Friday, November 28, 2014

an un-thankful night.

It is 4:30 AM. The morning after Thanksgiving. Except I haven't really slept so it feels like it is still Thanksgiving. Just one long never-ending day.

And I am not feeling very thankful. 

Instead I am feeling irritated. And frustrated. And tired. And crabby. And uncomfortable. A little angry too. Oh and hungry too. Basically anything BUT thankful. 

Since midnight when Joe and I turned off the movie we were watching and called it a night, Joe has been asleep. Or so I assume based upon his breathing pattern. And I have been trying to sleep. But it has proved futile. Mostly because I am surrounded by small, needy children. 

The two year old has weaseled her way into our bed. And she insists upon having her arm across my head and leg across my belly. Which I could tolerate except, the four year old is on the floor next to me because she needs her faucet of a nose wiped every 15 minutes. (I wish I were exaggerating. I am not. Every 15 minutes for the past four and a half hours she has woken up whimpering until I wipe her runny nose.) And when I roll over (ever so slowly thanks to my achey hips) the two year old cries and kicks as if I am leaving her FOREVER. It's ugly. And painful. And it has wiped every thought of thankfulness from my mind. Ironically. 

And now it is 5 AM. And I don't know where I am going with this. But for the first time EVER I wish I were out shopping the middle-of-the-night Black Friday deals. Then maybe I would feel like my night has been productive. Not that wiping the nose of a four year old (who is completely capable of wiping her own nose) isn't a good use of my time as well...that totally counts as being productive, right?!

I tried to find solace in Facebook but that proved to be guilt-inducing...

Because I am not quite there yet. I am still stuck in the first paragraph. Minus the "Thank you Jesus" part. I am just feeling stretched and messy and chaotic. The thankfulness component isn't there quite yet. It's been wiped out of me momentarily...


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I have this handy little (free!) app on my phone that counts down to all the important upcoming events in my life. I love it because it tells me things like there are only 113 days until MATCH DAY. And 190 days until Joe's graduation day. And only 73 days until my estimated delivery date!

Eek. 73 days! That's not very many.

73 days until our world turns upside down...again. Seriously having a baby changes things. Like family dynamics. And routines. And everyone's emotional stability! Brand new babies throw everything off kilter. It's amazing how much havoc a brand new person can create. Every time I have been pregnant I like to deny that this is going to happen. But inevitably it happens. And then we trudge through to find our new "normal". 

This time I am not living in denial. I am living in fear. Seriously. I know this is going to be a hard transition for our family. And no matter how much I LOVE newborn babies (and trust me. I really, REALLY love babies!) it doesn't change reality. We are in the calm before the storm. 

A lot of my fear is rooted in the fact that Hannah is a VERY busy...and...ahem...challenging toddler. I barely have a handle on her at this moment. So I can not fathom being able to manage her + a baby. I say "yes". She says "no". I tell her to stop. She runs into the street. I say sit on the stool. She stands on the counter. She fights sleep like it is going to kill her. She constantly picks on Grandpa's dog on purpose...she WANTS to get bit so she can go to the hospital! 

So...ummm...yeah...not sure how I am going to adequately monitor her and keep a brand new baby alive! And I only have 73 (+/- a few) days to prepare. It just doesn't seem adequate. And by "prepare" I do mean eat many many bowls of icecream to calm my fears...and fatten this baby up. I mean the bigger he is the better, right? A sturdy baby will be more likely to survive this household. Kidding. Kinda.

Along with the impending sense of doom that came with opening up that app this morning came an urgency to take "maternity" pictures with Joe. I have never before taken maternity pictures. And I am not sure how I feel about them. They are kind of awkward and corny. And really, what does one do with maternity pictures?! Frame them? Hang them up? Put them in an album somewhere to be forgotten? Put them in the baby book?! And yet despite all my reservations I just HAD TO TAKE THEM TODAY. Because this is it folks. My last pregnancy. And I am determined to do it right. To dot all my "i"s and cross all my "t"s so to speak. To have no regrets. And while I am not over the moon excited about having maternity pictures, I am happy I won't ever have to wish I had taken them. Yes I am that neurotic. I took pictures so in the future I wouldn't regret not taking these pictures. Makes perfect sense. 

