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