8.02.2015

Babyham #4-- 2nd Trimester & Baby Names

Today I am 14 weeks.  
Officially, by all accounts, in my second trimester.

A month before I got pregnant, my penpal Annie (hi, Annie!) sent me this card from Saint Gianna.  She had gone to see (and touch) some of Saint Gianna's belongings and sent me the card with prayers for my fertility.  That month I got pregnant (for the third time with my fourth child) and so far, it's all going beautifully.  My body is sore, I am nauseous, and I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. All good signs, I think.

I am grateful to have made it through the first trimester, but hitting my second is bittersweet.  Josh leaves in two weeks, and will be gone for the majority of it.  He won't be back again until Halloween, and at that point, I will be a week away from the third trimester.  It's crazy to think of time that way.  

While he's gone, though, I will have the big 20 week ultrasound to look forward to.  I have trouble imagining it could be a girl, so my assumption is that it will be a boy.  But, to be fair, with my other pregnancies (the twins' and Wyatt's) I was SURE I was having a girl, and they were all boys.  So basically, my mother's intuition means nothing in this case!

We have quite the list of boys names, and girls names, but there are more boy names I love than girl names.  So if you have suggestions (for either), I'd love to hear them.  I would like something that sounds good with the boys' names, and preferably that doesn't start with their initials (L, J, or W).  Although that said, I love the name Leah, which obviously starts with L. So the "rules" aren't too strict. ;)

*BOYS:
Reid
Nolan
Sam
Frankie
Leo
Theodore "Teddy" or "Theo"
Owen
Bryce
Franklin
Thaddeus "Thad"

Possible Middle Names:
Joseph
Samuel

*GIRLS:  (Not in any particular order)
Leah
Shelby
Bailey
Maggie
Claire
Caroline
Lucy
Hadley
Miriam
Carly
Natalie
Aimee
Nadine
Gretchen
Ramona
Sophie
Molly
Megan
Rowena
Genevieve
Eleanor
Kate
Kaitlin

Possible Middle Names:
Magnolia
Cordelia
Jubilee
Marigold
Dahlia
Pansy
Honora

Can't wait to hear your suggestions!

*Important to note: Josh has not necessarily approved all of these.

7.26.2015

Sweet, Funny & Hard Parenting Moments


Today I took my boys to run errands.  Lots and lots of errands. In the rain.  I don't know if it was the rain, my nausea or the laundry list of errands we had to run, but things did not go well.  Twice I found Wyatt before me on the floor, belly down, full-on tantruming.  In public.  More than twice the twins hit one another, and even more than that I found myself feeling embarrassed about my lack of control of my offspring.

That said, this is the first time in four years they have had to run an entire days' worth of errands with me.  And a lot of what is "normal" to me or you is, in fact, foreign to them.  So it is going to take days like these for them to acclimate to our surroundings.  And while I understand that mentally, emotionally, taking the time to teach them my expectations and all the social rules to go along with each errand we run, is exhausting.

Midday we took a break for lunch here at home and I gave them some much needed quiet time to watch a movie and relax before we finished the rest of my never-ending list.  After our respite, things picked up, thankfully, and we managed to get everything done.  

Then at bedtime, it was like, we had clicked.  It took a lot of arguing and parenting and quite honestly frustration, but I think we found our "city stride" by the end of the day.  As I sat reading to them, I could feel it.  They were calm, knowing who was in charge and what the expectations were; and I was calm, knowing that despite the challenges, I can indeed run errands with three rambunctious boys and come out smiling on the other side.

That said, I am working really hard on what I want the fall to look like.  Part one involves me waking up before the children. (Cue crying...) But seriously-- I am such a better mom when I'm awake before them.  During that time I will alternate meditating with journaling and bible study.  Part two involves going outside or working out everyday.  I know it will help me have more energy for the boys, and is also really good for pregnancy.  Part three is making water consumption and sleep a priority.  Early bedtimes and my hot pink water bottle will be my new best friends. 

I want to be the best mom I can be so I can enjoy the boys every moment.  I want to keep gathering funnies (like those I am about to share with you) and keep laughing along with these hilarious people I get to raise.  A plan for the future makes that about a hundred times more likely.

And now on to the funnies:

My nephew got a new cat a while back and the twins talked a lot about the new cat at Nanny's house.  Jack could never get Bamboo's name right and called him "Bambooba". I don't know why, but this tickled me to no end.

One week we learned in homeschool about the Venus fly trap (a plant that eats live insects).  While we were talking about the Venus fly trap, Wyatt said, "It's called Venus. Like Venus the moon." He meant the planet, but I thought it was cute. He was so close!

Wyatt says a lot of grown up things that just sound adorable coming out of his four year old mouth. "Of course" and "Actually" are two of my favorites.

