Sunday, December 27, 2009

now THAT'S a growth spurt!

So much for having a smaller baby! In the last two weeks my baby boy has grown...and grown...and grown. I could tell he was getting big by how uncomfortable I've been, but I couldn't believe the difference in his size until I took my 2-week photo today. Holy moly.

This is me two weeks ago...
This is me tonight...

It's only a matter of days (or hours?) before I meet my little guy and I can't wait. My doctor and I have tentatively scheduled a "water break" for this Thursday, December 31st, unless he comes sooner, so the end is in very near sight. I'm feeling very pregnant these days - like I could go at any given moment - but my body's ability to hold off full-blown labor never ceases to amaze me.

Life has been crazy lately. We sold our house last week, hosted Christmas at our house for my husbands whole family, and then to top it off, my husband is terribly sick with strep throat right now. He feels so miserable that I don't even think he's physically capable of coming to the hospital if I were go into labor tonight. Fortunately, me and the girls are healthy and I'm praying it stays that way!

I'm sure you'll be hearing from me soon - I'll post something on my blog as soon as baby BOY makes his arrival! YIKES!

Monday, December 14, 2009

any day now!

Two weeks ago, at 35 weeks:

Tonight at 37 weeks:
It's like I have nothing else to blog about these days except my growing belly. There is a lot of important and memorable things going on in our household, but it takes brain power to write a good blog post and that's something I'm lacking these days. I could make a laundry list of things I've forgotten in the past few weeks, and some of them being major and quite embarrassing. But I guess people are willing to cut me a little slack, given my pretty full plate.

Aside from pretty severe insomnia, leading to my lack of brain power, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm definitely starting to get uncomfortable and I can tell my body is preparing for labor. Lots of lovely things going on, but I'll spare the nitty-gritty details.

In case you have or haven't noticed from my belly pictures, it doesn't seem that baby has any major growth spurts in the last 4-6 weeks. He's definitely getting bigger, that I can personally attest to, but there was some cause for concern at my doctor appointment last week because baby was measuring on the smaller side. I've never measured small with my girls, in fact, if anything, I was always on the bigger side, so hearing I was measuring small was a little shocking, and as you can imagine, a little nerve-wracking. My doctor ordered an ultrasound for the same afternoon, just to put my mind at ease.

Fortunately, everything crucial checked out fine - fluids, umbilical cord, etc - but he is a little small. Last week he was measuring around 5 1/2 lbs, which put him in the 30th percentile for 36 weeks. I understand from what I've read and in talking to others that the ultrasound can be off by a pound (or more sometimes) because they can't determine the amount of fat on the baby, so he might be a bit bigger than that. Needless to say, I'm hoping baby stays INSIDE as long as he needs to because I want him chunked out for the Minnesota cold. Considering his size, we probably won't go through with the induction, and I'm totally okay with that. I want him to come at HIS own pace, because that is ultimately what is best for him. For now, I'm choosing not to worry because my doctor has assured me that everything is fine.

I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has experienced this before and what the outcome was???

Sunday, November 29, 2009

it's time again!

With another two weeks under my belt (literally), it's time for me to photograph the changes in my pregnancy. Here's me two weeks ago, 33+ weeks:
Here's a couple of me tonight, 35+ weeks:
My belly almost looks smaller, but I can guarantee it's because he's dropped in the last week or so. Even though I still feel really good, I'm getting more uncomfortable and I can feel that he's a lot lower.
I'm shocked that I have less than a month to go. We're still on track to have a scheduled "water break" (sounds refreshing, doesn't it? It's not much of a "break" if you ask me!) on the week after Christmas. I'll be over 39 weeks at that point, and if I haven't had the baby by then, my doctor wants to make sure I have a "controlled delivery" given my history of very fast labors. We might have to do it a bit sooner depending on how my body progresses, but for now, I feel really good.

For as excited as I am about having this baby, I'm not even close to being ready. We just listed our house for sale and have been looking at options to build, so suffice to say, I've been very, very busy and preoccupied with all of that. I honestly haven't purchased one baby item (not even one!) for my little guy, not even an outfit to wear home from the hospital. I'm a horrible mommy!

The truth is, I'm not even concerned about it. The more babies I have, the more I realize that most of the preparation for a new baby is done in vain. As long as the car seat is installed properly for the ride home, all the new baby really needs is me. That makes me feel special. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

two more weeks down...

Here's my last belly photo taken 2 weeks ago (31+ weeks):

Here's me today (33+ weeks):

Not near as much "noticeable" change from the side view as my last comparison (see my last post), but if you look closely you can tell he's grown more upward in the last couple of weeks than out. From the kicks in my ribs, I'm not at all surprised. He's definitely getting longer and packing on some weight!

Even though he feels big, the measurements at my appointment last week verify that he's growing right on track. To the very week, actually.

This pregnancy has been so good to me. For those of you who know me, you know that I have pretty severe circulatory/vein problems that initially began while pregnant with Britten and required me to have surgery before getting pregnant with Chloe. But they still got so out of control with Chloe that it was literally debilitating and I could hardly get around the last couple of months of my pregnancy. We chose to stop having babies after Chloe because it was so horrible, and frankly, I was scared of what another pregnancy would do to my body.

