Monday, June 23, 2014

My Pregnancy--Halfway There

Last week I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy--woo hoo! You know how everyone else tells you how fast it's going by, but when you're the pregnant chick, it feels like forever? Well surprisingly, this pregnancy is flying by at an incredible speed, even for me. I can't decide if I'm thankful for that or if maybe I should be grasping on a little tighter, as this is most likely our last baby & pregnancy {I know, I know, I said that the last time around. But I mean it this time. I'm pretty sure.}.

It's been a different pregnancy from the other two. I guess I half expected it to parallel one or the other of my prior pregnancies, but it has taken on its very own list of pregnancy characteristics & symptoms. Some for the good & some--well, I'll just go ahead & spare you the details. I will tell you that the first trimester nearly killed me. It was horrendous--much worse than my pregnancies with Jett & Lulla & I honestly felt I would never, ever feel good again for as long as I lived. It had me down for the count. But once that twelve week mark hit, a cloud lifted & I have continued to feel really awesome, actually. I've never been one of those women who have been able to say I feel "great" during my pregnancies, so this one has me pleasantly surprised at this point. Other than feeling rather large rather quick & having to traipse around in a bathing suit all summer, there aren't not too many complaints coming from me.

I hadn't seen our little babe since it was a faint flicker of a heartbeat at six weeks pregnant, so I was eagerly anticipating this appointment where we would take a peak at our wee one.

Say hello to our little wiggle worm! 

The scan went well & everything seemed to measure up just as it should. Our baby's heart rate was 136 & he/she wiggled & squirmed & even opened up his/her mouth wide as if smiling really big. We all got quite the kick out of the personality our little one was displaying & our sonographer laughed & exclaimed several times, "What a cute baby!" Agreed.

I was especially proud of Jared & I, that we made it out of the appointment WITHOUT finding out the sex of our baby. We've both wavered at different points in our plan of keeping the sex of the baby a secret until delivery day--Jared at the very beginning of the pregnancy & me the night before the scan when curiosity was getting the better half of me, so I was a tad worried that once that baby of ours was displayed on a screen in front of us & we had the opportunity to know in an instant, that we may cave from the temptation. But nope, we held strong & left that appointment flexing our muscles at how tough we are under pressure ;).  It helped that our baby stayed in the breech position throughout the duration of the scan, making it difficult to see the goods even if we'd wanted to.

We are excited {& sometimes a little anxious} at the thought of our family expanding. Jett is over the moon--he prayed every night before bed for a good six months that God would put a baby brother in his Momma's belly--which has left us to have the conversation on several accounts that God doesn't always give us what we want, but rather, what we need. He seems to have come to grips with this & is still very excited at the thought of becoming a big brother for the second time--even if it is to another sister. Lulla knows there's a baby in my belly. Sometimes she'll point to it & one time, out of nowhere, she gently placed her hand on my growing tummy & held it there. But for the most part, she could really care less about all the fuss of a new baby joining in family. She's queen bee for now & she's clutching that title good & hard. Jared & I, we feel blessed. We have learned, in the past couple of years especially, just how tender, how precious, how fragile new life is. The once naive eyes we peered through can now see so crystal clear, what a true miracle each & every new baby brought into this world is. We feel honored to be parents & we already feel our hearts opening up, creating new space to house an endless amount of love for this new life that is growing.

My view for the summer

My craft room is getting booted to the basement & transformed into a nursery. Tubs of newborn clothes are being pulled from storage & getting laundered {Thank you, Mom for taking care of that! You're the best!}. My maternity photo session is scheduled on the calendar. A short list of new baby "needsis tucked away in my notebook. The excitement is beginning to brew & bubble & the reality of it all is starting to settle in. 

We're halfway there, folks!

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Is How We Roll

Have you heard this song?

I'm pretty sure it's our summer anthem. Jett. is. addicted. Some music awards show was playing in the background one evening & this song was performed & my boy, he fell hard for it. He has since worn out youtube & the country music station in my car searching for & listening to it. The kid loves music & I love that. 

