33 weeks

I realize not much has been said about this pregnancy. It’s not that he’s not wanted. It’s just that we’ve been so busy raising his 5 year old brother and 2 1/2 year old sister that I haven’t had a lot of time to talk about him. I saw a friend post a cute little pregnancy questionnaire, so I figured that would be a great place for me to pick up.

How far along: 33 weeks

How big is baby? Average babies at this point are 4 pounds and around 17 inches long–the weight of a pineapple. Since we are petite people and make petite babies, I’m expecting he’s a tad smaller than this right now.

Gender: It’s a Boy!


Weight gain: 5 pounds {lost over 15 in my first trimester}

Maternity clothes: Blah. Maternity clothes are overrated. I wear a lot of leggings and long tank tops. Thrifting is the best for it. I just buy shirts a size larger than normal and call it good. Summer has been great because I can wear a lot of sundresses too.

Stretch marks: None really.  Just a little flesh colored on at my belly button that I can see when I move directions in the mirror.

Belly button in or out: Working it’s way to stretching out.

Sleep: I had been having a hard time sleeping a few weeks ago even though it really wasn’t the size or weight of my belly. I was sleeping on the right side of our bed but needing to sleep on the left side of my body. Once little ones started climbing in during the night and piling in line in front of me I wasn’t getting much room to move nor was I feeling the fan. My husband graciously switched me sides of the bed and now I’m all the way on the left side of the bed, sleeping on my left side, with a fan blowing right on me and little ones climbing in behind me in bed now!


Best moment this week: Having a night out to dinner with husband to celebrate our 8th anniversary and being able to wear a cute dress.

Worst moment this week: Having the energy to start projects/cleaning one day and being down for the count the next. Wishing I could check things off my list sooner so our household runs smoothly while we are in the hospital and after.

Miss anything: Taco Bell! Just two bites of most foods these days gives me heartburn. The last time I ate TB I felt really sick. Just being cautious now.

Movement: TONS of movement. Some nights Zac can even feel the bed moving because Little Man has kicked me so hard. He’s a mover for sure. Day or night. It doesn’t matter. He slithers more than his siblings. And he gets the hiccups a lot too. So cute.

Cravings: I’ve never really been one for cravings during pregnancy. Sometimes I just prefer colder things like Slurpees or Ice Cream over dinner but that’s mostly because I don’t want to induce heartburn.


Queasy or sick: Nope. Just tired.


Wedding rings on or off?:  My official wedding rings off–because my prongs are loose and I don’t want to lose my diamond. I’m wearing a cheap fake ring from the store just to take it’s place. No swelling in hands. Just trying to save that precious diamond my husband picked just for me over 8 years ago.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but tired. It’s hard being in the middle of summer, with a 5 year old and a 2 1/2 year old with not many plans. A school routine would be great to keep us busy.

Looking forward to: The beauty of delivery once again {I love all things babies and birthing!} and learning what this Little Man’s name is. We still don’t have a clue. Ideas, lists, discussions, but nothing official.

Have you bought anything for baby yet?: Absolutely. I’m a planner. Lots of newborn and 0-3 months onesies and pants, but seriously lacking in sleepers or preemie clothes. Neither baby so far was a preemie but they were so small they wore preemie for the first few months. Next needed purchase: car seat.

Funny Sibling Moment?: While driving past his new elementary school, Mr. Man says from the backseat, “Mom, if brother wants to be born when I am at school tell him to just wait until I am done and Papa and Grandma can bring me up to the hospital. I don’t want to miss anything. Sister was born when I was sleeping. I just don’t want to miss it again.” So sweet, but it doesn’t work that way, kiddo.

And Little Miss always tells me, “I can’t right now. My back hurts.” I wonder where she heard that from?!?!?

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Bullies

I’m so glad I waited a few days to write this post because it’s definitely one that could have been written in bitterness and haste.

 

Friday night my five-year old was a victim of bullies. I am so not looking forward to our first experience with school–which happens to start in 42 days.

