A Stolen Few Minutes… And A Gender Announcement!

It has been two months since I last wrote for my blog, and I have missed it sorely. We are currently without internet access at home, and my schedule has become dense with various appointments. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to write again as often as I would like to, so for now, a stolen few minutes with McDonald’s free wifi will have to suffice.

I am nearly 21 weeks pregnant with baby #4, and we are both doing very well. We’ve had several opportunities to see our little bug via ultrasound, as I am under the care of our city’s best high-risk OB-GYN doctors. This is the first time that I am submitting to so much medical care in pregnancy, but I will take no chances with this baby’s life. I cannot fathom losing another child — and so I smile and listen to the doctors in whom I have put my faith and hope.

We had a 3D/4D ultrasound three weeks ago, and our tech gave us 90% odds that this baby is a little girl! I’ve seen two other little girls via ultrasound before (Lakin and Clara; we did not find out Addah’s gender until birth) and it certainly looked like little girl parts to me! We couldn’t be happier; truth be told, it doesn’t matter to us what gender our little bug is, as long as we get to bring home a healthy baby this time around.

BabyGirlWebb_Collage

We’ve picked out a name, though we won’t reveal her name until she is born… just a weird superstition of ours. She’s bumping and kicking inside of my belly, and it’s just as amazing as it was the first time I felt Lakin move inside me. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have a chance to carry a baby again, and as this little one will be our last, I am soaking up every moment with this little one.

As for the rest of the family, everyone is doing well and recovering nicely from an extremely difficult couple of months. I’m not sure that anything is going to be truly back to “normal” for at least a few more months, financially or otherwise, but all we can do is hang in there and be grateful for what we have — namely, each other.

I wish you all a wonderful December and a happy holiday season filled with love and warmth!

Just Out Of Arm’s Reach

Just Out of Arm's Reach

It’s difficult to reconcile being so happy for one baby, while nursing a broken heart over another. I keep waiting for it to get easier, but all I can picture these days is Clara at 15 months old. Would she be walking yet? Talking? Unpacking our laundry basket all over the floor? I wish so much that we could know her now.

I dreamed of Clara the other night. I dream of her fairly often, though I usually don’t remember the details. This last dream was vivid enough that when I woke up, I could still see the scene in my head. She was sitting on the floor in our living room, rolling a ball with Addah. David came in from work and she said “dada!” while scrambling to her chubby feet. She had dark curls all over the back of her head, just like Lakin used to have. She was beautiful. I woke up before David got to her. Neither of us ever gets to hug her or hold her in my dreams. She’s always just out of arm’s reach.

The next morning, I told David about the dream. We smiled sadly, happy to have these little pictures of what could have been, but still so fragile and hurt because we have to cobble together moments that will never be.

This pregnancy is much more difficult, emotionally, then I had imagined it would be.

I could swear that I felt a little flutter of movement the other night, just for a moment. I know 11 weeks is really too early for that, but it made me smile and feel such hope. We weren’t sure if we’d ever have another baby after Clara — if we’d be able to, if we even wanted to — but I could not be more grateful for this little life within me.

I’m a ball of anxiety though. I feel like I’m afraid to get too attached to this baby, because I know now that nothing is certain, at the same time that I am already so attached to this baby. I’m terrified all the time that something will go wrong and I won’t know it. I used to say, “I’m the mother, I would know if something was wrong; it’s mother’s instinct” — but now I know differently. Every cramp, every twinge, everything sends me into a spiral of fear and worry.

I’m working through so many emotions, not the least of which is feeling like, when I meet this baby, I will finally get to meet Clara, in a way. My older girls are half sisters to this baby and Clara, but this baby is Clara’s full-blooded sibling. I just don’t want to catch myself thinking of this baby as Clara, and sometimes I almost do think that way.

Maybe that sounds a little crazy. Maybe I’m just not putting it into words well.

