It’s a…

Hubby, myself, and our kiddos just got back from a little family vacay in Alabama! During our stay we also took a drive down to Florida and back to get our beach on in Destin. Shout out to Silver Dunes Condominums- beautiful facility right smack dab next to the water, so we could walk out there anytime we wanted. (Will post some more vacation photos in the next entry)

I find myself looking for little things to anticipate. I live off of things to look forward to. This was one example. My older sister in law’s family (including T’s best friend- his cousin S) moved to Alabama in the beginning of March and we’ve been missing them ever since and planning this little trip for some time. We were so blessed to have brother in law Y and sister in law J be able to travel out and meet us too! It was a mini family reunion! Y and J were gracious enough to help me carry out one of the things on my bucket list for this pregnancy. We are pretty sure this is our last and so I decided I needed to do some of the things I had wanted to do but never got a chance to during my other pregnancies. One thing was cute gender reveal photos! We kept it really simple and just did the balloons in a box idea that’s everywhere. Set up right outside of the house and had our two amateur photographers click away for about 10 minutes total. That’s about all we could manage! I gotta say photoshoots with kids have proved to be one of the most challenging activities I’ve endured as a parent. I don’t know if my kids happen to be squirmier than most or what, but if we continue to push and prod and bark “Sit down!” and “Smile!” and “Look here!” past the 10 minute mark, one or two meltdowns are almost certainly¬†on the horizon. H has two children as well, so put the four of them all together…well, we ended up with a lot of tears.

Here are two of my faves (before things broke down):

 

With each of my pregnancies, I had a gut feeling what the sex would be. Mostly an instinctual thing, but I also had a few dreams. Side topic – does anyone else have really weird dreams when they’re pregnant? Like their baby popping out of their belly like in the Alien movie? Crazy hormones…

So, anyway, I did think it was a boy, but it was still really cool to hand the sealed envelope over to my brother in law and have my guess confirmed in the form of helium balloons!

Three months to go. I already feel enormous. But I shall make it through! I always do…

Keepin it Real

I haven’t written in three weeks. Today, I need it. I need the angry, pulsating blur of frustration, fatigue, and exasperation to dissipate and trickle out of my fingertips in the form of words on this page.

If any of you were wondering what it’s like being pregnant with two other kiddos under 5 running around, in a word, it’s exhausting. Some days are really f*cking hard. Today was one of those days. I’m empty. I’m at the end of my rope. I have used up every last reserve of energy. Between making meals, sweeping floors, washing dishes, attempting to knock a few calls off my call list and changing diapers, attempting to toilet train (haven’t gone all in yet; must get serious soon), putting baby girl in car, picking up older brother from daycare… (This reminds me – people have said to me in passing “Don’t run“, “Don’t pick her up“….Seriously? How is that possible? Do you actually expect me to go through my whole pregnancy without running or picking anyone up? Don’t see that happening… I mean I understand the good intention and I appreciate the concern, but it’s simply unrealistic.)

I don’t know what I did wrong today. I don’t know if I ate something weird, if I didn’t drink enough water, if I didn’t sleep enough, if I slept too much, if I didn’t read enough Scripture, if I didn’t pray enough, if my brain is too wired or on overdrive from trying to do too many things at once or simply from too many screens for one day… Some of you are probably thinking, “Ummm hormones? It’s not rocket science…” I’ll admit, you may be right. Except that this has happened before; many, many times when I wasn’t pregnant. I think every parent has these days. I think it comes with the territory.

Around dinner time, I had a full on screaming match with T after he started flipping out because I said he couldn’t have chocolate after he ate his meal. He had already had one this morning (and quite a lot over the last 3 days, so I had to put a stop to it before it became a habit). Totally stooped to his level, totally did all the things the parenting experts say not to do. I “lost my cool”. Supernanny would be so disappointed.

And I was doing so well…

I never told you about the instance when my mother in law told me I shouldn’t scream at my son so much, did I? This was about two months ago I suppose. I went into a mini depression because she was basically validating what I already knew was true, what I already felt impossibly guilty about. After I got over the initial shock, I kicked myself into gear and finished reading that Supernanny book I borrowed a month prior and had only read the first chapter of. She actually has some really helpful, basic, straight forward advice. She’s really big on praise and says it leaves 10 times as much of an impression as disciplining does, which was encouraging because I’ve always made a point to put a lot of emphasis on praise. We had already been using a sticker chart and it had definitely helped (I give him a sticker when he follows directions and acts properly and take one away if he does something really unacceptable. At first, it was 6 stickers to a prize; we recently increased to 8). What I have been meaning to incorporate is Supernanny’s version of Time Out which she calls the “Naughty Step”. Basically, you give two warnings – two chances for the child to correct his/her behavior (have to talk them through it and be very specific about what you are expecting) – and then the third time they repeat/continue the misbehavior, you take them to the “Naughty Step” or chair or corner of the room or wherever you decide for it to be. So, we made our list of House Rules (kept it simple – no hurting others, sit at the table when eating, clean up toys after playing). We didn’t write a No Screaming at the Top of Your Lungs til You’re Red in the Face and Throwing Laundry at Omma rule, but we should have. I gave him the two warnings. I told him he had to sit down and be quiet and stop disrespecting me, and he continued, so I screeched, “THAT’S IT! TIME OUT!” What I did wrong was that I got all heated and I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the next room (Supernanny notes the time out spot shouldn’t be a bedroom, but in the heat of the moment, I thought taking him into a different room would get my point across better.) Poor baby. It makes me sad thinking about it. Where was my patience? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I know this devastated feeling won’t last. This too shall pass. The good news is that tomorrow, I have a chance to start anew and to do better. I’ve come to expect all these highs and lows. This is real life. This is not a movie scripted to make everything fall into place; where everything works itself out and resolves itself neatly by the close of the day.

When things get crazy, when our minds are a mess and we are on our last legs, we just need to stop. Stop everything (even if we have to wait til after the kids go to bed, which most likely as parents, we do). Whenever we finally, finally have the chance, take a minute. A minute to take a few deep breaths, to meditate, to do yoga, to pray, to take a hot shower, to belt out a few songs on our favorite singing app (My singers, look up Smule in the app store! You won’t regret it!), to call a friend, to blog. Strand by strand, we can gather ourselves back together, pick up the pieces of ourselves that were tossed every which way in the tornado that was today. We can adoringly, quietly watch our little angels (I only call them angels when they’re asleep….) and rest assured that there’s no shortage of love in our hearts.

Tomorrow is a new day.