Monday, February 28, 2011

Doctor's Visit

I had one of my last doctor's visits today... Only 2 more appointments to go after this one! I must say, with every pregnancy it's kind of sad to be so close to the end because I grow so attached to the staff. I really like my doctor and he's awesome but I especially LOVE his nurse and it will be sad to not see her. Life goes on!

Today was a more interesting appointment than some of the others. They asked if the baby was really active and though I wasn't worried, I said that her movements have been kind of infrequent lately. This is how all of my babies have been, though, and for some reason, they're just kind of mellow in the womb. Anyways, to be extra sure that the baby was okay they did a NST (Non Stress Test) and sure enough, she checked out fine. I knew that she was fine but truthfully, it was reassuring because she doesn't always make her presence known!

The doctor also did my Group B Strep test, which is pretty much just a formality when you're having a C-Section. Whatever. It's over and done with, thankfully! He then felt around and is still guessing that the baby will be under 8 pounds. Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it!

I'm getting SO excited about meeting this little girl. I've been so stressed out about getting everything in order for her arrival that sometimes I forgot what I'm actually working towards. It's pretty amazing to stop and think that in a little over 3 weeks I will be holding, nursing, and loving on my girl! I can't wait!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


As I mentioned briefly yesterday, Brooke has been having some issues with her attitude. She's a great kid and her behavior is incredible.. It's just that will and mouth on her that gets her into trouble. I have been trying to be extra patient with her because I know her life is changing just as much as mine is. I thought that spending some quality time with her would help her feel extra special and help us kind of reconnect.

I made plans for Adrienne this afternoon and let Brooke pretty much call the shots. It breaks my heart when I think about the simplicity of her requests... To go to McDonald's with nobody else (She listed our entire family who wasn't invited. Lol) and to go home and snuggle and watch cooking shows. I told her we could go to the movies or shop or whatever she wanted but that was what her little heart desired. She gets her fair share of Happy Meals and she snuggles with me daily but somehow the fact that we would be alone is what really excited her.

I must say, having just one child for the afternoon was almost a little bit weird! I was amazed at how easy it was and how getting our food and going to the potty wasn't quite so much work. Mostly, though, I just enjoyed the uninterrupted conversations and giggles with my oldest princess. I heard lots of funny stories and silly tidbits about her little life and somehow grew to love her even more. She and I then went home to snuggle for about an hour and then we played with puzzles and read books, all without interruption.

At one point Brooke said to me, "We like being alone without Adrienne!" I had to explain to her that while we enjoy being alone sometimes, Adrienne is still just as important and special. I then compared it to when John and I go on a date without her and she seemed to get that. It's got to be a hard concept for a four-year-old!

Sometimes I struggle as I feel divided between my daughters. I never want them to even have room to sense favoritism because there is not an ounce of that in my heart. Despite the challenges of splitting myself evenly, the wonderful gift of giving my daughters each other is more than enough of a benefit to make up for it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Super Mom Does NOT Live Here

We were hit by yet another awful storm here in the Northeast, leaving us housebound. I enjoy being stuck in with my girls and the day really does fly by. The first half of our morning was wonderful... We had a nice breakfast with plenty of giggles and good conversation and then a nice long bath for the girls. After I tidied up from breakfast and all, we spent a good while on a paper chain with 28 links on it to help the girls be able to visualize the time until Bailey gets here. We had so much fun and I was thinking to myself how much I love being a mom and how I am maybe even kind of good at it.

Not long after that, my confidence was completely destroyed. I won't get into too many of the details but let's just say that Brooke was having some MAJOR attitude issues. It was this big ordeal and she was so angry and crying uncontrollably that she was quite the force to be reckoned with. She had me so upset inside that I sent her to her room and couldn't even deal with her until I took a few minutes to calm down. During that time I just broke into tears and was completely heartbroken over everything that was going on. In my four years of parenting, it was probably the biggest disciplinary challenge I've had to face.

All is well that ends well and of course my sweet princess has had a major transformation. Her attitude has been wonderful since her tantrum and I'm happy because that must mean I got through to her. The point of this whole story is that I am continually reminded of the fact that I don't have the power to be a good, or even decent, mom on my own power. If I depend on myself for the strength to get through each day then I might have some good days here and there but each time things get tough, I promise I'll fall flat on my butt every time. I need to daily be seeking God for His wisdom on raising my girls and relying less on my intuitions or parenting magazines. As the Bible says in Proverbs, "Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart. Lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." I find that to be so reassuring, especially in the midst of challenges like today.