I didn’t feel any anxiety during my pregnancy with Clara. Even after having multiple early miscarriages, I just knew that everything was okay. I am hoping the anxiety I feel this time will prove to be a good thing, that it will keep me more vigilant and careful in the decisions that we make.

There is a part of me that thinks it would be so much easier if I could skip the next 6 months of pregnancy and get to the part where I can hold this baby in my arms. Unfortunately, “easy” is also just out of arm’s reach.

Insane Goals – July/August 2013 Updates

Insane Goals

Insane GoalsOur family is working through a list of several insane goals for the year. We’re making a serious and conscience effort to work toward accomplishing these goals, as well as the goals on our 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. Overall, we’re doing a decent job of sticking to our goals, I think.

I’ve been taking one day out of every month to go over our successes and failures from the previous month. I do well with the pressure of being accountable to others, and this monthly post will hopefully inspire us to stay on task and check items off of the list. I got a bit behind over the summer, so this post is a combined update for both July and August. {January} {February} {March} {April} {May} {June}

Rebekah at SimplyRebekah.com has been posting her own monthly Insane Goals going too, and I encourage you to join in – it’s not too late to set goals and make changes for the year!

How We Did in July & August…

It’s been a long and busy summer for our family. Financially, things are still tight, mainly due to some mechanical problems with our car that had to (and still have to) be sorted out. Some of the issues were fairly inexpensive (overheating due to a faulty radiator cap), while others still loom over our heads and every extra penny is being budgeted for those repairs (master cylinder for the brakes, new starter and battery).

We had made the decision to stop trying to conceive, and I had actually just removed that goal from my list in June, but apparently life has other plans for us. We found out we are pregnant in mid-August and we couldn’t be more happy and excited (also scared, nervous, and worried). Our approximate due date is April 20, 2014!

I did a lot of cooking from scratch over the summer months – right up until my morning sickness and nausea poached every ounce of extra energy from my body. Meals became a lot more about convenience at that point, but David makes a delicious panini sandwich, so we’re still shunning our previous reliance on top ramen (thank goodness!). We swam as much as possible, running down for an hour between rain storms on some days. I had lost about 12 pounds, but pregnancy has brought those back rather quickly, which surprises me, since I don’t feel like I ate much beyond saltine crackers and ginger ale for several weeks.

We had a lovely and simple celebration with my family for Clara’s 1st birthday on July 1, and my wonderful friends from my June 2012 due date group created “Clara’s Day” and showered us with heartfelt expressions of their love and remembrance. It was beautiful and more than I had hoped for. David and I threw a Pokemon party for Lakin’s 12th birthday, and she loved the Pokeball fondant cake that we made for her.

David and I finished listening to “Amazonia” by James Rollins on audio book. We watched “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix (I read the book by Piper Kerman, but I actually enjoyed the show more than the book), and then started “Breaking Bad”, at the behest of my little brother Zeb. I think our next TV series will be “Game of Thrones” — we’ve heard so much about it, and luckily were able to borrow the first season DVDs from our friends.

I have been working on uploading and backing up all of my photos to Google Docs and Flickr… I used to have for collections and sets in Flickr, but it’s awesomely free now, so I’m definitely embracing that. I would love to create photo books of each year of my kids’ lives, as money will allow.

I dropped the ball on blogging this summer. I’m not entirely sure what happened with my fervor for writing — I think it was a combination of the kids being home all the time, so not having “me time” to sit and process things like I normally do, and the nausea and exhaustion of early pregnancy, but I have barely been pushing out 3-4 posts a month over the past couple of months. I definitely want to get back to my usual volume of writing, but it feels like I’m having to relearn those old habits. In other words, it’s proving difficult for me to get back up to speed. As a result, my blog income dropped off almost entirely over July and August, but I’ve got some new opportunities coming up that I’m pretty excited about!

Moving on to September… it’s hard to believe it’s almost time for holiday planning!

I have updated my original Insane Goals post below, with completed goals crossed out and new additions added in italics.

