Have your cake…and eat it too!

Evan turned one in January, finishing out the fastest year of our lives thus far! Our little tradition of filling up the kids’ cribs with balloons continued and followed with three days of  balloons floating around the house, making their way from room to room, under beds, behind doors, over the baby gate, and down the stairs.

That weekend, we celebrated with cinnamon rolls, breakfast casseroles, and of course…cake!

It doesn’t get any better than your little brother having a birthday. Especially when mom puts the cake within reach…

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Myles buried his little pointer finger straight to the center of Evan’s cake before Evan even noticed it was in front of him.

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Of course if mom and dad are letting Myles dig in…it must be a free-for-all cake!

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Happy birthday little man!

 

My sea-change

Shortly after bringing the twins home, we got a van. Sliding doors, plenty of room, anchors to safely secure and configure multiple car seats in a variety of ways. With this van, came the luxury of a DVD player. I always thought I’d be that parent who only used it for trips…long trips…

One snowy Sunday evening in December, David and I decided to load the kids up in the van and take a drive to look at Christmas lights. We got the kids in their jammies, stopped by a gas station for some hot chocolate, and turned on the DVD player to treat the kids to a movie for the drive. It was a memory I will never forget and hopefully a tradition we can continue over the years.

That DVD player has been used multiple times a week since—short trips; trips across town; trips from daycare to home; trips from home to grandma and grandpas. As a way to distract toddlers from removing hats, boots, and socks after spending 15 minutes putting them on. As a way to bribe unruly toddlers to get strapped into their car seats without competing in a strength contest. And although I still don’t want to be those parents, we are. Someday soon, I plan to ease out of that habit…feel free to judge us for the time being.

With that being said, the movie on replay in our van lately is Finding Nemo. While I’m not able to watch while I’m driving along (although I have seen it plenty of times), I have been listening closer than ever.

All I can say is Dory, I get you girl.

Mom. Brain. Fog / Memory loss. It’s a real thing. I initially thought it was caused by major sleep deprivation but all 3 of our children are sleeping through the night, so that excuse is no longer valid.

Even things just as simple as talking. I know the words I want to say, I form them in my head, and then they disappear, never making it from the mush of my brain down off my tongue. In one nanosecond, I either forget what word it is I wanted to say or I forget what I was saying all together.

Username and passwords? Are you kidding me? I check the box for Remember This Password and the only recollection I have from there on out are the dots that replace it forever. Thank goodness for the person who thought to make a Forgot Password button…I use it often.

I’m even embarrassed to admit how many times I search for my keys on a weekly basis…

While listening to Dory’s constant confusion and personal struggle, I relate. As humans (more so than fish although sometimes I wonder…) even as magnificent as our brains are, I’m pretty sure there are capacity limits, and some days, I feel so close to the full-o-meter that I’m certain my brain is shutting off functions.

Oh my beloved coffee—you make things worse! I think Dory would have drove more than herself nuts had she indulged in a little caffeine.

I still love my coffee.

I think I’ve found a cure. It’s not easy, it’s not quick, but it’s necessary and it’s a major 2017 goal for me…

I am realizing that as we settle into our family of 5—considering how fast we went from praying for kids to having three—I’m just now catching up. I am having to do some major personal evaluating of what I need to let go, because I can’t hold onto it all. And that’s ok!

To let go of the busyness that clouds my thoughts and gives me a major case of mom brain. 

To clean out the clutter of worry and guilt about whether I should have done more/better/less. There’s no room for you. It’s now filled with three beautiful children who really request very little of me in return. Besides the feeding, diapering, bathing, and nurturing, they really just want me to be present with them.

To remember that there is a season for everything and it all doesn’t have to be done by me, right now, perfectly.

In the hustle and bustle of this season we are in, I will focus on making more room than ever by letting go of the unnecessary things that clutter up space.

Mom brain (and all that’s no longer essential), you can just keep swimming…I’ll stay right here.

“Whatever passage you’re facing—entering your twenties or your sixties, facing life alone for the first time in a long time or learning the new dance of partnership, becoming a parent or becoming an empty-nester, leaving student life behind or becoming a student once again—has the potential to be your sea-change, your invitation to leave behind what’s not essential and travel deeply into the heart of things. This is a pattern we can recreate all our lives, over and over, because who’s ever totally finished leaving things behind?” – Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

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I very, very highly recommend this read!

 

Moments Like This, I Thank My Mom.

