Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jack Pictures Posted... Round 1!

Ok, not much to say- it's my first day home as a mother of two and I'm worn out but it's wonderful-- oh my goodness, blessings are everywhere I look!! I am so thankful for what God is doing in our family and all my people!  Anyway, here are some pictures of our newest addition- he basically looks like Max- just 2 lbs less :)  I'll do a side by side post in the next day or so....

And lastly, here is a link of some pictures taken at the hospital, they're adorable-- click on it if you need more :)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Surprise! Baby Jack is HERE!

On Friday night, my brother Eli stopped by to drop off his dog because he was going to spend the weekend in Atlanta, bouncing around with his buddies.  He got there in time for dinner, but was going to meet his own friends for dinner, so Chad and I ran out to dinner, super quick, alone, and took advantage of a quick date while Eli was able to stay with Max.  Little did we know that it'd be our "last supper".....

After a easy breezy day at home on Friday- I didn't ever leave the house and I barely left the couch, except for dinner with Chad- I headed to bed early too.  I was asleep by 9:30 and Max was in his big boy bed for the first time :)  We all slept great through the night- but woke with a splash... literally!  Just a few minutes before 6:30am on Saturday morning my water broke- it was so surreal and so unexpected that I didn't even believe it.  Once I gathered my thoughts enough to call the doctor, he told us we need to come to the hospital-- I knew that was the case, but I was hoping there was a magic trick to make this all go away for a few more weeks-- as I mentioned in my last post, I felt good, and we had things to do, ha!!

So instead of my lazy Saturday and Chad taking care of a quick job, we dropped Max at Anna's and headed to the hospital.  I was admitted to the high risk unit immediately and they determined that everything was fine and moved me to regular labor and delivery.  I was hooked up to an IV of fluids and an antibiotic immediately, because of the risk of infection, and then they started me on pitocin to really get my labor going.  As you know, I had been having contractions for weeks, and despite my water breaking, they weren't getting any stronger, so the pitocin was necessary.  Within a couple hours I got my epidural, and spent the day laboring.

As soon as everything began happening on Saturday morning, I called my mom- the original plan was for her to come down for a week with Jack arrived, but I wasn't sure what 5 weeks early would do to her schedule- but she was driving south within the hour, and was to Max by 4:15.  Once we got a hold of my brother Eli, he went and got Max from Anna's and they played at my house until my mom got there....then they went to the grocery store and Dairy Queen :)  Max enjoyed his day sans Mom & Dad!  Obviously Chad was with me, and Kellee, who I had asked to be at Jack's birth, was there too.  The day was SO easy, so laid back, never a scare or a tense moment-- my midwife that I love was on call and wonderful, the nurse was amazing, and even the OB popped in a time or two.  I was so well taken care of, that I never got stressed or even annoyed once.  We had tons of people praying for us and checking on us, and the peace of God was all around us.

By 8pm, I knew it was TIME!  As they walked me through what could happen and why the NICU team would be in the room, and the potential nasal canuala and time Jack would potentially need in the NICU, I did panic and freak out one time- but we prayed, and then it was time to push.  I only pushed for 8 minutes-- yep, only 4 contractions-- and he was here!  Most of my epidural had worn off, even more than with Max, so I was able to move my body and use my legs, etc.... I even walked myself to the bathroom within 30 minutes of delivery and felt GREAT!

Jack was born at 8:35pm, at 5 pounds, 9 ounces, and 19 inches long.  "Big" for being that early, but a teeny tiny handsome man!!  The NICU team checked him out and then packed their stuff and left within 10 minutes-- and never took Jack with them!!  There are a couple extra precautions we have to do, since he's early and small- like blood sugar tests, he has to eat every 2-3 hours even at night, he has a special car seat test he has to pass, etc... but otherwise, he is FANTASTIC and sweet and cuddly and I LOVE HIM!! He gets to go home with us TODAY- like before he is even 48 hours old.  I'm not sure I even have the right words for such a thing, but God is SO amazing-- I've talked about baby Evie born at 31 weeks, and baby Heath born at 29 weeks, and now Jack born at 35 weeks-- and all of them have done (are doing) amazing and blowing doctors away.  These babies were prayed over and God has done amazing things in their stories already.  I get chills just typing it.  It makes me wonder what He has in store for these little guys!

