Baby #3 | First Trimester Recap

Long time no post.  Oops.

I’ve been using all my free time for snacking, napping, and growing a human.

Baby #3 (Kid #4) is due to arrive in May 2018!

pregnancy with baby #3

 

First Trimester Recap:

Feeling – Icky!  Tired!  Pretty typical.  This pregnancy has me more nauseated then the previous two, and I’ve been able to nap daily since I’m home full time.

Eating – Pretty much nothing but chocolate pudding, avocados, and spicy/tangy savory foods.  Everything else sounds disgusting, smells disgusting, etc.

Trying – Magnesium supplementation.  My midwife recommended this to help me sleep (such insomnia!) and eliminate restless legs and headaches. I think it’s been working pretty well, but lemme tell you… that Natural Calm does NOT taste good.  Yuck.

Working on – sleeping, and trying to keep up with the housework (failing, mostly.)  Not much baby prep yet, other than dreaming about expensive (*cough* Lily Jade *cough*) diaper bags and trying to mentally figure out where to stash a fourth kiddo in this house.

 

Road trips: Driving Overnight

Wisconsin to California. This is our yearly vacation plan. My in-laws live in  California and with that comes some interesting discussions in my family. We have flown, driven without stopping for the night, and taken three days with some rather small children to make this trip. This past summer was no different. Starting in January we began to make plans for our trip. My husband only gets two weeks of vacation, so getting to and from California as quickly and safely as possible is always the goal. Flying is really too expensive now with five of us, so driving is where we started planning. We realized that it would be faster to leave on a Sunday afternoon then to wait for Monday morning and so the plan was hatched to drive through the night on Sunday. We survived but we did learn some things along the way.

Stop to Sleep

Now this may not sound like the way to drive thru the night. We found as we traveled deeper into the night that it got harder and harder to stay awake, which I mean makes sense. As this happened more and more we decided to pull over for an hour or so to try to take a nap as best we could. We found a well lit parking lot and tried to get some sleep. This was the best thing we could have done. When we pulled out of the parking lot an hour and a half later, we felt rested and much more ready to tackle a few more miles on the road. If your planning a trip that has you driving through the night, give yourself a break. Allow yourself the freedom to take a catnap along the way.

Crunchy Snacks/Caffeinated Beverages

Once the sun goes down and your driving in the dark, having something for your mouth to do can help you stay awake. We had made our own trail mix and pretzel mix before we left. We enjoyed these snacks throughout the night. We also bought Monster energy drinks and had some caffeinated soda in our travel mugs from the last gas station. Plan snacks that maybe aren’t something you would get normally so it is a special treat.  It makes the trip have a little bit of fun, while having a duel purpose of helping you stay awake.

Pillows/Blankets

Not for the driver, but for the passengers. We had three young children in the back of our vehicle. we wanted them to sleep through the night as much as possible. Because of this yearly trip our kids get a child sized neck pillow on their first birthday. We also took along car sized blankets for them to cover up with. Not only do these work as comfort items and to help with keeping the kids warm. It helps to give a routine to set a sleep time. On the last stop before we wanted them actually go to sleep for awhile we actually sort of tuck them into their car seats for the night.

Be Ready for Anything

Be flexible. Realize that this may not work the way you wanted it to. During this 30 hour driving marathon we actually ended up getting a flat tire pretty much in the middle of no where. The kids ended up eating breakfast on the side of the road while my husband and I (mostly my husband) changed the tire so we could continue on our journey.

What are some ways you have made travelling with kids bearable? have you found any secrets that have made different parts of your trip more enjoyable or things you may never try again? Leave a comment below.

“Real Clothes” – Dressing The Part

(Many thanks to Jennifer Scott at The Daily Connoisseur for being so articulate about the subject of “looking presentable always.”)

If you work outside the home, dressing well comes naturally because it is socially expected.  If you’re a professional parent, wearing real clothes can get brushed aside because “no one’s going to see me.”

Except your family, y’know, the most important people in your life that you decided to dedicate your career to serving.

Just those people.

dressing the part what you wear matters sahm wardrobe

Why?

It’s a lot more motivating to get up off the couch and get something done if you’re dressed like something important is going on.  Because your tasks are important – homemaking and child-rearing are of utmost importance.  It’s surprising what a mental game our grooming can play.  This is the same reason law firms have business dress requirements, and many schools have uniforms.

I feel that there is another parallel we can draw from the business world – “Dress for the job you want.”  Now, we have chosen to be home, so this is the job we want.  But what do we want FROM our job?  To be taken seriously by our children, spouse, peers, community?  To “have it all together?” To be tidy?  These causes are all helped by DRESSING like someone who commands respect, has it together, is tidy – rather than someone who just roused themselves from slumber to put out proverbial fires.