Insane Goals for 2013

Life Goals

  • Save $1000 in an emergency fund. (meh… )
  • Take a vacation.
  • Donate blankets and diapers to the hospital in July {in memory of Clara}.
  • Swim at least 4 times every week.
  • Participate in Greenville’s Zombie Walk.
  • Attend Renaissance Faire in Charlotte, NC.
  • Read 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 books!
House Goals
  • Organize/declutter: my work area & filing cabinet, our bedroom, sewing area, our closet, girls’ bedroom, small bathroom.
  • Container gardening – herbs/vegetables
  • Paint coffee table/foot locker to match the living room.
  • Backup all photos/documents to second source (just in case).
  • Create photo albums of each year of the girls’ lives.
Cooking Goals
  • Use bread machine more!
  • Freeze casseroles for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. {June} {July} {August}
Parenting Goals
  • Get pregnant!
  • Encourage the kids to be more self-reliant.
  • Get the kids and their chores sorted out!
Blogging Goals {Heather}
  • Increase my monthly traffic. {Jan} {Feb} {Mar} {Apr} {May} {June} July August
  • Post at least 15 times per month. {May} {June} 
  • Increase blogging income every month. {Apr} {May} {June} 
  • Minor redesign elements.
  • Write more guest posts.
Work Goals {David}
  • Go back to school!
  • Finish setting up RedBubble shop.
  • Sell at least one original drawing.
Kid Goals
  • Have a sleepover with a friend. {Lakin}
  • Go to Frankie’s Fun Park.
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Addah}
  • Save $50 and open a savings account. {Lakin}
  • Set up loom and make a small blanket. {Addah}
  • Work on my book every month. {Lakin}
  • Plan party for Lakin’s 12th birthday.
  • Plan memorial event for Clara’s 1st birthday.

Knitting, Crochet & Sewing Goals

  • Finish queen-size ripple blanket. {crochet}
  • Finish David’s stripey socks. {knit}
  • Finish 5, 10, 15, 20 blankets for hospital/loss donations. {knit}
  • Make 3 skirts for each girl. {sew} (Addah – 1 finished, Lakin – 1 finished)
  • Finish 50, 100, 150 diapers for hospital/loss donations. {sew}
  • Finish 5 pairs of socks for Mama. {knit} (2 completed, 1 in progress)
  • Start/finish rainbow baby afghan. {knit}

Insane Goals 2013

InstaFriday – 9/13/13

life rearranged It’s Friday! I’m excited to share my week in pictures via Jeannett’s InstaFriday link-up at Life Rearranged. I’m thedestinymanifest on instagram, if you’d like to follow me.

I’m excited that I finally feel like blogging again… it’s been too long since my desire to write matched up with my ability to sit and write without feeling sick.

The biggest news of our week — we got our car fixed! The poor girl has been overheating since April and we’ve been babying her along, hoping to have the money to have it fixed each week, and never actually having the money. A few weeks ago, our neighbor fixed the fan, which had come disconnected from its’ wires, and the week after that, we bought a new thermostat and David installed that, but it still wasn’t fixing the problem. I’d get into afternoon car line to pick up Addah, and within 5 minutes of moving slowly forward in line, the engine temperature would be at 116 degrees and you could hear the coolant bubbling and boiling in the engine. Not good… and as a result, I have been relying on my sister way too much to help me with picking up kids. She’s having knee surgery next week, so it was time to get to the bottom of this problem.

I called my old friend Craig (if you remember, the girls and I used to live with he and his wife, years ago) and asked him if he had time to take a look at the car. As luck would have it, he did. He checked it all out and said that everything looked good and he wasn’t 100% sure what the problem could be. He thought the radiator cap looked rusted and suggested buying a new one. $5.00 later… our car is no longer overheating! $5.00! A new radiator cap! I was impressed… and also felt a little silly, that something that small has been tripping us up for so long.

