It's a strange feeling to end a year in a different location and situation than you expected to be in. Not that any year is predictable, but at the beginning of 2017 I didn't really see our lives changing a ton. I sort of figured we'd get pregnant sometime this year, but I didn't really think we would move back to Fort Wayne (yet) and definitely wouldn't have predicted the road that got us here. Thankfully it's ending well, in a happy spot, but the middle portion of this year was fairly stressful and not one I would enjoy repeating.

Some highlights...

As with most years, our favorite weeks were spent in Florida and Michigan. The boys were great ages to travel and hang out at the lake/beach and we loved every minute of it.

Saying goodbye to our Fishers home at the beginning of June...

This house/neighborhood ended up being a huge gift. Safety and security that I needed a lot during that season. Great neighbors and new friends. So thankful. I know we're where we should be long term, but I look back so fondly at our time in this home and know there will be some element of missing our life there.

Getting pregnant with baby boy #3...

Henrik starts school at Blackhawk Christian...

In short, he loves it and is doing really well in the school environment. So thankful and trying to wrap my brain around sending him for full days this next year.

We moved into our very quaint home in the '05...

Henrik's performance of Caesar in his school Christmas play was not a true highlight, but I love this picture and how it represents the boy's brother relationship. Not for one second did Ira consider letting us get a picture of just Henrik. I think he sees himself as an extension of his older brother. And Henrik doesn't consider taking a picture with Ira without putting his arm around his little bro. There's lots of arguing as things with siblings go, and often they do their own thing, but overall their relationship makes me happy and hopeful for the future.

And seriously, they are so handsome. I'm their mom, but still, good looking boys for sure.

We had such a nice Christmas together. Henrik was very happy to receive the drone he had been asking for for months. Ira was most thrilled with a new stuffed dog, who he named Homer.

At Christmas we also gave the boys confetti poppers to find out the gender of their new sibling. Henrik had been hoping for a girl but quickly adjusted to the idea of "more boys?!" as he exclaimed upon seeing blue confetti. I'm pretty sure "more boys?!" encapsulates all of our reactions. :)

I would say I did fair with my overall goals for 2017. As usual, I didn't read as much as I meant to. We meant to establish regular one-on-one dates with the boys which also didn't happen. Despite that, lots of good happened this year. Lots of growth. Devin and I got to experience some challenging decision-making which we didn't do all that well but it taught us a lot about ourselves. Marriage-wise it was a pretty solid year with more ups and consistency than previous years. 

It was an eye-opening year for parenting. I realized just how much intentionality and energy it's going to take to do this thing well. And I'm starting to see some of the challenges we're going to have. I knew it was never going to be easy, but I think for awhile I focused (rightly so) on just getting kids to sleep, eat, and use the toilet that I forgot there would be a whole new stage after the toddler one. I also can see that it has the potential to keep getting so much more fun. Babies are sweet for sure, but getting glimpses of fun events and conversations with our kids makes me excited for the future. 

Goals for 2018...

Finish growing a human, give birth to that human, and feed that tiny human from my body multiple times a day for the rest of the year, while also caring for that tiny human's two older brothers and maintaining some sort of sanity in our home. Yep, that's about it.

One other goal I have pre-baby is to cook really well and often. After the baby there will be lots of reason for takeout and quick meals and easy but not quite as healthy food. Until then, I'd love to really feed my family well with lots of fresh, whole foods so I can feel good about where we are nutrition-wise when the baby comes.

I think that wraps up my thoughts year-end! Cheers to a new year!

Over halfway with Baby S

Thankful for a good report on the anatomy scan for Baby S. We're calling he/she "Baby S" because both our girl and boy names start with S...isn't that convenient? Baby is growing well, and actually a little ahead of schedule. The ultrasound was done at 20 weeks and 4 days, but baby was measuring at 21 weeks and 4 days. I'm trying not to assume that baby will come early...but it at least makes me think I probably won't go late?

Definitely still in the sweet spot of pregnancy. My blood pressure is super good and I didn't even gain any weight this past month, so the midwife was really pleased with all reports. My one area I'm slacking in is exercise. I've got to start with pilates and strengthening a few times a week, or I'll regret it when I get bigger! 

A 20 week picture with all 3 of my kids. :) 

Life in the Fall [2017]

Already the first of December! We have our tree up and some other Christmas decor. Starting to order some presents and think about making some Christmas cookies. A fun time of year for sure, though, I have to be careful not to romanticize it or I'll inevitably be disappointed. 

First: baby update...
I'm about 19 weeks right now, this picture was from somewhere in week 17. I've felt so great (other than a quick stomach bug I got that didn't have anything to do with the pregnancy). If I do too much a few days in a row I'll be due for a couple nights of a 9PM bedtime, but otherwise life as usual in the wonderful second trimester! With the last two babies, the second trimester has included some horrible, frequent migraines which I blame on hormones, and I have't really had them this time around! I'm leery of speaking too soon but it's been really nice! In some ways I feel like I've been pregnant for so long and then when I think I could be past halfway if baby comes early it starts to feel like it's moving quickly.

I just re-read some of my pregnancy posts with the boys. I happened to do a 19 week post with Ira and mentioned the red spots all reappearing all over my face and other areas. Which is funny because in the last couple weeks they've once again resurfaced. From what I can tell from the posts...this pregnancy was much worse in first trimester, but maybe better second trimester so far?

