads and broccoli cheddar soup, along with chocolate.
Symptoms // pizza is officially spiking my sugar numbers again... which means I am for sure back in the gestational diabetes timeframe of this pregnancy.  Otherwise I feel large... so it's fun watching me stand up and move in general. // poor circulation... I almost always wake up with numb hands.  It probably has to do with the aforementioned sleep situation... but it's always loads of fun.
Movement // stronger everyday.  I notice her a lot when I lay on my right side and when I am able to sit still. // all the time.. she's head down and her feet are starting to get to the point where she kicks me, and if it hits just right... it hurts.
Labor signs // none.
What I miss // my energy and not having whacko emotions. // not going to lie... I kind of miss my body being my own.  Everyone has their New Years resolutions and I'm over here like... gonna get bigger, nothing I can do..
What I'm loving // being able to feel her move. // THE THIRD TRIMESTER!
What I'm looking forward to // seeing her at my next doctors appointment for a growth scan. // starting the work on her bedroom.  Hunting season ends next month and I have been assured the task of converting that bedroom from a little boys sports room, wallpaper and all, to a little girls room will begin.
Best moment this week // eh... it's been a so-so week with me being sick, Grace being sick, Brooke being sick and now Rob is finally sick.  We can't seem to kick it... but probably the high 50 degree weather we had for a few days before it went down the crapper again. // seeing the baby at a growth scan.  38th percentile and she's already a little over 2 pounds!

To read about Grace at 26 weeks, click here. At 28 weeks, click here.
To read about Brooklyn at 28 weeks, click here. 26 weeks was a miss with Brooke.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

The year 2018.


We are a couple of weeks into this year and so far our family has been blessed with the virus that will not go away.  I had it first, gave it to Grace, who gave it to Brooke, who gave it to Rob... who is still battling it.  Cough, congestion, runny nose, just overall feeling run down.  It is for the birds and I hope that by this weekend we can officially kick it to the curb.

But that is not my only goal for 2018.

I also want to tackle the junk drawer in our kitchen, finally get the sports wallpaper down in baby number 3's bedroom and be caught up on laundry for more than an hour.

I want to celebrate 10 years post high school graduation with all my girlfriends at our reunion, let Shania Twain take me back to the summers of my childhood at her concert and celebrate 8 years of marriage to my person, my other half.

I hope to nail the princess birthday party for my 4 year old, not cry when my little bug turns 2 and cherish the newborn snuggles come April.

I plan to cut out cursing, yell less and encourage the random dance parties and sing alongs.

I can't wait to welcome 28, celebrate friends getting married and marvel at the sweet babies being brought into our world.

I will soak up the chances to rock my children to sleep, read them more books and push their little personalities to the surface even more.

I will practice patience, not take for granted the time spent with family and friends and be the best me that I can be for myself, my husband and my kids.

2018 may have started out a bit underwhelming... but it's another year.  A blank slate.  An opportunity to make it what I want it to be.  And for that I am thankful.

What are your 2018 goals?

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

25 Weeks//Baby #3

26 weeks.

What Fruit are you // rutabaga
Due date // April 12th
How far along // 25 weeks
Next appointment // 28 weeks--mid January
Gender // it's a girl!
Total weight gain/loss // too much.  The holidays are SO tempting.
Swelling // had some minor ankle, foot swelling start when I am on my feet for awhile.  Bought a new pair of moccasins from Tarjay to offset my flats no longer fitting.  Pregnancy is fun.
Maternity clothes // all the way.  Jeans, leggings, shirts... maternity or it isn't quite long enough.
Belly button // in
Sleep // can't complain.  Wish I could breathe a bit easier... but I caught something over the holidays and I can't move air through my nose, which makes me a loud sleeper that my husband is absolutely LOVING.
Food cravings // cesar salads and chocolate.
Symptoms // non pregnancy related but the aforementioned cold is kicking my butt.  Other than that I  am starting to see a shift in my gestational diabetes numbers.  Certain foods are elevating my sugars just enough more that I am watching what I eat throughout the day.
Movement // all. the. time.  I'm worried she may never sleep once she makes her grand appearance.  She's getting stronger this week and it is definitely noticeable.
Labor signs // none.
What I miss // not feeling so large and in charge.  This time around I gained weight faster and started showing faster and I just feel huge... it hasn't been a fun feeling.
What I'm loving // when my sweet girls talk about the baby in mama's belly and how they can't wait to meet her.  Brooke is obsessed with everything baby and Grace is much more aware this time around that there is another baby coming.
What I'm looking forward to // Grace's 4th birthday at the end of this month!
Best moment this week // Christmas.  It was so special.  We caught ourselves more than a few time pointing out that next year we will have a baby in the chaos with us.  Such a sweet feeling to know our little family will be complete.

To read about Grace at 24 weeks, click here.
To read about Brooke at 24 weeks, click here.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ho ho ho


Christmas is over and we just welcomed 2018.  Let's let that settle for a moment.  It really does appear life and time fly so much faster when you have kids.

We had three Christmas celebrations this year making for a BUSY weekend and a tired mama.

#1 was in Missouri with my in-laws.  It was a quick trip down.  We were supposed to stay for 2 nights but after some unexpected snow (or maybe it was expected and I just failed at checking the weather?) popped up back home... we stayed for one night and left late the second night.  It surprise snowed (are you sensing a trend?) an inch or two on us that first night.  Which made celebrating Christmas extra special with snow on the ground.  After brunch, the girls were set loose on their presents.  They all completely spoiled our girls but nailed it on every single gift.  Barbies, horses, baby dolls, 4 foot tall princesses and more. The afternoon was spent playing with cousins and we wrapped up with dinner at Lambert's (when in Springfield, MO you HAVE to make a stop, right?) with all 6 of Rob's siblings and the rest of the grandkids.  It has been two years since all 7 siblings and grandkids were together at the same time.  And we completely forgot to document it.  While it was a short, quick visit... it was a lot of fun for all of us!

#2 was the next night at my parents house.  After arriving home SUPER early Christmas Eve morning, we woke up to (expected, and why we had to cut our trip short) snow a few hours later.  We headed to my parents that afternoon and my dad and sister were roped into helping Grace build a gingerbread house.  They are gluttons for punishment.  After an amazing dinner cooked by mama, we opened presents.  And by we I clearly mean Grace and Brooke opened everyone's presents.  Christmas with kids y'all.  After everything was opened and oohed and aahhed over, we cleaned up the paper and baked some cookies for the man in red.  He's a very deserving human being.

#3 was at our house Christmas morning.  Our morning started early at a 9 am Christmas Day mass with my parents and sister.  The kids were finally set loose on the rest of their Christmas presents when we arrived home.  The big hit of the day was the dollhouse Rob spent 2 hours putting together for his girls.  Santa delivered the pool our oldest requested (we still have no idea where this request came from...) and our house was easily destroyed in a total of 15 minutes.  Rob's uncle drove out for a Christmas lunch cooked by my husband.  After eating we watched a "Christmas movie".. that was more like a serious drama movie that was set during Christmas.  Our company cleared out after the movie and football was turned on for an evening of relaxing while the kids enjoyed all that the holidays bring with it.

Now we are just LOVING the single digit temps (not!) and all of the new toys I somehow fit into the already full playroom.  Diesel came home this weekend from his 4 month gun dog training (for hunting with my husband!) and it has definitely felt like the cherry on top of the holiday weekend.

From my family to yours... happy new year!  May 2018 be a blessing to you and yours.

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