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! yfrog.com/nytocavj

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! yfrog.com/h6xrsxij

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 . . . http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html

We have one VERY active baby! Any gender guesses?

August 2
I'm not usually one to brag, but . . . I'm going to anyway. http://www.babble.com/mom/work-family/best-mom-etsy-shop-handmade-mom-lukecommasara/

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. yfrog.com/kipjgvvj

"No money, no spendy. That’s how it works in our house. And it hurts." Love this. http://everydayepistle.com/2011/07/26/how-the-government-can-save-3-14-million-this-year/

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.