Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year in review

What a year it's been!

At the beginning of 2013, we had a two year old, and now we're preparing for her to turn four.  We had a tiny baby who was just being introduced to solid foods and didn't sleep through the night.  Now, we have a walking, talking, independent little boy who is ready to take on life's next challenge: becoming a big brother!

It is always amazing to me to look back and remember how far we have come in one little year.  Highlights of the year definitely include making the jump from working mother to stay at home mom, and of course, all of our hard work turning this house from junk into home.  Major props to my husband on that front.

Yes, we've come an amazingly long way from where we began this year.

There is still a lot of work to do, although how much of it will realistically be completed now that our priorities have shifted remains to be seen.

We're looking forward to a healthy and happy 2014!  Wishing you and your family love, joy and laughter in the new year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

On the 5th time I was positive


There's still a pregnancy test sitting on my counter.  It's been sitting there for over a week, which is probably totally gross given that I peed on it.  What else in the world would I put in a stream of urine and then - without having been washed - allow to sit near a place where food is prepared?!  YUCK!  I've kept it because I keep thinking that maybe I read it wrong.  Maybe somehow those two lines don't mean what I know they mean and all this isn't really happening.  I've just jumped to a really drastic conclusion 'cause I'm a spoiled little dreamer.

Plausible, right?

It's fair to say that I did everything wrong for one who's trying to get pregnant.  {Ah, the irony!}  I drank wine, I took medicine, I ate soft cheese, I had deli meat without heating it to steaming.  I wasn't going to start my prenatals again until the first of the year.  Somewhere, the getting pregnant gods are having a good laugh when they should be docking my file.

I wasn't trying to get pregnant, after all...

So, here's the thing about natural family planning.  I completely believe in it.  I'm sure it works.  I know of many success stories.   Also related: my body sucks.  It does all sorts of whatever it wants, whenever it wants to with no nod to any kind of predictability at all.

Wanna hear the really, really great big irony about my two lines?  {I'm gonna warn you - it's a total overshare!  Feel free to skip ahead to the less revealing paragraphs.}

I didn't ovulate the month I conceived.  

I mean, obviously I did somewhere along the line, what with all the getting pregnant.  But for all intensive purposes, the kinds that matter when you're trying to do the natural family planning gig, I didn't ovulate. It's not the first time my body has pulled that fun little trick: it happened when we were trying for Logan and I was using ovulation testers, it also happened in one of the first few months I was trying out NFP.  Both times previously I chalked it up to user error; could have been I used the test wrong; could have been I didn't know what I was checking for and I made a mistake.  Surely it was my fault. 

This time?  There was no mistake.  And now, frankly, I have my doubts about the other times, too.  My body simply didn't do what it has done during the other months when I know I'm ovulating.  I was really, really paying attention this time.  I SWEAR!!!  {I hear you calling me a liar!  I know!!!  I wouldn't believe me either if it hadn't happened to me!}

The last time it happened, my cycle turned out to be 32 days long instead of the 22-28 it typically is.  I thought I was pregnant that time, but took two tests and both were negative.  Stay with me - you need to know all of that to understand why, when I didn't ovulate, I wasn't altogether surprised when I got to day 28 and my monthly friend hadn't showed.

I had a cold, and since I'd been coughing through the night I finally caved and took medicine for the first time in two years.  I was pretty happy about it, too.  So at day 28, thinking I might possibly maybe be somewhere between a few days and a week late, I decided to take a test, reasoning that when it was negative I could go back to guzzling NyQuil by the gallon without a care. So I grabbed a stick and peed in the name of medicine - just to be sure.  

After trying for Logan, I still hate watching a single line appear, even though I was fully expecting that would happen.  So I came downstairs. I moved the toys from the floor to their baskets, only to have it undone moments later.  I helped Leah color.  Ten minutes or so later, I walked back upstairs.

My brain was ready for: hooray, thank goodness I can take my medicine!  

Instead?  There were two little pink lines.  Two little pink lines.  

I put my hand over my mouth.  It was one of those completely cliche moments where you feel your heart stop.  I started to laugh.  To shake.  Then, as the gravity of those lines hit me, to cry.  Not out of sadness or despair; I cried tears of sheer disbelief and joy.  Two lines means pregnant.  I'm carrying a baby.  And I sat there, half laughing, half crying, full of gratitude and terrifying uncertainty for a really long time.  

