Wednesday, July 18, 2018

20 Weeks!

Like a flash of lightning we've already reached the midway point of the pregnancy.

It is hard to believe. 

This has been different than my other pregnancies, but all of them have been so different! With Sophia, the first trimester was characterized by morning sickness in the evening, that was severe enough I couldn't eat most things except carbs (I remember having rice on more than one occasion for dinner). As soon as I hit 12 weeks, morning (evening) sickness went away and pregnancy continued on, with a craving for spicy chicken sandwiches from Wendy's, with extra buffalo sauce on top. Heidi's pregnancy was characterized by virtually no symptoms of any kind as far as sickness goes, though I did have some heartburn later on. I remember being worried about her health because I had so few symptoms. I did have cravings for sour things; limes, war head candies, anything sour, sometimes eating so much sour stuff my tongue bled.  Bethany was my most severe pregnancy as far as morning sickness goes, and the one that actually made me throw up (as an emetiphobe, this is a big deal). I felt sick all day, every day, and it started to dissipate slowly after first trimester. I was on zofran because I could barely function without it, and later on I was taking a heartburn medication (not just tums) because my heartburn was so severe. She was also much lower down, so low that it caused walking pain and discomfort over the last month, and they couldn't even find how far dilated I was when labor started. Cravings? Orange chicken from Panda Express comes to mind, but there weren't really strong ones. I did end up with low iron (noticed because I was craving and chewing ice) but that was fixed with a supplement. 

This little one I had general nausea, mostly in the evenings, which dissipated after the first trimester, but what I most remember about this pregnancy so far is the extreme hunger. I have been so hungry. And it seemed that it was almost impossible to curb the hunger, no matter what (or how often) I ate. So, so, so hungry. And craving chicken, again, though not as picky as Sophia where it had to be spicy. I have been wanting chicken in most forms. Grilled, fried, in sauce, kebabs, sandwiches, shredded, whatever... I just want chicken. And chips. Crunchy chips. Any chips, salt and vinegar, tortilla, root vegetable, anything... just as long as its crunchy chips. 

The girls are really looking forward to another sibling; at least, Sophia and Heidi are excited. Bethany doesn't really understand, and I'm not sure she would be excited about being dethroned, though she does absolutely love her Bitty Babies (good practice!) - she sleeps almost every night with her babies. Actually, only one is hers, she has commandeered her sisters' dolls, too. Her routine changes. Sometimes she wants them in her crib, sometimes she tucks them in downstairs, sometimes she rocks, sings, and tucks them in upstairs in her room.  Sophia has said she wants a brother this time, but she still thinks its a girl (we all seem incapable of imaging the baby as anything BUT a girl!) and Heidi seems indifferent. 

That's where I am. I am indifferent. A girl would be lovely; I love my girls, I would love another girl, and I know what to expect! A boy would be a (big) surprise, and it would mean some adjustment I'm sure - a toddler that preferred trucks and dinosaurs to unicorns and princesses would be different - but God has a plan for our family and I have complete trust that He knows best. 

We are planning to find out what Baby is the Saturday after Chris gets home (the 28th). We will probably stream it in some way so that my parents and sisters can find out at the same time as us. It is taking just about all of my willpower to not open up the envelope in my purse that has the gender in it, but I am also excited to do a gender reveal party, because it is something we haven't done before (and the 4th baby needs something different, right?)

Speaking of which, Chris comes home this Sunday and we are all so ready for it. Sophia has especially been having a rough time this week. I can't remember if it was Sunday night or Monday night of this week, but Sophia just broke down. She was crying so hard she was gagging, which caused another crisis because that girl feels as strongly about not throwing up as I do. I asked her if she was okay and she screamed at me (we had to address that!) "I'm FINE! I NEED TO GO PRAY!" and went and sat in front of her window in her bedroom and prayed. I... was... mostly staring at her in shock. She was up throughout the night multiple times and had trouble falling asleep. It's these times that are just so difficult. We have talked about how Daddy is a missionary (Sophia loves and is fascinated by missionaries) and how in a way we are doing mission work at home that helps to support Daddy. We go to the Bible and talk about thinking truth, and having self-control. We have cried together. She is sleeping with his pillow and with a teddy bear he gave her (dressed in ABUs) and was even wearing his t-shirt to bed. And it just seemed like I had run out of steam. I have no more ideas. I can't do anything but just sit and cry with her. Which maybe isn't a bad thing, it's just hard to not have solutions.