Wednesday, Aria and Myles were home with me, awake and playing peacefully in the living room. Evan was still asleep and I sat down to pump before he woke up and my mom arrived to help. Aria got curious and crawled over by me only to discover the 2 plastic tubes that attached her mom to a bag that made a lot of noise. As she grabbed the tube right out from me, milk spilling everywhere, she giggled with her big (now 7!) toothed smile, and my heart melted. As I cleaned up and finished pumping, Evan woke up and was screaming like he hadn’t ate in days. As I tried to get what milk was left into his bottle, a lovely smell of real food (beef tips and noodles, corn, and pumpkin) digested and blown out of my 10 month old son’s diaper filled the air. I quickly tried to ignore the smell as I filled Evan’s belly, but it couldn’t be ignored for long. I grabbed our changing pad and basket of diapers/wipes and laid Myles down to attack the situation. But he decided he wanted a toy that was about 2 feet away and attempted to roll over multiple times as I wrestled his strong, 26 pound body trying not to get any debris on our carpet. While using the 6th wipe and tackling the dirtied onesie, I heard the beautiful sound of a dog vomiting mixed with the giggles of the kids. Bentley, after most likely being dropped too many table scraps from 2 high chairs, was throwing up in the middle of our living room floor and our always curious Aria was quickly crawling over to try and help clean it up for me. As I took a deep breath, the kind of deep breath that you also say a little prayer for a boost of patience, I thanked my mom.

My mom and I have always been very close. I call her daily, inquire about all kinds of things, often talk her ear off about my life/problems/joys/bad days/good days, sometimes even forgetting to ask her how her day was because she is always so interested in things going on in my life. She has always been there for me, my biggest fan and supporter, always knows the right things to say to make everything better, and most importantly loves me in a way no one else does. Motherhood is something I always thought I understood but never truly did in it’s entirety until moments like that Wednesday.

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I hope I am half as good of a mom as mine is. The type of mom that never considers sacrifice anything less than a privilege, has a never-ending supply of patience, an incredible amount of strength that bears the weight of many worries, doesn’t take one thing in life for granted, lives fully present in the lives of her children, and loves with the deep, unlimited, endless love a mother’s heart is capable of.

And on that Wednesday, just as I finished that deep, prayer filled breath, my mom arrived. There are no words in this language to thank her for all that she is to me or to tell her how much I love her. Thank you, Mom, for being mine. I love you.

Life with 3 under 1

A huge question we have been getting is how are things going with having 3 under 1 year old. Well, lets just say the word chaos is used often by David and I.

The most beautiful, perfect, sometimes pull your hair out and brew another cup of coffee with the hopes the Keurig magically has a kahlua shot dispenser, amazing chaos.

In all honesty though, it’s going really good! The twins go to daycare 4 of the 5 days of the week to keep them on a schedule, give me a break to focus on recovery, nursing, rest, and Evan snuggles. I had a hard time coming to terms with this because I got cut short on my maternity leave with Aria and Myles and wanted to make up for it this time around but after Wednesdays pass, I am thankful for our amazing daycare provider and all of the love and fun she provides for Aria and Myles. It truly makes me a better mom and I can not wait until 5:00 rolls around each day, feeling rested and ready! Wednesdays my mom has been coming over to help so I can spend one extra day with them during the week. This week has gone much better than last (both Wednesday and the weekends) as we all figure this family of 5 out, together.

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Myles started to crawl this past weekend and has quickly picked up speed. He’s such a strong boy (and with just finishing another round of antibiotics and a steroid for wheezing lungs…) he’s more spunky and full of force than ever. He’s also taken up a new nickname by his Aunt Sue that we’ve been using on a daily basis now – BamBam. That kid is going to do amazing things! Which surely will include reaching my back-of-the-cupboard-up-too-high spice cabinet and moving furniture for his mom, probably all by the time he’s 5! 

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Myles and Bentley are crazy good friends. Bentley brings Myles his toys and they play tug of war, Myles belly laughs til we cry, and now with Myles moving, he chases Bentley as well. It wears the puppy out of him and it’s so fun to see the two of them love on each other! I promise you someday our bed will be traded for Myles’.

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Aria is the best big sister ever. If Evan makes even the smallest noise, she’s right there to check on him. Unfortunately the hardest part right now with 3 under 1 is that the twins don’t understand the phrase “be gentle” or “be nice”. We are working on it but keeping Evan away and safe can be a full time job sometimes! Whenever I am holding Evan, Aria comes over, pulls herself up, and gives him a big open mouthed kiss on the top of the head while his hair tickles her cheek and she laughs. It’s the sweetest.