Dressing presentably always also helps eliminate decision fatigue and the need to change throughout the day. My pajamas are presentable, so it’s okay if my teenager needs something after I’m ready for bed.  My clothes I choose in the morning are nice enough to wear to run errands, to school events, even to dinner out at the last minute.  (It actually occurred a few weeks ago where we were out for a family walk, and a friend drove by in her car and invited us to dinner in half an hour.  Threw a diaper on the youngest, and out we went – no need to “spruce up.”)  I only need to choose one outfit each day, and I don’t have to take anything into account other than the temperature.

How?

Dressing the part becomes much easier if you simplify your wardrobe.  This is where capsule wardrobes come in.  (This topic has been done lots of justice by lots of other bloggers, so I’m not rehashing the entire thing.) But pay attention to what’s in your mom capsule – PAJAMAS ARE NOT CLOTHES.  If you wouldn’t wear them to the office, why are they in your work environment at home?  My mom capsule wardrobe is lots of washable, comfortable fabrics, but consists of dresses or tunics and leggings.  Personal preference – if you’re a pants girl, more power to you!  (BUT REAL PANTS.  NOT YOGA PANTS.)

Check the blogosphere, YouTube, and Pinterest for ideas about mom capsule wardrobes.  Sit and think about what kinds of clothes you like best, and how those might become part of a “real clothes” wardrobe.  (If you love yoga pants best, think about leggings and tunics.  If you love raiding your husband’s closet, think dolman sleeves or trapeze tops and dresses.)

You may need a serious declutter of your closet for any of this to be plausible.  I suggest the Kon Mari method (as found in the book The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo) so that you can purge out all the ratty, sloppy clothes and keep only things that work for you and are lovely.

FAQs

“Don’t you get messy?”  Why yes, yes I do.  Then I wash my clothes.  If you’re talking about serious mess, I do wear aprons while cooking.  If I’m bleaching or painting, I have a coverall (like a mechanic would have) that I put on over my clothes.

“But don’t you want to be comfortable?” Of course.  I don’t buy things I find uncomfortable!  Comfort is about cut and fabric, not item of clothing.

“Why bother?  Nobody sees you all day.” My children (who learn best by example) and my spouse see me.
And let me tell you, random people show up at my door.  Once I was down with a back injury and my mother-in-law offered to come help around the house.  She (surprise!) brought a friend of hers that I had never met in my life.  Thank goodness I was wearing real clothes!  It was embarrassing enough that a woman I’d just met was scrubbing my pots and pans.
Another time my best friend dropped her children off with no notice, because of a medical emergency.  Glad I had gotten dressed that day.
And beyond folks ringing my door bell, I never have to change or think twice about running to the store, the post office, my kid’s school, etc.  Always prepared.  I don’t even usually have to change for social events in the evening.

 

The outfit shots incorporated into the image for this post are authentic.  I never stage an outfit for my OOTD pictures on Instagram, obviously, since I’m wearing slippers in many of them!  That’s what I actually wear, to all the regular events of my life.  (Sometimes I wear something fancier to church, but that’s about it!)

Why I Love Labor Day

Many people think of Labor Day as the end of summer, but for those of us who thrive on schedules and routine it marks the end of a time when routine and schedules are not as easy to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy summer vacation. But I can handle only so much of it, before I am begging for school to start again. Even as a teacher I feel this way. I can’t wait for school to start. It brings back the routine I need to find some sanity in my life. With the start of school comes Labor Day weekend, which has it’s own benefits for helping ease the transition of back to school.

The Long Weekend

This year my daughter and I had school for three days before we hit the three day weekend. It got my family back into the routine and my students at school through those first few days of organization and procedure teaching. We were rewarded with a long weekend. Although my family is usually quite busy over the weekends, we had one extra day during which we were able to do a family activity together.

Chaos of Summer Ends

No longer am I running around trying to fit in visiting with family, doing fun things with my kids, and still trying to find time to work, but I can know have a schedule that simplifies my life. Yeah, my kids go to bed ridiculously early, but they have activities planned each day whether that be school or daycare. I know what needs to happen when in order for my day and theirs to be successful.

A Break from the Schedule

Getting back into the school routine is hard, even for people who thrive off of living on a schedule. For my family and I getting those few days to make the schedule work and then having days where we don’t need to live on such tight schedule really helps everyone reset and be ready to go back to the schedule on Tuesday. It gives us a chance to reevaluate and make changes to our schedule so hopefully everything can run more efficiently.

