Friday, July 29, 2011

What To Expect When You're Expecting...#5 - Weeks 7-12

You will most likely begin to start craving things.  But they will most likely be things that are terribly good for you, ie. chocolate frosting, chips and dip (any dip, dip is good, dip is very good), and big juicy steaks and burgers, cookies and crackers, and most any other food that lands in the snack category.  I need not even mention the temptation you will have living near a Sonic.

Moving on...

You may begin to notice that your clothes are getting a little snug.  It may be a little disheartening that it is in the butt and thigh area instead of where the baby actually is!  It's okay, keep telling yourself that this is normal and it'll be okay.  Besides, you've always got the Belly Band:)

A 10-week belly + Bathing suit + the beach = questioning looks wondering if you're actually pregnant or just letting yourself go, ha!

You may begin experiencing some misgivings doubt and fear, realizing that you are about to be the mother of five, Five, FIVE small children.  No matter how you say it, it's still gonna be scary.  Just begin to get used to that fact;)

Smells.  Oh the smells.  They will leave you running and gagging and leave the kids running to get their daddy for back-up.

The act of holding your tongue may become non-existent at this time.  Keep trying to fight the urge to spout off the first thoughts that come to your mind, so be prepared to have an apology ready at all times.


This month:

I changed practices.  I LOVE my new practice and how personable they are!

We told the families!

I grew out of my first pair of jeans:(

We finally told the world!

I have completely given over the task of doing dishes.  I can handle unloading the dishwasher, of course, and loading straight in, but if the dishes have been sitting for any length of time the afore mentioned running and gagging begins to occur.  Josh gladly took over dish duty, as I'm sure that gagging sounds are not all that pleasant for those within earshot.

I began really not feeling well around 11 weeks.  In fact, I hadn't thrown up until almost 12 weeks.  How's that for timing.  You think you are all in the clear and then, bam!  But, it helps when hardly anyone knows about it so there's not much complaining going on (except to poor Josh, sorry baby:).
12-week belly

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life Without My Husband

Since Josh and I have 3 little rug rats now ( we won't talk about having 5 soon...eesh), and because I have become quite the homebody, I have been traveling less with Josh.  It is nice to have the freedom to do this and not feel the pressure of having to leave all the time.  But that means that Josh has to leave us at home a lot.

So inevitably I get asked a lot, "How do you do it?"

Here are a few things that help get us through the time without daddy.

The first thing I do is try to put it in perspective.

My sister's husband is in the Army and she has spent several months/years of her life without the help of a husband.  I respect her so much for all she was able to accomplish while living life alone with her boys.

Then I think about the women who live life as single moms.  I have no idea how they do it!  I personally know several single moms who don't just get by, but thrive as mothers as they find what works for them and their kids.

So, when I get to the end of Josh's two week mission trip and I can't seem to pull myself together I think about how so many others do it all day, every day, for an indefinite amount of time...and then I give my sister a call because she is always so encouraging, even though 2 weeks is nothing compared to what she had to do:)

But, knowing myself and my kids, when it is for just one night without daddy, an extended weekend or a mission trip overseas, I know that we all do better with a plan.

So, here are a few tips to keep you going so you can make the best of this time with your kids, because I have come to realize that these times alone with them are some of the most special times I have.

1 - It's amazing how God gives you exactly what you need when you need it.  This past weekend I was playing at Journey while Josh lead worship in Missouri.  I wasn't sure how late we'd be to rehearsal Sunday morning, with the morning sickness and coming down with a cold, and three kids.  But quite honestly, since I knew it was all on me I was more proactive to get everything set out the night before, I made sure I woke the kids up in enough time to get them all ready AND made a Starbucks run, while making it to church 5 minutes EARLY, what?!  God gives you what you need, if you rely on Him to do it through you.

2 - Themed dinners - You may remember a couple of years ago when we lived in Charlotte.  Each night of the week we had a themed dinner.  We made a whole day out of the theme with library books and activities.  It gave the kids something fun to look forward to, and something fun for me to work toward.

