Currently… – Back Again!

If you’ve been following me for a while, I used to do a Currently series every Monday and link up with several other blogs. Well, that Currently series kinda tapered off, and I’ve been missing the weekly prompts. So, when I visited From the North to the South and saw her Currently post, I was ecstatic to join Becky at Choose Happy for her Currently link-up! So here’s my rebooted, brand new (again) Currently series kick-off!

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Thinking About || What to name our sweet (healthy!) baby. I feel like we are getting nowhere. We used family names we loved for our first two kids, and now there isn’t a name that I feel super strongly about, and I’m not finding inspiration anywhere else yet.

Reading || Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. It’s semi-historical fiction about architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the woman he had a years-long affair with. It’s actually a great read, despite the cheesy-sounding nature of it, and I’ll be sure to post a review when I’m done! It’s a little slower-going that the Divergent Series (I wonder why? Oh, teen fiction. Got it.) but I’m loving it all the same.

Crafting || Nothing. At. All. Y’all,  my crafting game has been out since Christmas. With this basement reno (they’re drywalling today! WOO!) my space has been more limited, we’ve been hopping around to friends’ houses to do laundry and avoid noise, and also hopping around to pick out cabinets, tile, carpet, etc. I feel like my “crafiting” has morphed into “interior designing” for the time being. And I’m totally okay with that! I’m sure I’ll find a lovely project for the kids’ new rooms that I can blog about.

Watching || The Bachelor! But I’m way behind, so please don’t post any spoilers. The next episode for me to watch is the fourth one… so I haven’t even seen why (apparently) I’m going to dislike Kelsey from now on. Sad times. Anyway, I’ve never watched a season of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, and so this season has been a new thing for me.

Excited About || A gal pal’s recommendation for Piko shirts. I’m pretty sure they’re going to change my life. I’d never heard of them until last night, when my friend Sarah was wearing one, and I knew immediately I needed to live in them for the next… rest of my life. I ordered two last night from Simply Dixie (very cute boutique, by the way!). They were reasonably priced and had tons of colors. I may be ordering… all of them.

Thankful for || A good report for my tiniest baby! A supportive, wonderful Hubby. Two (soon to be three!) healthy, adorable kids. LOTS of sweet friends and family who have loved us well, and let escape to their quiet houses to do laundry.

What are you Currently up to? Join the link up!

Things You Think About Babies Before You Have One

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The other day, I posted this article from Scary Mommy on my Facebook. It was “liked” by several parent friends, obviously because it’s snarky, hilarious, and true. I also had one not-yet-a-parent friend who commented her things she thought (was afraid?) would be true about having a baby. Here they are:

1. They will be constantly peeing.
2. They will poop all the time and smell like poop.
3. They will cry all the time, especially at night.
4. They won’t want to breastfeed OR bottlefeed, somehow.
5. They will grab my hair and pull it hard, frequently.
6. They will drool on things constantly.
7. They will cry whenever I put them down and I won’t be able to get a break from them.
8. I will feel trapped and at the mercy of a crazy baby.

Unfortunately, I had to tell her that these are all sometimes true. No, they’re not blanket statements that are true all the time. But are there times I feel like all I do is change diapers? Yes. Are there times that all I seem to hear is the sound of crying? Sometimes. Yes, babies pull hair (and clothes and earrings). Yes, they poop a lot (especially newborns) and you will smell it (especially toddlers). There are times I feel like I need a break from the little humans I created. Yes, there are times you may feel trapped in the nursery, with a baby who is endlessly crying, who doesn’t want to eat or sleep or play or be put down.

In short, yes, motherhood is hard. Raising kids is tough, no matter what age they are. (I’m told it doesn’t really get easier.) But are you immediately and totally consumed with love for this tiny, helpless, red-faced thing you’ve created? ALL OF THE YES. Do you sometimes watch them peacefully sleeping, and remember the moment you first saw them? Absolutely.

