Tuesday, July 17, 2018

PRESTON HURON: Month 2

Preston's second month seems like a big one!  I think part of this reason is that we've finally gotten into our groove, our new normal.  The first month, the month of May, had a lot of visitors, the busyness of the end of the school year for our older sons, and the addition of Josh being home a lot more as he took time off of work.

This second month has been mostly me and the four kids at home all day together.  That adjustment, while busy and difficult at times, has been a lot more seamless than #mycrazy had ever let it be in my head when I was anxious about it.  I think we get out a little less and watch a little more TV than I would like, but we are making this four-kids-five-and-under thing work!

What We Learned About Preston:
Even though Preston has had to be very flexible and accommodating of his three older brothers and their activities, needs, and schedules, he is very much his own person.  When I am just feeling like I can predict when he might have blocks of time where he is sleeping or awake, he will turn that completely upside-down as if to remind us that he is here and he is trying to run the show.  He usually will wake up and be hungry enough to eat almost right away.  Then he'll have about an hour or hour and a half of an awake block and then will take a nap.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  I'll get comfortable with that and then he'll take a really long (or really short) nap and throw off his day.  Or, he'll decide he wants to sleep right after he eats and then want to have a long awake period after.  Or, he'll want to sleep a ton during the day and will have a random night where he is up and wanting to hang out.  My body has had a hard time keeping up with him because he has no patterns.  It's been a nightmare for my boobs! 
Sleeping angel <3
This month he's become so much more interactive and definitely enjoys what a large audience he has.  As much as Josh or I or grandparents freak when we get that huge smile or see him bat at toys in his little jungle play mat, Nolan, Judah, and Carter are just as obsessed.  They go crazy when Preston smiles at them or looks right at them or holds their finger or touches their face, etc.  They, especially Carter, announce any interactions to the whole world- "THE BABY GRABBED MY HAND!!" or "THE BABY IS LOOKING AT ME!!"  If he's tired of me oooooing and ahhhhing at him, he needs to look no farther then next to me to be able to put on a show for someone else.  
Smiling at somebody :)

When I'm holding Preston, it is a guarantee that at least one other person is all up in my grill trying to get Little P to interact with them too.  Most of the time, I have three people climbing all over me to get a look at Preston.
He's not sure how he feels about his brothers being all over him all the time. 

Preston can't even snuggle without someone else being right there!
We've spent a lot of time outside this summer (my goal every day is to ware the three big boys completely out) and Preston is not sure how he feels about it.  He loves looking at the outside from the inside of the house.  He'll stare so intently at the leaves blowing in the wind or gaze out a window for long periods and be perfectly happy.  Once you actually take him out there, however, you can tell he loves it, but also is still VERY sensitive to the bright light of the outside.  He spends most of his time with his eyes closed and will twitch and react very strongly to any sunlight on his face even for one second.  It's humorous to watch.  
"Watching" his brother swim.
    

Some Firsts:
Rolling over 
Cooing
First time taking all four kids by myself to playground
First time taking all four kids to a store
First family vacation (trip to cottage)
First time going out to a restaurant with all six of us
First time putting feet in Lake Huron

The cottage with all my boys


We went in pubic, all of us, and we survived!
Preston Huron touching Lake Huron!!

What I've Learned About Being a Mom:
I think the theme of momming with four kids is grace. I can go to bed every night knowing I am doing the best that I can.  While that is a good feeling, it also means that often I am fighting feelings of my best not being good enough.  Parents feel that way a lot- being totally spent physically, emotionally, mentally but still feeling like they fall short.  

I am trying grant myself grace, which is so hard for me to do because I have put myself at the bottom of the totem pole- also a thing so many parents do.  

So....

 I'm trying to give myself grace when I put on makeup maybe once a week (I have a nice summer glow so who needs that anyway?!).  

I'm trying to grant myself grace when I put on workout clothes hoping to take a really good walk (which has been mostly the only exercise I'm doing- working out consistently has not fully made it back into my priorities) and then the day is over and I realize I never took that walk. 

I'm really finding grace when the reality that I may wore maternity pants for a very long time sinks in (I'm trying to think of it like I'm really giving them a last hoorah since I will never be pregnant again).  

