"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An unexpected break

Earlier this year, I prayerfully discerned that I should step back from a couple of my volunteer commitments. It was a hard decision for me to make - because I am very much all for serving your church and community - but I knew it needed to be done. So after 5 years of teaching CCD/religion at my church parish and 2 years of chairing a huge silent auction at my fave non-profit, I'm taking a break.

I know without a doubt that I discerned correctly, now that I'm here, when I would be teaching already (with baby in tow) and auction planning (children in tow). Whew.

But ever since Aaron was about 6 weeks old, right after we got back from our annual vacation, I started praying about what the heck I should be doing right now. I feel like I should be doing something. Yes, I'm soaking up these days with all these boys with no commitments. I'm starting to get back into the swing of things since before I was pregnant. I feel like there's so much to do and nothing to do, all at the same time. It's kind of beautiful.

After lots of praying/discerning, though, I felt God nudging me to just take another step back - basically: "Get off the Internet, Jen."

I didn't see that one coming.

I know it's to get rid of all the noise so I can actually hear what He's trying to tell me. So, while it won't be a complete Internet fast, I probably won't be posting here or on social media much, if it all, for a few weeks. Maybe longer. I'll still be checking those places from time to time, but know if it's been a day or two and you haven't heard from me...I'm still here, don't worry. (I always hate when a blogger goes MIA suddenly and start imagining all of the awful things that might have happened. I'm so dumb.)

But I'll be back! I'll be praying for all of you. Please pray for me too :) (especially for a special intention!)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Recent Reads {August edition}

I officially reached my goal of reading 50 books this year! So crazy. What's even crazier is that I upped my goal on Goodreads to 75. Here's what I've read since my last Recent Reads post: 

1. Elijah in Jerusalem by Michael D. O'Brien

This was the sequel to Father Elijah that I reread earlier this year. I just really like how O'Brien writes and was glad this wasn't as dark as the first one...which I know is just part of writing about the Apocalypse, but still - I'm melancholic and can't always handle that. So many good characters in this one.

2. Undone: A story of making peace with an unexpected life by Michele Cushatt

I've been having this eBook forever at the recommendation of MoneySavingMom and finally read it. My favorite genre is memoirs, so I liked it. I guess I just like reading about other people's struggles to remind me that everyone has their crosses. (The ebook on Amazon is $1.99 at the time of this posting, FYI!)

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I finished my reread of the series! As well as the rewatching of the movies with Logan (he had only seen a couple beforehand). This was reallllly long, but is probably either my favorite or second favorite of the series - the other one being Goblet of Fire. I can't decide. One thing is for sure, the movies for this book were intense! 

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I'm not even putting an author because WHO THE HECK WROTE THIS? I read it right after I finished the series, and even though I'm fully aware this is a play and reads differently...it felt off to me. The characters, the plot, I don't know. There were some things I liked (Scorpius, I love you) but there were some things I didn't like too. Maybe I'm being harsh? Who knows. Read it and see for yourself!

5. Pierced by a Sword by Bud MacFarlane Jr.

Whew, I'm not sure what I think about this one. Things I loved: it's super Catholic, the characters, and the way it made me think about how my actions can negatively or positively affect others in the long run. Things I didn't love: the writing style, how long it was, and how some things didn't seem quite believable (but then again that was part of the point...God can do the impossible). I'm probably still going to read the rest of the series, though.

6. On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace by Hallie Lord

I love everything Hallie writes and this was no exception. It's a memoir-style, a quick and easy read, and I think every woman could use Hallie's encouragement because she's basically the sweetest person alive. (If you buy the paperback on Amazon, you can get the ebook for $2.99! So I plan on giving my copy to a friend :))

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Evolution of prayer

I've been thinking a lot about my prayer life and how it has changed in the past year and how it still might change in the future. My prayer routine has stayed pretty consistent for awhile now, but lately, I'm finding myself making more excuses as to why I don't need to pray the entire rosary in one sitting during the boys' nap every afternoon...even though I've been doing it every day all year.

And that, my friends, is the signal to change things up a bit!

