Asher & Ezekiel’s Simple TMNT Party

Of course, 10+ months ago I had this elaborate birthday party theme planned out for the boys and spent a chunk of time collecting random things in stores and pinning ideas on Pinterest… And THEN. 

BOOM.  Pregnant again, and due in January – AGAIN.  haha.  (I swear, we don’t plan it this way.)

The idea of doing any sort of party with anything crafty made me want to curl up and cry.   Just couldn’t do it this year.  At least not right now.  So, we compromised and decided we’ll try out a fun, big party for the boys’ half birthday – in June/July.  I’ve always wanted to try a summer birthday party, and with being 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the party AND having just moved into a project house a couple months prior – I figured, what better time and excuse than now!

So instead of “over-doing” it… I major “under-did” it.  And it was awesome.  Part of me missed the craft time I get while prepping for parties and the creative outlet that it provides me, but the other part of me was overjoyed to take a trip to Target, pick up a few things and call it good! 

In December, the boys all the sudden became obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even though they had no idea what it was.  A few friends had a few TMNT memorabilia, but otherwise they had no experience with it.  I bought them a DVD with the old skool 90’s cartoons of them for Christmas, and daddy bought them TMNT swords and nunchucks, because he loves any excuse to buy them more “boy toys” and fighting utensils, and any excuse to give mama more gray hairs!  ;)  They have increasingly loved TMNT since December, so it was easy to pick that as a simple party theme – especially since it’s rampant in the stores right now.

I picked up some TMNT plates, some forks in all 4 TMNT colors, green plastic table cloths, some green streamers and a green window marker.  Done and doooooone.

I spent less than an hour “decorating” and setting up, called in for pizza’s (because, duh?  What else would TMNT’s eat?!), cut up some fruit and veggies and waited for our party peeps to arrive.  Because this was a much more scaled back, relaxed party (and since we’ll still have a big party for them this summer), we kept it to our family and each boy could have their best friend (and their family) over.

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Reflection photo op!  Two of my best girls! :)

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This crew, while we love them so, has some serious array of allergies!  A couple allergic to nuts, an egg allergy, a couple allergic to dairy and some that prefer gluten free in there too… so when it comes to birthday cake – I have a dilemma every year!  I spotted a TMNT cake at WinCo, but knew I couldn’t just do a sheet cake because of allergies.  So I asked about buying the cake toppers only (and they let me!) and made a vegan cake at home. 

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Zeek’s a pro at blowing out candles by this point in time, but Asher still needs some help.  :)

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Cake was a success!

They had no probs ripping into their gifts.  :)

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presents 4Each boy got a new pirate ship from Grandma and Grandpa.

The kids all vanished into the playroom after gifts, and all of us adults enjoyed the quiet(er) side of the house in the living room, just sitting and chatting.  Can I just say how much I love my house?  This party made me love it even more.

 

 

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Asher got a new pirate sword for a present and he had no problems keeping up with the big boys!

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Auntie Angela and Asher

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The coolest dude at the party!  He always is finding his pockets to put his hands in.

And by the end of the night, the men found themselves congregating in the playroom all by themselves.  :)

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Thankful for a mellow party, amazing family and friends, and a good and simple birthday party.  Can’t believe my men are FOUR and TWO!  Yikes. 

The One Where I’m Almost Done.

Please?  Please can I be almost done? 

You know, with pregnancy.

This is the first pregnancy that I have felt this way about.  With the other two, I was feeling comfortable enough, stable enough and was like, whatever!  I feel fine!  Baby comes when baby wants!  This time?  Notsomuch.  More like, “OMG baby, you’re killing me here.  GET OUT!”  I can’t walk, I can’t sit, I can’t lay down without pain.  I’m an emotional basket-case (just ask Skyler.  And my poor neighbor who came over to say hi to me today and I just got the waterworks and cried to her for 10 minutes instead.  *whoops* Sorry to put you through that Michelle, when all you wanted was to say hi!  What a pal.).  Yet, on the other hand, I’m not ready.  I feel myself being anxious about a few things that I wasn’t anxious about with the other births.  In some ways, I’m not mentally ready to give birth. 

This has been the least prepared for a birth that I have ever been.  Both mentally and materialistically.  I’m now 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, and… maybe I’m ready for this baby… mostly.  Sorta.

+My bff (and my mother) insisted I pack my bags and baby bags the other day and loaded them in the car.

+Both bff and my mom have come over and both spent like 5-6 hours on different days with me stocking my freezer with meals.

