Wednesday, February 3, 2016

5 Years

It's near impossible to believe that 5 years have passed so quickly.  To think back to the day I found out this little man was on the way.  I was so tired, and just felt like something was off.  I took the test, left it sitting there and went and took a nap, I had never been so tired in my life.  To the second I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw a faint second line on the test. I couldn't hide the smile on my face, even though I had no idea how we were going to handle two kids within a year.  I was very grateful though.  To the 20 weeks of feeling just awful in the pregnancy and having to travel to Ethiopia at 10 weeks to bring big brother home.  To the first time I saw my little peanut's beating heart at 8 weeks to laughing on the ultrasound table at 21 weeks when we noticed he had his daddy's nose. 

I'll never forget that moment when I stood up at 9:30 PM on February 3rd and my water broke. The look in Peter's eyes when I told him that I thought my water just broke.  The frantic call to the doctor as I knew it was a little too soon and the sound of her voice when I reminded her how many weeks I was.  The hand off of sleepy little Malachi to my mom and the quick drive to the hospital as I began to panic and think that I just wasn't ready yet.  Literally walking to the maternity ward with a towel between my legs and the nurse asking if I was really sure my water broke. Um, yes!  Learning that just because your water breaks does not necessarily mean that contractions will start.  The pitocin drip 8 hours later.  Hard contractions quickly.  A perfect epidural.  Fast labor from there, the oxygen mask, 30 minutes of pushing and at 12;30 PM on February 4th my sweet little 5 pound 5 ounce baby boy entered the world.  

The memories of the room filling up with support staff, the doctor asking the pediatrician if I could hold him, the pediatrician saying if he was crying yes, the quick cord clamp and whisking away before I could even look at him.  How quickly they decided to take him down the hall.  Wanting to make sure Peter stayed with him at all times.  My amazing nurse wanting to get me in a wheelchair and to him as quick as possible.  Seeing him not doing great once I got down to him. Holding his tiny little hand.  Being informed that the hospital was going to transport him and trying to think clearly of which hospital would be the best for him.  Them telling me I needed to leave because they were going to do some sort of a procedure to him and they knew I was emotionally fragile.  The hospital just so happening to play the lullaby for his birth as I was being wheeled back to my room.  Trying to keep it all together and seeing the sympathy on all my nurses faces. 

The special NICU transport team arriving. Them bringing him in to see me before he left.  The mention of me being able to be discharged but my nurse speaking up for my best interest by saying she thought I should stay there and rest and get discharged in the morning.  Peter and Eli leaving and me being post partum, extremely emotional, and all alone.  A random drop in by a family friend who really helped cheer me up and take my mind off things.  Getting to spend some time with Malachi.  Updates that Eli was doing better at the NICU from Peter.  My in-laws bringing Peter back later in the evening.  Pure and utter exhaustion.

Leaving the hospital in a blur the next morning. The emotional aspect of walking out of the hospital without your baby.  Trying to walk through a big hospital to the NICU while still recovering.  Trying not to burst into tears when you see all the wires and cords on your baby.  The first time holding him after 24 hours and everything feeling right in the world again.  Him constantly setting off alarms that first day because he was breathing too fast.  Wanting to cry every time we said goodbye and had to leave him there. 

The steady progress, seeing him for the first time with no machines on his face.  Holding him without tubes.  Leaving the NICU and feeling terrified to bring a fragile baby home. Not wanting to share him with anybody because I felt so robbed his first week of life. Settling in with two baby boys.  Being an over protective mama bear.  Watching him grow perfectly that first year.  Seeing him develop and learning his personality. A super sweet, cuddly baby boy. Celebrating his first giraffe birthday!  

Year 2: Remembering how he always tried to keep up with his big brother. Becoming a big brother himself.  His obsession with all things "boy" particularly all sports that have a ball.  My easiest child to potty train.  A football 2nd birthday party!

Year 3: The year of loving all things super hero, particularly his man spider man. An incredible imagination emerging.  A shy, stubborn little boy but still a lot of sweetness in there too! 

Year 4: Really getting to see his stubborn side.  Very opinionated about life.  Obsessed with everything Lego and building.  Able to play really well by himself but never wants to be alone either.  

Super sweet and sensitive, still stubborn like his parents.  A thrill seeker, who loves knights and lego's and video games.  Loves to build things and shoot the bad guys.  Every moment is filled with imagination.  Hard to believe that 5 years have passed so quickly.  Seems like just yesterday he was my 5 pound baby boy!   