Relaxing, Family Time

My family doesn’t always get to relax around the holidays. Our holidays are rather busy with my husband working most of them. This is one holiday where he doesn’t work and we are able to enjoy time as a family. This year is was as simple as being able to go on a picnic. Yes, it was slightly chilly, but it was something that got us away from our house and let us focus on ourselves and our kids.

Do you enjoy the Labor Day weekend? Do you have any traditions that you do on Labor Day weekend? Is the end of summer awaited eagerly at your house? Let us know in the comments below.

Waiting and Wrestling (Foster/Adopt Reflections)

This may never see the light of day, but I wanted to pour this out somewhere.

This waiting. It’s really something like I’ve never done before.

waiting & wrestling foster care adoption reflections

It’s not just waiting.  It’s that while I’m waiting I am also locked in a complicated battle, emotionally and spiritually.

The waiting gives a person lots of time to do a lot of soul-searching, and actually forces it upon you.

I lie awake late into the night wrestling.

I’m wrestling in prayer for a child I have never met.  For whomever my son or daughter is, right this moment.  For whomever is taking care of my child while I am waiting.  For whomever brought my child into the world, regardless of why they are no longer raising him/her.  For whomever that child is loving, or leaving behind, or afraid of, or living with, or hoping to find.  For the workers who are trying to make the best decisions for all of us without knowing the future.

Those might be obvious.

But the wrestling that goes on with my own self is stranger.

I want this child to walk through my door tomorrow.  But that’s not in anyone’s best interest.

I want to feel pride that I can parent “better” than my child’s birth family.  That’s horrifically unfair and inaccurate.

I want to send 2879234 emails to my adoption worker, checking on the status of our license, checking in on children, badgering her to work faster.  This is not appropriate.

I want to daydream and plan and start setting up a room and making phone calls about appointments and school, to start buying supplies and planning for a family of 5.  But this is getting ahead of myself, assuming that God’s plan is the same as my plan, and could lead to major disappointment.

I want to focus all of my late-night wrestles on a particular child that I’ve fallen in love with.  I want to think of that child as mine to love, mine to raise… I want to be that child’s mother.  But I have no reason to think that I will  be matched with that child.

I want to be more stoic, and chastise myself for allowing my heart and intuition to zone in on a child so quickly in the process, to guard myself from the probable loss of a child I didn’t have the right to miss.  But that’s going against my nature.

 

It’s difficult to realize my human weakness in all of this.  That I have absolutely no control over how my family is going to evolve.  That no matter how badly I might want something, I cannot be certain of anything.

But in actuality, this is exactly the same as every other mountain to climb in life.  Unable to see the other side, no idea if emotion is warranted, no way to predict what comes next.  No certainty of what God has planned.  No clue if my will aligns with His.

And I wonder if I’m ready.  I wonder if I jumped in too fast.  If the Lord is making me wait because I am somehow not yet fit to parent you.

But who’s ever ready?  You weren’t ready.  I’m probably not ready.  And it’s okay.  What’s going to happen is we’re going to be a little bit of a mess, but we’re going to be together.  I’m sure I will disappoint you and break some promises and do and say the wrong things.  But I love you, and it’s going to be okay.

Confessions of an Introvert Wife

confessions of an introvert wife

It’s kind of embarrassing when you watch me doing hobbies.

I know, we’ve lived together all this time, so this seems odd.  But it’s true!  I feel very self-conscious about my writing, whatever face I might make while reading, my sheet masks, my piano playing, my selfies, my thrift shopping.  I’m always assuming you’re going to think what I love is silly.  Even though I know, objectively, that’s probably not true.  I’d rather hide that I’m doing hobbies than risk seeing a facial expression that reads, “how quaint and weird.”

I really hate your work parties.

I know I’m supposed to go be graceful and charming and schmooze all of your coworkers so they love you.  It’s part of my job as your partner, and I know I bring a different set of skills to social functions than you do.  But when I’m in the car on my way to the Christmas party, the back-to-school party, the Halloween party… I really really really want to vomit.  I feel super anxious for days leading up to the dinner party we’re throwing, or the casual BBQ we put on in the summer.  I don’t like these kinds of things, and they really stress me out.

When I want alone time, I mean ALONE time.

I mean I am the only person there.  Not “you are in a different room than me” or “you’re being quiet” or “the kids are outside.”  I mean I want to be completely alone in a space.  This is why I try to beat everybody up in the morning.  Also why I tend to leave and go get coffee by myself.