Most surprising this time is finding grace deep within when I feel overwhelmed at anything "extra." Right now, working out is extra, reading books is extra, doing any things for the upcoming school year is extra, taking care of my aging cat is extra, staying caught up on my work email is extra, even blogging feels like extra.  Some of these things are my most favorite things to do and jamming them in feels next to impossible right this minute.  (I have a two month old baby and three more kids, that's okay right?!) 

Look at al those parenthesis as I rationalize my decisions to myself.  That's where my grace comes in I guess.  

I am motivated and empowered with difficult things- they fuel me... bring it on.  So I chip away, little by little and celebrate small victories when I can.   Completing this, even though Preston is now two and a half months old will be a victory.  I have finished two books lately and I am so proud of that.  I have gone to two spinning classes, and wahooo!  

I know I'll get there- feeling a little more on top of it.  But that's what grace is all about isn't it- respect and acceptance and patience. 

Meanwhile, as I'm working on digging deep to find grace for me, I'm trying to give it out regularly to my children and Josh.  We are all trying really hard.    

I'm also trying enjoy small things- this is the longest summer I will have all my kids at home. I've been off on maturity leave since the end of April, so my summer started nice and early and boys have been done with school since the end of May.  I'm trying to look and savor a lot of moments- running around in the sprinklers in underwear, all four boys laying in the play gym, morning walks at the cottage, sunsets, messy and sticky popsicle faces, swimming without swimmies, first T-ball games, evening walks and bike rides as a family, and Preston smiles as he takes in this big beautiful world.  




Sunday, July 15, 2018

What the World Cup Has Brought My Family

I LOVE the World Cup... so does Josh.

When both the United States AND Italy did not get in, I was distraught, sad, angry even.  I vowed I wouldn't watch and wouldn't care.  I was robbed of my favorite teams so, in return, I would boycott the World Cup- take THAT, world!

My reaction, clearly, was irrational and selfish.  One of the most special parts about this particular World Cup was that Nolan and Judah were old enough to get into it too.  Josh and I watched four years ago cheering as we had two one year olds at home.  We kept talking about how fun it would be, next time, to watch with them.  I needed to let my frustration of not having either of "my" teams in the competition go so I could enjoy with my family.  
Nolan and Judah, 2014, 14 months old with their USA pride for the World Cup

So, a month ago, we welcomed the World Cup 2018 into our home.  As an always-in-training global citizen, I knew this tournament would be more than a bunch of soccer games to my family- it would be an entry point to open up a dialogue about other countries, which is one of my most favorite things to talk to my boys about. 

Many of my sixth graders enter my classroom thinking Mexico is a state.  This misconception isn't even their fault- it's a place where our education system is failing our children.  The recent focus on math and literacy skills, while INCREDIBLY vital and important, don't get me wrong, has robbed our kids of having consistent social studies and science curriculum in many elementary schools.  The sciences are where kids build up their schema about the world that help them be better comprehenders of knowledge. Not to mention the empathy and compassion when learning about the environment, plants, animals, and other people and cultures in our world.  When you hardly have social studies time for the first four or five years of your schooling, no wonder you have no global context as an eleven-year-old in my classroom.  As a parent, I do NOT want that for my boys and have vowed for them to have some good global knowledge entering school.  This is why the placemats at our kitchen table are a political map of the world.  My boys may have no idea how to tie their shoes or zip their coats all the way entering kindergarten, but they will know there has been a famine going on in Eastern Africa, a recent volcanic eruption in Guatemala, and where lots of countries are on the map!  It's all about priorities ;)


PS- here's a link to the placemats we have

Anyway, I had NO idea how much the World Cup would enrich my house... no idea.  