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Thoughts at 9 1/2 Years

Yesterday we celebrated our 9 1/2 year anniversary.  Yes, we celebrated half anniversary's and half birthday's around here. Why not?  We also just so happened to find ourselves reminiscing down memory lane as I apparently lost all of Sabrina and Malachi's birthday pictures from last year (don't worry, grandma has come to the rescue with pictures). So I found myself digging through picture files, just in case and coming across pictures I haven't looked at in years.  Pictures where you could just see the young love in our eyes.  Pictures that reminded me of the days before we were married and all we thought we needed was each other and we could conquer the world.  We just NEEDED to be together!  Pictures of our first year together and what a special time that was, just the two of us in our little home, figuring life out together.  Again, you could still just see that we adored each other!

Then I began to wonder, do we still have that same look?  Somewhere in the space of the last nine and a half years, something has changed.  That carefree, love can accomplish anything attitude has somehow diminished.  We have everyday stresses, a mortgage, bills, 4 children to raise, a career to build. We certainly don't look the same way we did back then.  The gray hairs are slowly becoming more abundant and that metabolism doesn't quite bounce back like it used to.  Our first decade together full of long hours at work, college, CPA exam, job layoff, financial stress, infertility, traveling the world to meet our first child, holding our next child 9 months later in the NICU, a year later facing weeks upon weeks of bed rest where all the responsibility was on one spouse, loving a birth mother together in a far away hospital as she said her goodbyes to a child she was entrusting into our lives. Many sleepless nights, sick kids, chore upon chore, constantly meeting the needs of the children who were so badly desired!  It all has taken a toll and we just don't look quite as sharp as we used to.  We've been doing a lot of living!

So is that twinkle still in our eyes?  Yep, I concluded. It's still there and more twinkly than ever.  Sure we might not have to hold hands every second we are together or kiss ALL,THE,TIME.  But my heart still skips a beat when I hear the door open in the evening when my husband walks through it.  We still send numerous texts and chats to each other throughout the day, just to check in and share "the little things" because waiting a few more hours is too hard.  We still can't wait to be alone as soon as we tuck the kids into bed each night, and you should see the excitement in our eyes when we walk out the door for a date night!  I still have all the faith in the world that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to because I've seen us move mountains.  That hope I had about the man I was walking down the aisle to has turned into complete trust because I know the true man of character he is now!  That head over heels love is still there, its just matured into something more wonderful than I ever expected.

And then I am left wondering, where we will go from here?  What will we look like in another 9 1/2 years?  Will that twinkle still be burning strong?  Will it continue to mature?  I have to believe it will continue to evolve as we continue down the stages of life together. After all, 9 1/2 years still just puts us at the beginning of this journey together.  The journey of marriage is really quite wonderful!  It hasn't all been perfect, but knowing someone has your back and you have theirs for this entire journey of life is pretty amazing!  Creating a family together and a heritage together is a beautiful thing. Sharing common goals and dreams with another human being gives us a purpose that we could never accomplish alone!  Knowing someone fully and being able to be vulnerable with another person and knowing that they will still be right beside you, no matter what is a wonderfully perfect gift!  Yep, I'd say we still have it and it's just gonna get better!

Friday, January 29, 2016

18 Month Sweetheart!

Hard to believe that the baby in the house is already 18 months, and definitely the busiest and most in to everything toddler we've ever had!  I have to say, I am quite proud of all her accomplishments and okay that she keeps me on my toes because that is such NORMAL behavior!  It was just 9 short months ago that we had a very alarming doctors appointment with this girl and we didn't know for sure what our future with her would look like.  A brain MRI and some EI evaluations later and lots of strength and determination on her part and she's doing amazing!  She might always have to work a little bit harder than other kids, but knowing what I know about this girl, she was born a fighter and is going to do great things!

She's still a little peanut and we've had to up the food and fats in her life, but she's gained a little weight and is up to 19 pounds. She loves to eat and is by far our least picky eater! Still below the 5% percentile but she's growing on her own little curve.  We've been working hard on her speech and it's starting to come along.  Just a couple weeks ago, she figured out "mama" and that was sweet music to my ears! When the milestones are harder fought for, they put you on cloud 9 when they happen!