So, while I like to think that I'm "Super Mom," I am once again reminded that I most definitely am NOT. I'm just an average mom who needs all the help she can get from her savior just to get through each and every day. This parenting thing is TOUGH stuff but I'm thankful that I do not have to go at it on my own!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making A Dent!

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record to anyone out there but getting ready for this baby is pretty much consuming my life these days. She will be here a month from tomorrow and I just cannot seem to get that through my brain!

I am thrilled because John had a three day weekend and we got so much accomplished around this house. The baby swing is assembled, the bouncy seat it out just waiting for its new occupant, and all of the newborn clothes are washed, sorted and put away. We got tons of cleaning and organizing done, as well, and John was a huge participant! I'm also excited because we bought Adrienne's mattress on Tuesday and her bed will be delivered next Tuesday. It's kind of sad to think that my precious girl will only be in her crib for a few more nights. I have to move on from that because I might cry if I think about it too long!

I'm kind of concerned about baby clothes and this bothers me because I didn't think it would be an issue. We have maybe 7 or 8 new newborn outfits that my family has randomly purchased for the baby, which is great, but we only have a hand full of other newborn outfits from the other girls that will be season appropriate. Brooke's newborn clothes were really warm winter clothes and Adrienne's newborn outfits are really springy. March is kind of a toss up so we need to be sure we have lots of in between things. I expect her to be in newborn clothes for a month or so and after that, I only have a few 0-3 things that are for Spring. We have tons of gorgeous sun dresses and summer outfits but it's New York so I doubt she'll be using those right away. So now I'm on the hunt for some little Spring outfits for my Bailey girl. The good news is that she has lots of sleepers, sleeping gowns, and gorgeous crochet bows!

Through all of this, I am so thankful for my husband. I've been super stressed, I'll admit, and he knows me well enough to sense that. Sometimes he'll just come put his arms around me and say, "It will get done, Babe, don't worry." Other times, he just gives me a look that lets me know that everything will work out. When he tells me things will work happen, I believe him. He's true to his word and doesn't just sit there and let me carry the weight of getting this house ready. It amazes me how crazy I am about that man and with each new stage of life, my admiration for him only grows. (You can go throw up now if you like!)

I still have a long list of things that I need to accomplish but I'm really trying just to enjoy this last month of pregnancy and chill out. Life will only get more crazy once she arrives so I should probably take a deep breath! Easier said than done.. Especially when you're me!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Matters of the Home

I have encountered several "holier than thou" type women lately that claim that they never clean or do household chores while their children are awake. One person said, "My children need to know that they come before the mop and broom." While that statement may be true, there is a fine line between cleaning and being consumed with cleaning.

My thoughts are that I am called to be a keeper of the home. This sometimes means that I step away from playing with blocks and reading books to mop the floor or to do the dishes. My girls know that they are my priority but allowing them to have time during the day to play with each other alone does not diminish that. On top of that, if I just so happened to be mopping the floor it doesn't mean that I let them scream hysterically in the other room... Most of the time I'm required to stop several times to tend to different issues they have.

Furthermore, I feel as though it's VERY important to teach my daughters how to run a household. If they see me constantly "eating the bread of idleness," (as it is referred to in Proverbs) what kind of message is that sending to them? I try to include them in the different chores that I do and they really enjoy it! Both girls love "folding" laundry and Brooke already knows how to help me sort the lights, whites, and darks. If I'm vacuuming, they get their little toy vacuums out and follow me. If I'm hanging up clothes, I let them pass me hangers. I really don't think that they're too young to be included in these tasks and in the process, they're learning responsibility. These are small steps in teaching them how to keep their homes one day.

Besides, if I only cleaned after they went to bed at night or during nap time then what time would that leave for my husband? I absolutely love my children with every ounce of me but my husband has needs, too. If gave up the little chores I did throughout the day and used my evening time alone with him to make up for it, I would never get time with him. It just doesn't make sense to me.