I knew I might have to figure out something new when Aaron came along, but since I rested as much as possible for the first 6 weeks of his life, the same prayer routine still worked. Now I'm starting to do more housework again, and if Aaron happens to nap at the same time as the boys (which he has been doing lately! yay!) sometimes the afternoon is the only time I can get things done that require both hands. Not to mention the fact that if I'm nursing Aaron in a quiet house and I try to pray the rosary after I've eaten a big meal, I doze off halfway through. #needmoresleep

So. Obviously my old ways are not working quite so well anymore. And I can totally see now how I fell off the prayer train in the past - whenever things stopped working, I didn't adjust. I just made excuses and stopped praying. Or I just threw up a random prayer here and there...which is not bad in and of itself, but I still need to set certain times in my day to pray.

No more excuses though! I'm throwing around the idea of waking up a little earlier than the boys, which is something I don't normally do with a baby. But Aaron has been pretty consistent about nursing around 6am and falling back asleep, and Chase has been pretty consistent about waking up at 7:30 (and his whining wakes up Landon)...so that should leave me with some quiet prayer time in between. Sometimes I have been doing my usual morning prayer (Morning Offering + Mass readings + Blessed Is She devotional) during that early nursing session, so if I do that, I can just pray my rosary once I get up.

But  I don't want to get out of the habit of not praying at all in the afternoon, because then it will be much easier to make excuses at other points in the day. So on the days that all of my boys are napping at the same time and I've already prayed a rosary, I will still take the time to pray, even if it's not long - like this lovely family prayer I found in my Queen of Apostles prayer book.

I went through a phase of loving the Liturgy of the Hours and would love to pick that up again, but I don't want to stop praying the rosary. We should be getting into a more consistent routine in a couple weeks when preschool starts, so maybe that will be the time to introduce that again into my prayer routine. We shall see.

Whew. I think that's enough talk about that. Of course, I'll need to try this for a couple weeks to see if it works...and if it doesn't I'll be trying something new which will probably include a lovely blog post like this one. You're welcome.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about changes in your prayer life!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aaron's birth story

I suppose it all started on Tuesday, June 21. I had an appointment that morning where Dr. H was unsuccessful when it came to removing my cerclage. I was a little crampy after that, which is normal, but it went away. I spent the rest of the day laying down, but then the crampiness started back up again after dinner.

It continued through the night so I didn't sleep well at all....and it continued all of Wednesday. I was having occasional contractions too, but there wasn't a pattern so I didn't call my doctor or anything. I just felt pretty yucky and felt like it was early labor stuff going on. But I couldn't do anything until it was more consistent! (Dr. H had said to go to L&D as soon as there seemed to be a pattern, since I still had the cerclage in and I would be a repeat C-section.)

So this is where I should mention that I had plans with friends for Wednesday night. A couple of my besties were treating me to a pedicure, and then we were meeting a few others for dinner to celebrate baby Aaron (we celebrate every single baby! Even the 3rd, 4th, and 5th+ ones). So when I mentioned to a few of them in a group text that I was feeling crampy that day, they may have gotten a little excited about the idea of Aaron arriving that night.

This is where I should also mention that Wednesday was St. Aaron's feast day. We were actually not aware that there was even a St. Aaron, but there is, and his feast day was on Wednesday. Thanks to Laudate app for that bit of info. Crazy, right?

Anyway! I was crampy all day Wednesday but really didn't think anything would come of it to ruin our dinner plans. But while I was getting my toes done, I realized I was having some contractions and decided to start timing. 8-9 minutes apart. Hmmm. I've certainly had them that close together before, so it didn't necessarily mean anything. So off to dinner we went.

I guess it was after our appetizers that I started to think that maybe I should start timing my contractions again. A couple friends noticed that I was having them more often too (and they actually witnessed this same thing 2 years ago with Chase, how crazy), so my lovely nurse friend Ashley downloaded the contraction app on her phone for me. Which is actually pretty neat because you just click start and stop and it keeps track of everything – duration, how far apart they are, you know. No thinking about it.

But then there was no denying that my contractions were 4-6 minutes apart, some lasting a minute. Which I suppose is not anything to freak out about normally – except that I had the darn cerclage in and was getting a C-section. Sigh. I'm not going to lie, I did slightly panic at one point when I called Logan just to give him a heads up and had a pretty strong contraction while talking to him...I kinda started crying. Was I seriously going to have a baby?? I know my friends had joked about it happening that night, but suddenly it seemed all too possible and I just didn't know how to handle it. Hormones, y'all. They be crazy.