Yes, my boys were very curious about the rules of soccer- wanting to know about off sides and what a yellow card was... why some games went into a shoot out and others were declared a tie.  Yes, they were curious to know where countries were on the map and were so surprised to see a lot of our world represented in this tournament.  They too were sad not to see the United States and wondered if Canada had ever been to the World Cup.  These were things I had hoped would be a part of our experience watching this tournament.
Judah glued to the TV cheering for Mexico! 
Also, while watching, Nolan started to be extremely curious about the countries' flags- the colors, the patterns, etc.  This led to an entirely different wealth of knowledge to enter my home.  At first, Nolan just wanted to try and draw some of the flags he was seeing.  It started with Russia. Since they were hosting the World Cup, they became one of his favorite teams to root for.  Once he had drawn the Russian flag, he wanted to make sure to draw the US flag, Canada's flag, and an MSU flag just to make sure he was representing his own allegiances.  We looked pictures of those up on Google so that he could copy.  After he showed more interest wanting to draw other countries' flags, we decided to hit up the library to check out several books about flags.  
The first flag creation- who knew it would lead to many many more! 
Two examples of books we checked out from the library.
Many,  many other flags have since been made- countries in the World Cup and countries not in it.  That alone, the drawing of the flags, would've been enough of an enrichment from the World Cup, but it didn't stop there.  After, there were all kinds of questions about why flags are the way they are.  Why do some flags looks so similar (Like the United States, Liberia, and Malaysia?  Why do flags have the colors they do?  Who gets to pick what a flag looks like?  
Several flags created- Brazil, Panama, Great Britain, Japan, Argentina, etc, etc.
So, we started to read the flag books, not just look at the pictures.  We, all of us, have learned so much- pages and pages talking about the history of countries- wars they fought, when they earned independence from their colonizer, how their flag was adopted and when.  How so many flags with black in them symbolize their rich African history or, for places like Jamaica, of Africans forced to come there to be part of a slave trade and trying to honor that story on their flag.  We learned that many flags with red symbolize blood shed in a war for independence- of brave citizens fighting to be free.  There's blues paying homage to beautiful water access within counties, yellow or white often symbolizing sandy beaches or sunshine, and green to highlight fertile soil or rich vegetation.  You can imagine how these stories have unlocked a wealth of additional questions and discussion opportunities for my boys.  While issues of power, colonization, inequity, natural resources, war, and race are big big themes my boys don't grasp a lot of yet, this tournament, these flags, have helped open the door to their minds and their hearts about places and people around the world.  I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to learn.  I'm also grateful to Nolan who motivated our whole family to learn and participate- he totally sold this flag passion to all of us.  His excitement and zest for knowledge was contagious to where we all have been obsessed with flags right along side him. 
Nolan with the Colombian flag.
To think, I was going to boycott the World Cup this year.  What a terrible mistake that would've been!! 

Thank you, World Cup 2018, for all that you've brought into my family.  We'll see you in 2022- can't wait! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

8 Weeks In: What is life like with four kids?!

Bringing Preston home from the hospital was exciting and so scary!  What in the WORLD was it going to be like to have four kids, four boys, all five and under, at home together all summer long?!

I wasn't sure what the dynamic was going to be between each child and Preston and how my relationships with my boys were going to shift and change now that I was going to have a new baby attached to me.  

Thankfully, Josh took off a couple of weeks so that we could adjust, initially, as a full family of six.  Having both parents around allowed for sneaking in cat naps here and there, being able to spend one-on-one time with each boy or pairing off into some smaller groups, and it helped people get the attention that they needed and deserved.  

As Josh eased back into work I will admit I was terrified- Preston was eating around the clock, and the three bigger boys were in preschool and sports.  How would I ever manage?  

Just like with any new experience, you figure it out and so did we.  

For the most part, things have been really smooth, surprisingly smooth honestly. We've continued about our daily life with the addition of a very cute and very flexible little guy who we all love doting over.  

Mealtimes and bedtimes, especially, have proven to be a bit tricky as all four boys need a lot during those times.  I'm certain if someone video-taped me on any given day at lunchtime, for example, you would get quite a show.  You'd see me, essentially darting from place to place doing circles around my house at lightning speed.  

Here is a real life scenario at lunch the other day- someone wanted a second helping of something, while at the same time someone else had spilled their milk, while at the same time someone was on the toilet needing to be wiped, while at the same time Preston was nursing, while at the same time Prim, our cat, was meowing because she wanted her lunch too, of course.  How do I meet these needs and wants simultaneously?  Like how?  Seriously.
I have gotten a bit overwhelmed in these moments, (I'd love to know someone who wouldn't- please teach me your ways) and that's when the darting begins- back and forth putting out these little fires, one at a time, until everyone is satisfied again.  Then I sigh, wipe the sweat off my forehead (or the tears from my eyes) and I feel like the biggest superwoman that's ever existed.  These moments, as I'm certain you can tell, have a manic quality about them- very low lows and very high highs.   

The other thing I've noticed, as we've adjusted to a family of six, is how each of my older sons has taken on his own special and unique little part of helping out with Baby Preston...