And in response to where I think people get these ideas before you have a baby/kid of your own… If you aren’t close to any kids, or friends with kids, all your experience with them is probably related to times you were at a restaurant and there was a crying baby at the neighboring table. Or the time you were at the grocery store, hearing the squalling kids from several aisles over, strapped into a racecar shopping cart full of juice boxes and goldfish crackers. But the truth is that you’ve been around babies and children way more often than that. It just didn’t occur to you, because those kids weren’t throwing tantrums or making messes. Sometimes, that happens. They behave! They eat their dinners! They draw on their menus instead of throwing the crayons to the next table! But those moments when they’re “behaving” or “acting normal” are just less memorable to you. They don’t stand out in your mind. But they happen.

So yes, having a baby is difficult and wonderful. It will rock your world in the fullest meaning of the word, in good ways and bad. Yes, you should be ready before you decide to have one. And “ready” looks different for everyone. There’s no way to fully prepare yourself for the change in your home, and the change in your heart.

6 Old-Fashioned But Classic Names For Girls

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After perusing some lists and some family trees, I’ve picked out six favorite names for girls that are old, but still beautiful. Some old names can’t seem to work on younger people, but I feel like these do.

Dorothea/Dorothy
This vintage name is due for a comeback. The meaning just makes me think that more; God’s gift is a sweet name for any girl baby, because they are all sweet gifts.

Evelyn
I think this one is a beauty. It’s long, without being too many letters or difficult to spell, and flows nicely when you speak it aloud – which you just did, as soon as I suggested it. Right?

Hazel
I’ve always loved this one. I’ve got a great-aunt (or that’s what we always said she was to me) with this name, and she’s a sweet memory to attach to it for me. I don’t think it’s too old-sounding or quirky to use now.

Vivien/Vivian
I personally like the spelling with an “e”, a la Vivien Leigh (the actress who portrayed Scarlet O’Hara) but I’ve always loved the beautiful sound of this name. I had a student by the name of Vivian, and she went by Vivi (Vih-vee, not Vee-vee). Not to mention, I like this “V” name more than I like Vera or even Veda.

Edith
Hubby’s grandmother’s first name (that she doesn’t go by) is Edith, as well as one of my mom’s friends from childhood. I’ve always had good connotations with the name, and so I love it even more, now that I’ve had the idea that it can be shortened to Edie. WIN.

Phoebe
I know, it takes a few minutes for those of us who grew up on “Friends” to get Lisa Kudrow out of our minds, but I’m digging Phoebe right now as a cute baby girl’s name. I’ve got a cousin who just named her daughter Phoebe, and already, at less than a year old, the little gal looks like a perfect Phoebe.

What vintage or “old lady” names do you wish would come back around? Do you have one yourself?

A Test of Genes and a Test of Faith

This has been hard. So effing hard. Pardon my French, but this has sucked in a major way.

Two weeks ago at my ultrasound (I briefly mentioned this here) we did the initial screening for chromosomal disorders. This first screening, for those of you that have never had it – I hadn’t with either of my first two kids – is just a little thing that the ultrasound tech looks at during your first ultrasound, around 12 weeks.  So the tech (the same one I’ve had with all my ultrasounds with my other pregnancies) found something (whatever measurement it is that they take) that indicated a “risk” of having an issue, and said that I should have the second screening, which just involved a quick blood draw that day, and I’d get results in a week or so.

That second screening came back (three days later, mid-shower, on a very busy morning, with very little time to process) with a likelihood that the baby has Trisomy 18.

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If you (like me) don’t know anything about it or have never heard of it, here’s what the Trisomy 18 foundation says:

Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition which is caused by a error in cell division, known as meiotic disjunction.  Trisomy 18 occurs in about 1 out of every 2500 pregnancies in the United States, about 1 in 6000 live births.  The numbers of total births increase significantly when stillbirths are factored in that occur in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.
Unlike Down syndrome, which also is caused by a chromosomal defect, the developmental issues caused by Trisomy 18 are associated with medical complications that are more potentially life-threatening in the early months and years of life. 50% of babies who are carried to term will be stillborn, with baby boys having higher stillbirth rate than baby girls.
Some children will be able to be discharged from the hospital with home nursing support for their families. And although less than 10 percent survive to their first birthdays, some children with Trisomy 18 can enjoy many years of life with their families, reaching milestones and being involved with their community.  A small number of adults (usually girls) with Trisomy 18 have and are living into their twenties and thirties, although with significant developmental delays that do not allow them to live independently without assisted caregiving.

