December 31, 2011

My life on twitter . . . end of 2011

Selected daily updates from end of October 2011 - end of December 2011.

December 31, 2011
Nothing like your 2-year-old shoving a peanut up his nose to make the evening more exciting.

December 30, 2011
It's funny how having another baby makes you love ALL of your kids more. You'd think your love might be divided, but it just multiplies.

December 28, 2011 Today's the first time I've ever NOT been pregnant on my due date!  Happy 40 weeks to Claire!

December 27, 2011
No crying she made . . .

Just sitting here cuddling and waiting to be discharged.  We can't wait to have all THREE of our kids home together!

December 26, 2011
Thanking God for another life He's entrusted to us.  Sitting here looking at Claire and praying that He'll make us equal to the task.

Jack and Ben meet Claire . . .

Claire Grace Luke was born this morning at 8:22 AM!  8 lbs. 13 oz. and 21.5 inches long!

If Claire comes in the next 4.5 hours that would be great!  I'm already thinking about how cool a candy cane themed birthday party would be!

December 25, 2011
Just sitting there thinking about how grown up he looked.  That's what I was doing around the time my water broke.

December 24, 2011
Trying to decide which of the two shirts I own that will still fully cover my belly I should wear today.  Decisions, decisions.

December 22, 2011
There is a baby inside of me. A real, wiggly little person just waiting to come out. Even the 3rd time around, I'm still amazed.

December 20, 2011
Jack asked to listen to Angels We Have Heard on High since we're driving to Chelsea. I was puzzled and he said "You know? In Chelsea's deo?"

Thank you, babycenter, for the email letting me know that my baby is now the size of a small watermelon.  That's comforting.

December 19, 2011
We bought a tomato at the grocery store tonight.  Not because it was on our list but because it had ben's dental impression in it.

Tonight we heard the first "NOT FAIR!" from Ben.  That's special.

December 17, 2011
Have I mentioned that Jack wants Claire's middle name to be Shareen or Carter? And when I said "probably not" his feelings were really hurt.

December 15, 2011
It's 55 degrees. In December.  In Michigan.  You'll never hear me complain about that . . .

I just heard Kyle say, "WE DO NOT WIPE OUR NOSES ON THE CARPET!"  It's been one of those mornings . . .

December 14, 2011
Nine years ago today, Kyle and I woke up early for our morning wedding.  Today we woke up early for a morning OB appointment.

December 12, 2011
Jack: "When I was born, did you love me so much that you couldn't believe your eyes?" I couldn't have said it better.

This morning, Ben said that Jesus was in the manger for a time out.  I think we'll review the Christmas story today.

Being due around Christmas has given me a new perspective on the season of Advent . . . expecting, waiting, preparing . . .

December 9, 2011
Suddenly aware of the fact that in a few weeks we'll be starting ALL OVER AGAIN. From the very beginning.  For the third time.

December 7, 2011
I'm having a "buying new underwear is easier than doing laundry" kind of week.

December 3, 2011
I just told Ben that I love him and he said, "Love you more."  Right after he gave "Baby Dare" (Dare = Claire) kisses. Melt. My. Heart.

November 30, 2011
There's nothing that says "good morning" like the crash of a tree falling on your house.

November 26, 2011
Jack kept singing "At least tie a knot . . . " over and over.  It just hit me that he thought he was singing "Felix Navidad."

November 21
Driving in the parking lot during preschool pick up is what I'd imagine it's like driving in a third world country.  Only paved.

November 18, 2011
I hope to make it through my entire life without ever having to cook a turkey.

November 16, 2011
I don't think Claire is in the fetal position.  I think she's 100% stretched out so that she can jam limbs into as many places as possilbe.

November 14, 2011
It's the perfect day for inside races, don't you think?

Kyle's complaining to me about the 97/100 he got on his paper.  I'm trying so hard to muster up sympathy, but it's just not coming.

November 13, 2011
Someone's getting really good at his spelling and letters!

November 12, 2011
My first load of pinks.  Fingers crossed that the ultrasound tech was right!

November 11, 2011
Ben's obsessed with our Alan Trammell bobblehead.  He just tucked him in for "nap time."

November 10, 2011
I think that if I were to tell you how awesome my husband really is, you'd probably think I was exaggerating.  Even though I wouldn't be.

November 9, 2011
"I can't wait to turn 5 years old.  I'm going to be the king of 5."

"Mom, do you know what I'm going to do when my children ask to watch a show?  I'm going to let them. All day long. And they'll love me."

November 2, 2011
Jack: "I wish I could go back to when I was three years old.  Back then, you loved me so much and never made me pout like this."  Oh, drama.

October 29, 2011
Text: Just sitting here . . . you know . . . dipping things in chocolate.

December 26, 2011

Claire Grace Luke

Claire Grace Luke spoke the name of God when she took her first breath today at 8:22 AM. We thought we'd have a Christmas baby, but she really took her time. More on her story later. She was 8 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 21.5 inches.

We are totally in love with her and can't believe she's ours. I find myself in total disbelief over the fact that I ever lamented having a girl instead of a boy because within 10 seconds of laying eyes on her I couldn't imagine life without her.

Happy birthday, baby girl!

December 20, 2011

I am going to have a baby . . .

. . . . and it's starting to freak me out.

By the third time, you'd think I'd be pretty calm about it. And I guess I am . .. but I also know what's coming and it's started to scare me.

