Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Can't Believe There's A Baby in Your Belly

My oldest daughter tells me this every day.  Honestly, every day.  She is still fascinated, in awe, captivated by the fact that we have another little angel growing inside me.  (But then again, aren't we all?)

The baby is due in December, and we couldn't be more excited.   It will be a crazy time of year - my Christmas cards won't be done until January, and my gifts will be purchased by the beginning of November.  These things are a must.  That way all of November and December will be slower, relaxed, all about our newest family member and learning to be a family of 5.

I think it's funny that when I tell people about this pregnancy, they say one of two things:
1. Was it on purpose?? (yes)
2. How many kids do you guys WANT? (we say 3, but that's up to God!)

I find it amusing that after the first 2 kids, people's reactions are pretty normal.  But you have the third fairly quickly, and they act like you're the Duggars and are on number 12.  OH WOW!  How many are you going to have?!  I always laugh and say, "Um..three?"  (It's one of those awkward pregnancy things that make me giggle, just like the first thing people ask as soon as you give birth and still have the newborn in your lap in the hospital bed, is when you are going to have another one. REALLY?!)
I love getting to experience each pregnancy (despite sickness, which accounts for the lack of posting lately!), and this time I am loving the girl's reactions as well.  Reilly is so much more involved this time - asking questions about EVERYTHING, needing to know everything that goes on, and why.

How big is the baby?
Is it a boy or a girl?
What will we name it?
Did you take your vitamins?
How does the baby get the vitamins?
Is the baby hungry mama?
Does the baby need food in it's umbilical cord?
How do you feel mama?
Does the baby want frozen yogurt?
Can I tickle the baby mama? does the baby come OUT of your belly?!

I love every single question, because I love how involved she is. (Okay, the last one threw me for a loop...) But I just love listening to her inquiries and how she is learning about this process.  She is going to be a pro by the end! She just loved the ultrasound, stood with her jaw dropped as she listened to the heartbeat, and insisted that baby waved at her "because he loves me so much". 

(Sidenote: We are not finding out the sex of the baby (why start now? ;)), but Reilly insists it is a girl.  Everyone else on the universe thinks it's a boy.  When asked why she thinks it's a girl, she says "Because I'm a big sister." Oh, of course.

Reagan is only a little bean herself, so she is not quite sure of as many changes as her big sister.  But she definitely notices Mama's body changing!  The other day, I was laying on the couch with her, and she lifted up my shirt and started grabbing at my "new" belly" and giggling.  She was patting it with her hand like she thought it was hysterical that it was so big.  Then she put her thumb in her mouth, and snuggled up right on my belly.  She was like a little kitten curling up in the comfiest spot!

There will be more belly pictures coming soon - Reilly is SO excited for my belly to get "really BIG"!  I will keep updating when I am feeling good. :)  We are so grateful for this little blessing!  I am feeling very good lately, and soaking up every part of this pregnancy as much as possible.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Three Year Old

Dear Reilly,

Words can't express how you amaze us every day.  You amaze us with your kindness. 
You amaze us with your wit.  You amaze us with your intelligence.  You amaze us with your spirit. You amaze us with your love.

You are always saying "Great job, Mama," as I cut up your fruit in the morning.  Or helping Reagan because, "she is still one".  You sing to your sister in her crib when she cries.  You are the most gracious little girl, you are always saying "thank you SO much", even when I just give you your morning cereal.  You are a joy to be with every day. 

I can't even tell you how much you make Reagan laugh.  She laughs when you sing, when you scream, when you eat, when you play.  And you LOVE to make her laugh.  If something you do makes her laugh, you will do it 17 more times, and you laugh every time too.  Even when you are being fresh, Reagan laughs hysterically, and then we end up laughing too.  When she is sleeping next to you in the car, you try to wake her up because you want to do raspberries with her.

You are so thoughtful and caring, that you seem so much older than you are sometimes.  When I am not feeling good, you will stroke my face and snuggle with me.  If I walk down the stairs, you will say, "Be careful on the stairs, Mama!" I hope you never lose the part of you that has such genuine concern for others.

