Archive for February 2015

March Goals...

Friday, February 27, 2015
So I love to blog, read blogs and normally every afternoon I enjoy popping over to a few that I follow.  Many are mommas (some I know, some I don't) like me, they encourage me and also give me great ideas to implement in our own home.  One of the blogs I recently started following (after finding on instagram) is Mix and Match Mama .  She happens to be the sister to a famous bachelor and recently adopted from China (which piqued my interest since my sis-in-law is in the middle of that process).  Anywho, I now read daily!  Its light and fun and full of gems!  One of them being, she does monthly goals.  They seem to be practical and priortized to things like life, faith, family and personal goals that are attainable.  Given the season of life I am in and feeling like I can.not.accomplish.a.dang.on.thing I thought some simple goals for the month of March would help me to focus on what matters and help me feel like I am doing something around here!

1. Work out 3 days/week 
As I alluded to in my belly bump update.  Getting to the gym 3 days during the work week is getting increasingly more difficult between OB appointments, preschool, tumbling classes and the desire to be home at least one morning a week with nothing on the docket. SO I am having to try to squeeze one workout in on the weekend which I am not used to.  I used to squeeze in an early morning workout but these days I am not going there ;).  So here's to hoping all 4 weeks of March I can hit the gym 3 times per week.  For me its not just about physical health but emotional wellbeing as well.

2.  Read my devotion in my inbox.
I signed up for a proverbs 31 devotional that pops into my inbox every morning.  It is simple to read, relevant to my life and encourages me...I have NO excuse to not do it but I am stubborn.  My goal is to read it everyday and start my day off right!  

3.  Do something with each child everyday.
If I don't plan to do this, our days slip by and I haven't had a chance to connect in a meaningful way with each child.  It could be going to the store alone with them, playing a game with them, sitting down and playing babies with V or building with legos with Solon.  I am not talking hours on end but just sitting down and being present with each of them for a few moments each day.  I see the days slipping by but feeling so crappy, I have to make myself get off the couch and DO IT.

4.  Do a fun family activity.
We are currently in a family series on Sunday nights at church "Playing for Keeps".  It is a series based on the orange philosophy out of Andy Stanley's church in Atlanta.  The premise is for parents to be intentional in their parenting role.  Use words wisely, take moments and make memories, etc.  One of the things they have encouraged us to do is carve out a time each week to do something phone/ipad free with the family.  The kids have had fun picking out our February activity, let's hope our march one can include being outdoors ;).

5.  Invite friends over for dinner.
We love having people over but with me being so sick, we just haven't had the opportunity.  Now that I am feeling better, we want to get better about enjoying our friends more.  We hope to get our small group connected for a fun evening at our home and have some dates out to dear friends in hopes they can come over for a soup dinner and games!

6.  Go on a Date :).
Scott particularly LOVED this goal.  Babysitters are expensive and if we don't place it on the calendar, it.will.not.happen.  Another area we need to be intentional, it feels so good to get out together alone but we don't do it often enough.  This month we are going out, if I weren't pregnant, we would be ice skating (much to Scott's disgrace) but we will come up with something!

SO there you have it - my monthly goals.  Yearly goals are too hard for me.  30 days is hard enough to stay on the bandwagon and be accountable.  So I am going to give it my best and come back at the end of the month and share.  What are your goals for the month???  Where do you need to be intentional?

Belly Project: 22 Weeks...

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Size of baby: 11 inches and 1 lb. size of spaghetti squash

Total Weight Gain/Loss: at the perinatal office I was up 8 lb.
Maternity Clothes: yep and some of my maternity tanks are NOT going to last the whole pregnancy, they need to make them longer for long waisted people ;)
Gender: We had our ultrasound last week and I can't tell...I am leaning towards girl though
Movement: At the ultrasound, baby went from head down ready to birth position to head up towards my stomach in one hour.  As Scott said, no wonder I feel nauseous, baby is VERY VERY active.  It does feel like I am on a roller coaster when he/she gets going.  Occasionally I can feel the kick on the outside but it is still so hit or miss, no one else has yet!
Fetal Heartbeat:  158 at ultrasound
Sleep: you should see me roll over, it's a tragic hips and back are certainly feeling this baby!