So what about you? Where do you draw the line? Am I some evil mother for occasionally dragging out the mop and broom? I truly don't think so and not much of what anyone has to say could convince me of that. I am interested, however, on how the rest of you manage your homes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Emotional Wreck

Generally speaking, I'm an emotional person. I tend to cry if I'm happy, sad, angry, nervous, etc... Even when I'm not pregnant, I cry over songs on the radio and I tend to be overly sentimental. It's just how I'm wired. I'm not one to keep things bottled up, either, so I'm pretty sure that my husband deserves a trophy for putting up with me as of late! :)

I know it's completely normal but I have been flooded with deep emotions about Adrienne not being the "baby" anymore. I felt the same way with Brooke but quickly realized that she would always have the same place in my heart that she always did, despite the new addition to our family. Tonight Adrienne got hurt (nothing severe) and cried that pitiful little cry of hers and I had to choke back tears. Stupid, right? She just never cries.. She's my tough girl who has to be in LOTS of pain to complain. At that moment I just wondered how I would have time to fix the boo boos and heartaches of three girls. It's the little things these days that cause me to become irrationally emotional. I hate it!

My C-Section is five weeks from today, a mere 35 days so we're really getting down to the wire. I know that many of these emotions come with getting no sleep and when I'm exhausted, forget about it. I toss and turn all night long and can never seem to get solid rest these days. It's par for the course, I realize, but it does not help my already zany emotions.

Through it all, I am extra thankful for a husband who gets me. He knows I'm like this and he realizes that sometimes I just need to freak out and cry and then I'm a new woman. If he was as annoyed by all of this as I am, things could really get wacky. Lol

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brookie!

Dear Brooke,

Today you turned four years old! I find myself asking more and more... "Where does the time go?" It's so hard for mommy to believe that you are no longer that little tiny baby but a big, independent preschooler!

Today we celebrated your life by doing lots and lots of fun things. You, of course, got to "call the shots" and pick what activities we did. For starters, you woke up very early requesting your special cereal... Trix. After a big bowl of that, we opened your presents. You were so excited! Next, you wanted to take a long bath with your new bath crayons, markers, and body paints. You and sissy had such a fun time in there and you smelled nice and clean when you were done. After that, we headed to Barnes and Noble to pick out your special birthday book. After all, it is our yearly tradition! You quickly picked out yet another Fancy Nancy book and you clearly weren't interested in anything else. I don't blame you, though, she's into all things pink and frilly, just like you! For lunch, you wanted pancakes at IHOP. Silly girl! Grammy and Papa met us there and we were all amazed at your big appetite! When you finished eating, they brought you a HUGE stack of chocolate pancakes with whipped cream, cherries and sprinkles and sang to you. You were in heaven! Last, but not least, we had your Wonder Pets birthday party tonight where all your family came and enjoyed themselves! We had fettuccine alfredo with chicken and broccoli, upon your request, along with a Ming-Ming cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. You got LOTS of nice presents, too!

Brooke Madison, I simply cannot put into words how profoundly your life has changed mine. When I think back on the past four years... the challenges and struggles, the joys and laughter.. I am brought to tears. You have helped grow me into a stronger person and because of you, I have learned so much about life.

You have become so grown up lately, Princess. You're growing tall (but staying very thin!) and your beauty on the inside and out is incredible. You are kind and loving to others and you seem to take care of the people around you. Whenever you get a special treat you are the first to share it, without even being asked! You are gentle and loving with your sister, Adrienne, and when Bailey comes next month, I know you will be amazing with her, too. You have a helpful attitude and you love working alongside mommy in the kitchen and helping with the laundry. I am so blessed to have you around and above all, I am thankful to be your mama.

As the years go by, there is so much I can't wait to teach you and experience with you. There are so many "firsts" that are still ahead in your life and I am thrilled to know that I'm the one who is responsible for walking through those with you. It excites me when I think how extremely bright your future is!

I love you so much and I praise God for the day He brought you into our lives! You, my sweet daughter, are an amazing blessing to your daddy and me! Happy Birthday, baby.