And now before I disclose any more of my craziness to the world, I will end. With the maternity pictures of course. And a big bowl of ice cream. 

Monday, November 24, 2014


I wish I could say Joe's homecoming was simply fabulous. But that would be a lie.

Before Joe arrived home I was dreaming of living the life of luxury upon his return. Or at least the luxurious mom life...sitting back while HE did meal times and bath times and bedtimes with the kids. Allowing him to discipline the kids (as needed). Letting Joe take the lead in monitoring homework and household chores. Etcetera.  

It was a nice dream. 

The reality has been far less nice. Because the one thing I didn't plan on was Joe being sick. The poor guy has had a fever and a cough since he arrived home. Meaning he has been down for the count. Meaning life has continued as usual. Meal times and bath times and bedtimes...pretty much all still my duties:(

Which in turn has made me VERY crabby. And not feeling very loving or kind towards Joe. (*I have seriously lacked sympathy for the poor guy!) That's the problem with having expectations.  If I hadn't expected anything then I would have been fine. I mean I was doing fine before Joe got here so why couldn't I just continue along like that?! Because of my dumb expectations. I was expecting a break. In fact I felt entitled to a break. And when things stayed the same my attitude stunk. 

When will I learn?! The key to happiness (in this stage of life) is to LOWER MY EXPECTATIONS. Or better yet have no expectations! I mean it's not like Joe is going to be sick forever...eventually I will get my break, right?!?!?

*In my defense (of lack of sympathy for Joe), I am having a terrible time sleeping these days. I sleep for a couple hours and then I am up for a couple hours. I am NOT getting good sleep. And I LOVE sleep. It's so hard. It's definitely not helping my crabbiness! Oh and it's not my huge belly that is keeping me up at night. It's my hips! They ache. SO MUCH. Extra pillows and a body pillow are not helping:( But I suppose Joe is right "I ain't no spring chicken anymore!" Pregnancy. It's kinda uncomfortable. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baby Mullet 2.0

Hannah's hair has been driving me bonkers lately! Don't get me wrong I love, love, LOVE the fact that she has hair (considering her big sister was bald FOREVER). But it's just at this terribly awkward stage. And I so badly want to get it cut. But then I remember I am poor and cheap so I just ignore it for one more day. I pretend the baby mullet is adorable. And I tell myself those are just baby curls NOT a rat tail growing on the back of my baby's head...
Clearly I am delusional! And today was the day I woke up and realized it. Today was the day I gave Hannah her first haircut....because while I am no longer delusional I am still poor and cheap. Too cheap for the salon when I own scissors:)

I had grand plans of REALLY cutting her hair. As in giving her a "bob". I even pulled out the hair cutting cape! So official. Hannah definitely felt special wearing it. And then I chickened out. I mean those are my baby's first could I just chop them all off?!?

I couldn't. So she got a trim instead. 

Seriously mom? I can't even tell you cut anything!

I know. I know. It looks almost exactly the same. But it was still a BIG moment in my life. And here is the proof that I really did cut some hair off...

And that concludes what I assumed was the least monumental hair cutting post ever written. But then I remembered this post I wrote about the original baby mullet. Basically the same story two years later (except this time there were no treats doled out for cooperation). Apparently my life is very redundant. 

Interview Season - Halfway Done!

Today marks the halfway point for residency interview season for Joe! Wahoo!!! Halfway through his interviews. 9 done. 9 to go. Not halfway as far as time is concerned. Interviews go through January for emergency medicine. So we still have a few months to go. But the good news is this means the next 9 are much more spread out. Plus the BEST news is that Joe is on his way home RIGHT NOW!! So from now on he will be home with us [except when traveling for interviews] until this baby arrives!!!

I thought I would do a little rundown of interview season so far...

9 residency interviews in 4 different states. (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio) 7 pre-interview socials. 7 hotel stays. 1 overnight with friends. 1 overnight with extremely kind strangers. 1 babysitting gig (for the friends). And 4,368 miles on the road. All in the past 6 weeks. Plus just for fun Joe completed a 4 week emergency medicine rotation AND another boards exam [Step 2 CS] during this time frame. Ok. Not for fun. He did those because they are required to graduate.

