Pregnancy: The Struggle Is Real

This post appeared on MyBigJesus.com

Pregnancy agrees with me.

Hey! Stop throwing those tomatoes! I’m not trying to say that every single thing about pregnancy was a piece of cake. For instance, when I was pregnant with EK, I was exhausted dead tired for the whole 10 (yes, 10) months. I don’t mean kinda tired. I mean, I came home from work every day at 3:00pm, collapsed in the bed, woke up to a plate of food from a concerned Hubby around 6 or 7, and passed out again until the next morning. We jokingly tell people I disappeared for the whole first trimester. The good part about that? I was only sick once, because I was asleep most of the time.  I attribute the non-sickness to learning very early that hungry=sick for my body, so as soon as I was the tiniest bit hungry, I started eating. I curbed the nausea with food.

But yes, on the whole, pregnancy has agreed with me. I had the glow. I gained weight only in my belly. I felt great (read: wasn’t sick) and had great deliveries. And (gasp!) I lost all my weight pretty quickly. I’ve told all my friends who haven’t had kids yet that I’ll do it for them… I love being  pregnant that much. The miracle of life inside me was enough to overshadow any feelings that were less than positive.

I do, however, feel like I controlled part of my experience. I ate extremely healthily during my pregnancies. I busted my butt as soon as I could to lose the rest of that weight and get into my jeans and dresses. My babies both got huge quickly, so I didn’t have a tiny little thing I held with one arm… I had huge squirmy tanks that took both arms, good core strength, and a wide stance to wrangle. I’m too busy and active and crazy to sit around, eat a dozen donuts, and watch a fourth chick flick. I’m just not that kind of gal. Yes, I’m blessed with good genes, and that has a lot to do with it. But none of these things should give you license to dislike me or make comments about how easy it was for me and how hard it was for you.

Pregnancy ain’t no joke – for anyone. You’re growing a life in that womb of yours! But for Heaven’s sake, try to be happy for yourself, and for other gals who are pregnant. It helps to change your thoughts to positive ones, and try to focus on the good stuff. I know that’s easier said than done if you’re hanging over a toilet or glowing green instead of “adorable”. Moping about how awful you feel doesn’t help. Moping after your baby is born that your friend is faring better than you were won’t change anything, either. Be happy for a girl, can ya? You’re going to have the sweetest little light you ever laid eyes on at the end of this tunnel. Do the stretchmarks. Milk those maternity clothes for as long as you can. Love the dirty hair and hairy legs you’ll have for longer than you’ll want to admit. You worked for it! But don’t grumble about the women you know who didn’t get the stretchmarks, wear their pre-pregnancy jeans, shave their legs and wash their hair. To each her own! The struggle is real for everyone, even if it doesn’t look the same as yours.

38 weeks with J
38 weeks with J

Birthday Macarons!

For my bestie’s birthday, we have several things going on. Yesterday was her actual birthday, but we started celebrating on Sunday. She had been wanting to try making macarons (an extremely temperamental item to bake) so she found a few recipes and we gave it a shot! (The one we drew from the most was from here.)

First thing on the recipe: Occupy the little man so we can get as much done as possible.
First thing on the recipe: Occupy the little man so we can get as much done as possible.
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Almond flour and sugar. Already a yum.
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Macarons are basically meringue cookies, so you start with meringue!

 

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Combine it, and color it if you want…
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Try out your first Jamberry manicure while they bake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Add some icing (or lemon curd, if you’re Lala and me) and make it a sandwich!
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Viola! Cute and delicious. A little underdone (we didn’t double the baking sheets. Oops.) but totally yummy!

Stay tuned to hear about our upcoming BEACH TRIP this weekend! First time I’m leaving the kiddos with Hubby, and I’m pumped!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LAUREN!