Suffice to say, God had another plan for our family and despite all of OUR effort to NOT get pregnant, he blessed us with our 4th addition. Ironically, it was while I was at my pre-op appointment preparing for another surgery that I found out I was pregnant again. I can't say that my initial reaction was happiness...It was more like fear.

Fear of having yet another baby when I just stopped nursing Chloe and we just started sleeping through the night again! Fear of the financial implications of adding yet another child to the budget. Fear of starting the baby stage all over again, when I was so ready to put that behind me and move on in our life. But mostly fear of how this might affect my body (not in a "vain" - no pun intended - way, but physical). How could I keep up with everything in my life when struggling with the pain for almost 9 months?!?!

Once the news finally sunk in a little, it didn't take me long to get excited and realize that God gave us this baby for a reason. I assumed it was a boy from the beginning, only because God knew we were already content with the three beautiful girls He gave us...didn't He?!?!? :) Though we would've have been thrilled to have another girl, Andy and I were practically speechless when we found out we were having a boy. God is good. I decided to put my fear aside, leave it all in God's hands, and know that He is ultimately in control. the whole scheme of life, it was only 9 months, and I could handle that.

With only about 5 1/2 weeks to go, I am totally amazed and honestly in awe of how good I've felt this pregnancy. I've had days where I'm in pain, and all my body aches to do it sit, but overall, I've been great, and my doctor even commented on how my veins don't look near as bad as they did while I was pregnant with Chloe.

Call it what you will - whether it's related to the hormonal difference between being pregnant with a girl vs. boy, or how the baby is positioned in the womb, or who knows what other medical mystery it might be - but I'm calling it what I think it is: a miracle!

So yeah, overall I'm very happy with how this pregnancy has gone/is going, and I haven't sweat the small stuff this time around. But that's not to say that I'm not looking forward to having this pregnancy done and over with...Because when it is finally done and over with, I'll be holding my little miracle in my arms.

Monday, November 2, 2009

what a difference 2 weeks make!

I'm posting this more for my own amusement than anything. When you're the one who's pregnant, the day-to-day and week-to-week changes aren't really noticeable. The view from above doesn't change a whole lot, and even though it feels like the baby is filling up more space, and I do feel more uncomfortable as each weeks passes, I honestly haven't felt bigger. In fact, two nights ago I was lying in bed actually worrying about the little guy, wondering if he was growing like he should be.

My concerns were put to rest this afternoon, after I decided to do an impromptu "belly photo" session in front of my bedroom mirror with my phone. I knew I had taken pictures about two weeks ago, so I decided I'd take a few today and see if I could see any noticeable growth.

Here's the one from exactly two weeks ago today (29 1/2 weeks):
Here's one from tonight...You tell me if you see a difference!
Yikes is the first word that came to mind. Seriously. If this is an example of how much he's going to grow on a bi-weekly basis for the remaining weeks of my pregnancy, I'm a little concerned that I'll give birth to a very big boy. I'm about 31 1/2 weeks right now, so that leaves him with about 7 weeks (my approximate guess, based on past pregnancies) to pack on the poundage (is that a word??).

Anyway, I'd much rather have him gaining than not, so seeing this actually made me laugh. I decided that I HAVE to take pictures at least every two weeks from this point on to document the growth. It'll be interesting, to say the least, to watch him/me grow!!!


halloween 2009

I have to admit, that as a mom of three girls, I'm very lucky that (aside from Chloe's obsession with dolls and babies), my girls aren't really into anything "girlie"...yet. I've been able to save a lot of money and storage space because my girls could literally care less about Barbies, Hannah Montana and American Girl Dolls...yet. I say "yet," because I'm sure it's bound to change one of these days/years.

It's partially because of this that my girls have never obsessed about what they wear for Halloween, and for the fourth consecutive year, have gladly donned their princess and frog costumes.

See proof below:

Halloween 2009

I didn't get many pictures of Halloween this year, and the ones I did weren't very good quality. I was "single-parenting" it for the night (hubby was out of town), and quite frankly, had my hands very full. We were (and still are) also in the midst of recovering/dealing with the flu, and that didn't really help matters. either. It just so happened that all my girls felt good on Halloween, so we were able to handle a little trick-or-treating.

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2007
Halloween 2006

Halloween 2005*
* though there aren't pictures to prove it, Ella wore the frog costume that year

The amazing thing is that the princess dresses have continued to fit them each year - the bigger size being a 4T and the smaller one an 18 months. Both Britten and Chloe will still be able to wear the princess dresses next year and maybe even the year after (that is, if they haven't caught on to my manipulative ways on trying to save money without having to buy new costumes).

The 2010 Halloween mystery remains....

What will Ella and her baby brother be???!?!?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a "wild" night out

Me and my hubby had an incredibly "wild" night last night...Don't get any crazy ideas. I'm only talking about a hockey game.
We were invited to the Wild hockey game with some friends from church who have incredible season tickets. Unfortunately for them, their boys came down with H1N1 and they couldn't go, but fortunately for these guys...