One of the times she came down to my room, I was really trying not to laugh. She was crying and looking for me and said, "I miss daddy and I couldn't find you and I'm looking for a spoon." And I said, "You're looking for a spoon?!" And she said "Yes!" and started crying harder. I am pretty sure she was half sleep walking.

Our paper chain is down to four links. We are so glad for the opportunity and the ministry our family has, but we are also looking forward to having all of us under one roof again. (Especially because now we'll get to find out if little one is a girl or a boy!)

Lovely profile pictures

Left foot, right foot

20 weeks!







Monday, July 16, 2018

Pregnant Tired Knows No Bounds

Well, this was an eventful weekend.

99% of that is in a good way. That one percent is the way that caused more tears than I care to admit.

So, I'll start my story with Thursday night. Thursday during the day was the Build-A-Bear excitement, and then in the evening (I am a glutton for punishment?) we went to the zoo because they were having Wings Members Only (our credit union) special hours and Oma and Papa wanted to go with the girls. So, we went to the zoo.

As you can imagine, Thursday night we all basically just fell into bed exhausted. Or, at least I was. So on Friday, I was still having additional exhaustion, on top of my regular pregnancy-and-Chris-is-gone exhaustion.

Friday when I got home from work, I sat on the couch and looked into the kitchen and just knew I would be unable to cook anything, except maybe Ramen (which, in hindsight, is what I should have done). The girls were requesting spaghetti and meatballs, so I made them a deal. I said we would drive to the store to get meatballs for a spaghetti dinner on Saturday night, and tonight we would all have Costco hotdogs for dinner. Because that sounds easy and inexpensive and I have the energy to get a hotdog because it requires no kitchen clean up.

I back the car out of the garage, with the other car in the driveway, and was paying far too much attention to the car in the driveway and not watching the driver side. You can guess what happened next.

*SCRAAAAAAAPE.*

*Sigh.* I have had this car for a grand total of 6 days. Less than one whole week. My first reaction was (to my embarrassment) panic and crying. Which, I'm going to go ahead and blame on pregnancy hormones. But everybody I talked to about it (Chris, Bob, Lynn, Erica) were really reassuring and kind, which is exactly what I needed. They reminded me that it's just a car, and that everyone is healthy and safe, and now I have that first scrape out of the way because it was going to inevitably happen. I had Eric look at it when they came over this weekend, and Bob is going to help me buff it out when he is home next weekend, and I am really overly panicky.

Isn't it funny how whatever you are reading in the Bible so often corresponds to life? Clearly, this is not accidental. Some of my Bible reading this weekend was in the book of Luke, and what especially stuck out to me was Luke 12:23 "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." The car is not coming with me to eternity. The car may not even make it past the next decade of my life, and it certainly isn't going to make or break me as a person. It doesn't affect my person and it doesn't affect what really matters, which are things that are eternal. My concern is how I handled it for my children to see (not well). While we were driving to the store I put on my sunglasses, but Sophia said, "Mom, are you crying?" I don't want to send the message that "stuff" is of great importance. Yes, we should care for the things that God gives to us, but my girls should see my weeping over people, not over stuff. Chris encouraged me to watch The Philadelphia Story that night, which turned out to be a good thing - relaxing and watching a chick flick with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.

The rest of the weekend fell into the 99% category. On Saturday, Eric and Erica came over in the early afternoon. Erica spent time with us over the afternoon while Eric was at a job interview. The girls played in the sprinkler and with the pools and Bethany mostly ran around the yard buck-naked because she refuses to wear swim diapers (HATES the way they feel, but this is the girl who refuses to wear anything but Luvs) and once her diaper got wet, she was uncomfortable so she started stripping herself. At least we were secluded in the backyard, and she's younger than two, so she can get away with running around naked as a blue jay.

