Not In Control

Dear Diary,

Well, sometimes the best laid plans… *sigh

So I have anemia. All the time. Don’t know how long I’ve had it, probably most of my life, but it gets a lot worse when I’m pregnant. In the past, I’ve been able to keep my levels up just enough with Iron Supplements. I’ve also delivered every baby in the hospital, which has different requirements for iron levels at time of delivery. I worked hard to get my iron levels up and at the check a couple weeks ago, I was doing pretty good at a 10.6. The legal minimum requirements for iron levels is 10.1 or higher, so I was fine. Then at last weekend’s appointment, we took blood for a check again and my levels had dropped nearly a whole point. Down to below the legal requirement for home birth. My midwife called me on Monday and delivered the bad news. I had “risked out” of having a home birth. I was devastated. I got a recommendation from my midwife for an awesome nurse-midwife who could take me on and deliver me at the hospital. I went over to her office that afternoon and met with her. They want to induce me on Monday. That word freaked me out. I’m not sure my body could handle more pitocin than what I’ve already had in the past. My uterus could rupture, and seeing as how I’m anemic, my chances of bleeding out are pretty high in a scenario like that. That was part of the reason I had wanted to go the natural route in the first place. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to hear that the nurse-midwife Tiffany was very pro-natural birth and she sat and thing she said was, “What do YOU want from this birth? How do YOU want this to go?”  I told her what I wanted. I expressed how torn I was about having an induction. On one hand, if my iron levels are dropping despite my best efforts, I wanted to give birth ASAP. On the other hand…I wanted to birth my way on my time and terms. We came up with a birth plan that I was comfortable with.

Here it is:

If I go into labor on my own before Saturday, I will deliver under the care of a nurse-midwife at Mercy Gilbert. I will get to walk around and not be confined to bed, hooked to monitors. They will do intermittent monitoring and I can labor in the tub. (YAY!) They will let me do skin-to-skin as long as I want after she is born and will delay cord clamping. They will ask before administering any tests or medications to either baby or myself. My midwives who have been on this journey with me the whole way, will be there acting as doulas, guiding and encouraging me the whole way.

If I get to Saturday, my midwife Jude will retest my iron levels that morning and run the lab stat so that I will get the results that evening. If I’m back up to over the minimum requirements, I can transfer care back to her and birth at home as originally planned. The chances of me getting my iron levels up that quickly isn’t great, but it is sure worth a try.

If I get to Saturday and my iron levels have not come up to where they need to be, I will be induced on Monday. Here’s the plan for that…

Monday morning, I’ll report to the hospital and start an “outpatient induction”. This means that I will be getting prostaglandin gel (up to three treatments) to try to kickstart my labor. This is the least invasive method of induction and I’m very comfortable with it. I’ll be laying down the first hour after the first treatment to give it a chance to work and then I get up and walk for an hour. I can do this up to three times that day. If it doesn’t work, they will send me home and I can try again in a few more days. Hence the “outpatient procedure” status. If it does put me into labor, then they will admit me and I’ll do a natural hospital birth like I described above.

 

This is not the original plan, but things happen and I am feeling very comfortable about it. Of course, I’m still hoping to have a home birth, but if that doesn’t happen,… it’s going to be okay. For the safety of myself and Miss E, this is what I feel is the best and safest course of action.

So prayers, positive thoughts and encouragement are all welcome as I finish out this pregnancy.

 

Till Next Time,

Ash

 

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Miss Elizabeth’s Star Wars Nursery REVEAL!

Many many many of you have been so excited (as have I!) to see how Miss E’s nursery was going to turn out. We had decided pretty much from the get-go that regardless of gender, we were going to have a Star Wars themed nursery. Of course, that would have been way easier if we had been having a boy! But alas, at our gender reveal party (that was on May the 4th, ironically) we found pink in our cake! So I set out to find Star Wars themed stuff…for a girl…which proved pretty darn near impossible. But after months and months of preparation, we are ready to reveal her room.

I knew I wanted Star Wars, but I also wanted it to be very feminine. I described it to people as “Pride & Prejudice & Star Wars.” I got a LOT of strange looks, but I’ll let you be the judge as to how well I pulled it off… so without further ado…welcome to our nursery…

 

Come on in! (view from the doorway)

Come on in! (view from the doorway)

 

View of the dresser and closet and changing table from the doorway

View of the dresser and closet and changing table from the doorway

 

 

THE CRIB! AHH!!! I love this crib so much. And the crib bedding turned out incredible!

THE CRIB! AHH!!! I love this crib so much. And the crib bedding turned out incredible!

 

 

Close up of the crib bedding courtesy of "KL Baby" http://www.klbabybedding.com/

Close up of the crib bedding courtesy of “KL Baby” http://www.klbabybedding.com/

 

 

Display over the bed. The woman in the photo on the right is my great grandmother, "Elizabeth Joy". The butterfly picture and the two smaller pictures are from her and my great-granddad's house. The middle picture of Baby  Chewy and R2D2 is artwork by me :)

Display over the bed. The woman in the photo on the right is my great grandmother, “Elizabeth Joy”. The butterfly picture and the two smaller pictures are from her and my great-granddad’s house. The middle picture of Baby Chewy and R2D2 is artwork by me 🙂

 

 

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I got this "dress in a frame" idea on Pinterest and the dress happens to be my grandma's. The hanger may be a bit tacky, but it was made especially for me when I was little, so there's some sentiment there too :)

I got this “dress in a frame” idea on Pinterest and the dress happens to be my grandma’s. The hanger may be a bit tacky, but it was made especially for me when I was little, so there’s some sentiment there too 🙂

 

 

Close-up of the dress-in-a-frame.

Close-up of the dress-in-a-frame.

 

Tim's favorite Star Wars quote handwritten by me on fabric in a frame. Couldn't find a fabric I liked, so...I made one I did like :)

Tim’s favorite Star Wars quote handwritten by me on fabric in a frame. Couldn’t find a fabric I liked, so…I made one I did like 🙂

 

 

Okay, this dresser was also something from my great-grandparent's home. I've always loved the dresser and was so excited that it got passed to me. The Roses in this vase are from when Tim asked me to prom senior year. The Rose painting was done by my great uncle.

Okay, this dresser was also something from my great-grandparent’s home. I’ve always loved the dresser and was so excited that it got passed to me. The Roses in this vase are from when Tim asked me to prom senior year. The Rose painting was done by my great uncle.