Nolan- He is my numbers guy.  When I am sleep deprived, I am a complete moron when it comes to numbers so Nolan has really stepped up to fill in my inadequacies there.  He stays right up on how long it's been since Preston has ate, how long his naps are, how many minutes he nursed on each side, etc.  He is constantly talking to me about this data and can do all the math.  This has helped Preston stay full and rested and given me one less thing to occupy my VERY FULL brain.  Nolan also loves to help me burp Preston and gets very proud if one of his pats yields a burp.       

Judah- He is the fetcher for anything Preston might need.  If we are out of diapers on the main floor, Judah is sprinting up stairs to grab more.  If Preston spits up, Judah rushes to his aid burp cloth in hand.  If I need my Boppie to feed Preston, I'll blink and Judah will have it in front of me ready to go.  He has made sure Preston never goes without what he needs.  He calls Preston HIS baby and is usually the first one to ask to hold him too.  

Carter- Even though this guy has had the hardest time adjusting to Preston (he loved being the baby in the family), he has never ever taken that out on his new baby brother.  Carter has needed the most extra attention and, as such, has given Josh and I a run for our money. He decided not to nap when Preston first came home and was just incorrigible in the evening.  He was also doing some serious acting out like walking right out the front door or throwing some next-level tantrums. But thankfully, Carter has given Preston nothing but unconditional love.  

Since Preston cannot talk, Cater has taken on the job of being Preston's mouth or blow horn to be precise.  If Preston cries, I can count on Carter yelling "THE BABY IS CRYING!" within five seconds.  If Preston smiles, there is Carter: "PRESTON IS SMILING AT ME!"  If Preston gets up from sleeping, Carter is screaming, "THE BABY IS AWAKE!"  When I'm changing Preston's diaper, Carter is right there: "PRESTON POOPED!"  Besides being Preston's mouth piece, Carter also needs to be as close to the new baby as physically possible.  It's very cute and sweet, but he can definitely get a bit too close sometimes ;). He always wants to see the baby, kiss the baby, touch the baby, hug the baby.  

Although not every moment has been easy these last eight weeks, I am overjoyed with the way we have adjusted to a family of six.  If you can get past the complete chaos that happens a few times a day, you will see three big brothers who have loved and accepted their new sibling instantly.  Nolan, Judah, and Carter would do anything for Preston to make sure he is happy, healthy, safe, and loved.  You will also see a baby who sleeps through an extreme amount of noise and movement, who accepts people being in his personal space constantly, and is flexible and pretty darn patient to accommodate three siblings who have needs too. I really can't ask for more than that from any of them.  Preston is really lucky to have his big brothers and they are equally really lucky to have him.  
   

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Preston Huron: Month 1

Our littlest guy is a month old!  It's so strange, having babies at literally the same time of year because it feels a little like ground hogs day in those first few months.  The things you miss on maternity leave are the same, the weather is the same, the clothes are the same (especially when you only pop out boys), the daylight hours are the same.  Time still flies though holy cow!

What We Learned About Preston:
In utero, Preston had the hiccups all the time, enjoyed being awake at 3:00am, and had a consistent steady heartbeat that barely fluxiated. In fact, for several weeks in a row... like maybe even almost two months, his heart rate was 154 every time it got checked.  My mom said maybe this baby would be laid back and calm.  So far (knock on wood), she's been pretty spot on.  Preston's outside-the-womb behavior has been fairly similar- he gets the hiccups all the time, did, at first, VERY much love being awake at 3:00am, and has been pretty calm and laid back so far. 

When we first brought Preston home from the hospital, he seemed to be one of those newborns that had his days and nights confused.  He would sleep so so much during the day and sleep in his bassinet regardless of the circus going on around him (aka three older brothers living their life), but at night, when everyone else was sleeping and quiet, he refused to sleep.  It brought an exhaustion that I may have never seen in my life.  Josh and were maybe sleeping an hour or two.  Preston refused to sleep in his bassinet, he would only sleep when held so that left Josh and me awake... a lot.  Then of course the rest of our brood would be up and ready to go by 6:30am.  I can't even describe how tired I was.  I handle lack of sleep well, like very well, but this was on another level.  I remember rocking him in the middle of the night one night, laying him in his bassinet, climbing into bed and falling instantly asleep only to be woken up about ten minutes later by him screaming.  I cried and cried and cried.  We could not live like this- being up all day with three kids and being up all night with one kid.  