+I bought a baby cradle for our bedroom, washed the sheet and it’s ready for a newborn. (oh *ahem* except for the fact that Skyler completely cleared out the baby room yesterday to finish up painting in the closet, sanding the floor and touching up the trim, and now the cradle is filled will some stuff from the baby room…)

+We got the car seat out of the basement and washed the seat cover, moved car seats around in the van and got everything ready to go.

+I washed and folded the nb clothes.

+I stocked up on diapers (for baby and Asher), wipes, toilet paper and paper towels (for our homemade wipes).

+I’ve done my best to stay up on laundry so that it’s not a mountain overflowing as soon as baby is born.

+We DO NOT have names picked out.  Lord, help us.

+And I’ve said a prayer (and a dozen more) that this birth doesn’t go like Asher’s did.  And that I have full confidence in my body’s ability and in God’s protection over me and baby.

With that… I think I’m about as prepared as I can be.  So, come on baby.  Join this crazy crew!  The birth suite awaits…  :)

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The Christmas Post

…the post that’s a few weeks old…

My goodness – I DO miss the days of regular blogging and actually getting things posted in a timely manner.  I feel like it’s been the entire duration of this pregnancy that I have been so slow in my blogging (and mostly because I’m just too dang tired to wake up at my usual 5-5:30 for some quiet mama time.  Instead, most mornings I’m in bed until the littles make me get up! :P).

Regardless… I still gotta get things documented!  Or I’ll forget.  Thank you, online journal, for helping this getting-older-every-minute mama keep track of our family memories!

And so.  Here is Christmas.  In mid-January. 

Skyler was so lucky to have had Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day off this year (he had to work Christmas Day last year).  We knew Christmas Day would be pretty busy and with the boys being older and more into Christmas and understanding what it is, we wanted to have some dedicated “Family of Four” time for our own Christmas.  So, this year, we decided to make Christmas Eve our day.

I woke up first and just enjoyed sitting by the glow of the lights from the tree, the mantle and the fireplace.  Finally.  My Christmas tree didn’t get up until about 3 days prior this year, because of all the house remodel.  So I sat and stared and really took in those beautiful white lights and my newly furnished living room.

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After the fam woke up, I made them all a big Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs and avocado, breakfast sausage, zucchini bread, oranges and orange juice.  Even fancy with a table cloth! ;)

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Then, we moved on to the highly anticipated moment!  Presents!

The boys were SO excited and had the hardest time waiting a few days prior to give daddy the present that they picked out for him and wrapped entirely on their own.

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They had picked out two new pairs of “match-match” aka, basketball shorts, which are their (and daddy’s) favorite thing ever.  They could seriously hardly contain themselves as they gave it to him.  Too precious.

Then they dove into their presents and were tickled with their new books, games and clothes.   Asher is a freaking pro at un-wrapping a gift.  He caught on quickly.  :)

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Daddy was just as excited to give them his present as they were to open it.  Maybe more.

What is it, what is it?!

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Oh, blow darts.  Thanks dad. 

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Not pictured: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles swords and nunchucks.  Mama’s thinking there’s gonna have to be a toy box that comes out only when dad is playing with them.  I don’t feel up to the challenge of having to break up multiple battles and kiss the many battle wounds. 

After lunch and naps, the boys all spent the afternoon/eve playing in the playroom with their new toys while I spent my time in the kitchen preparing my portions of breakfast, dinner and treats for Christmas Day with my family.

Christmas morning came quick and we all gathered around my mom’s table:

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After breakfast, Skyler had to show all the kids his new little toy – a self dispensing mentos contraption that makes soda shoot in the air.  Skyler will forever be a kid in that way of loving simple science experiments.  :)

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Pure joy.

The kids could hardly stand it any more, so we moved inside for presents.

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Around 1 pm, we were still lounging around opening presents and Asher hopped up on daddy’s lap.  He started mindlessly combing through Asher’s hair with his fingers…

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And 15 minutes later?  Out cold.  :)  (err… hot).

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The rest of the day was a lazy hang around, movie watching, toy playing and some more grazing of food.  :)  Was a very enjoyable and relaxing Christmas!

And now, *whew*, I can move on to posting about January events. :P

Asher Milo, 2 Years Old

On Friday the 2nd, we celebrated Asher’s 2nd Birthday!

Little Ash Bug,

You, my dear, have been a super fun one year old – but the time has come to celebrate your 2ND birthday! 

I think this year, mama was much more aware of your birthday and what it means.  I think last year when you turned one, I was still in a fragile emotional state and still reeling from the difficult first year that we had with you.  This year – I was able to be much more present and aware of your birth and your life and the fact that you actually are alive.