3 - House Projects - I like to rearrange.  Josh doesn't appreciate me moving heavy furniture or flipping the mattress without him, but I like to think of small projects around the house that will keep us occupied.  It might be organizing a messy closet, or rearranging...something...anything:)

4 - Be Proactive - I try to calculate what I'll need while Josh is gone so I get groceries and run my errands before he leaves town.  That way I won't have that task hanging over my head with all three kids, but can be used for an extra outing if we get antsy in the house.

5 - Backup - When we were a one-car family I needed to make sure someone could come to my rescue if I need it.

6 - To-Do List - I try to keep my to-do list to a minimum.  If I happen to have a ton of tasks waiting for me I get antsy, grumpy with if the kids interrupt, and always feel preoccupied, giving me no desire for that special time alone with the kids.

7 - Sleeping - I try to remember to close the blinds and curtains right before dark so I don't have to look out at the pitch black night, which only gets my imagination whirling.

8 - Music - Our house makes lots of crazy noises.  LOTS of crazy noises. So I try not to keep it quiet, especially at night time.

9 - Play Dates - This is a great time to get in lots of play time with friends.  Make it a point to get out of the house, if you have an extra car, to go see some friends.  It's nice for the mom's to be able to chat too:)

10 - I just couldn't end on 9, ha!  Oh wait, happy hearts...that's a pretty big deal...that can make or break your time.

So, there you have it.

What are some things that keep you going when you know no backup is coming?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What To Expect When You're Expecting...#5 - Weeks 1-6

You don't even have to take a pregnancy test because you know that "empty feeling" in your stomach.  You know that feeling.  Even after you just ate a full meal.

You may begin to fall asleep every time you sit down to read, sit down to fold clothes, sit down to eat, sit down...alright, you get the picture.

You will most likely use any excuse to mandate another room time or rest time for your other kids, just to sneak in another little power nap.

Normal tasty treats, such as Pineapple Casserole, make you feel as though you just ate 100 year old Egg Nog (do you remember that from Fear Factor, ha!) and you may need to formulate a path to the toilet IMMEDIATELY!

You are hungry, but can't eat.  You aren't hungry, but have to eat.

Swallowing things, such as a prenatal vitamins, or brushing your teeth, may become difficult and maybe even non-existent for a time.  It's okay, children's gummie vitamin's will do until you can swallow your vitamin and gum works great for those weeks that you can't force yourself to brush your teeth without gagging;)

People's reactions will be across the board, especially if you are adopting.  Don't get discouraged.  All 738 people who found out on my blog yesterday just will not understand, and that's okay, but God will not give you more than you can handle!


Yes, I was, in fact, pregnant.

Was it a surprise?  Yes!

Was it planned?  No!

Were you preventing? Yes!

Were you charting? Yes!

We had decided that my body needed a break after one of the scariest weeks of my life back in December, but apparently the Lord had other plans!  BIGger plans...

I can't help but think that it had something to do with my surrender a month prior to this news.

I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I may never get pregnant again and was truly fine with that.  Yes, content, and was trying to look at it from a positive angle.  I could finally let my body stay the same size!  My "normal figure" would be my figure.  No more in-between stages.  Now that's pretty positive! Another pretty positive thing was less stuff.  No more baby stuff in the attic or in the house.  No more waking up in the middle of the night for feedings as well as all the other things that go along with the infant stage.  Totally content...

Then there is the baby stuff.  I had just given all our baby stuff away the month before!

Our minds were whirling!  We didn't have our baby stuff anymore and we were in the middle of adopting.  We were preventing, so how in the world did this happen?!

OK, so we KNOW how it happened, but you know what I mean;)

So, we made a call to my OBGYN, because we were instructed that I needed to call them right away if I were to ever get a positive pregnancy test after my surgery.  I spent the next several weeks in doctors visits, getting blood work done and early sonograms, to make sure that everything was good and healthy.

I don't think I've gained any weight by the time I reached 6 weeks.  Maybe a pound or 2?

I took myself off of my anxiety medicine immediately.  That's been a fun experience...for NOBODY!

I've been pretty lightheaded, mostly because my blood pressure has been consistently low since I got pregnant.  That and the fact that I've been off my meds and fuzziness, lightheaded(ness) and numb body parts are a side effect of going off cold turkey.

