Building With Trash

Have you ever seen Toy Story 4? George is Bonnie. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at Forky explaining what being trash meant to him, because I could see George having the same monologue. He loves taking our trash and re-purposing it. A week doesn’t go by that he isn’t digging into our cardboard pile or looking for discarded packaging to create some scene he has concocted in his mind.

And he has some grand ideas. Earlier this year, I was sure we were going to live with a cardboard house in our living room for all of time. This thing had a smoke stack, and he had even made furniture for the inside. He wanted to eat all his meals in there; he watched TV in there. He just loves to re-imagine things, and he has a way of looking at things with a whole new appreciation.

So when he came to us this weekend saying he wanted to make an arcade in his room, Tom jumped on board. I clearly had already put all the cardboard in our recycling pile. You can see who is the fun parent here…

Tom’s brain is the same as George with just a little more experience. So it is like they are speaking the same language, and Tom is able to make all of George’s recycling dreams come true.

But I have to say this pinball machine definitely takes the cake.

Who knows how long this thing will actually last, but it makes him so ridiculously happy. He has even created a ticket system for his “arcade.” And while he does love a good TV binge and playing games on our phones, it is refreshing that he wants to use his time this way instead.

With what he comes up with, I could see George being an engineer, designer, or architect someday. I have to remind myself that it is only cardboard, and eventually it will make its way to the trash. But in this moment, this all is so much more to the kids.

Sometimes it is hard for me to let go of the pieces that want the order and less chaos of toys and “trash” strewn every where. However, when I break it down, these are the moments that build him into who he will be someday. By letting him create and dream up these things, we are showing him what his brain is capable of. And by helping him build out what is in his head, we are showing our support and belief in his dreams. It’s helping him problem solve and pushes him to be creative with his solutions. When I start to think about what is happening here, the trash problem seems so insignificant. For every mess I see, George has a whole backstory and reason for it being the way that it is. And as wild and crazy as they seem, when he tells the story, they are always unique and purposeful. I want him to know that his ideas are valued and encourage that creativity.

So sometimes we build really crazy things and let the fun flow from it. And sometimes the inventions do not work, but this shows him to take another look and try again.

Do I let him take all the trash to build something? No I do not. More often than not, George hears that taking that piece of trash is not realistic today. Literally in the middle of writing this post I had to go break the kids up because they were arguing over the best place to put the “pull-up” maze. Yes they had taken all of George’s pull-ups and thrown them around their rooms to create a maze obstacle course…Not ideal.

However, sometimes I need to let loose and let an arcade machine come to life.

These are the moments I hope my kids remember. George with his idea. Tom with his building magic. Gammy helping George “paint” the theme. And Daphne and I digging through my car to find dinosaurs as props. It’s here that some of the real magic of parenting happens.

And I have to admit that without Tom these moments are not possible. I am just not that kind of mom…but that is a post for another day.

I just have to remember that I may not always see the end result, but having faith in my people and supporting their dreams are sometimes our best moments together.

Baby 3: 1st Trimester

Welp here we are well into the second trimester, and I haven’t documented at all how this pregnancy has gone. Third baby problems I guess. I do love that I have documentation of my pregnancies, so I do want to attempt to keep up with the rest of this one. Working from home is mentally exhausting, and then to add on the physical exhaustion, I never wanted to look at a computer after the work day ended. So we’ll see how documenting goes…

I will be honest this one has been the most exhausting. Some of that is obvious when you are pregnant with two other kids running around, but then to add quarantine life on to that. The first trimester was ROUGH.

We found out I was pregnant around week 5, and that is when the morning sickness started taking over. From week 5 until about week 15, I was sick pretty much 24/7. I only actually threw up once, but the nausea was overwhelming none the less. I actually felt really fortunate that we were in quarantine, because I know trying to work in person would have made me feel so much worse. Here at home, I could get as comfortable as possible, and it didn’t matter how gross I actually felt. I am not sure I would have been able to work if I would have had to go into the office and be presentable.