 

We were at our local park helping pass out flyers for a concert that was taking place. When we were done we went down to the playground so the kids could play while we waited for daddy to join us.  Mr. Man darted straight for the merry-go-round which has become his new favorite structure every time we are there. I was walking around with Little Miss so I could be her spotter when she was climbing stairs and such.  I kept glancing over at the merry-go-round at him and he seemed fine.  After awhile I started to notice some kids that looked like they were in the midst of a debate with him.

I started walking that way and I could hear my son say, “I AM NOT A BABY!”

Once I got there I asked him what was wrong and he told me they were calling him a baby. I looked right at the boys and nicely said, “He’s right. He’s not a baby. He’s five years old and he is going to kindergarten soon.”

They all kind of chuckled and then started whispering to each other. I decided I needed to stay there for awhile because I knew Little Miss was able to navigate the structures just fine now.  Those boys were relentless. There were about four of them and when I asked them how old they were they all said they were six or seven.   So, they were only at least a year older than him and they were calling him a baby?  Not cool.

Mr. Man was so great to keep telling them that he wasn’t a baby, he was going to kindergarten soon and he was five years old. I defended him a few more times myself and then just started getting annoyed. Little Miss and another two year old girl came and got on the merry-go-round around this time too.  Mr. Man jumped off to push and after a few rounds around they started saying, “We need someone else to push because that baby can’t make it go fast.”  I told my boy he was doing a great job. I also told them they couldn’t go too fast because there were some smaller ones on right now. THEN they bent down toward my girl and said, “Don’t you want to go play somewhere else now?”  Umm. NO!  I told those boys, “The girls can stay on for as long as they want. When they decide to get off then you can go faster.”  They kept trying to persuade them to get off and I kept telling the girls they could stay on as long as they want.

The girls eventually got off but I’m happy to say they did it on their own accord.

Mr. Man got back on the merry-go-round and I followed Little Miss to a slide.  A few minutes later my boy comes running up to me and says, “Mom, how much do I weigh?”  Excuse me?  What?  I looked at him, looked at the boys and then said, “You are 30 pounds but that doesn’t matter, okay?”  He ran back and told them what he found out and they all started laughing. Once again they started calling him a baby and said he wasn’t as big as they were.

My boy is five years old, 30 pounds, 39 inches and wears 3T/4T clothes.  We make smaller babies. Who cares?

I had been texting my husband during this time asking him when he would be there because these boys were not being nice and I just thought we needed to leave.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get them to leave without daddy’s help so we stayed.

The part that put me over the edge before daddy got there was when they wouldn’t let up and decided to now ask him, “Well, if you aren’t a baby…what reading level are you?”  Ugh. Is that how you measure someone’s importance?  Sure, I understand the importance of reading levels and such over the years but what six or seven year old would ask another kid that to determine if they were good enough?

At this point I looked at my boy and said, “If they aren’t going to be nice to you, you’re going to have to get off and go play somewhere else, okay buddy?”

Daddy arrived a few minutes later and I filled him in on what was going on. I also informed him that I’ve been dealing with this by myself because their parents didn’t seem to be anywhere around.  He started hearing the boys calling him a baby and taunting him so he started mean mugging them. It seemed to help for a few minutes and then they just kept being sneaky about it.  At one point I saw one of them start pushing him and he had his hands on them in defense. I went right up there and told my boy to stop and asked them not to put their hands on him.  I didn’t want their hands on him but I also wanted to take the opportunity to make sure my boy knew he wasn’t allowed to touch them either. I don’t see things one-sided and I don’t think my child is an angel. I need to teach my child in every circumstance.

I kept telling my husband that we should leave so we could get dinner but we wanted our kids to be able to play too.  It wasn’t a few minutes later that I caught out of the corner of my eye my boy leaning forward, with a look on his face that I’ve never seen before, screaming “I AM NOT A BABY!”  I marched right over to the merry-go-round, told him, “You need to get off now and do something else. These boys have been mean to you the whole time and you don’t need to put up with it” and then I turned to the one boy and asked, “Can you show me where your parents are?  You have not been nice to my boy the whole time he’s been here and I would like to talk to your parents.”  All of a sudden he was silent, trying to point in circles as he spun round and round and then my boy got off the structure, ran off into the trees and started bawling.