I begged my pediatrician for solutions only to find there were none.  It wasn't as if you could "teach" a newborn day and night like you can someone who's a little older.  Preston isn't going to care if the blinds are open or closed or the lights are on or off.  Newborns were newborns and they would figure it out- probably in a week or two, she said.  Maybe a month.  AH!

Thankfully, this sleepless period was short lived.  He is now getting up to nurse when he's hungry at night and going back to sleep fairly quickly.  HALLELUJAH!  Having a few more hours of rest has made an incredible difference.  

Preston soothes quickly when upset and as long as he is fed, dry, and warm, he's pretty much set.  

Right before being a month old, he began giving us some seriously precious awake smiles.  He smiles the most at this brothers.  They just have to show their face near him and he is all grins.  I, on the other hand, have to work a little harder for it :).

Some firsts:
- Going to church as a family of six- Preston slept through the whole thing thank goodness!
- Preston has went to more than one pool party, a preschool graduation, and the Michigan Mile at Lansing Lugnuts
- 5-14-18~ first awake smile- it was at Nolan
- 5-25-18~ first smile at Mommy
-5-31-18~ first cute baby coo

What I've Learned About Being a Mom:
It's funny, when I first started blogging about Nolan and Judah when they were newborns, I put the subheading in of what I was learning about being a mom.  It was my first time being a mom so everything was new, everything I was doing was a learning experience.  I don't know that I would've guessed that I'd be here, on my fourth child, still using this subheading.  I should've known better.  When it comes to mothering individual, unique, special humans, there is ALWAYS something to learn.  The month we've had with Preston is no exception.  

Preston is my last baby.  This fact has made any difficult times so far much more bearable.  When we weren't sleeping, although I was exhausted, I was trying to remember it was my last time having a newborn.  I can handle it.  When he is cranky and needs to be held- no big deal! It's the last time a little baby is going to need me like that.  Because I am an emotional basketcase anyway, it's going to be rough going with him because in my brain I am always going to be thinking- this is it.  Even though it will certainly cause me more tears, I'm glad I know this is it.  I'm glad there is a finality here so I can soak it up and sob it up.  

Breastfeeding causes me EXTREME anxiety.  Even though I have successfully breastfed three babies for fifteen months each (two of them at the same time), it wasn't easy at first... at all.  Knowing how tricky it can be to figure out breastfeeding literally kept me up at night while I was pregnant with Preston.  I had many, many dreams about forgetting to feed a baby, leaving my pumping stuff while on a trip away from the baby, remembering how painful it can be, how heartbreaking it is to see your child lose weight even though you are working so hard to provide nourishment for them.  I was so worried what it would be like if Preston was not a natural breastfeeder.  THANKFULLY, this kid was a champ from not only day one, but like minute one. He was rooting and trying to suck when he was put on my chest in the OR during my C-Section.  I nursed him right in the operating room.  I have never been able to do that before.  Again, a HALLELUJAH is in order there.  I don't know if I could've done the no sleep thing AND had a bunch of breastfeeding problems at the same time.  

Speaking of anxiety, how about the worry associated with having four kids five and under at home all day?!  Oh sheesh.  I'm so grateful Josh took off a lot of time to stay home when we came home from the hospital.  This let naps happen for Mommy and Daddy, which are EVERYTHING and also helped with crowd control and being able to have two adults handle some difficult times of day.  Preston loves to eat when everyone else is eating and loves to go to bed (which is really more of a nap) when everyone else is going to bed too.  Trying to nurse a baby AND feed three kids lunch is a bit tricky.  When Josh went back to work, I was terrified.  How could I juggle all of this and not lose my freaking mind?  

I am happy to report that we are all surviving and getting used to our new normal.  Nolan, Judah, and Carter have been incredible helpers (more on how they've been handling a new baby in an upcoming blog) and Preston, because of his laid-back personality, has helped make challenging times a lot easier.  

The hardest part, I think, is trying to find moments of one-on-one time for everyone.  Each of my boys deserves my full attention several times throughout our day and that's not easy to do.  The biggest thing I've tried to do is listen.  So when Nolan wants to put on a concert, my eyes are on him. When Judah wants to tell me about a bug he caught, I am all in.  When Carter wants to go on a tangent about a road with balloons, playground equipment, and a church and is trying to get me to know where it is, I am focusing my brain on that.  I can't always find minutes to play with each of my children one-on-one right now, but I can be a good listener.  I can empathize with feelings, validate emotions, ask questions, make connections, and answer questions.  