We decided that we wanted to keep it a secret for as long as we could.  First of all, we wanted to make sure that everyone was healthy and okay.  Second, we thought it would be fun to announce the sex at the same time we told people we were pregnant.  But, as you can tell from this picture, by the third meal of the day, especially if it's a good one, there isn't much hiding it, ha!  We'll see how long we can keep it a secret.  It's a little harder when you have family that lives near you and sees you often.

6 Weeks Preggers

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

Just mentioning the name "Chuck-E-Cheese" makes my anxiety level go up.

But, it is all Zeke asked for for his Birthday.

We figured we'd do a joint celebration for the boys since Cai's birthday is in 2 weeks!  We didn't really get to celebrate Zeke as a 5-year-old as a family, and you know how I am with planning parties.  Cai will never know the difference, ha!

Plus the fact that we kept getting FREE tokens and great deal coupons in the mail for their birthdays:)

We very quickly learned that Cai really, Really, REALLY is effected by all the bright lights, screaming children, noises, music and scary monsters 15 times his size.

We also learned very quickly that he really, Really, REALLY likes Root Beer.  Our kids never get soda, but I figured it was a special day, were they ever surprised.  You should have seen the look on Cai's face every time he took a sip of the bubbly stuff:)

About half-way through our Chuck-E-Cheese adventure Zeke came up to me and asked if he could take Cai to go play some games.  He took Cai's hand and led him around to find something Cai wanted to do.  They ended up in the toddler area on the slide together.  Nothing melts this momma's heart more that seeing my sweet kids helping so sweet together...

I came home to a totally fried garden last weekend.  With no water and temperatures in the 100's I guess it was bound to happen.  My flowers on the front porch are crispy and brown too.  *sigh*  I am still getting tons of tomatoes but everything else is just plain dead.  Oh well.

I have been so torn lately.  To continue to try to find new ways (which I'm not even sure exist) or just to pray and wait in great expectation of what God is going to do.  We still have quite a ways to go with our fundraising for the adoption.  I just want that whole part of it to be over with, ya know.  I've totally run out of creative juices as well as resources to raise this money.  I know the Lord will provide...I just wonder how it will happen.  And just as I had about given up on the grants we'd applied for, we received word that we got one yesterday!!!!!  It was the best mail day ever!  I may or may not have immediately began bawling, reassuring my kids that they were happy tears and we had reason to celebrate God's provision!!!  It was such a significant chunk that we are down to only having to raise around $5000.  That's it!  But then I think about the time we are gone...6 weeks without any paid gigs and still needing to pay these bills at home...we are going to try to go above and beyond.  It will all work out, I know it will...

Speaking of raising funds.  I know it is totally out of my control. and organizing is not, ha!  In order to keep my sanity I've been nesting like crazy.  I mean, it's not like we can go outside this week or anything, geesh!

This weekend Josh has a gig in Missouri so that means I'm flying solo.  I don't mind it, but it will be a little weird being on stage without my baby on Sunday:)  I love being able to worship with him!

I'm sure you are sad that this rambling post is coming to an end.  Don't fear though, I have something very exciting to share with you next week;)

Happy Friday ya'll!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Notes Of Encouragement

 "Dear Mom I
love you  I am
so so sorry
that Zeke and Cai fall apart"

This sweet little note of encouragement from Areyna pretty much sums up the majority of the past 2 weeks of my life as a parent.

Zeke freaks out about something very small.  His screaming, kicking, stomping and thrashing has been beyond embarrassing as I drag him away from the pool at the beach or out of the cafeteria (AKA Marlins...mmmm) or all the way home from church.

Zeke's antics are so contagious that Cai has begun to join in on the fun.

So then I have 1 boy acting out in total defiance and another one learning the ropes to total defiance.

I know it's a stage, but man am I ready for it to be over!

I am catching up on a few parenting reads to help get me through.  But not just to get me through, to help me reach their little hearts.

So, if I've seemed a bit distant over the past week or so it's because I have been.  I'm exhausted and tired.  But don't be alarmed, today has been a much better far!  We've been implementing the Marble game today:)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If My Calculations Are Correct...