December 19, 2011

Dear Jack, Months 52, 53 & 54

Dear Jack,

Keeping up with you is such a challenge. You are growing and developing faster than I can handle. The level of conversation you can have is well beyond your years, and your wit is incredible. When we're all in the car together, you often say things that cause your dad and I to just give each other wide eyed stares that communicate, "Did your 4-YEAR-OLD really just say that?!" As we sit there in silence, you often say, "What? Did you HEAR ME?!" as we work to snap out of it and respond. From commentary and analysis of the Revolutionary War (not even kidding) to your take on the lyrics of Christmas songs and how they don't really line up with what Christmas is all about . . . you keep us on our toes. I can't tell you how many times you've asked why Christmas songs are sung about decking the halls when Christmas is really about "the love of Jesus' birth." Oy. Nonetheless, for Christmas you've asked for a bike, superheroes, a watch . . . and a few other miscellaneous things.

November 2011

You've really become quite the artist, and I love it that I can actually tell what you're drawing. Your drawings of dinosaurs are definitely the best. You also love stickers and painting. You write us notes and cards and your letters and spelling have come such a long way. As I stare at your little sister bulging out of my belly, I can't even believe that you were once there. You're so grown up.

November 2011

You also like to build and play with legos and anything else that you can eventually knock down . . . that is, if Ben doesn't knock it down first. Ben can be a nuisance to you sometimes, I know, but he only does the things he does because he loves you and wants your attention. And lets be honest . . . you're not always super easy for him to deal with either. You two fight quite a bit, but you also play quite a bit, too. I know that you love each other and I hope that you're friends for life.

November 2011

I'm so proud of you, Jack. I love you so much.


December 14, 2011

Dear Bennett, Months 26 & 27

Dear Ben,

You are the best 2-year-old hider that I know. Hide and seek with your brother was always pretty funny because he'd hide and wiggle and giggle while we pretended to look and then eventually "discover" him. But not you. You can stay perfectly still and completely quiet for a ridiculous amount of time. You'll lay flat in our bed, pull the covers over your head and be totally still while we hunt. On a few occasions, I've started to worry that perhaps we had lost you!

November 2011

You hide behind chairs, in closets, under tables . . . and you're spatial reasoning abilities are developed enough that you can tell when you're not completely covered and look for ways to conceal yourself entirely. Dad and I are impressed. Because you're so good at this game, I actually enjoy playing hide and seek with you more than I used to. I love finding you, and I love watching you try to find me. Granted, it's much easier for you to find me, because I can't hide behind chairs or curtains. I take up entire closets.

November 2011

I can't wait to see you as a big brother. You've become quite the little stinker over the last two months, but when it comes to your sister, you know how to give kisses and hugs to my belly; though your affection for her doesn't keep you from taking flying leaps onto me as I'm resting on the couch or in bed. We're working with you on being gentle. Dad and I were talking today about how we think you'll be someone who's always ready to stick up for and defend his siblings.

Your language development has brought both joy and frustration. Today, when I asked you not to play with something you found on my desk, you said, "I obey Mama, otay?" And for a brief moment I felt like maybe I'm finally getting through to you. Normally when I ask you not to do something that you really want to do, there's some sort of melt down while you shout, "NO MOM! YOU A BAD BOY!"

I love watching you process and try to think through how to say what you want to. There are times when you say the same sentence over and over while we try to interpret your sounds, and when we finally do, we're all so excited that it doesn't really matter what you were trying to say as much as it does that we finally got it.

November 2011

Now that you can repeat multiple words at a time, I started a memory verse with you . . . "God is Love." I say it with you and sometimes, when the moment hits, you'll just remind me of it on your own. You don't really know what it means, but do any of us completely understand it? My hope is that the words you learn will soak into your mind and your heart and stay with you until you are old enough to better understand.

November 2011

You're more interested in Christmas this year and are fascinated by Christmas lights. And your nativity set. This morning you told me that baby Jesus was in the manger for a time out. I guess I still have some explaining to do. Even so, seeing these earliest glimpses of your understanding of who God is and who He has made you to be are such a blessing to me.

I love you, Ben!



Nine years ago today, I married a man that I barely knew. Compared to today, at least.

I knew the important things. I knew he loved Jesus and he loved me (in that order). I knew he was kind and that I loved being with him. I knew his likes and dislikes. I knew him better than anyone else did.

But still . . . there was so much left unknown. Before I was married, I remember hearing women say, "I had no idea what I was getting myself into before I got married. There were so many things I didn't know." 9 years ago today, I found myself in the same boat.

But I got so, so lucky.

I knew Kyle loved me, but I had no idea how wonderfully he would treat me. I knew he was patient, but I didn't know what that really meant until he extended his patience to me for the millionth time. I knew he was generous, but I had no idea how much he would give. I knew that he'd make a fantastic father, but it never occurred to me that he would be so good at it, that I'd sometimes watch him in an effort to learn how to be a better parent.

He's not perfect. I could make you a list of his imperfections and sometimes, on the bad days, I do.

But I consider myself lucky for getting to be his wife. Happy anniversary, Kyle!

December 13, 2011

Almost 38 weeks.

When you're the friend or family member of a photographer, you get maternity photos like this:

Debbie, 35 weeksLink

The photo above is of Debbie, by the way . . . who gave birth to Hayleigh this morning, with a birth story that might just make her your hero.

When you ARE the photographer, however, you have to settle for maternity photos like this:

37.5 weeks - December 9

This is me last Saturday at almost 38 weeks. Shameful, I know. But at least I'm taking them, right?

