happy things

Well, friends. I'm 38 weeks pregnant and I'm going to write down all the happy things in my life lately. Because being happy is better than being impatient and uncomfortable.

So please allow this post to transport me from my Braxton Hicks and waddling to focus on all of the good. Good things now, and good things to come!
 1. Everyone says this girl looks just like me, and I love it. I mean, I know she really looks more like her Grammie and her great aunt Jan, but that's okay. Most people don't!
2. Sometimes, my kids are super helpful.
 3. Sometimes, delaying bedtime for fun and games is fun. Sometimes...
 4. I'm never cold anymore. For someone who's always cold, this is one of the perks of late pregnancy: I'm a freaking oven.
 5. I have this daughter who brings joy everywhere she goes and defies gender stereotypes. Who needs pants?! If she's wearing them, she insists they go on backward. And often, I just let it go...
6. Sisters. Is there anything better than having sisters?! I love my sisters. These sisters love each other, and I'm so thankful that we're adding another to the mix!
 7. I knit this awesome blanket for the new baby. It's (almost) my 4th completed knitting project ever. Ever = in the last calendar year. Since that's when YouTube and I teamed up for one great big learn-a-thon and I became a senior citizen who knits. But I dig it and it's awesome. 
8. Hugs from my children.
9. My husband. Pictured below, he's teaching our little ones a lesson for Family Home Evening. That particular night I had thrown up all my dinner and the dehydration had caused a series of back contractions that were miserable. He did everything I couldn't cheerfully, without being asked or complaining.
10. My daughters' daddy. He took Verity to her first symphony and she loved the music and learning about all the instruments.
 11. We care about beautiful art and music in this family.
 12. I had my first ice cream in months a couple weeks ago. I had to take like 3 or 4 lactaid pills to keep from getting sick and miserable, but it was worth it. Oh, man. The creaminess was amazing!! There's simply no substitute for real dairy ice cream.
13. I need a better brag photo of the quilt I made for Verity. She's thrilled to have such a big quilt on her big bed and be so much bigger than Libby. The day Libby gets taller than her is going to be a sad day, indeed.
14. I like doing my girls hair in cute little pigtails and braids.
 15. We got chickens. 8 hens, to be exact. Because I don't think the local government gets to tell me I can only have 5-6. If I'm going to raise poultry, I want enough so I don't have to buy eggs at the supermarket. The government can get out of my backyard. Because really, it's a stupid law and no one freaking cares anyway. In a few months, we'll have fresh eggs every day. And we got a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. It's named Delicious.
16. Of all the things to swell in late pregnancy, for some reason it's my lips. My lips have gotten enormous, and I'm totally okay with that because it's kind of sexy and let's face it... it could be my nose or ankles! If only I were the lipstick wearing type..
17. Summertime is on its way!

Happy things I'm looking forward to in the coming weeks:
1. Breathing through my nose
2. No more contractions
3. Dropping 25+ lbs super fast
4. Rolling over easily in bed
5. Sleep!!
6. Cuteness overload-- beyond what's pictured above
7. So long, sciatica!
8. (hopefully) pounding a little less food each day
9. the swim park opening
10. sitting down comfortably
11. sitting without a heating pad on my lower back
12. having my sweet baby out of my body and in my arms
13. my two cute girls meeting their new sister
14. feeling like myself again
15. exercise
16. summer!!

Okay, so some of those things are wishful, but I'm gonna be optimistic about it. We're in the home stretch. I have some awesome friends who've given up their time to help me deep clean our downstairs (which we haven't been living in at all these past 9 months) and get ready for the baby-- since I have almost no energy these days and Braxton Hicks contractions knock me down almost as soon as I get moving (I'm lame. Prodomal labor is lame). 

Even after all these months of pregnancy, I think when labor really does start I'm still going to be a little in shock. Like, "wait, what? baby?! NOW?!?!" 

I have a birthing tub in my living room, waiting to be set up. It's getting real. It's going to happen. And it's going to be awesome.


in the interest of transparency

Some time ago I became aware of my absence from the blogosphere and wondered.. what the heck happened? I love to write, to document things, any excuse to photograph things.. you know. I tried to concoct a happy, beautiful, sunny re-emergence online after this gaping 4 month hole in our lives, and such an opportunity never arose. 

So here we are.

And here's how the past 4 months have been:

Nevermind.. Mid December-mid March were filled with sickness. One thing after the other, and as many have experienced firsthand, being pregnant often makes sickness really drag on. So I spent my happy trimester (the second) completely sick with stomach bugs, colds, a sinus infection, etc. Just when we thought we were through the woods, my third trimester hit, and MAN. With it that whole host of late pregnancy troubles. 
Please understand how excited I wasn't to record and share all of this. Or just thank me. Cause that's okay, too.

So, really.. this past month has been a bit sunnier. Literally and figuratively. There's been something truly magical about this spring that I've never really experienced before, and every tree bud and blossom has contributed to our delight in spending time in the out of doors.

I didn't realize how much I missed sunny afternoons at the park with my little ones!

With that comes so much gratitude and peace of mind about this new baby; to think that those early newborn days can be spent relaxing on a blanket in the shade while her sisters climb things, swing, play in dirt and splash in sprinklers?! Can there be a better time to have a baby?!