You are becoming the best sharer with your sister.  Everything you have, everything you eat, you want to give her too.  Today you took 2 bowls out of the cabinet, and a bunch of grapes out of the fridge.  You walked over the counter and split the grapes between the 2 bowls.  Then you said, "I'm just getting a snack for me and Rea Rea!"  (I quickly cut Reagan's grapes in half while still making you feel like it was totally your snack that you prepared for her.) And you sat down on the floor with her and said, "Here you go, Rea Rea, I got us some grapes!"  Every time we have ice cream, you want to give her yours, and feed it to her yourself, and then you say, "Look how happy she is!"  Reagan is a lucky little girl to have you.
You are learning so much, and you have started saying prayers in the middle of the day to express your gratitude to God for different things.  You will bow your head and close you eyes, and say "Thank you, God, for my mommy always making me dinner."  It blows me away that your little mind already goes to such a grateful and appreciative place.  You can really make us melt, little girl!
You are so SO funny.  The phrases you use are so hysterical for a 3 year old to say!  You will even say, "Mama, wasn't it hilarious what I said yesterday?" and then repeat it.

You love to help Daddy build with your tools, as much as you love to dress up in your princess dresses.
You love to hold froggies, and put on your lip gloss.
You love to do yoga, and sing, and dance.  You LOVE your princesses, princess movies, and of course, everything Ariel.

You of course have your days when you are tired and cranky, or don't feel like sharing much.  You are a little spitfire (which I secretly means you will be strong and stand up for yourself as you grow).  Daddy and I love every part of you, and couldn't be prouder of the little girl you are becoming.  You are a truly beautiful three year old. You make our lives full of laughter every day, sweet girl!  Our love for you overflows everyday.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What I've Learned in the Past 3 Years

I've been a Mommy for 3 years.  On one hand, I feel like it's been my job forever.  It's what I've always been meant to do, I can't really remember a time I wasn't called "mommy" for most of my day.  It's hard to remember when I would sleep late, instead of up early with the chickies and making breakfast for three.  When I look at pictures of myself and Hubby in college or before, I often think how weird it is that we didn't know Reilly and Reagan then.  We didn't know they would be ours.  We didn't know we would be theirs.  We didn't know what our family would so soon become.  It seems like a *blink* ago that I was in college.  But my life was so so different then - and I am so so different now.

I became a mommy at 23, which is rare these days.  Super young to many.  But it didn't seem that way to me.  I knew who I would marry when I was 16, and was engaged by 19.  We would have been married right away if not for pesky things like college and logistics getting in the way. ;)  So we patiently waited until I was 21.  And then came mommyhood at 23.  People still tell me how young we are, and how young we started - but if you talked to me when I was 10, 15, 20...this was always what I dreamed of.  But I do still have to pinch myself that it happened this way.

Here are a FEW of the millions of things I have learned in 3 years.

1.  I never (ever ever) knew how fast I could jump out of bed when a weepy "Mommyyy!" calls me in the middle of the night.  Before my eyes are fully open I am in their room, singing a lullabye and stroking her hair back to sleep.

2.  The number one quality you need to have to be a Mommy, is patience.  Lots and lots of patience.  Love, obviously comes naturally.  But patience is just as important, and comes naturally to no one (especially after the third pee pee accident of the day, when the little one crawls through it before you know what happened)

3.  I learned not to TELL your children how you want them to act - ACT how you want them to act.  No matter what you tell them to do, they will act like you act.  If you say thank you every day, so will they.   (Likewise the little sponges will copy all the not-so-nice- habits you have too!)

4.  I learned that nothing is more healing to the soul than snuggling your baby, or hearing you babies laugh with each other.

5.  I learned to remember that they are little people.  Of course you want them to be the best versions of themselves - but they can't be perfect.  Because nobody is.  Just like we have faults, get angry, get frustrated, have failures - so will they.  I try to show them grace, and how to deal with these emotions and failures, rather than try and force them into perfection. (Cue: patience!)

