Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mommy's Helper

We've had a busy couple of days around here. Ben Everson, a musician and preacher who travels to churches like an evangelistic team would, is visiting at our church. I thoroughly enjoy when we have these groups comes through town because it gives me an opportunity to spend a lot of time with my church body and a lot of time listening to God's word. He is focusing on preaching about a hurting church, things like why God allows pain, etc. And one of the things that has most been impressed on me, which is not necessarily related, is that I have not been taking enough time with my Bible reading. Last night he preached on Psalm 73, a passage I read in my daily Bible reading probably a month and a half ago, and I probably read through the Psalm in about 5 minutes and that was it. I really need to be taking time to slowly go through and meditate on God's word as I am reading it to truly get what God has communicated from the passage, and I'm just not doing that.

A few days ago on Saturday was a national Planned Parenthood protest, my third one. Erica and Katie and I attended together. What a beautiful example of Christian love it was, with all there gathered together for a good cause and singing songs of praise and talking about encouraging strides in the pro life movement. Still a lot to be done, but we are making progress! I plan to start sidewalk counseling soon. The worst part was that one older lady asked me if Erica and Katie were my children. Ummm, no. 

I've also been working on planning a baby shower for my friend Katie, who is due with her first girl on June 25th. Yay for girls! That is coming up this Saturday - I'll have to post some pictures because I think what we've planned is just going to turn out adorable. Or I hope so.

I am also planning Sophia's birthday party, which will be the following Saturday, May 7th. I ordered her a seatbelt purse like mine (but much smaller). She picked out her own Minnie Mouse fabric for it. We also went in with my parents to get a Kindle Fire, kids version, which they will give to her when she and Chris fly to Utah this weekend to give her some activity to do for the 18 hour car ride that she and Daddy will be making on Saturday and Sunday. She wants a "candy and chocolate" themed party, so I handed out little candy invitations this weekend at church (she wanted to invite everyone from Sunday school) and have been Pinteresting and working on accumulating other candy and chocolate ideas. Pinatas are an obvious one. She's pretty excited about candy falling from the sky.

And here's just an anecdote from this morning I wanted to share. Thinking back to my top post about spending more time in my Bible reading, I decided the best way to do this is by getting up earlier in the morning to read instead of staying up at night when I'm tired and just trying to get my reading out of the way. So, this morning when Chris left for work, I pulled out my Bible and went through my reading plan (Nehemiah and a Psalm to go with it). Once I had finished that I pulled out "Unplanned" to read, by Abby Johnson, about her journey from a Planned Parenthood director to a Pro-Life advocate. Fascinating and challenging book to read, but a beautiful story of God's grace. I heard Sophia get out of bed around 7:30 a.m. It isn't unusual for her to wake up 30 minutes to an hour before Heidi, and usually she will crawl into bed with me for a little bit.

This morning, she didn't. So I stayed in bed and just listened to her.  Having a running conversation with herself, I heard her feed Copper breakfast and call him a good boy. I then heard her pull a dining table chair into the kitchen to get into the dog treats, and demanding to Copper that he sit before she gave him treats (and again praised him). Keeping her running conversation going, I heard her open a cupboard and heard the muffled rattle of a cereal box being lifted from the cupboard. Then the crinkle of cereal box paper as she was preparing to pour cereal. After a few more minutes of listening I decided to check on her. She had poured herself and her sister bowls of cereal with milk and all, and had poured Heidi a sippy cup full of milk (lid and everything) and had poured herself a mug of orange juice. She got breakfast completely ready, all on her own, for both of them. When she saw me, she just commented, nonchalantly, as though she was waiting for me to join her, "Oh, we're all out of orange juice so I threw it [the container] away."

She is just going to be running the household before I know it. Next week she'll be making dinner for us and then later this summer I'll just be sending her to the grocery store. What a sweet, grown-up almost 4-year-old girl.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Adventures in Heidi-Land!

I have written on many occasion regarding Heidi's bold, completely fearless personality and desire to try new and different things without fear to hold her back.

It is an admirable quality, though one that terrifies me to pieces. I am told by my parents that I was a lot like that as a child, and my great-grandmother referred to me as a "busy body" because I was always active and moving and climbing... etc. 

Someday, whatever her passion is, she is going to be great at it and give it all of her energy. As long as she puts Christ's leading first in her life, I don't care what that is. She could be a missionary in a foreign jungle, a nurse in a NICU, a mother to beautiful children, a dentist, a beautician... whatever it is, if she is passionate about it, she is going to change the world in doing it. 

So, yesterday, the girls had some pictures taken.  We did Heidi's 18 month pictures (don't count the months too closely, we're a little behind) and Sophia's 4 year old pictures. It was an absolutely perfectly beautiful wonderful day for the pictures - 75 and sunny. The first day like it that we have had this year, I think. 