Mechanics Car Repair

The bad news from the mechanical check-up is that our master cylinder is starting to go bad, and we’re going to need to replace that very soon. It’s only $125.00, since Craig can replace the part himself, but still… $125.00 is a fortune when you’re constantly living paycheck to paycheck. I prefer the amazing $5.00 radiator cap = no more overheating kind of mechanical fix, personally.

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I convinced David to help me do a major overhaul of our bedroom and bedroom closet last weekend. We pulled every little thing out of our closet, and most of one side of the bedroom, so I could put my long dresser into the closet and move out the baby things that have been taking up so much room in there. Now I have the baby bassinet on my side of the bed. It was a little surreal the first morning after the big clean-up, waking up to the baby’s bed right next to me, because this is much earlier than we would normally “get ready for baby”, but it’s such a long time coming for us… it just feels right.

Baby Nursery Prep

We still have two very large boxes of baby girl clothes in the top of the closet, and I’m just not sure that I will ever be ready to part with them, whether this baby is a boy or a girl. Some of them will always be “Clara’s clothes” and it’s painful to think of seeing them on another baby. I don’t know… I have to hope that this part sorts itself out as the pregnancy progresses. I have so much excitement and happiness, but also so much fear and anxiety.

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I’m knitting my fingers to the bone! I finished two pairs of socks for my mama… and forgot to take a picture of one pair, unfortunately. She loved them so much that she ordered four more colors of yarn for more socks. It’s a good thing I enjoy this, eh?

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Knitpicks Sock Yarn Collection

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And finally, Addah wrote a “newspaper” this week for a class assignment. For the “My Hero” section, she chose David, and wrote the sweetest little note about him. He got quite teary when she showed him after work… so did I, to be honest.

My Stepdad, My Hero

In case you can’t read her writing, it says “My stepdad David is my role model because he is an artist. He also plays and has fun with me. Sometimes he yells but that’s because he has to. I know he loves me. I love him too. He’s the best stepdad ever.”

Is that not the sweetest thing ever? Or is that just my pregnancy hormones running out of control?

Mustache Club

So silly… and so sweet.

Oh and before I forget! Addah got a pug puppy! No, not a real puppy… I don’t need that stress in my life. A balloon pug!

And what’s a balloon pug, you ask?

Balloon Pug

This adorable helium-filled puppy was begging me to take him home from Party City. I couldn’t refuse, because I knew I’d get the biggest grin out of Addah when she saw it. I was right; the grin was amazing and totally worth the $8.00 I spent on the puppy. He’s still floating too, over two weeks later. It’s like having a cartoon dog living with us – the slightest movement of air from walking past him causes him to “follow” you, just like a real puppy would.

It makes the girls happy, so it makes me happy. It’s the simple things, y’know?

Have a great weekend!

Two Week Wait… and a Birthday Party!

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

It’s been two weeks since I wrote anything and I’m feeling a strong pull to get back in the game. I can’t say it’s been an enjoyable two week vacation, not exactly. It’s been a whirlwind of back to school, family visiting from out of town, temporary dog-sitting for my sister, who broke her kneecap, and of course… a lot of morning {all-day} sickness.

It’s the kind of all-day sickness that vacillates between a low-level blah feeling of “I’m okay, I can handle this” and a spinning stomach and feeling that everything smells gross, sounds hurt my aching head, and I just want to sleep. I can’t just stop going — there are kids to drop off and pick up, dinners to cook, laundry to fold, and groceries to buy — so I’ve been doing the bare necessities and forgoing the rest, which includes checking email more than once a day, writing anything, and {ahem} vacuuming.

I am going to try to get back in the swing of writing. This pregnancy brings with it a whole rainbow of various emotions: some beautiful, some very painful, and I know that writing and sharing those emotions will help me to get through them. Thank you all for your support on this new journey. I appreciate every ounce of love, every comment, every page view, even if I don’t feel well enough to respond to them all right away.

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On a slightly different note, part of my amazing two week whirlwind was my niece Cori’s 4th birthday party. It’s always a treat to see Cori’s smiling face, since she lives so far away in Louisiana, so we are excited that she and her brother are in town all this week.