A Helpless Letter to My Sick Kids

Kids,

As your mama, I’ve been extremely lucky that you’re almost unfailingly healthy. In every manner of the word, you kids have been healthy, never catching colds or stomach bugs, and tirelessly playing and eating like horses. But all at once, I was faced with a situation I hadn’t encountered: not one, but both of you sick at the same time.

At the point when I realized one of you had a cold and the other had a cold plus an upset stomach, I was stumped. I mean, yes, I was concerned with your symptoms and how to treat them and what might be causing them. I was concerned with calling the doctor’s office and whether we had enough children’s Tylenol. I was concerned with the fact that Hubby had to leave to go to work and I was on my own to take care of you.

But more than anything else, I was acutely aware that I, your problem solver, day-saver, and magically-make-it-better hero couldn’t snap my fingers and fix your problem. I’m so accustomed to providing for your needs easily and quickly. Have a wet diaper? Boom! Here’s a fresh one! Hungry? Boom! Here’s a healthy snack! Fall and bump your elbow? Boom! Here’s a kiss, a snuggle and an ice pack! But this time- runny noses, coughs, fevers, one upset tummy, and what can I do? Make a phone call, administer Tylenol, and put a movie on. Oh, you aren’t feeling better yet? Well crap. What do I do now?!

There were copious amounts of snuggles, special allowances (ie: snoozing on the couch an hour before bedtime), stuffed animals and favorite blankets. Noses were wiped (and suctioned, poor little J), tears dried, temperatures taken one more time, and prayers said. I know it has to be hard when your vocabulary doesn’t allow for an explanation of how you feel or what you want/need. You’re inexplicably feeling yucky and Mama, who has always helped you out, hasn’t made you feel any better.

Well, Mama feels just as bad about that as you do, kids. Every tiny cough that didn’t wake you up woke me. Your sniffles kept me awake half the night with concern. Prayers for your fevers were said as I tossed and turned. When you guys woke up, groggy but smiling, at 6:30, I was tired but happy to see smiles under the snotty noses. Because truthfully, I love you. I’m always doing my best to make sure you feel your best and more comfortable. You’re mine and I’m yours, sick and sad or healthy and happy.

Currently

I’m an avid reader of Kristen’s, over at When At Home. This week, she co-hosted a link party, and we are all sharing what is going on with us currently. I am currently:

thinking about my new role as stay at home mom. I’ve always been the one who worked all day (teaching) and now I’m all of a sudden not the money maker, the worker, or the go-outside-the-house-and-do-things-er. I am reinventing my schedule, my perspective, my identity aside from a job.

listening to a lot of Jesus Culture and Bethel, trying to add some new songs to my worship set lists. I love their hearts, their leading ladies and the versatility of their songs. Mmmm, so good.

reading the Outlander series – specifically, I’m still in the first book. I had friends and family members who had read them ages ago, and have raved about them for years. Now that the tv series is coming out, I figured it was time.

thankful for the stages of life that my kids are in. EK is becoming more and more independent (and curious and brave and insolent, haha) every day. J is really mommyfied (I think my mom coined this term, for me at least) but it’s actually sweet most of the time.

photographing my kids, all day every day. Well, not that much. But they are easily the cutest thing I see all day, and they change so quickly, and do new cool things so often that I feel like I need to document it!

There ya have it! Check out When At Home because I love it and you will, too. And while you’re here, tell me what you’re up to lately!

It just takes one. And sometimes, that one is you.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been writing for My Big Jesus once a week or so. You also know that I love Jesus. You ALSO know a lot about me. So, you won’t be that surprised when I tell you that I had a total Jesus moment today.

I was at church for a worship team meeting, and was stopped on my way out by one of the sweetest ladies ever. She’s a long-time buddy of my mother-in-law, watched Hubby grow up, and is a fixture of wonderful ministry at our church. She had a really cool story to tell me.

