Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Aftershocks


"After you have a baby, things will never be the same."

They say it ad nauseum.  And by "they", I mean the books, the advice-givers in Target and the Interwebs' many forums and articles.  "They" tell you about how you'll miss your nights out, how much sleep you're not going to get and how your white pants, high heels, and time-consuming hairstyle is a thing of the past.  And everyone always remembers to include how your body will never be the same.

Some of that is true.  (Though, seriously, why does everyone need to say these things?  Talk about pudgy cheeks, snuggles, tiny onesies and Johnson&Johnson fumes in your nose!  Talk about it people!)  But when they told me my body would never be the same, I never expected they meant my BRAIN.

I was talking with a friend the other day about this phenom of pregnancy brain turning to mom brain and never really getting better. She nodded the nod that showed she understood and pointed out gently the gift we give our children. We willingly give everything as moms. We give them our bodies, changed forever by the weight of pregnancy and the push of labor. We give them nourishment from our own bodies when they hunger, and our sleep when that hunger comes deep in the night. We give them a piece of our hearts no one else can claim and our minds that no longer operate as quickly and sharply as they once functioned. Mothers sacrifice hair that all came in with normal layers that suddenly falls out rapidly four months after our wee one arrives, replaced by a crazy halo of uncontrollable baby hair.  We give our time spent tying shoes, brushing teeth, bathing bodies, sitting by the potty, singing songs, making meals, reading books, cleaning messes, and all the small things that make up full days and years of helping tiny people grow to adults. She reminded me, this wise friend, that this isn't something stolen away from us by motherhood, it is a gift we give our children. A mother fully empties herself for something more important than self. And don't all honorable, worthy pursuits begin this way? With sacrifice?  Emptying out self for a higher cause?

We look our littles square in the eye, especially in the twinkling light of Christmas, and remind them that it is far sweeter to give than to receive. Because we know it to be deeply true. For all mothers give and sacrifice and empty ourselves, is there any sweeter blessing to be given wholly over to the good of others?  We know there isn't. It is the message of the Gospel.  It is the upside down economy Bible. It is better to give than to receive, to understand the need in our hearts than to have storehouses of wealth, that to live we must die.  The only gift that will ever really bring us joy is the one we give away.

And the truth of the Gospel gives birth in my soul, and I see my giving over of self as gifts given to me. My emptying has been my greatest filling of a Truth that gives me freedom.  And for me, this is perhaps the greatest gift of motherhood, the greatest reward of this calling.   



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ain't it nifty, Terry Hancock's fifty...one

I was in the last phases of editing and publishing this last year when the pediatrician called me back and said, based on Carter's symptoms, I needed to get him to the ER ASAP.  So...it didn't get published.  But I really did want to wish Daddy a happy half a century...even if I am an entire year late :)  So just add one to all the numbers.  

25 years ago.  (l to r) Allison, Travis, Teri Lee

We used to put up signs in people's yards.  Now, we blog about it.  Times are a changin'.

My Daddy turns 50 years old today.  It's hard to believe.  We had this conversation one time about the fact that Pa had 3 grandchildren when he turned 50.  As seems to be the defining rule, Daddy walks in Pa's footsteps.  There could be a much worse path to follow.


Can we really believe that this little edible pile of cheeks and toothless grin is now a grandpa himself?  


I could go on and one about how grateful I am for Daddy.  I respect him.  I like being around him.  I admire him.  I really, really love him. 

In no particular order, 50 reasons in honor of 50 years.  Why I'm glad Terry Hancock is my Daddy:

1. He has taught me how to love Jesus in the way he loves Him.  Daddy loves Him less through theology, doctrine and lengthy spiritual chats, and more through loving His Bride.  I have watched Daddy quietly serve hundreds of people throughout my life.  He always does it quietly, unassumingly, and meaningfully.  He has a knack for meeting needs, right when they need to be met, by being available and working hard.  Fixing cars, opening his home, grilling meat, building houses, cleaning out messes....there are a million examples of how he's seen a need and met it.

2. He told me really good stories about his childhood.  He's either a really good storyteller, or he just had a particularly interesting and fun childhood. I loved knowing those bits of his boyhood growing up.

3.He played his guitar for us before bed.  Not every night, but there were a lot of them.  Eric Clapton, Alabama, John Denver...they always make me think of snuggling under the comforter with Travis, listening to Daddy sing our favorites.