I have a lot of big feelings that I push down for the good of the family.

It is wildly unproductive to sit quietly and feel feelings.  Thoughts and daydreams and processing doesn’t get the laundry/dishes/dusting done.  When something exciting or frightening or stressful or hard or sad happens, I want nothing more than to be alone and work through it… but I usually don’t get to do that until much later.  I might be very distracted or “off” while I’m waiting for my processing time.  I feel guilty about that, but I can’t change my personality!

I’m not completely convinced you understand or value the way I think.

You’re a great man, and very kind and understanding on a whole.  But I sometimes doubt if you truly comprehend my social anxiety, and how absolutely necessary it is for me to have “me time.”  If you actually believe me when I tell you my short temper could be fixed by weekly coffee shop trips.  If you really honestly think it’s possible for me to feel nauseous walking into public events.  I have played the extroverted game for years as a survival mechanism, and sometimes I think I’ve even fooled you a little in regards to just how inward I really am.

I need warnings if you want to spend quality time.

Spending time with you is one of my very favorite things in the world!  But it’s very possible that I’ve been looking forward all day to reading in bed, and I can’t help but be a little disappointed when you suggest watching a movie instead.  Maybe I had an indulgent weekend of writing or yoga planned, and you spring up Saturday morning with an itch to disc golf.  I would be FAR more enthusiastic about joining you if I didn’t have prior engagements (yes, time with myself counts as an appointment!)

My quietness does not reflect on you.

When we met, I seemed loud and vivacious and excited about everything.  That’s because I was 15.  Just because I have grown quieter over time does not mean I find you less amazing, or our life less wonderful, or that I’m talking to someone else or thinking about anything else.  It is simply a reflection of having grown into my own skin, and being more present with my self.  The fact that you’re the only person I reliably open up to means you’ll always be my #1. Don’t worry.

 

What would you like to confess, as an introverted spouse?  You can do it here!

 

 

Getting ready for the school year: Having a schedule

If you have school age children and you haven’t already gone back to school you soon will be. How do you make the transition? Do you go crazy the first day trying to get there on time? Do you live all summer on your school schedule? Here’s how my family does back to school.

AUGUST: Week 1

The first full week in August is routine time. We start by going to bed at school time. (My kids are still pretty young they went to bed pretty early all summer. You may want to take a few days to do this, slowly moving bedtime earlier.) This doesn’t mean they are getting up at school time yet but their bodies are adjusting to going to bed earlier and it may make it easier for them to get up earlier. Here are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for amount of sleep children should be getting.

AUGUST: Week 2

We start getting up at school time and following a loose morning routine. We start to enforce school wake up times. There are no time constraints yet so we iron out the wrinkles as we go and make adjustments. This isn’t so much about the time things get done by but the order in which things happen in the morning. The hope is my kids will go through the routine like it’s second nature by the time the school year actually starts.

AUGUST: Week 3

Now its crunch time. We get up at a consistent time. The kids follow the schedule. We try to be ready by the set leave time for school. This week is about making the final small changes so our mornings flow as smoothly as possible.

My daughter’s school starts at 8AM. We have about a fifteen to twenty minute drive to get there. I don’t work in the mornings so me getting to work isn’t part of this schedule equation. She also has two younger siblings that I need to load into the car before we can leave. I get up well before my kids so I can shower, read a devotion, and get some writing or work done before managed chaos descends on my house.

Sample Schedule

6:30 This is my kids wake up time. They are usually up before this.

Once my kids are up, my oldest knows to get dressed. We try to aid this process by laying her clothes out the night before. Her next step is to brush her hair so all I need to do is put it up in some way.

6:45 Breakfast

Starting about age two, we require our kids to be dressed before breakfast on school days. Her little brother is still working on this rule which makes for some interesting mornings.  Breakfast is an easy affair most days being cereal or oatmeal and some fruit.

7:00 Finishing touches

My daughter brushes her teeth. I make sure her hair is done. I make sure the younger two children are some semblance of dressed.

7:15 Load up

Getting three kids in the car in any sort of timely fashion, especially when they are all still in car seats takes some time. This can take my kids anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how cooperative they want to be that day, so I give myself some wiggle room here so my patience isn’t flying out the window as we get in the car.

As my kids get older and more of them are going to school this schedule will change and most likely become earlier. Getting my kids back into the routine before school actually starts makes that first week of school a little less stressful because they know what is happening in the morning and that it happens the same way every morning.

How do you and your family prepare for the school year? Have you found strategies that work for getting your kids to bed easily? How do your kids get up in the morning? Leave a comment below.