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We got lucky, times 3, with yet another great baby! Evan came down with a decently high fever for how tiny he is, tons of congestion, and goopy eyes which led us into the Dr. this past Monday for tests, an X-ray (terrified mama: go ahead, Google baby x-ray – the gizmo they perform these with looks like a mix of a drive-up bank canister tube and a blender with a 2 week old shoved into it), and more tests. He has parainfluenza which is a fancy word for a really bad cold. It was pretty inevitable with how this winter has been for our family…praying next winter is a breeze around here!

Lastly, I’m pretty sure we have a personalized pile at the landfill for the mounds of diapers we produce daily. Mounds.

Evan Lawrence

We welcomed our third little miracle into this world on January 11th.

Meet Evan Lawrence…

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He is perfect in every way with his full head of brown hair and his itty bitty features. Evan means the Lord is gracious – and he most definitely is! Aria and Myles adapted seamlessly to Evan becoming part of our family and they sleep right through his little baby squeals when I change his diaper and Aria is always there to check on him (and pull his hair…). Myles isn’t mobile yet but he glances at him once and a while to make sure he’s still here. We sure are blessed.

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My pregnancy was amazing. I had no complaints during those months that seemed to fly right by as we watched the twins grow so fast over the last 9 months. As my due date came and passed, I did everything I could to soak in the special little movements and company that Evan provided me as a reminder of the love and joy to soon come. I enjoyed being pregnant and will never forget all of the feelings that came with it.

January 10th, David and I went in to the hospital to get baby checked. I thought I was leaking amniotic fluid that Saturday but noticed it had stopped on Sunday but wanted to make sure baby was ok and rule out any problems. Everything checked out ok and we were sent home…well to Applebees to enjoy one last date just the two of us for a while. My sister in law was watching the twins who were napping so we took advantage of a meal out together!

That night I had some cramping that wasn’t the normal braxton hicks contractions I was so use to. In hopeful fear of what the night would bring, I went to bed early only to wake up a few hours later (9:45 pm) to what was definitely contractions that were 6-7 minutes apart. Enough where I could walk/talk through them but not quite sleep comfortably through them. As I got up and moved around, they went to about 3-4 minutes apart and were getting stronger. About 2 hours later, the nurse told us to come in to the hospital.

At about midnight we arrived, got checked in, and went to the labor and delivery floor to be monitored. I was dilated still only to 3 cm (where I was at my appointment earlier that week) and 90% effaced. Though I was having contractions, the nurse and doctor didn’t feel they were regular or strong enough to keep me so they sent us home…I have never been so scared in my life when I heard those words. I was pretty uncomfortable and my contractions were 1-5 minutes apart and I couldn’t walk through them but could talk through them. I was nervous at how much worse they had to get before coming back and didn’t want to go back and get sent home again. Frustrated, we came home to try and get some sleep.

Shortly after getting home at 2 a.m., my contractions picked up (about 3 a.m.)…fast and painfully I tried to sleep but ended up in screaming pain which landed me in the bathtub to hopefully find some relief. I had yet to wake David to let him know what was going on but my sister in law in the next room woke to my screams and woke David up. He called in and they said to come back in. About 4 AM, contractions 2-3 minutes apart and the can’t talk, can’t think, can’t hardly breathe contractions were a type and degree of pain I have never felt before. The ER rushed me up to labor and delivery again and I had progressed to 5 cm and almost 100% effaced. About an hour of contractions and I had an IV in and an epidural being administered through 3 sets of contractions…I was a different person once that was in and though I could still feel the tightness and pressure of each contraction, I was at least able to calmly breathe through them and keep my sanity…

I went fairly fast from 5 cm to 9 cm and the nurse when checking me unintentionally broke my water. My mom was also there shortly after being admitted, I was so happy she could be there, especially as the day progressed.

Unfortunately, my body would have a group of contractions one after another and last for about 5 minutes at a time. Those same bundles of contractions would send baby Evan’s heart rate down to a scary level. A level that sent both the Dr and nurses in to try and reposition me, put me on oxygen to breathe more deeply to the baby, and give me a series of shots to slow the labor process to hopefully calm the baby down. After about 4 hours of not progressing to 10 cm and baby’s heart rate continuing to become stressed through my close contractions – the Dr. booked the OR for a C-section after having a long talk with David and I about what was going on and what could happen if we kept putting baby through the stress. That was my biggest fear coming true. I knew a C-section would limit my abilities as a mom to the twins and I knew how hard that would be for them, David, and myself. But I wasn’t just a mom to the twins anymore, I was the mom to Evan too – and he was at risk and as a mom, sacrifices are a part of the journey. After my C-section, the Dr told me that there was no amniotic fluid left around Evan and with the way he was positioned in there,  it was a good decision to go the route we did.