During homeschool at the end of the year the boys spent a lot of time messing around, not focused, stretching their blessed mothers' patience.  I called them on it, announcing I had had enough of them "farting around', and let's just say that did not rectify the situation.  The boys thought I was hilarious and would not stop saying "farting around" and giggling uncontrollably.  Sigh. Boys.

During school one day I was asking the boys a question from their grammar book:
What are boys with the same mother and father called? 
"Twins!" they shouted in unison. It was hilarious.
Brothers, of course, was the correct answer. So we had to talk about the distinction between twins and brothers.

In Alaska in the spring I caught Jack stacking a stool on top of a kitchen chair so he could reach something on top of the refrigerator.  I said, "Jack! Do you think that's safe? What do you think will happen if you do that?"  He looked at me, more than slightly disgusted, shook his head and murmured, "Poke plane".  There is, of course, no hospital in our village, so our kids know that if something severe happens, it will require a Medivac flight and we have attempted to minimize dangerous behavior by telling them they will get shots (AKA "pokes") on the medivac.  Can't blame a girl for trying... even if it doesn't seem to be working!





The boys love hearing stories about my childhood.  Their favorites are the ones where I was naughty.  I told them one story about how my brothers' alarm was going off one morning and it was driving me nuts. So I snuck in his room and turned it off.  Later, when he was late for school because he never woke up, I kept mum about my involvement.  So when my parents were planning their visit, Logan wrote them the note above to tell on me:  "Nanny and Papa, mom turned off the alarm."

Logan & Jack are "colorblind", and most recently Logan tried to convince me that since he is colorblind, he can't read word "color".  Nice try, kid.

Wyatt's favorite thing to ask (anyone, any time) lately is, "Will you play with me?"  He doesn't care who you are or what you'll play.  If you're willing, he wants you to play with him!

In addition to the boys making me laugh or making me proud, I've had a few moments where I've been proud of myself.  I think as a mom it's important that we keep track of our awesomeness (as it were) just as we do our kids.  Back in April Jack was trying to fill their bedroom humidifier.  He got it all the way full, then it slipped out of his hands and shattered into pieces on the bathroom floor.  I looked at his face (broken in it's own way) and told him, "It's alright buddy. You were just trying to help."  The funny thing is that by reacting in grace, I fueled good parenting for days afterward. I loved how I felt about myself when I didn't automatically lose my temper.  I saw what happened for what it was-- an accident-- and extended him what I myself would have wanted-- love & forgiveness.  It was great.

When we ride bikes to the post office in our village, I always find Logan looking back for me.  He's never out of my sight.  I love him for so many reasons, but one is his ability to always be looking out for everyone else.  He's constantly counting heads and making sure he's got all his ducks in a row.  And if one of his brothers ventures too far?  They will for sure hear about it.  I just love his caring nature, and that sweet head check he does when we're on a ride.

Wyatt hit the whole independence thing a bit late, but now he is big into "doing it myself".  I am trying really hard to have the patience to let him, because how else will he learn? But sometimes he will undo what I just did because he had wanted to "do it himself" and that is incredibly frustrating!  Especially when it's the shoes I just put on him so we could head out the door!



The twins were eating something we didn't think Wyatt would like (and quite frankly I didn't want him to have for fear he would choke) and Jack told him, "Wyatt, it's too hard for you cause you don't have your molder teeth yet."

Wyatt still wears diapers at night, so in the morning when he takes it off, we sometimes just throw on his pj botoms without any underwear.  One morning he was laughing when he told me, "Mom my pants are being stickable."  I asked what he meant and then he showed me. He had a wedgie. It was pretty adorable and hilarious!

Wyatt was playing with these tiny minions he has when he sneezed.  He looked at them and said, "There's some achoos for ya, minions".

We were driving to the mall the other day and we drove under an overpass.  He said, "Mom, we're not going on the highway?  Only the low way?"

Another time we were driving he said randomly, "Papa has no hair," Then thought for a minute and followed that statement with, "He's blind???"  Bald, I corrected him. Papa is bald.

The twins were talking about playing with something they weren't supposed to, and Wyatt confirmed what they were telling him asking, "So you "snook" it?"

Driving with the kids this summer has been interesting.  They don't remember the rules of the road and have spent nine months riding only occasionally in the school truck a mile down the road to the co op.  They are constantly asking questions about the law, about traffic lights and police officers.  Wyatt's new favorite is to ask if I'm going the "right speed miles an hour?"

There are some things the kids say that I just know I'll be sad about when they correct them.  The other day Logan was so excited about a ball he caught, he ran over to me shouting, "Mom, I catched it!"