4. He taught me to manage money.  He took the time to really teach me to budget through experience, never bailing me out, but always patient with my blunders.  Every month, he gave me an allocated amount of money, and I was responsible for spending it under his supervision.  By the time I was in college, I had had a budget for almost eight years.  When I got married, budgeting seemed like the easiest thing in the world.  This has been one of his greatest gifts to me.

5.  Daddy attended a LOT of gymnastics practices.  I remember him coming to a Saturday morning, "back handspring clinic" and watching with avid interest so he would know how to spot me when I practiced at home.  This interest said, "I love you" to me like very few things could have at the time.

6. Daddy also attended approximately 40 million cheerleading competitions that were crowded, hot, loud, and filled with air polluted with entirely too much hairspray.  This was TRUE LOVE. 


7.  He was really nice to the boy I dated in high school, even though he was a huge mistake.  Daddy knew this guy was not a wise choice for me, and while he made sure I was safe, he was never rude or unkind.  I can't even imagine that kind of grace, especially as I look at my own boys.  He treated someone who could have been considered an "enemy" with kindness and respect, which is something I will never forget.  This also made him the first arms I ran to when things went south, because he had never pitted himself against the boy...but was always on my team.

8. He learned to french braid my hair by watching Mama braid mine while he braided hers.  He's the Renaissance man, capable of everything he sets his mind to.


 9.  He rocked me a million nights before early mornings and long days at work.  I never cried alone in a crib.  Instead, I listened as an infant to thousands of renditions of, "You are My Sunshine" as he rocked that golden rocker into the night.  I've never not known unconditional love...

10.  Daddy listened to me talk.  He still listens to me talk.  This, in itself, deserves a medal of pure gold.  I sometimes wonder if that firework really deafened his left ear in elementary school, or if it was my incessant conversation.


11. Daddy taught me not to whine.  It was one of the zero tolerance policies at our house.  I'm grateful  to have grown up in a home that valued hard work and shut down whining at its first squeak.

12. Daddy taught me to think through things and make decisions based on all my choices without ever telling me what he thought I should do.  He taught me to think critically, take ownership for my decisions, and go with a choice without dictating what he thought would be best.  This has been such a life saver for me.

13.  He taught me to dribble, shoot, pitch, golf, swim, catch, kick, and throw a perfect spiral.  I was no All-American in any sport, but I learned to enjoy athletics with his patient play.  I can't tell you how many things I learned in our backyard with a ball in hand.


14. He told me I was beautiful over and over and over and over until I believed it.  And then he reminded me over and over and over so I wouldn't forget.  Because of him, I never needed a lot of validation from others...Daddy had already convinced me of my worth that had far more to do with who I was than how I appeared.

15. Thousands of math lessons, even and especially when I had a terrible attitude about it.  I just wanted the answers, and he taught me to think.


16.  All the fun he created.  He had a million schemes to trick us into thinking everything was a game...even when it was naps, chores, and bedtime.

17. Daddy was always consistent and calm with discipline.  He never shouted or lost his cool.  (Even when Travis told him, "That's enough!" mid-spanking.  I actually still can't believe Daddy didn't lose it and Travis lived.)  The consequences were tough, fair, and the same every time.  Daddy was so wise in the way he administered discipline, and I learned so much about true grace from him.

18. Teaching me through example what a gentleman is like.  My doors were opened, my hand was held, and he always treated me with respect, even as a little girl.  I learned to accept this as the norm, and always rejected anything less as unacceptable.

19. Daddy was always such a host to all my friends.  Every boy and girl I brought home for playdates, sleepovers, parties, study sessions, college breaks loved Daddy because he took an interest in them...and fed them!  Our house was always a place where everyone was welcome.  His grocery budget was probably sky high, especially when I was in high school and college, but Daddy always welcomed and fed and fed and fed all the people who were important to me.  In fact, he really still does.


20. Daddy chose a career and carried it out in a way that meant he didn't work a lot of overtime and was home a lot.  There is nothing I would trade for all the time he spent with us at home playing, teaching, and being with us.  It was a life choice he made, and I am so, so grateful.

21. He taught me to say, "Yes ma'am" and "No sir", "please" and "thank you".  More than that, he taught me by example how to respect others with the way I lived my life.



22.  Even though his love for me was and is, obvious and overflowing, Daddy never made me the center of the world.  The way he parented pointed out over and over that I was not the center...not the point of the existence of others.  I didn't always like it, but I am grateful.