Cliff’s notes: This is bad. High risk of miscarriage. High risk of still birth. High risk of infant mortality. Unlikely for my baby to reach his/her childhood years, much less reach the other side of them.

My doctor (aka my hero – read my birth stories!) encouraged me to get a (very expensive but worth it) blood test that would give us 99.9% accurate results as to whether baby has Trisomy 18. So there I was, having taken a test that will tell me for almost certain whether or not I should be worried for the next 6 months, whether or not to even get excited about decorating a nursery and buying a new outfit or two, whether or not I will have just moments with my sweet child or years. How can a woman possibly be expected to hear this news and do anything but stay in bed all day (several days!) and cry?

As you might expect, I’ve been an emotional wreck. I’ve been vacillating between crying and yelling and being silent and praying and pretending I’m fine. I’ve been on an extremely short fuse, what with being cooped up from the cold, cooped up in half our home, and bearing the unbearable weight of possible bad news.

So I’ll spare you the waiting and waiting that I’ve gone through.

My doctor called yesterday late in the afternoon, as I was lying down to nap. When I saw the caller ID, my heart stopped in my chest. I knew it was the moment of truth. My world could either continue turning, or be shattered for the foreseeable future. I’d been waiting for the call, and now I wasn’t sure if I could answer.

But I did… and he (thankfully, prayerfully and PRAISE THE LORD) told me the test came back negative for Trisomy 18 and other chromosomal disorders, and that the baby is normal. THE BABY IS NORMAL! Has anyone ever been so happy to hear about “normal”?! I don’t know. But I sure was ecstatic and overwhelmed and unable to even respond. I just sat and cried on the phone.

The waiting, my friends, is indeed the hardest part. It’s seemed like an entire lifetime I’ve waited to hear these results, barely breathing, much less going on with life, until I knew how to proceed. My thoughts were consumed, I didn’t stop for a moment to pray for anything else, and I just zombied (yeah, it’s a verb) my way through a week and a half of life, waiting to hear whether my family would drastically change in a good way or bad.

So please, rejoice with me, even though I didn’t share the extent of the situation until now. If I kept it from you, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to tell you. It’s because I didn’t know how to say it. The situation has been redeemed, as Jesus has a knack of doing. My fears and anxieties have been put to rest, and I have a peace in my heart that surpasses understanding. Jesus wins, Jesus saves, Jesus heals and Jesus answers prayers. I am so thankful that I had Jesus to turn to.

Six Names for Successful Boys

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Upon reading list after list of “strong boy names”, I noticed a trend. There were lots of names of American icons (former presidents, founding fathers, actors, inventors and heroes in general) that are considered to be names that would let the boy next door grow into a great man. Here are a few of the ones I thought stood out…

William
Yes, it’s a common name, but it’s considered a strong one, and has been held by many famous Americans, such as William Faulkner (author), William Holden (wonderful actor), William Wordsworth (poet), and including four presidents (William “Bill” Clinton, William Howard Taft, William Henry Harrison, and William McKinley).

Charles
Another common name, with a lot of history to it. Famous Americans include Charles Schulz (Peanuts!), Charles Dickens (author), Charles Lindbergh (aviator), Charles Goodyear (inventor) and Charles Houston (civil rights activist)

Benjamin
A Biblical name, but also a strong, male name. Big Bens include Benjamin Franklin (I refuse to explain him on principle), Benjamin Bratt (actor), Benjamin Harrison (president), and Benjamin Guggenheim (businessman, died on the TITANIC!)

Henry
I like this name a lot, and think it’s a classic. American Henrys: Henry Ford (obivously), Henry Winkler (the Fonz actor), Henry David Thoreau (philosopher and poet), William Henry Harrison (some of these presidents really doubled up), and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet)

Christopher
Hubby’s middle name, so it’s obviously important, but it’s also a famous one. Famous Christophers: Christopher Reeve (SUPER actor), Chris Paul (one of the only famous basketball players I would know), Christopher Ferguson (astronaut – I’m a nerd), and can we just count Christopher Columbus as an American?