It's all getting very real . . . I'm going to be doing this all over again. Labor and delivery . . . the first few months . . . adjusting to more children than I had before. It's sinking in.

I've been having lots of contractions (with is nothing new for this pregnancy) but over the weekend and this week they've become stronger. Maybe we will have a 2011 baby afterall. Maybe?

Or maybe I'll be sitting at home on January 8 laughing about the fact that I ever once thought I might deliver early.

December 11, 2011


My perspective on Advent this year has been different. Each year, we prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of Christ. But this year, as I literally prepare for for the birth of my baby girl . . . as I work to be sure that I'm not caught unprepared by her arrival . . . I can't help but see parallels.

I prepare. As I wash and fold diapers, I think about what needs to take place in my heart so that I'm prepared for Jesus. As I work on artwork to hang on her walls, I think about what I want Him to see when he returns.

I expect. I dream about what she'll look like, how labor and delivery will go. Every little twinge and cramp makes me wonder if the time is near. And I eagerly anticipate the return of Christ as I see him show up in my life and in the people around me.

December 8, 2011

37 weeks

Remember when I used to update my blog daily? Remember that? No?

Yeah, it's been a while.

My little girl is officially "full-term" and can come at any time. Although, we know that if history is any indicator, she'll be a week or two late. I don't even have a bag packed yet. My official guess for her arrival is January 4. My hope is December 28 (my actual due date).

Everything about this pregnancy has been different. Her movement is different than the boys' was. I'm carrying her differently. I've gained more weight than I did with Ben, but less than I did with Jack (although give me three weeks and we'll see if that's still true).

I haven't been to triage once. With both boys, there were days when I wouldn't feel movement or would have some other issue. I've had those issues this time around, but I wait it out . . . mainly because I'm home alone with the boys or am in the middle of something and have to wait. And by the time I could call, everything's back to normal. I'm still having lots of contractions. I had three late last night that made me wonder if I needed to start timing them.

36 weeks

36 weeks

I was thinking this week (given that it's the most wonderful time of the year) that if she were to come now, I'd be in trouble. I'm NOT ready.

My emotions have hit a peak, and everything makes me cry. A rude email from a customer, a sideways glance from a stranger, a holiday commercial depicting a relative from overseas arriving home . . . it gets me all choked up. Every holiday card I've done for a family with three boys has made me cry over the disappointment of not having three boys. And every holiday card I've done for a family with two boys and a girl has made me cry over how excited I am to have a daughter for my boys to have a little sister.

Anyone who knows me understands that I don't like being pregnant. I don't like the discomfort and the stress and the toll it takes on my body. I really hate the aftermath of childbirth. I don't like it, but I don't want to complain either. After the time, money and struggle it took to get pregnant with Jack, I don't take a pregnancy for granted and I'm grateful. But it doesn't mean that I like it. I just love the outcome enough to outweigh the discomfort.

Anyway, the day after Thanksgiving, I ran up to the store (It was 60 degrees and I was looking for ANYTHING that would get me out of the house) and on the way home, Claire was kicking and I could see my belly wiggling. I started thinking about how this would be my last time to experience this and how I'd never know a baby wiggling in my belly again. I thought about how this is the last time I'd share my body with a little one and how precious it is. And I just lost it. I cried all the way home and walked in the house looking like I'd just lost my best friend.

Ben asked, "Mama sad?" And I replied, "No, Mama's pregnant."

I've been very sentimental about the whole thing over the last week. I'm in a lot of pain and I'm super uncomfortable, but I know that it's for the last time. I know that after this, I'll never do it again. It's a little bit like high school graduation . . . you can't wait for it to be over, but it's a little bit sad that you'll never be back.

These photos from 36 weeks. The boys are going to stay with my parents this weekend and I'm hoping Kyle will take a few while we're totally undistracted by the boys. You know . . . ones where you can actually see my face.

36 weeks
36 weeks

November 30, 2011

Oh, what fun . . .

Kyle captured this little gem as we were leaving the park after attempting to get family photos last week. This one photo pretty much sums up the whole experience.

I'll bet you can't wait to see more.

Family photos . . . oy.

November 27, 2011

At least I'm not on fire

This summer, when people complained about anything, we got our staff in the habit of saying "Hey . . . at least you're not on fire." Because really? Being on fire would have been worse than anything else that was going on.

I spent much of the last two weeks muttering "at least I'm not on fire" under my breath.

I was NOT sleeping well and this recent cold beat me up more than any other illness ever has. I don't ever remember feeling as crummy as I did. I was so, so tired . . . and when I'm tired, I become snarky and cranky. The cough that kept me up all night made my entire belly ache and I wondered all the time if it was hurting the baby (although google assures me she'll be just fine). I was coughing so hard and so much I thought she might just shoot right out from all the pressure. The worst part is not being able to take any drugs that might help.

The pain from this pregnancy is intensifying, just as predicted. During the week after my last appointment, I really wondered if the doctor had just been exaggerating. YOu know . . . making it sound worse than it is just to help me prepare for the worst? She wasn't.

It doesn't help that I'm not taking it as easy as I should be. The whole "stay sitting or laying down" thing seems impossible. And Ben has become ultra clingy . . . I think he senses that change is coming and I remember Jack doing this during the month or two before Ben was born.

