November 28, 2010

23 Weeks.

It's the beginning of the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, and this is the third Advent that I have gotten to experience while being pregnant. It's been such a cool experience each and every time- remembering that God came to us as a baby and was carried by a woman... a woman very much like me, who lovingly caressed her growing belly and wondered at the WONDER of it all.

Pregnancy is amazing. Miraculous. In just nine short months, there is a new little person. Where there was nothing, there is suddenly someone... a person who is unique from any other person before it! And the fact that all of that energy and life and potential is wrapped up inside of me makes me feel humbled, yet so incredibly honored.

Ezra was asking me the other day about marriage and babies and at one point he said to me, "I wish I was a girl so I could carry a baby inside of me!"

And then, not even 10 seconds later, he said, "Or wait, never mind. I definitely want to be a boy because pushing the baby out hurts."

I laughed and told him he was a smart man, but inwardly I thanked God that I get to have such an intimate knowledge of the mystery of life. I have had no other experience that has taught me so much about Him, and for that fact alone the pain is more than worth it.

November 23, 2010


CareBear stare!

It seems like you always hear people talk about how incredibly difficult the transition from one to two children is, but I didn't find it to be all that problematic. The transition was very smooth and I kept waiting for the "Just You Wait" bomb to drop on my head, but it just never did.

In preparing myself for this third baby, however, I am feeling a wee bit anxious. I can not even stress to you all enough how NICE it was having a four year old by the time our second child came along. Ezra was potty trained! He was in preschool three days a week! He slept all night long with no interruptions! And he knew how to entertain himself well, playing with toys or computer games when I had my hands full with witty bitty Myer! It was GREAT. Peaceful, even.

But when I think of this new baby coming in just four short months, I can't help but feel that the "Just You Wait" bomb that I somehow avoided the first time around is on it's way- and right on target.

I am not naturally an anxious person, so this thought of "what is this going to BE like- a two year old AND a squeaky newborn at the same time??" feels like a weight that just won't go away, and probably won't go away until I am standing knee deep in the reality of it all.

Maybe everything will go smoothly again and all these fallout drills are for nothing!

I am a firm believer that your attitude can ultimately shape your experiences- meaning that if you enter into a situation with tons of expected anxiety and stress, your experience is more than likely going to be... stressful and full of anxiety! But if you enter into things with an attitude that believes the best until proven wrong, and even then is committed to just letting things go when there is no use clinging to them like deflated lifeboats, you are more likely to have a good experience.

So... basically... now I've gotten myself into this pickle of being all worried about BEING WORRIED and the subsequent WORRY that it will likely cause in the future.


Welcome to my head.

Tis' a silly place.

I think what I need is a good, old fashioned pep-talkin' to get my thoughts out of this worry-go-round.

So, tell me, all of you out there with kids who were a mere two years apart: How dost one surviveth? Is this worry largely unwarranted?

November 17, 2010

Ten Time Tested Toys for Two Year Olds!

I don't know about you guys, but I think that two year olds are a tricky bunch of monkey beans to shop for. It's hard to find REALLY GOOD toys out there that your two-ish year old will enjoy. I thought I'd put together a post of our time-tested favorites before the Holidays are upon us, just in case any of you were as stumped as I was the first time around!

one.Train boards. There is nothing better in my opinion! Both Ezra and Myer play with this still every single day. My husband actually made this one (stud muffin), but any kind of train board is guaranteed to bring hours of fun to your house!

two.Okay, pretty much any kind of train toy is a hit with two year old boys, I think. We have a couple of these 'Take Along Thomas' sets and Myer loves them!

three.Richard Scary. Enough said.

four.Once he figured out it was gross to eat, playdough became a staple item for my two year old! He loves to smoosh it and make snakes and cut it with plastic utensils.

five.This toy is INCREDIBLE. The boys play with it all the time-- you can build and create different space ships. It's not available anymore, but it has been replaced by this year's model which looks equally as fun!

six.Legos. My five year old plays with legos non-stop all day everyday, but my two year old can also join in the fun! He loves to play with the lego guys- putting different hats and pants and shirts on them and setting them up everywhere. Myer has never been the kind of kid that puts little toys or things in his mouth, but if your little one still does that, this option might be better for later on!

seven.Any of the Imaginext toys are awesome!! We have the dragon castle and the pirate ship, and these get played with ALL THE TIME by both my kids. I love it when you can find toys that older kids and younger kids can play with. Priceless.

eight.Little cars. We have a whole bucket of these things and I find them all over the house because the boys are always finding creative places to play with them. You can never have too many! :)

nine.This Little Einstein's Pat Pat Rocket toy was purchased by my parents for Ezra when he was two. It is a GREAT toy and is always zooming around the house somewhere. They don't sell them new anymore, but you can find a whole bunch of gently used ones on ebay!

The Cozy Coupe. I'm convinced Myer would live in this if we let him. This is also a time-tested favorite... both Ezra and Myer have gotten a lot of miles out of this little car! :)

Other favorites: Blocks, Coloring Books, Tricycles, Little People Playsets, Sticker Books, Puzzles, Magnetic Fridge Toys, Dump Trucks, and Bubbles!

I hope this gives you guys some ideas for your two-ish year olds out there! All these toys have been great for us because they have lasted for more than just one short season in our kid's lives- they've been played with for ages!


Okay-- so now it's your turn. Do you guys have any other ideas for the two-year-olds of the world? I need some fresh ideas for this year as well. What does/did your two year old love best?