23. Daddy always encouraged my work, especially when it was really good.  He spoke well about me in public, making me feel valued and respected.  Others would come up to me, telling me the things Daddy had said about me...not just parental bragging but true compliments to who I was and what I was passionate about.  That made me feel so honored.


24.  Daddy was brilliant enough to dupe me into making his coffee and then breakfast for the better part of a decade by convincing me I was the best barista and baker in the history of mankind.  The truth was that I once switched sugar for salt in a recipe, forgot the blueberries for the muffins on the regular and overcooked eggs every. single. day.  But because of his patience, I learned a lot about cooking as a young girl....and a lot about responsibility.


25. Daddy taught me to see every day as a gift and to view life through a lens of optimism.  Daddy doesn't let things "steal his joy"...and it was a joy that went viral in my life.

26. Daddy taught me how to honor parents not by demanding I respect him, but by esteeming all four of my grandparents.  

27.  When I became a mom, Daddy was so encouraging.  He was also so willing to support me in all the different ideas I waffled between as a new mom.  He went along with all my new mom charts, and he would get up in the middle of the night with my babies on vacation.  He's an awesome Boo to my boys, but he is also the best Daddy to me as a young mom.


28. This seems like no big deal, but we always loved when Daddy came to the pool with us because he spent the whole time swimming with us.  He would swim underwater, with us holding on for dear life.  He would throw us in tirelessly and play all the water games kids come up with.  Some dads sat on the side of the pool, but ours was always in with us playing with every kid in the pool.  We loved this so much.  He was so fun, I remember a kid seriously asking him at the lake one day, "Are you an adult?"

29. Daddy also spent lots of time on the lake teaching Travis and I to drive the boat, water ski, slalom, wakeboard, and show off his own mad skills.  He was so patient as we fell over and over and over.  There is nothing like the tired you feel after a day on the lake, lying still and still feeling like you're rocking in the water.  There are also few things as fun as jumping a wake as hard as you can and seeing the impressed look on your Daddy's face as you land.


30.  Daddy taught us to work hard.  At our house, if anyone was working, everyone was working.  It was a major offense to get caught sitting around when others in the family were busy getting things done.  We were a family and that meant we all worked together to get things done.  When it was all done, we could all do fun things.  He taught me to finish jobs, learn how to do things I couldn't figure out, and a million life skills that I use every day.

31. He let me help, even when it took a lot longer than just doing it by himself.  He showed me how things worked and let me watch him figure out.


32. Daddy almost never hired anyone for anything.  He had learned a lot from his dad, but he also learned how to do a million things from Google.  If he didn't know how to fix something, he asked around, read a manual, looked online and figured it out.

33. He let me do hard and sometimes scary things if he thought its as the best thing for him.  The summer I went to India was a loooooong summer for him, but he didn't let that keep me away from what God had for me that summer.


34. I never once heard Daddy minimize my mom in front of me or anyone else.  I am sure there were times that he would have liked to let off steam, but he always spoke about Mama with kindness and respect.

35. Daddy's a great cook.  I remember people talking about their mom's being out for the night or weekend and having pizza/pop-tarts/frozen meals and being so confused about why their dad was so unable to produce real meals.  Daddy is a brilliant cook, and I have learned a lot about cooking from him.


36. Daddy taught me to really love my brother and never tolerate anything less than kindness toward him.  I am grateful he worked to cultivate such a sweet friendship between my brother and me.  He's kind of one of my favorite people.

37. Daddy made me do things I hated (raking the leaves pops to mind first) because it was good for me.  Doing things you don't want to do, and doing them well, is an important life skill that isn't easy to teach.  I'm grateful he took the time.


38. When I was so sick with this third pregnancy, there came a craving for a lemon cheese cake. This is a finicky cake that takes a great deal of work to make that my Ma always made for me. Daddy produced one within days of my craving and only one day after returning from a week long trip.

39. Daddy didn't travel for business much when we were little, but when he did his absence was noticeable.  The first day or so were okay, but after that everyone was a little more tense, short and snappy.  Daddy's presence in our home made a difference in our everyday attitudes, workload and dynamics.


40.  Daddy never complains about anything.  He's as tough as nails and I have literally never heard him whine about anything.  He's always able to find the positive in every situation, and it is a real joy to be around someone with that kind of outlook on life.