She's just a sweet little thing. She gives the best hugs and her smile just lights up the room.  She loves stuffed animals and blankets.  She also seems to love animals (the cat is not a big fan) and even wants to snuggle the animals she finds in her books. She adores all her siblings and tries to keep up with them!  I know it won't be long and she will be.  It's bittersweet to watch her move right along in the toddler stage.  Seems she's gotten to 18 months far too fast!

LB, we are so happy to have you in the family!  You are a blessing!  You're the strongest most determined little girl and that makes me so proud!  That strength will take you far in life!  You are so beautiful and your smile lights up our lives.  Your snuggles and hugs are the absolute best and melt me into a million little pieces.  We love you baby girl!

Friday, January 22, 2016

100 Day!

It has been a little while since I've done a school update.  I'd say even though we're a couple years in, we're still early on in our home school life and I am still figuring out what in the world I am doing.  But this has been what I would consider a very succesful year. Malachi is just taking off on addition problems, cursive writing, reading!  He's just doing awsome!  Eli, who didn't even know how to hold a pencil correctly at the beginning of the year is also working on his numbers and writing letters and just recently started reading words!  Sabrina just loves school and is racing through her year of preschool. She can't wait to finish her year up and get started on reading and writing herself.  But for the time being she's counting and learning to recognize her numbers and letters.

This past week, we reached our 100th day of the school year!  So we celebrated in style and let the kids pretend they were 100 years old!

Eli wasn't too sure about it, but he jumped in for a bit at the end.

I consider it a huge privilege that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my kids and teach them.  There is no cooler feeling than to see your kids struggle and overcome!  To be the one who watches them read their first word and write their first letters has just been an awesome privilege. I'm learning and struggling right alongside them, but we're all doing great!  Here's to finishing the year strong!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Quick Night Away!

A couple weeks ago, we took advantage of an offer to get away for the weekend by my parents.  Peter was just about to embark on "busy season" at work so we wanted to take full advantage of the weekend we had remaining.  That was good, because it has gotten crazy around here!  He's worked every day of the last 11 days with probably another 8 days in a row to come.  So far he's logged over 117 hours (but who's counting?!?) of work in those 11 days! He's exhausted, I'm exhausted, 2 colds have passed back and forth through the house in the past 2 weeks and man oh man, I just was not meant to manage this house without him!  It has made me very happy that he is not in public accounting anymore as this would be "normal"!

But I'm happy to say everyone seems to have adjusted now and the end of the really long days seems to be within sight!  Some R&R is coming! 

So back to the weekend at the beach!  The kids had a blast.  Grandma brought the bingo cards and the kids played a few rounds. 

They watched a movie

The weather always seems to be gorgeous in winter at the beach, go figure! 

and lots and lots of time in the pool!

These two are getting braver, and might be ready to start taking lessons?!?

It was a nice, quick little getaway.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

An Epic Day in our Favorite Place!

I haven't forgotten to put up our last post about our Disneyland vacation!  So here it is!  It is no surprise to anyone who knows us that Disneyland is our most favorite place to visit.  Every day there is fun no matter what and it is great to be able to share such a fun place with our kids!  

So here we are in Disneyland over the 60th Anniversary.  I spend a lot of time on some Disneyland forums before we leave just getting updated on all the new things and ins and outs and building excitement for our trip.  So, I knew that as you walk through security of the park, there is a text to win contest you can enter.  It's not super noticeable as you go through the gates but there is a word you can text each day to a certain number to win a daily prize!

So, I tried to do a good job of reminding everyone to enter the contest each morning.  On this specific morning, Peter and I were excited for our holiday tour and then a date night dinner afterwards.  Before our tour, we decided to hit up the rides in Fantasyland. As we were in line for Dumbo I reminded everyone to enter the contest. So Peter's mom handed me her phone to enter the word in for her.  We didn't think anymore of it.

So after a breakfast of Mickey Mouse pancakes with the kids, Peter and I were thrilled to be off on our own at our tour!  The tour started at 11 AM.  After a little bit of time touring other parts of the park, our tour group took off to ride the Jingle Cruise. Special tour groups get to board at the end of certain rides, so we were gathering near the exit to get on a boat where we just happened to see Peter's parents and our kids sitting.  The kids didn't want us to leave them so I was a little worried about them seeing us.  Peter's mom was on her phone. Brian, Peter's dad mentioned to us as we had to wait several minutes to get on the ride that she was on the phone with Disney and had won a daily prize! So we were anxiously waiting to hear what she had won!