There are so many things I planned to do before Jack arrived- I had just perfected my list on Friday afternoon.  I wasn't ready to be done with work, and Chad's jobs are backing up!  I didn't get my house or my car deep cleaned, and I wasn't ready to be done with work for several weeks.  BUT this has been so cool to watch it all fall into place- Eli was already in town, my mom gets to stay until Memorial Day (Praise the Lord!), my Dad is coming down this weekend, friends were able to help, I had my favorite doctors on call that day, Kellee was able to be there as planned, and even though I don't have all the baby stuff "ready" at the house, it's all there, and I'll have tons of help, and basically Jack is here at just the right time, and again, more perfection to all the things God is working out and working on for us and in us.

Pictures to follow soon-- we don't have our cords here at the hospital :)

(Also, Gabe and Max have both met him and loved on him, and everyone is excited he is here!)

Pregnancy Update

(*** I wrote this on Friday but didn't post it because I wanted Chad to take a picture of me at 35 weeks for this post-- HILARIOUS considering we delivered Jack the next day (Saturday).... details coming in next post!)

First of all, I'm over 35 weeks pregnant, which means I have less than 5 weeks til we see Jack's face.  This is good and bad-- good because I'm so excited that when I just read an article about what to pack, it made me teary because I canNOT wait-- but bad because I'm really pregnant and the-not-so-fun parts are coming on with a vengeance.  I waddle now, all the time.  I walked down the hallway at work yesterday, when no one was around and tried really really hard not to waddle and I couldn't do it :(  I also need a crane to help me roll over a night- and since I don't have one, I get sharp pains on my sides because my belly is so heavy.  The potty breaks are increasing- and every time I get up Chad grunts because I'm inconveniencing him.  (Considering the fact that I'm the one hauling this load around, I do NOT feel bad, but I do notice.)

I had my doctors appointment this week, and although the contractions are still around, pretty much non-stop, everything looked great and Jack was great and they're not worried at all.  If we make it to 37 weeks, then all should be great with him, but I'm still hoping for the full 40 and they said that that is NOT a lofty goal, as long as I continue to take it easy.  They also had me make my remaining weekly appointments- like until I'm due, and I only have 4-- FOUR!  Oh me oh my! And remember how they told me to drink more water and eat more protein?  Well for all your other people growing humans, let me tell you that I decided to drink only water- no juice, coke, tea, coffee-- anything besides water and it changed my life. If I partake of anything else, even just a small sip or two, I get heartburn- like tear me up, keep me awake all night heartburn-- even if I drink it first thing in the morning.  But if I just drink water (while eating whatever I want- spicy, red, acidy) then I get NO heartburn.  This news is about to put Tums out of business. Also, a cheese stick or a protein bar, anytime I'm feeling "funny" or pukey, snaps me back to A-ok in like 5 minutes. Seriously.  I don't know what it took me 1 and 4/5 pregnancies to figure this out, but this is pure gold, I tell ya!

Now let's talk about timing-- and let's make sure we point out that I'm a CONTROL FREAK and completely aware that I have no control over this at all!  But I really want Jack to stay in until his due date-- this is sick, I know, because last time, I was begging my first born to spring out weeks in advance, but let me explain:

1) Jack is due on my friend Danielle's birthday, and she is just wonderful, so I want them to share a birthday

2) Our Coco (Courtney), Max's sitter from the beginning, is getting hitched to the wonderful Miles on June 18th and I really really want to be at that wedding

3) My boss has a book coming out in October and things are nutty, the good kind, but busy, around the office- and the other girl working with me on this is on maternity leave herself-- so we need about 2 weeks together before I leave myself and she's not coming back until June 9th.

4) Chad is so crazy busy at work for the next few weeks that he might forget to come to the hospital or at the very least, be on his blue tooth ear phone majig through the birth!

So unless I crossover to miserable pregnant, I will not  be riding over any large bumps, jumping on any trampolines, taking any long walks, or eating anything that might encourage this child to arrive early... we're going for right on time :)
Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 35 Weeks

Size of baby: Jack is 18 inches long, and weighs about 5 and 1/4 lbs-- about the weight of a honeydew.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I have no idea- a lot.  But I don't even know where I started, because I had abandoned the scale as my Max weight wasn't leaving as I had planned.  But let's just say my belly had really popped out since my 28 week picture...

Maternity Clothes: They are all tight- will I make it til the end?

Gender: It's a BOY! Jack Henry Bowman

Movement: Jack is a crazy man- always kicking and jabbing and dragging his limbs around- he loves putting them in my ribs- joy :) But he sleeps when I sleep so I'm great with this.