Speaking of Ben . . . oy. The terrible twos have descended and have Kyle and I feeling a little bit like we've been hit by a truck. While there are still moments of sweetness, the moments of defiance and disobedience far outweigh them. His speech has taken off and you'd never know that three weeks ago I was concerned about it. It's like something clicked. But with that development has come his ability to tell us exactly what he's thinking . . . for better or worse.

There are some things that make us laugh . . . for instance, when he does something he knows he shouldn't, he'll just stomp to the time out chair and climb in grumbling "MIME OUT!" under his breath the whole way. I can't NOT laugh when he puts himself in time out.

When he gives us an inappropriate response to something we tell him to or not to do, we repeat the correct response until he says it too. And I don't think there's anything cuter than hearing him say, "Otay, mom."

I've mentioned that we've moved Ben and Jack into the same room, and that's totally ruined his sleep. He was SO amazingly good for bedtime, naptime and slept all night. Not so much anymore. Right now, they're sleeping on mattresses on the floor, but their beds come on Wednesday. I hope that being in a real bed will help him a little bit. Maybe.

The good news, however, is that I'm feeling so much better. I still have little coughing fits every now and then, but they're definitely fewer.

November 21, 2011

Speaking of . . .

While perusing my blog posts from right before Ben was born, I found this little gem. It's funny that it was more than 2 years ago, but some things about Jack just haven't changed. It also made me glad that Ben isn't quite as verbal as Jack was at this age. I'm not sure I could handle it.

Nonetheless, Ben's speech has taken off. We had his evaluation with the speech therapist a few weeks ago and it went well, and she took my concerns seriously, but she kept emphasizing that he was ahead of the game in every area but expressive speech and I got the feeling that she wanted to say, "Calm down and don't worry." She was very nice and really professional though.

It didn't help my case that he literally started using two and three word phrases 18 hours before she came. I'm not even kidding. He repeated me when I said "Happy Halloween" and then just took off from there. She repeated almost everything she asked him to. I was proud, but a little bit embarrassed that I had just finished telling her that he won't do that at all.

Now he's pretty much saying everything he wants to and repeating anything we ask him to. He still has a lot of pronunciation issues, but even those are resolving themselves without much intervention. When he wanted a cup of water, he would always say "Wa-Gee" instead of "water." This morning he walked into our bedroom and said "Water in big cup, pease." And then he stood there unsure of what to do as Kyle and I cheered and asked him to say it again. His love of books (and attention span) is growing and there are many that he'll "read" to us. Something just seems to have clicked for him.

He's come a long way in just a few weeks.

So, while maybe I jumped the gun with speech therapy, I don't regret it. I'd rather be a little too proactive than not proactive enough, I guess. The therapist is making a return visit tomorrow to evaluate his progress, and I'm pretty sure his progress will confirm her feelings that I'm a little bit overprotective. Oh, well. There are worse things to be, I suppose.

November 17, 2011

Say cheese.

Does this kid have the cheesiest picture face, or what?

cheese face

How can you look at this and not smile?

November 14, 2011


I did a lot over the weekend to get ready for Claire. I washed and put away her clothes. I washed and stuffed cloth diapers. I made a list of things I still need to do and there are quite a few, but at least I'm making progress.

I can definitely tell I'm nesting . . . not only because we've replaced all of the floors . . . but also because I buy some sort of new cleaning product or tool every time I'm out - whether we really need it or not. It just always seems like a good idea.

Home Improvements

I can say without hesitation that the last 4 - 5 days are probably some of the most stressful I've ever had.

On Thursday we had new carpet installed in all of the bedrooms. I mentioned that Kyle and I installed wood flooring throughout the house in August/September and this was the last piece of the flooring updates. I'm telling you . . . it feels like a brand new house! I love it!

The carpet that was installed by our builder was considered "builder's grade." The installation person we were talking to told us that it's normally only expected to last 2 - 3 years while the owners figure out what they really want. It's been 7 years, so we were way past due and it showed.

The stressful part of the whole thing is that we had to move every piece of furniture and every item into our living room/kitchen on Wednesday night (thanks to the help of Kyle's cousin Brian). We slept on the floor and couches on Wednesday night and it was miserable. When we moved things back in, we moved all of Ben's stuff into his and Jack's shared room and cleaned out the nursery for Claire. This involved buying more shelving and drawers for the boys, assembling it, sorting through things, etc. We couldn't really prepare meals so there was a lot of eating out and a lot of television for the boys while we tried to get everything going. It was chaotic.

But like I said, I LOVE the new floors. We still have finishing touches to add, but I think we'll have those done in the next couple of weeks.

Some good news: Claire will actually have a girl's nursery! I was worried that we might just have to make do with blue and green rocket ships, because I wasn't sure when we'd have time to change things up. But I'm happy to say that the blue walls have been replaced by gray walls and the rockets have been replaced by zinnias.

On top of everything else, I developed a nasty cold on Saturday night / Sunday morning. Sore throat, congestion and the worst achiness I've ever experienced with a cold. I haven't had a fever or anything. I've just felt crummy. I thought it would be over quickly, but I couldn't even pull myself out of bed this morning, other than to go sit in the bathroom and run hot water to help clear my congestion. I'm so thankful for Kyle and how he takes care of me.

November 2, 2011

Big shoes to fill

A day in Jack's shoes

Do you notice anything weird about this picture? The size 12 shoes, perhaps?

A day in Jack's shoes

This is the second of this exact same pair that I've purchased for Jack since September. Did he outgrow the first pair? Nope. Were they ruined? We're not quite sure.