I am also trying my hardest to play, really well, while Preston is sleeping.  Even though I am healing from major abdominal surgery, am exhausted, and have a million things to do always, I am playing baseball, building sandcastles, and facilitating art projects and building constructions.  Again, my kids deserve that.  Having a new baby at home when you have other children is really hard.  Having four kids is really, really hard, but my boys deserve whatever best version of me I can put out at the moment.

Being kind to myself has also been a challenge.  Above I mention being the best version of me that I can put out at the moment.  I say that because, right now, my best isn't my actual best if that makes sense.  I know being tired affects what I can handle, I know I am more impatient than I usually am, and I also know I am spending hours and hours a day feeding a baby.  All of those take away from me being my best self for my kids.  I do too much and spread myself too thin.  I get very down on myself if I feel like I'm dropping the ball.

I'm trying to handle all of that with grace- grace to Preston as he learns how to be a human outside my belly, grace to Nolan, Judah, and Carter who have had their world rocked with the addition of another brother, grace to Josh as he is exhausted and spread thin, too, and grace to myself.  All this adjustment takes time and it's going to be messy and tricky, but wonderful and magical too.  

We are so glad Preston is here- we all love and adore him and are having a wonderful time getting to know him.  
















Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My babies lie sideways in utero- what's your superpower?

Preston Huron Hundt made his arrival, scheduled arrival I should say, on May 2nd, 2018 at 9:16am.  He weighed 8lbs 12oz and was 21.75 inches long.

This baby, like all my others, was not in a 'head down' position.  This baby, like all my other others, was not breech either.  I have delivered four babies that were in the transverse position.  Babies who present in the transverse position are laying sideways.  For me, that has seemed normal, but apparently, when I looked it up, only about 1% or less of babies are positioned that way at birth making that actually quite rare.

I didn't think anything of this position when I was pregnant with twins- I had two large babies in there and of COURSE they found room wherever they could.  Although I was hoping to deliver vaginally, I wasn't terrible surprised or terribly disappointed when it turned out that two babies were not where they needed to be.  I accepted my scheduled C-Section with grace. 

With Carter, I was really hoping to be able to try a V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarian).  I did not have a C-Section out of emergency or because of a condition I have that would make it impossible or very risky to try a vaginal birth.  I was a great candidate to have success birthing without C-Section.  Apparently, when I looked it up, around 97% of babies are set to come out head first. Surely this ONE baby would cooperate.  

It was not to be- during the last 5 weeks of pregnancy, Carter was in a different position every time I went to the doctor.  He essentially rotated almost entirely around my belly.  He stopped just short of being head down again and instead left his head and body sideways.  I assumed because my belly was able to stretch out so much because I had twins last time, he was able to spread out a lot and just was just swimming all over the place.  Although this was my non-scienfitic and non-medical logic, that was essentially true with him.

No one explained to me why this transverse position seemed to be the one my children loved to have.  It just was what it was.  I guess in hindsight, I could've asked more questions, but I have trusted my doctors and have told them many times that I didn't really care how my babies got out as long as it was the safest for them and safest for me.  I also had rationalized using, I think, pretty great logic as to why Nolan and Judah and Carter all ended up sideways.  

When this last baby ended up transverse too, I finally had a doctor take time to examine me and talk with me about why my kids were in this position. 

I have a tilted uterus, which I knew about already.  While that isn't THE reason, it factors a bit because my body has to do a little bit of shifting to figure this pregnancy thing out.  It also explains why everyone on earth always comments on how low I carry babies.  My uterus is all mixed up so it actually doesn't sit as high as it's supposed to.  I seem to look like I've "dropped" for many, many, many weeks.  I had people telling me, around 30 weeks, that I looked like I might deliver any day.  Ummmm, no thank you.  I would comment back that this is how I always look- saggy belly, that's me! 

Because I carry low and because I had twins shred my abdominal muscles completely (see other blog about my diastasis recti here), I truly have nothing holding anything in or up.  My belly is the opposite of perky.

None of this was new news....