Casey was at work and unreachable, but news like this I couldn't keep to myself.  I stumbled down the stairs and called her.  She picked up the phone and I couldn't even speak.  "Are you okay?" were her first words to me.  "I'm..... pregnant?"  I mumbled.  It wasn't a statement.  "Don't get excited, I'm going to lose it."  

In that moment, I was sure it would be true.  The doctor even told me I should be prepared to lose again, maybe even several times.  That's what happens, and I've come to grips with it.  Jess talked me off the ledge where I wasn't even sure I was going to tell Casey.  No reason to get everybody all in a dither only to have me lose it three days later.  

But I haven't lost it.  Very quickly, I have begun to be confident that I won't.  With two wonderful, beautiful and happy children, and the fact that we weren't going to try again until at least the summer, I can hardly say I've been waiting and longing for this baby.  And still...

...Somehow, in all the craziness, this baby was meant to be ours.  I feel it, that deep-down-in-my-bones certainty I felt with Leah and again with Logan.  The kind of certain you think in your head but rarely utter out loud since, after all, there's really no guarantee.  In my already over-large belly lies the next great love of my life.  A little bundle that God always knew was part our family, even before Casey or I did.  It's overwhelming, the depth of this love.  

I may never get over it... the just getting pregnant without any help or angst or pain.  How did I get that lucky?  How did I just get pregnant?  

So, once again I tell you: I suck at planning.  I'll try not to be too obnoxious about being pregnant in the deep dark heat of summer.  Thankfully, we have AC this time.  And, oh yeah, don't have to make any crazy major life decisions, so that's working for me.  Let's all just say a prayer for a perfectly average, non-record breaking summer, kay?  

And that's that.  I'm going to be the mommy of 3.  You couldn't see it, but I just got tears in my eyes as I typed those words.  

They're tears of very, very great joy, in case that was in question.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas is past

Despite my really big, really exciting announcement, my last post got a little Bah, Humbug-y what with the self deprication and the not being in the Christmas spirit for the first time ever in 30 Christmases.  

But I'd be so remiss if I didn't say a few things about the magic of the season, even if I'm relating them after the fact while sitting on the couch with a body full of oh-so delightful morning sickness that actually lasts most of the day.  Because in truth, no matter what I say, it will always go down as one of my favorite Christmases of all time.

I have kids who love each other.  Like wicked big love.  They wake up each morning so darn excited to see each other.  Leah runs into the little one's room crying, "HI BROTHER!  I'm so happy to see you!"  The little one can't wait to hug and kiss her, and he wants to do so often enough that she ends up shoving his face away when he comes at her, mouth open and tongue out.  {I can't entirely blame her, his kisses have gone from sweet sucking face to full on french kissing.  It's getting very Animal Planet around here.}  She shares her food with him, and he watches and copies every little thing she does.  They make each other laugh.  They hold hands in the car.  I wish I could capture every little nuance of their relationship and package it for the days they're teens and think they hate each other.  Today, they're both just too good even to be real.

Leah spontaneously breaks into Christmas song.  Most of them are the traditional, learned ballads.  Away in a Manger and "I met a man who lives in Tennessee" (aka Home for the Holidays) are her self-proclaimed favorites.  Many are entirely made up and usually have something to do with the birth of baby Jesus, although "Oh how beautiful you are" has been making the rounds.  I can't lie, I'm not totally sure where that one came from.  It fills my heart with such indescribable joy to listen to that sweet, slightly off-key voice sing out joyfully.  That child, she is my heart.

Logan has sweet in his very soul.  He can be such a lot to handle, but the boy is so much sugar.  We have been watching my nephew Greyson once a week, and Logan absolutely adores him.  He kisses him and pulls his blanket up when it falls down.  He puts his paci back in his mouth... probably with more force than is required, but with all the delicacy a 15 month old is capable of.  He loves to make me laugh, and has this way at bedtime of coercing me into letting him stay up a little longer because he pulls some new hijinks that has me bursting into laughter.  His little face lights up, and of course the process is repeated as we both giggle away instead of going to bed.  I love that ornery little trouble maker with everything in me.  