Unfortunately, I had like 4 bites of my delicious food before deciding that maaaaybe I shouldn't eat anymore in case I did end up having a C-section afterall. (Something I would regret later, but...hindsight is 20/20.)

I suppose it was around 7:30 by this point. I'm very much someone who does not rush into things, so although I figured we'd probably end up at the hospital that night, I wanted to take our time. Showing up at the hospital and then having contractions stop would have been terrible...so I opened my baby gifts instead! And in true baby #3 fashion, I got diapers, wipes, and food gift cards. My peeps are the BEST. 

At one point, I went to the bathroom for the second time (kind of hoping it was just a full bladder that was causing contractions, ha), and I swore Aaron dropped as soon as I sat on the toilet. Seriously, it was such a crazy feeling. And one friend even told me later that once I walked back to the table she immediately noticed that my belly was lower. Crazy.

Around 8pm , we decided that it would probably be okay to stop and get coffee or dessert somewhere on our way to the hospital (I wouldn't get anything, but I felt bad ruining the fun night for everyone else!). I was still having contractions about every 5 minutes or so. But, oh, before we go...how about a group picture, says my friends? You know, make sure we document every moment! So here you go.

I have to admit and say that I wasn't completely in the mood for pictures, but I knew it would make for a great story later. (I may or may not have envisioned an epic blog post. This will probably disappoint greatly.) Also, I feel the need to point out that I decided to buy another maternity shirt that actually fit after my disappointing appointment the day before...so this is the one and only time that I wore this lovely maroon shirt from Target. At least it's documented.

The 7 of us separated into our different vehicles, and I joined my sister-in-law, Lindsey, and my friend, Sara. We were all planning on meeting at some dessert place (which escapes my memory because I wasn't really thinking about dessert at the time), and then would probably go to the hospital after that. But on the way, I suddenly felt like we should go the hospital sooner rather than later. Contractions were still coming, I was feeling pressure down there, and, well, I figured I had better be safe than sorry.

I called Logan to inform him of our plans, and he was actually already on his way to my brother's house to drop off the boys for bedtime. I had yet another contraction, and he had the nerve to say in a very frustrated voice, “Why do I feel like every time I talk to you you're not actually talking??” To which I exclaimed as soon as I could, “BECAUSE I'M FREAKING HAVING CONTRACTIONS.” Men. (Love you babe! But seriously, don't do that again.)

Thankfully the hospital was less than 5 minutes away at this point, so Lindsey pulled up to the ER, and Sara got out with me. It didn't take long for them to get me a wheelchair, register me, and wheel me up to Labor and Delivery...quickly followed by my posse. I'd also like to mention that I got about a dozen stares and smiles from various strangers. Big belly and all. 

I was ushered into a large room in L&D, which was nice considering there was a group with me. I had to pee in a cup and a couple of my friends helped me get changed into a hospital gown and settled into bed. The rest took silly pictures. Someone asked if I wanted privacy or if I felt uncomfortable in front of everybody (or something...I can't remember exactly), and my response was: “I have a blog. On the Internet.” So, no, it did not bother me in the least that my peeps were there.

Logan walked in at some point and stopped suddenly when he saw how many people were in the room – he knew we came straight from dinner but apparently did not realize it was more than 2-3 women. Ha. 

The nurse hooked me up to the monitor and said they'd watch me for 30 minutes or an hour or so before calling the on-call doctor (which was NOT Dr. H, unfortunately). The nurse seemed to think I was just dehydrated and that I wasn't actually in labor. This was probably around 9pm.

Womp womp womp. That is not what I wanted to hear at all.

After about an hour on the monitor (she always came back way later than she said she would), the nurse called the on-call doctor, who wanted to start me on some fluids to see if that would slow down the contractions. So after a couple sticks (it ALWAYS takes 2 tries), I had an IV with fluids. They also took some blood beforehand just in case I ended up having a C-section – but it was not looking very likely at this point. Even though I contracting every 2-6 minutes.

