Monday, April 14, 2014

Soaking Up The Moments And Screwing Up The Groove.

I've found myself trying to freeze certain moments to memory these last few days more so than ever before. It's almost as if my subconscious takes over and is all, "STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND REMEMBER THIS. REMEMBER THIS FRAGMENT IN TIME BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER, EVER GET IT BACK." And I feel like I should be doing more. 

More before we become this family of five. 

I know why- I know it's because we're just a week away from adding another little human to the mix but it feels different this time. A little bit rushed, maybe. Like maybe we're not ready after all. I mean the thought of three kids under 4 makes me nauseous today. Not something I thought much about ten months ago. Well played, motherhood.

And by "not ready" I mean, we are technically ready. I have boobs and a bassinet and diapers and wipes and really all the things one needs to survive at least the first six weeks of newborn-dom. We're prepared, there's no doubt. I just am not quite sure whether or not we're ready. But are you ever? I should know this. This isn't the first time I've done this.   

I've found myself creeping into the boys' rooms at night and staring at them. Committing to memory Carter's crazy post-bath curls and how sometimes they plaster themselves in a sweaty mess around his ears and down his neck. How he sleeps so peacefully and how it's the most quiet he is all day. No unreasonable demands being made like "take the skin off of my apple but not all the way and then make it look like a dinosaur." Like, what does that even mean? 

I've found myself really trying to soak in more of Maclane. I think this is where I feel the most rushed. I'm not ready for him to sacrifice his role as the baby of the family yet. Obviously there isn't a whole lot I can do about that now but it saddens me to think he'll be giving up this role so soon. Every single day he grows an inch, I'm sure of it. His baby chub is all but gone and he's turning into this wily, passionate, lean little boy before my eyes. This little boy who has full on conversations with you about birds and trucks and movies and playing at the park. I'm afraid that when this new baby arrives, I'll miss these moments. I will rush these conversations and take them for granted. 

I wish these moments weren't so fleeting. 

I've found myself thinking much less about this new baby because I've been so wrapped up in the living of every day life. Having your third baby is so much different from having your first. There's just so much less time to focus solely on him. I haven't thought much at all about what he might look like. Something that nearly consumed my days when I was pregnant with Carter and even some with Maclane. 

Will he have blonde curls like Carter? His Daddy's coloring? Or will he favor me and look more like Maclane? Or will he completely break the mold and be the perfect mix of the two of us? For the love of all things parenting, I hope he sleeps better than Maclane. I don't want to wish this last week away but I almost cannot wait to find out. 

Soon, I know. It's funny how this last week can be both the shortest and longest week of one's life. 

As for me, I'm trying hard to be the graceful, gracious, patient pregnant lady these last days but it's really, really difficult. Things are starting to swell, standing, walking, sitting and downright breathing have all become uncomfortable and oh, the comments that roll in when I step outside of the house. Just this morning I heard, "you look like you're about to topple over!" while standing in the pre-school drop off line. Oh, bless their hearts.

I think someone should conduct a study about the amount of money a woman spends throughout her pregnancy. I have a funny feeling that it nearly quadruples during the final week of pregnancy. I mean, there really isn't much else I can do and Amazon Prime just makes it oh, so convenient. I know the two lamps I ordered for our bedroom are driving my husband insane. He doesn't understand why we needed them. I don't understand why he can't just appreciate them for what they are in their stunning mercury glass glory. I mean, they really do accentuate our headboard. 

I know, I've officially lost it.

I'm looking forward to my days in the hospital. Despite the hefty insurance bill and the major surgery, I'm looking forward to getting to know this new little baby. Just the two of us. I'm selfishly looking forward to having meals delivered to me and being able to actually download and read a new book. Something I haven't done in way, way too long. 

But I'm going to miss our family of four dynamic. I mean, we were just getting things down. Really easing into our groove. People might actually look at us while we were out and about and think, "wow, she really kind of sort of knows what she's doing." 

Little do they know...  

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kids and Kindness. Another Day, Another Random Act.