 

 

Pink carnations were my great grandmother's favorite flower and they are mine as well. This particular carnation was from my great grandparents home. (It's obviously a silk flower haha)

Pink carnations were my great grandmother’s favorite flower and they are mine as well. This particular carnation was from my great grandparents home. (It’s obviously a silk flower haha)

 

 

I loved this idea the minute I saw it, so I made my own :)

I loved this idea the minute I saw it, so I made my own 🙂

 

 

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The view from the chair under the window.

The view from the chair under the window.

 

 

The mirror and the little plates were another contribution from the things I inherited from my great grandparents. I added the gold vinyl (another KL Baby creation) and made it my own :)

The mirror and the little plates were another contribution from the things I inherited from my great grandparents. I added the gold vinyl (another KL Baby creation) and made it my own 🙂

 

 

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Well folks, that's all!

Well folks, that’s all!

 

 

Okay guys, that’s all for now! The nursery is DONE! Of course, if I’m sure I’ll have more ideas to add to the room, but I can now breathe a sigh of relief and sit in my nursery and think, “We’re READY!” Yay!

 

Love the bedding? So do I!! Check out http://www.klbabybedding.com/ Krystal did an amazing job putting together our custom set and it turned out amazing.

 

 

Till Next Time,

Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falling and Nesting

Dear Diary,

Oh my goodness! I’ve been so very busy “baby dreaming” that I completely forgot that it’s almost time for me to decorate my home for Falll! Ack! Every September, I lug out my “fall decor” boxes and hope to give Mother Nature a hint about the weather by coating my home in autumn. I just love it. It’s fabulous. So despite what the thermometer outside tells me, I’m going to brew myself a hot mug of cider and decorate! Woo hoo!

 

I’ve been getting a lot of folks asking “When do we get to see pictures of the nursery???” I’ve posted a couple “sneak peeks” here and there and I promise you, I’m almost done with it! Hopefully this week I will be able to put the finishing touches on her little room and then take some photos and show them off. You’re going to love it!!

 

My nesting is getting out of control, people. Like seriously. I’ve re-done or AM re-doing nearly every room in the house! My magical painting fairy has been over here 3 times to paint the family room, kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and Miss E’s room. And now I’m looking at paint colors for our Master Bedroom. I’ve been getting new furniture and re-designing my spaces. I’m in LOVE with how it’s all turning out! Maybe once I’m “done” (is anyone ever really “done” decorating their house tho?), I’ll have to post photos.

 

Well, this blog is going to be short and sweet, I’ve got some things to finish up before the end of the weekend and I’d like to spend some time with my amazing Husband. Love you, TJ.

 

Till Next Time,

Ashley

Hormotional

Dear Diary,

Hormotional: the extremely emotional result of an overwhelming amount of hormones. Pregnant ladies are especially susceptible.

 

Hormotional. That’s a great word to describe me lately. If you read my last blog, you know how “hormotional” I got the night after the kids’ first day of school. There have been many times in my pregnancies when my hormones have gotten the best of me, over seemingly silly things. When I was pregnant with Jadon, I decided to watch Titanic and The Notebook for the first time. Bad, bad, bad idea. I sobbed, literally sobbed, for hours. It was pitiful. Then I burned the cheese on top of a pasta bake one time and I cried. A lot. Poor Tim was not sure what to do with me. I’ve cried over commercials, songs, tv shows…you name it. The other night, we were in the car driving home from something and there was one of those tiny little moths flying around in the car. I waved it away and Tim snorted like it went up his nose. I looked at him just in time to see him inhale through his nose and swallow. I thought he’d swallowed the moth. I almost cried. Then he told me he was kidding and I laughed so hard, I almost cried again. Then yesterday… yesterday takes the cake for “hormotional” moments… Read on, and really, it’s okay if you laugh.

I feel like I’m at the Disney Store a LOT. Most of the employees recognize the kids and I, we know every section and all the tricks and fun things about the store…. or so I thought. Evidently there’s a time in the store when the lights go out and all the employees run around in “fake panic” mode saying that Tinkerbell has become lost and the kids have to rub their hands together to create enough pixie dust to bring her back. I’ve never been around for this before so it was new to me. So I’m standing next to the cash register watching Matthew amuse himself with a light-up toy when the lights go out. I look around and see the employees scurrying around in their “faux-distress” and I start crying because I have no idea what was going on. I bit my lip hard to try to stop the tears as I try to hear what the employees are telling everyone. “Tinkerbell is lost guys, oh no! What are we gonna do? She’s lost!” That did it. The tear-damn broke and there I was, pregnant and bawling in the Disney store over that lost little Pixie. I just kept thinking, “How SAD?! She’s lost! So sad.” It was pathetic. Thankfully the kids in the store and the employees were able to conjure up enough Pixie dust to bring her back and just as I had stopped crying, the lights went back on and cheers resounded all over the store. Mostly from employees and sound recordings. the kids seemed more confused than anything else. Cue one final flood of tears, this time out of joy for the recovered Pixie. I quickly wiped my eyes and hoped to high heaven that no one had seen that. I grabbed Matthew and off we went before any more Disney characters wandered off and caused store-wide panic. Sheesh.

Well, I’ve made it to 33 weeks! And Tim’s side of the closet is looking better and better. I love having an excuse to wear his clothes. They smell so good 🙂

 

Till Next Time, (if the hormones haven’t killed me!)

Ashley

Endings and Beginnings

Dear Diary,

This all began on Tuesday night. We were driving home from “Meet the Teacher” and there was a beautiful sunset happening. I’m not one to waste a good sunset, so I told the kids that when we got home, I wanted to take some photos. There was the customary sighs of “photographer’s kids” and I just let it slide. I began feeling a bit emotional as we pulled into our neighborhood. This was the last sunset of summer. As I wrangled my little ducks all into a row, I began to feel sad that Matthew would no longer be able to play with his brother and sister whenever he wanted. I was not looking forward to having to console him over that loss. I thought about how much Jadon and Lilly have grown. And I thought, these siblings love each other SO much, can they love the new Baby as much? Will she be welcome into their little circle? I blinked back tears so I could see what I was shooting, and captured this…

The Last Sunset of Summer

The Last Sunset of Summer

I may make this type of shot a tradition, I love it so much. We had my parents over for some “End of Summer Sundaes” and then Jadon started acting out and bursting into tears over little things. I pulled him aside suspecting he was nervous about school…and I was right. I sat with him on the red couch I’ve been sitting on with him since he was born and we talked about it. I got little teary as he confided that he was nervous that he wouldn’t know what to do, that people would be mean, etc. Poor guy. I did my best to ease his fears and hoped that the next morning would be tear-free.