You see, Ben likes to wear Jack's shoes around the house. The last time we saw Jack's first pair of these was about a month ago . . . on Ben's feet. We've searched the house high and low for those shoes and cannot find them anywhere. So today, I broke down and bought another pair.

Ben, of course, had them on his feet within minutes of me walking in the door.

October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

We did it. We wrestled Ben into his costume. It took lots of coaxing and bribery, but my boys were both dressed up for Halloween. And I managed to get photos.

That might end up being our biggest accomplishment of the week!

Halloween 2011

Jack had a fever on Saturday and I was sure he'd have to miss school and trick or treating, but it never came back. He still has a raspy voice and a little bit of congestion, so we didn't stay out long.

Halloween 2011

We only went to the fire station and they got treat bags from grandma, so each of the boys ended up with about 1 0 pieces of candy . . . which is a good number for kids their age. However, they'll totally notice if a piece goes missing. That bums me out.

"Can you find mom's camera?"

We had a fun night, although Ben self-imposed a time out at one point. I'm not sure why. He just sat on the step and kept saying "Mime out!"

Time. Out.

As Jack was getting ready for school this morning, he said, "If there's ever a fire at school, we go out the emergency door and to the building across the parking lot. But if there's a fire today, they'll be SO lucky I'm there!" I love it.

Halloween 2011

We had a good time and when we got home, Kyle and the boys popped pop corn and watched The Great Pumpkin.

October 27, 2011


I had my 31-week check up. Let me tell you . . . I'm loving only having to go into the doctor's office every six weeks this time around. I'm sure I would have hated it when I was pregnant with Jack. But now that we're on to number 3, it's nice not having to make that drive as often. The next time I go back, I'll be full term!

Anyway, we brought the boys with us for the obligatory "hear your sister's heartbeat" visit. Jack was really excited. Ben was really quiet and just kind of watched and listened. They both behaved so well. I was stressed out about how they would act, but they were awesome.

It turns out that I actually should have been stressed out about something else.

I mentioned all of my contractions . . . I have around 8 - 10 an hour when I'm up and moving around and less when I'm sitting or laying down. She didn't seem too concerned, so I wasn't either. Phew.

But then I mentioned some pain I've been having for a few weeks. I had almost forgotten to say anything about it until I went to step down off the table and felt the sharp pains through my entire pelvis and back. I won't go into all of the details, but she did a real quick exam and I believe her exact words were "Oh, crap."

Apparently, this "issue" can sometimes arise in women on their third or fourth pregnancies, particularly with a history of large babies. Jack was 8 lb, 10 oz and Ben was 9 lb, 6 oz . . . not abnormally huge, but definitely not tiny.

The only thing that will relieve the pain is having the baby. Likely, it will continue to get worse until after this little girl is born. Awesome. I'm supposed to avoid lifting the boys as much as I can and I'm supposed to stay sitting or laying as much as possible to try and keep it from progressing any faster. When I said, "Yeah, right" she warned that some women, if they're not careful, end up in wheelchairs for the last few weeks of pregnancy because of the pain from this.


I asked if it would interfere with labor and delivery and she said it wouldn't, but they often have to induce early because the pain gets so severe. And if you know me, I'll do almost anything to avoid being induced.

On top of all of that, my platelets are low which might prevent an epidural. And kudos to those of you who can make it through labor and delivery without one, but I don't think that I can. I'll be tested again at 37 weeks to see how they're doing. Apparently they were low with both Jack and Ben, but not low enough to be worth mentioning. This time they're a little bit lower.

I cried a lot on the way home. I know it's silly . . . none of this life threatening. My little girl will continue to grow and develop normally, and right now the pain is bearable. I can handle this for 10 or 11 weeks, right? It could be so much worse and I have so much to be grateful for.

I just think this was just the tipping point that let all of the fatigue and emotion over miscellaneous things over the last few weeks come spilling out.

SIDE NOTE: I just barely twisted my ankle this morning. For some reason, Jack has it in his head that the entire conversation he overheard between the doctor and I was about my ankle and he's sure that it's what's causing me so much trouble. He just brought me some ice cream and said, "I hope this makes you feel better about your ankle." So sweet.

The GOOD news is that I'm feeling her kick and move daily. Up until the last week or so, every day was a guessing game as to whether I'd feel her and I was kind of on edge until I did.

Here's a self-portrait at about 31 1/2 weeks now. Not flattering, I know. But I finally took one, didn't I? And yes, my eyes are still puffy from crying. Lovely, I know.

31 weeks

Also, I found a few self-photos that had been backed up before my iphone was stolen . ..

18 weeks:

18 weeks

19 weeks:

19 weeks

October 24, 2011

Twitter: July 23 - October 23

Selected Twitter posts from the last two months.

October 23

Me: We're going to camp, Ben. Ben: Beach? Me: No, can you say "camp?" Ben: Beach! Me: C-C-Camp. Ben: C-C-Beach.

October 21
Jack: How old are you? Ben: Two. Jack: Yes, but how old does your grandpa want you to be? Ben: Um, six. Jack: Yay, Ben! That's right!

October 17
Jack: Can I watch one more show? Me: Hmm . . . what if we fry your brain? What then? Jack: I just won't be as smart. I can live with that.

October 16
My dad turned 60 this week. He also ran his 11th marathon. Incredible.

October 15
Today, a retiree made a comment to me about "When you're receiving social security checks . . ." That's cute.