Cravings: loving fruit, lots of lemon in my water (its about the only way I will drink lots), chocolate shakes for the inevitable occasional heartburn, and food about every 2 hours ;)
Symptoms: I cannot shake the pukes!  I am sick at least 3-4 times a week losing a whole meal and I normally need to go to bed or nap to get rid of the feeling.  I also have puked up my nausea meds which is annoying.  I try not to take them all the time and try to read my body symptoms, I can normally tell when something isn't going to stick around unfortunately, it's just a matter of timing it right to get the meds in before everything exits.  I don't take the meds all the time as you may have read about zophran and its possible serious side effects for babies in utero.  Unfortunately, it is the ONLY medicine that seems to help at all.  It also constipates me SEVERELY!  The perinatologist also scolded me for eating too many granola bars which apparently will also stop you up.  Granola bars don't generally hurt my tummy so I eat one right away in the morning...but I am trying to limit them from there ;).
Exercise: It's hard with little bugs who have activities to get 3 days in a week, some weeks its just once or twice but I try really hard to get there 3 times!!! It's my goal ;)!  I am normally sore in my back the next day so I have to be kind of careful...
What do the kids think: We got our first gift from my parents, a MamaRoo, not a necessity but will be nice when I need my hands free.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  The kids were all excited to test it out with Vera's dolls and check out all the features ;).  We had to put it away for now, it was too tempting to play with.  They loved the ultrasound, albeit it was a bit long and Solon was unhappy he was outvoted in not finding out.  We told him when he is the dad, he can find out ;)!

On my heart: The ultrasound is always a good reminder that there is in fact a baby in there and that we are going to have another child very soon!  Being so busy with the other two, tired and still sick I don't have as much time to plan and dream as I did with #1 and even #2 but my friends assure me that I love them the same, even if I don't think about them as much (talk about mom guilt!).  
The ultrasound is always so reassuring to know baby is nice and healthy and growing on track.  They waved at us, moved around like crazy and yawned all on camera.  Thanks baby for putting on a nice show!  When they turn on the 4D, it is like seeing a glimpse of God's handiwork exposed.  Seriously, so surreal.  Baby was not super cooperative (they have to be still for 3 seconds) so the 4D pictures were not perfect but still it was fun to look and compare to the other 2 kiddos and make some predictions...
The old wives tales are 50/50 and the Chinese Gender Predictor says girl (it was correct with our other 2), Scott is leaning towards girl and everyone else is also 50/50.  We are all just glad baby is healthy and how exciting it will be on B-Day!  
Baby's 1st 4D Picture

and in case you want to compare (although the others are both at 28 weeks), look HERE.

Be The Change

Monday, February 23, 2015

I am the first person to admit I have a social media problem...when my mind wanders, I absent-mindedly pick up my phone and type on Instagram or Facebook.

Lately, I have really been thinking about social media and its effect on me and others in our culture.  As I scroll from article to article bashing those that vaccinate, those that don't, those that (Fill in the blank) and those that don't and most recently status after status condemning a local, beloved teacher for her mistake of drinking on the job.  My heart aches.

Sitting behind a computer screen, our fingers feel brave.  Our words become intense beyond what we would say face to face and we forget the person staring at the computer across town is human.  Human.  Loved by the one true king.

We are ready with a condemning comment, snide remark, hateful word and one-sided opinion behind a computer screen.

I have become disillusioned and convicted by it all.  Let me share why...

So a local kindergarten teacher was caught drinking at school.  I worked with her (didn't know her well but I knew her) and she was/is beloved by former students, families and colleagues.  My heart broke at the news.  What caused her to do this...there must be more than the story they are reporting?

Then I got to thinking, would I react with such sympathy if I didn't know her?  The answer unfortunately would probably have been no.  I would have rushed to judgement that this teacher was a horrible person and she deserved the penalty she got.

But I know her.  

So what if this teacher was your child, your sister, your friend, an acquaintance...would it change your opinion?  Would you respond differently?  What if we started treating everyone like a person?

Why does any of this matter?

Because God knows us all and loves us despite our faults.  We all fall short of his glory and standard.   Thankfully he sent Jesus to the cross, as painful as that was for Him, to die for us who all fall short.  We all sin, make stupid mistakes some mistakes are just more public then others but God doesn't tier mistakes the way society does.  I mean heavens its a good thing there was not Facebook when I was in college...there are some mistakes I wouldn't want the world to see.  Can I get an amen?

And yet when we don't know the person and we aimlessly scroll through social media, our hearts condemn.  You might not post or comment on a post slaying some person for their poor choices but does your heart condemn them? Mine has.  Do I stand up for the broken and condemned or do I sit by and watch it happen?