Now, the tour guides and VIP tour guides in Disneyland have a nickname.  They are often times called "plaids" because they wear plaid outfits in the parks. So, in our tour group we had 3 "plaids" who were helping us out.  Right before we got on, Peter's mom let us know that we all were the lucky recipients of a VIP tour guide for the day and a ton of money in food gift cards!  Even our "plaids" were excited to get to watch someone actually win the prize!  

Our tour guide asked us if we were going to stay with the holiday tour or go be with everyone else as part of the VIP tour.  We had the VIP tour guide until 7:30 at night and since we were also receiving what felt like a VIP experience, we figured there was no sense leaving our tour. But we did cancel our dinner reservations that night so we could take full advantage of this once in a lifetime experience! 

While we finished up our tour, the rest of the family went to meet up with their guide, fill out paperwork and get started with the VIP tour. It sounds like they went and enjoyed quite a few rides while we were on our tour and then got VIP reserved seating for the parade right in front of the castle! 

This is where we met up with them.  It was such a fun experience to have a VIP tour guide.  Let me explain what this means.  For a hefty price tag ($500 an hour, for a minimum of 6 hours a day) you can hire a VIP tour guide.  These wonderful men and women basically help make all your wishes for the day come true.  They help you get on the rides right away, they can get you special meet and greets with characters, and they can work some magic and get you last minute dinner reservations at hard to get into restaurants.  

I think my favorite part of the day, was that Kristin, our guide rode all the rides with our family.  Eli quickly caught on to the magic she was creating and she became his best bud!  He wanted to ride all the rides with her!

 Another highlight was getting to meet Mickey.  The line to meet Mickey in his house is always really long and while we really wanted to meet him, we weren't sure it was going to happen.  Enter Kristin.  She walked us in a back entrance, told us to wait just a moment and we were in with the mouse!  It wasn't just a quick visit either. It felt like we had ample time to spend with him!

A quick phone call and we were in with Chewbacca too!  

Seriously, the day was just a whirlwind and so incredible. Definitely a day in Disneyland that our family will never forget!  It was a super crowded day so this prize certainly saved the day!  Thank you Disneyland Pixie Dust for treating our family to this awesome experience!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thicken the Plot

Another Think Kit day.

We're all writing the story of our lives as we go. How can you make your story interesting in 2016? And if you can't see around the bend, it's okay to dream. Let's make 2016 one of the most riveting parts of our tale, shall we?

I always seem to enter a year with excitement but also trepidation. I learned at a very young age that life can change in moments, so even when things look great and I can see nothing but blue sky's, I sometimes feel like I am waiting for a catastrophe to hit. So it is a bit hard to acknowledge just how much we have claimed this year as a year of celebration and thanksgiving.

I've mentioned before how we pick a verse in a correlating number psalms for our marriage.  This year we picked one that screams celebration and thanksgiving.  As the new year approached, I felt even more led to just celebrate this year. We have so much in general to celebrate!  Sure, I know this year there will be things that are difficult, frustrating, and hard to face.  But we can enjoy the journey too, and celebrate in big and small ways.  

I see this year as a year of celebrating to better health!  I plan to celebrate each small and each large milestone as I get healthier. I want to celebrate each running accomplishment I hit this year.  I already have a few race ideas for the year and plan to accomplish more mileage than ever before, and I will celebrate that!

I want to celebrate each of our children!  They are wonderful kids!  We love to celebrate them at their birthday's and I want to remember to celebrate them more often!  They are smart, funny, loving kids who deserve to be celebrated just the way they are!

I want to celebrate turning 30. I've heard that leaving the 20's behind can be hard, but I'm not feeling that at all. I've loved everything we've accomplished in our 20's and leaving them behind is worth celebrating, but I also look very forward to the next decade of my life and all that it will bring!  Peter celebrates 30 years this year too, and we're going to celebrate him too!

We're hitting 10 years of marriage this year.  That's something to celebrate!  It actually is an accomplishment to make it to 10 years nowadays.  I'm glad we've not only survived, but thrived together!  My marriage is something worth celebrating not only on the big days but day to day too.  We have some fun plans this year to celebrate our marriage! 

In general, life is worth celebrating. There's no reason to not enjoy the journey we've been given in this life.  Yes, hard days will come, yes sometimes we need to buckle down and focus but there's no reason to overlook the cause for celebration all around us!