...They were able to come with us and use the extra tickets. Did I mention they were incredible seats? Talk about up close and personal. Recognize the man in the photo??
I'm not usually the type to take pictures of "famous" people, but when the governor of Minnesota happened to walk right in front of us (several times, I might add), I figured I'd put my hot pink Canon PowerShot to good use.

Fun times!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

funny ramblings by britten lou

Britten has got to be one of the funniest little individuals I personally know (not that I'm biased or anything). She's been a goofball from the beginning, and truly was the easiest, happiest baby in the world. She gave us her first real smile at 2 1/2 weeks old (no one believes us, but it's true!) and hasn't really stopped since (except when she's throwing her emotionally intense tantrums, which seems to happen too often these days).

Britten will say the cutest, most clever things all the time, and every time she does, I tell myself to write it down. But of course I never do. And sadly, as everything does these days, her clever little sayings slip my mind.

In the last few days, Britten has randomly said a few things that have made me literally laugh out loud, and I knew I had to document them somewhere lest they be lost forever.

Just today, after I took my shower, I threw my wet hair up in a clip for a quick finish. A little later on, I noticed Britten eying my hair, so I asked her what she was thinking (I'm always curious to know why the wheels are spinning).

She said: "Your hair looks like a palm tree."

As we were eating dinner last night, I noticed again that Britten was staring at me in wonderment. All of sudden she asks,

"Mommy, where did you get those beautiful eyelashes?" *

Me: "Well, from God, of course."

Her: "Can I pick at them?"

Me: "No, honey, you can't. Please eat your dinner."

* I guarantee the only reason she noticed my (normally very stubby, far from beautiful) eyelashes in the first place was because I was actually wearing mascara - a rarity these days.

Speaking of beauty, this conversation with Britten takes the cake.

The other night, Britten was going on and on about how much she loved her Daddy (And she does. She's a total Daddy's girl).

So, I asked: "Well, what about me, Britty? Do you love me?"

She looks at me, real serious-like, furrowing her eyebrows, and says, "I only love you when you look beautiful, like you do right now."

I was totally caught off guard. "What do you mean?? When don't I look beautiful to you?"

Still real serious, she responds, "In the morning, when you wake up, when you wear your glasses. I don't love you then, because I don't like the way you look."

Talk about being brutally honest. I attempted to explain the concept of unconditional love to my 4-year old, but it didn't seem to make a dent.

Monday, October 19, 2009

man vs. woman - always a different perspective

As I was peeling boiled eggs today, preparing to make egg salad sandwiches for lunch, I said to my husband:

"Boiled eggs always remind me of Jesus' resurrection."

He looks at me, confused. "Why?"

"I know it seems weird, but they do. I guess it's because they remind me of Easter, which immediately reminds me of his resurrection."

Him: "Oh. They remind me of farts." No explanation needed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

snowmen in october??!

For as much as I can't stand the idea of having snow in October, my girls feel MUCH differently about the idea!

***The girls decided that bocce balls would make good buttons. They fell off about an hour later as the snow started to melt.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

moving right along

28+ weeks

Honestly, where does the time go? It's almost been an entire month since my last post, and I feel it's only been days.

Well, here I am again in all my pregnancy glory - just over 28 weeks. I can NOT believe how much I've my baby boy has grown in the last 8 weeks. It's becoming obvious to everyone else, too, because I can't even count the comments I've gotten in the last couple of weeks about how much I've "popped." There's been several of the "you're getting HUGE!" comments flying around already, and all I can think, is "if you think this is huge, just give me a couple more months!" I do get huge, that I can attest to, but I guess it's only expected when I'm just under 5' 3" and have a very short torso.

Overall, I am feeling really good right now, though I'm just starting to experience the aches and pains that indicate I'm in my final stretch. This week at my appointment I get to take the glucose test and drink my favorite drink of all time. Given my history, I'm not at all worried about the results, as I'm sure they'll be fine.

As of now, my doctor and I have talked about the following options. If you know my history with my previous pregnancies, you know that I tend to start the "laboring process" around 35 weeks. The 9th (or is it 10th?? I never understand that!) month of my pregnancy tends to be very uncomfortable as I slowly, but continually,contract, dilate, and efface over the course of the last few weeks. Amazingly, my body and my baby still hold out until they are fully cooked (39 weeks or so) despite that they are literally almost falling out of me.

Let me give you an example from Chloe's pregnancy: At my last check-up, when I was 39 weeks, she was literally so low (and had been for weeks) that my doctor said he could tell she had hair (yikes!), and, to top it off, I was 100% effaced and 4 centimeters dilated. No wonder I was SO uncomfortable! Needless to say, he scheduled me to have my water broken two days from my appointment to avoid me having the baby at home. Chloe had a different plan, though (don't they always), and came on her own that very night (in the hospital - thank God!). Total of 2 hours of labor - that's including pushing, and it would've been 45 minutes shorter, but we had to wait for the doctor to get there so he could break my water. Waiting at 10 cm for 45 minutes to start pushing was not one of my most memorable moments!