Sleep: As long as I drink water I'm pretty good, I wake up to potty twice a night and to roll which takes a lot- but the getting to sleep, staying asleep, etc, is good

What I miss: Max was more mushy in my belly, so although large and in charge, I was able to move- but Jack is rock hard- so I can't bend at all or breathe when I grab something lower than my knees and I can't even see my leg- the other day there was a bump I could feel and I had to ask Chad was it was because I can't contort myself in anyway that would allow me to see it.

Cravings: Not sure-- I get hungry but nothing ever sounds good-- although red meat is working for me.Symptoms: achy hips, potty breaks, TIRED, otherwise, pretty good.Best Moment this week: A good report at the doctorA now, without further ado on the longest blog post ever-- the 35 week picture:

(The picture never got taken :( oh well!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ohhh... My Max is 21 months old!

My little boy is growing up- it's pretty obvious.  And I think everyone around me is accepting of this-- except for me.  He's 21 months old today-- that's big-- that's a short step from 2, and an even shorter step from when he becomes a big brother next month.  Oh my heart.  Words and sentencing and analysis of his surroundings fly out of his mouth like it's second nature-- like he's been talking for years.  He is very expressive-- so much so, that we've begun beating "No thank you" and "Yes sir/ma'am" into him, because "No no uh huh!" and "No no Mommy" and "Uh huh" were just too much to bear.  If he was a girl, I'd call it sass, but since he's not, I'll call it "Noblitt".

[caption id="attachment_1581" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Max giving "the look"!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1587" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Early Morning Soccer!"][/caption]

He's very independent most of the time- wanting to play his own way and do his own thing- although he loves my company, anytime he has it, and he loves playmates-- his favorites are his Dad, his brother, my Dad, and my brother.  But they just need to be ready to play what he is playing- golf or baseball, 24/7. He prefers to be outside- and is ready to head that direction by 7:30am- but if he's inside, he's good as long as basketball or soccer is involved... aren't those things you play inside, too? When it's just me and him at home, he has to go through the list-- "Where's Gabe?" (school)  "Where's Daddy?" (working)  "Where's Eli?" (He went bye- bye) "Where's Pop?" (at Pop's house).... and then a few hours later, we do it all again.  His memory is unbelievable-- he remembers stuff from days ago, he remembers people and names from weeks and months ago- and unfortunately, he hasn't quite grasped the "soon" "later" "tomorrow" as in yes, but not right now.  Ah!  Hopefully that is next on his list of things to learn!

[caption id="attachment_1583" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="His favorite golf club!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1586" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption=""I jumpin!""][/caption]

Recently Max has also become more clingy- wants to be right next me, like cheek on cheek, and when we're sitting on the couch, he prefers to have his arm draped across my belly.  I think he knows something is coming-- there is new stuff around our house, and we're moving furniture to fit bassinets and swings, etc... I'm waddling... Chad is fussing over me doing too much... instead of being on the go, we're staying home-- he knows!  I can't turn down the extra loving and cuddles- actually I'm soaking it up and can't think of much better- but with this comes bad attitudes towards others like his Dad or our sitters when they arrive.  I want to find the balance here- making sure disrespect isn't tolerated, but of course letting him know how very loved he is-- I guess the balancing act begins now!

[caption id="attachment_1585" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Max's favorite pass time: Jumping on the Bed!"][/caption]

We've also entered into the realm of obedience.  If you were a fly on our wall, you'd hear me tell Max to obey or ask him if he is obeying at least 10 times a day.  You'd also witness a couple daily spanking surrounding this issue as well.  Even though I warn him that a spanking is come, his face is filled with such shock that I actually followed through but we're already seeing a difference in his obedience.  The phrase "Max you need to obey or you're going to get spanked" goes a long way.  He's begun jumping to action immediately this week! (Thank goodness because this child makes me a softy and I HATE spanking him!)

[caption id="attachment_1582" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Brothers enjoy shakes and cheese fries"][/caption]

His stats are basically the same-- at this point, he's still in his 18 month pj's because I plan to buy the next size for warmer weather but our nights are still cool, but all his other clothes are 24 months- and he can even swing a 2T t-shirt.  We moved up a sock size, yahoo, and he's still right at 27 lbs, leaving him in size 4 diapers for a while longer.  This weekend, we're trying the big boy bed for 3 nights- committed to fighting it as need be- but if it doesn't seem to take after those 3 nights, then back to the crib and we'll try again in a couple months.  We don't need him in his big boy bed for a while, we just don't want him to associate losing his bed with that new little baby that's about to rock Max's world in more ways than one!