I was basically eating like a college freshmen: poptarts, goldfish, Tostino’s pizzas, and Chef Boyardee beefaroni. Every fruit and vegetable sent me dry heaving. And I couldn’t look at meat for most of the first trimester. I don’t eat a lot of processed food, so this had so many effects on my body because that list of 4 highly processed items was really my diet for weeks. But my body DID NOT want anything fresh and wanted things filled with salt.

And oh the exhaustion. I literally fell asleep each time my body hit the couch. Eating breakfast with the kids during morning cartoons, asleep. Bedtime cartoons, asleep. Reading the kids books, asleep. I couldn’t tell you how many times Tom would find me asleep in the kids’ rooms while they played around me. I would pass out anytime my tushie hit a soft cushion.

There was absolutely no working out, and I struggled to even get my steps in every day. I would put the treadmill on 1.5 speed and slowly inch my way towards my step goal each day.

This all is fairly similar to how both of the other pregnancies went, but quarantine added a whole other element that made this a different experience.

As I said being at home made things better in the long run that I could just be a mess and no one would know. I have basically lived in leggings for the past 4 months. It also made it easier for us to keep things to ourselves. This was important to me because I don’t like to share my pregnancies until I have actually seen the little nugget on an ultrasound and heard a heartbeat. For me I need that reality confirmation before I feel comfortable sharing with the world. With Daph, we saw her at 6 weeks, and George we saw at 8 weeks. With this one, I did not have an ultrasound until 12 weeks. So having the ability to hole up in our house was really beneficial.

What wasn’t beneficial was the anxiety that over took me along with the morning sickness. Due to my history, I worried that my hormones were deceiving me as they did with George, so I really wanted a doctor to check me out and do their tests to confirm the pregnancy. I also was anxious since my doctor and I had talked through being labeled as high risk before. So when I was told that my first appointment (8 weeks) would be over Zoom, and that I would not have an ultrasound until 12 weeks, the panic set in. With George I had appointments every 2 weeks, and with Daph we had a three ultrasounds within the first trimester. It was really hard for me to just trust that everything was ok.

But due to COVID, my OB did not want patients coming in until their 12 week ultrasound. This was right at the beginning of the shut down, so there was a lot to digest in how the procedures would be different.

During my teleappointment at 8 weeks, I expressed my concerns. My doctor kept reassuring me that I was showing definite signs of being pregnant. She went through symptoms that I would need to watch for to warrant coming in person before 12 weeks. I was not exhibiting any of them. Which for any normal person, that would be calming. It just made me more aggravated that I could only go off my nausea and peeing on a stick to know everything was going ok. I really got spoiled with all the ultrasounds with the first two! Also Zoom appointments are interesting. It’s basically an indepth questionnaire with a chat feature. I felt fortunate that I have a blood pressure machine at home that I could at least talk through some medical readings.

That 12 week mark finally came around, and I was finally able to see this little baby on the screen. However, I had to go at it alone. All my appointments in person will be solo. I am glad that Tom has experienced the appointments before so he at least has an idea of what I am doing there, but it still sucks as someone with anxiety to have to go through pieces of this alone. But to limit exposure risks, no support people are allowed with patients during appointments. It also made me sad because I was able to take George to one of my ultrasounds with Daph, and that will not be an experience I get to share with this one.

And how have the kids been through all this? Pretty great actually. They named the baby Teddy, and I now realize as we are talking about real names, that we may never get them to stop calling this baby Teddy. Daphne is so excited to have her own baby, and she wants to share the crib with her newest brother. George is ready for another baby, but very much does not want to share rooms. We have been using it as incentive to keep his room clean. If he doesn’t clean his room twice a week, I have threatened to put baby stuff in his room. So far so good! They love to talk to the baby, but they think they do that through screaming in my mouth. It’s been really fun seeing their reactions as a 5 and 3 year old compared to the 2 year old that George was when I was pregnant with Daphne.