At the grocery store the other day, Logan was asking for a sap apple saple.  I was like, what in the world is this child talking about?!? Finally it clicked. He was asking for a Snapple. It was so cute that he was so close.

A lady at the park was visiting with Logan (the kid doesn't know a stranger) and he told her were from Alaska.  When she asked what part of Alaska we lived in, he responded, "We live in real Alaska." I don't know where he got that, but I have to say I agree with him. 

The twins have become quite the little fish this summer and while at the river, Jack was seeing how long he could his breath under water.  My dad counted and when Jack came up, he was disappointed with the number.  So he told him, "Count faster this time, Papa!"

Wyatt and I found a ladybug who was not doing so well at the beach while we were camping.  He was very concerned for her and we did our best to let her wing dry out and kept her out of the sand.  Later at campfire he was telling Josh about it and he said, "She only had four legs and a broken wing, the poor little bugger."

As I said, every time we get in the car is an adventure with the kids.  Well, the other day a woman thought I was too far past my stop line (admittedly, I was past it, but not that far, and not on purpose) so she drove by with her window down (as were ours) and she screamed, "Idiot!!!!" at me.  We talked a lot about how people make mistakes and that doesn't require name calling, and that we weren't going to let it ruin our day.  Logan said, "Yeah, but it does kind of make you want to do it back."  Then he thought for a minute and followed with, "But then you'd be acting just like them."  I was so proud of him for making the connection that being mean back doesn't make you even, it just makes you mean, too.  After that, Jack said, "The lady that called you an "idiot" was a g-r-c, mom."  It took me a minute to figure out what he was phonetically trying to spell.  (j-e-r-k)

My goal to keep the kids hilarity  in the forefront of my mind this fall (when I am in the trenches alone).  It will get me through!

7.25.2015

Hulk Wyatt



In case you needed a smile this Saturday afternoon.
You're welcome.

***

(Costume courtesy of the Tucker cousins)

7.22.2015

Tailgatin'

{Wyatt, Milo, Logan, Ferris, Jack}
 Summer 2013

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{Wyatt, Ferris, Jack, Milo, Logan}
Summer 2014

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{Ferris, Jack, Milo, Logan, Wyatt}
Summer 2015

7.21.2015

Grandma's Garden

I've had quite a few people reach out to me, sharing their stories, their strength and their bravery, and I am so grateful.  When it comes to the future, I am scared.  I am nervous.  I am doubting my ability to raise these three boys well without the constant presence of their father.  But everyone keeps telling me I can do it; reminding me of my strength and encouraging me to be brave.  I did it before, and I can do it again.

This quote is my new favorite for when I think of life four weeks from now:

"So, here I am telling you to HANG IN THERE!

You can do this-- whatever it is you are going through.

Even if you can't control your situation, you can control your thoughts,

your actions, your smiles, your laughter, and how you deal with your trials."

-Stephanie Nielson

Being apart may not be the best situation, but I can make the best of the situation.  I have our homeschool curriculum ordered, plans already in place to start chore charts and allowance for the kids, as well as high hopes for Josh's many trips home.

I should find out what we're having in September (eek!), which will give me something to look forward to.  And I have made the decision to stay with my in-laws instead of finding our own place. A big backyard for the boys to play in was tempting, but when they all got sick yesterday, and I saw what a nightmare dealing with that by myself would be, I felt instantly humbled and grateful that they would be willing to let us stay.  I prayed a lot about the decision, balancing the idea of our own space with what the kids will need, and the answer came loud and clear last night.  While navigating relationships and sharing space is not easy, those boys are going to need all the loving they can get, and you just can't beat a grandma's love.  Josh's mom was overjoyed at our decision to stay, and we are both looking forward to the fall, when we can settle into a routine after the chaos of summer.

We had our first prenatal appointment today, and got to hear Babyham's heartbeat.  What a sweet sound that is.  I am twelve weeks now which is exciting, and we found out that my c-section will most likely be scheduled for 39 weeks.  I was glad to nail that down so that Josh can schedule his flight home and (fingers crossed!) not miss it!  I will have a third c-section because after one failed VBAC I am once burned, twice shy!

All in all I am doing well.  I know that it will be hard (so hard) when Josh is in Alaska.  I will miss him... the boys will miss him... he will miss us...  But I also know that we can do hard things.  And if this is what it takes to get Baby #4 here safely, then I am willing to do it. 

"May your choices reflect your hopes,
not your fears."
-Nelson Mandela

***

{Photos courtesy of Carol's garden}

7.16.2015

How I'm Doing

Whew. Well, it's been a while. I always know my brain is too full or my heart too emotional when I don't blog regularly.  Right now it's a bit of both.

