We’re Expecting… Again!

As if there wasn’t enough craziness going on in our lives right now, it’s about to get crazier! Yes, we decided to have another baby, and I’m happy to report that I’m 12 weeks along today. Baby #3 is due right before Christmas, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Those of you who have read some of my kid-related posts may think I’ve lost my mind. Well, perhaps. But I’ve always wanted to have a big family, so I have chosen to be blissfully ignorant where all the impending logistical challenges are concerned.  Yes, I will have 3 kids 4 years and under. Yes, I will continue to work full time. Yes, grocery shopping will be an even bigger pain in the butt than it is now. Yes, I’ll sleep less, have a messier house and spend a fortune for another couple years of diapers. But despite all the really good reasons not to, we decided that a big family is worth the sacrifice. And if we were going to do it, we decided the sooner the better. We were afraid that if things got “easier” (more sleeping, less diapers, etc.), that we may not want to go back to the life with a newborn/infant. But luckily, things are not yet easy, and so while we’re still in the trenches, we figure we might as well go back to battle.

We made the decision to have another baby before Blake planned his career change, but I have to say that it is going to make things a lot, lot easier. He’ll be home more and not too far away, which will be a significant improvement over his work situation the last two times. It also works out that he got a new truck a few months ago. A big truck. A truck that can easily fit 3 car seats in the back. Hello daddy chauffeur. I, on the other hand, will have to get a new vehicle. And eventually, we’ll need to get a bigger house. But you know what? That’s all okay by me.

I experienced two early miscarriages while trying to have this baby, and so as I enter my 2nd trimester we are counting our blessings. Those experiences have given me a newfound appreciation for the fact that it’s not always easy to conceive. It’s a perspective that I didn’t have after my first two easy pregnancies. But as I sit here today, I am more thankful and humbled than ever before that I am growing another little life.

So if you’ve wondered why I haven’t posted as much here lately, this would be the reason. It’s partly because I’ve been exhausted and just want to go to sleep after the boys go to bed… and partly because this is such a big thing going on that I felt a little unauthentic writing about my life and not including it. But after the miscarriages, I really felt like I should adhere to the “12-week rule”. But now that we’ve passed that milestone, let the pregnancy posts commence!

Well, here we go! A new chapter in our lives that promises to be an adventure. We’re excited and thankful and probably a little naive. But we’re on the way to being a family of 5, and I couldn’t be more happy about it!

Baby 3

 

Baby3

 

And I have to give credit for the photo idea to my husband… one of the many reasons why I love him.

Our first family vacation

And let’s be honest, I’m using the term vacation loosely here.

As I write this this we’re driving back from Hilton Head. Not quite a real vacation, because I firmly believe you cannot have a real vacation with two toddlers. But it was a trip, with the four of us – and it was great family time. Overall, it went pretty well and I’d rate it a success. There were parts that were wonderful and fun and memorable… and then there were parts that were not. Like every time we had to eat outside of the hotel room. That sucked. Or when the kids had to sit still for any amount of time. That sucked too. But when they could run and play – pure joy.

Our trip seemed to amplify their behavior. It was like the fun times were much better than normal – like when they got to play at this awesome park, or when we were at the beach. They had a blast, and Blake and I just loved knowing how much fun they were having. But then the rough times were also exaggerated, partly due to them being out of their sleep routine and the number of times that they were required to “behave.” Having to eat out for 5 meals (in 3 days) meant a lot of behavior enforcement. Something that I realize I’m not very good at. The theoretical me is stern and means business and demands the kids behave. The real me just doesn’t quite measure up. Blake, on the other hand, is AWESOME at this. I almost don’t ever want to leave the house without him again. Seriously.

This morning Brogan proudly said to me, after he had successfully inserted a straw into a pouch drink, “I’m really good at getting drinks. But I’m not really good at listening.” So astute – a pretty good summation of our oldest – very independent and talented (in things other than fixing his own drinks), but just not able to listen to what we say. But I don’t feel like this defined our trip. When I look back on it, I will think about the boys having to share a pullout couch bed and sleep together – and them kicking and aggravating each other like brothers. Or bothering each other on a tire swing like brothers.

Boys on tire swing

I’ll think about us being able to give them undivided attention for 3 days – to be void of our normal responsibilities like work and cooking and dishes. I’ll think about my newfound appreciation for all that my husband does with and for the kids. How he saves us in the way he demands that they behave, and all the kid-duty he picks up when he bathes them and was able to get them to bed each night.

Blake enforcing

I’ll think about how the boys just love their daddy and how much fun they had spending time with him now that he’s around more.

Daddy and Beckett Daddy and Brogan

I’ll think about how the boys danced and danced to live music at Harbour Town.

Dancing boys

I’ll think about how Brogan talked his way onto another musician’s stage so that he could sing his favorite song.