Meanwhile back at our home base, I have done 30+ bedtimes. And 30+ nap times. A 100+ mealtimes. Dozens of bath times. Oodles and oodles of school drop offs and pickups by myself. And half a dozen family gatherings without Joe. To say I am ready to have my husband home is a MAJOR understatement. I am tired. I miss him. The kids miss him. [Everytime Hannah talks to daddy on the phone she tells him to come home in 2 minutes!] We miss being a family together. I know we chose this life (and most of the time I love it!) but sometimes it's long and hard and tiring. Or maybe that's just being in my third trimester of my fourth pregnancy:) Either way, I am happy to be at this point. It feels good and worthy of mentioning. 

We are halfway there. And I like that. 

Coincidentally next month will mark the halfway point of Joe's medical training (if everything continues as planned).

4 years of medical school + 3 years of residency = 7 years total. 

And next month will be 3.5 years since he started medical school. Halfway to the finish line. Ok. Scratch that. That sounds far too depressing. Let's stick with only 6 months until Joe graduates and is DONE with medical school. That sounds more exciting and DOABLE. 

And now I must stop analyzing it all. Just stop and enjoy the fact that soon we will all be under one roof again. And that is good news indeed. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

dozens of cousins

Remember this fun family of mine?!? Well my amazing and extremely brave sister-in-law drove her crew of kids from Montana to Minnesota to spend time with family. Which means my kids got to spend ALL DAY Sunday with their cousins! 5 cousins to be exact. Not exactly dozens. But it kinda felt that way when they were all running around here playing. 8 kids ages 10 and under can do A LOT of playing. Thankfully some of that playing time was spent outside:) The fact that Grandpa and Grandma have a small sledding hill in their's the best!

How Hannah sees anything with all that hair in her eyes...I will never understand. Someone should probably do something about that.

The after math...

LOTS of wet, cold snow gear!

Seriously someone should do something about
all that hair in that child's eyes! Ridiculousness.

And we couldn't forget about the next set of cousins...

Seriously?! Why am I always HUGE compared to every other pregnant lady?! I am only 4 weeks ahead of my sister-in-law! Story of my (pregnant) life. The last time we were pregnant at the same time was 8 years ago. Oh and this is the only time my sister, sister-in-law and I have all been pregnant at the same time. Which is kind of amazing considering between the three of us there have been/will be 14 grandchildren born in a 10 year span! Of course we don't have a single picture of us all pregnant together...but still a fun little factoid. 

P.S. In case it wasn't obvious from the picture baby boy is growing "fine and dandy" according to the ultrasound today! Placental lake is getting smaller and baby is getting bigger. Yay! He is at the 77th percentile for size so approximately 3 pounds. AND he is head down. As in head very far down...locked and to speak:)  It isn't just my imagination. I am getting kind of tired of all these extra ultrasounds (mostly because they take me away from my kids and take effort to coordinate) BUT seeing this adorable face made my day...

And yes I realize it's hard to visualize. But squint a little and you might just see him:) Hint: the big white spot is his cheek and just above it is his eye and to the right/slightly below it is his nose. It's a 2D close up of his face.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

a baby & a game of quarters

Remember that gorgeous pinterest-worthy wedding I was in last summer? Not this past summer but the summer before. Well my cousin...the new mom came from Texas to Minnesota and braved all our cold and snow!! And she even brought her new baby (and husband!) along too. My girls have absolutely LOVED getting to practice holding baby. And thankfully baby Logan tolerated all of their attention pretty well...

Most of the time:)

Ah. Much better! The first word out of Hannah's mouth when she "held" him for the first time was "HEAVY!"  He's a healthy boy. 

Apparently his hand was so interesting that they forgot about his head...

Oops! Don't worry he was never dropped or seriously injured. 

I had a BLAST sneaking in three separate visits with that little boy and his momma. Such a treat. However clearance shoe shopping just didn't grab his attention like it did ours...


Now hang with me for a second as I go on a bit of a tangent here. Saturday night while we were hanging out at my cousin's in-laws' place Isaiah found a quarter. He then began a rousing game of spin the quarter by himself. Which led to him tallying up heads vs tails. Somehow despite the fact that I was not interacting with him this morphed into a game of mom vs Isaiah. I was heads. He was tails. When we left Saturday night I was winning (without ever actually spinning the kind of game!). 