This is where I need to tell you that with Chase, I was having contractions 4-7 minutes apart, and since Dr. H was actually on call, he decided to just go ahead with the C-section before labor progressed any further (since I still had the cerclage in). So I had arrived at the hospital around 10:30pm, and Chase ended up being born just a couple hours later.

So that's why with Aaron, it was super disappointing to realize that it would not happen that quickly...especially because I felt like I was more in labor this time around. The nurse had already said that they couldn't do a C-section any earlier than 2am, just based on when I last ate, and that I might end up going home if they were able to slow down the contractions enough.

Around 11pm, after about an hour of fluids, the nurse came back in after calling the on-call doctor a second time. They wanted to give me MORE fluids and then reevaluate in another hour. I was pretty frustrated at that point, because clearly I was having a lot of contractions, but they were in no rush to do anything drastic and I DID NOT want to be stuck in the hospital overnight just to be sent home afterwards. 

My friends decided to leave at this point, and after I apologized for ruining dinner and dessert, they insisted that it had still been a fun night. Sara lives right by the hospital, so she said she would check-in in about an hour and possibly come back. Oh, and before everybody left, they all circled around me and we prayed a decade of the rosary together for baby Aaron. Like I said, my friends are the best. (And it was a little of a bummer that Aaron wasn't going to be born on St. Aaron's feast day, but it was close!)

I think it was around 12:30am that the nurse finally came back in and said the contractions had slowed to about every 10 minutes. She wanted to watch me for yet another hour before calling the on-call doctor again. She and I both did not want me to be sent home only to end up back in the hospital shortly thereafter. My friend Sara came back around this time too.

It was almost 2:30am (so much for just an hour, eh??) when the nurse informed me that the doctor wanted to keep me overnight. I was annoyed because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep with the contractions...but I also had a glimmer of hope because the nurse was planning on calling Dr. H at 7am, and I thought that he might just want to go ahead and do the C-section then. I texted my mom the update and she decided to stay put (she lives 3 hours away) until we talked to Dr. H.

So for the next couple of hours I did a whole lot of nothing. I was super tired but couldn't sleep, and I was soooo thirsty and hungry – but they wouldn't let me eat or drink because I would possibly be having surgery later. (The nurse had snuck me a few ice chips earlier on but that was it.) It wasn't until 5am or so that I finally fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke up, I was kind of bummed because I could tell that the contractions had slowed down significantly. I was worried that we just spent the whooooole night at the hospital for nothing.

The nurse called Dr. H around 6:45am, and he ended up coming to see me before deciding anything. I felt like that was a good sign. I mean, he knows my history, and I had already informed him of a frequent contraction episode that I had just a few days before. The nurse seemed to think he wouldn't do anything...but also said that sometimes doctors surprise them.

Dr. H arrived sometime before 7:30am and said he didn't want me to keep having contractions – not only for the sake of my stitched-up cervix, but for my previous C-section incision as well. He did say he was a little worried about doing the C-section a little early because boys sometimes have breathing issues (even at 38 weeks), but I reminded him that Landon and Chase were both born then and were totally fine. Plus, I have a theory that all my contractions give my boys plenty of squeezing to strengthen up those muscles. So! Dr. H said we'd do the surgery but he couldn't until 11:30am. I was relieved he was going to go ahead and do it – especially because I started to have more frequent contractions again not long after he left – but I was a little depressed at the thought that I wasn't going to be eating until much later in the day. Food, y'all. It's important.

My mom was a little worried that she wouldn't make it in time for the C-section, since she still had to get stuff ready and board her dog at the vet. But she left her house shortly after 8am, so we thought maybe she would get there in time!

For the next 4 hours, they gradually got me ready for surgery. Wiping me down (literally...so awkward), shaving (also awkward), etc. At some point, we were informed that the surgery would be at 11am instead of 11:30...which meant my mom would not be making it in time afterall. So sad.

They rolled me back first alone so they could place the spinal, which is similar to an epidural. I totally know the drill by now, since I also get a spinal for my cerclage. The anesthesiologist had quite the personality so I told him this was my 6th spinal – so he felt the pressure to make it not hurt! I gave him an A+. (Seriously, sometimes those things hurt like hell and other times I barely feel it.) They laid me down as I started feeling numb down there and hooked up everything else – heart monitor, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, and hung yet another bag of fluids. It's totally weird, especially if you're used to going all natural....but I guess I'm used to it. All of the staff were really nice and made sure I was comfortable.