She had seen my post Like a Litter of Puppies on My Big Jesus, loved it, and shared it with her kids (who are a little older than me). Her daughter, who had read it, got a call from a friend who was in shock at finding out she was (unexpectedly!) pregnant with her fourth child. Can you imagine?! You have three kids. You think you’re all set., then BOOM. One more is coming! She obviously is going to love that fourth child, but you can see why it’s a shock, right? So anyway, the daughter sends my post about Hubby and his brothers being like puppies, and big families and close siblings, and she is totally encouraged! She was blessed by the words that The Lord had put on my heart. That blows my mind.

This story is an inspiration to those of us who desire to bring people closer to God. Whenever I write a post like that, for My Big Jesus or just for my own blog on a whim, I hope it touches one life. If my words reach one life, encourage one soul, spark one mind, or help heal one heart, I am satisfied. Sometimes when I write, that one person touched is, in fact, me. Other times, it’s a friend who saw me link it on Facebook. Or even still, a total stranger, like the story today. It was a very “six-degrees-of-separation” feeling to know that a friend of a friend of a friend read it and was touched. But that’s why I’m doing this! I wrote that post just for her, in that moment of her life, when she needed to hear a little encouragement in a situation in the midst of which she was surprised to find herself. I never know who you are that needs to hear this, but hey – this one’s for you.

A Toddler’s Wonderland

Recently we’ve been visiting the playground at EK’s preschool she’ll be attending in a couple of weeks. I can’t believe we’re already to the preschool stage, even if it is just two mornings a week.

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Almost everything on the playground is toddler-sized. If she fell off something, she’d be fine. The swings have little belts, and the slides aren’t too tall.

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Don’t worry – I know that swing wouldn’t really hold him in, but I was standing right there.
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First time trying monkey bars! She only swung on this one bar, but she did it repeatedly!

IMG_7254.JPGThat’s an accomplished face on a big girl. Cue the tears from the mama.

 

Is there a neat playground for smaller kids where you are?

Like a Litter of Puppies

This post was featured on MyBigJesus.com

Hubby and I have said, ever since we started talking about kids, that we’d like to have them close together. There are two reasons. First of all, my brother and I are almost seven years apart, and we were never very close… at least not until we were both adults. We get along great now, but we were never in the same stage of life till we “grew up”. Secondly, Hubby grew up with two brothers, just a little over 3 years between the oldest and the youngest. They’ve always been best friends – shared everything, fought over everything, loved the same things, and disliked the same things. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses, successes and faults. Yet they had a strong bond. They still have do, and that bond has carried over into their wives and children as well (you know, once the kids have personalities and do their own things).

Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.
Hubby (far right) and his brothers, circa 1988-ish.

I just spent an evening recently, celebrating one of my sisters-in-law’s birthday, with the whole family (Hubby’s parents, his brothers, their wives and the offspring). The love that every person in the house had for every other person was amazing. We know each other well, know our nieces and nephews well, and we love each other well, too. But the most hilarious thing is to see the brothers interact. When they’re all together, they have a hilarious tendency to revert back into their eight, nine, and ten-year-old selves. They immediately start bragging about their Nintendo skills, talk about how they used to wrestle each other in the basement (roundhouse kick to the FACE!), and possibly give a quick reenactment of one of their fights. Or, they lie on the floor, cuddling, like a bunch of puppies, maybe even with their kids.

Sometimes I sit and think about how much love is in that pile of faces and limbs and laughs. Grown men or babies, love and a sense of belonging abounds. What a great image of the love of a Father, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who knows our thoughts before we think them, and loves us abundantly anyway. To be loved is important; to love others unconditionally is of even greater significance.

So when I think about my children, I want to pile them up like puppies. I want to them to have that sibling love inherently, to not really know life without their best friends. I want them to experience that love early, and first hand. Their siblings and cousins, because of their closeness, will know each other inside and out, and will know how to love through differences or difficulties. What better way to love and be loved?

The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.
The four babies of the three aforementioned boys, less than one month in each picture.
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