Anyway, given my history and the fact that labors tend to be quicker in subseqent pregnancies, my doctor and I have agreed that I should have a scheduled "water break" (with hopefully no pitocin, as long as I'm progressing like previous pregnancies) the last week of December. That's assuming baby doesn't come sooner...

I personally think he might....come sooner, that is. I'm already carrying him SO low, like I can feel his hiccups vibrating my pelvic bone. That might be TMI (too much information), but I wanted to give you an idea of how low he already is. He's also head down and has been for a while (again, the hiccups give it away), and considering he has little to no space to move around (poor little guy), he might just end up staying there until he's ready to come.

He also seems big (let's hope he stays around 8lbs or less!!), filling up my ENTIRE mid-section where I'm already getting kicked in the ribs a little bit. Nothing too painful yet, just a little something to let me know he's there. :)

I love this little guy to bits and pieces and can't wait to meet him. He seems so sweet, gentle and laid back, only giving me nice little nudges and pokes. Reminds me a lot of my pregnancy with Britten, and she turned out to be the easiest baby in the world. Time will tell I guess, and whether he's colicky and high needs, or a cuddler and low maintanence, I'll love him just the same!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

desperate attempt

This afternoon, while baking chocolate chip cookies, I found my tot literally making out with my oven door to get another taste of the delciousness. She was going all out - kissing, licking, noises and all. She had already sampled a small cookie from the previous batch, but apparently one wasn't enough to satisfy the cravings. But really, who can blame her? When it comes to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, when is one ever enough??

Saturday, September 12, 2009

growth spurt

The not-so-big news around our household is that we're going to have another baby! I've known for months and have neglected to blog about it until now. So much for the "suspense" factor...

Despite not announcing it on my blog right away, we are still thrilled about the idea of welcoming another baby into our family and are even more thrilled by the fact that we're having a BOY this time around!

I've never been one to take pictures and "document" my pregnancy, because quite frankly, I didn't really like seeing proof that I was getting bigger. I know that sounds vain, and I'd tell any other pregnant woman out there to cherish their beautiful growing belly, because it is just that: beautiful. I adore the baby growing inside of me, but can't say I "adore" anything else happening to my body.

But knowing it's my last pregnancy and perhaps because I've done this three times before, I find myself less stressed out this time around about my body changes and I actually don't even care that the scale continues to creep up every time I step on it. I decided that I do want pictures of my growing bump this time around, because no matter how I feel about it now, it will be fun to look at in the future, and I'm sure my children will get a kick out of seeing how huge I get.

So, without further ado, I want to share my growing bump with you. It just so happens that I took pictures of myself almost exactly 1 month apart without even trying, so why not continue the trend in the months ahead?

8/9/09 - 20 weeks

9/11/09 - 24 weeks

Well, there's a definite growth spurt, which of course is expected, but funny how you don't notice it much while it's happening. I'm a little embarrassed by how messy my bedroom is in the 2nd picture, and how disheveled my little Chloe looks. Not to mention how exhausted I look in the 2nd picture...I am tired these days, and it is definitely impacting the amount of time and energy I exert into cleaning my house and keeping my girls (or myself) put together. I honestly don't care, and I have a feeling that it'll only get worse over the next few months.

O'well. I have an excuse...I'm pregnant!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

britten's big day

A day after saying goodbye to Ella and sending her off to her first big day of kindergarten, we said our same goodbyes to Britten - except she was heading to her very first day of preschool!

Below, Chloe (not exactly dressed for the occasion) and our neighbor boy, Edward (AKA Chloe's boyfriend) decided they needed in on the action. I think they felt left out!
Ella and Britten wait patiently as we continue to take pictures before heading off to school.
Chloe attempting to be "just like her sister!" A common occurance in our home! :)
Chloe and Britten are best buddies and Britten takes such wonderful care of her little sister. I guarantee that there will be a void in Chloe's day when Britten is gone at school.
Britten, you are such a big girl and we are so proud of you! We love you and are so glad you enjoyed your first day of preschool!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a good excuse to blog...

My baby heading to her first day of kindergarten!! (sniff-sniff)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

dread-sporting playdough snowman

Ella made the cutest playdough creation EVER this morning....

A snowman (with massively huge eyeballs) sporting some crazy-long dreadlocks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

aging DISgracefully

I got quite the chuckle out of the following conversation:

I'm at one of the classes that I attend regularly at my gym, doing the 100th set of lunges, when the lady lunging standing next to me strikes up a conversation. She's actually an acquaintance of mine because our daughters attend the same preschool, and I occasionally run into her at the gym.

She started talking to me about the different classes offered at the gym, and why she liked some but really disliked others, when all of sudden she asked me:

"Did you ever attend aerobics classes back in the '80s?"

Um..."What?" Surely I misunderstood the question.

"Did you ever attend aerobics classes in the '80s?"

I didn't know how to respond. She's such a nice lady, I didn't have the heart to say I was born in the '80s (1980, to be exact) and put her in an awkward position, so I responded in the only appropriate way I could think of:


"Oh." And with that, the conversation ended and we went on with our lunges.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

on the eighth day...