What WAS new was the actual position of my baby.  I knew he or she was transverse laying sideways, but after the doctor felt around a bit, he let me know that my baby was actually IN FRONT OF the birth canal.  So not only was my belly saggy, it was sagging OVER and IN FRONT OF the place where babies come out.  He let me know that there was nothing even close to the birth canal or pelvic bone except fluid.  I would never have a head or a foot or a butt anywhere near there- my kid was in front of all that and lower than all that swimming around sideways. 

Essentially, if C-Sections had not been invented, I'd be in big big trouble and so would my baby. 

I'd need somehow to lift my belly up and push it inward towards my body and down in order to have any child anywhere near where it should be.  

FINALLY! I understand... 

I understand why I've never went into labor.  Not even little bit- never even been dilated.

I understand why I don't have the urge to pee that people get when they are closer to delivery in the third trimester.  

I understand why all of my maternity clothes become too short because I'm hanging down so freaking low.  

I understand why people make comments about my basketball and how low it is and how far it sticks out from my body.  

I understand why my kids have been able to do flips around my body late in the third trimester when most babies are staying put.  

I also understand, now, why my C-Section scare was so painful as I had SO MUCH SKIN sitting on top of it and hanging down over it.  Ouch.  

Babies are a miracle anyway, but MAN, our bodies sure go through some serious stuff in order to birth children and that's a pretty big miracle too. 
The day Nolan and Judah were born (38 weeks)
The day Carter born (41 weeks)
The day Preston was born (39 week, 1 day)

Monday, May 7, 2018

NOLAN and JUDAH are FIVE

The two boys who made me a mommy are turning five!  Kindergarten is on the horizon... I can't.  I will never think of May 7th and not get emotional- I remember so vividly being told by Josh that "It's a boy!" when Nolan came out and "It's a boy!" when Judah arrived 90 seconds later.  I was a mom...times two.  My life was enriched and changed... times two.  I was lucky... times two.  

My thoughts to them both...



Dear Nolan,
YOU ARE FIVE!!!  

Daddy and I just took you and Judah to kindergarten round up today at Cornell.  You both decided to wear ties so not only did the fact that you were twins make an impression, but your dapper outfits certainly did too.  I went in the room with you and watched you pick a station, sit down, and talk with the adult there and almost burst into tears.  How are you such a person?!  I tell you guys all the time that you can’t possibly be doing all the things that you are doing because I just took you home for the hospital.  That’s how quick it feels to me.

During this last year, you continued to be steadfast in your love for building, books, and playing outside, but have added some new interests.  You are getting obsessed with sports recently.  Not necessarily playing them (although you do love to play basketball and tennis especially with some baseball and soccer thrown in), but the numbers behind spots.  The scores, the stats, the game itself.  You pick all these teams that you like and follow them.  You want to ask all the time who we would root for in different games or you can’t wait to check scores when you wake up in the morning.  I’m interested to see where this will go. 

You have always loved music, but you are beginning to get into music competition shows and doing concerts for all of us in the fireplace room.  Taking a music class at MSU also helped this interest. 
Nolan, you are at your best when you are busy with a project- having something to keep you occupied has been key.  If you are not occupied, you are less gentle and more impulsive as you will go searching for your own fun and your own plan, which doesn’t always turn out well. 

This makes me need to tell you that I am hard on you- probably harder on you than I am on anyone else.  Your awareness of others, your empathy, and your compassion are functioning at such a high level that sometimes I forget that you’re only four.  So when you might make a questionable decision, say something unkind, or hurt someone with your body- I flip out because you know better.  I say that because you really do, in fact, know better.  You know how things feel, you can label your emotions, and I know you never want anyone around you to be sad.  I get really upset at you when you are the cause of any chaos in our house.  I know that’s not always fair as you are still learning just like everyone else. 

You have really been working on reading and math; your memory blows me away.  I can’t believe how many words your recognize and how much math you are doing in your head.  Especially with time- you can figure out what time it is, what time something starts and then figure out how much time we have before it’s time to leave or go somewhere. 

Your imagination is my favorite- you help orchestrate so much play in our house- playing store, playing restaurant, building castles, apartments, schools, sky scrapers, playing doctor, getting phone calls from “work” and constantly juggling your busy “work” schedule, playing school, concerts, basketball.  You even invented a sweet baseball game that uses a fireman’s hat recently.  It’s really fun to watch your brain tick and it is always ticking, my friend…. Always ticking. 