I know, I know, I realize this song gets a bad wrap because of it's hip hop wanna be edge & I realize the old country music stars may be rolling over in their graves at the fact that this actually classifies as country music. But last I checked, I'm no Patsy Cline. And I can dig what the Florida Georgia Line are puttin' down. I'm a music junkie & my son hasn't fallen too far from the music junkie tree. I've got an appreciation for just about every genre of music out there & there isn't much I can't find some enjoyment from. 

Okay, okay, you got me. Luke Bryan is a little hottie boom bottie & at least if I have to watch a video 254 times a day, I get to sneak a few peaks at him ;). 

So without further adieu... this is how we roll-- summer style.

Evenings spent at the ballfield.

This is Jett's first summer of t-ball & he is loving it. Actually, our whole family is loving it. There are some sweet friendships & memories being made up at those ball fields under the hot summer sun. And the entertainment is top notch--seeing a bunch of three & four year olds dog pile on top of one another in the outfield in an attempt to be the one who gets the ball in their glove--it's absolutely hilarious. 

Thanks to The Sandlot  movie, he wanted to have what those Sandlot boys passed around at the fair & stuffed into the side of their cheeks  {& eventually proceeded to upchuck all over the place}. We told him it was gum. And Daddy went on the hunt to find Big League Chew. Because we knew if we handed him a piece of Hubba Bubba, he was gonna flip on us & tell us he wanted the kind you dip out of the package. Oh boy. 

Number 4 {he chose the number 4 because he's four. Duh.} likes hitting the ball & running the bases. After that, it all kind of gets boring for him. Once in awhile a ball will roll his way when he's fielding & he will go for it, but usually, he, along with half the rest of the team, are busy collecting dirt in their gloves while they're out fielding. 

Lulla girl loves t-ball night. She loves running up & down the bleachers with friends, collecting rocks, cheering her Bubba on.  But...I have an inkling there's a different reason our girl gets a scoot in her step come baseball night. Her loved ones--friends, family & grandparents--they all bring fruit snacks to try & bribe Lulla to warm up to them {when I say warm up to them, I mean the people. Not the fruit snacks. She's plenty warmed up to"gummies", as she calls them}. Not even kidding, this girl has 3-4 people every game bringing the big sacks of Welch's fruit snacks for her--simply to convince her to kinda sorta like them. No lie. 

Jett loves a cheering section

A table a the local sno cone stand.

Summer just wouldn't be summer without a fluffy pile of fruity flavored shaved ice every now & again, now would it? Watermelon for Lulla & green apple for Jett. Yummo.

Picnic-ing it.

Before it started to really warm up around our parts, we jumped on any chance we could to take our lunch outdoors.  Less mess, anyone? Our entire backyard is shaded throughout the morning so it provides the perfect grounds for a picnic lunch.

What? Your kid doesn't eat a slice of pizza like this? I swear this child maneuvers her food so that she can make the biggest mess possible. I've never seen anything like it. You should see my kitchen

Spending our days dockside.

It's so exciting to watch our children beginning to develop the same love Jared & I have for our little place at the lake. So many summers before we ever had children, Jared & I spent here together & the place just holds a lot of wonderful memories for us. I love that the kids see past the fact that the house isn't fancy & that sometimes the boats don't work the way they're supposed to. They roll with it & still find the joy in the slower pace that lake life brings. It's a pretty great lesson & has helped Jared & I to mellow a bit when things aren't going as planned. Cause let's face it, how often do things go as planned? Watching these new memories & adventures being built with our kids is food to my soul & I envision many years of skiing, tubing & dangling our feet off the old dock. 

Backyard splashin'.

As a stay at home mom, I'm always trying to find ways to keep my little ones moving, both their bodies & their minds. It helps with moods {both theirs & mine}, it helps to drain energy & it just seems to make the day go smoother when we are all active. But I also like to be home. I'm not a gone from home all day kind of mom. I'm a stay at home mom--& I like to be home. Sure, venturing out is fun sometimes, but I would much rather be making the life we have at home a fun one, a place we enjoy & always want to be. So I have to get creative. I'm not talking about over the top creativity here, either. Something as simple as a water hose & a cheap kiddie pool does the trick many an afternoon at our house. 

