T-minus 4 weeks

It feels a bit like the final baby countdown is on.

Connor was born at about 37 weeks.  Logan and Camryn were both born just a day before their due date.  Will this little guy hang out until October 11?  Or will he come early?  Who knows!  Part of me really hopes he’s just a week or two early.  I’m trying hard to enjoy these last few weeks, these last baby kicks and nightly hiccups.  But let’s just be real.  This isn’t the most comfortable stage of life.  I can’t wait to be able to bend again, to wear normal clothes, and most of all, to meet this little guy!

This pregnancy has been different from my other three in lots of ways.  My morning sickness was fairly mild (which actually made me think from the beginning that this was another boy.  I was super sick with Camryn.)  But man, the first trimester exhaustion was at an all time high.  And it didn’t end at 12 weeks, but carried on well into the second trimester.  I would crash on the couch every night the minute I got the kids tucked in.  I was worried about the summer, about how I would keep up with everyone and have the energy to get through it.  Luckily, the kids are older which means I can set them up with video games or movies (or a nap for Camryn) and take a nap myself.  I’ve napped more this pregnancy than ever before, which has been a great luxury.

I’ve had only a couple of cravings and food aversions.  I’ve eaten boxes and boxes of cereal.  When nothing else sounded good, I would turn cereal.  My favorite is Life with fresh strawberries.  But really, most of the time, any cereal will do.  I had an aversion to Chinese food for awhile, but I’m back to loving Pei Wei.  The only thing that really turns my stomach is chili.  Even just thinking of it makes me gag a little. Except for a couple of times that I craved chili cheese dogs.  But chili from a can is way different from homemade chili, and it’s the homemade stuff that grosses me out.  So weird.  Because really?  Could chili from a can be any more disgusting?

This little guy seems to be less active than I remember the others being.  It could just be because I’ve been so busy taking care of three other kids, but maybe it just means he’s going to be a super chilled-out, relaxed kid.  That sure would be great!

I’ve had more appointments than ever before.  I’ve always done the first trimester genetic screening, and it’s never turned up anything usual.  This time the results showed a higher risk of Down’s Syndrome than is typical for my age.  And so began the extra appointments with the maternal and fetal specialist.  I’ve had ultrasounds about every 3 weeks since 17 weeks.  Thankfully, everything looks great with our boy–his heart, brain, organs, etc. are all normal.  There are all kinds of markers they look for on the ultrasound for Down’s, and he doesn’t have any of them.  Of course, the only way we can totally rule anything out is with an amnio, but we declined any further testing.  We trust that God is in control and has been from the very beginning.  We love our son, and he is a precious gift no matter what.

The thing with all this testing and ultrasounds is they’ve noticed some things that, to quote the doctor, “may or may not be an issue.”  Our little guy has a calcium spot on his liver.  Not much we can do about that except wait until delivery and have the pediatrician check it out.  The promising thing is one calcium spot isn’t usually a huge deal, or even indicative that there is for sure something wrong.  But it’s there.  About a month ago, my amniotic fluid level was out of the normal range.  Thinking back on my other pregnancies, I think I’ve always had a lot of fluid, but it’s just never been measured or monitored before.  And as of two weeks ago, his belly was measuring a couple of weeks behind the rest of him.  Again, not necessarily a problem, but it’s another thing to keep an eye on.  I now spend about an hour every Friday morning hooked up to monitors for a non-stress test.  Last week was my first one, and it was really so relaxing, plus I loved listening to his heart beat on the monitors.  For the next 4 weeks (or until I deliver) I will have 2-3 appointments every week.  I’m so thankful that the kids are back in school, plus we have wonderful friends who have helped us out so much over the summer!

I should note that my regular ob isn’t too worried about any of this stuff, which is so calming and reassuring.  And except for a few moments of panic and worry about the baby not being healthy, I really have felt such a peace about everything.  It’s totally, 100% out of our hands.  It’s been a huge reminder that God is in control.  There is nothing we can do, and worrying never changes anything.  All we can do is pray and trust.  It’s been a faith building few months for me, and that is always a good thing!

So there you go.  The pregnancy has now been officially blogged.  All that’s left to do is, well, actually a lot.  Finish the room, make sure the pack-n-play/bassinet still function, pack a hospital bag, settle on a name…I’m sure it will all come together in the end.   I can’t wait!

She’s 4!

Okay, so maybe she’s 4 and 2 months now, but better late than never, right?  In my quest to get back into blogging, I figured I could go back and catch up on some big things that happened this summer. And in the world of Camryn, turning 4 definitely falls into the category of Big Things.