6.  Breastfeeding really is that important.  It really does bond you like nothing you can imagine.

7.  I've learned to never, ever, ever doubt your instincts as a parent.  If they have a sniffles and you want to keep them home all day - do it.  My instincts have told me to protect them since they day they were born, and that instinct can only do them well while they are so little. Do what your gut says, not what others say.

8.  I've learned that I didn't know what fear was until  I became a mommy.  I thought I did, but there's a deeper fear you feel as a parent - one that requires much more faith and prayer.  It's what you feel when their fever reaches 105, or their croup is rasping in the middle of the night.  It's stronger because you no longer fear for yourself or your own life at all, only for your baby's.

9.  I've learned that there is a new love that I never knew existed until I was a Mama.  There is never a time that I look at these faces that I don't fill with joy.  I see in them pieces of myself and Hubby, and am in love with watching them grow.  Nothing to me has ever looked as beautiful to me as these babies...even in their imperfections, Mommy's love sees beauty.

I can't wait to see what else these babies will teach me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Surprise! Guest Post #3

So, this guest post kind of just fell into my lap, but before I begin, I need to apologize to my wife for not telling her about it.  I would appreciate your help to quell her anger by commenting below about how great I am and how she should not be mad at me for not listening to her (which she doesn't do, and she won't get mad, but it sounded necessary to say for some comic relief).

The reason that it fell into my lap was because I was listening to a pastor on Christian radio this morning, and the idea came up about bragging about your husband.  The context was about how Christ is the bridegroom and we are His bride, and how we should never be ashamed to brag about Him whenever we get the chance.  I loved the analogy and idea of bragging about Christ.

So this got me thinking about my relationship with my wife. 

It is said that if you want to know what scares a person, look at what they do to scare other people.  If you want to know what angers someone, or upsets someone, look at what they do to upset or anger someone else.  I believe that the same goes for positive aspects of a relationship as well.  If you want to know what makes someone happy, look at what they do to make you happy.  Maybe they give you a card every once in a while, or text you a song lyric about love, or whatever it may be.  They do those things because that is what they would want to happen to them to make them happy.

If you're still following my train of thought, I applaud you as my tangents get pretty wild.

With these two ideas combined, I was thinking about how great I would feel if I found out that my wife was bragging about me to her friends, family, etc.  She does this from time to time, letting me know that 'I told my mom how nice it was that you cooked dinner for me!', or 'I was telling my friends how much I like that thing that you built!', or anything along those lines.  It makes me feel like the king of the world.

By applying my theory about doing to others the same things that affect you, I am going to brag about my wife.

She somehow continues to have patience even after she has been dealing with the same things all day: diaper changes, potty training mishaps (which are my kryptonite), food being thrown, carseats, strollers, shopping (but some days never leaving the house), getting breakfast/juice/snack/milk/lunch/juice/snack/dinner ready every day, doing dishes that are mounded on dishes, sweeping at least three times a day between mountains of laundry (I probably produce about 60% of the house's dirty clothes), packing diapers/drinks/snacks/toys everywhere she goes, etc.  All of this and she still finds time to take the girls outside and play in the pool or go for a walk.  Not to mention the fact that she is growing another baby inside of her. 

For me, patience is a perfect example of love.  Christ is patient with all of us, and therefore we need to lead by His example to other people and demonstrate patience towards others.  Kate does a fantastic job of this, and I think that I am the greatest beneficiary of her patience.

Paul was thinking of me when he told the Colossians: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."  I think that I get so worked up and worried that my daughters are not going to grow up to be everything that I know that they can be, and at times I need to look to my wife for guidance to help me see them through a different set of eyes.

Our kids truly do not know how lucky they are to have a mother like the one that they have who does everything with them in mind.  One day they might get a glimmer of it when they have their own children, but until then, Kate will continue to quietly be a fantastic mother and role model to not only our children, but to everyone else around her.  My work ethic pales in comparison because physical strain and stress is nothing compared to the mental battles that she fights every day doing the best she can surrounded by a three and a one year old.