My husband lets me lay on the couch.  Seriously, thank God for that man.  What would I do without him?  I was doing pretty okay until about a week ago, when the nausea hit me full force.  It's not enough to make me lose my cookies, just there in the background pretty much all day, especially when I have the audacity to do things like stand up and move around.  I don't know how we would have made it through the last week without him, he is a saint that husband of mine.  

Logan eats ornaments.  I shouldn't even put this down, it is definitely evidence of my terrible, horrible, no good parenting skills.  I tried so hard to get all the delicate ornaments up high enough to be sure that little hands (and mouths) wouldn't get a hold of them.  Wouldn't you know it, my little one outsmarted me by learning that he can pull a stool around to reach all the high, off-limit places in our house.  I came in to check on him one day and, sure enough, that little stinker had pulled the stool to the tree and reached up to grab a very delicate little ornament, which, when I came in, he had already taken a bite of and was pushing shards of sharp plastic out of his mouth.  Lovely!  I was able to clean his mouth out and never saw any plastic or glitter come out the other end, so I'm assuming I got it all before it did any damage.  It was a very narrow miss.  I won't even bring up the time I caught him with his stool in the kitchen, knife in hand.  We're on a very tight learning curve about what the new Logan + stool height restrictions are.

They love the Elf on the Shelf.  She was a great addition to our season, even though, like an idiot, I couldn't keep track of her and Casey had to take over those duties.  Every morning, the kids loved trying to spot her.  Logan was so distraught on Christmas morning when she was nowhere to be found, since she had gone back to the North Pole with Santa.  It was tragic, he wandered the house saying, "Ella?  Ella?"  which is his very best pronunciation of Ellie.  Sometimes it comes out a little more like "Ewoo" which is funny too...  We'll look forward to seeing her next year.

This Christmas thing is awfully fun with those two special little ones.  Their faces, special relationship and abundance of love is the very best gift I've ever been given.  

I hope the Christmases we give them during their childhoods will be enough to carry them through, so that they'll forever enjoy the magic of the season.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Confessions of a weary Christmas slacker

Anybody else find the whole calendar situation extra maddening this year?  I know, there's something about Thanksgiving always being on the fourth Thursday of November because of the blah-I-wasn't-listening-when-History-Channel-covered-that-yadda Christmas shopping season.  But, people, three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas... what's up with that?

Okay, I hear you.  It's possible that I'm just trying to easy my less than enthusiastic guilt over being kinda sorta totally ready for the holiday season to be over.

I was diggin' it at Halloween.  It was just too much fun.

There were pumpkins and spider webs and creepy lawns.  We tricked and treated and did the monster mash.

I think it was sometime in November that I fell off the holiday bandwagon.  All those burlap fumes got to my head.

Confession #1:  I took the equivalent of zero photos in December.  Let's just take a little looksy at the old photo totals, shall we?

Winter 2011: 327 photos
Winter 2012: 451 photos
Winter 2013: 174 photos
Maybe there's a lesson here about quality over quantity?  That's probably the moral of this tale.  It's not really about being an unmotivated slacker.

Did you hear the trumpets singing that sad song?  Like a game show contestant who gets the wrong answer... wah wah wah waaaaahhh.

I might add that this is the entire total of photos taken so far this season, not the ones I've carefully sorted through and can't live without.  Yes, it is probably sad that I can't live without 451 photos from last year, but let's be honest, it's costing me nothing besides computer space.  Someday someone will love those seemingly ordinary moments of our kids' lives, even if it's just me from the nursing home, okay?  Don't be such a Judgey Judgerson, let's focus on the suckitude that is my current situation.

Confession #2: We only did the essentials.

We saw Santa.  We baked cookies.  We looked for Ellie all over the house.  The Christmas cards made it to the mailboxes of loved ones.  We drove around in our jammies, hopped up on hot cocoa to look at Christmas lights.  Presents were wrapped the night before.  We hosted Christmas dinner which I procrastinated and very nearly didn't finish in time.

I had good intentions, and that all counts for something.  The execution of all those intentions just didn't quite come together the way they have in years past.  It was a wonderful season, and we are so, so beyond lucky.  And also?  I'm exhausted.

Confession #3: None of that really mattered when push came to shove.

It took us three hours to open presents, decked out in our messy bed-head hair with Santa jammies.  The kids opened a present, insisted on playing with it for 20 minutes before finally consenting to opening another present and lather, rinse, repeat.  It was awesome.