We took the recommendation of my excellent photographer (and also really good friend, Katie) and went to Centennial Lakes park in Edina for the pictures. It is a beautiful park on the lakes, with great scenery: bridges, an amphitheater, trees, boulders... all very great for pictures. Sophia takes to pictures like a natural. She had no difficulty listening to Katie or trying different poses, smiling, looking just so adorable I can barely stand it.  Heidi was FAR too interested in the park to bother herself too much with the pictures. She did really give us some adorable pictures, but many of them took coaxing. She wanted to play on the stairs (up and down and up and down) or run through fields as fast and as far as she could, or plunge right into the very dirty and debris-filled lakes. At one point, Sophia was sitting on a bridge and smiling for pictures, and Heidi was running circles over to the side going up and down and up and down the stairs. She looked over and saw Sophia posing, ran to the bridge, plopped down next to Sophia, smiled up at the camera and said "Cheese!!" with a big grin, then got back up and ran to her stairs to continue her circle. It was like she knew the reason we were there, and was trying to humor us. Of course, it is hard to take a picture when you have a millisecond, but she tried (by "she", I mean Katie was trying to get good pics, Heidi was trying to humor us)!
Here is a picture of the bridge, she was loving these stairs. Up, down, up, down.

After playing on the bridge and coaxing some more pictures out of them, Heidi decided the bridge looked like a really fun place to play, especially because it was fairly open out into the water. She got my heart going pretty quickly when she grabbed onto one of the poles/handrails on the bridge and started to swing from her arms by it, over the water. I moved pretty quickly to get her down from there, and we left the bridge behind!

Here you can see the bar that she grabbed onto like a monkey bar and was swinging over the water

As we continued on in the park, we came to an area where there is a big grassy amphitheater. This is where I am glad Erica had joined us as well. There is a good possibility that Heidi would be lost if Erica had not been there. Erica spent a fair amount of time running after Heidi and making sure she didn't plummet off of edges or run around tall hedges never to be seen again. 

The amphitheater. Less green yesterday, but still lots of areas to run and play

We also spent some time trying to get pictures near a pretty wall that happened to be about 8 feet from the water. Heidi just could not handle sitting against the wall and as soon as she was able she headed towards the water, sat down, and turned her body around to jump right in. No fear about the water or debris floating in the water, no fear about depth, no fear about temperature, just - go!  

Shortly after that, we went to some wooden swinging benches. Heidi almost got smacked in the head multiple times and really enjoyed standing up while the bench was swinging (where's the fun in sitting on a swinging bench?). She almost fell backwards onto the pavement once and Katie, Erica, and myself all made the same "AAHHH" sound and launched forward to catch her. Would have made a great picture. 

I feel like this fairly well sets the scene for my little ball of energy. I describe our picture session in detail to help the following anecdote make more sense. 

Later that evening after our pictures and after a nice long nap, I went to the gym. They have a nice play area outside with a fun gym that has a mini rock wall, slides, etc. 

I dropped the girls off, and the lady working there looked at me and in a soft, concerned, almost whisper-like tone said "The outside is open today..."

And then paused. A very pregnant one. Her tone of voice and the pause was such that I fully expected the next sentence out of her mouth to be "...and last time, half of the children were eaten by alligators. So, continue at your own risk."

This was NOT the next sentence out of her mouth, but I waited, and she continued. "...and last time Heidi was outside, she was climbing up on the tall equipment and trying to jump off it it."

Another pregnant pause. I am not sure if she was expecting me to be shocked? Confused? Horrified? All that was going through my head was this "Yes, that does sound exactly like my child." Based on the above, and any previous blog posts, there should be no surprises that that is what Heidi is doing.

So again, she continued. "So today, I think we are going to keep her inside unless we have someone out there who is able to watch her more closely." 

And again, with this look of concern. As if I would be upset. No, I said. I fully understand. Feel free to keep her in. She'll likely be upset for a little bit seeing Sophia go outside, but she will move on after a couple of minutes. 

Just based on the tone and the way she presented it, I think she expected me to be upset. No, that is my Heidi. Adventurous to a tee. And no, I am not upset that you feel she needs one-one-one supervision in a situation like that - it took 3 adults during her picture session to keep her alive!  It is a nice break for me to be able to use an elliptical machine for 30 minutes and shower in peace without worrying about what is happening to them! So, do as you feel is best!

I know this phase is short and will pass. Soon, as Sherri said to me this morning, we will be able to explain to Heidi that if she acts like a crazy person, she won't be able to do those activities that she wants to do like playing outside on the fun equipment. But for now, VIGILANCE! CONSTANT VIGILANCE! (Alastor Moody, in the Harry Potter series). 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

We Beat the Odds!

In normal statistics, for example, flipping a coin, the odds of having the same result three times in a row is 25%.