With all my love,

Friday, February 11, 2011

33 Weeks!

I had my 33 week prenatal visit today and things are looking good. It's hard to believe that in a mere 6 weeks from today my baby girl will be in my arms. I can't wait to introduce her to her sisters who have eagerly been kissing and feeling my belly every chance they get. Ah, I just love it:-)

A stupid "fear" of mine has been that this little princess will be like 9 and half pounds. I know it's silly because my love for her is not based on her weight! Brooke was 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was born on my due date. Adrienne was 8 pounds, 9 ounces but delivered a week early (because she was scheduled). However, she did retain a lot of fluid that landed her in the special care nursery and her discharge weight was well below that. Anyways, the only reason I don't want Bailey to come out huge is because they grow so quickly that it would be sad if she started out big already. The doctor said today, however, that she feels like the perfect size and he doesn't really think she's that big. I guess we'll see in a few weeks if he's right or not. I repeat... It doesn't matter. It's just kind of an interesting guessing game at this point.

I'm feeling really good about things right now! I had been a little stressed out about all that needs to be done but I have made an organized list and have been able to start crossing things off of it. I am most excited because Adrienne's big girl bed is on its way!!! It matches Brooke's bed and I have really beautiful matching comforters for them so I can't wait to see it all come together. The bed should be here in two weeks or so so that will give us only a month to get Adrienne acclaimated with her new sleeping situation. I sure hope it's enough time!

I have been getting diapers and wipes nearly free on Amazon so I'm stocked up pretty decently! I also have been given quite a few little outfits from my family so I feel like we have some really nice things for the baby. Oh yes, and I had been wanting a nice Pack N' Play for downstairs so Bailey can have a place to sleep during the day while she's tiny. I just don't feel comfortable having her nap upstairs away from me in the early months. So anyways, John bought me a beautiful Graco play pen with a changing table, diaper caddy, and bassinet. It's going to be so nice having it! I wanted one with Adrienne but just never got one but this time we agreed it would be worth the expense, desipte this being our last baby. That is all set up and Adrienne points to it and say, "Bailey's crib!" So sweet!

These days ahead should be fill of lots of joy and excitement. I just want to soak it all in and remember each and every moment. I still can't believe how close the time is. WOW!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bottomless Pit

I never thought that I would consider Brooke a big eater... Ever. Once she started eating solid foods she really hated everything we fed to her and was content to nurse for her main food source. In fact, she was almost 2 when she finally weaned herself of breastfeeding. There were days when I wondered how she could possibly be full but she was still growing and thriving so I didn't let it worry me.

Despite Brooke's picky eating I never catered to her. Maybe that sounds harsh? The child only like boxed macaroni and cheese for years but that's not what we had for dinner every single night. I always made balanced meals and encouraged her to try whatever was put in front of her. The rule was that couldn't have any desserts or treats for the rest of the night if she didn't eat her dinner. It was never popular with her but we stuck to our guns.

Let me tell you... The results have paid off! My girl eats anything and everything now and it seems virtually impossible to fill her. She continually asks to try new foods and likes almost all of them. I made homemade cheese steaks the other night (out of shaved rib eye.. OH MY WORD!) and when she asked for some of my mushrooms and onions to put on hers, I almost fell over. I ended up having to put more on the stove because she loved them so much. Last week I made a pork roast and I cut it into little medallions. She ate SIX of them. I couldn't believe it! She out ate both John and me. She's even really into vegetables these days, too. I never thought I would hear that girl ask me for broccoli or green beans but she loves her veggies now and asks for them at every meal. Oh yes, and what still amazes me is that I made fajitas the other night and she ate two of them... Piled high with caramelized onions, chicken, sour cream, and cheese. Who is this kid?

I must admit, I feel rather accomplished as a mom! To know that I've instilled positive eating habits into the most stubborn of eaters kind of makes me feel like I know what I'm doing! Now if only we could get her to go to sleep at night! Lol. It's always something...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Party of 5

It has taken me a while to get to this point but I'm truly excited to have our family be complete. I've obviously been excited about the baby but to know that she will be our last has been a little hard for me. I love being pregnant and I enjoy the growing belly, doctor's visits, ultrasounds, etc.. but that's not enough of a reason to keep having children. If that was my justification for having more babies I would end up like Michelle Duggar, I'm sure!

Our decision to be done with this stage of our lives has not been made lightly but with much thoughtful consideration and prayer. Three children is the perfect amount for us and while I love having babies, I'm content with this number. Another reason we're choosing for Bailey to be our last is because my doctor feels strongly about women having no more than 3 C-Sections due to increased risks with subsequent deliveries. I'm not about taking additional risks when I'm truly happy "just being a family of 5."