This year (and I’m not sure if it will be this way every year or not), I thought and thought about your birth and how we thought you were dead when you came out.  How purple you were.  How lifeless.  How in those moments that felt like forever, I already had a million thoughts running through my head – like how we were going to cope and how we were going to tell your anxious big brother that you weren’t going to be with us.

But little Asher Milo – my little ‘happy warrior’ - thank you for “warrior’ing” on and fighting to be with us.  Thank you for being so strong, even in those first moments on earth!

Buddy, this past year with you has seen some challenges as well, but compared to your first year it’s felt like a cake-walk.  You starting napping and sleeping really well around 15-16 months and finally life felt a little more normal.  You started walking at 14 months which opened up a whole new realm of entertainment for you, as you could finally toddle after big brother and you became less needy of mama.  You and Zeek started really bonding and enjoying playing together.  You started speaking really early and knew several words already at 12 months (probably a good thanks to Zeek who, at 3, had quite the extensive vocabulary). 

You only continued to speak more and more and more and by 18 months, you were saying 3-4 word sentences and were quite vocal about what you liked and disliked and wanted or didn’t want.  :) 

Now, at 2 years old, you are constantly talk-talk-talking.  Telling big brother your opinion, asking for foods or activities, and telling half stories to mom or dad about your day. 

Some of my favorite Asher-isms and quirks (though I wish I could portray your facial expressions through words, because that’s at least half the cuteness):

  • When you’re hungry or thirsty: “I hungy, mama!  I hungy!” or replace hungry with “tursty”.  Spoken with much emphasis, much like the little roly pup from 101 Dalmations. 
  • “Tuddle me!”  Spoken to either mom or dad.  You love to cuddle.  Possibly even more than your father, which I didn’t think was possible.
  • Shivering after a shower and racing to the living room, naked, to see if the fireplace is on: “I told, mama!  Make fire!”
  • When talking about the many squirrels in our backyard – they are referred to as escuela’s (at least that’s what it sounds like to me!)
  • Mama?  You know where (insert name) is?”  Often daddy, “Bama” or “Bopa”.  You’ve always gotta keep tabs on those three.  :)
  • When you are helping daddy make pancakes, or anything where you have to stir, you say “mika-mika-mika!” for “mix, mix, mix”.  So darned cute.
  • You make the BEST sideways glance of any kid I’ve ever met.  If you’re doing something really silly or perhaps naughty, or even just sometimes just because – and someone calls you out by name, you slowly dip your head down and even more slowly swivel your face around to look at them out of the corner of your lowered eyes.  It is hysterical to watch and you do this probably at least 3-4 times a day.  It’s easily one of the things that mommy and daddy enjoy most about you right now.  Your comedic timing is outstanding!
  • You mix your foods.  You are the opposite of a kid who doesn’t want food touching.  If you’re food isn’t touching, it’s not good enough to eat yet.  So you “mika-mika” your food until it’s all blended together.  Yogurt and enchiladas.  Hot cereal and eggs.  Anything.  Everything. 
  • You also will dunk ANY food into ANY drink.  (We think you mostly do this to cool down whatever food you’re eating?  But really, you’ll dip anything, hot or cold.)  Burritos in milk.  Sausage and eggs in orange juice.  Gingersnaps in water.  Salmon in sparkling apple cider.  It’s all gross, and you do it all.
  • You love food almost as much as your brother does.  If you see mommy or daddy’s mouth moving in the slightest, or smell anything on our breath (even toothpaste or chapstick), you will look at us, furrow your brows and ask, “What you eating, mom?  Ahh, ahh?”  And ask us to open our mouth to show you.

Some of your favorite things:

  • Yo-durt – yogurt
  • Feeding peanuts to the squirrels… and then racing to the ones you’ve tossed and snatching a few for yourself to snack on.
  • Grabbing one of the many pretend guns (rifle, nerf, lazer – doesn’t matter the variety) and taking a wide stance, holding the gun to your face to look down the barrel, and “shooting” at anything in your vision.
  • Babies.  You love babies.  You want to give them blankets.  And gently rub their arms and legs.  And give their heads kisses.  And rock them if they’re in their car seats.  Or hold and cuddle them if they are being held by someone else. 
  • Collections.  Your collections change throughout the week, but it often is some assortment of a Hot Wheels car, small airplane, a small plastic animal, and then something totally random like an eraser, small box or pom pom.  Whatever your collection is for the day, you carry it everywhere you go around the house.
  • Your Bopa used to be your favorite thing, ever (aside from mom and dad).  He spent an awful lot of time with you this past summer and spring; babysitting and playing with you.  Then in late summer, “Bama” (as you refer to her) stopped working and has been the go-to babysitter…. and sad to say for Bopa, but I’m pretty sure you’ve traded him in for Bama.  :)  You love her.  You love to cuddle her, rock with her and play with her.
  • You love to run!  You run almost everywhere you go.  No walking for you.