When Isaiah woke up this morning he found a new quarter and continued "our game". But before he started he announced the prizes for the winner. If he won he would get to stay up an hour later at bedtime. And if I won I would get an hour by myself. (How sweet is that?! Or is it sad that my seven year old knows that the thing I want most is time alone?! I am going with sweet.) So as "we" played this game I took the girls downstairs to get dressed for church and Isaiah continued to spin the quarter and tally. 

I use the term "getting dressed" loosely because not one of us was actually dressed or even close to being dressed 10 minutes later when Isaiah came down to announce the winner. Charlotte still fully pajama-clad had 4 dresses spread out on the bed and was trying to discuss with me the pros and cons of each. (Mind you they were 4 nearly identical corduroy clearly much to debate!) At the same moment Hannah was in a diaper...a very WET overnight diaper...with a pair of tights...two sizes too big...dangling off her legs and a dress around her neck and she was screaming and thrashing about. Isaiah instead of his usual "Mom. Mom. MOOOOM!" To get my attention very sweetly tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me mom. I can see you are busy now but I just wanted to tell you that I won our game." And quietly left allowing me to continue my dressing battle with his sisters. 

(Old, recycled picture. Sorry.)

But seriously. This kid. He just amazes me these days. He's turning out so well...despite me. He is so grown up and mature. It just completely catches me off guard. I am so accustomed to constant neediness and demands and emotional lability that I just can't believe I have a KID. A kid big enough to entertain himself and be polite and considerate. That he thinks of me from time to's just...nice. And reassuring. I can see why people like having big kids. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hello Third Trimester!

Seriously? Where did the past 27 weeks go?! They flew by! Well not weeks 8 - 15. Those were miserable and dragged on and on and on and on and on. But I have almost managed to block that time period from my memory. Almost. Kinda like my disappearing feet...I still sorta remember they are there but mostly not:)

Not much to report on the pregnancy front. I am still pregnant. Growing larger by the day. Which subsequently means I am moving slower by the day as well. This baby (who is still nameless despite my best efforts to force Joe to pick a name already!) is a kicker. Not so much a mover or a roller, but definitely a kicker!! And at this point I still LOVE all the kicks and jabs. Such a fun feeling.  Give me a few weeks and I might be singing a new tune...

Next Monday I have my repeat ultrasound. To check on my placental lake and baby's growth (and hopefully not lack thereof). Oh and my glucose test. Yuck! Mostly I am curious to find out if baby has moved to a head down position because it sure feels like it! Lots and lots of pressure these days. 

Other highlights from our week...

On Monday winter arrived in Minnesota! It snowed ALL DAY LONG and most of the night too. My very non-precise estimate would be that we now have 3-5 inches of snow on the ground. The kids LOVED it! I have tolerated it. We of course have done all sorts of wintery activities since the first snow fall. 

Sledding. And snow ball fights. Snowman building. Eating (clean!) snow.  Shoveling (mostly my dad). And slipping and sliding...both while walking and driving! 

Which led us right into drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. So of course the children had to write their letters to Santa already...

Yes, Charlotte's first request is toilet paper. Let's just say someone hasn't learned to use an appropriate amount. She feels as though 1/4 of a roll is necessary to get the job done. Needless to say when I saw on Facebook that my cousin's 4 year old daughter only wants "God's greatest gift" for Christmas I felt like a failure as mother. Toilet paper. God's greatest gift. Universes apart! 

Tuesday happened. Nothing terribly noteworthy. More snow. More of me breaking into a sweat as I spent 30 minutes bundling children. More sledding. And then 5 minutes later I was freezing as I rescued a stranded 2 year old in the snow. The snow was "hurting" her as snow tends to do if you take off your mittens and play with it!

Wednesday I got to go see this guy...

for another pre-interview dinner. This time in Wisconsin (in case the picture didn't make it explicitly obvious:). And I didn't critique a single part of his outfit.  I am learning...slowly. My parents graciously watched the children. (Thanks parents!) And that is probably THE last picture Joe will text me. He just loves when I use his texts on the blog without his permission. Oh well. In one short (long?) week he will be back with us and I can snap all the candid shots of him I want! 4 more interviews, 1 board exam and 6 days. That's all that stands in between us being together!!!

Thursday and Friday were exciting as well but I will save all that fun for another post. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rude Awakenings.