Like I said, it's been hard to get to this point of total satisfaction with our decision but I'm really making progress! It feels great to know what our family will look like and to be able to envision our future as a family of 5. With Brooke and Adrienne there wasn't a feeling of completeness but there is this time around. It's really nice and I'm so thrilled for that!

We were talking about our decision the other day and we could say "Maybe we'll have another baby" just to not have the pain of saying "We're done." However, I decided that we really ARE happy to be done and this way we can start getting rid of things gradually. If we were to leave the option open I think it would be much harder to get rid of baby gear 5 years down the road. It's just best this way.

I am going to miss the sweet feeling of a new life growing inside of me and all of the joys that go along with that but the future is so bright! We will soon start the next phase our life, never to "start over" again and there is freedom and excitement in that. I can't wait to see what God has in store for my family. I'm expecting something wonderful:-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Work, Work, Work

Today is the beginning of a long week for John. He's in the midst of a 16 hour shift right now (3 this afternoon until 7 tomorrow morning) and he has several other doubles, a training session, security for a high school dance, and 3 court dates between now and next Saturday. Talk about a crazy week!

I'm not in any way, shape or form trying to make this about ME but when I look ahead to this week, I become frustrated. We only have one car right now so that should be interesting but most importantly, I will hardly be seeing my husband who I ADORE. He's my best friend and when he's not around I seriously don't operate to full capacity! Besides that, he's an incredible daddy and I depend on his help with the girls. Worst of all, though, those are more hours for him to subject himself to danger. He NEEDS to be alert every second he's on duty and it's scares me to think of him having to do that for so many hours in a row. He's a great cop though and I know his number one priority is to come home every day.

Once I get off my pity party, however, I remind myself of a few important truths.... For starters, this crazy job with insane hours is what allows me to stay home with our girls! It comes with awesome benefits and a salary that allows for a comfortable lifestyle so it's just silly to complain. Also, John is living his lifelong dream by being a cop. How many people can truly say that? I'm happy that he's doing something he loves and that he's so great at. In addition, I'm mindful of my friends who have husbands in the military and ship them off for months at a time. John is here should an emergency arise, he can stop by from time-to-time (although he's been too busy to do that lately), and I can always call and check on him (assuming he has a second to answer his phone). Military wives don't have all of those luxuries.

I'm trying to keep my head off and focus on all the positives in my life! My mind is kind of fried when I think of the busy week we'll have but it could always be worse. I'm so blessed to have a husband who is even willing to work this hard for his family so who in the world am I to complain?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shut In

We have been hit big time with snow over the last 2 days. We've gotten tons of snow along with some ice and it's been going on for an extended period of time. Because of this lovely New York weather, the girls and I haven't left the house since Monday. Unfortunately John has still had to work but I'm thankful that the storm is over now and that he's remained safe throughout it all!

We have really had a blast over the last couple of days! We've played about a million games of Memory (which is Brooke's favorite) along with some Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. We've also played with Play Doh and baked lots of tasty treats. The time has really flown by and I would be happy going at this same pace for many more days! I've been so productive around the house, as well, so that feels good. I tackled our linen closet during bathtime this morning and all of my mopping, scrubbing, vacuuming, and laundry is completely done! That means that when John is off for the next 2 days that we can RELAX!

I am so thankful for our neighbors. They have been absolutely incredible and we have not had to shovel one sidewalk or walk way in the midst of this 18+ inches of snow. We live in a very giving community and it's amazing to see. I thanked on of the neighbors the other day because her husband primarily is the one who helps us out and she said that it's the least they could do for John who serves our community. We don't expect that so it's very nice!

John woke up early today to take the girls outside. I love my children but I'm not really into going out and playing in the snow. Thankfully John is! They built a short and fat snowman so they girls could reach to decorate it. John is such a thoughtful Daddy to do that:-) Then they rode around in the sled. They all had such a blast and stayed in and admired my little family and it was definitely a mother's joy to observe! I also got to cook dinner without 2 little "helpers" while they were outside so that was a nice break.

It's been a nice break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life but I'm done with snow for a while now! If Spring could come early I definitely wouldn't be complaining one bit!