...well, you can't really have any calculations in the adoption process.  As a matter of fact, you can't really have expectations at all.  All you can do is go with the flow and wait for the next step.

As of July 15th, the Ugandan courts have taken their summer break.  They will reconvene on August 15.

It's kind of nice to have this month.  We aren't in anticipation for anything.  We know we've done our part.  We are just coasting (and trying to get creative on how to raise the rest of our funds).

As many of you know we found out, last Monday, that our case had been submitted to court.  And, surprisingly we have already been assigned to a judge!  We are thrilled to hear this news.

The only step left is to hear word that we can travel.  That's the only thing that stands in our way, from being on our way:)

If my calculations are correct we have right around $10,000 left to raise.  Adoption is so expensive, but to be honest, half the cost is traveling and living expenses overseas.  The money really adds up once you add in all of those costs.  So, basically, all we have left to raise is the money for airline tickets for our family.  If you put it that way, it doesn't seem so bad.

So, we press is coming quickly!  I'd love to have a new little one to take trick-or-treating this year, because that is one thing I know about her, she loves her some "sweeties"!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Cai was determined to help the band pack up last night.  (It was an AWESOME concert, by the way)  He pushed this box all the way to the trailer with very minimal help from me:)  The guys captured the moment, and I thought it was just too cute not to share!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

We just made it back home from a wonderful week at camp.  It was such a neat experience.  Usually the anticipation is built up until the last night where all the kids come out of the wood works and profess all the changes that God has done in their life all week.  This week was a little different.  The first night they absolutely came unglued.  We had 7 professions of faith that first night and the momentum didn't die a bit as the week progressed.  It was amazing!  I'm glad I brought my camera and NEVER EVEN TOOK IT OUT OF MY BAG ALL WEEK!  That's awesome.

Speaking of just getting home, we did just.get.home.  I left pancakes for dinner up to dad as I sit here moving only what is necessary to type this nice little post:)  We are exhausted, to say the least.

But, we get a whole week home before we head back to the beach for another week-long camp.  It'll be great.

Here's a random fact for you on this Friday evening: 90% of all dusk particles in your house are made up of dead skin particles...ewww.

We have a fun weekend in store, and if you are in the Raleigh area this weekend you can come join in on the fun!  Our buddy, Andy Cherry will be helping us lead worship this Sunday morning and then Josh and I (and our awesome band) are opening up for a concert with him Sunday night as part of his "Offering Love" tour.  Come join us at Journey this weekend!

Alright, the scent that is following my children around the house is unacceptable and the bathtub is calling.  Time for me to own up to my motherly duty and bathe them.

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Living By The Rules

This past weekend, our children's pastor, Aaron Bauer, gave an excellent message.  The whole thing was good, and you can listen to it here, but there was one thing that has stuck out and really penetrated my heart.

Our current series is "Once Upon A Time".  The series is going through many of the popular parables of the Bible and practically explaining them and relating them to our own lives.

This past week Aaron spoke about 3 parables, but the one that hit home was the story of the Prodigal Son.  We've all heard the story a million times.  In fact, I used to hate the story because we had to listen to James Dobson's (I think) video series in youth group as a teenager all.the.time.

But anyway...:)

This time Aaron addressed both of the brother's in the story.  We all know about the son that took his inheritance and squandered it until it was totally gone and he was left eating with the pigs...literally.

But what about the other brother?  He is a very important part of the story as well.  I've been the brother that ran away, making the foolish choices, and then came running back to my Father.  But, sometimes, embarrassingly enough, I've found myself being the other brother.

See, this other brother lived life by the rules.  He always obeyed, he was a hard worker and he did what he was supposed to do.  But when his wayward brother came home repenting, and received a party, this other brother was upset.  No...he was downright angry!

I would have been too, to be quite honest.  But there it is in it's ugliest form...the issue of the heart!

That is the sad thing.  I find myself as that other brother sometimes.  I live life by the rules now.  I do things that I'm supposed to do.  If I'm supposed to do something I'll do it without making a fuss.  I won't ask a ton of questions, I just do it.  So, when someone else, who does things differently, comes along, I have a hard time when they get the party.  Or when they get "additional blessings".  Or if they get all the attention.