41. I've written about this before, but Daddy spent a lot of time discipling my young heart, and I am so grateful.  This was one of the examples that stuck with me more than any other:

When I was little, Travis and I really got along well.  We were good compliments for each other, enjoyed playing the same kind of things, and liked each other in general.  But of course, there were times when are little sinful hearts wanted our own way.  I'm not sure what we were doing, but one morning we were playing together in the garage and I hit Travis for doing something or other that really made me mad.  At that moment, Daddy walked into the garage.

Blast it.

He was always calm when we were in trouble...which was just as scary as the punishment sometimes.  He came over to us, clearly upset.  He asked for the details, and realizing that there was no real conflict other than me just getting ticked and decking my brother, knelt down in front of me.  He asked me to straighten my hand out and make it completely stiff.  He pressed my fingers together and made me make it as hard as I could.  To my complete horror, he then lifted and swung it as hard as he could at his own face, striking himself on the cheek with my stiffened hand.  I will never forget the way my stomach felt, the sting on my hand, and the hot tears in my eyes.  It was the worst spanking I never got.

I cried so hard.  I loved my daddy so much, and seeing the red mark on his cheek from my hand shook me to the core.  My stomach was so tight I felt like I might throw up.  He held my hand then and told me that the way my hand felt on his cheek was nothing compared to the way it felt when he saw Travis get hurt.  Travis was his only son.  An image of him.  He loved Travis more than any other little boy on this world and would do anything to protect him from harm.  He told me that there would be times in life when people would put Travis down, hurt his feelings, and maybe even hurt him physically...but itwouldn't be here.  It wouldn't be at our house with the people who loved him most.

Then, knowing that no conflict is one sided, Daddy took Travis' hand and repeated the same strike and discussion about his love from me as his daughter.  Travis was just as shaken.

I won't say we never hurt each other again, but things certainly changed that day.  Because of Daddy's love for Travis, I saw my brother in a different light.  I saw him not just as my little brother, but as my Daddy's little boy.  One who had been anticipated, loved, and one who brought pride and joy to my Daddy's eyes.  It changed the way I felt about Travis.


42.  When I was in fifth grade, a Sunday morning came that left me distraught because I, "had nothing to wear."  Mama and I tried on all the outfits in my closet, and I rejected everything because nothing met my expectations for what I wanted to wear to church.  Finally, Mama gave up and sent Daddy in.  He evaluated the situation and asked me to tell him why all the outfits didn't work.  I went through a long explanation of the thing that was wrong with each thing I had.  He listened and then told me, "These may not be you favorite outfits.  You may not look the best today that you've ever looked.  That's okay.  You don't have to wear your best every single day...it's not possible.  Just wear something you like."

I found a dress that was just fine, though not my favorite.  I can't tell you how many times I've stood in my closet, unhappy with all the choices and thought of Daddy.  I don't have to have it all together every single day.  Some days, it's okay to just look clothed and presentable.  It was a good lesson, and it has applied to more than clothing in so many situations.


43.  Daddy never lost his cool.  When we were bad, when we got hurt, when we ruined quality things, he never lost his head.  Once Travis tried to weed eat with Daddy's new weed eater while our parents were at work.  It ran out of gas so Travis refilled the tank.  It ran for about 30 seconds before dying.  Travis called Daddy and he asked if Travis had happened to remember to mix oil with the gas.  Travis had no idea you were supped to do that.  Of course, the weed eater was a welded together mess inside.  Travis was devastated.  Daddy just shrugged and said, "Well, it'll be easy for you to remember this next time."  Daddy knew it was toast but wanted to take the opportunity to show Travis how a two cylinder engine worked since it was broken anyway.  As it turns out, they actually did salvage the weed eater, and he's still using it today.  Daddy never yelled or told Travis to, "Pay attention!  Think about what you're doing!" He just told him that he had learned an important lesson that day and that he bet Travis would never make that mistake again.  Somehow Daddy seemed to always keep the big picture in mind in his parenting and life.


44. Daddy took us on a million hikes and camping trips.  Those are some of my favorite memories and they instilled a love for the outdoors in me that I am so grateful for today.  I know now what an ordeal it can be to take little ones camping and hiking, and I am so grateful he made the effort.   The time spent together and the love we developed for being outside are some of the best gifts Daddy has given me.