Dr. H kind of got held up so we were all just waiting on him. Once he arrived, the nurse brought in Logan and my friend Sara, who took my mom's place since she stayed overnight with us. She took these pictures!

Surgery began. I wasn't really paying attention to the time but it probably only took 10 minutes or so for them to get ready to pull Aaron out. They had a really hard time, too, probably because he was low in my pelvis, so I felt some crazy pressure on my chest. Like, for a second I had trouble breathing. But then they finally got him out - Thursday, June 23, 11:31am. He screamed really loudly and  Dr. H joked, “You're in for it!” Thankfully, though, Aaron only screamed for a few seconds and then was just a perfect little baby.

Logan got to cut his cord, and as soon as they made sure he was okay, they placed him on my chest. It was kind of awkward because I was flat on my back, but it was still oh so very lovely because sweet baby boy was so chill and peaceful. 

He also started sucking my chest – not that I can blame him, because I had gone about 16 hours without eating/drinking by this point so he was probably starving just like me. So I asked the nurse if I could try to nurse and she replied, “Hmm...I don't think we've done that before.” But because she is the best nurse ever, she asked Dr. H if we could try, he said yes, so she helped Aaron latch and he was such a champ (and still is!). So yeah, I was the first to breastfeed in the OR (or so they say). *fist bump*

I got to hold Aaron the whole time they stitched me up and could have even held him while they removed my cerclage too, but I let Logan have a chance to hold him. They had to put me in Trendelenburg position (head down, feet up) to get the cerclage out so it was kind of hard anyway to keep Aaron from falling onto my face.

Once everything was finished in the OR, they slid me into a bed to wheel me back to the recovery room with Aaron in my arms. Aaron didn't leave my sight at all that entire first day, which was not the case with Landon and Chase, so I was loving it. My mom was waiting for us, and then my sister-in-law came not too long after with Landon and Chase. Landon was so excited that he jumped up and down...and Chase did not care. So there's that.

I was going to write a little about recovery that day, but this is already a million words long so I will spare you. So I'll just say that for some reason I would not stop bleeding (and I was not aware of this because I WAS SO HUNGRY), so they refused to let me eat, which made me feel like crap and throw up, and it was like this vicious cycle. Tears were shed, and Dr. H actually told me later that he was worried he would have to do a D&C. Thankfully, though, the many drugs they gave me finally worked, and I was fine...I just didn't get to eat an actual meal until the next day, Friday. 36 hours without real food (and I hadn't even eaten most of my dinner Wednesday!). Not. Fun. But it was so very worth it because Aaron is such a sweet baby and I'll be totally cliché and say I can't imagine life without him.

Friday, August 19, 2016

All things random (7QT)

1. Louisiana flooding

So much devastation, y'all. New Orleans area is fine so we are fine (praise God), but just an hour away neighborhoods were completely underwater. Please pray for them! The updates in my Facebook feed are so depressing...

2. Taking Back the Terms

Some friends of mine have started educating women everywhere on Naprotechnology, which they say is the "best kept secret of women's healthcare." And I agree! (Future blog post with my personal story??) Check out their Facebook page for videos, especially if you want to know more about Napro. If you're in the New Orleans area, they will come talk to a group!

3. To Etsy...or not to Etsy

Soooo my original plan for after Aaron's birth was to reopen my Etsy shop around now. BUT I'm kind of still in the process of praying about/discerning what God wants me to do with my life at the moment....and right now I'm not feeling the nudge to reopen. Just FYI. I'll keep you posted.

4. Christmas shopping

Here's where I admit that I'm a total nerd that plans wayyy ahead - because I'm definitely shopping for Christmas already. I just hate last-minute stuff and want to be completely done before Advent (at the absolute latest). I've been a frequent flyer at Zelie & Co.'s weekly auctions because I love to support fellow Catholic mamas! (And spacing out purchases from now until Christmas is easier on the budget!)

5. Kiddos

Well, I can't post quick takes without at least one photo of my children, right?? Right.
Landon: "Take a picture of us!" Done.
 He's starting to be smiley but I have yet to capture it on camera. Safe to say he gets his seriousness from me...