I'm just being honest.  It's really hard for me.  It's my selfish side.  It's my prideful side.

Here's the eye opening thing for me as a parent - as I constantly have to explain to my kids that "it isn't all about you, you know" I am talking more and more to myself.

The Lord has really been working on perspective with me.  He's been helping me see that blessings for other people are for them and opening my eyes to the blessings that He has given me.  He is constantly opening my eyes to the Eternal things.  Some things just don't matter in this life.  In fact, not much that is gratifying from this life here on earth is Eternal at all.  But that often seems to be what we fight for isn't it.

I'm glad I don't serve a God who will give up on me.  I pray that he will help me be a supportive "brother", an encouraging "brother", truly loving and obeying and following the rules with a pure heart, not out of selfish ambition.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not Me Monday

We did not just get word that our case has FINALLY been submitted to court!

Nope, not our case!!

That would mean that we're getting SO close to bringing our little girl home.

And if that's the case, then we have a lot of stuff to do and a lot of money to raise.

And that would make me freak a out, just a little bit;)

But then the reality of actually bringing this little girl home that we've been praying for every day since we decided that we wanted her to be part of our family would take over my freak out moment and I'd just get giddy with excitement thinking about how close we actually are!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

We are heading to the beach on Sunday to prepare for next week's Student Camp for Journey Church.  By this time last year we'd already been to Myrtle Beach about 3 or 4 times, but this is the first for this summer so we're pumped!  The kids are excited for the 8 pools at the specific "resort"...oh the choices for all their swimming delight and pleasure:)

This morning we headed down the road about 15 minutes to a Migrant Camp.  I think we counted about 12 children and only 2 adult women.  The rest of the camp was out in the fields working the crops.  We were joining 2 other ladies and their children who go almost everyday and bring the children lunch and toys.  We were able to bring a couple of bags of clothes that Journey people had donated for them.  You could tell they were so thankful!  It was so neat to see Josh and Zeke kicking the soccer ball with some of the boys while Areyna colored and played with My Little Pony's with the girls.  Cai just bullied around with the other kids his size age.  It's crazy to see those kinds of conditions in your own backyard.

No adoption news.  Nothing.  Sometimes I still forget we are in this process.  We literally haven't done anything from our end in months besides try to raise this money to get over to Uganda and get our little one.  I'd like to at least think we're getting a little bit better at waiting, ha!  But really, Josh and I are really trying to focus on what the Lord has to teach us during these times of waiting.  I mean, what if we missed it?!  Then it would all be for nothing.  The hard times are the refining times, ya know...

That's all I've got ya'll!  Not even a picture to go along with my post.  I'm pooped...again, so I'm going to go make my third batch of homemade salsa from our garden and take a nap:)

It's Friday Ya'll!  Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"I Wanna Be, I Wanna Be, I Wanna Be Like..."

My dear, sweet daughter...

My poor, sweet daughter...

For example:

She refuses to do anything on anyone else's time line.  She wants it to be in her timing.

She doesn't like to practice much of anything.  She wants to master something the first time she attempts a new feat.  It is frustrating for her to fail at something, even if she does it perfectly the very next try.

She is a neat freak.  Literally.  She tries to "convince" Micaiah to put his cars away instead of leaving them on the floor.  This really is a nice trait for one of your children to possess, unless it is during a time when the other siblings are actually playing with the cars/toys.  She gets so upset when the house is a wreck, even during play time.

When we did the whole house rearrange a few months ago we bought a CD player to go in Areyna's room.  She decided that she wanted to "decorate" it.  The stickers that she carefully placed over the entire player were absolutely stunning.  (insert sarcasm)  I held my tongue and just let her decorate away.  A couple of days later she was sitting on the couch while we were just hanging out and she jumped up and told me that she HAD to get those stickers off of her CD player because it made her feel like her room was all messy.  Hmmm, where does she get that from?!

I've witnessed her say some of the rudest things to her brothers.