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I have to give a shout out, standing ovation really, to David. There really is nothing as deep as the love you have for your spouse when you have children. I felt it with our adoption of Aria and Myles, I feel it every day when I see David interact with the twins and love on them with everything he has, and I saw it that day as he rubbed my hand, calmly talking me through each minute our sweet baby’s heart decelerated and as I looked in his eyes when we heard Evan’s first cry. Those are moments that I have engraved into my brain and my heart and I will forever look at David and see that I picked my one and only and am so lucky to have him by my side every day.

January 11, at 1:12 PM to be exact (I asked what time it was at 1:11 PM and mentioned how cool that would be for Evan to be born at 1:11 on 1/11 to the anesthesiologist – he yelled to the Dr she had 9 seconds to deliver the baby…we missed the mark but I will always remember that minute!), was the day our beautiful 7 lb 14 oz, 20 1/2 inches long baby boy was born. All good things come in threes and we are forever grateful for our three. I wish I could relive these moments over and over again…

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Me vs Time

6 months. The twins turned 6 months old. It’s a complete understatement to say time flies.

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One of my best friends had a baby this week. An itty, bitty under 7 pound baby boy. I went to visit her and meet her sweet boy after he was born. My friend was in the hospital room right next door to the room where we met our son and daughter for the first time, 6 months ago today. Let all the feelings begin of being within reach to a memory that seems like just yesterday…a yesterday that is now half a year ago.

Let’s talk about that, Mr. Time. I have a love/hate relationship with you, and I honestly feel like it’s a virus that all human beings, in all stages of life, battle. The constant struggle of wanting time to pass to get to the next thing in our lives — all while trying to grasp a slippery grip on the present moment.

If I think too much about how fast the last 6 months have gone, I start to feel panicky and short of breath. My eyes well up with tears and if I had one wish it’d be to turn back the clock so I could relive every second of the past 262,800 minutes of my life.

Yet I still find myself on Monday mornings thinking about Friday evenings when the weekend can start again, wishing away the days until the time comes again where I can spend unlimited time with my family.

And that, my friends, is the endless battle of time.

Time flies is an understatement and unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it except for doing our best to live in the present moment; soaking in every breath, every giggle, every smile, every milestone, every cuddle, every memory — because the truth is time goes on whether we dig our heels into the ground or not. Each minute we waste wishing time to pass is speeding the already fast clock up, a clock we can’t rewind.

So today I will hold my baby girl who isn’t so little anymore, take a deep breath of her coconut curls, and let her slobbery kisses run down my cheeks. I will tickle my almost toddler sized baby boy’s lower back until he laughs so hard he cries and take the time to babble back to him as he explores the noises his mouth and tongue can make. Because even though time never stops, I will do what I can to memorize these moments in hopes that 6 months from now, 6 years from now, 60 years from now…maybe these days won’t be remembered as a blur of time that flew by as I blinked.

5 Months Going On 12

Aria and Myles are just over 5 months old and are growing like crazy! I miss my itty babies but each phase has been more and more fun as their personalities burst at the seams…as well as their clothes. At their 4 month appointment, Myles was 20 pounds and Aria was only one pound behind. They are both super long also and we outgrow footie pajamas faster than we can get to the store to buy more!

Aria has her first tooth and rolled over last week from her back to her belly. She loves the act of rolling but isn’t a fan of getting stuck on her belly. She has a smile that makes her eyes sparkle and has suddenly busted out some creepy, yet hilarious, zombie growls. She can sit up on her own fairly well but does enjoy a good game of ‘throw myself back as someone catches me, every.single.time, and giggle.” She is a great sleeper and we’ve noticed she likes to grab a lock of her hair while she sleeps.

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Myles surprisingly doesn’t have any teeth popped through yet but his perfectly mapped out, defined under the gums, teeth appear to be ready at any moment! He rolled from his back to his belly last week and I’m sure before we can believe it, he’ll be crawling. Myles’ gummy smile and his right eyebrow that he raises at us quite often, tell me he’s going to have such a vibrant, hilarious sense of humor. He loves to run in place and if his sister is close to him – he’ll grab a hold of her, her toy, her hair, her clothes, or her hand. This kid loves to eat and especially loves his rice cereal and so far peas and sweet potatoes.

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Baby #3 is also doing great! Growing right on track and had his/her first photos taken last week. We are excited, still a bit shocked and nervous, but now that I’m feeling lots of movements and starting to show, it’s becoming less of a dream and more of a reality. Our 3 musketeers are going to have so much fun someday!

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David and I are doing really good. I’ve recently started a new job that has been going really well and David turned 30 last weekend! And we could still go on for days about how thankful and blessed we are. My heart is so full that most days I still can’t believe our lives.