Even though I have been through pregnancy before, this one feels so different. There is a reality that I may do this whole pregnancy from the comfort of my own home, which brings on so many different dynamics and other missed opportunities of celebration. There are still so many unknowns and things that cause me to panic and question. So I guess with that it is the same…It’s like I am making myself doubt every sane instinct, and then I feel guilt that I don’t know what’s going on since I have had prior experience.

So yea the first trimester went swimmingly. But here we are, and I am 18 weeks and almost to the half way point.

Here are my first pregnancy updates with George and Daphne.

Why Three?

If you have been following along with my journey over the years, you might recall that we were pretty adamant after Daphne that we were done growing our family. It was really hard for me since I had always had fleeting thoughts of having three kids. But after the trauma of Daphne’s birth, it felt like the right move at the time.

We proceeded to get rid of baby things as Daphne grew. I thought that getting rid of the things would make it more real that 2 was the right number for us. I was physically closing that door.

Right around Daphne’s first birthday, I kept feeling this nagging feeling on my heart that something was missing. The best way to explain it is that it felt like someone was missing from our table.

Tom and I discussed it for almost a whole other year. There were definite concerns, my health being number one. Having that hemorrhage and getting a blood transfusion was pretty scary, and it is definitely not something I want to every go through again. I talked extensively with both my primary doctor and OB during that year to see what complications I needed to consider, even more so now that I would be in that age range that is considered advanced maternal age. When both gave me the green light, we talked through how our life would change with three. Tom and I talked through everything: vacations, school, how would we have three kids in this house, would we need a new car, would we ever go to a restaurant again, to how we could financially support all the things for three kids. We have a certain lifestyle we want for our kids, and I will be honest it took us awhile to get to a place where we felt we could move forward.

But I truly believe that God provides, and He kept placing it on my heart that there was someone missing at our dinner table. We prayed, we cried, and we had many nights where we stayed up until all the hours of the night talking through all the scenarios. We truly believe that we had love to give another child and if anything this world needs more of is love. We felt confident that no matter the obstacles, this child would be loved beyond measure.

As simple as it sounds, it just kept coming back to that feeling that someone was missing from our family. There really is not a logical reason especially since we already had a boy and a girl.

However, now that we are here, the decision has never felt more right.

This was not an oops baby or quarantine baby. Everything about this child was planned and put on our hearts to bring into this world. We started trying last fall, and it has been a whirlwind since.

At the beginning of quarantine, I started feeling pretty crummy. The reason that prompted taking a test is that I couldn’t eat a hamburger one night. I NEVER say no to a hamburger.

I remember feeling a bundle of nerves when I saw “pregnant” pop up on that test. There was no going back now, but all the concerns we had talked about just rose to the surface.

But then I told Daphne the news.

As soon as I said it out loud, all my fears melted away. And yes, Daphne was the first to know because I knew she wouldn’t tell anyone, and if she did no one would take it seriously. So she and I would talk about this sweet little nugget in our quiet moments together, and there was so much joy for us both. I’m pretty sure she thought I was telling her she was getting a new baby doll, but we were both still excited.

Since we were in quarantine, there wasn’t getting anything special from the store, and I wasn’t about to wait for days to get something shipped to the house to tell Tom. Plus we were with each other 24/7 due to the stay at home order and now being co-workers in our basement, so I needed to tell him somehow and quick!

So instead, I used my daughter, you know the one I said that no one would believe, to help me tell the news.

One night after keeping it a secret for a day, during our bedtime routine with the kids, I whispered to Daph to go tell her Daddy that she was a big sister. She shared the news in her sweet little voice. At first, Tom brushed it off and said “I know, some day you will get to be a big sister.” I had her repeat it again, and Tom still wasn’t getting it, so I shouted to him, “not going to be, she IS a big sister.” I have never seen Tom shoot up so fast. He was so excited and screamed, “You’re pregnant?” It is really a moment that I wish I had filmed, but alas it will have to be a memory on my heart instead.