[caption id="attachment_1584" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Too soon?"][/caption]

Max, my dear, you make my world a better place.  I love how you think and how you play, I love your fingers and your toes, and even your little runny nose!  Your big boy hair cut, round cheeks, and big blue eyes melt me every time.  There is just no way I can get enough of you.  One of your newest phrases is "Mommy hold you" and you come to me with your arms open wide- whether I'm sitting or standing or sleeping or working or cleaning, it's music to my ears.  Yes son, I will hold you- I'll always hold you!  Thank you for challenging me to be a better Mommy and to be more like Jesus- it's hard work, but the fruit is so sweet.  I really hope that the Fruit of the Spirit will reside in you one day too-- it's really amazing what Jesus does to His children, from the inside out.  It's truly beautiful.  Thanks for being my boy-- 21 months is awesome- can't wait for more!  I love you, Max!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Graduated!

This past weekend, my baby brother graduated from college.  From college!  That's right folks- he's all grown up-- an adult, heading out into the big bad world.  I want to warn him about bills, and people who try to rip you off.  I want to advise him on insurance policies and what "benefits" are really benefits when it comes to accepting a new job.  I want to tell him all the things I didn't do so well, or that I wish I would've done differently, and of course, let him know that our Dad was right when it comes to our savings accounts.  But then on the other hand, I've been mothering the poor child since he was born, and why would he listen to me anyway... I didn't listen to others when it was my turn.

[caption id="attachment_1571" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="The Graduate"][/caption]

So we headed to Athens, GA for the weekend-- home of the very wonderful and amazing University of Georgia.   As we pulled into town, I couldn't help but think about my time there.  I loved college- I loved Athens- and I love the Dawgs.  I had incredible friends, learned so much about myself and grew like crazy in my walk with the Lord during my time there. It was a funny homesick-like feeling I got upon arrival.  I couldn't help but laugh about how things had changed-- back in my haydays, I drove around in my sporty Acura Integra, I was a skinny tan girl who lived with her closest friends, and hung out with the rest of my friends almost daily.  School was easy, had a great job working at a preschool, the on-campus ministry I was apart of was rockin and ran around happy as a clam.  Well on Friday, I showed up in MY minivan, full with husband, my step son, my one year old and my pregnant self.  My my how things change!  I think the only thing that is the same is the Jesus that lives in my heart.

[caption id="attachment_1570" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="The best picture ever taken!"][/caption]

So anyway, off that tangent and back to my point:  Eli's graduation!

Eli is great.  He is a one of a kind guy- for real.  I totally understand that I am biased, but he busts his butt and works really hard-- and after being married to a hard worker for a couple years, I realize what a huge asset that is when growing a family.  He graduated with 2 majors and a minor-- with honors.  He worked, too (though not enough if you ask my parents.... :) ) AND he is an incredible uncle.  Oh my goodness- you should see him with my children.  I'm not too keen on "male" sitters but I'd leave the boys with Uncle Eli in a hot second.  And I'd leave all day if I need to.  Eli is "on call" for Max duty when I go into labor- he's driving to our house to keep the little tyke until my Mom makes it down from Indy.  Like I might have to call him in the middle of the night.  AND he is totally ok with it!  What other 23 year old man do you know that is like that?  Who gives of what little free time he has to come keep Max for free?  Or play outside with Gabe?  And the gas alone, to get from Athens to Woodstock ain't cheap!

[caption id="attachment_1576" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Gabe and Max at Herty Field"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1575" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Max and Pop at lunch"][/caption]

Again, I digress.  So he graduated- and we were all there- my parents, and Sam, and my family- both sides of grandparents, and Eli's leading lady, who is also named Lauren.  (I actually had to steal this pictures from Eli's Lauren because she actually remembered her camera for this occasion... imagine that.)  We had a fun day full of celebrations, and food, and a really really long processional, family, and pride in our little Eli.... who just so happens to be bigger taller than me.  (I can't see bigger, per say. because I'm as big as a house at this point, but ask me again in a month or so....)

[caption id="attachment_1573" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The LONGEST processional ever......................"][/caption]

(Did you notice how the students left in the stands on the far right spell "F-I-R-E"-- Gabe noticed that during the longest processional ever!)

[caption id="attachment_1577" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="Max drawing during the longest processional ever!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1572" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Eli and his Lauren"][/caption]

So Congrats Eli and the Class of 2011.  I can't wait to see what God has for you now!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Are The Chances-- Prayers Please!!

Back in January, Fabienne (who I know a teeny bit from college, but mostly because of her now friendship with Anna) and I threw a baby sprinkle for Anna.  As you know, Anna was pregnant with Baby Evie and she already had/has Elizabeth Grace, who is now 2.  Well the hostesses of the shower (me and Fabienne) we both also pregnant at the shower, with our second, as well.  Both boys-- following our other little boys.  So we were all pregnant and growing the same thing we had already grown.