I’ll think of this time as the first of many family trips – and hopefully real vacations one day. Someone with older kids, please tell me that this does eventually happen…

Family trip

Putting Family First

Tonight I enjoyed the first Sunday since October with the boys and Blake. You see, when Blake took his latest job to be a restaurant chef, the trade-off was that three nights during the week and all weekend he’d be working. To say it has been tough would be an understatement. But, the life as the wife of a chef is just that – it’s tough. Many times you take a back seat to a career that is long hours, fast-paced and high-stress. Nine years ago when we met, Blake worked in a kitchen, and so I knew what I signed up for when we started dating, when we got engaged and when we married. Before we had kids, it was lonely, but manageable. Now that we have two boys, it can be downright exhausting to do so much of it on my own. And while I haven’t always shown as much support as I should, when he took this job the first of November last year, I finally became the supportive wife that I always wanted / tried (and failed) to be.

And then a couple of weeks ago, Blake came to me and said he was re-prioritizing his life. He told me that he no longer wanted to pursue a career that kept him away from his family. He told me he wanted to quit his job. And while I can imagine that this sort of news could be stressful, I was truly overjoyed. Because while I would have never tried to make Blake quit doing what he loved, there have been many times that I secretly wished he had a career that kept him home more. I worried about the future when the boys play sports and Blake wouldn’t be there for games; or weeknight homework, or school plays, or the countless other wonderful experiences of being parents that he would miss. And so here I was, getting my prayers answered. While I always knew deep down that the boys and I were Blake’s first priority, the fact that he was choosing us, without being made to, was the ultimate affirmation.

So what does this mean… we’re not sure yet. In the short-term, Blake is still working for the same restaurant, but in a role that has him working days and home on Sundays.  We’re excited to be exploring opportunities outside of the restaurant business and I know there are great things ahead for him. And I know that he is looking forward to a life with more balance – me too.

So today, on our first Sunday spent as a family in four months, we went to the park together, we had a picnic together, we ate dinner together, did the bathtime and the bedtime routines together.  It was perfect. I am so thankful to have a husband who has the courage to go against the grain, do what is uncomfortable and unconventional and just stop. Stop a successful career for something far more important. For us. I love you, babe.

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My Appliqued Stockings

I had these stockings made last year by my mother-in-law, but that was pre-blog and now I get to share them! I love, love, love these stockings! I found them at Hobby Lobby, and then had my MIL appliqué the first letter of each of our names and embroider our names through them. I loved these so much that I bought an extra stocking and more fabric just in case our family needs five one day 😉

Appliquéd and Embroidered Stockings

Appliqued and Embroidered Stocking - Blake

Appliqued and Embroidered Stocking - Brogan

Appliqued and Embroidered Stocking - Jessica

Appliqued and Embroidered Stocking - Beckett

What to do, what to do…

My son. Where do I begin. He is a charming, loving, intelligent, ball of fire… who happens to be manipulative, disobedient and slick. Oh, what a combination! Now I love my son to death, but I’m not one of those parents who thinks they have a perfect child. No, I’m the kind of parent who looks at the other parents who are forming judgements to themselves and agrees with them (audibly)… “yeah, he’s bad.” And I don’t say this because I’ve given up or I think it’s acceptable, I say this because I feel good in my skin when I am authentic. And I truly believe that my kid can be a bad kid sometimes. And other times he is sweet and he listens and he melts my heart. But typically I’m only around to see those moments. So anyways, I set the stage to get to my current dilemma – school.

Shocker, but the kid who does not listen at home also does not listen at school. And the kid who talks back at home also talks back at school. I get fun little notes home from his teacher, like the one last week informing me that when he was being reprimanded, he told his teacher she got on his nerves. Yes, that’s right. A couple of things go through my mind on this one… 1) Well that’s embarrassing (I think parents get desensitized to the things their kids tell them, but when they then do it to someone else, it is a hard pill to swallow) 2) Thinking back… do I say this?!?! 3) A mixed emotion of pride, that he can articulate his feelings so well, and a lot of head shaking because his execution was so inappropriate.

So as I’ve shared in a previous post we’ve been going with the “on the couch all night” method of punishment lately. I’d like to say it works because he absolutely hates it, but on the other hand, it does not curb the behavior at school so I’m just not sure. But nevertheless, in the name of consistency, if Brogan does not get a smiley face on his behavior chart each day, he gets to sit on the couch (with nothing) the whole evening. But here’s the thing. Brogan has learned that the consequence to his misbehavior is the couch. He gets warned daily of the punishment. He gets asked each afternoon how he was at school, and when he responds that he wasn’t a good listener, he says, “I have to sit on the couch all night, right mommy?” So he gets it. But he gets it only so far… because when he’s in the moment and he gets into one of his manic states where he cannot listen to save his life, there’s no stopping him and he just will not behave. So while I know the mommy gene is partly to play here, I ask myself (what I feel is a legitimate concern), is it fair for a kid, who should be outside playing and interacting with the family and getting tons of positive interactions, be punished every night for something that he shouldn’t be doing, but that I don’t think he can help? And he’s also starting to get a negative opinion of school. He started saying that he doesn’t want to go to school. And when I ask him why, he says it’s because he doesn’t like getting bad notes home.