The next morning came early for Jadon, Tim & I. Jadon was up and dressed at 5am. Tim told him to try to go back to bed, which he did…for 30 minutes. Finally we were all up, having breakfast and getting ready.

Doing her hair!

Doing her hair!

Packing lunches

Packing lunches

Gotta make it all fit just right.

Gotta make it all fit just right.

Matthew was feeling left out :(

Matthew was feeling left out 😦

All done!

All done!

Lunch = Packed.

Lunch = Packed.

All ready for 1st grade.

All ready for 1st grade.

He is SO handsome:)

He is SO handsome:)

Excited!

Excited!

Beautiful kindergartner!

Beautiful kindergartner!

he managed half a smile

he managed half a smile

These two <3

These two ❤

Silly kids

Silly kids

Poor matthew

Poor matthew

so excited!

so excited!

shenanigans before school

shenanigans before school

walking to school

walking to school

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There's a smile :)

There’s a smile 🙂

daddy and the kids

daddy and the kids

Thumbs up!

Thumbs up!

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Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

"Bye sissy"

“Bye sissy”

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And well, that’s how drop-off went! No tears, no sadness, just excitement.

So off Tim, Matthew and I went to have a day out together. We had so much fun! Then it was time to pick up the kids from school, so off we went. I hopped out to open the doors for them and asked them how their day had gone, a bit nervous of what the answer would be. They both simultaneously shouted, “It was…AWESOME!” Fears relieved. I still had not had any sort of teary emotional break-down over this whole thing and was pleasantly surprised. After all, it’s only school…no big deal…right? HA! I was about to be proven wrong. I noticed as we were out shopping that evening that my anxiety levels were going up and up. I was tired and not feeling that great so I attributed it to that. We got home and Tim set about putting the kids to bed while I cleaned….and cleaned…and cleaned. *Hint: When I get very very anxious, I compulsively clean and purge…a LOT. *

So Tim is noticing that I’m having issues, I am pushing myself too hard, getting too hot and refusing to take a break or let him do it for me. But on I go, cleaning and cleaning. Finally, I broke. I was carrying the mop to the kids’ bathroom when it hit me… it was just a mental image. A snapshot, if you will. But it broke my heart. It was a mental image of Jadon when he was about a month old, sleeping peacefully in my arms. I dared not look down the hall at his room through the tears welling up in my eyes. Elizabeth was kicking away hard as can be, making me double over in pain every so often. My hips hurt and suddenly the reality of motherhood hit me. Motherhood HURTS. A lot. It hurts growing that little life inside you, then there’s the pain of childbirth, the pain of breastfeeding, the pain of missing out on sleep. You break your body over and over, pushing yourself to the limits physically, mentally and emotionally. And for what? So they can go off and leave you and have their own life. Motherhood is not fair. I leaned against the doorway in their bathroom and sobbed. Why do I get left behind? I work(ed) so hard bringing them into the world, raising them, feeding them, teaching them. Then they go off to school and leave me without a second thought. I knew that thought process was selfish of me, I should be happy for them that they are enjoying school. I should be relieved to have a “break” from the constant chatter, noise, mess and bickering. I knew all those feelings would come, but for that night, I wanted to remember them being little, and to mourn the “loss” I felt I’d suffered. I found Tim in the kitchen and let him wrap me in his arms. He took me over to the couch and made me sit down. He cuddled me and got me some water and had me relax and cool down. I began to feel better, but couldn’t get the image of Baby Jadon out of my head. Where had the time gone? 😦

Okay, okay, before I lose you in this emotion-filled rant, let me say, the next day was MUCH better. I stayed busy all day and was feeling so accomplished by the end of it. It’s truly amazing how much you can get done with only 1 kid at home. We made cookies, I cleaned some more (but for non-anxiety reasons, because ya know, sometimes you actually have to clean your house because it needs to be cleaned) and ran errands.  Which is where I will leave you. I have a hilarious “hormotional” story for you next time. Until then, moms who have kids in school,… I get it now. And moms who don’t yet have kids in school, cherish every minute. I have no regrets or “coulda, shoulda, woulda’s” thankfully because I had women in my life who constantly told me to cherish and take advantage of EVERY minute you have with your kids while you still have them at home all day. Be spontaneous, make traditions, and let loose. They won’t remember the times your house was clean, the laundry was done and dinner was perfect. They WILL remember the donut picnics, surprise day trips, and dancing in the rain.

 

Till Next Time,

Ashley

Things That Happened Lately

Dear Diary,

Original title, huh? Oh I know. I know. But hey, guess what? Someone is in therapy. And that someone is me. *sigh. It took a LOT of coaxing for me to go. I really don’t enjoy sitting and hearing about the things that are wrong with me. I get it, I mean, I have to identify the problem before getting a solution. But the “intake” process is killer. I sit and hash and re-hash, and re-hash all of the things in my life that have gone wrong. Sounds dramatic, and sometimes it feels that way. Mostly it’s just draining. But,…it’s going to get better. I’m going to start a specialized therapy in October and for now I’m doing one-on-one therapy. Eventually, I’ll be doing both simultaneously. Sheesh it’s taken awhile to get here, but I’ve gotten to the point now where I’m tired of being this unhappy, snappy version of myself. I want to get back to the more happy, energetic person I used to be. My new therapist is very sweet. The first time I went, I was so nervous. It’s an intimidating thought to meet someone and then 5 minutes later, you’re expected to start delving into your deepest, darkest secrets. Of course, they work you up to it, but you get the point. I had eaten in the car on the way to the appointment and was in a hurry so as not to be late. I sat in the waiting area feeling chilly. I thought, “Normally I’d be miserable and cold, but pregnant me LOVES this.” I looked down at my shifting belly and noticed enough crumbs to get an ant colony through the winter. I self-consciously brushed them off and looked up in time to see my therapist walk in. She looked about how I imagined her. She wore soothing pastel colors, modest heels and her hair neatly pulled back into a bun. I wondered why it seemed that all therapists dressed this way. I sat on her couch and raised my eyebrows and forced a polite smile to mask my nervousness. “I’m getting worse and worse at pretending to be ‘ok’ when I’m not.” I mused. She began talking and asking me questions and I politely answered all of them and tried to seem as engaging and friendly as possible. “This didn’t use to require so much effort.” I thought. And I was right. Social situations didn’t use to carry the amount of anxiety for me that they do now. There are few people I can be around and feel at ease. And when I say few, I mean I can count them on one hand, not including my husband and kids. It’s sad really. I used to be so much more outgoing. Sometimes I wonder if this is just the “new me”, if I am now that person who dreads social situations and feels insanely awkward all the time. I sat there wondering this as I continued to answer her questions. My scalp felt uncommonly itchy, but I felt it would be improper to keep scratching at it, so I picked at the hangnail on my thumb and tried to ignore the itch, all while smiling and doing my best to answer her prying questions. Then she asked about Tim. Suddenly it took no effort to smile, I felt more relaxed and I excitedly told her about our “story” and our life together. She smiled in turn and sounded pleased that Tim wasn’t a source of stress or anxiety in my life. I’m very blessed. We didn’t cover everything she wanted to cover in that session so she had me back for an “Intake Part 2” session as she called it. We went over my issues with food, my issues with body image, my issues dealing with stress, and a lot more. And we still didn’t get through everything she wanted to get through. So I’m going back for “Intake Part 3.” It truly is an exhausting, draining thing and I’m happy for when we can be done peeling back all the layers and start working on the problem. She told me to keep a “Stress Log.” For the next week until our next meeting. Basically, I have to write down my various stressors throughout the day, and give them a rating of 0-10 with 10 being “panic attack” inducing stress. Since I got home, I have been keeping track of my stresses. Here are the ones just from about 5:30pm till now…

1.) Lilly hit Matthew with a helmet and he got a bloody nose. Stress level 6. This bothered me, because she knows better and because Matthew gets bloody noses easily and for a LONG time. So I made a note to myself not to lose my cool as I strode across the house with Matthew to help him clean up. I sat there rubbing his back as he held over the tub and waited for the bleeding to stop. I let Tim deal with Lilly.

2.) Matthew was a broken record…again. Stress level 4. So we went to Target to get some school supplies for Jadon & Lilly. We walked in and I told each kid to grab a basket. I figured this would be fun for them. We went back to the school section and I’ve got their lists on my phone and I’m trying to go about this in a quick and organized fashion and all I hear is Matthew over and over, “Mommy, where’s my school ‘surprise’? Where’s my school ‘surprise’?” I tried really hard to keep my cool and remind him to be patient. But he wasn’t getting the memo. He isn’t going to school this year, but I figured I’d get him some new crayons so he wouldn’t feel left out of the fun. But seriously, the WHOLE time… “Where’s my school ‘surprise’ mom?” *sigh

3.) Lilly had to go potty in Target. Stress level 7.  Okay, so I make all my kids go before we leave the house to go anywhere. They all cycle through the bathroom and I remind them, “Okay, you guys have gone potty, now we’re going shopping. No more going potty till we get home.” Generally they do fine. If we are out for long periods of time, then we take potty breaks and everything is fine. But then there are times… times when I swear to you, Lilly has the bladder the size of a hummingbird’s. And she doesn’t tell you right away when she needs to go, she waits until it’s practically an emergency. And seriously, I cannot handle this. I don’t know why. But no phrase stresses me out more than, “Mommy, I need to go potty.” I freak the heck out. I said, “Seriously Beibs? You JUST went at the house! Can you hold it?” She looked at me like a puppy and began dancing around. I groaned and handed off the stuff we were carrying to Tim and dragged her to the bathroom. Then we left the bathroom and met up with Tim and the boys a few feet away from the checkout lines. …Cue the next stressor…

4.) Jadon counting his money. Stress level 6. So Jadon has been learning about budgeting and part of his budget includes spending. He had been at Target with Tim a few days ago and noticed something in the toy section that caught his eye. He didn’t have his wallet, so Tim said he needed to wait until the next time we came to Target. He had his toy all picked out and was sitting on the ground in the purse section in view of everyone at the checkout loudly counting up the amount Tim estimated he would need to pay for his item. Matthew said he needed to go potty, so Tim, in an effort to help me be less stressed, volunteered to take Matthew. I don’t honestly know which was worse. Taking a 3 year old potty, or standing there watching my 6 year old slowly, loudly counting out coins. I impatiently squatted down and gave him “the answer” and told him how many of each coin he’d need. Not my proudest moment, as I usually like to let my kids figure things out for themselves, but he was being so loud and slow and there was coins all over the floor and two dollar bills just sitting there. It stressed me out. Finally he got the money he needed and slowly, awkwardly collected it and stood back up. I was pretty much stuck down there and between my belly and my back, standing up proved to be both painful and awkward. Although it probably looked hilarious.

 

And well, that’s my list of stresses for the day. Pitiful isn’t it? This stuff never used to stress me out like this. At all. Now, I’m just one big ball of stress. Gah.

 

Moving on,…

So pregnancy. I’m almost done! At 32 weeks, I’m a pluggin’ and a chuggin’ along. I’m anemic, and severely so. So I’m taking iron supplements and hoping for the best. My numbers are on their way back up and I should be fine to safely deliver at home. YAY! I was in L&D about a week ago because Little Miss E’s movements had been uncharacteristically slow and I wanted some peace of mind. I didn’t go in until late at night, probably about 10:30pm. I waddled my way into the Maternity entrance and past the guard and into the triage section. The nurse at the intake station seems remarkably uninterested that I was there at all and dismissed me to go give a urine sample and pointed to the room where I’d be. I waddled away to go use the restroom and upon reaching my room, noticed all the lights were off. I stood there in my pregnant indecisiveness for probably a full minute trying to decide whether or not to turn on the light. Finally, I reached over and flipped a switch, praying it was the light switch. Thankfully it was because the lights came on and nothing beeped, flashed or exploded. There was the customary backless “gown” folded up on the bed. I honestly had no idea what to do. Usually a nurse met me in the room right away and gave me instructions and turn-down service for the less than luxurious bed I’d be doing time in. Instead, I stood in silence and just waited. Then a doctor quickly rushed in and said in a patronizing voice, “Hey kiddo, what brings you in?” I forced a smile and relayed my concerns. He had a smile playing at the corner of his mouth the entire time. “Oh I’m sure baby’s fine, you’re just being paranoid.” he said. I wanted to punch him. Once for the “kiddo” (only 2 people in my life are ever allowed to call me that: my dad and Daddy-O: my father-in-law.) and once for being so rude and condescending. I wanted to tell him he’d obviously never experience that panic when you’re pregnant and you feel like something is wrong with your baby and you have NO way of checking on them yourself. Jerk face. Ugh. He chuckled and shut my file and said they’d put me on the monitor and then he was gone. Didn’t ever see him after that. A nurse came in and was bright and friendly, she hooked up to the monitor and tried for almost 10 minutes to located E’s heartbeat. This freaked me out big time. But she finally found it. It was erratic at first, but then it leveled out and she and I were fine. I was feeling some small contractions and since she hadn’t mentioned them, I asked casually if she’d seen any on the monitor. She said, “Oh yeah, we see those. You just have an irritable uterus.” I’d heard the term before, but this time it made me laugh. I pictured a crotchety old lady as my uterus. “Irritable uterus” just makes it seem alive. It felt weird. Finally, they were satisfied that they’d heard enough on the monitor and were prepared to send me home. I waddled back out to my car, got in, and drove home and crawled into bed.

I’m now at that stage where everything is uncomfortable pretty much all of the time. My hips and really my whole pelvis hurt all the time. Sometimes the pain is debilitating, but mostly, it just makes me walk like a very old woman. My stomach is squashed, my lungs are squashed…and I’m only going to get bigger. But in a little less than 4 weeks, I am cleared to go into labor! I know, I know, I could be pregnant for another 9.5 weeks, but just the reassurance that I could go into labor at any time, will be some relief. The nursery is almost complete! I am still painting the changing table, hopefully I’ll get that done this week or next and be able to put up some photos. Just need a few more things.

 

Well, this blog got away from me and has become much more lengthy. Plus my uterus is “irritated” again, so I’m going to go attempt to sleep. Nighty night!

 

Till Next Time,
Ashley

Noise & Dirt

Dear Diary,

What are boys? Noise with dirt on it’s face…and hands…and feet…and well,…everywhere.
I am SO SO SO glad this little one is a girl. Why? Well let me paint you a picture…

At this very moment, all three kids are playing independently.

Jadon: Is loudly making car noises and intermittently crashing them…loudly.

Matthew: is sitting on the floor and methodically pistol-whipping the Hulk action figure laying in front of him. Loudly.

Lilly: is spread out on her favorite blanket with her critters perfectly placed and all dressed up having a picnic/tea party. I’m sure she’s saying very sweet and cute things, but I can’t hear them…because boys.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys, but goodness gracious. Some days the noise really doesn’t bother me one bit. But then on days like today…I just need noise break.

I know I’m going to cry and sob the day they stop making noise and tracking dirt all over my house though, so I’m trying to enjoy it. But there’s only so many times in a day I can hear, “Neeeeoooooowwwwww……CSHHHHHHH!!!! We’re going down! SAVE THEM!! DESTROY THEM! CRASH! BOOM! AHHHH!!!!! DIE!!!!!!!” Only so many times.

Since it’s summer and about a thousand degrees outside, I’ve given up almost completely on maintaining a clean house because I can never get my kids out of the house long enough to get it clean, much less keep it that way. I get it clean, then they play and there’s toys strewn throughout the whole house, a flip-flop in the bathroom, pen on my couch, dishes in the sink (do they just grow there??), dirt on my white cabinets, gunk on the bathroom counter, diaper smell in the boy’s room, and cars and legos in almost every conceivable and non-conceivable place. There are little plastic spiders and bugs under couches, under pillows, in chairs and behind doors. I don’t even flinch anymore when I see them because if I did, I think I’d probably pee my pants multiple times a day. If it’s a real bug, I won’t know till it moves or I step on it and hear “crunch”. Gross thought, but really. But someday, there will be no toys out. Every bug I see will be a real one, and my house will be clean…and boring. 😦 So I try to enjoy the chaos and remember, today is the last day they will be this age. Does it really matter if my house is a mess? No. Does it matter if there are finger prints on my oven door…about 5 seconds after I just wiped it down? No. Someday, like my mother, when I’ve got grandkids, I’ll be neurotic about those little finger prints and just not wash my oven door anymore so I can savor those sticky little memories.

On a much less sappy note, today I got to be THAT mom. Let me tell you…

So this whole week, I’ve been feeling pretty lousy. LOTS of pretty painful Braxton Hicks contractions and my joints are killing me. It’s that third trimester “Oh lord take me now” feeling. So we’ve pretty much been shut-ins this week with few exceptions. I woke up feeling less lousy this morning and thought, “I gotta get these kids out of the house!” So off we went to go pick up donuts for breakfast, take Tim a coffee and some donuts and go hang out at the mall. Kids were very excited to be getting out of the house and so was I! As we pulled up to the mall parking lot, I reminded Matthew that if he wanted to go to the play place, he needed to be a “good boy.” I reminded him to keep his hands to himself, stay with me, etc. You know, all the things you want your nearly 3 year old to do while you’re out and about….ideally. He grinned and said, “Okay mommy, I’ll be a good boy and then go to the PLAY PLACE!!” I smiled and got him out of the car. Our first stop was the Pet Store. The kids love to watch the playful kittens and pet the puppies and so do I. We daydream about the day when a little kitten will join our menagerie. It started there. Matthew would not stay with me. He kept running over to look at other animals in their enclosures. Usually, I wouldn’t mind this so much, but the store was uncommonly full of people today and he almost tripped a few people on his quest to be independent. I apologized for him and grabbed his arm and pulled him back to where we were standing as he whined at me, “Heeeeeyyyy, I wanna see the doggies!” I reminded him quietly that we would get to see all the critters if he was patient and that he promised me he would be a “good boy” so he could go play. He pouted and slumped his shoulders and stayed with me…for about 10 seconds. We left the store and went to H&M so I could return something. In H&M he kept pushing his sister and touching all the displays. I held his hand and he just whined. I asked him if he thought he was being well-behaved and he scowled at me and said, “No.” So after that, I led our less than merry party back towards the mall entrance to leave. Once he figured out he would not be frolicking happily at the play place,…he lost it. And I mean lost it. I calmly got down (which is no easy task) and explained to him that he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, so we would have to go without playing. He sat down hard and screamed. “Oh boy, here we go.” I thought as I stood back up and started walking. He got up and shuffled after me, falling down randomly….the scene looked a bit like the first 40 seconds of this…minus the leash…because my kids are not dogs. Haha.

I held my head high and led him and his embarrassed siblings through the maze of judgy onlookers. Yes, I know I’m pregnant…I know I’ve got three kids already,…one of whom more resembled Gollum at this moment than my chubby wide eyed cherub of a son. And yes, I wonder how I’m going to manage 4 of them all at once too. I have my moments of “Please, I can totally handle this.” But more often than not, I have those “Holy tantrums, Batman! WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!”

So Matthew continued his tantrum out into the parking lot. Screaming over and over that he wanted to go to the play place. Eventually, for his safety, I had to pick him up. OUCH. I swatted his bottom and stuck him in his carseat. He screamed. And screamed. And…well, you get it. I got in the front set and shut the door with Matthew…yep, you guessed it, still screaming. Jadon chose this time to begin quizzing me about something and I turned around and gave him a look that made him shut his mouth immediately. He’s pretty in tune with my, “I-dare-you-to-keep-talking-right-now” look. But I didn’t yell. That was good. Not that anyone could have heard me anyway. But the point was, I felt like yelling…and I didn’t. “Good mommy” sticker for me.

So yes, today, I was THAT mom. Pregnant, and tired, with a screaming toddler and getting looks that hurt my heart all the way out of the mall. Thanks a lot random strangers for making me feel just awesome. (Please make sure you read that last sentence with as much sarcasm as possible, thanks.)

Noise. Someday, I’m going to miss it. I just keep telling myself this.

Till Next Time,

Ashley

Free to be… a Grouch

Dear Diary,

Yes, yes I know it’s been forever. I’ve been busy, ok?

Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow Americans. A day to celebrate all that we have in our freedom, and a day to remember those who’ve maintained it, past and present. I wish I was in Tucson to put flowers and flags on my great-grandfather’s grave in remembrance. Sadly, roadtrips are now out of the question for me since any trip longer than about 30 minutes, makes me get puffy feet. *sigh

I am thankful for my freedoms. And tonight, I exercised the freedom to be a grouch.

This morning started out great! I woke up to my smiling husband asking when I wanted to be woken up. I asked for 30 more minutes and he graciously let me have them. When he woke me up again, I felt ready to face the day. I was feeling pretty good! We finished breakfast and loaded up our tribe into the car and set out to complete my list of errands. Little Baby E was content to kick and stretch the whole ride to our first stop, IKEA. I was never more grateful to stand up! That girl is getting some muscles. I had a list of things I needed and as we walked into the store, I could feel my anxiety levels going up as about 20 people walked in within 5 seconds of the time we did. And they just kept coming. That store was PACKED. I was determined to make the best of herding our cats…I mean, kids (may as well be cats, they don’t herd well….*cue Gracie Allen, “Oh you mean they don’t HEAR well.”) through the maze of people and displays. I’m a weird person when it comes to IKEA. They purposefully set up the store so that when you walk in, it guides you gracefully up an escalator (or to an elevator) that ascends you into the heavenly spaces of  immaculate displays all perfectly placed and done up. You instantly feel like you want to go home, shake out your house and put it all on the curb and bring home the rooms all neatly set up. At least that’s how I feel sometimes. Which is why I do my best to avoid that whole floor if I can help it, unless I’m looking for decor and design ideas. So, after you’ve woven your way through the chic and modern displays of delight, you can either board an elevator or take the stairs down to the bottom level where you can pick up and then purchase said goodies to take home and attempt to build them without leaving out any pegs and pieces. It’s effortless, right? Not the way I shop. When I go to IKEA, I go in and do only the second half of the route…and I do it backwards. So I sneak over past the carts and walk the wrong way through the checkout and head to the “As-Is” section first.  I prefer to go here first because if I can get a good deal, I want to know about it NOW! Then I continue like a spawning salmon against the flow of consumers through the “Warehouse” and back into the rest of the bottom floor. I don’t get to do this trip childless most of the time, so attempting to guide my kids can be challenging. But they are so well-behaved and always careful to say “excuse me” to anyone they thing might view them as “in the way.” It really is wonderful. Until they get their maps. Those darn IKEA maps instantly become this crucial navigational tool to guide our explorers through the jungles of IKEA on our quest for treasures and spoils. I think people look at my kids then, and think, “Those poor kids have had their faces replaced with hideous blue maps! They must’ve forgotten to put the eyes back in too.” Seriously my kids may as well be eyeless. Once in possession of a map, my kids can longer speak politely and really the only phrases they know are, “MOM! WHERE ARE WE ON THIS MAP?” and “MOM! WHERE ARE WE GONNA GO? SHOW ME ON THE MAP!” No more polite, “Excuse me”s or “Oops, sorry!”s when they nearly collide with unsuspecting shoppers. After seeing a few near head-on collisions, the shoppers catch on and give them a wide birth as I, sounding like a broken record, “Pay attention guys, hey! Pay attention guys!” attempt to wrangle my adventurers through the maze of aisles and breakable things. It can be exhausting. Sometimes I say, “No maps this time guys.” and then my IKEA adventures are much more tame and well….boring. Oh well. At least they are cute…right? Where was I?…

OH! So after IKEA, we headed off to do a few more errands. By the time we got to Sprout’s, I was exhausted. But all I needed was a cucumber, some deli meat and some almonds. Tim likes to have almonds to munch on at work when he feels tired because it’s a quick and healthy source of protein. They can get a bit pricey at $5.99 per pound, but I fit it into my budget because I love him. And also because I’d hate for him to fall asleep almondless at his desk and then get fired. All because I didn’t buy him almonds. So as I waddled into Sprout’s, I picked up a basket and waddled to get the cucumber. Then I waddled to the deli section and grabbed the turkey. Then I waddled over to the section where the almonds were. Now, at Sprout’s, you can scoop them out of a bucket and into a bag located next to a scale just like in the produce section. I opened the lid over the bucket and it took me about 7 tries to realize, it wouldn’t stay open on it’s own. So I shift the basket on my arm, position the bag “just so” and with the same hand, feebly hold the lid back. I grab the scoop with the other hand and I dig it deep into the sea of almonds in the bucket.

Scoop 1. I sighed, “This is gonna take forever.” Tim usually gets about 1-2 pounds at a time, so that’s what I was going for.

Scoop 2. “Man there sure are a lot of almonds in this bucket.”

Scoop 3. “This bag is never going to fill up.”

Scoop 4.  “My hand is starting to cramp up from holding open the bag and the lid for these darn almonds!”

Scoop 5. “Does this bucket have a bottom?”

Scoop 6. “I wonder what they do if it get’s empty?”

Scoop 7. “I’m so tired.”

Scoop 8. “I wonder how many scoops I’ve put in?”

Scoop 9. “Maybe I should stop scooping now.”

Scoop 10. “Okay, now.

Scoop 11. “One more…”

Scoop 12. “Ahhh…done.”