We had such a blast celebrating your birthday with you!  (Sorry for the bad pics, bud.  I didn’t want to haul my big camera around all day, so I only have phone pics!).  As per tradition, we started the day with a special mommy-son breakfast.

You and I hit up Busick Court for some delicious omelets and cinnamon roll french toast!

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Then home to pick up Daddy and Zeek, and then we hit the town for more fun!  We started with a couple rides at the Carousel and got you a smashed penny from there to add to your beginning collection. 

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After the Carousel, we ventured over to Wunderland for some arcade fun!  You love pumping those nickels into the games, especially the one where you try to dump the dump-trucks.

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And as a Birthday Treat – you managed to dump one of them and got a ton of tickets!

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Then we went home for naps (yeah, sorry dude, even the Birthday Boy still needs his sleep!).  You and Big Bro woke up to a hallway full of balloons and your presents.

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Afterwards, we headed out for more fun: Birthday Tradition – Chuck E Cheese!  :)

This time we went “all out” and had pizza dinner and got a ton of tokens to play with. 

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Watching Chuck E Cheese come out and do his show!

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You really enjoyed taking rides and playing games.  We hadn’t been here since Zeek’s birthday last year.

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And of course, we had to do our annual Chuck E Cheese photo sketch:

2015:

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2014:

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And I realized that your shirt only caught “I Hit” … which looks terrible.  haha.  For the record, the shirt says, “I Hit Homeruns for Mommy”.  :)

Celebrating you and your birthday was so fun, little man!  You just ate it up!  Daddy and I love you and your happy disposition and funny personality so much!  You are such a joy and make us laugh so much.  Here’s to another year, buddy bear!

Love,
Mom

All I Want(ed) for Christmas…

This post was started on Christmas Eve morning and then before I could finish and post, the littles woke up and the computer was turned off for the last two days.  :)

This Christmas has been a bit unusual in a handful of ways.  Just moving into a house with many many projects, not feeling fully settled yet, big pregnant belly to work around (though I suppose this is the 3rd time this has happened at Christmas time and is almost a norm by this point)… a “stripped back Christmas”, as we’ve been calling it.

No fuss.  Minimal holiday decorations.  Minimal holiday outings instead of here and there and everywhere.  Only one Christmas movie watched, and only watched by the boys.  Even cut back some family gatherings. 

Yet, this has been one of my favorite Christmases.  Low stress, low pressure, low expectations.  Just enjoying the family and our time together, making our new house a home.

Normally, I go all out for holiday decor and make it “just right”.  A perfectly thought-out beautiful tree, decorated entirely by myself and no little hands.  Pretty lights strung up outside.  Christmas treats.  Christmas event after outing after family gathering.  Frustrating stress over presents that “had” to be bought, for people I hardly know. 

This year…. all I wanted was for my tree to be up with lights on it and have my area rug and 2 couches in the living room before Christmas.  That’s all.  None of the other fluff.   Not that the rest is bad, or that I’ll never do it again.  But this year?  This year I just wanted minimal.  I needed minimal.

For our “stripped back Christmas”, I let my perfectionist self take a back seat.  Rather, I made it.

Instead, I spent one afternoon making paper snowflakes with the boys.  Normally, I wouldn’t want to put “ugly” paper on my windows.  This year, I enjoyed how in awe it made the boys to have them watch mom fold up a simple piece of computer paper, make some cuts, and unfold it to see the magical snowflake that appeared.
 

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This year, I let Zeek and Asher decorate the only tree we put up after Thanksgiving – their little 3 ft fake pre-lit tree.  They decorated the window with white die-cut Christmas tree’s hanging in a random array.  They insisted on putting the gaudy lit up candy cane in the window as well.  And this year?  This year, I let them.  I let them have their way with all the decorations.

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We had bought a Groupon for a local Christmas tree farm that we had went to last year as well (and loved) and it expired on Dec. 14th, so we had a little bit of a deadline to get the tree in the living room by that date.