And tonight, in the car ride home from the sitter’s, fearing another bad report, I asked, “Brogan, how was school?” Brogan responded, “I don’t want to talk about that.” And that would be because he didn’t listen (again), was playing in the bathroom (again) and this all resulted in a frowny face assessment.

What to do, what to do, what to do??? Any veteran moms out there have suggestions?

Brogan school photo 2013

And ironically, he appears so well-behaved in his school picture. Go figure. 

When something goes wrong, I call you.

The other night, as I was trying to get Brogan to bed, he kept calling me for various requests.  As I tromped back up the stairs and into his room, aggravation all over my face, he said to me, “Mommy, when something goes wrong, I call you.” He gave me a hug and all of my frustration went away. I feel like I wrestle with the balance of wanting my boys to be independent, but also liking the fact that they need me.  As moms, we feed hungry bellies, bandage skinned knees, wipe runny noses, grab what’s out of their reach and try to fulfill every other random request.  We do so whether or not we are shown appreciation or thanks. But it’s nice every once in a while, especially when it comes surprisingly from my three-year-old, to be affirmed that they do in fact realize that moms get stuff done; we’re the fixers and the problem solvers.

So that was the sweet side of the equation.  Now let’s talk about the manipulation.

Knowing that moms come to the rescue, and sensing our weak spots, kids will exploit the you-know-what out of you.  My soft spot is hunger.  I never starved growing up, but for some reason the thought of my children being hungry is something that does not sit well with my soul.  This drives my husband crazy. He can see that sometimes (notice I just can’t give him all the time) Brogan takes advantage of this fact and tries to prolong naps and bedtime by telling me he’s hungry.  Here’s the thing, statistically speaking, I know there are times when he’s pulling one over on me and he’s not really hungry.  I do truly believe, however, that there are other times when he is, in fact, hungry.  The problem I have is that my overwhelming fear of starving my kids clouds my vision and I can’t tell when it’s real and when he’s faking it.  So what happen? 98% of the time I give that little slickster some food.  I really wish it ended with the food.  In the 20 minutes that I’ve been typing this post, in addition to the “I’m hungry” episode, I’ve been called on to turn off his fan because it was shaking. “Mommy, come quick, it’s an emergency! My fan won’t stop shaking!” And while I was up there, “Please turn off the bathroom light.” Oh, and, I need some medicine because my legs are hurting (eczema). And once I returned back downstairs to continue my writing, he declared that he wanted more milk.  On the simple fact that I don’t feel like cleaning up a wet bed in the morning, I said no.  But dammit, I said yes to the rest.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that while I was cuddling with him in bed, he asked me to read him a story. I explained that I had just (downstairs) read him three stories, and that was enough for the night.  He then reminded me that Daniel Tiger says, “It’s almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do.” And then that, “so mommy, you said it’s time to stop and so I get one more thing, and that means one more story.” You know that feeling, when your three-year-old beats you at your own game (if you only knew how many times I’ve used Daniel Tiger to get him to do things), yeah that sucks.  So another book it was.

And I sit here knowing that I was worked over multiple times tonight.  And I wonder how and if I will react differently tomorrow when I’m faced with this recurring dilemma.  Honestly, I’m torn.  Logically I know that no should mean no and lines need to be drawn, but emotionally, being met with a “mommy, I love you” each time I oblige makes it really hard to refuse.  My husband, by the way, is going to love this post.  He rarely gets me to admit that I’m a softy (I really try to hide it). Well honey, you’re welcome, I’m a softy.  But the kids still aren’t going to bed hungry 🙂

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Daddy Daycare

Blake has been working a ridiculous amount lately – like  4 weeks straight, no days off, some were 24-hour days where he slept under his desk.  He’s a chef at a college and with a new dining hall and the new school year just started so to say things have been crazy for him at work would be an understatement.  So today he had the day off.  With so many options for things to do on his day off, what does he do? Volunteers to take the boys to Atlanta for the day so that I could have the day to myself.  Bless this man.  I spent my day at Hobby Lobby, the hair salon and Publix (3 of my favorite places) and he spent the day at the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park playing in the water fountains.  Pirates got into the aquarium today for free, so the boys were dressed for the occasion.

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As Blake would say, he was “killin’ daddy daycare” all day.  I would have to agree.  The boys had fun, and they all returned home safe and sound.  However, I did get a phone call to inform me that Brogan had gone missing for about 5 minutes at the aquarium. After alerting security of the runaway child, Blake, who was standing at the front to ensure Brogan did not leave the building, located our little guy.  He was still running wild, oblivious to the fact that he had ever gone missing.  Luckily, Blake waited until he found him before calling me, so I guess all is well that ends well.  In addition to the classic Brogan runaway move, Blake got to deal with a skinned knee, a dirty diaper, getting peed on and extracting a bottle cap from our 15-month olds mouth.  He handled it all like a pro and I am very proud!  The day did necessitate a stop at the liquor store on their way home to pick up a 6-pack, but I can assure you those cold ones were well deserved.

So thank you honey for having daddy day care today, mommy really needed it!

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Proof of a successful day.