I’m pretty sure I am partly to blame for those tears. I think I embarrassed him. But how long do you stand back and let it happen before you intercede?  My husband went over to talk to him and he fought the hugs and words he was trying to offer him. It took everything in my 8-month pregnant, mommy heart NOT to cry–but I could feel those tears welling up in my ears and I had to look away.

Another dad came up to talk to me and assure me that my feelings were justified.  He said, “What amazes me is how young bullying starts.  And it starts with examples. Where are their parents?  At the concert while they let their kids play alone over here on the playground?”

It’s true. Their parents where NO WHERE to be found. I just couldn’t believe it.  I don’t consider myself a hovering parent but my goodness, who in this world lets their children play alone on a playground while they sit across the creek in chairs listening to a concert?

We ended up convincing our children that we needed to leave to grab something to eat. We also took the time to let Mr. Man know that he didn’t need to be around those type of people.

We walked up into town to put our name on a wait list for dinner.  Daddy and sis went to do that and my boy and I sat on a bench. I started talking to him about what happened and he moved to the other side of the bench and didn’t want to talk to me.  I told him if he didn’t want to right then that was fine, but that I would like to talk about it later.

He said, “Fine. Let’s just talk about it now, okay?”

It hurt my heart that he was so hurt by those boys. In that moment, and a few moments since,  I’ve told him that his size doesn’t matter, he’s a really cool kid and there are PLENTY of people in our lives that love him.  I think he knows that but he has a hard time not being accepted. We’ve always called him the Joy Boy and the kid who knows no stranger.  Everywhere he goes he brings joy, laughter and love to others of all ages.  In this moment, he had his first encounter with cruel people. We told him that hurt people, hurt people because they don’t like themselves.

Does it get any better?  I am not excited about kindergarten, people. Not at all.

Five things you probably don’t know about me…

It’s been awhile since I’ve last blogged.  Mostly because I’ve been so sick this pregnancy and also partly because I go through waves of times when I feel like the things I want to say or have to say aren’t that significant or important in the long run.  I always aspire to be an inspiration to others, to be a source of knowledge, give recommendations, insight, etc.  For now, I think a “things you probably don’t know about me” post seems fun.  So without further ado….

 

1.) 99.9% of the time you will see me drinking out of a straw.  I love straws!  My kids even get to the point where they ask “Straw?” when I’m preparing a drink.  I can’t drink milk or coffee out of a straw but almost everything else demands a straw in my world.  Part of the reason for that is I can’t stand the taste of aluminum cans or glass bottles.  Beside that, do you know whose hands have touched that before you put your lips to it?  I’m not OCD about germs and such, but that’s definitely one thing I KNOW I can control.  I try to keep extra straws from fast food restaurants in the glove box of my car at all times (along with Taco Bell sauce packets–you never know when you’ll be attending a Taco party).  It’s so much easier to have a drink in the car when you have a straw available!  I’ve also learned that spinning the tab on a can around serves as a great straw holder.  Pop that drink open, spin the tab 180 degrees and slip your straw in it.  Helps keep it from bobbing up and down.  You’re welcome.

 

2.) I don’t know how to swim.  It’s true.  I’ve tried and tried and tried and tried and I just can’t do it.  We didn’t grow up around much water living in Pontiac so there was no reason to learn how.  Our family owned a cottage in Oscoda right on Lake Huron and we would vacation there a few times each summer.  My dad tried teaching me each summer but nothing stuck.  I think it all falls on my badonkadonk.  Nowadays, my husband tells me that I need to take swimming lessons just as much as our children do.  I believe that I am at a point in life now, though, that my brain tells me I can’t do it and my body says whatever.  

Don’t even think about inviting me over to your pool or on a boat unless:

1.) you know how to swim and will watch my children like a hawk  

2.) Zac will be there or

3.) you have life jackets.  

I’m serious.  I may not know how to swim but I’m smart enough not to put my kids in danger due to my shortcoming.