We are no strangers to acts of kindness around these parts. If you've been following along on our adventures then you may remember the thirty random acts of kindness that my awesome sister-in-law put together for me  last year as a thirtieth birthday present that started as the perfect sounding board when it came to really introducing the boys to what it meant to be kind. 

Sure, being kind isn't something that should be reserved for one day every so often and we are well aware of that. As a mom, I'm always seeking out opportunities to foster compassion and kindness in the boys and reinforcing what that means. Sometimes, however,  it's just nice to set aside a whole day dedicated to being kind and spreading that kindness in the community around us.

When our friend Courtney of The Chirping Moms reached out to us about participating in their Kids & Kindness series, we absolutely jumped at the chance. This opportunity was extra special because it involved a copy of the awesomely fun book, "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed," a story that has quickly become a favorite in our home.

It's a heartwarming and beautifully illustrated story about Mary, an ordinary little girl who does an ordinary little deed that sets off a giant chain reaction of kindness around the world. The kindness eventually comes full circle and rewards Mary even further at the end of the story. 

We spent about a week reading this book before bedtime each night and talked a little bit about what it meant to be kind. Carter, at 3.5 years old, picked up mostly on saying nice words, sharing toys and being a good friend. Maclane, at 1.5 years old, mostly likes to run around the house saying, "be nice friend!" 

When it came time to do our own act of kindness, it didn't take long for us to figure out just what we would do. As I'm due with our third little boy in less than two weeks, we've received such an outpouring of help these last few weeks from so many friends that we wanted to take the day to return the favor and say "thank you." From offers of cooked meals and child care to dropping everything and chauffeuring me to the doctor's office during a bout of pre-term labor, we couldn't be more grateful for our friends who have bestowed kindness on us. 

I knew right away that we would use our day to give a little bit of that kindness back to them.

We started the morning bright and early as we gathered in the kitchen in our pajamas to  bake some cookies. As the boys waited patiently for them to finish, we put together our fancy little treat bags and read "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed" one more time. Once our cookies cooled, we stuffed the bags and attached a quick note that explained what we were up to. 

We then piled into the car and started out on our journey to spread kindness. We visited five of our friends' houses and each time we stopped, we tucked our delicious treats into their mailboxes and I reminded the boys the purpose of our adventure. Once we returned home, we sent each of our friends a quick text message letting them know to peek inside. 

With so many leftover cookies, we even packed a few bags and left them for our mail lady, UPS man and FedEx carrier who have all been so wonderful dropping off packages for baby as we prepare for his arrival in the coming weeks.

Did we do anything extravagant this day? Absolutely not but when it comes to matters of the heart, I like to think that even the smallest of deeds make a difference. When I asked Carter what his favorite part of the day was, he happily replied, "being kind just like Mary!" 

Talk about the warm and fuzzies! It's one thing to invest time in your kids, raising them up to be good, decent and kind human beings. It's another when they actually get it and emulate that behavior. I've never been more proud! 

If our story or any of the stories you read below inspire you to do your own acts of kindness, I would love to hear about them and if you're looking for a little something extra to stuff in an Easter basket this month, I absolutely recommend a copy of "Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed!" Be sure to follow the hashtag #ordinarykindness on social media to see more random acts of kindness! 

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

36 And A Half Weeks And As Whiny As They Come. But Also... BUNNIES!

I really don't like these kinds of posts. The ones with bullets and brain dumps and a whole bunch of unrelated word vomit. That said, that's about all I'm capable of lately. It's not that I don't want to write here, it's that by the time I find a free minute to sit down and gather my thoughts, the words don't flow. The words don't flow and I'm exhausted and thinking of the other 472 things I should be doing instead of sitting. 

But sitting feels so good. 

I'm 36 and a half weeks pregnant and feeling about 57 weeks pregnant. I'm convinced my pelvic floor up and left me and that my hips will become disjointed from my body at any given moment. Due to the shape of my pelvis, my babies will never settle correctly and always manage to make themselves comfortable lying transverse with their heads nestled into the socket of my right hip. 

That does not feel so good.

What else is remarkable about this 36th week? Let's see. My clothes don't fit, I have trouble picking out which black yoga pants to wear each day, I'm up nearly every hour at night to pee and once 4am rolls around, pregnancy insomnia has me up for the day. 