45. My favorite movie is, "Little Mermaid" and it has very little to do with the 80's animation and plot.  Daddy loved the song, "Under the Sea."  At the end of the movie, without fail, he always danced with me while the credits rolled and "our" song played.  No grown man really loves watching "Little Mermaid," but Daddy did and made it a special movie for me by grabbing my hand and twirling me around.

 Photo by Laurin Clackum

46. He said no.  There were times when I was a jerk, and I gave him a hard time when he did.  I'm glad that didn't stop him and that he protected me even when I didn't want his protection.  I'm glad he taught me about obedience and authority...and glad he protected me from myself!

 Photo by Laurin Clackum

47.  Daddy taught me a million things.  He taught me how to make a layered cake, drive a lawn mower, hammer a nail, scramble eggs, build a fire, make biscuits, find the unknown in the equation, paint a sunset, wash a car, play chords on a guitar, set up a tent, make homemade hot chocolate, shell pecans, hook a worm, and shoot straight.  I could never possibly list all the practical things he slowed down enough to show me instead of just getting them done himself.  There is no way I could ever describe all the things he taught me about life.

 Photo by Laurin Clackum

48.  I spent most of my childhood in Daddy's lap.  I am a squirmer, but he never complained.  Even in college, I could be found curled in his lap in the blue recliners in the living room.   Daddy's always been a safe place for me to land.

 Photo by Laurin Clackum

49.  Daddy used to always come home just after, "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" went off.  Travis and I were so excited that we begged to pull his socks and shoes off as soon as he sat down.  He was such a great dad that the time he came home every afternoon was super important to us, and he was never late.

Photo by Laurin Clackum


50. The summer before I went to college, I worked at Daddy's office as a receptionist.  We spent a lot of lunches eating together in the break room chatting.  When I first got married, Daddy and I would meet for lunch when I didn't have school.  When I had Carter, we would meet for lunch pretty often and catch up.  It's harder to meet for lunch these days with a three and one year old, but those times chatting with Daddy mean so much to me.  He's one of my favorite people to talk to, and he's one of the best listeners I know.

That was a lot to read, but I sure am grateful Terry Travis Hancock is my Daddy.  The impact his life had on mine has made me who I am today.  The way I understand life, the Lord, and people around me were largely shaped by the things he taught me.  I could spend another list of fifty describing all the things Daddy means to me.  Maybe when he turns 100 (or 101 as they case may be ;)), I'll post another 50 :)

I love you Daddy.  Happy Birthday!


Friday, December 20, 2013

13 weeks


13 weeks

Weight Gain: 0 pounds...now we're back in business.  I can almost anything, and I am starving.  Glad to have my body back on board for baby weight gain :)

Sleep Perfect.

Gender: Back to thinking it's a girl.  Mostly because Steven let it slip that he thinks it's a girl.  As in, he called her by name in conversation.

Name: Ella Kennedy for a girl and still don't know if it's a boy.  We'll cross that bridge when we know we need to :)

Feeling: Cold.  Hormones are so weird.  I have felt this deep, bone cold since I found out I was pregnant.  Cold is easy to deal with, and it's no big deal.  Just weird.  My poor hot-natured husband is kind of suffering though.

Cravings: Nothing.  I still have some foods I don't want to eat but I am mostly happy to eat a lot, all the time.  I'm super grateful.  

Health: Pregnancy headaches.  I had them around this time with both of the boys, and they didn't last long.  Hoping the same proves true this time.  For me, headaches are no big deal.  You can power through a headache so much more easily than nausea.  The last of the cold is finally all gone, and I am starting to feel normal.  The last bits of first trimester tired are fading, so I am hoping to feel like my normal self for Christmas!

Movement: Not yet!

Next Appointment: January 6...and we go back for our anatomy ultrasound February 12th.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear Baby

I wrote this the day I found out I was expecting.  I saved it for after the announcement, and then promptly forgot it.  I found it in the drafts today and thought I'd share:


10-23-13

Dear Baby,

Today is a Wednesday.  Your brothers are asleep and have been for an hour and a half.  I'm probably writing on borrowed time.  On Monday, tests confirmed what I've known for weeks now.  You're on your way.

When I was pregnant with Carter, everything was so unknown.  I thought almost obsessively about everything because I didn't know about anything.

With you, I know things won't be exactly the same, but I have an idea of what is coming and how to expect it to arrive.  I don't know what you'll be like, but I do know that God will give us just the right grace to parent you.  I don't know you, but I do know how "mom" feels, and that makes a big difference for me.