Jared isn't the biggest fan of this pool. He hasn't come right out & said it, but it takes up room in his garage, it's bulky & big & he's the one who has to drain it at night. But this pool ain't goin' anywhere. It has saved my life for the past four years & when it breaks...I'll go to the hardware store & cart home a new one. Best twenty bucks I've ever spent.

Summer sippers.

Since I can't have my all time favorite summertime drink at the moment, Strawberry Mojito --I've found something else that wets my whistle. Strawberry Basil Lemonade. 

Here's what you'll need:
Frosted mason jar
Pink lemonade {the Countrytime kind works just fine}
Fresh strawberries
A few basil leaves
Lemon slices
A cute straw to dunk into it

Talk about a summer refreshment.

 Pool bums.

We've got our pool passes. We've got our pool snacks. We've got our friends to share the days with. Nothing beats a day at the pool to break up the summertime heat. We are pool rats & proud of it!

Tell me, how you rollin' this summer?  :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Father's Day

There isn't a person in this world that the kids & I feel more deeply loved from, than this guy right here.

On a daily basis, he makes this family his main priority, being sure that we are well taken care of & that each one of us feel treasured. He is tender & nurturing & so very intentional with our hearts. I knew long ago that he was the one for me, that God had specifically chosen him for me-- to love me, to balance me, to accept the broken pieces of me. I love the way he loves me--that after ten years of marriage, he has never once stopped pursuing me. I love the way he loves others-- that there isn't a single person who could utter a negative word about him--because he's just a true, genuine, honest & precious person. But the one thing I love the most...the one thing I witness day in & day out, through the chaos & noise & tantrums &'s the way he fathers.  This guy was made to be a daddy.

Sometimes I lay in bed at night, or daydream in the car about the things my children will have to say about the kind of momma I was, once they're all grown up. Will they think I was a good mom? Did I take the time to sit down on the floor & play with them enough? Did I listen to the needs of their heart? Did I snuggle & cuddle enough or did I let the grocery lists & laundry & household chores take precedence more than I should have? Was my tone of voice too harsh too often? Was I fun & playful? Will they need years of therapy because I've botched the job?  All of these questions & more run through my head as I focus on doing the best that I can & praying my children grow up to know that above everything, they were loved with every ounce of momma heart that I have. 

But I don't question what these kids will have to say about their dad one day down the road. They will say he was the best kind of dad any kid could ever ask for. Hands down. He's the kind of dad that leaves loves notes on post-its & video messages on the ipad for us to wake up to in the mornings. He's the kind of dad who walks through the door in the evening, drops his bags, kisses their momma & scoops those babies up, spending the rest of the evening provoking giggles & shrieks & squeals of laughter from their bellies. He's the daddy that jumps in & does bath time routines & kneels by their beds every single night to lead prayer time. He says "I love you" til their little hearts flow over. He is the best example I could ever wish for my children. These kids of ours are lucky little ducks. And I know they will never doubt the love & energy their daddy put into them.

And that kind of daddy deserves a little pampering, don't you think?

Jared's a no fuss kind of guy. He doesn't spend money on himself. He doesn't take off on weekend guy trips. He doesn't have expensive hobbies. He's a simple man with simple requests--home cooked meals, quality time spent with his family, it's the little things that mean the most to him. 

So Jett & I came up with a few things that would make him feel celebrated on Father's Day.

Letting him sleep in a little on Sunday morning. Jared refuses to ever sleep in. Even if he's exhausted, he will decline my every offer of letting him catch a few zzz's while I get the kiddos out of the way. He's afraid he'll miss out on something. It was no easy task to force Jared to stay in bed & to force Jett downstairs with me, but I persuaded them by talking up the surprises we needed to prepare. They both obliged. 