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Cori loves anything princess themed… although, to be honest, anything purple or pink will work for her. My sister and I decorated for her party in a combination of Disney princesses and “Sofia the First”. We combined miles of streamers, yards of tape, buckets of glitter, and enough balloons to cause a helium shortage, and the effect was fit for a princess.

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

David provided face painting services for the kids, and most of the adults consented to wear party hats, at least for a little while. Cori chose a princess crown for her cheek, Avery wanted his favorite – Mickey Mouse, and Addah chose a penguin for her face painting.

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

It’s hard to believe Cori is 4 years old! It seems like just yesterday that she was born, making me an auntie for the first time!

Cori's Princess Birthday Party

I’m connecting with others via Wordless/Wordful Wednesday today! Check out my blog hop directory to see who else is participating, as well as the other blog hops that I join each week!

Big News In Our House!

Big News In Our House!

It’s been a busy week in our household!

First and foremost, if you haven’t already seen the big news on my Facebook page, let me be the first to tell you our wonderful news!

Big News In Our House! - Pregnancy Announcement

We’re pregnant! Baby #4, our rainbow baby, is due in April 2014! We’re very excited and more than a little terrified. We’ve already found ourselves having moments that are simultaneously happy and heartbreaking, and I don’t imagine that will lessen as the next 8 months go by. I feel great — nauseous and a little dizzy until about midday and very tired — but overall, great. I’m staying active, although I guess my weight loss journey is going to have to wait a little longer.

We are going about this pregnancy (and birth) in a completely different way from my pregnancy with Clara. I have fought going the conventional route with my last 2 pregnancies, and I have had a premature baby and a full-term stillborn baby. This time, we are going to an obstetrician that I trust — he delivered Clara and literally saved my life. Our first appointment is tomorrow afternoon, in fact, and I am hoping to see the little one via ultrasound.

When it comes time for this baby to be born, I will be scheduling my fourth cesarean section. Three past c-sections and every one was either a surprise or an emergency. As much I wanted to have a natural birth, and as much as I will always mourn that I was not able to have that experience, I tried, and that has to be good enough. This will be an all-new experience, going into a surgical birth by choice, instead of by necessity.

It’s really peripheral to me, how the birth takes place, and it was once so very important and all-consuming. All that I want this time is to bring our healthy baby home with us. This baby will never take the place of Clara, nor will he/she take away the pain of losing Clara – nothing ever will, I don’t think – but it’s a step in the direction of feeling less empty and broken inside.

We feel fortunate to have this chance to make better decisions than those we made last time. We know better now, so we’ll do better.

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Next up… school started today!

My girls are in 5th and 7th grade, which I find so hard to believe! SEVENTH grade?! How on Earth did that happen? Wasn’t she just a little kindergartner yesterday? Last year? You always hear that time goes by so quickly, but you don’t realize how true it is until you’re looking into the face of a kid who is halfway through middle school, or in their last year of elementary school!

Look at these girls of mine, through the years! They’ve gotten so big! {Note that we didn’t have a camera, or even phones with a camera, in 2010, so we have one missing back to school picture.}

Big News In Our House! - Back to School Collage

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What else was there? I’m working on my Insane Goals update for July (I know, I know, August is almost over… what can I say?). My sister broke her kneecap in a fall on her first day at the community college, so we’re babysitting her dog for a little bit. Oh, and I had my eyebrows shaped yesterday for the first time ever. Who knew that just shaping your bushy eyebrows could dramatically change your face and make you look 100% more “together”? I didn’t… lesson learned!

Big News In Our House! - New Eyebrows

I hope you’re all having a fantastic week! I have missed blogging regularly but with school back in session, I plan to get my act together and do some writing, reading, and commenting. Thanks for bearing with me through the long summer!
I’m connecting with others via Wordless/Wordful Wednesday today! Check out my blog hop directory to see who else is participating, as well as the other blog hops that I join each week!