Britten, while coloring a picture today, says:  "And Jesus said, 'Let there be crayons.'  And then there were."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

please pray

Please pray for my friend, who's baby boy is in the hospital experiencing some problems with his heart. You can read their story here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

or not...

While I'm painting my girls toenails this afternoon (red with white polka dots, if you really want to know), Britten asks me: "Mommy, can I have your love?"

Me: "Oh, sweetie, of course you can! What do you mean, 'can you have my love'?"

Britten: "It means I want you to poop in your pants and throw your friends off your bed."

Oh. Never mind, then.

Monday, February 23, 2009

why to never have "serious talk" in front of your children

For whatever reason, I decided that having a discussion with my husband about having more children (or rather, not having more children) while my girls were playing in the same room was an appropriate thing to do. I brought it up in the first place because I've been contemplating surgery on my leg, but because I can't have the surgery without knowing that we're done having children, this is a decision we must be certain of. After going back and forth with my husband about the surgery, the pros and cons, etc, I made the following statement (rather hesitantly, if you must know):

"So, I am done having kids then..."

Ella, who had been oblivious to our conversation up to that point, quickly shot up and said: "No! No you can't! You just can't!"

Me, a little surprised by her response, asked: "Ella, do you even understand what we're talking about?"

Ella: "Yes, and you can't be done."

Me, still digging, because I still wasn't certain she knew what we were talking about: "What do you think that means when Mommy says that?"

Ella: "It means you're done with us kids and that you don't want to be a mommy. You're going to leave here and never come back."

You can imagine my shock to her response! She interpreted my simple statement of not wanting to have more children as "I'm done having kids! I don't want them anymore! I'm leaving!"

I instantly scooped Ella into my arms and squeezed her tightly. I told her how much I loved her and I assured her that I would never, ever leave her or the rest of the family. I LOVE being a Mommy. It's my most favorite thing in the whole wide world! I went on to explain that when Mommy says, "I'm done having kids," what I mean is that I'm done having babies and that I won't have a baby in my belly again.

Ella: "No, you can't! You can't be done! You HAVE to have another baby in your belly! You just have to!"

The moral of this story is to never try to have a serious conversation in front of your children unless you want them to gravely misinterpret what you're saying or you want them involved in the decision making process.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

bringing home the bacon

Ella and Britten are at the ages where they enjoy to make-believe and act out all sorts of their wild ideas. It's during these times that my girls actually get along with each other and somehow put their differences aside. That's a very rare occurrence at our house, so I relish in these moments.

One of their favorites is pretending they're grocery shopping. I can't say I enjoy this particular game as it involves some clean-up on my part, but if they're not hurting themselves (or each other) in the process, I'll gladly take on the extra work.

They begin their grocery excursion by using a dining room chair as a grocery cart and moving it up alongside the pantry door. They open the door and start unloading food items from the pantry, item by item, and putting them on the chair. Once the "cart" is full, they slowly and carefully push the chair down our hallway to their bedroom (or they "drive home," as they call it) where they proceed to unload their groceries into their own "pantry" (aka their bookshelf). They make a few round trips like this before calling it quits. I usually step in at this point because they start talking about "making muffins" or "mixing granola" with their new groceries, and I'm not about to clean up that mess.

Here's my happy little shoppers:
It's funny how they never "pay" for their groceries. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

san diego

I've been trying to get my bearings since coming home from San Diego on Saturday, hence the reason for not blogging about my trip yet. There's honestly not much to say, except we had a great time. The weather was a bit chilly and it rained quite a bit, so my hopes of basking in the rays were dashed, but we had fun anyway.

With my husband working for a large part of the weekend, we weren't able to venture very far away and do anything "touristy." But he did have some down time and we took advantage of that by doing things we wouldn't normally do with our children around - eating out at nice restaurants and going to a movie were a couple of the highlights of our trip.

We splurged and ate really big meals every night, trying not to feel guilty as we rolled ourselves out of the restaurants when we were done. I was preparing to dig in to my meal...Any guesses on where we were?!
We spent the majority of our time with our good friends, Jason and Amber, and we shared a lot of laughs together over the weekend. Jason and my husband work together, so Amber and I were each other's companion when the guys were busy. Amber was a massage therapist before having her son and she was kind enough to give me a foot massage on our last night in San Diego. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to my trip!
We had a fabulous time but were anxious to see our girls when we got home. All things went rather smoothly for Grandma Patty, despite a few minor bumps in the road, and I came home to a totally weaned, sleeping-through-the-night Chloe. What a great feeling that was!

*** I promised an update on the detox, so I wanted to just say that I am a true believer in the Arbonne Sea Source detox. It did wonders for my skin, it really did. I had my husband feel my cheek the other day and he described it "as soft as a lamb's bottom." I wasn't sure how to feel about that response, but decided it was a man's way of complimenting me on my skin. :)

one by one

I discovered the most hilarious thing when I opened the bathroom door this morning. Being the wonderfully independent player that Chloe is, she will shut the door to whatever room she is in and continue to entertain and play by herself for a very long time. But because she is only 15 months old, and I tend to always think worse case scenario ere on the side of extreme caution, I check in on her periodically to make sure she's not doing anything that is potentially life threatening.