October 14
Jack: "I DO NOT like Elmo. It's so old. From when I was a little kid."

October 5
Jack just snapped his fingers at me and said, "I NEED SOMEONE TO GET ME BREAKFAST!" Excuse me?! I have a lesson I need to go teach . . .

October 3
Pool = FAIL. But we did discover that Ben's tennis shoes will float in a pool when thrown in.

October 2
Few things bring me as much joy as watching my boys sing Oh Happy Day. #churchinthecar

September 23
Opening his presents. He put each thing away as took it out of the box!

2 years ago right now, contractions were 5 minutes apart. I was an hour from the hospital and wanted to stop by Target on the way. #denial

September 22
My contractions stop when I lay down. But when i lay down, I don't get much done. Grrrr.

September 19
After complaining all the way home about egg salad for lunch, they talked me into pizza. Then they ate my entire sandwich & asked for more.

September 17
I can hear my sister upstairs introducing Jack to songs from The Sound of Music. But I haven't heard Kyle's head explode. Yet.

September 16
No, I was not embarrassed when the drive thru worker from whom I ordered lunch remembered me from breakfast. Not at all.

September 12
This cracked me up. NOW I know what do do with that enormous surplus of "free time" I have when jack's at preschool!

September 11
After he tooted, Jack just smiled and said, "That was me just making nutrients." WHAT?! Who taught him that one?

September 10
In the middle of praying at bedtime, Jack said, "Uh, mom? Can you put some perfume on?" Ouch.

September 3
I hear Ben up in his bed yelling, "NO WAY! NO WAY!" I can't help but wonder what's going through his mind . . .

September 1
It's so funny that Ben laughs at something when Jack does, even though he has no idea what is so funny.

August 29
We've "narrowed" the list of baby names from two to four. Hmmmm . . .

August 28
Jack had to go to bed without dinner tonight. I know he won't starve, but I really do think I feel worse than he does.

August 25
Coincidence that my iphone was stolen at the same time Steve Jobs announced his resignation? Hmmm . . . I'll let you decide.

August 24
If your name is Oprah, you can call your show "Oprah." If your name is Katie, you need to come up with something a little more original.

August 23
Why do my children have the ongoing, irresistible urge to unfold my folded laundry?

August 22
Kyle just came into my office and asked if I had an envelope. That's cute.

August 17
We bought new tires and ordered new flooring today. Which makes me feel old. And broke.

Oh, Man in the yellow hat . . . you put your monkey in charge of clearing the dinner table. You were kind of asking for it.

August 15
Ben's watching Leapfrog Letter Factory, and every time the main character finishes a song, Ben says, "Thank you!"

August 11

Loved having staff at our house tonight. There's nothing better than an evening of laughter and oversharing to cap off a great summer.

August 10
Feeling really grateful for the amazing staff we've been able to work with all summer. I'll be sad to see them go this weekend.

August 6
We're taking our kids to the beach today. All 19 of them.

August 4
Ben's new favorite thing us to yell,"That way!" every time we get to an intersection & then scream if we go the other way. It's super fun.

August 3
A few things to remember for when you meet my daughter . . .

We have one VERY active baby! Any gender guesses?

August 2
I'm not usually one to brag, but . . . I'm going to anyway.

Oy. We are going to have a bummed out 4-year-old on our hands if we come home and tell him he has another brother instead of a sister.

July 30
The Olive Garden waiter left us 5 Andes mints, which was an obvious attempt to cause dissension in our marriage.

July 29
Ben's first hair cut.

"No money, no spendy. That’s how it works in our house. And it hurts." Love this.

October 23, 2011

She has a name


We're excited to have chosen the name "Claire" for our baby girl. We tossed around SO many options. Claire was Kyle's very first pick and we both really love it.

It means, "bright, clear, famous."

As I've been praying for her over the last few days, I've used the meaning of her name as a guide.

I pray that she'll be bold and imaginative and that she'll reflect God's light wherever she goes.

I pray that she'll be free of anything that obstructs or darkens her love for God or her passion for doing His work.

I pray that she'll be well known for her brightness, her clarity and her love for the Lord.

We still don't have a middle name for her, and we're open to suggestions. My sister suggested the middle name "Huxtable."

It's funny, but I think we'll pass.

Baby Shower

Jeanette and Debbie threw me a shower last month. It was so, so nice and I appreciated it a lot.

It was in September because they're both pregnant and due before me. The whole thing made it so real . . . I was opening lots of pink and even got her first dress. I'm really excited about having a girl! I've come a long way from where I was on August 3.

Everyone was so generous. I registered at a few places thinking that one or two people might like ideas, but my friends and family just about wiped it clean! I was thankful and humbled.

I was just enjoying myself and didn't pick up my camera once. Luckily, my mom was there and was able to get a few pictures.

Baby shower

Baby shower

Baby shower

October 13, 2011

In over my head

I'm having one of THOSE weeks. The kind of week that reminds me that there's very little I can do apart from the grace of God. You know the kind, right?

The first week back from vacation is always stressful because there's so much catching up to do, and like I mentioned earlier, we were coming off a crazy drive home. When I got home on Sunday night, I was fried. Then upon return, I was hit with one thing after another for about three hours straight that seemed to make the outlook for this week even more difficult.

Late Sunday night, I sat at my desk looking over my to do list, calculating how long it would be before my head would hit the pillow and taking deep breaths in an effort not to panic. I think the only phrase that can accurately describe how I was feeling that night is "in over my head." I spent a good portion of that time wondering how on earth I'll cope with a third child.