In child-bearing, the odds of having three girls in a row is hovering around 12%.

My friends, you are looking at a couple that has beaten odds and given such a small chance, we are in the 12% category.

Yes, it was determined on our ultrasound yesterday that the new Pitts blessing is a GIRL!

Just call Chris Reb. Tevye. Well, almost. And at least he has someone to sympathize with having my Dad there. 

We are all thrilled, but especially Sophia who announced to me a couple of days ago that she wants 5 sisters. She was as determined as I was that the baby was a girl. Of course, she said she would love a boy too, but she really wanted another sister. 

More importantly, she looked healthy with all fingers and toes accounted for. She is like her oldest sister and was sucking on her thumb. She was bouncing and kicking and smiling away in there. A sweet, happy girl. 

We have yet to pick out a name but won't be keeping it secret when we do. Sophia has decided her name should be Strawberry Banana (and sometimes she adds Chocolate to the end). Then she said it should be Cassandranda. Yes, you  read that right. But she's headed in the right direction because that's closer to a girl's name than Strawberry Banana.

Anyway, thanks be to God for his good and perfect gift! We are eager to welcome our new beauty. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Girls (plus one!)

I know I say this on like every other blog post, but I just can't believe how quickly the girls are growing up. I thought I'd take a minute to update about them and new happenings in their little lives.

Sophia continues to grow in grace and friendliness. She is not without those special 3 year old moments, where she will say thoughtless or insensitive things perhaps, but where would the teachable moments be if there were not moments like this. However, I am always impressed by her ability to make friends and learn and remember names and other life events. I think she may have a slightly photographic memory.

For example, lately she has been talking a lot about the time that we went apple picking. She has been SO looking forward to apple picking. It's just so interesting because the last time we went was in September. It's been 7 months! She was not even 3 1/2 at that point!  She also remembered the Easter egg hunt from last year in our town home. I mean, I put some goldfish crackers and cheerios (for Heidi) in eggs and hid them. I don't think they even had candy (but, my memory is not as sharp as Sophia's), and this year around Easter time Sophia was asking me (unprompted) if we were going to do an Easter egg hunt again! Wow. She wasn't even 3 at that point and she remembers that!  She also talks about going to the "fish school" again - when we went to do her school screening I accidentally went to the wrong building the first time and there was a fish tank in the wrong building, and she remembered that detail! We didn't even really spend time looking at it, we just walked right by it. It took me forever to figure out what she was asking.

Chris and I also (sometimes jokingly, but sometimes it's really handy) rely on her memory to find random things around the house. For example, one time the remote control had been missing for over a week. I couldn't find it anywhere. Sophia happened to hear that I was looking for it and she pulled it out of somewhere and said "here it is, Mom! I put it in XX spot in case Heidi tried to get it". The other day, Chris couldn't find his bike pump, which we knew was somewhere in the house. He asked Sophia if she had seen it and she ran off into our bedroom and pulled it out from behind a piece of furniture. And, the even more bizarre part is that she didn't put it there, I did, because it was in the way, and I had forgotten about it.

She has a great memory for people and places as well. She still talks about being a flower girl in Aunt Meghan's wedding and how much fun it was. She remembers people there and Great Nana and Great Papa, and all these little details that you wouldn't think she'd remember.

Her conversation continues to impress me as well as strangers. I get compliments from strangers fairly often on her speaking abilities/how clear her speech it. She has also developed a sense of humor and has been joking with Chris and I. We were recently in the car and Sophia said something along the lines of liking Chelsea, and then followed it up with a quick "just kidding!" - she was just teasing Daddy. She is an Arsenal fan through and through.

She is looking forward to school. Whenever somebody asks how old she is, she will tell them "I am 3, and I used to be 2, and on my birthday I am going to be 4, and then after that I'm going to be 5 and then I will go to school!" I, however, am far from being ready for her to go to school. But, I think we are going to start some kind of preschool curriculum at home this fall, just working on basic recognition of letters and numbers, basic math (with pictures), all that fun stuff. She seems very eager to learn.

Her favorite TV show right now is the Lion Guard, which is a new Disney Junior TV series that is a spin off from the Lion King. She will sit in front of the TV and crouch like a lion and growl during the show, and spends a lot of other time pretending she is a cheetah. It's pretty exciting.

Sophie's favorite food is breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, waffles, eggs, pretty much any breakfast food. She has asked every single night for the last several weeks if we can have breakfast for dinner. And, because Mommy is tired and pregnant, we have had breakfast for dinner perhaps more than I would care to admit.

Heidi is growing more and more each day. She is officially in "mullet" phase for her hair. We also recently completed her immunizations, so she is free until the age of 5, which I am SO grateful for. I have a little break until I have to do it again with a little one! I really didn't notice how big she was until someone brought there newborn into work. When I went home that night I saw Heidi and thought to myself "she isn't my baby anymore!"

