Monday, September 29, 2014

Hawaii, here we come!

One of my favorite places in the whole world: Hawaii.

Not that I'm such a seasoned traveler, but I have been there twice before, and both times it was awesome.

Casey and I are saying Aloha in just a few days.  Back in May, he received an offer to do a show on Oahu, and, pregnant as I was, I do believe I threatened the "D" word unless I got to go along, too.  Hmmm.... stay home by myself with three small children while husband goes gallivanting off to Hawaii?!  Unlikely!

As it so happens, it will also be our six year wedding anniversary, too.  Spending that in paradise seems like a great way to celebrate in my book!

Besides that, the truth is that in almost twelve years together, we've never been anywhere together.  Sure, we took a cruise to South America (with his family) in 2006.  Yes, we spent a weekend in Las Vegas in 2008 and a weekend in NYC in 2011.  But, seriously... that's it.  We got married twice, but never once took a honeymoon: the first time, we got married on Friday and I had recently been given the opportunity to start a new job on Monday; the second, I was three months pregnant with Leah.

So, despite the fact that I'm only seven weeks post-partum (surely a humbling experience when the beach is involved...), the two big ones are being watched by a variety of grandparents and Livvy and I are off to join Daddy.

And you know what?  I can't wait!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our anticlimactic gender reveal

So, there was that time that my wonderful husband convinced me not to find out the gender of our third baby.  I mean, okay, if I'm being completely honest, the whole stupid thing was technically my idea... but then I dearly wanted to chicken out and it was too late, he was already invested.

Despite not knowing for sure what was or wasn't between baby's legs, I don't think I kept my conviction that we were expecting a girl to myself.  I may or may not have even gone so far as to purchase this little gem for the baby's room based on that intuition. 

In July.  WHAT?!  We had 90 days to return it, and I was only a month out... it was fine!  

We never, ever had a boy name.  Nope, not even one.  

I got all my girl clothes back from Jessica, but never bothered to get the boy clothes back from my sister - though I did pack a girl and boy newborn outfit in my hospital bag because, well, that's just good sense.

It was a thing.  I was having a girl.

People - my mother chief among them - kept asking me what I was going to do if it was a boy.  I wanted to very sarcastically tell them that obviously if it was a boy I'd be so disappointed I would insist on returning him from whence he came.  

Seriously?  Come on!  If it was a boy, I'd be thrilled.  Surprised, sure, but thrilled first and foremost, and I would have loved that little nameless man to pieces.  And also probably had to do a teensy bit of redecorating in the nursery, but pink changing cover pad and beautiful girl sign aside, we were totally ready to welcome a boy.

Except, it wasn't a boy.  That was most often my answer when people asked.  It's just not a boy... I could feel it in my very soul.

So, when the doctor pulled her out, handed her up and enthusiastically announced, "It's a GIRL!" the truth is that after nine months of expecting, wondering and not knowing, I didn't even flinch at this news.  

OF COURSE she was a girl!!  

Jessica even said something like, "you were right!  It was a girl!" and it still didn't phase me.  I felt 100% as though I had known all along. 

Yes, her little pink hat says "Olivia."  Pretty sure I ordered this in May.

In hindsight, this was probably about as anticlimactic a response as anyone has ever had in the delivery room.  There was no moment of open-mouthed, wide-eyed surprise as one gender or the other is revealed... just my joy and excitement that she was here, which of course, I would have had no matter what.

When we got home, Casey found the ultrasound photo that I had insisted on keeping, though he hid it to make sure I didn't cheat and find out.  Sure enough, we had some good ultrasound techs.  They knew she was a girl, too. (And please don't get me started - he hid it in a place I had looked at least a dozen times without knowing the secret was there the entire time.  I could have settled the whole thing months beforehand if only I'd looked a little more diligently.  Sigh.)

My husband, doctor and best friend all had the sense not to call me out on my less-than-impressive reaction, but even if they had, it wouldn't matter.  I'm just so, so very happy she's here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A very long stretch

Today begins perhaps the longest stretch of time apart we've had since Casey began this new endeavor.  Between September 26th and December 6th, he will have a total of only 15 or 16 days at home, depending on whether he flies home for Thanksgiving.  Yowza.  

To be fair, he also took the better part of five weeks off with us after Olivia's birth - though to be completely fair, he has never before taken more than one or two days off for the births of our babies, so it was long overdue.  

I'm trying hard to be happy for him, to remain optimistic that being at home for... well, let's just call it the foreseeable future alone with three small children isn't a little intimidating.  

I'm trying to remember that it's a blessing.  I've been praying over his work situation, that he would make progress with new clients and that the Lord would bless him in all he does. 

I'm trying to remember that he is one devoted husband, father and provider, and that being the sole income for a family of five is no easy task.  

But, seriously?  When I think about the ratio of days he'll be gone to the number of days his children will get to see him, I have to shudder a little.  And even more than that, when I think about what he's going to miss from this little lady...

Well, I'm trying not to think about it too much.  It hurts my heart a little.  