The debate is still out on whether or not we'll find out the gender next week. Right now the most likely scenario is that Devin and I will find out but keep the news to ourselves. I'm trying to decide if I can just lie to people and tell them we don't know, because saying "we know but we're not telling" to the tons of people who ask will get soooo old.

The boys: whew. They're so fun and so frustrating all in the matter of a few minutes it seems. I definitely don't want Henrik to have any sort of complex, so I'm careful how much I say, but Ira continues to be the easy peasy child. Like, we are kind of in awe of how pleasant he is and (so far) easy to raise. He plays well alone or with others. And is just generally fun to be around. Henrik can be so fun and witty and interesting...but if the mood is wrong, or he's struggling, the struggle is REAL. I'm constantly trying to figure out what this kid needs, what turns him sour, and how to connect with him in a way that resonates with his brain. When Henrik wants to be a great brother, the boys have so much fun together and often are great friends. 

Part of the nightly routine lately, Bible stories in the top bunk. To say these boys adore their dad is an understatement.

Family pic from an extended family gathering. Starting to wonder what that third one is going to look like!

I failed at picture-taking, but we had a really fun time at my parents for a couple days over Thanksgiving. We've been home a lot, enjoying our new space and working on things...leaves, still unpacking boxes, rearranging furniture, etc. The last couple weeks my house progress came to a screeching halt, so I've been trying to make a plan for how I can get those last couple rooms painted, and start the process of looking for a dining room table and a few rugs. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to shop, even if it is online!

More and more as my kids grow up I have the feeling that my life isn't my own. Not really in a spiritual sense (though that is true) but more in a practical sense that my days are filled with a lot of mundane tasks and obligations that leave little time or energy for other things. And of course so many of the things I'd want to do don't include my kids, but since we don't have a full-time nanny, there's only so much of that you can do. All of a sudden I see my weeks fill up with random things that sometimes I would just rather not do. I'm trying to figure out how to reconcile that...wanting to serve and be faithful in the small things, but also want to find ways not to lose myself and keep life fresh and exciting. Any ideas are welcome. :)

Old / New Home

We're finally in our new house...which is actually a very old house. I wouldn't say we're completely settled as in all boxes unpacked and rooms put together, but we made a ton of progress in week one and things are coming together faster than I anticipated - mostly due to all the amazing help we had. 

Devin and I both agree this house felt like home from the second we walked in. It has it's quirks for sure as many old houses do and we'd love if the bathrooms were larger, but otherwise we think it's perfect for our family. The upstairs still has a couple rooms waiting to be painted or organized, but mostly the main floor is finished...

My mom and I painted the entire main floor "Bistro White" with the exception of one small alcove that is very dark navy. Someday we'll fill the space under the chandelier with a large dining table but not sure what I want yet so waiting to figure out the right thing.

The boys are so happy to have a bathtub again after only having a shower for five months! They've been enjoying many long, bubbly baths together. They also got bunk beds that they're really thrilled about. After several months of rerouting and searching for the perfect place, we feel really amazed that it all came together better than we could have pictured it!

Week 13 Update and FAQ

Heartbeat and ultrasound taken at 8 weeks, 2 days
At my 12 week appointment the heartbeat was around 175.

Just about finished up with the first trimester!
I felt the baby move already! Right around week 12, which I know is really early, but it was the undeniable "fish-like" swish that I'm familiar with and it was so fun to think of who this sweet kid is developing into. I'm excited for feeling frequent movement in the coming weeks.

The questions I'm asked the most lately...

How are you feeling?
The last two to three weeks I've been feeling great. My nausea went away completely at week 11 so life has felt so much more manageable. It's amazing the dark cloud that lifts when I start to feel normal again. I'm still pregnant though, so I tire easier than usual, my feet and lower back hurt by the end of the day (thanks to my pregnancy-induced plantar fasciitis), and just generally don't feel like myself. I'm not complaining. I'm so thankful to have this life growing inside of me and have felt so excited about this baby...the most excited I've been so far with my pregnancies actually. But, there's still the reality that it's 9 months of not feeling or looking like myself and that can be hard for me.

Will you find out what you're having?
So far our plan is not to find out the gender. We didn't with Henrik and then did with Ira and we thought waiting for the birth was much more fun. However, I've started to question this decision. If we were to have a girl I think I would have fun getting some girl stuff ready beforehand. But I also know it would be easy to just have a few girl and few boy newborn things ready. I don't do a ton of nursery prep or anything since they baby will just sleep with us the first few months anyway.

Are you hoping for a girl?
Actually this one gets more phrased like a statement such as "oh maybe you'll get your girl!". Which I totally understand most women hope to have a daughter. But it annoys me a little too, as a mom who really thinks her boys are awesome. I'm definitely not waiting around for a girl to complete our family. My standard answer has been this: while having the experience of a daughter would be great, I also think the world needs more boys that are raised in good families with awesome dads. So if we add to that number of boys, I'm very happy with that. Sometimes having a girl freaks me out and I find myself hoping for a boy and other times I do find myself thinking how fun it would be to have the surprise of a girl. Either way, we really will be thrilled.

The second picture is 13 weeks, but probably makes me look bigger than I am because of the angle and it was taken at the end of the day, when I'm definitely a lot bigger than how I start the day.

Hoping to have a good and uneventful second trimester!