Welp, in February, Evie came into the world a bit early... at 31 weeks.  It was a little adventure for us all but GOD was so huge and so awesome, He just took care of it all, and whipped it into a lovely God-story that we'll all be telling for years to come.

Then in April, Fabienne's water broke while she was 26 weeks- yes, you read that correctly... 26 weeks.  She has been in a bed at the hospital ever since, hoping to keep baby Heath in until 34 weeks-ish.  Fabienne is a stay at home mom who takes her job VERY seriously, so this has not been fun for her-- she has been wanting to be home with Clarke (2 yrs old) while continuing to grow a healthy baby Heath... which really isn't a super lofty goal- just a normal flow of events.

Shortly after Fabienne was admitted to the hospital, my "signs of early labor" happened as well, and my activity was limited, although bed rest, hospitals, tests, etc.... were NOT implemented.  By this point, Anna, who has lived through it all, with a been there, done that outlook on the whole NICU experience was fit to be tied.  Let's just keep these babies inside, where they're supposed to be, for 40 weeks, enough already!  Naturally, Anna cooked us dinner and began lecturing me about staying on the couch and making sure Chad helps.

Well, things got a little scary last night- Fabienne began having contractions and had to have an emergency c-section in the wee hours of the morning.  This is not the news anyone was hoping for, BUT once again, God is so all over this.  He sent Fabienne's mom to her house for the week, and had Fabienne's husband get back from a trip, just in time for all of this-- the mom (grandma) got to be with Clarke and David, the husband, was able to be with Fabienne, without any arranging or panicking.  AND although tiny (3 lbs) baby Heath is doing well with no out of the ordinary cause for concerns, beyond that of a baby who was born at 29 weeks.  He even scored an 8/9 on the Apgar test.  CRAZY.

So once again your prayers are needed-- for all of them!  For Heath's health and for him to stay infection-free, and for his little body to keep growing stronger and stronger.  Pray for Fabienne, as she recovers as well, and then for them as a family, as they walk out this time in their lives, full of unknowns.

While talking to Robert (Anna's husband) to find out about these details, it became obvious once again, just how IN CONTROL that God is-- something that I take for granted most of the time.  But let's be honest, He is SO on top of this situation.  I want that to rule my heart-- He, the CREATOR and HEALER and SUSTAINER of the world, has got ALL of this under control.  I can't even begin to understand the peace that we can all find, if we rest there.

Things NOT to do when you're pregnant

1. While being one month pregnant, trying to celebrate Christmas-- instead, you'll sleep through it.  (Max)

2. While being two months pregnant, going to your own wine tasting birthday party, thrown lovingly by your friend Jill, and you can't even participate.  (Jack)

3. While being three months pregnant, getting a tail bone cyst that has to be cut out while you're awake and feeling it all because the baby is too little for any pain medicines or drugs.  (Max)

4. While being four months pregnant, getting the type A flu so bad that it last for over 10 days, with little to no sleep, many days of no eating, lots of fevers, and more coughing than one person should do during their entire life.  (Jack)

5. While being five months pregnant, moving to a new house, full of hardwood floors that you insist on mopping while on your hands and knees.  This is especially bad is you're slightly OCD and refuse to sleep or stop until everything is unpacked.  (Max)

6. While being six months pregnant, sending your 18 month old to his grandparents for the week- instead of relishing in the rest and enjoying your husband, you will cry A LOT, especially when you see other babies.  (Jack)

7. While being seven months pregnant, encourage your husband to remodel the bathroom leaving gobs of construction dust around the house that requires crawling on hands and knees multiple times a day to clean- and also encouraging him to do this whole project between you 1 year old's bedtime: 8:00pm and your own bedtime: 8:30pm, daily... makes for a very long project!  (Jack)

8. While being eight months pregnant, lose complete feeling in your hands so you drop everything, send your husband to another country, meanwhile forget to hydrate and start to have contractions, and simultaneously enduring a ATL summer that makes your legs swell up like the most humongous sausages you've ever seen. (Max)

9. While being nine months pregnant, go to Athens for your baby brother's graduation, while re-living your own hay days in your mind, walking around the University of Georgia campus like you haven't been having early contractions-- all while toting a 20 months old, and keeping up with your whole family.  (Jack)

10.  While being ten months pregnant, (and yes, the whole thing actually lasts almost 10 months...joy!) going into labor at 2am and having the baby at 8:41am... 2 (TWO!) days later after 50 hours of labor without any drugs, and no sleep and then the final 5 hours with an epidural.  (Max)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stroke of Genius!