And then I realized that she is just taking my lead.  I talk to them so rude sometimes.  I forget that they are little people with big feelings.  I forget that the family unit, while the parents hold the control, must have mutual respect.  I forget that it's okay for the house to be a wreck while we are playing and having fun.  I forget that Areyna's (and Zeke's and Micaiah's) creative juices flow differently than mine do, and that's ok!  I forget that practice is what makes us better and that repetition in the areas that we aren't so good at is healthy.  I forget that other people have walked the same path that I'm walking now and that I can learn a lot from others and their suggestions.

As I watch my children grow up to be more and more like me it makes me realize that I have a lot to learn.  I want to exemplify what God wants his children to be like.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The View From Here

There's just something about a man on a big piece of machinery *sigh*
Especially when it's one that will cut down his lawn-mowing time by half!

There Goes Another Year

In full character as usual:)
Today is my Zeke's birthday.

He's five...5...Five...FIVE!

No matter how I write it, it just sounds so big.  So old!

I love the unique elements he brings to this family.  I know I pick on him all the time about how differently he thinks and learns, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love him with all my heart.  He is helping shape me into the momma I need to be!  I thank God for all the little things about him that nobody else even knows about...they are special.  HE is special to me!

I won't list off all of his favorite things because we all know about his HUGE imagination and love for super heroes, his need to make and give gifts to people and his tender heart toward people with less.

I won't tell you all his favorite things to eat because he eats everything!  Literally.  In fact he tells me quite often, "Mom, I don't really like this, but I'll eat it because you made it for me."

We continue to pray that God's Strength will flow from you to others and that you will be a mighty man of God.  That He will shape and mold you.  That you will have a soft heart toward your heavenly Father and that you will see your need for Him and share that need with others.
Now, if you would just quit disobeying your daddy and stop growing up, we'll have it made, ha!
Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!
I love you to the moon and back,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Center Piece

Well, they've done it.

The stink bugs, that is.  They totally ate through the entire base vine for our pumpkins.  We started noticing the leaves turning lighter and lighter until they were completely yellow and dead.  Then it began to spread all the way to the end of each branch off of the vine to the pumpkins themselves.

I was able to salvage this little guy.  Within two days it had turned from it's growing shade of deep green to the orange "ripe" color that you see here.  I cut it from the vine so it wouldn't rot.

Besides, it's never too early to start carving pumpkins, right?:)

I've been taking notes on what NOT to do with our straw bale garden next year, but I'm about to add a "DO".  "DO" kill off the stink bugs before they kill off my crops, ha!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fun Facts For Friday

We have a new Family Friday tradition.  We get invited to an awesome pool with friends and/or family and hangout until we are so tired our arms can't push water anymore and our legs can't keep us above the water anymore!  Today the Moyer's invited us over to their neighborhood pool for some fun.  I love the stage that my kids are in.  Areyna makes friends with all the little girls in the pool, Zeke buds around with them or begs his daddy to play with him and Cai is content to play around the lounge chairs with water buckets and cars.  It leaves mommy free to catch up on some girl talk with some friends or lay out or go swimming with the kids!  It's wonderful:)

Yesterday while we were just hanging out in the yard, a common occurrence around here, we looked up (not too high up) in the sky and saw a VERY LOW hot air balloon just a few houses down!  We snagged the closest stroller and mobile pushing, uh, things for Rainy and Zeke so they could go fast, and took off toward it.  It was literally landing in someone's backyard.  We could see the basket and hear the puffing of the fire/hot air.  We never did catch up with it as it finally caught some momentum to get up over the neighborhood trees, but it sure made for a fun shoe-less, bunny sighting family adventure!

This weekend is going to be super fun!  We were asked to put a band together to play for The Summit in Durham this weekend.  The band is going to be awesome!  I love the connection we have with our friends through playing music.  Even though we don't get to hang out with them much, it's always nice to be able to bring them in to play with us from time to time and pick up right where we left off.

I love the 4th.  Last year the city of Rolesville joined our family cookout and birthday party and decided to give us some fireworks.  This year they have moved the fireworks down the street, but we're still going to celebrate in style with the grill, pool and smore's on the fire pit with the other family in the area.  It should be awesome.

I'll leave you with this sweet goodness from my garden!  This all went into my homemade salsa for this weekend's cookout.  Don't be too jealous:)

Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!  Happy 4th!