Thomas
A name meaning “twin” obviously gained popularity. We can start by naming the presidents (Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Woodrow Wilson) and move on to include Thomas Edison (inventor), Tom Hanks (actor), Thomas Wolfe (writer, playwright), and Thomas Eakins (artist, sculptor).

What names would you add to the list for the boy next door/future American icon?

Teachers’ Thoughts: Popular Names of School-Aged Kids

Remember, like, a few years ago, every other boy was named Jason, and the girls were all named Brittany? -Pain, in Disney’s Hercules

I’m sure this happens in every generation, but it seemed to me that I had tons of kids at my school who all had the same names. Sometimes, that made it easier to remember their names (Oh, you’re one of the Evans!) and sometimes it seemed odd. (Wow, I didn’t realize Ezra was such a common name!)

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I got some of my teacher friends to weigh in and tell me what they felt like the most common kinds of names at their schools are right now. So here are the results!

For boys:

The suffix -den. Examples are Aiden, Hayden, Brayden, Jaden, etc.

Other names that end in -en, -on, or -in. Examples are Justin, Carson, Cameron, Grayson, Finn, Austin, Jaylen, the list goes on.

Jack/Jackson. Not necessarily a shortening of the other, but related sounds for sure. Alternate spellings like Jax and Jaxson included.

Isaiah and Elijah. Unrelated histories, same Biblical origin.

“Traditional” boys names. Including last names as first names, are still prominent, such as George, William, Christopher, Michael, James, to name a few.

For girls:

M names. Such as Makayla, Mackenzie, Madison and all of their related possibilities.

Ella and Emma. Often used as part of double names as well.

Caroline. Maybe it’s because I live in North Carolina, but I know a ton of Carolines.

Katherine and Kaitlin. And all of the spellings and shortenings that that implies: Kathryn, Caitlin, Kate, Katie, Katelyn, Catherine, etc.

Another thing my teacher friends said is happening is waves of people just making up names. Not necessarily making up words (using punctuation and silent letters – Na’Ja, D’Andre, J’Keir) but combining syllables from two names to make on name (TyShawn, Devonte, Keyshawn), and using words that haven’t often been used as names before (Wisdom, Angel, Rainbow, Happy, Neveah – Heaven spelled backwards). I guess that leaves the floor wide open for creative types!

What are some names you feel like you see used often nowadays? Do you know several little girls named Norah? How about lots of little guys named Hudson?

Your First Child… and Your Second

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People tell you things about your second child. He will go with the flow, they said. He will have to, they said. Your second is always more easy-going, right?

Wrong. In my case, dead wrong.

Our oldest child is very go-with-the-flow. She loves running errands, having play dates, and being out of the house. She loves going out to dinner, meeting new people, taking a nap whenever, staying up late, and generally having a full schedule. I mean, she does really well entertaining herself at home, but she’s also great at all-around keeping herself occupied wherever we are.

Our second child is the opposite. He’s a homebody. He likes nothing better than to be at home, with his toys, nap on his own (different-every-day) schedule, eat at our own dining room table, and go to bed over an hour earlier than EK. This, as you might imagine, can cramp our style. Specifically, it cramps my playdates-and-meals-at-restaurants style. He often naps through the lunch hour. My lunch dates will have to wait. Playing in the playplace at Chick-Fil-A? No way. Morning playdates while EK is in preschool? You must be joking. And put him in the nursery at church with babies he knows and parent volunteers he knows? ALL BETS ARE OFF.

But which kid is right? Which one has the “better” idea of what’s going on? Neither. They’re both great. I love taking EK with me when I go to Target and Costco and the grocery store, because she loves being out and about. Talk about a girl making my busybody, stir-crazy-at-home-all-day heart happy! Equally, I love my at-home cuddles with J, watching a movie or snacking on fruit at the kitchen table, instead of going out to lunch with friends. I even (usually, anyway) think it’s amusing to go behind him and right all the upturned objects he’s hit with the Swiffer he nabbed, and pick up the food crumbs he’s dropped off his pants as he walked away from the table.

Both my kids are awesome. God has given them totally different personalities, and it’s my joy (and yes, occasional frustration) as their mom to get to know them, even as they change every single day. I can already enjoy special moments with each of them separately, doing things that they enjoy. I love knowing them, and knowing that they’re different.