And because I am not so worried this time about how it will all go down, I have more time in my head to just day dream about you.  Think about what you will be like and how you will fit in to our little family.  I wonder about your hair and your eyes, your personality and your preferences.  I wonder about the way you will come into the world and the way we will impact you.  Thinking about how you will be unlike anyone I have ever known, while being a tiny picture of me and your Daddy.

I'm so grateful to have the blessing of another sweet baby.  If there is anything you can know from the beginning, it is that you are wanted, loved and prayed for.  I made your dad a little video to tell him you were on your way.  His mind wasn't on "baby-mode" in the moment, so he didn't see it coming.  His face lit up like a sunrise when he realized what was happening.  We love being parents, and we are so excited to be yours.

You're a third.  Uncharted territories coming from a girl who grew up with one brother.  I don't have any idea what it's like to be a third.  I know there probably won't be as many pictures, (except, maybe not, because I am out of control when it comes to that) and I know there won't be as much time the two of us will have one on one.  I know there won't be as much hovering and probably less money.

But there also won't be all the worrying and wavering.  There won't be as much nervousness and grasping to control all the things.  There won't be as many trials and experiments.  I won't struggle to figure out how to get your safely to my shoulder to burp you, and I already have an idea of the battles I do and don't want to fight.  And you have two little guys who are PUMPED to meet you and play with you.  They are so, so fun and will always be one step ahead, showing you the way.  It is going to be so great to grow up with two big brothers.  I always wanted one and you get TWO.  They are the perfect blend of personalities, and I can't wait to see how you add to the mix.

Dearest little, tiny one.  I am so grateful for your life.  I am so blessed to be your Mama.  I already love you more than you'll ever understand, and I am so looking forward to meeting you.

Love,
Mama


Monday, December 16, 2013

Are you trying for a girl?

Since announcing our new little one is on the way, people keep asking, "Are you trying for a girl?"

It's a normal and expected question question.

We, really though, are just trying for a baby.  We hear there's a pretty even chance on gender.

In all seriousness, it would be qso great to have another boy.  He'd have a wardrobe lined up, playmates in place, nursery decorated, and a mom who is pretty amped to spend every day outside doing the boy-mom thing.  On the other side of the spectrum, we don't have a girl and we like them too.  I think it would be sweet to have a little gal in our family, a friend for Cora Jane, and a sidekick for me.  Also, I really love baby jeggings.  So there's that.

So?  Win/win :)

Carter is convinced that we are having a girl.  I have no idea why.  I sort of feel like it might be a girl, but I also really thought Carter was too.  Even after 3 ultrasounds that proved he was a boy, I still sort of expected them to say it was a girl when he was born.  My instincts are super off when it comes to these things.  Samuel has no opinion other than looking at his own belly when we talk about the subject, admiring his own roundness and exceptionally adorable belly button.

We'll update after our ultrasound in February....because I'm all about a mid-pregnancy surprise and preparation, preparation, preparation :)

But to answer the ever popular question we're getting these days:

We're not just having another baby to get involved in pink...but we'd be excited for a sweet girl if that is what the Lord has for us.


Friday, December 13, 2013

12 Weeks




Weight Gain: -1 pounds...getting back to normal.  In fact, I've been starving (and eating) like crazy this week, so I imagine we'll be making up for lost time pretty quickly.

Sleep Bliss.  Everyone is past the cold, and I am sleeping solid through the night.  I doubt I will ever take that for granted ever again after my three year run of no sleep with Carter+Samuel.  

Gender: I've been feeling like it's as a boy again this week.  There is obviously no real evidence pointing this way, just my instincts.  Which isn't science.  Or reliable.  I think it might just be hard for me to even imagine a girl in our house!

Name: Ella Kennedy for a girl and still don't know if it's a boy.  We'll cross that bridge when we know we need to :)

Feeling: So.  Much.  Better.  I want sugar again, but I still can't tolerate coffee much.  I don't need meat to feel okay anymore, thank goodness.  I still have moments here and there, but I am a whole new person.  I am SO glad.  Hopefully the rest of the pregnancy will go along as easily as I am used to!

Cravings: None this week.  Steven may or may not be disappointed with this is ending.  He doesn't like me to be sick, but he does love all the junk I craved for a few months!