We always start with presents first thing in the morning.  She was clearly super excited about what might be inside this one.  I love her expressions!

We are a Lego crazy family, and now she has her very own tub of pink and girly legos.  I had a hard time knowing what to get her this year, so whenever we were at the store for the weeks leading up to the big day, I would make up an excuse to go to the toy section just to see her reaction to things.  These Lego’s were a huge hit.  And so was the Tangled doll. Don’t even think of calling her Rapunzel.  Her name is Tangled.

Giving presents is so much fun, especially when you get reactions like this.

Since all this happened a few months ago, the rest of the details from the day are a little (or a lot) hazy.  I know Derek went to work like normal, and the kids and I headed to Space Center Houston for a few hours.  I honestly can’t remember if we had a special dinner or a birthday cake…I would probably not remember anything about the day if not for the photos I took that morning!

The following weekend, we did some more celebrating with friends and a pool party!  The squirt gun party favors (found at the dollar store) were serious business and a huge hit.

I tried to get a picture of Camryn with each of her guests to send out with thank you cards, but I pretty much failed miserably at both of those things.  The thank you cards have been written for the past month, and they are still here sitting on my desk.  That’s good party etiquette, huh.  At any rate, I did manage to get a picture of her with a handful of the friends at the party.

And I did get this keeper of Cami and Pops.

I loved watching her face as everyone sang happy birthday. She’s not sure what to think of all that attention on her, but at the same time, it sure is fun to have everyone singing to you!

Make a wish…

The last 4 years have gone by in the blink of an eye.  She is such a little ray of sunshine in our family, and we are all crazy about her.  She is the perfect mix of sweet and spunky, and I’m so glad that she is ours.

Pre-k or bust

This morning Camryn started her first day of pre-k!  Even though she’s going to the same school she went to last year, and it’s just three days a week, it still feels so official that this is her last year before big school.

In theory, Camryn has been really excited about starting school.  She loves to do big kid things like the boys, and she definitely loved picking out her Hello Kitty backpack, lunchbox, school supplies, first day of school clothes, and new shoes.

But when push comes to shove, she gets nervous.  She’s always been wary of new situations and big groups.  She’s always so quiet at school, so shy, which is really not her personality at home or in smaller groups where she knows everyone.  It’s honestly something that worries me a little.  How will she do next year in a big class of 20 something kids?  Will she ever open up in class?  Will she make good friends?  Luckily I’m married to an amazing, rational, level-headed guy who brings me back to reality when I start to obsess about these things.  He gently reminds me that he is the exact same way in big groups.  And he’s turned out pretty darn great.  I flat out don’t understand shyness–I could talk to a wall!  But our sweet, shy little princess is who she is, and I don’t need to be worried that she’ll never talk in class or make friends because I know she will in her own time.

I always spend a little more time with her at the first day drop off, but we can only delay the inevitable for so long.  Look at that little face!  Sweet girl. I’m so thankful for loving, patient teachers who make the drop off as easy as possible for my girl.

As I walked out, I looked back one last time.  She saw me, and in that moment, I think we both knew everything was going to be okay.  We’re ready for this.

Now I can’t wait to pick her up and hear all the little details of her day.  And in the meantime, I plan to fully embrace the quietness of this house and enjoy lunch with a friend.  I need to soak up this last month of peace and normalcy before I enter the stage of newborn fog and chaos once again!

First Day

For the first year ever, my kids were both really excited about the first day of school.  The Friday before school started, we headed up to the school to meet their teachers.  Connor and Logan are both really excited about who they have this year, although Connor was a little disappointed that his good friends from class last year are all in a class together and he is in a different class.  But, after a pep talk from his third grade teacher about how great 4th grade was going to be for him, Connor was all smiles and ready to go.  I just know this is going to be a great year for both of them!

I love the beginning of school.  I love the fresh start and getting back into our school routine.  I love catching up with the teachers from years past and the other moms that I haven’t seen all summer.  That was actually especially fun this year since a lot of people did not realize I was pregnant and now I’m about to pop!  Peoples reactions are great–a mix of shock and happiness and usually some laughter, which is pretty much how we’ve felt for the past 8 months.

I started a tradition a few years ago where I make homemade cinnamon rolls on the first day of school.  I feel like this balances out all the mornings the kids scarf a granola bar in the car, or if you’re Logan, ask for a bowl of Lucky Charms and then on the sly only eat only the marshmallows and leave the flakes for me to find later.  I’m glad that on the first day I sent them off with a special breakfast so I didn’t feel quite so bad when Logan ate marshmallows only on the second day of school.