His favorite breakfast, the one I only make at Christmastime because it is labor intensive--made from scratch cinnamon rolls. He says every time I make them, "I could eat a whole pan of these by myself." On Father's Day, he did just that. In fact, in the days following, I think he may have cleared several pans of cinnamon rolls all by himself. 

We spent a quiet, lazy morning at home, just the four of us. Jett presented Jared with the new garage door opener & keypad he had insisted on getting for Jared for Father's Day. It was a gift that was completely his idea & he was proud as a peacock to finally be able to spill the beans about it. 

***We weren't leaving Lulla out of all the fun. Our girl likes to sleep in & if you choose to wake her, you'll pay for it the entire day through. She's still too little to understand what the fuss of  Father's Day is so we figured she wouldn't feel too slighted by missing out on the morning portion of the celebrating.***

Later that afternoon, my parents visited & we grilled out & spent the rest of the evening outdoors. We topped off the day with root beer floats--my dad's all time favorite treat. 

I think the highlight of my dad's day was that little miss Lulla, who can be quite the Grandma's girl, snubbed my mom & chose to be by Papa's side for the entire afternoon. 

It was a wonderful day, perfect for celebrating the men who have always given so much of themselves to this family of ours. 

And not to be left out, my father in law. If you want to know how my husband came to be the wonderful father that he is, you need not look any further than his very own father. Jared has had a wonderful example & I & my children are blessed because of it. 

How did you celebrate Father's Day? I loved seeing the facebook & Instagram feed of the many fathers being celebrated. What a beautiful thing to be able to shower some love back on the ones who love us so much. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Strawberry Picking

I'm no stranger to tromping around in a strawberry patch. I have so many sweet memories of time spent with my grandma in her great big berry patch out on her farm. I'd walk right beside her, up & down each row, spying out the little green sprouts popping up out of carefully tilled dirt. I remember the tiny white blossoms, indicating that fruit would soon be on its way. And once those berries grew forth, I'd watch intently as Grandma would graze her hands over the plants, pulling back hearty leaves & pointing out which berries were ready to be plucked up from their stems & which ones still needed a bit more ripening. I learned at a young age that a green strawberry will leave quite the bitter taste on your tongue, no matter the amount of spitting & sputtering you do. And I learned also, that there isn't much that can compare to the sweet taste of a perfectly ripened, ruby red, juicy, homegrown strawberry. 

I'm not sure if it's just simply because strawberry picking makes for a fun family morning outing, or because it's part of my own family heritage & the memories that are etched into my very makeup,  {I'd like to think it's more of the latter}, but a desire deep down inside of me yearned for my own children to have the experience & tradition of being surrounded by a big patch of strawberries, on the hunt for just the right ones. 

Lucky for us, we just so happen to have a local orchard that isn't too far of a drive, & I was able to fulfill that desire of mine. 

The crowds were quite large & the mud was aplenty due to the night before's rainfall, but we didn't let that stand in our way. We took a row of our own & had a grand time ol' time  picking & plucking our very own bunch of berries up out of that patch.

Even my hubby, who turns his nose up at almost every fruit & vegetable there is, got in on the fun. He actually ate a few of the berries & admitted they were indeed, delicious. I'll never forget the first time I brought him home to one of my family's big holiday get togethers. We were all gathered around the table & Jared whispered to me, "Holly, I think something's wrong with this corn. It tastes different."  I laughed & said, "That's because it's real. It came from my grandma's garden & she canned it herself."  He has since acquired a taste for the homegrown stuff & has learned that homegrown anything just can't be beat. City boy. ;) 

Jett was on a mission & it made Jared & I laugh at his all business approach to strawberry picking. This kid was into it. 

Lulla, on the other hand, picked one berry---that's right--just one--& called it a day. She was more interested in swinging & flailing the blue flag the farmer had given us to mark the spot where we would finish our berry picking.

Cute story: I dressed Lulla in this little strawberry romper, because I'm just cheesy like that & on the car ride to the patch, she exclaimed, "Oh! Saw-bewwies on my dwess too!"

We ended up with a nice bounty of berries--four pounds, if I'm not mistaken. It was quite a lot for our family so I ended up freezing quite a bit.  