The Christmas music was cranked up and Casey and I both drank multiple cups of coffee from my fancy, brand-new Keurig (BEST!PRESENT!EVER!) before we finally sat down for breakfast, only to come back to another round of merry toy-playing in our messy, wrapping-covered living room.

Being a slacker meant nothing at the end of the day.

Casey enjoyed his leaf blower.  Leah enjoyed her princess castle, on which Santa delivered as requested.  Both kids loved the new train table that is currently replacing our coffee table in the living room.  {It's an experiment in social deviance and mom's patience... we'll see if I last until Valentine's day.}

And, best of all... we got another little Christmas surprise, though this one didn't ever make it under the Christmas tree.  I'll let the cookies do the talking.

Artwork credit: Casey.  I'm not taking the blame for that one...

The only thing that could make the Keurig come in second in my eyes.  And, FYI: if you send this picture electronically to your mom in an attempt to tell her your really big news, she will compliment you halfheartedly and ask why you made such a fuss about sending her pictures of cookies without realizing their importance.  So just in case you fall into that category, too, beloved reader, let me close instead with this image:

As my sister would say, we have some very grateful uteruses in our family.  :)

Hoping your holiday was every ounce as joyful as ours - though, perhaps, full of fewer surprises!

{And, if you please, we're not ready to announce the news on Facebook, though I *think* we're largely out of the miscarriage woods.  We'd love to hear from you and appreciate all well-wishes, but not for the world to see... yet!}

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Letters to Claire

I couldn't help it.  The news this afternoon put such heaviness on my heart.  Claire Davis, 17, died of her injuries received during a school shooting.  I'm not a bandwagoner, and I'm typically not a letter writer.  But something about her being the only victim touched me; the only family to deal with such a tragic loss.  When we had nothing else, we always had each other.  And so I wrote the following letter to her family, which I'm recording here simply for me to have.  God knows I hope it may bring a tiny ray of comfort.

Davis Family,

Although we have never met, the scene that unfolded at Arapahoe High School is one that is all too familiar to me.  I was 14 years old when two gunmen opened fire one April morning and changed my life forever.  In the weeks, months and years that followed, we were the recipients of a world-wide outpouring of love and support I've sadly seen a few times since.  While so much of it was generous and heart-felt, I was always troubled by a bumper sticker that read, "we are ALL Columbine."  Though I appreciated the show of unity, the words seemed to intrude on what I viewed as a private tragedy, one which belonged to my classmates and me - those truly affected - alone.

In March, 2010, my husband and I welcomed our first child.  On the anniversary of the shooting, I walked through the Columbine memorial with that bundle of new baby girl in my arms.  As I read the words of survivors, teachers, parents and community members, it hit me for the first time what a terrible, terrible fool I had been.  The words that resonated with me on that day were those of the parents, as I saw "my" tragedy through new eyes.  At 14, I had failed to understand the unmatched love of a parent for a child, love which would gladly lay down its own life if it meant protecting the other.  Only as a parent myself could I finally understand the depth of their suffering.

To say I am sorry for your loss sounds hollow, and fails to convey my horror and heartache that another life has been lost in this tragic way.  So instead, let me pass on something I have carried with me these 15 years.  These words were written on a sign placed next to the crosses memorializing those we lost.  It read:
             When you lose parents, you are called an orphan.
             When you lose a spouse, you are called a widow.
             When you lose a child, we have nothing to call you, for there are no words to describe such a loss.

There are no words.  But please know that you are not forgotten, and neither is Claire.  Her life mattered in ways and to people you probably never imagined possible.  I hope the stories of those she touched will bring you comfort in the difficult times ahead.

May you also feel the love and support of thousands of unnamed voices, just as we did.  Among them, I am certain, are our angels, who surely were there to welcome Claire with outstretched arms.

We are all Columbine.
We are all Arapahoe.

Much love and deepest sympathy.

If you're so inclined, letters are being accepted at
Littleton Adventist Hospital c/o Cards for Claire
7700 South Broadway, Littleton CO 80122

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas this, Christmas that.

I'm sure every household has it's list of things they love to do at Christmas.  Ours is typically long, which is absolutely fabulous.  The more the merrier, right?

But so far, it's pretty simple and concise.