 

3.) I HATE the sound of styrofoam.  It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me!  After almost 29 years of life my mother now knows to open a gift, remove the styrofoam, and package it differently before she gives it to me.  I can’t stand the sound of them rubbing together or squealing up the side of a box when you remove an item.  My poor husband–sometimes he has to remove things like TV’s from the box himself because I’m off in a corner with my fingers in my ears singing as loud as I can to mask the noise.  It’s a serious annoyance.  I’m not joking.

 

4.) One of my pet peeves in when someone interrupts my yawn.  The most likely culprit: my husband.  Sometimes he tries to be funny and quickly pokes his finger in my wide open mouth and other times he’s trying to kiss me mid-yawn.  I can’t stand when I cannot complete a yawn.  I feel jipped.  Like I can’t complete the cycle.  The kids interrupt them too.  Don’t think they get a free pass in this area.  They like to stick their fingers in when I’m yawning too.  Do they think they are popping a bubble or something?  It’s so annoying.

 

5.) I have to eat things in pairs.  Well….I can’t eat anything that is uneven.  For example, I have to have an even amount of M&M’s to eat.  I usually eat them in pairs.  If I have an odd amount of one color I have to find a similar color to eat with the single one.  Say I have three green and one red: I’ll eat two of the green and then pair the red and last green together because they remind me of Christmas.  I am not weird.  I am NOT weird.  I promise. 

 

And now you know me a little better!  You’re welcome.

Our Love Story for Valentine’s Day

A few days ago I entered our love story in a contest with the local paper.  While we did not win the contest we were asked if we would share our story in a front page feature.  We were so excited to be asked to do this.  We were sent a list of questions to answer and email back.  One of the questions asked about our children and we saw it as a great opportunity to share the news of our pregnancy with our friends and family in a unique way.  Well, as we all know, journalism picks and chooses what they want to say and although we felt blessed to be asked to share our story I didn’t feel like it was a true reflection of our love story or our heart for marriages.

Here is my submission:

Our love story started with a handshake at a bonfire and continues with a crazy love for each other after almost 8 years of marriage. Little did I know that my husband had a list of qualities he was looking for in a wife and was checking them off in his head the night he met me. We’ve been through the in sickness and health, for richer or poor, through good days and bad together and look forward to embarrassing our children with our love in hopes that they see how husband’s and wives should love and treat each other.

Here is the exact questions and answers we submitted:

1.) What is your husband’s name?

My husband’s name is Zac Holmes

2.) What city do you live in?

We live in Waterford

3.) What are your kids names? How old are they?

Our son Reese is 4 1/2, our daughter Emery is 2 and we are expecting in September {SURPRISE MOM’S AND DAD’S!}

4.)  What are some of the hard times you guys have gone through that you talked about?

We have been through a lot of trials in our marriage but always end up coming out of it stronger and more in love with each other.  One of our biggest heartaches was in January of 2011 when we unexpectedly miscarried our second child. No one can truly know or understand a mother or father’s heart until they experience it themselves. My husband was so helpful and supportive during this time. Even when he didn’t know what to say he gave me time to think, to cry, to snuggle, or to scream.  When I was rushed to the ER a week later with complications he sat with me in the cold, white room while we waited for results. My biggest fear was that I would never be able to have children again. Praise God that He had bigger plans for our family because we were able to get pregnant right away with our now 2 year old daughter!  Zac never left my side, he never made me feel like a failure, and he never questioned my emotions.

I’ve had plenty of times to be the one by his side too. From job changes to visits to the ER for health issues to huge financial setbacks for our family, it is important to me to let my man know and feel that he is a good man, a great supporter for our family and that it is not my job to shame him.

5.)  What do you love about your husband/wife? What kind of person is he/she?

Amy–One thing I love about my husband is how he shows our children his love for me by not letting them be disrespectful toward me.  He is a man full of never ending patience and support. He is a well of knowledge in a variety of areas and people respect him enough to ask his opinion or advice on buying electronics, purchasing a car or parental advice.  I can tell by the look in his eyes everyday that he loves me, respects me and is truly my partner in all of life’s trials.  I love when he rocks out in the car to his favorite songs but not so much when he uses my legs for his air drums!