She is learning words left and right, and is mimicking us to learn new words all of the time. She refers to most candy things as "gummies" (this includes jelly beans, fruit snacks, gummy candy, suckers...) but also loves "suckies" (suckers) as well. Sometimes she differentiates between them. She is putting together two word phrases. When she saw Chris laying down in bed the other day she went into our room, pointed at him, and said "Dada nap!". She, of course, loves her Pooh Bear, who she calls Pooh, and will ask for him if she notices he is not in her presence for about 5 minutes of time.

Heidi is incredibly independent, but there are times where I am reminded of just how small of a girl she still is. It's not often, but it does happen. At Disney World, for example, she wouldn't approach a character unless Sophia did first. And she is currently in the mom-can't-be-in-the-kitchen-without-holding-me phase, so that has made cooking dinner much more interesting. She also likes to ask for help ("hep") when something frustrates her. She is fairly quick to do this, with the exception of when she is putting on her shoes or buckling her car seat, which she insists on doing herself and sometimes will get upset with me if I do it for her (and since she has yet to actually put on her shoes by herself, she has thrown a couple of fits over this).

She is fearless. Absolutely fearless. And anybody who spends any time with her lets me know. Whenever I pick her up from the child care center at the gym somebody comments to me about how fearless she is. Or energetic. Or both. At church yesterday she was literally doing somersaults off of a small slide toy they have in the room. At Pastor's house for a get-together in the evening she was playing on the stairs. All night. For hours. And a couple of times attempted to go down the stairs head first.

Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When she sees Mickey come on TV, she will literally raise both arms up in the air and shout "Mickey!!" It is pretty much the only thing that she will hold still for for a period of time longer than 5 minutes.

She is still a fairly great eater, but partly due to Easter candy she has discovered that when she eats dinner she has a dessert waiting. This has led to a little bit of "training". She will sometimes eat a couple of bits and say all done, then when she gets down she will point up at the Easter basket and say "gummies!?" Yeah, right, honey. Sit back down and eat dinner, then we'll talk. She also likes to walk around and eat, and I think this is partly because she sees Sophia getting up from the table during dinner (e.g. to go to the bathroom for the 3rd or 4th time) and will want to get down and walk around as well. She still devours mac and cheese, but also loves to eat cereal. Her favorite thing right now is pickles. She will open the fridge, point at the jar and say "picco?" to ask for a pickle.

Heidi is also very sharp. She tends to pick up on things quickly. Show her something once, and she's figured it out. She loves to read as well. If I put her to bed first at night, which is happening less and less, she will hop out of bed, turn on the light, and read. Sometimes she'll fall asleep that way. More often than not she just sits and reads as long as the light is on. I've had go to in there and turn it off 3 or 4 times before. Heidi also loves snuggling with Sophia, and once Sophia gets in the room she will grab all of her animals and a blanket, or as many as she can, and squish into Sophia's toddler bed with her. Sophia sometimes doesn't mind, and I have gone in there in the morning before to find the two of them sharing a bed. Other times, it seems more like Heidi just wants to play in the bed, and that's when I hear "MOOOMMM!! Heidi is in my bed!!!!" coming from the room.

Baby number 3 seems like growth is on track. It has been my most difficult pregnancy by far. I think a huge part of that is having two other little ones to keep me busy, but part of it has also been the weird illness and other things that keep happening to our family. I've also not been able to exercise as much, because of the sickness and other things. And strong heartburn has hit much sooner than it previously did.

I've had fairly strong cravings for Panda Express. All I want to eat is orange chicken with their noodles. Seriously. All. And I haven't been a big fan of the desserts. Chocolate has done nothing for me, which is weird because normally I love chocolate. I've also not really been in the mood for desserts in general. I have, however, been in the mood for salt and vinegar Pringles. And Pringles are hardly good chips. It's just that they've been very good during this pregnancy.

Last night I was lying in bed reading and noticed my stomach was moving like a small tidal pool. I could definitely feel the baby swimming around in there and could actually see the movements. This is much earlier than I remember this happening for the other girls. I didn't even feel Sophia moving until 22 or 23 weeks or so. Baby must be positioned a little bit differently in there, or my muscles are stretched thin, but I've been getting movements for about a week now. It was fun to see them happening last night.

I am very excited for my ultrasound appointment tomorrow. Not only do we get to find out the gender for sure (though I have a pretty strong feeling it's a girl) but we also get to look into the window of the uterus and see the baby! I absolutely love seeing baby in there. I am very much looking forward to the appointment. A couple hours after this time tomorrow I'll be able to post what baby #3 is (assuming they cooperate)!

Heidi's new favorite thing is her helmet ("hat!"). She likes to wear it everywhere! I kind of like not worrying about head injuries.

Overnight snuggles