[[I am 99% positive that ^THAT is a recycled (and very un-original) title. But I am too lazy to check so let's just roll with it. Thanks.]]

In the past week I have experienced too many rude awakenings. Mostly they are rude because they come in the form of being woken far too early for my sleep-loving preferences. 

One of these early mornings was compliments of my dad and his dog stomping and barking (just the dog thankfully:) in the kitchen which unfortunately is directly above my room. I had not slept well that night - compliments of really bizarre pregnancy dreams + aching hips & back - so I was less than pleased to be up early. I was even less pleased when ALL of my children woke up from the commotion as well. Needless to say my dad (and his dog) felt my sleep deprived wrath that morning! I didn't hold back on telling him exactly how I felt about barking dogs before sunrise. (All was forgiven when he chipped in to buy pizza for dinner that night. Apparently I can be bought off.)

But mostly my early (and therefore rude) awakenings are compliments of two certain little girls I know and love. Typically the complaint is a bad dream and needing a snuggle. The snuggle I can comply with. But the requests to "Open mommy eye. Get up. Feed me." Those are too much for me to handle before 7 AM. To add insult to injury, Charlotte has had some real zingers for me first thing in the morning. Like today when she told me I looked like a hippo. Yikes! I know I am getting big but a hippo?! Really? Ok then. Might be time to lay off the Halloween candy. 

The other morning she pointed to my lower leg and asked "what's that?"  I stated the obvious (my calf muscle) but she wasn't satisfied. She wanted to know why it looked like that. To clarify she went on to ask why my calf is all BLUBBERY when hers is not. I tried to explain that it is my muscle, but she insisted it was "blubber". Again time to control my eating habits. Got it. 

My sweetheart of a child made sure to photograph me in all of my sleep-deprived, blubbery hippo-like glory this morning. She's nice like that. 

Honestly, I thought all these claims of "bad dreams" were just a hoax. Her way of getting into my bed AND getting sympathy. But then the other morning she described one of her dreams IN GREAT DETAIL. And YIKES. The length of her dream was (slightly) painful to listen to but more was SCARY! 

Here is the synopsis:

Joe & I were gone. Charlotte & her siblings were at home with Grandma & Grandpa. A bee came into the house and told everyone robots were coming and these robots were going to take their hearts apart! Everyone hid. Charlotte alone. Grandma with Hannah. Grandpa with Isaiah. The robots found Charlotte (because she didn't have enough time to find a good hiding place!). Charlotte told the robots where Isaiah & Grandpa were hiding...

Yep she totally sacrificed her big brother & Grandpa! But can you blame her?! Poor forgotten middle child:) 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My boy.

There have been several moments over the last few months that have made me incredibly proud of Isaiah and the person he is becoming.

Like last week when I took him out for a special date. Just him & I. At the end of the meal he received two cookies. All on his own he decided to save one cookie for Charlotte. So thoughtful and completely unexpected (by me). 

Or last night, when he took Charlotte aside to teach her to write the alphabet. And once she mastered that skill to Isaiah's liking, he moved onto short words. He was so incredibly patient with her. Telling her she could do it and encouraging her to not give up. It was truly heartwarming as the mom to watch.

And I can't tell you how many times over the last month or two I have asked Isaiah to help Hannah...because bending down to her level and/or picking her up is getting harder & harder these days! And even when he doesn't want to help her, he does it anyway. 

He is so patient and kind with his little sisters and me (most of the time!). It is incredible to watch. Especially in light of the fact that there have been many, many, many times over the past (nearly) two years in which I have considered myself a failure in regards to mothering Isaiah. I have cried too many tears of frustration and fear over my first born child. I have been driven to my knees in prayer. Often times prayers of desperation and hopelessness. I have felt like I was losing him and his trust. I have felt embarrassed and confused over my eldest child more times than I care to admit. But recently that has changed. Recently I am sitting back in awe of him. Watching him blossom into this kind and caring human being. Seeing him flourish and thrive despite all of my shortcomings as a mother. 

And I am so very thankful for the boy he is becoming. These days my prayers are filled with thanks and praise. Because despite my failings as a mother (and I have MANY) he's turning out alright. And I love him like crazy. I am lucky to have him. God knew what he was doing when he put us together as mother and son.