Thank you, for your kindness this year, as Mommy has been growing your little brother/sister in my belly.  As I’ve gotten bigger and slower, you and Judah have stepped up huge to take care of me.  You run to pick things up off of the floor and you and your brothers have given me so many doctors check ups over these last months to make sure the baby is okay.  You’ve taken a great interest in him/her and taken great care to make sure I am always okay.  I will always remember this and always be so so grateful for the help and consideration. 

I hope this next year continues your love for learning, your love of reading, your love of creating. 
I want you know that I’ve noticed how cuddly and snuggly you’ve been too and it means everything to me.  I love how much you try to climb on my lap, snuggle in next to me, and ask for kisses and hugs.  Please don’t ever ever stop. 

Happy 5th Birthday, Nolan!  You were the first one to pop out and make me a mom and I have loved that job more than any other in my world.  I can’t wait to support you in this next big year to come.

You’re my favorite Nolan that’s ever been.  I love you.
-Mommy










Dear Judah,
I am writing you this letter, for your FIFTH birthday a little earlier than I would because of the new baby coming!  You are currently on the way to the dump and Home Depot with Daddy and your brothers; one of your favorite outings.

I have been joking with all of you that I can’t believe how big you are and that I just took you home from the hospital.  Even though this makes you laugh a lot, there is such truth there.  I really do think sometimes that I just brought you home from the hospital.  I remember so vividly holding you and Nolan in my arms letting this incredible amount of love wash over me as I became a mom for the first time.  How can you be this old?! 
  
This year has been a wonderful one for you.  You’ve enjoyed school to the fullest- working hard, trying your best, playing with all kinds of friends.  You’ve made a ton of progress in your speech classes, and got to try out some new experiences- soccer, gymnastics, and a music class.  You loved all of these.

Other things you love are playing with cars (especially when Nolan is building things with Magnitiles), playing trains, being outside to do anything and everything, doing art projects, and being perfectly content spending time with people or spending time alone.  You still love books and cooking too!

Getting you to hurry to do anything is a challenge- you take your time eating, you take your time getting ready, you take your time cleaning up, and you often take your time walking places.  This drives me bananas because I, on the other hand, am in a hurry everywhere (even if I don’t need to be).  I am hopeful I can learn a lot from you because I think the positive of your slowness is that you take time to really see things, really smell things, really think about things.  This is probably why you find things and notice things all the time. 

You are very into making sure everyone around you makes good decisions and choices and we’ve been reminding you that although that can be helpful, we really want you to make sure you worry about you 😉 You have two very hands-on parents… you brothers do not need another mom or dad 😉

One of the biggest things I want to thank you for this past year is the kindness you and shown me and your new baby brother/sister.  You have been the most incredible big big brother and care taker to me as I’ve been pregnant.  You jump up to pick things off the floor for me, you are patient as I’ve gotten bigger and been more limited with my movements, and are the most gentle little nugget around my belly.  You also talk to the baby all the time, kiss my belly, tell the baby how much you love him/her, and talk a lot about how much you’re going to help and spend time with the baby.  It’s been so incredibly sweet.  I could not have asked for a more thoughtful older sibling for this baby.  I think you’re going to be the most incredible big big brother this little guy or gal could have.  You know how much your care has meant to me because I tell you all the time, but someday when you read this when you are bigger I want you to know how much I noticed and how much it meant to me.  You seriously could not have been more gentle and considerate during these 9ish-10ish months. 

In two days, I will take you and Nolan to kindergarten roundup and I just can’t even.  We’ve been practicing reading and writing and math around here and I just can’t even about those things either.  I’m so grateful you love to learn. 

I hope, as this fifth year gets started, that you remember to use your voice to let people know what you need, how to make things better for you, and to verbally share your emotions and problem solving.  I hope you continue to soak in all the knowledge and experiences you can.  I hope you keep your confidence as preschool ends and kindergarten begins- you have so much to offer any learning community with your hard work, open mind/heart, and positive friendly nature.  I hope you continue to love spending time with your brothers, especially Nolan.  Your friendship is special and rare and incredible to watch as you both take such good care of one another.  I hope you keep finding things that you love to do and that you keep being excited and energetic about adventures we have and things we try.  And maybe most of all, selfishly, I hope you keep coming up to me, at random moments, to snuggle quickly and tell me you love me.  Those small things mean the WORLD to me, your very proud and honored Mama.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDAH BEAN.

I love you,
Mommy