When I opened the bathroom door, I was expecting to find Chloe either playing in the toilet, unrolling the toilet paper or pulling out all the hair stuff from the drawer. Instead, I found Chloe doing something much more clever and seemingly, much more fun than any one of those things:

Chloe found my box of tampons under the sink, carried them over to the stool, opened our laundry shoot door and proceeded to drop my tampons down the shoot.

I stood there in amazement as I watched my baby drop them down one by one, laughing to myself so as not to disturb her intricate little game.

There's something about this little girl that makes her almost edible and I seriously have to squeeze her every time I see her. I mean that in most loving way, so please don't report me to child protection services.

After Chloe emptied the box, I carried her downstairs so we could both see the results of her hard work. I was so proud of my little girl!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not decide to let all three of my children run wild in Target while my husband and I shopped for a new car seat for Ella. Nor did I let them climb all over the Target display cases, where they did not have the time of their lives pretending they were in a cave. Chloe, in particular, did not get such a kick out of this! I would never let my perfectly, well-behaved children act like this while shopping in Target because I care way too much about what people think of me as a parent! Oh, and I did not continually feed them marshmallows and candy hearts while shopping just to keep them happy and preoccupied. I would never do that!
I did not have the same load of laundry sitting in my washing machine all week, and I did not re-wash this load of laundry 5 times because it smelled so bad! I'm so good about staying on top of my laundry that I would never have about 10 dirty loads waiting to be washed.

I do not keep my children in their pajamas most days just to save on laundry. I dress them every morning, do their hair in cute ponies, and have them looking perfectly groomed every day!

I did not let a whole chicken cook in the crockpot this week for so long that it turned almost entirely into mush. And I did not gag at the sight and smell of this while taking it out and salvaging the pieces that were still edible.

While scrubbing my kitchen floor the other day, I did not decide to pull the rug over a spot of food that would take too much time and effort to clean up. I'm not that kind of housekeeper!

Those were a few highlights of things I most certainly did not do this week! I am a perfect mother, wife and housekeeper and I would never stoop to that level!

detox update

I haven't updated over the last couple of days because there really isn't anything "new" to report. At this point, I'll give my final update when I'm done. I am feeling really good, though, and can especially see the benefits of drinking a lot more water. If anything, this detox is getting me into the good habit of always drinking water --- something I've never been good about.

Friday, January 30, 2009

detox day #3

For those of waiting on the edge of your seats to get a "detox update," I apologize that I didn't post one yesterday. I was actually battling one of the worst tension headaches of my life, one that started the night before and didn't ease up until yesterday afternoon. From my research on doing body cleanses, tension headaches can actually be one of the side affects, but it honestly could've been from a number things: lack of sleep, lack of caffeine in diet or very likely the nasty side affect from eating a half of pan of brownies. Too much chocolate is never a good thing, I guess!

Aside from having a headache yesterday, there aren't any gruesome details to report. Sorry, people! I do feel like it's doing "the job," but it's doing it in a very natural way. Some bloating, only a little cramping, but fortunately no emergency situations! I do feel "cleaner," if that's even possible yet. I also had a few friendly pimples make their appearances, which I've read it also a normal side effect, but aside from that, my skin actually feels softer! Maybe it's all in my mind, but it does seem to be working!

If I'm being brutally honest, I have cheated on my diet during the detox, not only eating healthy foods like they recommend. I enjoyed some Dots at a movie last night, 1/2 donut at MOPS this morning and I still drink my morning coffee w/creamer (oops!). Otherwise, I've been eating well for the most part.

I wanted to address a few questions that were asked of me by an Anonymous reader on my last detox post:

What are my goals/plans for doing the detox? I'm truly doing this to rid my body of waste and toxins. In all the research I've done on body cleansing, I've read that it's beneficial to do this at least once or twice a year, not only for your body and skin, but for your health. Am I doing this to lose weight?! Sure, why not? My body tends to carry a few extra pounds of fat while nursing, so I'd be thrilled if doing the detox gave my body the jumpstart it needed to lose that extra weight. So far, I'm down 1 pound, but I tend to fluctuate 2 pounds depending on the day, so who knows? My primary goal is not to lose weight, but it is one of the benefits to doing this. My girlfriend lost 12 pounds her first time doing this, but I don't think that's a typical result.

The reader also asked about San Diego and why I'm going...My husband is going for work, so I'm going with for fun! I long for the warm weather and hope to bask in the rays the entire time I'm there!

Stay tuned for more detox results!

a pleasant surprise

One of the highlights of my life is going to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) every other Friday. Just this year, I took a leap of faith and started a MOPS ministry at my church, not knowing the incredible impact it would have on my life. God gave me an AMAZING group of women who serve on the leadership team with me, and without them, there is no way I could do this. Every person attending MOPS is incredible, but I've been extremely blessed by the women who sit at my table. Three of them are sisters, all equally beautiful inside and out. I've told them that I get such a kick out of watching them interact as it reminds me SO much of the relationship I share with my own sister. I feel like I fit right in with them!