I am praying for the kindergarten teacher.  She may face earthly consequences but I pray she finds eternal redemption and peace, although no one deserves it, God gives every one of us this gift.  I pray for her class, her school, her superiors, her families and the families she has had.

When the rubber meets the road, I have to ask myself this question...

Do I act the same way, behind a computer screen,  I would if that person stood face to face to me?

My kids are watching, my kids are listening and my kids are learning from my example.  I need to be the change I desperately want to see in the world.  An encouraging force, a person who understands how messed up I am and how desperate I am for a savior.

I encourage you to be the change you would like to see in the world too --

Build people up.

Post encouraging words.

Express opinions in a thoughtful and kind manner.

Look in the mirror and remember to be humble to your own faults.

Extend your hand in compassion.  No one broken ever got back up by be beaten further down.

Be an encouragement for the world who desperately aches for some compassion.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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Belly Project: 20 Weeks...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
20 Weeks in Florida...

Size of baby: size of a banana, weighing in at about 10 oz and about 10 inches long...I kind of forget they are getting so big ;)
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Well a woman who has had weight issues her whole life, like myself, would normally be so happy she has only gained about 4 lbs, but in this case a little more weight would mean that baby is healthy and happy and so is mommy.  The good news baby is happy, mommy is just plain stores are going to him/her.
Maternity Clothes: yes and comfy clothes!  Loving my Gap skinny jeans, they were worth every penny (even on sale ;).  
Gender: So I am totally I think girl.  I was sick the whole pregnancy with Vera but I puked more with Solon SO who knows.  The Chinese gender predictor says girl and it has been right with our other two.  We have our 20 week ultrasound (a little late) this week and WE WILL NOT BE FINDING OUT ;).
Movement: Baby favors my left hip to karate chop me.  They also like to kick LOW most of the time.  I feel them at very random times of the day.  I am glad they are kicking now because I kind of forget they are in there.  I have talked to lots of people who say the 3rd pregnancy you are just so busy with your other two, its harder to remember/enjoy...this being our last, I am trying to squeeze and soak every sweet moment out (minus the puking :).
Fetal Heartbeat:  150
Sleep: I feel 90.  When I roll over, it takes me a good few minutes and I roll from side to side a lot in the night using my body pillow.  I also sleep with covers then get hot, throw them off, etc.  Last night I slept with one sock on and one worked!

Cravings: Nothing sweet really, I am not even tempted to touch the Valentine candy (what?)  The other night we had a gala for a charity Scott's company sponsors and the table laughed when I brought back sushi on one side and fruit on the other...a pregnant woman wants what she wants, what can I say!  While in Florida, the seafood was divine, I am still thinking of it now that we are home...wishing I had packed some.
Symptoms: Blah!  To be honest, I have pity parties a lot more than I care to admit.  I just cannot get past the puking, feeling yucky first trimester junk.  The doctors think it will just persist the remainder of pregnancy so I am back on full-time anti-nausea meds which really messes with my intestinal track.  I know on July 1st (when I will not be pregnant), I will forget how hard this pregnancy has been but this is my blog so I am going to say, right now, IT'S HARD.  I still do the twice daily shots too and I have to talk myself into those daily, ha!  I remind myself women do far more difficult things to conceive and carry children so I am thankful to be pregnant and will do what it takes.  I remember those long 10 months of wanting to be pregnant SO bad and it carries me through.  AND my husband  and kids ROCK!
Oh and I tear up A LOT about very random and sometimes sweet things.  Solon mailed Scott and I a postcard for Valentine's day from school.  His teachers helped him dictate what his favorite things about us were...let's just say I was a hot mess of tears - so sweet!
Exercise: mostly yoga and zumba with walking and biking tossed in...our gym pool is opening this week so I am going to do water classes too.
What do the kids think: They talk about baby ALL the time.  They can't wait to meet him/her.  Solon says this is the tie breaker and he is team boy for the win ;).  They are so anxious to feel their sibling move.  They are also excited to see the baby on the tv at our ultrasound this week...I am hoping they turn on the 3D for them.  I think that will make it SO real for all of us.  They are at great ages to be great helpers and so sensitive to mommy while she is sick. 
On my heart: Florida sun was blissful and just what the doctor ordered, I didn't want to come home. Fun with the family was priceless!  I love being with Scott and the kids 24/7 away from the demands of home!  My mother in law did our laundry, cooked for us and did anything else to make my life EASY.  It was lovely!  We are just trying to find joy and gratitude in the mix of this crazy season of life.  I have never appreciated my husband and his sweet, caring nature more than NOW.  He is just so doting, day after day and week after week...I don't think I would be that patient with him!  And my kids are trucking along too, they really show me that all the discipline is paying off and they are turning into caring lovely God-fearing children...the work is never done but the glimpses make my heart happy!  I pray that this little one feels all the love our family has to give him/her and they will be just as close to Solon and Vera, as the two already are!