The next morning, I was looking through photos from Ben's birthday party (that have yet to be processed) and found this family photo. We don't have many, and this photo is not all that great . . . but I've found myself staring at it for a few minutes every day this week, wondering who that pregnant grown up is in the picture. Because although it's been 11 years, I sometimes feel like I'm still very immature and fresh out of college.

Bennett is 2
Side note . . . Kyle loves this picture because the word "HOT" is right over his head.

These last 11 years have passed so quickly. And the next 11 will likely move faster. This stress and craziness is temporary. Wiping bottoms and breaking up screaming matches won't last forever. And neither will the cuddling and the chance to train these boys "in the way they should go."

I love that picture because I love the people in it so much. I might be in over my head, but I don't think I'd have it any other way.

October 12, 2011

Dear Bennett, months 24 & 25

Dear Ben,

You turned two last month, and it's like you know what that means. It's as if you understand the phrase "terrible twos" and feel like you have some sort of expectation to live up to. The screaming, the tantrums, the disobedience . . . you're testing every boundary and running me ragged.

Bennett is 2

On the flip side, you're doing so many fun new things, too. This morning, you started crawling on your hands and knees and panting. I gave you a puzzled look and you just grinned from ear to ear and said, "doggy." I thought it was super cute until your Dad told me that you tried to bite his ankle.

I love it when you do something fun or achieve something new and pump your fist and exclaim "YESHHH!". . . just like your brother. I crack up every time you finish a snack, because you always lift up your shirt and say, "Mama! Betty!" Translation: "Mom, my food's all in my belly."

Bennett is 2

You like to tease us by sticking your thumbs in your ears, wiggling your fingers and saying, "Na na boo boo." You love to sing, and even when you can only pick up on one or two words of a song, you sing those words with enough gusto to make up for all of the words that you don't know. I love hearing you exclaim "MO-NING!" (Good morning!) each morning. No matter how little sleep I'm running on, it brightens my day.

You're incredibly active and have very little fear. You love to jump off of things and usually exclaim "COOOL!" when you land . . . whether you land on your feet or back side. You climb, explore, dig, gallop, run and play harder than any kid I've met. You have sustained more injuries than any other toddler I've encountered. I'm having trouble remembering what you look like without a fat lip and two year old pictures have been delayed because of it. You are incredibly resilient. I know that when I hear you cry hard over a fall or spill that I need to come quickly because it's probably more than just a bump or a scrape.

Bennett is 2

You love playing with trains, moreso setting up the track for them to run on. Actually, I think your favorite part might be taking the full tub of train parts and pieces and dumping the entire contents on the ground, because you giggle with delight every time you do it. While you and Jack fight, oh, every 30 seconds or so when you're playing with the train set, it's one of your favorite things to do with him. After your nap this afternoon, I asked if you wanted to play with the train set. But Jack wasn't home and you just shook your head and said, "No. Jack, helpee." which I understood to mean, "Not unless Jack's here to help me."

Bath time!

Have I mentioned how infectious your laugh is? You have this contagious, deep chuckle that is most often elicited by your dad's antics. He tickles and wrestles with you in ways that make you giggle uncontrollably and honestly? I don't think anyone could hear it and not smile right along with you. I normally have to leave whatever I'm doing to go watch, because there are few sights and sounds better than your dad making you laugh.

Bennett is 2

You and Jack share a room now, and with that change, your excellent sleep habits have gone right out the window. It takes a lot of time to get you settled down and you know EXACTLY which buttons to push to get Jack irritated and prevent him from sleeping. I know it'll take time, but I think you two will eventually love sharing a room. Eventually.

You love playing with our phones and watching videos from the summer and looking at pictures of yourself. You even show us the photos and tell us what they are as if we've never seen them before. You play games on the phone and the ipad "or as you refer to it . . . the "ipat."

First day of preschool, 2011

I love it that you are always so thrilled to see me. Whether I'm gone for 10 minutes or all day, you run to me and hug me tightly whenever I return. I don't think a single one of these moments passes without me wondering how long it will last.

So, I'll deal with the tantrums and the excruciatingly high-pitched screams because I know that it's just a small piece of the larger picture that makes up who you are and who you're becoming, and you are so special to me, just the way you are.


It's {another} girl!

Is anyone out there having a boy? Because everyone I know is having a girl. Seriously. When I was pregnant with Ben, everyone was having boys and now everyone's having girls. it's crazy.

Remember the shower I threw for Jeanette back in January 2009 before she had Eli? No? Probably because I took about two pictures and didn't write much about it. I had just found out that week that I was pregnant with Ben and was too consumed with that shock to think about taking many pictures.

Well, Jeanette's having a girl this time and I did a much better job of documenting this shower than I did the last one. I've included a few pictures below, but you can see more in my September flickr stream.

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Desserts were pretty simple, too! Sugar cookies, oreo truffles, strawberry cream filled cupcakes (by my friend, Maria) and chocolate covered strawberries.

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

Jeanette's Shower

And the guest of honor, herself.

Jeanette's Shower

It was very laid back and low key . . . we had a lot of fun!

October 10, 2011

On having a girl . . .

It's no secret that I've had mixed feelings on having a girl. I really, honestly thought I was having another boy, and at the moment the ultrasound tech typed "it's a g-" on the screen, it was as if my life flashed before my eyes. I just wasn't prepared for it. I'm a little bit scared of having a girl. This is true.