Today, when I sat down at my table, I saw the cutest little box with my name on it (I WISH I would've taken a picture of it, it was so stinkin' adorable!). I was caught off guard, assuming they must've had the wrong Amanda, but when I looked around at the 3 sister's, they all smiled and said, "We just wanted to thank you for all you're doing for us and the MOPS program."

I opened the box to find this inside:
It's a "pea-in-the-pod" necklace. There are three peas inside the pod, each representing one my daughters.
On the back of the pod, my girl's names are engraved. I know you can't see it very well in this picture, but it clearly reads: Ella, Britten, Chloe.

I had goosebumps. It was truly the most thoughtful, beautiful gift I had ever received from a friend. Ironically, I had just mentioned to my husband that I really wanted a necklace that signified my being a mom, and I couldn't have picked out something more perfect.

I love this necklace.

Thank you SO much, Jess, Tiff & Becky! You are all such wonderful friends and I couldn't have asked for a better group of women at my table!

Oh, and in case YOU'RE interested in buying a pea in the pod necklace for yourself, a friend, or your favorite MOPS leader (j/k!), the company that makes them is called Falling Forward and here's a link to their site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

my new little venture

With nursing behind me (I officially went 24 hours without nursing, not going to Chloe in the middle of the night last night, and it went...well...ok. We made it, and that's all that matters!), I am starting a new little venture for myself. I am doing a body DETOX!

I've never done a detox or body cleanse before, particularly because you can't do them while pregnant or nursing, and since I've been doing one or the other for the last 6 years, I haven't had a choice in the matter. But I've been really wanting to do this for a long time, knowing there are definite health benefits to "detoxifying" your body.

With my San Diego trip a week away, I decided not to waste any time. I called my friend, Steph, who sells Arbonne, and ordered my Sea Source 7-day detox. It arrived today in the mail (I heart getting packages!) and I ripped into it immediately. I'm currently choking down enjoying my Day 1 Detox drink as I type this post. I'll compare the taste to a very rancid, old glass of wine.

The detox is very simple: There are 7 cute little blue bottles, each one containing a wonderful concoction that's supposedly going to cleanse my body and skin and leave me feeling like a new woman after one week. Each day, I add one bottle to 32-ounces of water, guzzle it as quick as humanly possible drink it at my leisure throughout the day, drink an extra 32-ounces of water (to equal a total of 64-ounces), eat relatively healthy foods, exercise 30 minutes on a daily basis, and try to cut out caffeine (yikes - what about my coffee?). And voila! I'm a new woman!

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous as to what this might do to my stomach. I'm not referring to the 6-pack I'll have when I'm done (yeah right!!), but to the gut-wrenching cramps and nasty stomach aches I might get because of it. I've been told that this Arbonne cleanse is very mild compared to other detoxes, but I think it really depends on the person. I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has ever done this clease before? And if so, what was your personal experience/opinion? Were you happy with the results?

I'll definitely keep you posted on my 7-day detox because I'm sure you really want to know about it. I'll spare the gruesome details if that will keep you reading my blog! :) Oh, and I'll also let you know if eating almost a half of pan of brownies before starting the detox is a bad idea...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

weaning the Chloe-bean

I've officially begun the weaning process with Chloe. At almost 15 months old, some of you might be thinking "it's about time"...while others are thinking, "why not go a few more years?" My thoughts are...well...Ugh. This is where the guilt comes crashing in.

I'm a huge breastfeeding advocate, and though I totally understand that it's not always the right or best decision for every person, I firmly believe that under normal circumstances, it is the healthiest option for both the mom and her baby. God made women this way for a purpose, and created breastfeeding as a source of nourishment, but also as a natural and beautiful way to bond with the baby. I love breastfeeding. Not because I enjoy it or the hassles that go along with it, but because I know I'm doing what I feel is best for my baby.

I've nursed all three of my girls and have had, for the most part, success with all of them. Ella and Britten were "text book" scenarios, both nursing every 2-3 hours for the first couple months of life, gradually introducing rice cereal at 5-6 months, and eventually by 9 months, when eating mostly solid foods, they naturally weaned themselves. This was a little early for me as I had hoped to nurse them until they turned 1, but apparently I had no say in the matter. They would wiggle and squirm, scream and grunt and fight me for all they were worth if I tried to nurse them. I finally gave up the fight and realized they were done. I still had to force myself not to feel guilty, knowing in reality they were going to be fine either way.

I never had to deal with the weaning process before Chloe, and quite honestly I've been dreading it. I've been secretly hoping that Chloe would just wake up one morning and think, "I'm a big girl now. I don't need anymore "nummies" (that's what she calls "them") from Mommy. I'm done, cold turkey." If that could actually happen with Britten and her Nuk,* then surely it could happen with Chloe and her addictive nursing habits...

Or not.