A Trip to Pittsburgh...

Saturday, February 7, 2015
For those of you who may not know, I graduated from Pine-Richland High School, in the suburbs of beautiful Pittsburgh, PA.  I had not been back since a few weeks after graduation when my family moved away.  Thank goodness for technology, I have been able to keep track of my high school friends, now scattered across the United States and world.  I hope to make it back to a reunion some year.  We all reconnected when my dear friend Jay died last year.  The memories of a great high school experience came flooding back then and when I drove from the airport to "home".  My parents live in the same neighborhood as we did in HS, just a few streets over.  Of course we drove by my high school, now with a fancy new stadium (for which I helped pick out the turf, way back in the day ;).  Scott had never seen that part of my "life" so he bared with me as I reminisced profusely...there's this neighbor's house and this is where we did that and oh Bruster's a fun place to go for ice cream with the was nostalgic for me certainly!

My parents had invited us out for a Pittsburgh Penguins NHL game.  My cousins are huge NHL fans and we just like to have fun so we all said "yes"!  The kids just love a fun trip so were so excited to ride on airplanes!
They know how to make an airplane ride fun - lots of uninterrupted I Pad time ;) and a drink of their choice from the cart.

We met my cousins in Minneapolis and worked out some morning wiggles on a fun playlet in the terminal...don't worry I sanitized profusely and no one got sick...what a great idea for kids!

Of course this pregnancy keeps me on my toes and we had some turbulence and of course that meant for the first time in my entire life (and flying on MANY MANY airplanes), I put these little complimentary bags to the test.  I followed the directions and left it discretely by my seat...I apologize to the maintenance worker for having to dispose of that.  Vera wanted to sit by daddy, "Mommy is so smelly!"  Luckily no one knew until after we landed, that I had gotten sick...discretion at its finest.

Friday we drove by some of the highlights from high school, played around the house and had a yummy dinner at home.   The next morning, we headed to the Duquesne Incline up the side of Mt. Washington to get a great view of the city scape.  The kids loved the ride and seeing all the working parts of an incline train.  (a point of nostalgia, 14 years ago I had my senior prom photos taken here...little did I know I would be taking my family back years later).
After the incline, we ate at a Steelers sports restaurant downtown before heading to the Carnagie Science Center.  It was so fun for the kids...(even the big ones).  Vera passed out towards the end so I had to rest with her, I was exhausted so I was happy to hold a sleeping baby while the others all had fun.

That night we headed home and got pizza and played some family games before watching the ISU game as a family on TV.

Then Sunday morning, we did a little more driving around and "remembering" before heading down to the game.  Grandpa shared his company's box with just our family and Grandma ordered enough food for an army so we all had a great time eating yummy food and watching the game (even though they lost, for not being a Pens fan, Solon was quite sad).

Grandpa and his favorite little people watching the zamboni, Grandpa's company sponsors it...Solon has a hot wheels size replica!
We are also got to meet the mascot "Iceburgh"...Vera was too scared but Solon and Grandpa got a quick picture!

The next morning we flew back home, it was a quick trip but SUPER DUPER fun.  A great way to beat the doldrums of January!  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the great memories!

Solon's Pre-K Christmas Concert...

Friday, February 6, 2015
Solon had his Pre-K Christmas Concert the last day before winter break.  They had practiced nearly all of November on all of their songs with accompanying actions as well as finger plays.  His teachers do an amazing job with decor (see the homemade stockings by each student), props (see Solon's antlers below) and management of 29 students.  They definitely were well rehearsed and prepared.  It was a darling 30 minute concert...I so wish they still had concerts in elementary school (THEY DON'T!).  So we relished this last one!  I was under the weather that month and I hadn't even gotten him a Christmas outfit yet, I mean that is SO not me.  Luckily Grandma punted and he looked great!  His shoes were a bit dirty and I would have put a sweater over it but he shone with pride!  We are so proud of you Solon, you sung your heart out.  My favorite song was C is for Christ Child...every letter stood for something in the nativity!  I loved that they sang about all things related to Christmas but especially the Christ Child's birth!