Health:  I went for my 12 week appointment and was happy to talk to a new midwife in the practice I had not met.  I liked her a lot.  The baby's heart beat: 166 bpm (and everyone thinks it's a boy again :)).  Everything seemed good, which I am always be grateful for!

Movement: Not yet!

Next Appointment: January 6...and we go back for our anatomy ultrasound February 12th.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Santa

I've written about how we "do" Santa at our house, so I won't rinse and repeat, but gosh, I love Santa pictures.  I know it oozes cheesiness, but I love the "sameness" of it every year.  I love that you can see all the changes a year brings in a single picture.  I love this same grumpy Santa that the mall hires.  My boys don't care about how jolly he is or isn't because Santa is no big deal to them, and I love how he's the same in every shot.  And I don't care.  I love the crying shots.

My mom has a frame of every Santa picture she had made each year in a big frame that is so much fun to look at.  I hope the boys enjoy these when they are older...I know I will :)

2013.  There was no line at the mall.  There were no facial wounds or bruises.  Everyone was excited to tell Santa, "Merry Christmas!"  Even Samuel, who wanted to chat, but hated the lap.  It was a complete, total win.

And for fun:


2011: Crying Carter with my Blackberry that already seems like an antique or something.

2010: Pictures weren't given online, and I guess I couldn't be bothered with a scanner (and apparently still can't).  It's a cute baby smiling with Santa though.  Come check out our mantle for further details. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Carter says

Carter fell off a chair and started crying:
Me: Does your bottom hurt?  Does your leg hurt?  What hurts?
Carter: Noooo!  It's my feeeeeeeelings!

After Halloween, Steven and I kept the candy in our closet and gave the boys one piece after nap each day.  One day I didn't hear Carter, so I walked in our room.  I still couldn't find him, so I checked our closet.  He was standing in the dark with a piece of candy still in its package dangling from his mouth and a big smile stretching across his face:
Carter: Oh hiiiiiiiiii Mama.  I was just getting this piece of candy for you!

Carter asked for Halloween candy around 9 am.  I told him he needed to eat lunch and take a nap before he could have candy.  He took off running for the kitchen yelling,
Where is my luuuuunch!  I want to eat it so I can have cannnnnndy!

I came in one day to the train table destroyed and Carter standing with tracks all around his feet and in his hands.  He stopped cold when I walked in and said seriously, 
Don't worry mama, this was allllll part of the plan!

While reading Polar Express,  Carter asked about the reindeer.
Carter: Those deer fly?
Mama: Well, it's fun to pretend that Santa uses flying reindeer to pull his sleigh through the sky to deliver presents for children on Christmas.
Carter:  Flying reindeer!?!?  Oh I bet they scare the chickens!

Standing at the tub, waiting for the water to get warm.  Carter turned to Samuel and said,
Ok Samuel, let's get scrubby!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

We went for our Christmas tree the week before Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving came sooooo late this year, and I just didn't want to wait anymore.  Plus, we had time, good weather, and a free day.  

We went to Boyd Family Christmas Tree Farm in North Carolina and walked through the trees to find the perfect one for us.  



The boys were interested for about five minutes.  Then Samuel rolled down the hill (it was seriously steep) and they both decided the memory of the cookies and hot chocolate they had just seen was more enticing than all the trees.


While we played in the leaves, Steven found the perfect tree and the guys from the farm came to chop it down.  One day, I think it will be fun for the boys to take turns with their dad sawing the tree down.  Since I don't yet trust them with scissors, this was not that day.



While the men loaded up the tree on our van, the boys and I had Christmas-ey snacks by the fire and played with the toys they had in front of their own decorated tree.  Santa was not there since it was early in the season, but I don't think the boys would have really enjoyed that brand of terror anyway, so it was no great loss.  





While we waited, Carter decorated this tree with all the bright leaves from the grass.  It was really cute.  He is obsessed with Christmas this year and it makes it so, so fun.  He loves everything to do with Christmas.  The lights, the tree, the ornaments, and the songs.  


Though the tree was a bit more expensive than we imagined, we enjoyed the trip and the location.  I love a good Frasier fur, and I love a fresh-cut tree.  It was a pretty drive and nice to chat with Steven in the car as we traveled and let the boys watch their mostly stuck-in-the-closet DVD player for the car.  It's a sweet tradition for us to have a real tree each year, and one of my favorite parts of this holiday season.


Steven and the boys in front of our tree: