Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY arrived 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy without IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

November Update

Most mornings, "Kiss attack! I want another kiss attack!" are the first words spoken by her after she wakes me with a "Mommy, please I can get up?" I'm able to wake up slowly with her, usually between 7:30 and 8:30 because Baby C is usually still asleep, or babbling quietly in his crib. She does go to sleep now, in her own bed and I'm able to leave while she's still awake and go into our master. This is pretty remarkable, given the fact I have been beside her until she fell asleep every day up until two months ago. Whenever I wake up, usually around 4am, I wake Chompers up to feed him and then go back to sleep in her bed. Although fast asleep, when I pick him up, he immediately starts rooting because he is so hungry, and I call him my hungry critter. It's such a nice compromise and balance, allowing me time to watch some Unsolved Mysteries at night and catch up with my husband, yet be there for her when she first opens her eyes and snuggle.

After at least 5 kiss attacks, she now goes potty on her own, brushes her teeth and checks on Chompers for me. She will either yell "Mommy he's awake!" or come back and tell me softly that he's still sleeping. Then, I scoop him up and put him in her bed. As I go downstairs, I hear her chatting away with him and if I'm lucky, a coo or a squeal in response. Then, I fix him a bottle, grab myself a zero carb Monster energy drink (I know, I know) and a cup of milk for her. Unprompted, she always has to "cheers" his bottle, and we all cuddle in bed, joined by Trevi, Bonnie and Clyde. Then I  brush her hair, pick out her clothes and then she dresses herself.
Finally, some colder weather!

Mornings weren't always this smooth. Toward the beginning of the month, I had to ask her several times to go potty after she woke up and sometimes I needed to raise my voice, which I don't like doing. Brushing her hair always elicited tears, and she only brushed her teeth when prompted by me and I dressed her. The idea of returning to work seemed insurmountable with me doing so much for her, and with her requiring so much prompting.

So, we started some layered reinforcements using this chore chart that I purchased on Amazon. When she completes one of these tasks, she gets to put the magnetic star on the board, which she enjoys, and I will sometimes give her an M&M as an immediate reinforcer We review the chart at the end of the day and if she has collected enough stars, she receives a token she can turn in the next day for TV time. When she completes a week's worth, she receives a small toy usually valued at $5. Her first pick? An Elsta Girl doll which we found on sale for $9.
But what about when she doesn't listen? That was mostly just the first day. Right now, Daddy is the enforcer, though I do need to be able to do this when he's not home. On day one, she was fantastic for half the day, until nap time. After nap, she didn't want to take off her pull-ups and use the potty. I gave her several prompts, even going upstairs to get ready for our nightly walk and she was still laying on the bean bag when I came back down. So I told her one more time that she needed to go do it or I would "get Daddy." Her response was "I don't want to" and so, unfortunately, I had to follow through. Daddy was summoned, and he carried her into the bathroom. She started wailing and asking for me. Then she started crying "Mommy! Mooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyy." Separately, we repeated the expectations. Nada. 

Now comes the tough part: Waiting it out. The worst thing you can do mid-meltdown is give in, though you probably really want to. I know I did. But this only reinforces the behavior and teaches them to escalate the next time they don't get their way. Dad closed the door and stood in front of it so she couldn't run to me. Inconsolable, she refused to remove her pull-ups and go potty. She started asking me for a hug, which I have asked her in the past when she's upset or having a meltdown because of this article. Calmly, my husband told her she would get one from me as soon as she was finished. More crying. After what felt like an eternity but was really only 10 minutes, he cradled her, lightly wrapping his arms around her. This was so adverse that she started saying "I do it! I do it!" and wriggled free to use the potty. 

Within moments, she was in my arms and calming down. On the walk, my husband made it a point to reconnect with her, asking if she wanted to go on his shoulders, sharing an orange and telling her several times that he loves her. Now when I threaten to "get Daddy" she knows it is not an empty threat. Not once did he hit her, but blocking her exit and not allowing her to seek me out was extremely effective.

Prior to this, her behavior was not bad, but it needed a tune-up. She now takes pride in doing these tasks on her own and being rewarded, freeing me from what was starting to sound an awful lot like nagging. Hopefully, it is instilling work-ethic and some independence in her too.

This month we also took a step back from television and screen time, never turning it on before noon. Did I write never? Okay, not usually. I also made a concerted effort to spend more unstructured time outdoors; either at the creek that we walk to, in our backyard, or in the wilderness outside our back gate. Putting TV on for her has always seemed like the easy way out and has never felt good to me.  Lately, it started creeping back in with more frequency. I was inspired by this family who blogged about their year outdoors in which they spent at least 3 hours outside every day. She still asks for TV, and I do let her watch at least one movie every week, but my response is now more likely to be "Not right now. Would you like to go make some more mud pies?" 

This month was filled with family, our first Thanksgiving in our new home, our 5th wedding anniversary and my husband's birthday. Grandma met Big Man for the first time, and we went to Wolf Hotel with her and the cousins. My husband's father came to stay with us for a bit for knee replacement surgery and will be here with us through the new year. 

She is continuing her weekly classes at St. Vincent de Paul, which she attends by herself now, giving me an hour and a half each week to kill with just baby. It's not enough time to drive home, so I usually sit in the parking lot or nearby coffee shop and work on my faith, by reading.

I'm still trying to lose my baby weight, and have at least 15 pounds to go. Since I know these will be the toughest, I signed up for a half marathon in March to hold myself accountable. The farthest I've been post-baby is 4 miles, and I'm planning to bump that up in December to at least 6-8. I usually run with both kids in the double BOB, and have taught A to say "Mush Mommy!" when I slow down. Occasionally, I will sneak out for a three-mile run when hubby, baby and A are all napping and it's a real treat to not push that beast!

Things I don't want to forget:

  • Asking her "Why are you such a good girl?" and hearing her say "Because I love you!"
  • The feeling of picking him up out of his crib around 4am and kissing his cheeks and his neck.
  • How he soothes himself by sucking on his left pointer finger and rubbing his head with his right hand.
  • "When I grow up I'm going to have a girl and name her Megan for you!"
  • Her asking me "Why do you love Daddy?" followed by "How did you meet?"

Friday, November 2, 2018

October Update

Photography by Julie MeGill
I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again in 6 months, but if I could freeze Baby A in time, this would be the age I'd pick. I am in love with everything about her right now, especially her developing sense of humor, our conversations and even her endless questions that always start with why? I love how she mispronounces words. She says or instead of your and her instead of she. For example, talking about her cat: "Her purring Mommy! That means her happy with me!" She randomly tells Dad and I that she loves us, and sometimes exclaims "Mommy, or (you're) the best!" ...usually, after I give her something she wants, like a cup of milk or the Trolls movie. She still loves Mommy's chin.

This month was filled with walks to the creek and the trail behind our house, petting zoos and pumpkin patches, two trips to Disneyland, weekly swim lessons, dance class, her running alongside us on our walks (racing Trevi), morning cuddles with the cats in bed, Bounce-U, two fall festivals, playdates in the street and Mass. 

We officially joined our local parish and I enrolled A in a weekly religious education class at St. Vincent de Paul. About a year ago, I asked our local church if they had any religious education for children under 5. They did not, surprisingly, and I also searched other nearby parishes. What about planting those seeds early? When she did just one week of VBS this summer with me, it made a huge difference. So I was so happy when my friend Stella told me about St. Vincent de Paul, and their religious education that starts at age three. I only wish I had learned about it sooner! She loved her first class and was excited to return. From their website:

Level 1 - for the young child (Ages 3-6)

The 3-6 year-old child is particularly capable of receiving and enjoying the most essential elements of our faith—the announcement of God’s love, in the person of the Good Shepherd, who died and is risen. Materials on the life of Christ and his teachings help make the mystery of God concrete for the child. The geography materials establish Jesus as a real person in the time and space and Israel as the land through which God realized salvation for all. Infancy narratives announce the Incarnation with the words of Scripture, moving from the Annunciation to the Birth of Christ, to the Flight into Egypt. The model of Jerusalem and the empty tomb are the starting point for the Paschal narratives which the child lives in a special way in celebrating the Liturgy of Light. Selected parables serve as keys to unlock the mystery of the kingdom of God and to nurture the child’s natural sense of wonder. How beautiful and precious is the kingdom of God! How small it begins! How slowly it grows! How magnificent it becomes! Through the arranging of the chalice, paten, altar cloth, candles, and crucifix, the child becomes familiar with the articles of the Eucharist. The child lives his relationship with God in a particular way in the liturgy—the child enters the mystery of the Eucharist through the most important gestures including the preparation of the chalice, the epiclesis and offering, and the gesture of peace. From these gestures, the Eucharist emerges as the Sacrament of the Gift. The child becomes acquainted with the historical character of the liturgy through the events of the Last Supper, Christ’s death, and His resurrection. The liturgical colors and calendar situate the child in the Church year, expressing the Paschal Mystery—Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Our prayer table reflects the liturgical cycle with appropriate colors, prayers, and songs.

Baby C is two months now and is the happiest, 
easiest baby. He is content anywhere, and still an amazing sleeper. This month he started cooing, learned how to bring his hands together and is all smiles. He's wearing size six month clothing, weighs 15 pounds, usually drinks 6 ounces per feeding and is still sleeping through the night. I do wake him once to feed because he goes down in his crib at 9pm and we do not get him up until between 7:30 and 8:30. That's when we all snuggle in A's bed with the two cats and Trevi. They each have their milk and I drink a sugar-free monster, something I need to stop...next month.

I love our neighborhood and especially being at the end of a cul-de-sac. There are some older boys next door who are in 7th grade, and they often play basketball or ride their scooters out front with two younger girls from down the street. Baby A saw this one day and was so excited when the youngest, a girl who just turned 7, invited her to join in. She sort of took A under her wing, perhaps happy to not be the youngest anymore. Not wanting to impose, I thanked her for playing with A and she said "It's okay, they don't play with me anyway." It was both simultaneously adorable and awkward to watch A try so hard to fit in and make friends with them, calling out "Hi friends!" when she saw them the next day. We were then very happy to meet a girl the street up who is 4 and much closer in age. Their developing friendship is much more natural, and less like watching an episode of The Office.

We had our first rain in our new home, complete with a thunder and lightning show, a rarity here in Southern California.
The month ended with our haunted housewarming party the Saturday before Halloween. Because we chose this date, we were concerned about a low turn-out. But we had about forty adults and twenty kids. Baby A had so much fun running around the backyard and playing with all of her friends. Check out the decorations here.

She also had a blast trick-or-treating but has yet to eat any of her candy, even though I have offered it several times.

Monday, October 1, 2018

September Update

A rare moment awake
August was rough, but September was when we found our stride. At almost 6 weeks, Baby C started sleeping through the night! His last feeding is around 10pm, and he routinely goes until after 6am without waking. A few nights this month, I was actually able to log 10 hours of sleep! But then I started feeding him once each night, whenever I wake up, usually around 4am (and then I go back to sleep). He is truly a remarkable baby, because if he does wake up during the night, he doesn't cry. He also still sleeps most of the day, and other than the weight of him in his car seat or hassle of bringing the stroller, is easy to take around.

I enrolled A in a dance class close to our house, and she loves it. Because she's home with me now and not in daycare, we try to arrange a few playdates every month, and take trips to the library, Bounce-U, the zoo, Disneyland and Irvine Regional park. We also signed her up for weekly swim lessons which are pricey, but hopefully worth it.
Grandpa-Glennie continued their visits every weekend, and their grandpa from Oregon also came down for a few days. Our little boy is named after his father, so it was very special for me to see them meet for the first time.
Pumpkin patch & pony rides
Grandpa Swanek
Grandpa DeWitt
A week or so before my 6 week check-up, I began hiking on the trails behind our house and doing some super slow "running." Then, I began pushing the double B.O.B stroller which is really a workout! I'm averaging about 20 miles per week right now, with plans to increase that to 30.

I am a much more relaxed parent with the second child. And since I was already a relaxed parent with her, this does have me slightly fearing that I'm too relaxed and going to leave him somewhere. Especially because he is so quiet. I'm left wondering just what I did with all my free time back when I only had one helpless, tiny infant that slept all the time. I remember thinking it was a lot of work back then, but is nothing compared to having a toddler! It takes us almost an hour to get out of the house and has left me questioning whether I will ever be on time anywhere again.

Baby A started sleeping in her big girl princess bed again, with a little bribery. Her whole life, I have waited until she fell asleep to leave her room. As a baby, I held and rocked her until she was asleep and transferred her into her crib. When she was too big to do that, I would read to her and rub her back. But then she would sometimes hear me as I was leaving and call "Mommy." You have not experienced true fear until you have accidentally made noise sneaking out of your child's room. Later in my pregnancy, I would often fall asleep next to her while putting her down, and then wake up an hour later. Around the 9th or 10th month, I gave up completely and slept in her room all night, not wanting to 'waste' the 30 minutes it took to put her down.

Since moving into the new home, we slept in the same bed. It was easier and gave her the extra attention I felt she needed adjusting to no longer being an only child. I feared having her sleep on her own would be a tough transition or be a lot of work, and I delayed it until my husband brought it up. It's time I thought, but feared it wouldn't be easy.

On a whim, I drew up this non-Pinterest-worthy chart and promised her an Anna dress if she could sleep in her princess bed for 5 days. I didn't expect them to be in a row, but they were. I still read to her and rubbed her back, but left while she was still awake, freeing up a very valued 30 minutes to myself each night or with my husband.

This month, I slowed down and started playing with her more. More than ever before, she has been asking "Mommy, play with me." Maybe it is because we have more free time together now since she is not in school, maybe it is because she sees my attention on her baby brother, or maybe it is due to her developmental age. Whatever the cause, with seemingly limitless boxes to unpack and a newborn, I have to admit I sometimes dreaded these words. "Not now, A" or "Mommy can't play" were uttered one too many times. When I would oblige, she seemed to ask even more the next day.

Going against what I felt was right, I found myself asking should I be playing with her at all? Isn't that for kids her own age? Remembering stories of how my Mom used to play school with me when I was four, I knew the answer was that I should be playing with her, but I was busy, wasn't I? And being told which princess to be and ordered what to say stifled my playing creativity. Then late one night, I read this article. It only reaffirmed what was in my heart, and was exactly what I needed to read. I would be lying if I said I didn't get some tears in my eyes and committed to saying yes more to play.
We don’t reserve much room in our lives for fun and games anymore. Our days are filled with stress, obligations and hard wWe don’t reserve much room in our lives for fun and games anymore. Our days are filled with stress, obligations and hard work, and without realizing it, we are more disconnected from our kids than ever. Play is the work of the child and to connect with our kids, we must play with our kids.
Taking the time to put down our phones and realize that our kids need. us. to. play. It sounds silly, but all the mindless funny cat videos and random Tasty recipes will still be there years later; our children won’t.ork, and without realizing it, we are more disconnected from our kids than ever. Play is the work of the child and to connect with our kids, we must play with our kids.
Taking the time to put down our phones and realize that our kids need. us. to. play. It sounds silly, but all the mindless funny cat videos and random Tasty recipes will still be there years later; our children won’t.
So now, at least once a day, I sit and play with her. She will usually assign me a proncess or the Beast and tell me "Talk like the Beast!"

On the last weekend of the month, we picked GrandpaGlennie up and went to Oak Glen. It's a small mountain town with apple orchards a short drive from where I grew up. It was so much fun for me to see her explore the petting zoo, a place I remember going as a child.

Things I don't want to forget about this month:
  • Driving to the pumpkin patch listening to The Best Day with tears in my eyes. I'll never forget her excitement about hearing princesses and snow white in the lyrics and repeating it with a huge grin. The song not only reminds me of us, but also of my mother and I. She calls it "The Snow White Song" and loves to listen to it on repeat.
  • How she pronounces "your" as "or."
  • Saying "Oh come on!"
  • Having "Charles is awake" parties
  • Seeing him look up and smile at us on our evening walks
  • Her conversations with Trevi, when Trevi tells her that the princess bed is hers, or that she will be going on her trip to Finland this summer
  • Nicknames: Chompers, Big Man

Monday, September 3, 2018

August Update - Baby C's First Month!

We welcomed Baby C home a few days earlier than planned. He was scheduled to be born via c-section on Monday, August 6th. But Daddy booked a flight for all of us to Detroit for spring break to see his grandfather's old stomping grounds, and it was as if his new namesake new. At 4am, my water broke and knowing he would be big, all I was worried about was getting to the hospital in time to still have a c-section, and not a natural delivery.

Aunt Cassandra came over to watch A, and we sped off, early enough to miss the usual morning traffic. I was in a prep room as the sun came up over the mountains to my right. Before we knew it, I had an IV in and the anesthesiologist was going over consent with me, in more detail than I needed.

After meeting with my doctor, I was taken in and prepped for surgery. I had a little trouble breathing, a side effect of the spinal block that goes halfway up my chest, probably put into my head when the anesthesiologist mentioned it as a possible side effect. Feeling this effect caused me to well, feel more like I was having trouble breathing and I started shaking because I was so cold. "Let's bring the husband in," someone said, and he was by my side before I knew it, taking me to my happy place by asking me to talk about the Halloween housewarming party that I plan to throw.

There was a lot more pulling and tugging this time around like they were really having trouble getting him out. The table I was on moved and the whole process was taking much longer than when I had my daughter. Both of us were concerned, but neither of us said anything. Then, we heard a bit of a cry, followed by silence. In reality, probably only 15 seconds passed until the next cry, but it felt like minutes. When we heard his cries again, they were reassuringly much stronger. Someone called him a hunk and they said he was perfect and tears of joy and relief started flowing. Underneath my husband's mask, a few tears escaped, and we each breathed a huge sigh of relief.

We were in recovery for a little while, before being taken up to my room where I would spend the next four days. That day, my friend Ann-Marie picked my daughter up and took her to daycare, stopping first to get her a doughnut. She sent me some pictures of her smiling, and I felt good knowing she likes daycare and that it's a part of her routine. An absolute highlight of that day, other than meeting our little man, was seeing her meet her little brother. It was a moment I had long dreamed of, but wasn't sure I would ever see.

On his second day of life, just as with A, I was amazed to discover that he has a dimple - on the same side as her! Newborns don't smile unless they have gas, and so it was only by chance that I happened to catch his dimple on video, and then took a screenshot. I was/am so overjoyed that they share this trait! What are the chances?

My time in the hospital flew by. I purchased a new book that I was excited to read and saved up 3 weeks of People magazine but didn't read a page. Each day, Daddy would bring Baby A to visit and then I had other visitors: My Dad and brother, Carey, Ann-Marie and Andrea. Andrea even took Baby A to Disneyland one day, which helped assuage my guilt of not being home with her (My first night in the hospital was our first night ever apart). And Carey had A over for playdates with her best friend Tommy, even though she also had a newborn at home. This helped tremendously because Daddy was busy trying to pack up the rest of our home!
First night
When I came home, nearly everything was packed up to move. We spent the first night in our new home just two days after I arrived home! Forget nesting, I was happy enough to be able to find his diapers and formula. And here I sit, one month later and we have made progress, but so much is still in boxes. Because I was so pregnant and we didn't know for sure that we were moving until the last minute (our home had other offers on it), I did not do a lot of packing and decluttering on the front end. My husband did the majority of the moving himself, and toward the end, just ended up throwing things in boxes. 

Six days old - first doctor's appointment
From the beginning, A has been an amazing big sister. On the first morning home, she woke up and I was feeding him. Since day one, I have breastfed him, followed by supplementing with 2 ounces from a bottle. When she came into the room, he was ready for his bottle. Not wanting her to feel left out, I quickly said: "Let me give him to Daddy to feed so I can spend time with you." She wasn't having it! "No, I want to spend time with my baby brother!" Almost daily, she will come in for a cuddle and say "Aww! He's adorable!" or " He's gorgeous!" When she asks to hold him, she's ready to give him back after less than a minute, but never seems to mind me holding him or doting on him. With the new brother happening at the same time as the move, I expected something, but no bad behaviors came until the day of our very important newborn photo shoot. She acted more afraid of the studio and photographer than she would at a doctor's appointment, wouldn't listen to her directives, cried a lot. Because of this, I braced myself for the onslaught of more of these behaviors, but they never came. The photoshoot lasted nearly two hours, and sadly I now realize she was most likely really hungry! 

Just like with A, he is an amazingly easy baby. He wakes every 2-4 hours to feed but is otherwise asleep all of the time! Nights were rough until we were in our new home for about a week and my husband took over the night feedings. No doubt this long stretch of sleep each night compromised my milk supply, but I just cannot pass up 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep! 

...and prayed and prayed.
It's been a crazy, whirlwind month. But in between unpacking boxes, we managed to have some family and friends over for BBQs, start going on daily walks, sit out by the fire pit and roast marshmallows, explore the trail out our backyard gate, and watch her go in the spa with Daddy almost every night. As we settle into our new home and adjust to being a family of four, I just feel so blessed. Baby C is the icing on the cake and completes and balances out our family. There was a time when I feared that we may not have any children, and now we have two! 

Things I don't want to forget about this month:

  • Her saying "Please I can ....(watch princesses, watch TV)" instead of "Please can I..."
  • Holding him when he was less than a week old, in the new house. He was looking at the floor and I started singing to him. He slowly turned his head upwards and locked eyes with me.
  • Daddy singing "You Are My Sunshine" to him and Baby A joining in.
  • His nickname, baby Chomper

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July Update

We started a new tradition this July: Going to Orange County Mining Company for a late dinner on the third to watch the fireworks at a local high school. Baby A found it very exciting that we were going up the "big mountain" to see fireworks. We had reservations for 8:15, and the fireworks started about an hour later, as we were having dessert. We also bought fireworks from a local stand and let some of them off that night, although she was a bit uncertain and tentative.

On the morning of the 4th, we walked in a local neighborhood parade, something that is becoming increasingly difficult for me this far in my pregnancy. We saw family for lunch, and then after nap, Makenna and Michael came over for ice cream cake and fireworks in the street. Because Michael and Makenna were so into it, she was much more enthused, jumping up and down and squealing with excitement. 
After setting off the fireworks, we drove in the convertible and parked to watch more at a different local high school. She had such a great time that she didn't want the night to end, and asked for fireworks for the next week or two. I realized that the 4th of July has never been so much fun for me. She breathes new life and excitement into all holidays and it just doesn't compare to before having children!

This month, she was officially, effortlessly potty trained! She had been going "number 1" in the potty since Christmas-time, but had yet to attempt number two. Luckily for us, she would at least announce "I have to go poops!" and ask for a diaper with plenty of time to spare, so she wore underwear. When she would announce this, I would periodically ask if she wanted to try her potty and she would say "No, I go poops in my diaper" and I dropped it. I never forced the issue, remembering what my Mom would say: Don't worry, they won't be doing (FILL IN ANY BEHAVIOR HERE) on their first day of college.

But with our baby boy arriving next month, I wanted potty training complete! I bought a few toys to bribe her with at the .99 Only store. The next time she asked for a diaper, I told her she would get a toy if she used her potty. "No thank you!" she quipped. But then I showed her the toy. "Oh! Okay!" she said and ran in to use her potty! It's been almost a month since then, and she hasn't used her diaper since or had one accident. She has been sleeping with a Pull-Up, but has only needed it twice.

This month, things were a bit chaotic at home because we started packing to move! Just weeks before our baby boy arrives, we have sold our home and purchased a new one about 8 miles away. Starting last month, our weekends were consumed with open houses and tours of homes. We had listed ours but were doubtful we would find another worth selling for. My husband's plan has always been to rent ours out and purchase another. But with this plan, we would be buying a slightly nicer yet similar home, not "buying up" by much.

We must have looked at over 30 homes, many beyond our budget when we found the perfect one. Two stories and almost 3,000 square feet, the style of this home was one we both loved, especially when compared to all of the cheaply done flips we toured (read: all grey and white). It wowed us with a lot of upgrades throughout (like an aromatic steam shower, media closets, and built-in surround-sound) and features in the gourmet kitchen that I've never heard of, such as a warming tray and pot filler. At just over 10,000 square feet, the lot size was decent but what really sold us was the fact that it is at the end of a cul-de-sac and backs up to wilderness: a creek connected to a regional park. There is a gate from our backyard out to a network of trails! Even though a half-mile walk around the block is almost too much for me at this stage in my pregnancy, I cannot WAIT to get out there before sunrise and go on a run! We offered $25,000 over the list price and then countered with $5,000 over that and waited to see what happened.

Up until our offer was accepted, I told myself that I was "good either way." But all that changed when our offer beat out the others. Suddenly, I saw the kids' rooms set-up, future Christmases, and her coming down the stairs to leave for prom. It was touch and go for a few different reasons, and when finally official (we signed all the paperwork yesterday!), I was elated! But that left us with only a few weeks to pack up our whole house, which I am slowly working on now, with the majority of help from my husband. If all goes according to plan, we will close on the day of my scheduled c-section: August 6th!

Baby A completed 4 weeks of daily swim lessons. She learned to kick on the kick-board, then the less-supportive noodles and went under a few times. There were days she didn't want to do what her teacher was asking and would cry a bit, but she still listened and followed directives, exiting the pool with a few tears. On the days that she did well, we took her to the Dollar Tree to pick out a toy. On the days that she went under, Dad would split a chocolate shake with her. We have a salt-water hot tub level with the ground at our new home and although small compared to a pool, water safety is very important. Drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4.

Amidst all of this chaos, we worked in a lot of fun summer activities despite my waning energy level. Multiple trips to the splash pad, Marina Park, a summer concert at the local (small) zoo and a trip around the block on her bike almost daily. She also loved when I would sit in the backyard and "Make it rain" with the hose, so she could run through. She especially loved this in the trampoline, and was often "Naked as a jaybird."

At the beginning of the month, she was going around the block on her tricycle. By the end of the month, we were both surprised how well she was doing on her "big girl bike" that Beast gave her! After about 30 minutes of practice out front,

she surprised us both by going around the block without help, something we now do daily after nap. Although she had the bike for a few months and hadn't used it, it was just like potty training; one day she made up her mind to do it and never looked back.

We finished the month with a week of vacation Bible school (VBS) at Calvary church. The theme was Shipwrecked with the message that when you are sad, lonely or scared, Jesus rescues. I volunteered in her small class from 9-12:30 every day, and loved watching her interact with the other kids. Surprisingly, she did her own thing most of the time, only sometimes looking over her shoulder to see if I was there. She came home excited most days to show her Dad the craft she made, or repeat the Bible verse. One day, he asked her what she learned and I was blown away to hear her say "Jesus died on the cross for our sins." And just yesterday, we were driving to fetal monitoring and I was talking to her about what it would be like with me in the hospital for four days, and how she would visit me. I was trying to prepare her, but she felt the need to reassure me and said "Don't be scared. God will help you."

I have historically struggled with my faith, (and stories like the Tower of Bable in her children's Bible make no sense to me and don't help!) but in teaching her, she is teaching me. Nothing compares to the sweet, trusting mind of a child and it is a reminder to me that I need to be more child-like in my faith. Seeing these small seeds that were planted last week grow in her has made me more determined to continue her religious education, and we are bringing God into more conversations each day.

Things I don't want to forget about this month:
  • Singing The itsy bitsy spider climbed down Autumn's back. It went to her bum-bum to get a little snack! (pinch).
  • How she pronounces "Your" as "Or"
  • Pretending to be a baby and just saying "Na-na" until she needs something, and then using a really high-pitched baby voice. I hug her and say "Oh! It's my baby!" and she says "na-na." 
  • "You be A, I be Mommy, Okay? A, what you want to do today?"
  • Saying "I wuv you too!"
  • Tell me a story about...Ariel, Belle going to Gaston's house, etc.