Work wasn’t quite finished by then, but we went and got our tree anyway.  We arrived at the tree lot on the last day, in the last hour.  The boys tromped around and we fairly quickly picked a tree that was perfect for us.  (Quite frankly, I think it’s my favorite tree that we’ve ever picked.)

Our attempt at a sorta-kinda-family-photo (and Zeek, who thinks it’s just hilarious to make faces at the camera…)

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photo 5   And me, wearing the only coat that will still (barely) zip around my belly! :P

The boys both got to help daddy with cutting the tree down:

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Though we got our tree, it still sat in our drive way for 3 days, and then finally was brought up and sat in our dining room for another 3 days, before FINALLY on Monday night, we pulled the tree into the almost-mostly-finished living room and decorated it.  :)

While ornaments ended in clumps in some areas, the boys loved helping me hang them around the tree and “make it pretty”.  And honestly?  It’s one of my favorite tree’s to date.  Love the little hands that helped me decorate.  After the tree was done, they excitedly ran back and forth from the playroom (where all the present had been stored the last few weeks) and the living room, placing each gift under our tree. 

On Christmas Eve eve, we had our own tradition that we started a few years ago of reading the story of Jesus’ birth, opening stockings, and opening one gift of their choosing.

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Tanya, I promise Skyler’s wearing clothes.  I know it seems that I’ve married a nudist.

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Choosing the present they wanted to open… They knew IMMEDIATELY that these ones were more Safari Ltd. Toobs (their favorite toys ever) and they wanted to open these ones. 

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Asher got a Toob of trains and one of “Things in the Air” (airplanes, hot air balloon, jets, bi-planes, etc).  Zeek got one of trees (I know that doesn’t SOUND exciting, but he has several of the animal ones already and asked for the Toob of trees for the animals to hide in!), and Arctic Animals. 

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They loved them and Asher had his favorite trains and airplanes selected quite quickly and was toting them around for the rest of the evening.  :)

Christmas Eve morning, this mama was up early.  Enjoying the still.  The quiet.  The beautiful lights that had so recently graced my living room.  And I waited.  Waited for the little pitter patter of four footie jammie feet coming down the hallway. 

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We had a lovely Christmas Eve eve and “Christmas” morning as our own little family.  Our own little traditions.  Making memories with the boys.  It’s good.  It’s been stripped back… and gooood.   Thankful for stepping back this year, slowing down, and enjoying the family time we had and new traditions we started.

More Christmas to come in the next post.

I Haven’t Forgotten

Hi Sweet Baby,

I bet you think I’ve forgotten you, haven’t you?  I promise you that I haven’t. 

I can see why you would maybe think that – your pregnancy has looked so different than the ones with your brothers did in many ways.  Many life changes have taken place during the last 7-8 months – exactly as long as I’ve carried you so far.  One change being that Daddy and I bought our first house together a little over a month ago.  While we’ve been very busy making our house a home before you come to join us, I still haven’t forgotten. 

In the last week, I’ve been ultra-aware of you and your growth.  When we first moved in (and before), I was a packing/box-schlepping machine.  Your pregnancy hardly affected my ability to work even after we moved in and started remodeling.  I spent multiple 12 hour days working hard at the house.  But this last week?  I feel bigger.  I feel that you are bigger.  While on bended knee painting the trim in the house, I feel you – I feel how low and engaged your head is already and I feel your stretched out feet up in my ribs all at the same time.  While on ladder, painting the door frames and edging the ceiling, I feel you – I know you’re getting bigger because my hand quickly goes numb.  Somewhere, somehow, you’re resting on a nerve of mine that goes out quickly now. 

No, I haven’t forgotten you baby.  In some other ways, I’m so much more keenly aware of you than I was even with your brothers.  You see, I was also the third child for my mama.  I know how it feels to come into the world with not one, but two big siblings to fight for attention over.  To be compared to.  To have to learn to mesh into an already established family.  To be your own person.  I know how it is and will be, little one.  But I also know the joy of coming into a family that is already so full of fun, adventure and love.  In some ways, you’re the lucky one.  Some of the adventures and fun things we waited to do with Ezekiel until he was much older, you won’t have to wait for.  You’ll be thrown right in the mix, right from the get-go.  But baby, I’m gonna fight for you.  Fight for you to have the same excitement, attention, anticipation and celebration as your big brothers had. 