1. Little People Nativity

My children absolutely adore this set, and sentences like "Stop putting baby Jesus in your mouth" and "Why is the Angel in the silverware drawer" can be heard regularly throughout our house.  I don't know if it's the novelty since we only bring it out once a year, or the fact that we've been telling and acting out the Christmas story that's at the root, but they play with it darn near all day long.

2. Bass Pro Shop Santa - if you know me, you know I'm not exactly the hunting and fishing type.  I'd seen adds for Bass Pro Shops and knew they had an in-house Santa all month long, and so we decided to visit.  We have sooooo been missing out!  Firstly, Bass Pro Shops must be designed by the folks behind Disney or Las Vegas, because it is massive and wonderfully done.  They have a waterfall, small indoor aquarium, dozens of beautifully stuffed animals, all inside a rustic 2 story masterpiece of a store.  If we'd been there to shop, I'd never have known where to start; I was too busy looking in every direction.  It was seriously impressive.  But Santa's wonderland.  WOW.

Animated reindeer and hundreds of lights and trains and coloring stations and toys and "shooting" stations and freshly baked cookies and chestnuts... it was amazing!

And a carousel.  I mentioned that, right?


I have a lot of pictures from this day where all or part of Leah is a blur of motion.  She was pretty excited.

And of course, a visit with Santa.

We got a picture of Leah and a family photo, completely free of charge.  The whole experience was pretty cool, especially considering the magnitude of what they do.  If you're in the area, I'd definitely recommend a trip.  

3. Parade of Lights

This year, it was a whopping 7 degrees for the Parade of Lights, so no pictures were taken.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Maggiano's, one of my absolute favorite restaurants.  Then, we huddled in the van with the heat on high, turned on A Muppet Christmas Carol and let the kids sip on hot cocoa while we waited for the parade.  It was awesome.  We did bundle up in 17 layers and brave the cold while the parade came by.  Lucky for us, our kids are both total holiday dorks like their momma so they were absolutely thrilled to watch the parade - enough even to forget about the fact that they were freeeezing.  When we saw Rudolph, they both clapped and cheered and Leah started singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the top of her lungs.  

My favorite part of this season is that my big one is old enough to remember Christmas songs.  It is routine to hear her belting them out in the backseat.  HOW GREAT IS THAT?! 

Have I mentioned how much I love them, and this Christmasy season?  My small heart might just grow three sizes and pop out of that little measuring box thing.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


If I could explain why I'm having such a tough time writing this year...  I don't know if I'm just busy, but I find myself simultaneously missing blogging and struggling with just what I would say anyway.  It has been a wonderful season already this year, and I haven't said two words about it.

Last Christmas was such a fog to me; I have just a few vague impressions of what we did but very few actual memories.  And probably only because I wrote about it to begin with - that should teach me something!

We've been busy at our house.  Halls have been decked.  Stockings have been hung.  The Elf has been reporting to Santa. Parades have been attended.  It's such a fun time of year!  

I don't think I have any pictures from last year of the decor of our house, probably because we hadn't yet done anything and the house was still in rough shape.  So here's a little sneak peak at our Christmas mantel, which - for the first time in my holiday color-wheel - is going blue.  


Alright, so I know the stockings don't quite match, but they're what we've got.  Until all our family members get here (I'm looking at you, future hypothetical children), I don't see us replacing those any time soon.

I started with a simple, store-bought greenery garland, to which I added a few embellishments.  am loving the turquoise-y and silver, so different and festive!

I bought this lovely little tree at Target, and it was originally white.  It didn't quite fit the bill, so a little spray paint and voila! 

Casey helped me hang the beads along the mantel, I love them.  It adds just a bit of traditionalism to the somewhat non-traditional design.  

On the other side, our little Ellie the Elf landed here after making her report to the Big Guy.  She's loving the mantel just as much as I am.

I liked the way it was coming together, but I felt like I had just a little too much unused space.  

A few ornament and a little string solved that problem in a hurry.  I like the height element they add, and they're attached in the ceiling with a white push-pin you can't even see.  Fab.

So, that's how we're decking our halls this year.

Even though traditional colors of red and gold still rule the living room.  Along with a few "strategically placed" ornaments to keep the kids off the tree.

As you can see, the Christmas tree has taken more of a beating than usual this year!

I changed my font at thecutestblogontheblock.com