So here we are at 16 weeks, happily making this a three kid family. So while in every other situation, I weigh out all the odds and make my pro/con lists. But this one about bringing another life into this world, we had to just go with where our hearts were leading us.

Here we go again!

Year 9

Today is a totally normal day. We both have work. Daphne has gymnastics. Totally normal, and yet, there is so much to celebrate today.

Nine years ago, we high-fived our way into this marriage.

In our time together, we have been through a lot. Through all the hills and valleys, there is something that has always remained constant: Belief.

Belief that this relationship was more than a summer fling.

Belief that we made each other better people.

Belief that when one of us fell the other would be there to pick up the pieces and put us back together.

Belief that even in our darkest moments there was trust between us.

Belief that our love was meant to create this wonderful family life.

This year has had it’s ups and downs just like any other. But as I sit here reflecting, it really is the belief that we have in each other that has gotten us here. (Maybe our stubbornness too, but mostly belief.)

This year we saw George start preschool. We endured the loss of my grandpa. We watched the world turn upside down due to a pandemic.

There were so many moments in between that we laughed, cried, and were down right angry.

There have been instances where we have had to claw each other out of a dark hole, and others where we sit peacefully in amazement at how fortunate we are.

It’s amazing that even though we have been together for over a decade and our life has gotten seemingly comfortable, there is still so much to endure together. I continue to learn about Tom and how to make our marriage successful.

This year has been full of introspection and dreaming of our future. It has been a pivotal year and extremely personal making sure that we are heading in the right direction on our own paths but together as well.

Here’s to another year together, and one for the record books. I think year 10 is going to be a big one.

Daphne Turns Three!

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Today my baby girl is three. It’s hard to believe that this sweet girl is now such a big girl. She is less and less like a toddler every day. To honor her today, I wanted to share three words that I feel perfectly describes this gal.

Independent

She has always done things in her own time frame including her own birth. She came out early and hasn’t stopped doing things at her own pace since. She is constantly telling us that she can do things on her own. She rarely asks for help, and she is the most determined person I know. She is constantly learning and pushing herself to be a big girl. I think the perfect example is watching this girl push herself on the tree swing. She is most content when she does things for herself. She is ambitious and curious, and I love seeing her come into her own power. But again, she will let you know when she is ready. And I love her confidence about that, and I pray that she always feels free and knows her worth.

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Headstrong

Along with her independence, this girl’s will is nothing to mess with. She is as stubborn as a mule. This comes with positives because of that determination but can be also extremely frustrating when she tries to out wait you on something. Her tantrums can last for hours, but that stamina also plays really well for her when she is learning something new. When she puts her mind to something she will find a way to do it. She is uncompromising when it comes to what she wants. She also knows how to fight for what she wants. This girl can hold her own with George and often leaves him in her dust. Daph is not going to buy into something that she doesn’t find meaning in, and she stands by her opinions. She has such conviction when she decides to do something or stand for something, and this makes me excited to see how she is going to change the world.

Purposeful

These words all seem to over lap, but I feel that with her feelings she is very intentional with what she shares. She can be guarded and shy, but when she lets you into her inner circle she is never letting you go. She loves big, and to feel her love is nothing short of amazing. There is no one she loves more than her stuffies. She has names for them all, and often does roll call to make sure she knows where they all are. She is always mothering them and carrying at least one stuffie around at all times. She rarely cuddles with anyone, but lately she has been sneaking in our bed in the middle of the night to be close to her mommy and daddy. She says the sweetest things and has the most perfect timing and delivery. She has purpose with everything she does, and you can see those wheels turning as she is processing things around her. It is amazing to see how smart and careful she is with her feelings.

Daphie Girl, you inspire me every day. I am honored to be your mommy, and you are always amazing me with who you are becoming. You are going to do incredible things my dearest.

I asked George what he loved about his sister, and he said that she eats a lot and is funny.

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