I’ve already been fighting for you.  You see, we weren’t going to do an ultrasound at 20 weeks.  We knew we wanted to wait to find out if you were a boy or girl, so daddy suggested we just skip the ultrasound this time.  I was okay with that decision for a while.  Then I realized that even though you are my third child and yes, we’ve done this gig twice already, it didn’t make me any less excited to see you on the little screen in the doctors office.  I want you to know that you were anticipated just as much as your brothers were.  It took a little convincing Daddy, but by 30 weeks, I was able to get him to understand why seeing you in an ultrasound was not just important to me, but may someday be very important to you – and it’s not something we could ever get back. 

I admit, I was a little terrified of accidentally finding out your gender because of you being so much bigger in my belly – but I learned that it’s the opposite!  Because you were so big already, you kept your lil’ legs closed nice and tightly!  With your brothers, the ultrasound tech knew (even though we didn’t) that they were both boys.  With you, no one knows.  Not even the ultrasound tech.  She said you kept your legs together so tightly the whole time that she never even got a peep of what you were.  :)  That seems special to me.  It was always a weird idea for me with your brothers to know that someone (even a stranger) knew what we were having, yet we didn’t.  I’m so excited that no one knows with you.  You are the ultimate surprise, my dear.  :)

So, if you’re reading this years from now…. are you ready to see yourself?!  (You’re quite blurry, but it’s you!) I hope you appreciate this and the fighting mama had to do for you.  ;)

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I’m not sure why these are so blurry, because we saw you clearly babe.  I loved seeing your little puffy chest and round belly.  I cannot wait to get my lips on them and kiss kiss kiss away on your soft skin. 

I love these two little videos of you:

This one, where you can see you sucking/drinking.

And this one, where you’re just…. there.  :)  There and alive and well.  And that’s really all mama can ask for.

I know I haven’t posted (or taken) many official belly shots with you.  But these are the one’s I do have:

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This is me the day we found out about you.  6 Weeks.  (And wondering why my shorts that I had just bought were feeling snug.) :)

You’ll have to forgive and understand the time gap here in photos.  You, my dear, made your mama SO sick.  I was practically bed-ridden from about 6 weeks until 17+ weeks.   I didn’t get up much.  Or get dressed much.

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About 21 Weeks

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About 24 Weeks, and Aunt Shannon, about 14 weeks.

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Not an official belly shot – but one with two of my favorite people ever (Great Grandpa Earl and Great Grandma Grace).  30 Weeks.

So, child.  Just know that I’ve not only not forgotten about you, but have highly anticipated you as well.  I’ve been waiting for you.  A third child.  This child that I didn’t feel move hardly until close to 20 weeks, when I learned that my placenta is in front of my belly and that I wouldn’t feel you until you were really strongly kicking.  This child that now I feel move constantly; the one who wakes me up in the middle of the night having a disco party in my uterus.  This child that has two sweet and adoring older brothers – ones that love to give you kisses from my belly and mimic your heartbeat that they’ve learned to treasure the sound of.  This child that has no name yet;  I hope when we do name you, that you really love your name.  Naming a child for life is hard, you know? 

I love you baby.  I love you so so much.  As some of my friends who I’ve been pregnant with have recently had their new babies or are anticipating arrival any day now, I’m growing more and more excited for our day to finally come.  Our day to work hard in the most beautiful mother-child dance and finally meet. 

Until then, keep growing, sweet one.  Put on some of that chub that you know I love.  I can’t wait to kiss it all when you come out to say hello.  :)

Love,
Mama

Is it the holidays?

Everyone’s getting their house decorated for Thanksgiving (or heck, even Christmas already), preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner, posting their “Thankful for’s” on Facebook and even posting up their kids’ Christmas wishlists.

Me?  I’m over here like, “Hey-o!  Anyone know where my clean underwear are?  The water pitcher?  How about that stupid toilet scrub brush?!”

I’ve totally made peace with the idea of not decorating for fall/Thanksgiving.  But I’m trying my darnest to be able to at least decorate a little bit for Christmas. 

But right now, this is life:

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Yup, that’s our bed.  In the living room.  It’s what we’ve been calling our “Master” for the last week and a half.  (And hey, I’m not gonna lie: it’s been awesome to pretend that we have a fireplace in our bedroom!)

Why is it there?  Good question.  Something I often forget to tell people stopping by that it’s not a normal thing.  We are still painting the master bedroom so it’s still there, empty.  Not due to Skyler’s fault… due to my own lack of committment on paint color!  (Did you know there’s like 500 bajillion shades of blue, and that for some weird vortex reason that is our bedroom, nothing on the paint card translates the same as when it’s on the wall?  My mind is blown.  And therefore, not made up.)

(Don’t worry, I gave myself a timeline of by the end of today to decide so that Skyler can finish painting in there on his day off tomorrow.)