Sometimes it just hits.  And you wonder where such a great idea came from.  You walk a little lighter, feel like giving yourself a pat or 7 on the back, and you call someone to brag.  This happened to me recently, and it was pure genius!  I've recently turned the corner, pregnancy-wise, and not just because of "cutting my activity" but mostly because of growing a human being.  I'll expand more on this when I'm humble enough to post a picture, but let's just say, I'm almost "over it".  I'm tired and achy and ready to hold baby Jack.

So I was driving home from work the other day, exhausted and almost dreading my afternoon with my little people.  What was I going to do with them?  How could I keep them busy without using the tv? And how do I make sure it requires very little of me?  Then STRIKE--- a pool!  Like the kind from Target for your backyard.  Max LOVES taking baths and Gabe LOVES playing in the water with him-- the soak their bathroom each night.... so this would be a huge bath, and they could splash as much as they want, and I could sit.  GENIUS!

Well, it worked!  And it was adorable!  And I got to sit in a chair with my computer in my lap, working, and watching, and laughing :)  They played and splashed until I made them come in-- and as soon as we were dried off, they were already talking about playing in the pool again.  GENIUS!

I provided the pitchers, cups, toys, balls, bowls, and sunscreen- they provided their own fun and entertainment.  And by the time we went inside, my feet hurt less, my attitude was 100 times better, and I was confident that these two were the cutest things around :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Max and Lizzy, the Dynamic Duo

It's been a while since I've posted any pictures, and even longer since I posted pictures of Max and his friend Lizzy.  I'm hesitant to call Lizzy his"best friend" because I don't want to be that mom forcing it, but let's be honest, he LOVES Lizzy!  We still have her seat in our car from the last time she was with us and he loves to point and talk about her when he sees it.  Anytime we head to the park, he expect Lizzy to be there and is disappointed (tears!) when she's not, ha!  BUT when they are both at the park, they do their own thing-- go figure!

[caption id="attachment_1553" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="The Dynamic Duo at the Park!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1552" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Max and Elizabeth Grace (April 2011)"][/caption]

Anyway, these two are funny together for many reason-- first of all, the boy/girl thing-- it's neat to see how different their brains are.  Secondly, they are almost 6 months a part, so Anna goes through a hard time with Lizzy-- ex: clingy, disobedient, whiny-- and then 6 months later I'm pulling my hair our for the same reasons.  Lucky for me, I know it's just a stage because Anna already overcame it! Another fun thing is that they're both little smarties and the stuff they come up with is hilarious.  ALSO, they are both first borns and therefore bossy-- so when Max is at Lizzy's house, she is IN CHARGE, but when Lizzy is at Max's house, she follows his orders instead.  And then lastly, I just love Lizzy and Max does too, and it makes me happy.

[caption id="attachment_1551" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Max at the soccer park-- "I draw M-A-X!""][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1549" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Lizzy wearing at hat at the soccer game because Max was wearing one :)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1550" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hugs!"][/caption]

(Of course, Lizzy's little sister is Evie-- who came into the world in February instead of April.... and has been wrapping people around her fingers ever since and now Jack will follow her and enter the world here shortly, and we'll get to see the newest dynamic duo in action... and as second borns, who are supposed to be more laid back, etc, I'm anxious to see what this looks like!) So fun to raise these kiddies together!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Overwhelmed Again...

I've written several times about being overwhelmed-- most recently I've been overwhelmed with the idea of bringing home a new baby when we already have a baby at home.  I do realize that I'm pregnant, really I do, trust me, and I do know that we wanted this and planned this.  But now it is really real- like 6 weeks away real.  And I'm overwhelmed all over again- but this time, it's totally different.

First of all, remember last week when I mentioned the potential pre-term labor?  Well there has been so much love and concern bestowed on me and my family that I've gotten weepy, several times!  That happened on Tuesday, and that night my friend Anna made me dinner and brought it to us for Wednesday-- it was delicious!  Katie from our small group brought dinner to me for tonight, and another Katie from our church is doing dinner for us tomorrow night.  And that doesn't include Danielle and Lisa from our small group who plan on serving us this way next week.  Now really, dinner is a little thing, you might be thinking, but that's also the hour that Max melts down and hangs on my legs flailing about because he MUST be held.  And cooking dinner (which usually I love doing) leads to needing to clean up dinner, not to mention actually feeding my people, so the whole ordeal takes several hours- and for someone who needs to "cut activity in half" these dinners are HUGE blessings!!