I put a twist-tie around the top and lifted a rather heavy “1-2lbs” of almonds into my basket and waddled sleepily to the cashier. I thought, “This may be closer to 3lbs…” Nope. The cashier rang me up and my eyes popped out as I got charged for nearly 5lbs of raw almonds. *sigh… I put my eyes back in my head and paid the cashier begrudgingly, (Who charges so much for nuts??) and waddled out to the car. I told Tim about my mishap and his eyes popped out too. He laughed and I said, “Well, now you have enough almonds for a month.” Oi vey. Tim is getting his own dang almonds next time. Sheesh. We came home and put away the spoils from our shopping trips. Then it was time for lunch and naps.

Fast forward to this evening, we have a little tradition in our house. We turn on PBS and watch “The Capitol Fourth” every year while having a picnic in our living room. Well, our PBS channel wasn’t working. So we opted for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy instead. The kids were not a fan. I don’t know why, I got almost every answer right. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?? So we ate our picnic and channel surfed and nothing. So I grabbed my camera to take some awesome pictures of sparklers. Pregnancy and my brain are not friends (obviously, see the almond story above) and I pretty much forgot everything I know about photography. So, frustrated, I took my camera back in the house and went back outside to pout while Lilly and Matthew whined about being too afraid to hold the sparklers. Jadon was being a pill about not going to see actual fireworks and I can’t say I blame him, but by the time we thought to take the kids somewhere because all our plans were falling apart, it was too late. *sigh. Oh well. Next year perhaps. I wish I was more heat tolerant. But even if you are heat tolerant, who want to go sit out on itchy grass with too many people and not enough bathrooms for 15 minutes of chest pounding pyrotechnics? Evidently everyone. But me. Doesn’t help that I’m nearly 28 weeks pregnant and parts of me start falling asleep if I sit longer than 10 minutes.

So yeah. Grouchy. Well, I’m going to be all done with grouchiness for today, and watch a movie with my husband. Chips and salsa may be involved 🙂

Till Next Time,

Ashley

Lip (Dis)Service

Dear Diary,

Gah, I have the best of intentions when it comes to keeping up with blogs, believe me. But my execution needs work obviously. Here’s a quick update on my life as it stands right now:

Pregnancy is going well! We are having a little girl, Elizabeth Rose. Jadon picked out the name before we were even pregnant so we were delighted to find that since it’s a girl, we can use the name he picked. He’s pretty proud that he chose the name, and Baby E will always have a cool little fact about herself that her biggest brother named her. I am now nearly 23 weeks along in my pregnancy and my bump is finally growing. It always takes me awhile to pop, but now there’s no sucking it in, my bump is there to stay…well, for the next few months anyway. She is growing more and more active in there and it’s fun to sit or lay and watch her dance around in my belly. I can’t wait till she’s born and I can hold her.

Let’s see…oh! Wedding stuff!

So my little sister is getting married on Thursday. Very surreal, but we are excited for her and her fiance. I had to have my bridesmaid dress altered a bit to fit my growing bump, but I picked it up today and the seamstress did a good job and my bump and I will be properly outfitted for the nuptials this week. It’s hard to believe that Aly is getting married. I remember sitting around daydreaming about the men we would marry and now it’s actually happening. It will be cool to have a sister joining the ranks of “wifehood” along with me. 🙂

Speaking of wedding, unlike most bridesmaids, I have not been trying to maintain my figure or lose weight to fit into my dress. Instead, I’ve just been trying to keep from getting pimples on my face or weird bruises on my legs. Yeah… I failed. Hard core. I had one job. ONE! *sigh* Well, a couple days ago, I woke up with that old familiar tingling on the corner of my lip…my stomach dropped as I got up and began frantically looking for my Abreva. A cold sore. GAH. I’ve been getting them since I was little. They are usually brought on by stress or a high fever. Well, this time it had to have been stress since I’ve been fever free. I was hoping to have caught it early enough that perhaps the Abreva would shrink that demon back into the dark pit from whence it came. I tore through my medicine cabinet for anything else that might help my stupid lip. I found mt Tea Tree Oil. I did a quick search on google and the things I read, told me that applying TTO would help dry out the sores and speed healing. FANTASTIC! It’d been awhile since I’d used it (before I got pregnant) but I slathered it on my lip and went on with my day hoping it would help. All day I kept reapplying the oil and scrutinizing my lips for any sign of blisters. Later that day, I felt it…a SECOND cold sore growing on my upper lip in the same corner as the other one. SERIOUSLY?!?! Lord help me. I was livid. I rubbed more tea tree oil onto the spot and prayed they would go away! I went to sleep that night, sure I was going to kick this. When I woke up the next morning, my face felt…funny,…and itchy. Really itchy. I got up and looked at the mirror in horror as the left lower half of my face was swollen and rashy. WHAT THE HECK?! Well, I definitely had an allergic reaction to the Tea Tree Oil. Or I overdosed on it. “Everything in moderation.” Yeah…I am not so keen on that phrase when it comes to fixing a problem. I washed my face and tried not to cry. The wedding was in 3 days, what was I going to do?? I let my poor face dry and put some hydrocortisone cream on it to help with the itching and swelling. Didn’t help. I put some Desitin on it. Helped a little with the itching. Then I iced my face at breakfast and tried to think what else I could do. I felt like Hitch…

HITCH! …Benadryl. Okay, plan acquired. We went to Target and I got some. Couldn’t find any non-drowsy kind, so I bought the regular kind…which usually knocks me out. But hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I took it as soon as we got in the car and we finished our errands. I watched the rash and swelling over the course of the day slowly recede. Thank GOD! Sheesh! By the time it was time for bed, all that remained on my face was a little tiny bit of swelling in the corner of my mouth and a faint rash under the left side of my bottom lip. I went to bed and breathed easy thinking, “Whew! Dodged a bullet there.” Then I woke up this morning. Rash was back and so was the swelling, though not quite as bad as yesterday, but my lips were numb. Ain’t nobody got time for that!  I iced my face this morning and took more Benadryl before heading out on our errands this morning. As I got on the freeway, I could feel the Benadryl kicking in and I got SO sleepy. So we stopped at Dutch Bros for some coffee to wake me back up so we could run our errands. We bought my sister a wedding present, bought some groceries and picked up my dress. By the time we were done and on our way home, my lips had feeling once again and the rash was looking better. Good gracious what a mess. So I guess I’ll be packing the Benadryl and an ice pack to take with me to the cabins for the wedding. I swear, if this is how Botox feels, I pass. Ridiculous.