The pregnancy is moving right along. This weekend will be twelve weeks.  I am so darn anxious to hit the second trimester, and to hear the baby's heartbeat again at my appointment next week.  I'm ready for some peace of mind.

*

One month from now, Josh will be leaving Washington.  The rest of us will not.  The boys and I will stay behind this school year.  While this breaks my heart (I hate the idea of our family being apart) I know it's what is best for both the boys and myself.  For the boys, being in town means extracurricular activities to enhance their homeschool experience; the chance to be in swim lesson and on t-ball teams; and the opportunity to be around their extended family.  For myself and Babyham #4, being in town means a safe pregnancy, near medical clinics & hospitals, as well as the support of my friends & family.  Between my anxiety, my depression and the miscarriages last year, I just don't think I can face another winter in rural Alaska.  

I will miss Josh incredibly while he's in the village, but he plans to come home to visit often and we're hopeful it will just be this one year spent apart.  

*

We are currently staying with my in laws, although we've looked at a few places to rent, hoping to find somewhere with a big backyard.  I'm just praying God places us exactly where He thinks we should be, and am trusting the journey in the meantime.

*

I am emotional (see above about raising our three boys without Josh for nine months while I grow this baby) and cry at the drop of a hat.  Songs on the radio, commercials on TV, stories about my nephew and his humongous, tender heart... All of it makes me cry.  At camping last week, I cried because I forgot our boys' baseball gloves.  

*

I have been struggling with the concept of hope the last few weeks. I know that being superstitious won't make the baby stick.  I know that, truly I do, but I still find myself not wanting to do certain things for fear that I will end up miscarrying.  For instance, I haven't bought a single thing for this baby. Not one. I haven't even bought a Pregnancy Journal, and for those who know me, this is unheard of.  

My sister, bless her heart, bought me a footy pajama to hang in my room, so I do have one item for this little babe. It brings me such joy each day to wake up and see it.  It's like I think if I don't buy things for the baby, or jot down notes about the pregnancy in a Pregnancy Journal, then I won't be upset when if I lose it.  (See, I even typed "when" I lose it, not "if".)  But we both know that whether I have a nursery set up or not, my heart will be decimated.  It must be some kind of maternal heart protection.  Maybe once I get out of the danger zone I will venture into the newborn section & pick out some onesies.

*

In the meantime, I grateful for every day that I get to carry this baby in my body.  Even if the pregnancy doesn't end with a healthy baby, this pregnancy has been a miracle, every day that it's lasted.  And that is not lost on me.

7.10.2015

First Trimester

Thank you all, so much, for your kind words, your prayers and your excitement about baby #4.  We are all very excited as well.  (Even Wyatt has come around and says a baby would be alright, as long as it's a boy.)  The twins can't wait to help with the baby and I am just praying to make it through the first trimester.  (I'll be eleven weeks tomorrow.)

One day at a time. 

I'm taking the crazy nausea I've been suffering as a good sign (Josh got me Preggy Pops yesterday and I'm praying I find relief from them) and I'm hopeful it continues if it means I'm not going to lose this one as well.

Everyone has been asking if I'm hoping for a girl.  The truth is, yes, I'd love a daughter.  But I also think there's something special about being a "boy mom" and four boys, while a handful, would be kind of neat.

I promise to keep you all posted as the pregnancy progresses. 
Here's to a healthy baby!

7.05.2015

Our family is growing...

These boys are going to be big brothers...

Baby #4 has a beautiful little heartbeat 
and is expected to join us January 2016. 

***

7.03.2015

The River

The river is our favorite place to be on hot days...
and since we got to Washington, it's been day after day of glorious sunshine.

We especially love when we can go there with some of our favorite people.  
{Cousins Ferris}
{Cousin Milo}
{They were panning for gold!}

{Could these two be cuter?!?}
{Love their team work}

{My sister Roxanne & her youngest Milo}


{Love that boy & his mama!}
The feeling of the sun warming my freckled skin while I read a good book beside the Washougal River is one I pull up from my memory many times during the long, dark winters in Alaska.  The river and I were overjoyed to be reunited!

Turns out Jack is brave like his mother.

We both love catching crawdads.



They made Milo a "pool".  He was tickled.



I swam out to "the rock" this particular day and the boys were so adorable, cheering and counting down my jump.  I stood there feeling so proud to be their mama.




***

My boys-- I love the river so much, and I love sharing that love with them.  They are all three fish, and it is so fun to watch them swim, collect rocks and jump off "the rock" just like I did as a child.

And these two, that share my love of the river? I love being there with them, too! (My mom also loves the river, but she wasn't here this day!)



{Jack, Ferris, Milo, Wyatt & Logan}

"The tans will fade,
but the memories will last forever."

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