What love and what service from these people who just saw a need and are meeting it-- and honestly, I didn't even know it was a need until it happened and then I got to see how much it helped!

THEN, as if that isn't enough to overwhelm me with gratefulness, a group of sweet friends had a baby shower for me this weekend.  I will have to follow this post with some pictures later, because it was a Kentucky Derby themed shower, complete with big hats, but for now I just need to explain the love that was there.  All of these people are my friends- and have been my friends since before I had Max- and obviously showered us and loved on us when we had him.  (This includes my parents and my in-laws who are out of state but mailed us very wonderful things to the shower!) And now we're having another "him" and needing very little, but the gifts we received were so snuggly, so precious, and sweet and thoughtful, that once I got home to Chad, I was overwhelmed all over again.  I am so blessed by friends who showered us with gifts of blue, and diapers, and gift cards just because they love me and my family.  Seriously, my chest is tight thinking through this.  And I had a hard time falling asleep on Saturday night because of it!

Then in case you didn't know, yesterday was Mother's Day- but Chad declared it Mother's weekend at our house.  So I don't think I fixed a meal all day Saturday or Sunday, I got my hair did, and my feet rubbed, I took naps, I sat on the couch, I carried Max very little, and I got lots and lots of time with Chad and Max.  (Gabe was with his mom this weekend, but before he left, he gave me a flower pot he painted and a book that was precious and hilarious at the same time!)  I did help fold a load of laundry but that was just because Chad was folding laundry when I walked into the room to talk to him and my hands just naturally went to work.  And I only had 2 contractions all day Saturday.  I was loved on and spoiled all weekend, and now I feel rested and ready to conquer the week!

But I'm not done!  Today at work, they had a baby shower lunch for me.  And again, my co-workers are among the people that spoiled me the last time we did this-- less than 21 months ago-- but yet they set up lunch and strawberry cake from Gabriel's (my favorite) AND got me a very generous gift card.

So remember that "Before Jack Arrives" list?  Well I just used several gifts cards and bought everything that was left on my wish list... it should be to us next week.  And let me just say that we don't deserve this- I don't deserve this- I don't need this-- but this is just the way God works. He puts all this love in people's hearts and then it spills out on His children- on me and my children!  So yes, once again I am overwhelmed, but this time I am overwhelmed by kindness. It makes my heart so full to be able to sit back and see just how blessed we are and to revel in such wonderful friendships and relationships.

Thank you God!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bedtime Prayers

Chad is working late tonight, so I had the duty of tucking both boys in tonight.  Usually, we divide and conquer-- Chad puts Gabe to bed and I put Max to bed, so it's not very often that I hear Gabe's bedtime prayers.  But tonight was one of those nights.

I laid Max down first and then headed to Gabe, so that I could actually pay attention to what he was saying... Max thinks when you close your eyes to pray that it means that he should poke them or pull at your face to make you laugh... and let's just say, it's hard to focus!

Anyway, once the blinds were closed, his clothes laid out, his night light on, his cover situated just right, and his glasses on his bedside table, Gabe was finally ready to pray.  He bowed his head and prayed about the BMX bike tricksters that visits the 2nd grade today.

He said, "Dear God, thank you for those bike tricksters and that they tried their hardest- thank you that they dreamed in the hearts to 'intalent' us kids (no, I don't know what intalent means...your guess is as good as mine...).  Thank you that we can do whatever we put our minds to, and whatever we dream, as long as we try our best.  Amen."

UGH!  I was exhausted, I had the finish line in sight, I was almost done for the night- I didn't want to have the conversation that needed to follow that prayer.  But 5 minutes prior I had just prayed over Max, "God, thank you for blessing me with this baby, help me to be a mommy who makes wise choices, who doesn't take the easy way out, and is committed to leading him to You".  That prayer went for Gabe too-- but I'm tiiiirrrreeeeedddddd <-- that's how I demonstrate whining while typing.

And Gabe says the "I tried my best" or "I'm going to try my best" or "As long as I try my best" line ALL the time and it makes me want to gag.  I wasn't sure if I had enough patience in the moment to have a conversation that built him up- made him a better man- instead of just getting on a soap box.  I want Gabe to know the fullness of God, I want him to take responsibility for his actions- his wins and loses, his good grades and bad grades, his wise choices and unwise choices, and I feel like the "trying his best" is just a cop out from all that.  Was I really going to go there, now?  Couldn't it wait until another time?