November 13, 2010

On Hoping for a Girl (Take Two.)

(you can find Take One here.)

Chris took me out on a lunch date today and we ate at an extremely yummy pub here in town and ordered our favorite burgers. (The ones with over-easy eggs on them!) I love this place but find it hard to have any kind of meaningful conversation while I'm in there because there is gauranteed to be a 16 foot plasma screen with a football game on it no more than 6 inches from your face at all times.

After our bellies were full we wandered around the shopping center and came upon a cute little children's boutique store. We stumbled inside and I immediately gravitated towards all the cute little baby boy things on display. Airplane blankets and pirate onesies and octopus toys. I tried to hide in the little corner of boyishness because... because it's all that I know. I feel safe there. There's no chance of disillusionment there. Only stalwart practicality and probability. I was looking at clothes with robots on them but I was only seeing safety nets. And I just couldn't let go.

I was actively trying not to make eye-contact with any of the little girl dresses or hairbows or maryjane socks that filled the store with bright sparkly joy. I still have not been able to let my heart go there because I'm afraid the disappointment of not getting a girl will be greater if I let my hope wander off too far in those isles. The girlscout in me is holding the reigns tight. Preparedness! Probability! Practicality!

Then my husband makes me leap. OF COURSE.

He says, "Great boy stuff and all, but where are all the little dresses?"

It took some serious effort to follow him into the unknown jungle of ruffle tights and cardigans. I felt like the whole store knew we only had boys and didn't belong in the pink & purple isles.

But my husband has this way of living from his heart and before I knew it we were swooning over everything we saw. All the while I heard myself repeatedly trying to tell him that there was a 50% chance this wasn't going to happen this time, and that he had to be okay with that, but I also felt God asking me just to take a deep breath and let my hope free for a moment. Every fiber of my being was fighting it. And just when I was about to put my foot back down on that hope again, I looked up and saw that my husband was holding a little dress... and his eyes were full of tears.

This man has such a soft spot in his heart for a little girl that we can't even broach the subject without him getting weepy. This, of course, turns me into a blubbering mess and makes me fall in love with him more every single time. God has put this deep longing inside of my husband, and we know that it is there for a reason. We may not know how or when or if that hope will be fulfilled in this lifetime, but it's there and I don't want to keep trying to stifle it and shush it with my lame arse statistical probability all the time.

Of course we both will be THRILLED to have another boy and he will be loved beyond measure from his very first breath. That goes without saying! But there was something really beautiful about letting go today and shedding hopeful tears over little dresses in the middle of a boutique store with my husband.

It really was just a moment of trust for me. I have not been trusting the Lord with my hope. I have been trying to control it so that I can protect myself from disappointment. But God is asking me to trust Him even in the unknown, even if things don't go EXACTLY as I have them set up in my head, because he is GOOD! He knows our hearts, He knows what's best, and that's really ALL that I need to know. I don't need to control or manipulate my own feelings to protect myself, I can just live from the heart He's given me and feel safe in whatever outcome He sees fit to give.

So, yes, we are still hoping for a girl. But ultimately, as I was reminded today, my hope is anchored to something much, much Greater.

November 11, 2010

21 Weeks.

I can't believe that I have already passed the half way mark of this pregnancy. I feel like I was just peeing on a stick two nights ago! haha.

One change that I have noticed lately is that I am no longer forgetting that I am pregnant. Up until a few days ago, I would constantly forget. Like, 90% of the time. But now that I am feeling some really strong kicks and punches, and now that my belly is getting in the way of things like sleeping and buttoning pants and sitting up and scooching close to the dinner table, this baby is constantly on my mind.

With this comes the never ending hunt for names that obsessively takes over my brain when I am pregnant. We already have our girl name ready to go, but boy names are another story. Picking a name gets progressively harder with each kid because not only do you need to settle on a name that you like AND your husband likes AND has a good meaning AND goes with your last name AND isn't already taken by someone close to you AND isn't likely be the name of ten of his or her classmates, but now it has to mesh well with your other kid's names on top of all of that!

You see?

I obsess.

I feel great and am getting more and more excited to meet this little one with each day that goes by. My eyes have been starting to play tricks on me, where when I see my two boys together playing or coloring or whatever, I suddenly sense a missing presence and I can almost SEE a third child in the room and picture what they will be doing alongside their brothers someday. I must confess that my mind's eye usually puts little blonde pigtails on this mystery child, but there is still a VERY LARGE part of me that thinks this baby is another boy...

Only time will tell!

November 3, 2010

Seven Years (and two days) Ago.

baby chris and baby em.

I've been with the man for twelve years now (due to the interminable dating process we subjected ourselves to when we were hardly old enough to be trusted with driving cars) and still to this day I have moments- while I'm washing dishes at the sink or folding laundry- when I can't believe that we GOT our happy ending.

The journey to our wedding day was a struggle of epic proportions and I feel like it would be more apt to say that we limped down the isle rather than walked. But that moment when we said 'I do" was like a gut-wrenching battle cry of victory. Things trembled and things exploded in triumph.

And we all cried like babies.

We got married on the day after Halloween, which meant our rehearsal dinner fell on a night of masks and costumes. I never expected that the next seven years (and counting) would be a process of learning to remove all my layers of masks and disguises so that I could love and be loved in deeper ways. I'm reminded of that truth on every single anniversary... now as I am putting the kid's costumes back up in the closet after another year of festivites.

That's what marriage has been for me these past seven years...

A peeling away.

A baring of self.

A laying aside of armor.

What an intensely wonderful thing.