I am so looking forward to it! 
Verity has been busy expanding her artistic abilities and learning basic writing skills, as well as digging up worms in the backyard, and inventing a host of simple games in which to boss around her little sister. She asks approximately 5,679,095 questions per day, and loves her daddy very much. She is sweet as can be. And sassy, too.
 In Liberty's eyes, everything is a game. She is a continuous source of simultaneous joy and frustration. Because while she can, and sometimes does, use the potty.. It's like, so boring. Duh! Only her sister seems to make it exciting enough to be worth her while. She is talkative, high energy, loud, friendly to everyone, and does everything with a twinkle in her eye and a bounce in her step. She's also a die hard fan of all things Dad.
 Husband works so hard, and is such a helpful companion. His past few months have consisted of creating plans for our home remodel (he loves him some AutoCad), working lots of hours, and in general picking up the slack around here.. because there is slack in abundance to be picked up these days.
 For me, this pregnancy has been so unlike the others. My third trimester bout of morning sickness lasted just a few weeks, like it did with my first pregnancy, and that is awesome. I've continued to be unbelievably emotional this time, and WOW.. it really isn't fun to feel like a crazy person all the time. Sciatica has been mild! Woo hoo!! And chiropractic adjustments have sure made that, carpal tunnel, and symphysis pubis dysfunction much more bearable. 

I wonder how many children I would have if I liked being pregnant. 

(because I really envy those women sometimes..)

But then, while my pregnancies are challenging, they are healthy. And I remind myself to be grateful, because pain and discomfort is manageable and so much lower stress than actual pregnancy complications.
I look at my children, and I am beyond amazed at what wonderful, perfect little people they are. 

Did those miserable nine months 5 years ago really create this beautiful girl I call Verity?

They are so worth it. With all the toys on the floor, dinner and bedtime struggles, taking 45 minutes to get the heck out of the house EVERY. TIME... so much noise, time outs, and in general being so tired sometimes I can't even keep my eyes open.. they are so worth it, and I wouldn't want my life any other way.

 And so in the interest of transparency, I bring an honest account of the past few months, with the hope of successfully making this a regular occurrence again. Photos of my kids having stripped everything from their beds for the sake of jumping. Messy hair and at least one snot-smeared face. All the fun and craziness that two small children bring. 

This is our life and we love it.

Oh, and approximately 6 more weeks till these photos are filled with three little girls! It's getting real, folks.


Advent Part 1

I switched host families a couple of weeks before Christmas when I was an exchange student in Germany. With my first family, I lost track of the date and forgot to leave a shoe outside my bedroom door for St Nicholas the night before his expected visit on December 8th. Thankfully, he left me some yummy chocolate anyway.

My second family celebrated Christmas all month long, opening a small gift each morning for Advent, and lighting a candle each week. It was magical. I came upstairs to a dimly lit, simple breakfast and a present each morning. It was like Christmas morning every day, and I loved it. Waking up before the sun (unless it's with a screaming toddler) always carries a kind of magic with it. I remember getting warm socks and a heart-shaped silver keychain that jingled like a unique kind of bell. I loved that Christmas.

It was really nice that they did it this way, because Germans' main celebration is on Christmas Eve, or 'Holy Evening' as they call it. As wonderful as that was, it was kinda stinky for this American kid to wake up to the sound of a vacuum cleaner on December 25th and spend the entire day stuck in the middle of the backseat of a station wagon as the whole family hauls their way to Switzerland. But then, Switzerland is also magical. I love that beautiful country!

Ever since that year, I've always wanted to celebrate Christmas the whole month long. Last year I made all these great plans and then we all got nailed with a nasty flu that wiped out a whole week of festivities and seemed to suck away way more time than it actually did. This year, we tried it again and... so far, so good!

There have been days when I've thought, "wow, this is anti-climactic. maybe we wait till the kids are older for this...?" And then there have been days where the girls' excitement has been so contagious, and I've been so grateful for the planning I put into it.

Some days we've had a small gift or a treat (hot chocolate, a piece of candy, chalk for drawing on their chalkboard wall), and most days we've had some kind of family activity. We've read the Christmas story in the book of Luke, as well as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. We've watched some Christmas classics: Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Grinch, Muppet Christmas Carol, and the LDS Church's Christmas devotional. We hung up mistletoe and smothered each other in kisses. We hosted a Christmas party for my husband's employees. We delivered gifts to a grieving family. We built a 4.5 ft tall Snoopy Doghouse for our ward Christmas Party. We made faux-gingerbread houses, or "inns" for Joseph and Mary NOT to birth their baby in, made and hung paper snowflakes on the windows... it's been really fun!

I think what's allowed it to be fun was having it all planned by Thanksgiving, so we haven't been worrying each day what we're going to do for Advent. For activities, I wrapped something related to it for the girls to tear open-- like graham crackers for the candy houses, a book, etc. I really like having things ready ahead of time. We've all been able to enjoy it without any stress, and only a few hours of planning, shopping, and wrapping. 

Here are a few photos of our Advent festivities!

The next couple of weeks include some other good things-- looking forward to go to see the Nutcracker Ballet with Verity, and making Christmas cookies. Seriously the most wonderful time of the year!