I knew Chloe was a Mommy's girl who had a penchant for nursing from her very first day. The nurses at the hospital attempted to take our quiet, docile, recently nursed baby girl to the nursery so I could catch some much needed sleep, only to bring her back 55 minutes later screaming at the top her lungs. Apparently, moments after entering the nursery, Chloe began to scream (I was told by the nurse holding her that Chloe had the loudest cry they had heard in a long time...wonderful). The qualified team of nurses did all they could to comfort her, swaddling her tight, giving her a pacificer, rocking her back and forth. But nothing worked. Almost an hour later, and after Chloe made all the other babies in the nursery agitated, the nurses decided there was nothing they could do and brought her back to me. I picked up my swaddled, screaming baby out of the cold, plastic bassinet, gave her a quick peck on her soft, black hair, and then did what any nursing mom would do - I "hooked" her up. Within seconds, she was quiet and sleeping peacefully. That was all she wanted and nothing else would do... she was only 1 day old. Nothing has changed since.

I knew, that whenever I decided to wean Chloe, it would be a battle of wills. I never put a time frame on it, knowing that I would only do it if it happened naturally or if I felt it was the right time to do it. Well, that time came a little sooner than expected when I made the impromto decision to go to San Diego with my husband the first week of February. My husband and I agreed that the trip would only be fun and beneficial to our relationship if we could do it without the baby in tow. We needed this trip as an opportunity to escape reality for a few days and spend some much needed quality time together.

Then came the tough decision for me. I was/am still nursing Chloe. Chloe never has/never will take a bottle, so I've never wanted to torture anyone by leaving Chloe overnight with them. She's never been much of sleeper, and even up until a few weeks ago, Chloe was consistently waking up several times a night to nurse. Because her screams (the loudest ever heard, as the nurse pointed out) would wake Britten and Ella, I'd always give in. It was, by far, the easiest option for us but I knew it would come back to bite me (no pun intended).

The decision was made: I would wean the Chloe-bean. And I had three weeks to do it.

I leave for San Diego in one week from tomorrow and so far, I've weaned Chloe from both day feedings (before nap and bedtime) and two of her night time feedings. THAT was tough and took lots of crying...from both mommy and baby. :) She still wakes up at her scheduled times (11pm and 3am) but only fusses and then falls back to sleep. It's her 5am feeding that I'm still working on, but I think that tonight (or tomorrow) I'm just going to let it be, no matter how long or hard she cries...I'll let you know how it goes. :)

It's been a tough couple of weeks, particularly because she's also getting ALL 4 incisors and ALL she wants is ME and her "nummies." Every time I try to put her in her crib, she screams, arches, throws herself around, hits and scratches me all over my face and chest and cries herself silly before she falls asleep (I have to point out that if her Daddy puts her down, she gazes at him lovingly and says in her sweetest voice, "Ni - Ni" and proceeds to quietly drift off to sleep - what's that all about?!?!?!).

It's been torture and the guilt is eating me away, but I know this is ultimately the right decision...particularly for me and my husband. We need this trip like never before and we're really looking forward to it. And if I can be brutally honest (don't tell Chloe), I'm really, really looking forward to being done with nursing and claiming the rights back to her "nummies." :)

*We fought and fought and fought Britten with her Nuk for an entire year, from age 2 to 3 (no judging please!). All of a sudden, after her 3rd birthday, Britten walks up to me, hands me her Nuk and says, "Mommy, I'm 3 and I'm a big girl now. I don't need my Nukky anymore." And that was it. She never asked for it again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

mother's everywhere will love this

I'm running errands one morning with the baby in tow and all of a sudden my phone dings, indicating that I have a new text. The message is from my husband and it reads:

"Check your email. You're going to love this!"

Having the ability to check my email on my phone, I quickly opened up my account and saw a new message from him. Upon checking the message, this picture appeared:
No, you're not imagining it. This picture is what it appears to be, and believe me, I was as stunned as you when I first saw it.

My husband is a brilliantly, creative man and he loves coming up with new, fun things for the girls to do. When being gone for a short time, I'm always prepared to walk in the door to either find the house torn apart our living room turned into a a massive fort, the girls bedroom turned into a giant jungle gym, or some amazing craft project sitting on the dining room table that the girls and their dad had designed by using pipe cleaners, construction paper and googly eyes. For as much as I tend to stress about having a messy house, I absolutely LOVE that my husband wants to spend quality, fun time with his daughter, and I really try not to freak out when I walk in the door try to encourage this interaction.

But, with that said, when I got his email that morning with this picture in my inbox...
...I think my heart skipped a beat.

In case you're interested in knowing how to do this at home for your own children, the checklist goes a little something like this:

How to Make an Indoor Slide

1) You need two twin mattresses, both dragged across the house from your child's room, and then placed side-by-side down the stairwell. Amazingly, they fit perfectly - length and width-wise.
2) 2 pillows that you literally NAIL to the doorframe at the bottom of steps, to know...any head injuries.
3) 5-6 comforters, taken from every bed in the home, to pile at the bottom of the steps for a soft landing.
4) And last but not least, and this one is a MUST, the plastic lid from their toybox, used of course, as a means of transportation down the slide. PLEASE NOTE: It is helpful for a parent to assist the child with getting the "sled" back up the slide. This could prevent the "sled" from coming loose from the child's grip and hitting them very hard in the mouth, causing their teeth to almost get knocked out.

Enjoy and good luck!