It's really all quite lovely and for the love, could I be any whinier? I'm really sorry. I'd want me to shut up, too. I just want this baby here already!

These third babies are a funny thing. Hospital bags haven't been packed, car seats haven't been installed and lord knows this baby doesn't even have his own nursery yet, let alone a fully redecorated one. As much as I would love to do all of those things, at the end of the day, I'm all shruggy shoulders and "meh, it'll get done eventually." 

With my first (and even my second) babies, I'm fairly certain I had our entire Before Baby To-Do list accomplished with weeks to spare. This time around I have diapers, boobs, a closet full of sweet-smelling layette clothes and I figure I'm good to go. 

Let's just get this party started already, alright?

Being that this is my last pregnancy, I really want to try and capture some at-home maternity shots with the boys. Nothing fancy by any means- just me, the belly, the boys and my camera remote. I want to be able to remember this time because we know that all too soon mom-nesia will set in and this will all become a distant memory.  I never had any maternity shots done with my previous pregnancies and although I don't regret it, I know I will this time around. 

That said, I have to admit that I'm a bit excited that this is my last pregnancy. The last time I will gain upwards of 40 pounds and have to lose it again. The last time I will watch my boobs, butt and belly expand at a rapid pace. The last time I will have to wear pants with elastic waistbands. Okay, I'll admit, I'm a little sad about that last part. But after working so hard to get my body back after baby number two, I cannot wait to do the same this time around and keep that body. For the rest of my life.

I think the boys are excited about their new brother. I know Carter is. He keeps saying that he "can't wait to hold baby Cowwins and love him and play trains with him." Maclane is really none the wiser and I expected that. After all, he's just one month younger than Carter was when he was born and Carter really had no idea what was happening back then either. Maclane does keep lifting my shirt to expose my belly saying, "Baby done yet, Mom? Baby done?" It's really quite cute. I know it's going to be much less cute once Collins arrives and Maclane is asking us to send him back to the hospital.

I still haven't moved the boys in together. Their new bedroom is a work in progress and I can't decide whether or not I want to tackle Operation Big Boy Bed this close to welcoming number three. The walls have a fresh coat of paint on them and brand new bed linens have been procured but I'm still missing wall decor, curtains, a lamp base as well as an accent table to sit between their two beds. As it is, Maclane still sleeps in our bed for a few hours each night and that in itself is starting to give me anxiety. Not because I necessarily want to move him but because  I just have no idea how this will all go down once we bring Three home from the hospital. 

I guess you can say my plate is pretty full, but in a good way.  

One thing I do have a handle on, however, is Easter baskets! Even though Easter is going to look a little different in our house this year (read: much more low key since I'll be admitted to the hospital the following Monday) I wanted to make sure the boys' baskets were full of new goodies to keep them occupied while I'm away in the hospital for four days. 

Now, before you go all, "Hello, this isn't Christmas" on me, relax. The boys' baskets will be filled with a couple of new books for bedtime stories, puzzles and Legos to keep their little hands busy, new rain boots because they don't own any, hooded beach towels for the beach house, knit Zubels dolls and, of course, their favorite monogrammed Jellycat bunnies from Peekawhoo which continue to be staple favorite lovies and bedtime buddies in our house. 

Speaking of the bunnies, Peekawhoo is offering all ILYMTC readers 10% off their order of Jellycat bunnies with code "CARROTS14." You can head on over to their site here and order yours in time for Easter! 

My friends at Peekawhoo were kind enough to send both Carter and Maclane their beloved bunnies for Easter last year and they surprised us this year with another bunny for sweet Collins which you can see on my Instagram feed. I'm not kidding when I say that these bunnies are the softest, most plush stuffed animals the boys own and it's no wonder why they've quickly become their number one favorites! 

Hopefully by next week I will be back with some more substantial thoughts and feelings. I swear they're in my brain somewhere. In the mean time, go buy some bunnies and think of me when you're bending down to tie your shoes. A simple act that has me grunting like a big, fat milking cow. How's that for a mental image? 

Happy Hump Day, friends!

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