Zac– Amy is a lover. She loves me, she loves kids, she loves people. She has an awesome sparkle in her big brown eyes. She is a joyous woman who has never met a stranger. I love how unrelenting she is when it comes to us–she loves me fiercely and is very supportive of the decisions I make for our family.  She is a fantastic combination of gentle and strong and brings the right kind of balance to our crazy life.

6.)  What would you like to teach your kids about how husbands and wives should treat each other?

And do you think this is lacking in today’s world?

Our generation is composed of a lot of hurting people who are either products of divorce or view marriage as disposable. Zac and I were married a little over a month after I turned 21. In our almost 8 years of marriage we have seen multiple divorces among our friends and age group.

The word divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary. When we decided to get married we made a life commitment to be “in it to win it”. Marriages are important to us and we strive to fight not only for our own but for others, especially those in our generation.  We believe that many couples stop fighting for their marriages, stop respecting each other, stop communicating, stop touching each other.

As a product of divorce myself it is very important to me that our children see us live out our marriage in front of them.  Zac and I dance in the kitchen often, kiss, cuddle on the couch, make dinner together, do dishes together, hold doors open for each other, pray together and even apologize. Without living this out in front of our children they will never know how husbands and wives should treat each other.

Just because it sounds fairytale-ish doesn’t mean it’s easy. Every day is a battle but it takes the recognition that it’s more important to fight for our marriage than to fight to be right.  Marriage isn’t a contest but a partnership. In our marriage we have three partners-God, Zac and Amy.  It is our goal to act this out not only in front of our children but those we encounter along our day who might need the encouragement to fight for their marriage.

*Here is a little more about our back story.

We met in the fall of 2005 when Amy has just decided to move back home from Taylor University in Indiana.  We learned along the way that we had many mutual friends over the years but never met until that one Sunday night in September at a bonfire. Amy arrived with her youth group friends, noticed people she didn’t know and decided to walk up and introduce herself.  That’s when I met her for the first time and began to know throughout the night that she was the girl I was going to marry.  A few months earlier I was talking to my pastor’s wife about how I was longing for a wife. She encouraged me to write a list of qualities I was looking for–no matter how silly some of them would seem.

Amy took my number that night and contacted me next day. We talked for hours every night that week and went on our first date that Friday night. From there, we were inseparable. She said that the night we went on our first date, she walked out of the house declaring to her family, “This is the man I am going to marry.”  As we began to talk and date God started to remind me of my list and I started checking things off in my head.

I knew very quickly that in fact she was the woman for me. I wanted to propose to her at Christmas but felt like God was telling me that it wasn’t quite the right time. I waited until Easter Sunday in April and proposed to her in front of the entire church during our Easter service.  We were married 2 1/2 months later on July 1st, 2006 with the help and support of many people we consider family and life-long friends.  We know that God brought us together for a reason and we are excited to see what all that entails.

Homemade Pancakes Sunday

This morning Mr. Man woke up and requested pancakes. I felt terrible because he always asks for pancakes and I just never buy any mix at the store. We aren’t big breakfast people. We enjoy a breakfast out or Papa-made breakfasts but on a daily basis we usually eat toast, bagels, waffles or cereal with fruit. Nothing fancy.

After apologizing to him for awhile and telling him I would add it to my grocery list I decided to just google “Homemade Pancake Recipe”. That’s when I stumbled upon this Martha Stewart Basic Pancake Recipe. After realizing I had all the ingredients I told him we could make our own. He was SO EXCITED. I ran into the kitchen to whip up his brunch as fast as I could.

I am making a declaration right now: I will NEVER buy boxed pancake or waffle mix {unless I’m in a hurry} again! It was so easy! As long as I stay stocked up on my baking supplies I think this could be a very frequent occurrence.