6. What I'm reading 

Too many loooong books. Sigh. I need a short book next.

  • Pierced by a Sword by Bud MacFarlane Jr. - I don't know how I've never read this before because it's a Catholic novel (pub. 1995). Sometimes I think it's cheesy, but I like the characters. Plus I seem to be on a kick with books about the End Times.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - last book of the series! I've said before that I'm rereading them and then watching the movies again with Logan. I'm just over halfway through and I seriously don't remember much from the first time I read it. It's good, of course, like they all are and I'm trying to binge read the rest because J.K. Rowling's new book/play/whatever just became available for me at the library!
  • True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort - I started this back in May, I think, and kind of forgot about it for awhile so I'm trying to read a little every day. Kinda failing at that too. But it's good! 

7. Words that spoke to me this week

"We must be careful not to omit our prayers, confession, communion, and other exercises of piety, even when we find no consolation in them." -Saint Vincent Ferrer

Go see Kelly for more quick takers and make sure you read her post! So beautifully written. Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Why I (still) blog

I remember reading a year or two ago about how blogs were dying or something. And I was all, whatev, I'm gonna keep blogging anyway.

If you've been here from the beginning, you know that I started blogging in January 2010, just a few weeks after we lost Levi. I just felt a little tug on my heart to keep family and friends updated as we tried to learn what happened. And then I shared all my feelings (even the ugly ones) through the trying-to-conceive process.

Can I just be real and say I honestly thought at first that we'd get pregnant again right away? So when that didn't happen, and then we eventually ended up fostering for a few months, as well as other ridiculous things, I felt like God wanted me to write through the craziness. (I have been tempted on so many occasions to delete a million old posts buuuuut I have to admit some of it's pretty hilarious. And sometimes in a ohmygosh-I-can't-believe-I-wrote-that kind of way.)

Now here we are, 3 babies later. Life has changed, my blogging has changed, and I've been tempted a time or two to hang it up, but I just can't quit.

I love going back and seeing what we've been through and where we are now. 
I love how some posts I write are just the thing I need to read months (and sometimes years) later. 
I love how I just never know who might be reading what I write (although honestly, that's kind of weird to think about too)...but maybe I'll find out one day. 
I love getting a random comment, email, or message about how a certain post really resonated with someone. 
I love making online friends and really, really hope to meet them in real life someday!
I love how documenting the last 6.5 years here has helped me truly embrace God's will, in all circumstances.

My blog doesn't have a big following and I'm totally okay with that. I don't make a single cent, either - and I'm totally okay with that too. Some people might think it's weird to put so much out there...and well, yeah, it kind of is. But I'm okay with that too.

I still blog because I love to write!  
I still blog because I feel called to share my [sometimes crazy] thoughts and give a glimpse into our family life.
I still blog because there's nothing as cathartic as tapping out whatever is on my mind.   
I still blog because it's so easy to feel like you're alone when dealing with pregnancy loss, infertility, high-risk pregnancies, or a million other things...but maybe reading my tiny blog (or someone else's) will help at least one person feel a little less alone.

To my fellow bloggers, keep doing what you do! You can make such a difference in the lives of women (and men? you never know) everywhere. Even when it doesn't feel like it.

To my few readers, new and old, thanks for reading along. You're why I'm still here!

Friday, August 12, 2016

August fun

Quick takes - the perfect solution to having a million things to say but not having the time to say them (or hands to type them...I'm looking at you, Aaron). Thanks to Kelly for hosting!

1. Olympics

Gosh, I just love them. Even though I seriously can't stay awake long enough to watch all the coverage. My faves are gymnastics (obviously...Simone is amazing), swimming (did y'all see the video of the Evolution of Michael Phelps? long but good), and last but certainly not least...women's soccer. Duh. Quarter finals today!!

2. Annual beach trip

Okay, so this year it wasn't really a "beach" trip because we stayed in a different house not by the beach. But it had a pool, a really nice outdoor cooking area, and a pool table so it was still equally as awesome (or more so?) as the last 3 years. 7 nights, 10 adults, 18 kids, and 1 house. Crazy but fun! There's still a possibility I'll bomb you with a million pictures in a future post so just prepare yourself. Maybe.