Though I’ve oddly gotten used to sleeping in the living room and will probably miss it when the bed’s in the bedroom! :P

Meanwhile, after the bedroom is painted, we’ll be moving into the hallway, living room and dining room to paint trim, ceilings, walls and outlet/light switch plates.  And replacing a couple of lights, and possibly adding one more in the entry area.  This area should *hopefully* be less work than the bedrooms because the walls aren’t as trashed and shouldn’t need as much re-texturing, the trim is all good and in place, and there is collectively less trim to paint than in the three bedrooms combined.  *Crossing my fingers that this is actually the case*

For now, everything is smooshed into the playroom.  This is about as clean as it can get for now, and it’s only even THIS clean because my mom, the unpacking/organizing genius, came over the other night and spent a few hours unpacking like 15 more boxes for me and putting things away in my built in desk area and the boys’ toys away.

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After the living room is done being painted, we can get all our furniture moved into place where it SHOULD be and then this room will be mostly empty again… and we can begin in here.  :)  Ripping carpet and replacing with some sort of hard floor, painting, and light fixture changes. 

The work goes on!  But thankfully so do we.

So – if you’re totally soaking up the holiday season that is oh so close to us, please soak in a little extra for me, because chances are, I’m not gonna get much of it this year. 

Progress… Slow Progress.

Well, we have officially owned the house for 2.5 weeks now and progress has been … slow.  :)  Very slow.

There’s a lot to this old house that makes it more of a “go in and paint” situation.  We’ve started with JUST the 3 bedrooms so far and have done this to date:

  • re-texture walls (original plaster walls that had many “flat” spots from previous patch jobs)
  • re-texture ceiling in boys’ room in a 2’x3′ area
  • add 3/4″ round trim to the baseboard in master bedroom and boys’ room to match the rest of the house
  • pull cables and tv jacks (in EVERY room) and patch holes
  • replace some 3/4″ round trim in certain places
  • caulk all baseboards, door trim, window trim in all three bedrooms
  • sand, prime and paint all trim
  • remove doors and closet doors for painting and new ones
  • paint ceilings
  • paint walls
  • remove light fixtures
  • replace with new ones
  • polyurethane the boys’ wood floor in their room

*whew*  I guess that seems like quite a bit once I write it out… even though it doesn’t seem like we’ve done much!

Some of the progress:

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Baby’s room – updated trim and starting on the ceiling.

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Boys’ room – you can see that they USED to have the 3/4″ round trim there too, but was removed at some point, leaving gaps next to the baseboard in parts.

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Skyler replacing the trim.

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Re-texturing the walls!  They were a mess.

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Painting the trim in the boys’ room…

And while we were busy working, the boys were busy doing this:

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Yuuuup.  Destroyed an entire styrofoam insert from one of the new light fixtures, making “snow”.

Fun!

So, Zeek spent the rest of his evening like this:

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And I spent my next while doing this:

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Mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right?! ;)

Also done this week: moving, garage sale at old house and cleaning old house.

Now, back to the new place for an endless list of more work.  Homeownership – WHOOP!  Right?! ;)

Trading Houses

Well, I DID have some other things I was going to share – some beach trips and other fun adventures, but then I got busy.

Busy PACKING!  Whoop whoop!  Yeah buddy! 

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To start the story – we originally started house hunting back in the spring.  We found a house we really liked for a GREAT deal because it was a foreclosure.  We put an offer on it, had the offer accepted and THEN got the inspection report showing mold and standing water throughout the bottom of the house and an estimate of up to 20K to repair the sewer line. 

No thanks.  We backed out.  And stopped house hunting because we felt like we had already looked at everything out there.

Fast forward a few more months.  We found a house in a small town nearby that we ALMOST put an offer on.  We LOVED the house… we just weren’t totally in love with the location.  The night before we were going to put an offer on it, we decided to drive out to it one more time to take a family walk around the neighborhood.  After we took the walk, and reflected on the house, we decided it just wasn’t for us. 

Another month later, and several house viewings later, we found the perfect house for us.  We put an offer on it and a few days (and a bit of negotiating) later and we had an accepted offer!  We went through the long loan process (which felt long, but really wasn’t completely awful – especially since we had the best Mortgage Loan Consultant ever!  But more about her later… :)).  Last week, we closed on it! 