Once I saw that the recipe yielded 12-15 pancakes I decided to stock up and freeze the uneaten ones. As I was going I realized it wasn’t very hard to do so I decided to use up our last egg and our last cup of milk and double the batch. I ended up getting 30 small to medium sized pancakes all together! The kids had 5 between them during the process. That means I was able to pack up and store away 25 pancakes for quick breakfasts in the days to come. I am seriously thinking of making this a monthly occurrence!

Any other suggestions on things I can make ahead of time and freeze for later to make my life easier? I don’t have a ton of space in our freezer but I’m looking for more ideas. Please send them my way {along with your best estimate of how long they will keep}. I can not wait to have our own home someday soon so we can have an extra upright freezer for storage! Our current freezer contents are pork chops, chicken, roast, cookie dough, ice cream, whipped cream and ice cubes. I need more space–especially for those times I find a good deal on our meats at the grocery store!

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Mommy Wars

I came across a great little article with lots of great visuals that I think is just fantastic.

Today I engaged in a conversation on a Facebook Mom 2 Mom site that was wondering what families in our community thought about our local school system or why people have chosen to remove their children from the school district {a question that was directed because of a decline in enrollment and possibility of closing or repurposing 4 elementary’s}.

I was hesitant to interject my opinion because I hate conflict but I just felt the need to express our choice. We are pretty much set on homeschooling Mr. Man starting this fall but I have yet to hear back from the program we will be utilizing.

What I learned watching this conversation occur is that people view things in different ways, everyone’s reasons for their child’s schooling is unique to their own family or situation and parents will do anything for their kids! Just because it is our choice to homeschool Mr. Man doesn’t mean it’s the same reasons that you should homeschool your little Susie or Bobby.

When I saw this link online I just LOVED the way it portrayed these thoughts. Whether you are a stay at home mom or work out of the home, breastfeed or formula feed, vaccinate or not vaccinate–we all do what we think is best for our family. And none of us are wrong! We may be different but my way isn’t right and your way isn’t wrong. I base my decisions on what works best for my family or even to take that a step further, I make my decisions based on each child and their needs, abilities, or desires.

Please take a minute to look through these pictures and see that each mother is right in her own way. How can you view your friends or family members differently after seeing these images? We’re all in this together!

http://herscoop.com/posts/empowering-photo-series/

The end of a season…and year. Here’s to better days ahead.

Today doesn’t seem like the last day of 2013. It just seems like another day to me. That’s how most milestones and holidays have felt to me this year. I haven’t been in the mood, had anything to say or have had time to blog lately. And that’s okay. I’m back. Maybe once a week. Maybe more. Who knows.

The last few months have been really hard for our family. We have been challenged and given opportunities to learn new lessons and grow. This is not where we saw ourselves at this point of the year so we are so ready to get passed it and move on to bigger and better things {namely a hopeful first home purchase!}

Many of you are sitting down and setting up your New’s Years Resolutions or Bucket Lists for 2014. Personally, I’m just coming up with a list of things that I want to be better at, hope to accomplish or teach my children new skills and lessons. I will be tweaking this list as new thoughts come to me because this is a place that I will come back to for reference and redirection when the days get tough.

1.) No dishes in the sink at bedtime.
2.) Toys and books cleaned up before bedtime.
3.) Food to be eaten at the table.
4.) Mr. Man uses an open top cup when sitting at the table.
5.) Work out for at least 15 minutes a day with the kids {goal is to lose tummy, tighten thighs and bottom, and lose 15 pounds}.
6.) Blow dry and straighten hair 2-3 times a week.
7.) Sign Mr. Man up for Soccer and Tball.
8.) Sign Little Miss up for a dance class.
9.) Use the crockpot at least once a week.
10.) Go to the Farmer’s Market every other weekend this summer.
11.) Buy more fresh flowers!
12.) Go to the beach and get a tan!
13.) Purge, sell and donate from our home, garage storage and additional storage unit.
14.) Sing more.
15.) Enter more singing competitions.
16.) Try out for the worship band at Kensington.
17.) DATE NIGHTS, PLEASE!
18.) Find 2-3 babysitters.
19.) Wear more clothes in my closet. 20.) Buy our FIRST HOME!