Our morning went relatively smoothly.  We had plenty of time for the requisite first day of school pictures, and I even thought ahead and placed my camera outside 10 minutes early so it wouldn’t fog up in the humidity like it does most years.

Connor, my big 4th grader.  Funny little story: when we went to meet the teacher, Connor’s teacher stuck her hand out to Logan, not Connor, to introduce herself.  She thought that Logan was the 4th grader and that Connor was older.  It was pretty funny!  In her defense, Connor is 5 feet tall and is still taller than most of the other kids in his grade.  And also, totally unrelated to his height, he lost his last baby tooth a few weeks ago.  I’m only throwing that in here in case someday I wonder when he lost his last tooth.

Logan, my second grader, mistaken for a 4th grader, all smiles and still sporting his early morning squinty eyes that I love so much.

See?  They are friends!  There was no wrestling, no bad attitudes, just the casual arm over the shoulder and smiles!

Camryn doesn’t start pre-k until later this week, but she couldn’t be left out.

I will not take any credit for this next picture.  It was all them.

Please notice Camryn’s bare feet in these pictures, because I definitely did not until we were halfway to school and she piped up from the backseat that she didn’t have any shoes on.  We always park and walk in the first day, so you better believe that she walked in with bare feet.  I figured having two out of three kids fully dressed good enough.

First stop-the 2nd grade hallway.

Next stop, 4th grade hallway.  Connor was one of the last kids to arrive, so I decided just to snap a quick picture from the hallway.

See that box on his desk?  I would like to state for the record right now that I will forevermore order school supplies from the PTA instead of trying to track down the brand, size, color, and number of items they all need.  After resisting the school supply boxes for years because I love nothing more than the aisles of fresh, new school supplies, I have now seen the light.  No more fighting the crowds, no more angst over not being able to find a red composition notebook with wide ruled paper, or running all over town to find the right size construction paper.  No more, I say!  Here’s my check for $35, and that pretty box will be waiting for each of them on the first day.  Hallelujah!

Once Camryn and I arrived back home, the quiet set in.  The mix of pregnancy hormones coupled with the fact that we really did have a wonderful summer caused a bit more melancholy on the first day that what I normally experience.  Camryn and I battled the back to school blues with a little last minute school shopping for her plus lunch at Panera.  I’m thankful that Camryn wasn’t starting a big milestone school year or I might I have ended up in a puddle on my couch!

Finally it was time to get the boys off the bus.  I have taken a picture of them getting off the bus every year on the first and last day of school, which means by now they see it coming.

Connor’s face pretty much sums it up.  They were thrilled to be home, and even better, they were ready to go back the next day.  In fact, the whole first week was great.  Five days down 175 to go.


Um, it’s been nearly 3 months since I last blogged.  Remember when I used to blog a few times a week?  Yeah, me too.  I really should try to get in that groove again.

I mean, seriously.  I didn’t blog even one time this summer?  I don’t even think I could go back and remember everything we did or record all the memories we made!  I will say this about summer: it was really fantastic.  I’ve always enjoyed parts of summer with the kids, but I’ve never been one of those moms that enjoys every moment or is not ready for it to end or feels sad when the school year starts.  We all just thrive on the routine and structure of school!  But this summer my kids started sleeping in a little (or at least not waking me up until 8:00-8:30.)  What a difference that makes in all of our attitudes!  I established a rule from day one that there was no media before lunch time which meant a lot more play time in the morning, a lot less boredom, and as a bonus I got to rest/nap almost every afternoon while Camryn napped and the boys played games or watched tv.  But maybe the biggest difference between this summer and summers of the past was Connor and Logan deciding that they were going to be friends.  They actually had a conversation about it.  Of course they still fought sometimes, but for the first time in their lives they actually got along more often than not.  That was huge!  A total game changer.

We stayed busy, which works for us.  The boys did swim team, Connor played indoor soccer, and they participated in a record number of camps.  We went to two Dynamo soccer games, took a “staycation” in Arlington where Derek and I even managed to sneak away for two nights.  We went to water parks and movies and played with friends.  We went to the circus, an indoor trampoline park, the children’s museum, bowling, and played laser tag.  Connor practiced his guitar daily, and Logan played endless hours with his Lego’s.  We rearranged bedrooms and painted.  Logan and Camryn now share a room which has been fantastic.  They are the best of friends and love sharing a room so far.

All in all, I would say it was the best summer ever.

But, just to keep it real, I was still ready for school to start last week!  But instead of being ready by August first, I really didn’t reel ready until the very, very end.