I could continue on, but blog posts are supposed to be short, so I'll leave you with this:  Please continue to pray for Kate, the kids, the new baby, and myself as we journey through this excitingly unpredictable life.  Things don't have to be bad in order to pray, as Paul told us to "devote yourselves to prayer" and talked about Epaphras "always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers".



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reagan, Meet Water Table!

On Reilly's first birthday, she got a water table from her little friends.  Ever since she got it, it has been one of her all time favorite things to do all summer long.  With the warmer weather here, we started filling our water table and pool up every morning and enjoying it all afternoon.  Reilly was only too glad to show Reagan the ropes of the water table.  Here is what happened the very first time Reagan discovered the water table.

This was the very first moment Reagan stood at the water table.  Her sister taught her to drink the grimy hose water. Awesome.

Reagan thought it was hilarious, though. :)
Reagan felt like such a big girl standing there, it was the cutest thing watching her discover all the toys.  For instance, when she learned that the little balls hold water in them.


But of course, because her big sister showed her the cool thing to do, all she wanted to do was drink that water!

I couldn't even care that much, because look at this face.

Reilly loves when I put "soapies" in her pool and she gets to splash around and make all the suds!  She then put the suds on her face and makes herself look like Santa.

What is it about water and soap and bubbles that is so magical to children?  Whatever the reason, we will be splashing in it all summer!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reilly's Gumball Party, Part 2

 While we were all doing the craft, we had a surprise getting ready for Reilly.   She had no idea that in the other room, her favorite princess in the whole wide world was getting ready to come surprise her!

 Our sweet friend had the idea to dress up as Ariel for Reilly's party.  I was so thrilled, I couldn't even wait for the surprise!  But I could never have imagined how amazing this moment would be for Reilly.

 Reilly was very quiet at first, and definitely in complete awe the whole time.  Ariel sat and talked with the kiddies, and then held Reilly's hand and sang her favorite song with her, "Part of Your World".  As she sang, and Reilly interjected every so often at her favorite parts while gazing at her, a number of us in the room cried.  It was honestly so magical, you just couldn't help but put yourself in the place of this little three year old and experience the happiness that she was experiencing. (It helped that our Ariel also happens to be a professional performer and has an amazing Broadway it was literally a mini performance).

 Reagan even realized how special it was!  I mean, just look at her little face freaking out.  She was screeching and laughing.
 This is during the song. I will seriously remember this moment for the rest of my life.

 Reilly and Ariel, and her BFF Adeena.
 Pure happiness! 
 We are so grateful for the number of people that care about our's just amazing.

Here is Reilly's cake!  I made it 4 layers because I'm a little crazy and I wanted it to look really special and magical to her.

 It think it was a success!

 She spent the last few days singing Happy Birthday to herself, so she was very excited for this moment!
 At one point she turned around and hugged her Daddy.  It was precious.

 Reagan's face is just awesome in this pic. Haha.
 Reilly blowing out her musical candle, and Reagan seemingly confused by these strange customs.

 Our family <3 br="">

I love them to pieces. You can also see our munchkins wands in this picture!  Reilly's favorite!

 Reilly praying before we ate up our cake.

 I think she is chewing gum in this picture.  There seems to be a missing ball on that cake. ;)
 Mama's helper!

 The inside was pink, and tie dyed.  I totally went into this cake blindly, and was pretty pumped with how it came out.  I was so thrilled that the colors inside were so vibrant!  So much fun.

 This is how the silly wanted to pose for her picture.  She thought it was so funny. Ha.
 Reilly opening her presents.  It was so much fun watching her open them, she was such a gracious little girl.

 Reagan and Uncle Matt!
 She is truly excited about clothes.  Love this girl.

 Her Ariel doll that she has yet to let go of!

Cool chick in her new Ariel shades.

I am overwhelmed every year at how many people love our girls, and how special everyone who comes helps to make her day.  We love you sweet girl.  You are something special.  And we truly love celebrating you, babygirl!