Solon and his buddy Max...and their little sisters.  There was a cookie and punch reception following. Then we took Solon to Applebee's (his choice) for lunch following with Daddy, Mommy, Vera and Grandma.  He felt pretty special :).

December in Pictures...

Thursday, February 5, 2015
We managed to have some fun with Christmas during the month of December despite me feeling quite under the weather.  Before we left for Thanksgiving, we put up the tree and had our traditional egg nog while decorating the tree party!  It is always fun.  The kids loved being reunited with the Christmas books and Christmas toys including the Little People nativity.  I store it all away and it is such a fun treat for them to get it all back out...It's like Christmas - ha!

We spent a lot of time in mommy's bed watching Disney Jr.  Anything to survive.  They were very doting nurses and are at the perfect age to assist me in getting crackers and drinks!

I pulled it together for Scott's Christmas party.  I remember thinking I was SO bloated this night...ha perspective!  This year they had trivia and now that we are more established in his office, its more fun for me because I know people ;)!  While we were gone Nana and Papa took the kids for a 2nd time on the Boone Scenic Railway "Santa Express" (aka Polar express).  They all had a blast of course.

Solon's preschool did a number of activities related to the nativity!  I love that in preschool he can talk about baby Jesus and His precious gift of life He gave us!  I specifically loved the yellow star guiding the way and the purple orb is Gabriel ;)...Joseph has a staff and is accidentally well-endowed too ;)!

Vera and I had some fun while Solon was at school doing some shopping at our favorite store -- Target!

Our old laptop bit the dust so we got some money for Christmas and used it toward a new family computer (cough cough its mostly mine ;).  Now that I have it figured out, I love it!

We did squeeze in some minimal baking.  We made take n break chocolate chip cookies for Santa, chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered ritz filled with PB and chocolate covered peanuts.  They were a hit and required me to melt chocolate...I could do that!  The kids loved the activity too and testing of course!

Our friends church had a little live nativity o we headed there one was super fun and of course they had hot chocolate for the viewers!

We spent a lot of time at home so we did lots of playing with play doh, modeling sand and some crafts.  Vera loved this Melissa & Doug jewelry box from our friends, the Porter's.  A great activity for an afternoon!

We also managed a homemade gift for the Grandma/Nana's Look at their concentration...they took it very seriously and were so proud to give them to them!

...and since we were hosting, we managed a VERY large shopping trip to Target before our guests arrived.  Luckily my mom and sister did 90% of the cooking along  with Scott so the shopping trip was a happy alternative!

December flew by in a flash and despite me feeling down right awful, I missioned us to have some fun along the way.  Grandma came and relieved me for a few days and made freezer meals and took the kids with daddy on a christmas lights drive.  We packed shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child and sipped hot cocoa, enjoyed the first snowfall, rode the Christmas train at the mall, did some non-amazon Christmas shopping, wrapped gifts and introduced the kids to some favorite Christmas classics including Elf and Home Alone!  Solon especially loved both!

Some ISU Basketball...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
We went to 2 ISU basketball games early in the season.  One game ended up being an impromptu date night to Scott's favorite chinese restaurant, Little Taipei, and then the game.  A friend of mine generously shared her tickets with us!  The other game we went to was against Lamar (ironically where my cousin Bailey will be attending in the fall!).  The Lamar game was for Scott's 32nd birthday.  We repeated date night with a trip to Little Taipei before the game!  We also got some popcorn for the game...mommy does better if she is eating something, especially at that stage in pregnancy!

Hilton Magic is alive and well even during pre-conference games!  The kids love the rocking' atmosphere and the quick paced game and lots of music make me wonder why we do more football games then basketball games...I know the answer is more for tailgating with family and friends!
Solon is quite the basketball guru.  Daddy has taught him A LOT and the little sponge has absorbed it all.  They have serious games at home with ALL the rules in place and Solon can tell us what happens while watching a's impressive.  He wants to ref when he gets big but he practices all the time so maybe he will play first (if he can get over his fear of being in front of a large group of people).

Tickets this year are HARD to come by, so we might have been to the 2 we will go to.  Scott's work normally shares their AWESOME seats with their employees but they aren't making it very far from the top of the food chain this year...I wonder why?  Maybe because the Cyclones are #11 in the nation!  Thank goodness for cable and ESPN and Cyclones TV, Scott and Solon can live and relive all the magic in the comfort of our own home! 

Go Cyclones!

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