And enter the hard work.  Haha.  We’ve spent the last week + over there working hard to make it shine for us.  It’ll be a fairly good project that will go for a while but we wanted to make it as much of “move-in-ready” for us as possible.  The house has really great bones but is an older house (the 50’s) and definitely shows some of its wear.  Thankfully – the parts that matter, the foundation, structure, floors and roof are in really good shape!  It’s mostly just the cosmetic side of things that need a little TLC.  :)

My friends have been saying I’ve been teasing with not posting any pictures of it… so are ya ready?  Here are the before’s (which aren’t too bad to begin with… just outdated.).

I just realized that I never took any outside pictures yet though… blame the terrible weather we’ve been having on that one! ;)

Here’s the view right as you walk in the front door.  The dining room straight ahead, the living room to the left, the kitchen doorway to the left of the dining room, and the hallway to the beds/bath on the right of the dining room.  (Oh, and um.  Apparently this mommy takes far too many photos of my children, because the second I got my camera out to take some before pics, the boys were hopping in the photos from the right and left and saying “CHEESE!”… so there’s that.)

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The living room:

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The dining “room” again:

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Down the hallway.  Left, bathroom and then master bed.  Right, Boys’ room, baby’s room.

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Bathroom:

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Boys’ Room:

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Baby’s Room:

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Master Bed (nothing terribly “Master” about it, but it certainly gets the job done.):

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Two closets (yay for THAT!):

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And from the dining room looking into the kitchen (which is easily the biggest project in the house… to be done later. haha.  It’s fine and functional for now.  We will be immediately replacing a few appliances that are gross, but we want to live in the space for a while and really think about it before we dive in and redo the room.):

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Eat in kitchen nook, which will be nice to have!

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And, my favorite part of the house, the SELLING point of the house for me…. the PLAYROOM/Homeschool room!  A HUGE 20×20 space with big bright windows, a second fireplace and a built in desk.  Poi-fect!

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The desk needs some help… I mean, this is weird – who puts tiles on a desk top?  (but at least it’s a starting point and it’s THERE.):

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And the fireplace… which needs a little work before it’s totally functional because they had put a weird insert in it that wasn’t certified and it had to be removed before closing:

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And another favorite feature:  a LAUNDRY ROOM.  An actual room, with a door.  The house we’re in now has just a little around the corner nook.  Will be nice to be able to shut the door on it!

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And another half bath:

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Zeek (rightly) calls this the “wooden potty”.  I never think much of it when I see them, because growing up we had a “wooden potty”… but this blew his mind.

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And there you have it!  The other door at the end of the laundry room leads to stairs down to the garage (which is huge and wonderful with a walk in pantry AND a huge crawl space with storage nooks.).  Since it’s under the house though, (we’re on a slope), I usually refer to it as the basement.  :)

I promise I’ll take pics of the outside soon too… right now it’s pretty nasty looking anyway.  Leaves down, unkempt yard.  Will definitely be a spring/summer project for us!

And now the hard part… waiting for all the “after” pictures!  That’ll probably be a while….

Thankfully, Skyler will have mid-Dec through mid-Feb off from school (whoo hoo for semesters instead of terms!) and we’ll be able to crank a lot of projects out during that time while he’s only working his three 12 hr shifts and NOT having homework or anything on his days off.

…. Ok.  I guess I’ve procrastinated packing enough for today.  Back at it.  Womp womp.

 

E.Z. Orchards Pumpkin Patch

At the beginning of October, my MOPS group visited one of the great pumpkin patch’s in our area.  It was a gorgeous (almost a little bit too hot for me) Fall day and the boys were excited to get out there!

Since I’m in the Publicity role of the MOPS leadership this year, I took mostly a bunch of pictures of other people’s kids for our website/blog/FB pages, but I did sneak some cute ones of the boys in there too. 

We visited as a “school tour” and everyone got to pick an apple, a pumpkin, have apple cider AND an apple cider donut!  Asher and Zeek devoured their apples!

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… And picked the world’s smallest pumpkins.  :)

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Can’t believe how grown up my oldest baby looks here!  What is he, five years old?!  *waaaah*  Soon, soon enough.

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Zeek discovered that we didn’t need to spend a quarter to buy goat feed because those darned things liked to eat grass right out of their hands!  Who-da-thunk-it?  ;)   He spent a gooooooooood long time feeding those goats.

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And eventually *tried* to feed the chickens too.

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It was a good morning with the fam at the farm.  I think this will be our only pumpkin patch visit this year, with Skyler having worked every single weekend this month, and most of the festivities going on during the weekends – so we are thankful that MOPS planned this trip for us to go!  We sure love our tractor rides, petting zoo’s and especially those apple cider donuts!! ;)