But Someone I was talking to recently said, "I know you wanted her to be a boy, but you'll love having a girl." I feel like I need to clear that up.

I was hoping for a boy, because that's what I know and what I'm comfortable with. But I want this little girl to be who she is. A girl. Not a boy. I love her already for who she is. I do NOT wish she was a boy.

After we announced we were having a daughter, we had a lot of well meaning people say a lot of really dumb things about how much more I'll love having a daughter than a son. And how she'll stay with me and won't leave me like the boys will. Seriously? I wanted to do the internet equivalent of punching some of them in the nose.

I think my fear of having a girl is more of a fear of having a teenage girl than anything else. Who will teach her to do all of the things I'm inept at. Will we fight over modest clothing and boys that she wants to go out with and why I won't let her wear a bikini? I fear that she'll be completely different than I am. I fear that she'll be exactly like I am.

But just like with the boys, I'm convinced that this world needs her. Whoever she becomes.

We've given her the name Claire. Kyle and I went back and forth on several names and finally had it down to 2 names. Claire was his first choice, and even though I had another name in mind, I loved it and agreed that it was perfect. The middle name is yet to be determined.


Like I mentioned, we vacationed in Virginia last week. The drive down was stressful and the drive back was SUPER stressful. But it was nice to get away and I'm glad we endured the traveling just to be away for a while. We figured that with Jack starting kindergarten next year, this would be our last chance to take a fall vacation, and my parents had a condo in Williamsburg booked so it worked out perfectly.

On our way down to Virginia, we stayed in Pennsylvania and visited the Flight 93 Memorial. It was rainy and cold, so I ended up sitting in the car with the boys for most of our visit, and that was okay because it was really emotional and I was having a hard time keeping it together. As you might imagine, Jack had A LOT of questions and we did our best to answer them in the most age appropriate way possible.

The condo we stayed in was a really nice set up. There were two units. We were in the bottom unit with the boys, and my parents, aunt and uncle were in the upstairs unit. As early as the boys were up, and with as much noise as they make, I'm sure my parents and aunt and uncle were glad to have their own space.

We went to colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. THe boys behaved at those places about as well as you might expect a 2-year-old and 4-year-old to behave while learning about the colonial times and the revolutionary war. Honestly, though, I can't believe how much Jack retained. Both boys enjoyed the Jamestown settlement . . . including the ships that they got to board and walk around in.

When we were in Yorktown, I walked around outside with them while the adults took the museum tour. I thought they might enjoy seeing the turkeys and chickens. One of the chickens was so loud and the trip resulted in both boys screaming like maniacs, while I frantically pushed the stroller in the opposite direction. I had no idea they would react that way. It's humorous as I think back on it now. It didn't seem humorous at all then.

We took them to the pool one morning and they both acted as if they had never been in the water before. Jack, the child who had to be consistently told all summer not to go too far out into the water, flipped out any time we tried to take him past the steps in the pool. I think Ben would have been fine, but he normally follows Jack's lead. Eventually they warmed up to the idea, but I could tell they were both a little apprehensive the whole time. It was odd.

The boys loved hanging out at the condo, visiting the Living museum (kind of a cross between a hands on museum and a zoo), mini-golf and just spending time with us and their grandma and grandpa. Oh, and the fact that I let them watch Disney junior every morning while they ate breakfast. TV in the morning WHILE eating breakfast . . . and getting to watch more than one show in a row? It was like Christmas.

The hardest part of the trip was eating out so much. Typically, Ben's a challenge in a restaurant . . . but a manageable challenge. By the third or fourth day of eating out, he was spent. Maintaining restaurant etiquette was more than his 2-year-old mind could handle that many days in a row. On our trip home, we had dinner at a Pizza Hut. We were there for 5 minutes before I had to take him out to the car while Kyle got our food to go. I was down on myself all week for feeling like I couldn't control my child in a restaurant when it hit me . . . he's TWO YEARS OLD and he's been out to eat once or twice a day for more than a week. What did I expect?

Also, on the way home, baby girl decided that it was no longer time to hide behind the anterior placenta and make herself fully known. She had been fairly quiet all week and had me worried several times about her lack of movement . . . not uncommon for this pregnancy. But on Saturday morning she started kicking and didn't stop until Sunday afternoon. Not just kicking . . . the rolling and shoving herself into places she doesn't belong. Just enough to make the ride that much more uncomfortable!

With the exception of the first day, the weather was beautiful. It would have been sweeter had it not been warmer in Michigan than it was there! Who would have guessed that Michigan temperatures would be in the 80s in October? At least the warm weather was nice to come home to.

October 4, 2011

Our peeps.

We're in Virginia on vacation. The ride down was ROUGH. The boys were . . . well, exactly as you might expect a 2 year old and 4 year old would be. Full of snacks and movies and screaming and crankiness.

On our first night, right before we got to the hotel in Pennsylvania, we stopped at a service plaza. I took the boys to the bathroom while Kyle got gas. As we were coming out, Kyle was coming in and I asked, "Where did you park?" And he said, "Out next to my peeps."


"You'll see what I mean."

And I couldn't help but laugh when we walked out and saw this:

When we were back in the car, Kyle told me that when he popped the hood to check the oil, he found the entire clipboard and paperwork that the oil change guy had left there earlier in the week. So bizarre.

It didn't make the trip easier, but I think that little stop was God's way of lightening the mood. For a few minutes, at least.