botox

On top of all that hullaballoo yesterday, I was ridiculously hormonal and emotional after having a bad “baby dream” the night before. I was in a funk from that and the Benadryl all day. Tim went off to Kawanis park to go play some Spikeball with friends at the sand volleyball courts to help them get ready for their tournament. He left just as we were all laying down to take naps so it was like he never left, because he got home before we woke up. As I was making dinner, I asked him how Spikeball went. He said they didn’t have quite enough people to really be able to play so they sort of improvised and made do with who they had. Then they decided to play sand volleyball with some people that were playing there for the rest of the time. Immediately, I thought a few things that were a bit irrational (I blame the hormones). Firstly, I thought, “Why didn’t he call me? I wanna play volleyball! No fair.” Then I thought, “Psh…I bet he was over there playing volleyball with hot girls in bikinis while his fat pregnant pale wife with cellulite was at home in PJs sleeping.” I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say anything to him about it, but he could tell something was up. I was pretty quiet the rest of the night trying to battle my thoughts which seemed out of my control and completely irrational. I was irritated. I’m not usually like this, always on the verge of tears over something stupid. I hate it. Must be all the extra estrogen. *sigh* Thankfully, I talked to Tim about it today and he was more than understanding and we had a good laugh about it. So I’m all better there…for now.

mood swing

Well, I’ve got a lot to get done today, so I’ll sign off for now 🙂

Till Next Time,

Ashley

Of Sons

Dear Diary,

In my recent reading adventures, I’ve been studying up on a subject that has always been rather foreign to me…boys. Why? Well, because I have two (maybe 3) of them and the older they get, the more I realize I know nothing about them. I know my kids, sure, but boyness? I’m clueless. Of course, Tim is very helpful and is always there to reassure me that their shocking and sometimes gross behaviors are normal and good, or normal but in need of correction. My quest for knowledge on this subject has led me to a fairly well known book called, “Wild At Heart” by John Eldridge. For the most part, the reading has been fascinating and I’ve learned a lot of cool things about what makes boys “tick”, how to effectively communicate with them, how to better respect them, and what sorts of behaviors are normal and even healthy. Many of these things have made me laugh and some of them made me cry. Pregnancy hormones aside, I get emotional thinking about my kids growing up. Especially my boys. Of course, I’m sure I’ll be a basketcase when Lilly moves out, but for different reasons. I won’t feel dejected and sad when she goes on her first date. I’ll be too busy waiting to giggle over details with her when she gets back.

With boys, I always assumed that they don’t begin the “leave and cleave” process until adulthood/when they are ready to get married. Boy was I wrong. Evidently, boys begin the “leaving” process a lot earlier than I expected. Of course, they don’t physically leave you until usually 18 or so, but emotionally, they begin to “leave” their mothers much earlier. Here’s what I mean:

When Jadon was born, I was the center of his universe. Of course he loved Daddy, but Mommy fed, clothed, diapered, played, sang and loved on him primarily for the first few years of his life. Around the age of 5, he began to change. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. He began to resist my affections, dodge my kisses, get mouthy with me, become more angry, etc. I thought, “He just needs more love.” So I’d shower him with forced hugs and kisses and try to bring him into submission with love. Well that didn’t work either. So I went the other way and became a bit domineering thinking, “He’s a boy, maybe he needs it tough.” Well, he kicked back even harder. I couldn’t win. By the time he turned 6, I felt like I didn’t even know him anymore. It broke my heart on several occasions and I spent many a night after he’d gone to bed sobbing into my pillow blaming myself without even knowing why. He was pulling away from me. What had I done? What sort of monster was I that he didn’t want to be cuddled? He seemed only to listen to his Dad and to ignore me completely. I became angry. I didn’t know how to fix this, but I knew this couldn’t go on forever. So I picked up some books on raising boys and began reading. What I learned, simultaneously encouraged and devastated me. Boys begin the leaving process around age 5 or so. They begin to pull away from mom, and seek out adventures, danger, and manhood. This quest for manhood begins then, not when they hit puberty. Things began to make sense. I bawled my eyes out at the thought that my sweet and precious boy would never again be the little baby son he had been. Would never again want to be coddled and nurtured. Not that he wouldn’t need me anymore, but there was a paradigm shift taking place. The center of his universe was now…Dad. The very picture of manhood, adventure and danger. The one who would toss him up over his head, wrestle with him, throw punches with him, teach him how to do “boy” things. Mom was no longer adequate. He was on a quest for manhood and Mom couldn’t be a guide on this journey. So I learned how to be a “helper” to him. I encourage him to do the “manly” or “gentlemanly” thing. I teach him how women think. I let him impress me with his strength and wit. I challenge him and then praise him when he meets the challenge. Once I realized my new role in this, his attitude changed dramatically and he responded to me.  I cannot teach him how to be a man, but I’m sure as heck not going to be left in the dust while he travels this road with his Dad. He follows his Dad’s lead, and I am his cheerleader. It’s not the role I expected to have at this stage in his life (sheesh my eyes are watery, I can hardly see the page, someone stop cutting onions!) but it’s the role I’ve been blessed with. I’m home base for him. I’m the element of safety in this equation. He still wants hugs sometimes so I give him all the hugs he wants. Occasionally, he’ll ask for a kiss and I’ll take all I can while I can get them. I try to speak to him with respect, and I applaud him for returning the respect he’s been given. I may not be the center of his world anymore, but by no means is my job finished. It means that I have to pass the baton to his Dad and keep on running beside him. Of course, it breaks my heart to know that one day, he’ll find a woman who will be his new “home base”, a place of restoration, love and safety. But for now, that’s still my job and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. And I’d like to think that my sons would be able to say of me that I coddled and nurtured for as long as was needed and then gracefully took my place as a helper on their journey to manhood. A home base of safety that they could always turn to in times of need, and a beacon of womanhood they would strive to seek out in their future spouse.

For now, I am still learning much about raising my sons. Thankfully, I’m not going this journey alone and I have the best of men leading my sons in their quest to find the world of manhood. I hold Matthew extra tight now, knowing well that it will be his turn next and I cherish every remnant of the little boy that was “My Baby Bug” Jadon, in his sweet kisses and hugs, knowing I am doing him no favors by holding him back. I have to let him get out there and scrape up his knees, maybe break a bone or two, fight his battles, conquer his foes and learn that indeed he does have what it takes to become a strong man…just like his Dad. Thankfully Tim is my constant in this equation. I lean on him and his love for me when the going gets rough and know that even after my boys have all flown the nest and have wives and kids of their own, my Man will still be right here beside me holding my hand. And that makes all the difference.

Till Next Time,

Ashley