Also, Copper ate a squirrel. Yeah. That's a new one. He's chased them, and he's chewed on birds, but the squirrel was new. I thought I heard a yipping sound from the yard; I assumed it was Copper, but maybe it was the squirrel? I'm not really sure. Or maybe the squirrel fought back at Copper for a little bit. I'm really not sure. But I do know that Copper came inside and was breathing hard, probably exhausted from all his hard work and showing off for the neighbor dog, and the girls told me they saw body parts outside in the yard (eww). I went out to the yard and sure enough, there were bits of fur and some feet and some other remains I had to clear out of the way (when does Chris get home, again??!?!?) which was not an entirely pleasant experience. Ok, so maybe 98% of the weekend was good - another percentage point knocked off for cleaning up squirrel guts, and worrying about whatever disease Copper may have picked up.

We watched My Fair Lady on Saturday night... I figure we have to get all the musicals in now because they aren't Chris' top choice in movie. I forgot how much I loved that movie; the ending scene is so fabulously unromantic that it's just beautiful. If you haven't seen it, place it high on your priority list.

Sunday was a beautiful day at church. I had my two and three year old Sunday School class, and after we did our lesson (my goal is truly to have the little ones sit in the chair for 10 minutes while we sing songs and color, the rest of the time is free play) one of the little boys asked to go outside. And I thought to myself, "Yeah! Why haven't we done that every week?" So we played outside for a bit.

Thad preached a sermon about the Transformed Tongue; how Christianity affects the way we speak and act, our prayer, our communication, our speech. My prayer life is an area where I have considerable weakness, and I appreciate the reminders about placing greater emphasis on it.

Sunday afternoon was full of bagels and ice cream. Basically a perfect day. Heidi got sunscreen in her eyes (poor girl) and was so upset about it that I made her take a nap because I figured the time resting her eyes might help with the sting. It did - because when I woke her up from her nap and told her we were going to get ice cream, she jumped right out of bed.

It was my first experience with Nelson's Ice Cream, which is quite famous and apparently gives the most generous portions in a 5-state area. And I believe it. When we got there I was a little surprised at the cost of a "kids cone" ($4? Seems like a lot for a kid size...) but then I realized they give you about a half a gallon of ice cream with that size, and it only goes up from there. The girls all shared one and there was way more than enough to go around. I can't wait to go back. I have never been covered in so much ice cream. We were all overwhelmed with the amount. Amazing. Their ATM was broken and we had to go across the street to Walgreen's to get cash (they are cash only) but it was just so good.

After we left Nelson's, the Karnes headed straight home and the girls and I went to Oma's house for a pizza dinner (ice cream before pizza? They were so amused). My sweet Sophia whispered to Oma as we were leaving, "I'll pray, read, and sing for you tonight!" She whispers this phrase to me every night, and she said it to Chris as we were FaceTiming him that night. She has such a tender heart. The girls were so excited to FaceTime, and they always are, it is so hard to get them off the phone. Heidi wanted to finish reading TWO books to Daddy; they showed Chris all the books they picked up at the library sale last week. Heidi was particularly excited to show him a book called "Bombers" which is all about Bomber planes and has some cool (somewhat outdated) pictures. They both wanted to show off their new Build-A-Bears, too, and tell him all about their names for them. Sophia wanted to tell Chris that she has been sleeping with his pillow and her military bear, which has been a comfort to her. Heidi pulled the phone over to our paper chain to show Chris how short it is getting (less than a week now)!














Thursday, July 12, 2018

Build-A-Fiasco

Ok, so maybe "fiasco" is a strong word. It wasn't exactly a fiasco...

This all started a couple of days ago when I saw some sort of marketing for the Build-A-Bear sale where kids (and adults, or whoever) "pay your age" on Thursday, July 12th only.

Naturally, I thought it was a hoax. Like the Ray-Ban ads that you're always tagged in when your friend's account gets hacked.