But no- I had just told God to use me to lead these boys, I had asked Him not to let me take the easy way out- and I meant it.

So no easy way out for me.  Instead, I turned Gabe's light back on and said,  "Gabe, none of what you prayed is what we believe." He gulped. I went on to explain that God gave us every thought, every muscle, every ability, and every talent, and He is the only one who gets the credit-- not us.  I tried to gently tell him that believing in your own abilities, dreaming in your heart, and trying your best means nothing-- it is God and only God who makes anything AND everything possible-- He even gives us our ideas and dreams.  Gabe merely batted his long eye lashes at me.  So I went one step further and explained that is our job to practice hard, and study, and do what we can to learn and perfect our talents- but that it's only possible with God.  And I ended by saying that God is the only thing that matter-- it's our job to give Him all the credit.

Honestly, Gabe still didn't respond much.  He just nodded and pulled his cover up to his chin.  So I turned his light back off, and kissed his head and turned to walk out of the room-- and it hit:  "Um self, don't you think you need to take your own words to heart?"  How often do I "trust" my own abilities or get caught up in thinking I'm in control?  Even yesterday, I blogged about how I was going to cut my activity to keep this baby in... and never once mentioned the Lord, the giver of every breath... the sustainer of pregnancy... um, why yes, I did leave Him out and decided to "try my very best" instead.

And that is why being a parent is awesome-- you get humbled often-- knocked to your knees regularly, and shown by your kiddos just how much you need God.  So hopefully Gabe "got" some of what I was trying to tell him tonight, but regardless, my sweet Jesus used Gabe to speak to my heart-- words I needed to hear!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Little Scare

So I've mentioned like 100 times that this pregnancy is totally different!  It's been great and easy and has just flown by... until a couple days ago. On Thursday I started feeling "off"- sometimes I'd have weird pain, sometimes I'd get clammy and dizzy, and sometimes I'd just feel like I was going to throw up.  I've had no appetite and really really bad heartburn, too.  And I've been having lots and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions.  Some of them have been really strong too-- not painful, but enough to catch my breath or stop me in my tracks.

So the side story, is that at my 28 week appointment, when I was telling my midwife how great I was, etc... she told me that technically it was time for me to start coming every 2 weeks-- but since this was #2 and since I was doing so well, that I could stretch the next appointment to 3 or 4 weeks.  And when I went to set the appointment, I was set on getting one with her because she is my FAVORITE, so it actually ended up being 5 weeks later-- at 33 weeks.... which is/was scheduled for tomorrow....

So back to being "off"-- I finally called the office and spoke with a nurse and told them what was going on, and they had me come in today.  And then all morning I basically had non-stop contractions.  It was the most intense that it had been- but still wasn't painful or actual labor.

So by now, it's probably obvious that I'm a worrier.  Apparently, I get this from my great grandmother Lucille-- my Dad calls me Lucille anytime I start to get worked up or nervous or anxious.  It's his way of telling me to calm down.  For instance, the other night, when there were storms across the south, as soon as our sirens started going off, me and the boys went to sleep in the garage (where our house is underground) while Chad went outside to watch!  If someone says they'll be here at a certain time and then they are late and not answering the phone, I assume it's a car wreck, etc etc etc.... WORRIER!

So anyway, by the time I was getting close to the doctor, I had myself so worked up that I was sure that I was going to have to have a c-section today, birth a 4 lb baby, stay in the NICU for weeks, and barely be able to hold myself together-- all while Chad was working and unable to make it to the hospital-- because that's realistic, right??

Anyway, I have started to dilate slightly, and I am having a lot of contractions, but the baby is under no stress, his heart rate is wonderful, and I show no signs of real labor.  So I have to 1) eat more protein 2) drink more water 3) cut my activity in half.

Did you read number 3?  Um.... I have a 20 month old-- how exactly should I go about explaining that to him?  And what about the laundry?  And dinner?  Do you think my family will be ok with no dinner or clean clothes for the next 7 weeks?  I kid, because obviously, it just needs to be a temporary life style change and Chad and Gabe are already helping tremendously-- but the thought of cutting my "activity level" in half, with my personality, just makes me chuckle.  And makes me crazy.

But the bottom line, as my doctor said, is that my body is telling me something, and I can either react to it now, or be put on bed rest-- my choice.  Um......... I choose to take it easier. She also thinks I'll easily make it full term if I just adjust a bit-- so really-- this is not a big deal, and maybe even a blessing in disguise that I'm required to chill out, but I did pull a Chicken Little today as I drove and convinced myself that surely the sky was falling.