Enjoying a strawberry flavored honey stick. Yum.

While this girl had little interest in picking the strawberries, she sure made no qualms about chowing them down in a hurry. She is my strawberry lovin' girl, for sure.

I still need to get the recipe from my grandma for her special strawberry sauce. That stuff was the best. It was sugary & syrupy & as sweet as could be & we used to put it on everything-- shortcake, ice cream, even just bowl fulls of it by itself. In the summertime, she always had it on hand. My brother & I, having the convenience of living right next door, used to sneak into her back porch where her deep freezer was & snag tupperware containers full of her famous strawberry sauce. We'd sit with spoons & scrape & dig into the frozen goodness. No popsicle could compare on a hot summer day. I wonder to this day if she ever noticed those missing containers from her freezer. Rotten kids, we were.

Even this last time we went to visit Grandma, she served Jett some vanilla ice cream with--you guessed it-- a side of that strawberry sauce.

But since I didn't have Grandma's recipe on hand & before Lulla gobbled up every bit of the fruits of our labor, I found a recipe & the kids & I whipped up some homemade strawberry popsicles.

Talk about delicious.

She wants to "cheers" to everything--even popsicles.

This was our first year of strawberry picking & I am sure that we have started a tradition that will last for many years to come.

If you have the opportunity, I urge you get out there & find a strawberry patch near you. You may be able to squeak in on the tail end of the season if you hurry!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Today, I Had Thirty Minutes

We are settling into the slower pace that summertime brings--sleeping in a little longer, schlepping beach towels & pool toys to the local aquatic center, eating pancake & bacon breakfasts late morning-- Jett's new favorite food is bacon & I simply cannot keep enough of it in the house..or off my thighs.

I love a summertime schedule. The kids are more energetic. I'm more relaxed. I'm breathing deeper. I'm daydreaming of house projects. I'm slowly inching back into things that mean a lot to entertaining friends in my home on Friday nights & sitting down at my craft room table jotting down measurements for upcoming sewing projects. It feels good to have a break from some of the chaos of the last several months, to come up for air from the school schedules & morning sickness & that long, hard Kansas winter that always seems to get the best of me.

Our family is in a busy season of life. With a four year old, a two year old, & a baby on the way, life is more crazy busy than I have ever known it to be. Sometimes it's the good crazy, where I take a look around at my noisy, far from spotless home, the two rowdy kids I get to tuck in every night, the never-ending grocery list sitting on my kitchen counter, the cycle of laundry that just.will.never.quit. & I can smile because it's a fullness of life I know is a privilege. And sometimes it's a bad crazy, where the schedules & life decisions & weight of being a momma & wife wear me down & I feel like if I'm pulled in one more direction, I just may scream. Sometimes I do just that. Sometimes I call up my husband at work & cry over the phone. Sometimes I snap at the kids in a hateful tone. But usually what happens when life is moving ahead full throttle & I don't see a break in speed in the near future, I tend to set aside all of the things that fill up my cup & bring new energy to my soul. Spending a couple hours crafting, reading a good book while soaking in a bubble filled tub, meeting up with good friends for dinner & staying in the restaurant until the crowd thins & we're the only ones left in the place--all those things get set on a shelf & I keep my nose to the grind until a break comes along.

 I can't tell you that I'm back to blogging for good. For all I know, life could throw a curve ball & this may be the only post you see from me for another eight months. I sure hope not. Because I truly love the art of writing. I love to document our happenings here, to go back & thumb through old posts, seeing how much I would have forgotten had I not jotted it all down. It is a hobby I have come to love & I miss it when I'm away. I know I'm ultimately missing out on the memories of our lives when I take a sabbatical from this happenings of our home place. But I have also come to accept that life ebbs & flows & sometimes I've got the time & energy for things I love & sometimes I just don't--plain & simple.

Today, a break came along...& I had thirty minutes.  To the tune of the rat a tat tat of this keyboard, I filled up my cup.

I hope to fill up again soon. :)