So, since she won't look a thing like this by the time he gets home, a little photo montage of our sweet gal.

I love this one.  The world is SO BIG!!!  But look at that head control, miss only four weeks old!

I love this one, too!  Leah never fit into this hat... in the few weeks it took for her head to be stable enough to put this hat on her, she completely outgrew it.

We're gonna miss you, Daddy!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The official "Olivia"

Recently, I sat down to take Olivia Joy's newborn photos.

And very quickly discovered one of life's sad little truths: being MOM and PHOTOGRAPHER isn't an easy task!

Most of our pictures ended up looking a lot more like the one above than I'd intended, and don't even get me started on what happened when I added those other kids into the mix...

Yes, because this is what you want to send out on the birth announcement.  Caption reads: "Hooray!  We have three!  We can totally handle this!"

But we did get a few that I love:

And a few that I like well enough to show you, warts and all.

I may never be a perfect photographer, but I'm so happy to have these images, and the sweet faces in them!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

She goes to Kindergarten

So, here's the thing.  

The whole homeschool thing means that labels like "kindergarten" don't really mean anything, but here's why I'm calling it kindergarten.  At the beginning of the 2014 school year...
  • She can recognize all her letters, both lower-case and capital.
  • She knows all her phonemes.  She knows all the sounds each letter makes, including long and short vowels and hard and soft g and c.
  • She can write all her letters and numbers.
  • She can replicate and extend patterns.
  • She can count to 30 (alright.  Mostly she can count to 30.  "eleventeen" still sneaks in there, despite my best efforts)
  • She does legitimate math.  She can add any two single-digit numbers without breaking a sweat.
  • She can tell you about an author and an illustrator.
  • She knows a bunch of sight words and can sound out CVC words.
  • She knows about the "helper letter" (e) at the end of words that makes vowels say their own name.
  • She can use scissors and glue effectively (age appropriately, anyway!)

After a little research on kindergarten standards, it's pretty clear to me that this is the level she's functioning at.  We very seriously debated sending her to kindergarten this year, just to give me more hands and more time to do everything since we knew there would be a tiny baby in the house.  But, after a lot of discussion and prayer, that just wasn't in the cards.  Homeschool is our calling around here, and so we got to it.

And the truth is, we all love it!  I couldn't be more pleased or excited to get to spend this precious time with my oldest daughter.  She is just amazing, and so very, very capable.  Her love of learning is one of my greatest joys in life.

We chose Classical Conversations as our curriculum for the year, which is program that I absolutely adore beyond words.  It puts young children's natural abilities and proclivity for retention and memorization to amazing use, which is one of my passions from a brain-model perspective.  Beyond that, though, we also have the gift of a wonderful community environment.  Leah's class meets once a week for three hours.  Here is my little goofball on her first "official" day of school (though we started the week before): 

Every week, in addition to our history, geography, English, math and science lessons, the kids also give a presentation in front of the class.  

Here was Leah's for the first week.  My little doctor in the making.

Of course, when you work hard, you can't forget to play hard, too!

I love those two.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weeks 2 & 3

My sweet little lady is going to be a seasoned traveler before she's even two months old.

Partly because - that's right - we are going to HAWAII in October (squeeeaaal!  More on that later).

But also because we had to do something a little less fun, but definitely worth it: we took a little road trip to Idaho to celebrate my grandma's life.  That means, at three weeks old, she has now been to three states: Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.

The trip itself was wonderful.  And horrible.  It was hard to have to really face, in that very final way memorials bring about, that my grandma is no longer with us.  On the other hand, it was so healing and fun to be around family and reminisce and celebrate her life.  I sure miss that lady.

The kids are great travelers, and do an awesome job in the car for all those hours.  And, luckily, generally they're all good sleepers anyway, regardless of where we are...

Another fun highlight of the first two weeks was a quick day trip to Evergreen Lake, where we took a paddle boat out and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  

Livvy got to go too, though you can't exactly tell!  She's wrapped up in the Moby wrap - inside the life jacket.

She also got to go to the doctor to get pricked and poked and prodded, breaking Mommy's heart.  Third child, and it definitely doesn't get any easier to watch.  She weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz, almost a pound up from her birth weight. Go, baby girl!

She is already an amazing sleeper.  She goes to bed beautifully, sleeps about four hours at a stretch, and would be practically perfect if she didn't like to wake up and hang out from about 4 a.m. to around 5:30.

It's not my favorite time of day, but I do love that little face...

A few other photos from weeks two and three:

I know, super high quality photos.  Camera phones... what can you do?  A few other things worth mentioning from these weeks:
  • She smiled her first deliberate, non-gas related little smile.  At Mommy, so all is right with the world.
  • She rolled over from her back to her tummy.
  • We attended three birthday parties, including Piper and Teddy Vidulich's, Cousin Grey's, and Nora Fries's - though I wasn't so much on camera duty for those.
  • She was held countless times by big sis, and loved on by big bro.  
This kid.  Oh my word, how we love her.  


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