3. Family of 5

We only went to the beach (but really it was the bay or something) one evening because there was no way I was doing the daytime heat with Aaron. It was so, so nice. And we got a cute family picture!

4. Landon Gerard (4 years)

Whew, this kid talks a lot. He's saying some hilarious things these days, though, and he just LOVES his new baby brother. It's pretty cute. I kind of feel like he's growing up so fast right now!

5. Chase Michael (2 years)

He's in the super annoying shrieking phrase (which is super fun when the baby is sleeping), but he's also freakin' adorable with those dimples. And he's been super sweet with Aaron lately. I thought Landon was the goofiest toddler ever but I think Chase may have him beat.

6. Aaron Joseph (7 weeks)

I feel like I say this every time, but...he's such a good baby. I mean, yeah, he really likes to be held and sometimes boycotts naps during the day (unless he is held)...but I can live with that because he's so cute. And his eyes don't look brown like the rest of ours! It'll be interesting to see if they stay that way.

7. All the awkward questions

Man, if I had a dollar for every "Are you done?" or "You gonna try for a girl?" or "You have your hands full!" I've gotten lately...I would buy some new clothes. Or a fancy dinner for me and Logan. Or both.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A story about friendship

I know I've mentioned it before, but...I have been blessed with some pretty amazing friends in my adult life. It's been such a blessing in these years of mothering littles, and I don't for one second take it for granted.

Some of these friendships have taken some work, and some just naturally happened. There's one friendship in particular, though, I wanted to share about because I think it could be of encouragement to somebody reading this.

I already had several friends with kids by the time Landon was born (mainly because we lost Levi and had trouble conceiving again...otherwise I wouldn't be too far behind), which has actually turned out to be an unexpected blessing. I also had several newly married friends without kids and even unmarried friends, all of which I considered close – and still do actually!

Because I'm an introvert, I was perfectly content with all of my friends and not really looking to make new ones (and I seriously don't mean to sound conceited at all when I say that).

But. There was one girl, Lauren (not to be confused with my roommate from college, Lauren), who I saw often at different parties and things because of mutual friends, and we talked every time we saw each other. I had met her when we were both pregnant with our oldest boys, and we even invited each other to parties and all. But for some reason, we were never able to attend each other's parties, so a friendship never really grew past the acquaintance phase. The fact that we're both introverts probably didn't help!

That didn't stop me from thinking, though, that Lauren and I could be good friends because of all the things we seemed to have in common. Plus, we both had boys the same age AND we were both pregnant again with another boy, due just a couple weeks apart (they ended up being born 2 days apart). It seemed a little too perfect.
2 days apart!

But because I'm dumb, I never reached out. I just kept thinking, “Man, we'd probably be really good friends. And our boys could totally play together!”

Fast forward to over a year ago. We both had 2 boys at this point – an almost 3-year old and almost 1-year old. Lauren sent me a message on Facebook that basically said (totally paraphrasing here), “Hey, I read your blog and think we have a lot in common and can we get together for a playdate? Hope I don't sound stalkerish!”

I was kind of blown away because I had seriously been thinking even more how I really wish we were close friends. So I was totally glad Lauren reached out and replied probably a little too enthusiastically, “I would LOVE to get together! Next week? I follow your blog too!”

And so we started getting together regularly, usually twice a month, taking turns going to each other's houses (since we actually live an hour away from each other). Our boys play SO well together, Lauren and I get to chat the whole time, and it's just been pretty awesome how our friendship has grown over the last year.

What's even cooler is that she ended up pregnant again last year...and then I did not long after. (And nope, we didn't plan that AT ALL.) So it was pretty cool having a pregnancy buddy, especially with due dates only 2 weeks apart! And now it's also cool having someone else very much in the craziness of life with 3 little ones.

You know how I mentioned Logan and I were asked to be godparents again? It was actually Lauren and her hubby that asked us! And we were so excited to find out recently that our godbaby is a BOY, born exactly 11 days before Aaron. So now Lauren and I both have 3 boys. I don't have any other friends who have 3 boys exactly like me.

So I guess the point to this whole long story is that making friends can be hard, but it doesn't have to be! Sometimes you just need to step out of your comfort zone and send a slightly awkward Facebook message. You just might be surprised what happens because of it!


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