So I googled it to verify authenticity, and sure enough, it was legit. Cool. I have lots of girls, who love stuffed animals, and this sounded like a fun idea. So I showed the flyer to my friend who coordinates our Mom group activities, and she shared it on the group site, and soon enough there was a small group of us who were *actually excited* about the fun Build-A-Bear activity.

We then thought, you know, it might be crazy. We should probably plan to get there around 9:15, before the opening at 10, so that we beat the rush.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

What actually happened was, I got there at 9 a.m. with my girls and there was already a significant line. If you are familiar with the Mall of America and the rotunda area in front of the American Girl store where they have the stages usually set up, that area was already 2/3 full of people, plus another couple of line lengths from the Build-A-Bear store.

Believe it or not, I got in line at a bit of a sweet spot time, because just behind me in about 15 minutes time, there were 5-6 more rows of people, and not much after that it was extending into the Nickelodeon Universe area.

Now, by this point you must think I'm crazy, but we got just enough movement that we stayed in line, because hope springs eternal, and we were here anyway, and with a group of people, and we put all this effort into it, and darn it we have invested so much already that we are leaving with our PERSONALLY STUFFED TEDDY BEARS!

So many people showed up for this deal that they actually closed down the line at 11 a.m. due to security concerns and aren't we just lucky that we made it into the line in time??????? *Maniacal laughter akin to Buzz Lightyear having tea and acting as Mrs. Nesbitt.*

They (mercifully) opened the store early, around 9:30, and the line started moving pretty good initially, so that we moved about 5 or 6 rows within an hour or so, and thought to ourselves, "Wow! We should be there by noon!"

Hashtag fail.

It started to move much more slowly at this point, I think because when they first opened so many people were going through before it started to congest a bit more. But let me tell you this, it was an excellent bonding experience. I actually enjoyed myself with Katie, Miranda, and Stephanie there (though, let's be honest, I wouldn't do it again). We had enough people there that each of us could take breaks and get out of the line. Katie brought us donuts to share. Summer, our friend who wasn't even standing in the line with us, had the saintly idea to bring us Chick-fil-A around lunch time. I took a walk up to the Five Below store and bought Play-Doh, coloring books, and crayons for the kids to keep us entertained. We were all able to get out, stretch our legs, run around, leave for diaper changes, enjoy each other's company, laugh at how crazy we all are, and give hammy smiles and waves to the news cameras.

It was really funny to go out on walks and listen to the disparaging comments people were making about those of us who were crazy enough to stand in line. What's really funny about those comments is I totally agree with them and probably any other day would have been making them... but here I was, the person standing in those lines.

We had no idea it would be that hectic, but once we were there, we were all in! Once you've been there for that long, you might as well stay. I mean, what else would we be doing anyway? Besides relaxing. Or leading normal lives.

Once we got across from the rotunda area to the area in front of the Build-A-Bear store, it was like arriving in the Promised Land (though realizing that there were different inhabitants there that still had to be removed from the land).

We finally arrived at the doors, and went inside, after 5 hours of waiting. 5 hours! For a stuffed animal! (It was for the fellowship!!!)

Sophia had no problem picking; she went straight for a tiger. Heidi also had no problem picking - straight for a white horse. Bethany had fallen asleep about half an hour before we got to the front so she was still on the groggy and grumpy side. I asked her for about 10 stuffed animals, "Do you want this one?" and she would shake her head no. The only one she shook her head "yes" to was the Mall of America moose, and I thought it was cute so I wasn't bothered by that. She ended up being a bit afraid of the whole stuffing process too, but Sophia and Heidi thought it was great fun.

We left the mall, feeling like we had left a battle behind. Tired, exhausted, hungry, but victoriously with our inexpensive stuffed animals! I drove straight to McDonald's to get something to eat; we had had some food in-between but I was feeling famished. Never has a cheeseburger tasted so good.

In sum, if I could do it again, I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't trade the experience. It was fun to do it with a group of moms from church, and the girls really are excited about their new "furry friends." Sophia name her tiger "Sophia the 2nd Lily Pitts" and Heidi named her horse "Equuleus" (after the horse from Spirit/horse constellation). They named Bethany's moose "Caramel." I am genuinely looking forward to crawling into bed tonight and sleeping, though I suspect I'll be dreaming about stuffed animals. Here I come, quiet bed, in a quiet room, with a gentle storm humming along outside.

You can see our group towards the bottom middle of the screen

Play-Doh!




We made the news! I'm circled in red. 

We rounded the last corner before approaching the Build-A-Bear store!


Heidi conked for a bit, which allowed her to miss some of the wait (lucky duck)


TIGER!

HORSE!

The stickers they gave me to denote age/cost for each one. I want to frame these. I waited 5 hours for these stickers. 



This is so cute - the hoof of Bethany's moose





This picture and the two below it are displaying Bethany's photographic skills



Coloring while we wait




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cow Appreciation Day

Ah, that magical day of the year. That one day, where Chick-fil-A is free, as long as you wear a costume that makes you look like a cow.

I wouldn't normally invite the comparison when I am pregnant, because frankly, it's already too real. But when there is free Chick-fil-A? Yeah, count me in.

Actually, the day leading up to our dinner made me think we probably wouldn't get out to Chick-fil-A. There wasn't a lot of time! I hadn't had time to make costumes at all. The girls and I started the day by going to the Honda dealer to have Moby (the Pilot) get an oil change and brake fluid change. Tomorrow Moby Car (as the girls call it) is getting detailed. We are preparing the car for Daddy to come home in just a few short days (11!).

When we pulled into the garage, Heidi panicked. She hates car washes. Absolutely despises them. And she thought I was taking her into a car wash. I had to explain that no, we weren't doing a car wash, and instead we were going inside to eat popcorn and drink hot chocolate while somebody else washed the car for us! She was okay with this... except the hot chocolate was too hot so there were other crises that ensued.

Anyway, we left the car dealer and went to a library sale in Lakeville. I love library sales. I found a copy of Growing Grateful Kids, a book that I really enjoyed reading, so I picked it up to give it to someone in the mom group at church. I also found a copy of an unabridged Pilgrim's Progress, and an Agatha Christie book. The girls each picked out five books; Heidi was most excited about her wild horse book and a book about bomber airplanes, and Sophia was mostly excited about a book by William Steig, as well as some readers that she picked up.

After the library sale, we went straight to pick up Oma for an appointment where she was getting a procedure done and they wouldn't allow her to drive. So, we drove her down there, had lunch while we waited (at 3 p.m. - it had been a busy day!) and then picked her back up.

I mentioned Cow Appreciation Day and how we were planning to go, and she informed us that Dan was getting rid of a bunch of white shirts - perfect! Now I just needed black spots. I happen to have a black Sharpie in my purse (I guess because I live on the wild side - it's only a matter of time before someone finds it and there is Sharpie all over all the things). But, while we were at their house, Dan mentioned that he had some leftover vinyl from making stickers, so we used the scraps and cut it into cow spot shapes, heat pressed it onto the shirts, and voila! Cows for all!

Cow Appreciation Day was lovely. The girls spent a lot of time mooing, and singing songs about mooing. They traded in their toys for cones, and after ice cream was finished they were excited to finally be going into the play area. They get in there, take their shoes off, start to climb up the steps when all chaos breaks loose. A little boy peed on the top of the play area, and it had to be cleared out. Heidi, her dramatic side coming out, said "Mom, cow day is ruined!" Ha. I mostly feel bad for the mother, who then had to deal in one way or another with the fact that one of her two (or maybe three?) sons peed in the play area, and when I was fetching the girls from the play area, I heard them each blaming the other brother. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, folks.

Back home, after not being at home since around 10 a.m. I was ready for bed! And, I am pretty sure I actually fell asleep before at least one or two of the girls. Sophia loves taking the rings off of the countdown chain we made until Chris comes home, but her other favorite part is counting exactly how many are left, which we do before bed time. Nearly to the single digits!

Sophia taking an artistic photograph of Daddy bear and Pooh Bear posing together

Bethany getting a back massage while we waited for the car to get done

The faces are what happens when I ask them to say "Moo!" instead of "Cheese!"