Thursday, October 25, 2012

End of the line: 38 weeks pregnant

It started with a simple word...

On February 25th 2012, I got confirmation that our family was indeed growing. It had been 6 months of trying; of buying that package because I just couldn't wait for the obvious signs. Of obsessing over pictures of babies, ideas for nurseries, of dreams of my three children running around together. 
I was ecstatic, and couldn't wait for Daddy, Big Brother, and Big Sister to know!
The journey started off beautiful. My hands seemed glued to my belly as I waited for those first precious movements inside me. It was pure bliss just knowing there was a second heartbeat in my body. I was blessed with the same amazing pregnancy that I had had with Nevaeh. A bit of nausea and exhaustion, but no sickness or headaches, or anything unpleasant. I was able to enjoy every sweet minute.
And then we found was a girl! A sweet sister to add to our already perfect family. 
She continued to grow. She thrived through a Pennsylvania camping trip, an energetic toddler, swimming, zoo trips and more. She seemed to be as excited as I was about life, and granted me the energy to do it all! 
Beautiful baby Savannah Evelyn is almost here!
We cannot wait to meet her <3

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gender Stigmas

I suppose it's society and culturing that has given me certain frames of mind. I am accepting of all people from all walks of life, though I still have my opinions. It's never my place to judge, and I wouldn't even if it was. I'm raising my children to know that they can be whoever and whatever they want, and teaching them to strive for the best that they can, but not to be obsessed with being on top or the best.

So when Landon came to me today with this discussion, I found myself baffled at the thoughts and words that automatically came from me. Mike the Knight came on TV, one of Landon's favorite cartoons. He wanted to be a Knight for Halloween, and chose a Princess costume for Nevaeh so they could match (Though his Mom bought him a Ninja costume, so that didn't really work out). Nevaeh proclaimed, "I Mike Knight!" and carried around one of Landon's toy swords. Landon was aghast and told her, "No no! Nevaeh, you can't be a Knight. That's just for boys, and you're a girl. Girls can't be knights." I jumped to her rescue, saying that of course she could be a Knight She could be anything she wanted to be, especially if she was playing pretend and using her imagination. Landon's face scrunched up, and he went back to watching his show.

A little while later Landon came to me holding Nevaeh's princess costume. "BB, can I be a Princess for Halloween?" In the middle of mashing up the meatloaf mix, I tossed over my shoulder, "No Bubba, your sister is going to be the Princess. Girls are Princesses. You can be a Prince though." He got distracted and went off to play, leaving me to think about what I just said.

Girls can be Knights, but boys can't be Princesses. When I think about my kids' futures, I admit I have a general picture in mind. Landon playing football, or baseball or soccer. Playing the drums or guitar. Nevaeh (and baby girl) playing volleyball, softball or swimming. Playing the piano like her Momma did. Not that I will pressure them to play sports, or dance or anything. I picture them all being intelligent, maybe being in the Chess Club or something equally challenging. But when it comes to the gender-specific things, like makeup vs. man stink, football vs. ballerina...I don't picture my kids doing the opposite gender-specific activity. If my daughters came to me one day expressing a desire to be quarterback, I admit that I would initially sit them down and talk long and hard about it. Tell them how difficult it would be, that maybe something a little softer or safer would be better. I wouldn't forbid them, of course, but I wouldn't exactly encourage it either.

Why is that? Why do I feel the need to encourage my kids to do things that society has cultured us to believe is acceptable? It's not wrong to want things for my children, to guide them in the directions I feel will help them thrive. But why would my gut reaction be to discourage them from anything? Why would I dive in with the mindset that girls can't be football players, and boys can't be Princesses? I count my blessings that I am not a close-minded person. That I embrace life the way it comes. But then comes smaller things like this, that can play such an important part in someone's life. Buying a firetruck for Landon and letting Nevaeh play with it, but when Landon starts toting around a pink purse I tell him that is for little girls, and he is a big boy. My gender stigma is definitely more critical towards boys than it is to girls. Perhaps because of the "equality" issue. Makes no sense, because I'm not an outright feminist, nor do I think the issue should be as blown out as it is.

I made myself a goal tonight. I will continue to guide my children how I feel is best, but I will hold my tongue from instilling a gender stigma in their impressionable minds. I can't say I'll buy Landon a princess dress as fast as I would buy Nevaeh a Knight costume, but if he expressed a desire to wear pink I will not deny him that. I am certainly entitled to my ways of thinking, but that doesn't mean I should force my own ideas onto them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Memory Storage

I wish I could regularly blog, like I used to. I feel like the last 3 years have been a defining, crucial time in my life, and yet I was rarely able to sit myself down, organize my thoughts, and document them. I still remember all of the events, emotions and experiences during that time, luckily. I want to do better at blogging (journaling) because my mother did it, and her journals are some of the most precious items I have left of her. I know some funny and meaningful stories from my childhood because of those journals. Like how my mother was potty training me at 2 years old. One day I told her I wanted to go by myself, and I ran into the bathroom and slammed the door before she could assist me. I was a big girl, I could do it myself. My mom waited outside the door for a good 5 minutes before finally deciding to check on my progress. She opened the door, and there I stood; legs spread, head down, hands clasped in front of me with my index fingers pointing toward the toilet. "What are you doing?" She asked me. I had looked at her with the proudest smile and said, "I pee like brother!" my mom calmly walked out, shut the door, and had a crying fit of laughter! She then came back in and explained the difference between girls and boys and their pee parts.

Her journals also reassure me that despite the torment I put her through during some of my teenage years, I was so loved and special to her. Even when I dated jerks, when I stopped going to church, and when my grades slipped further down the alphabet line. Of course I know in my soul that I was always loved and special to her, but seeing the words written down brings an extra comfort.

I think the problem I am having with blogging, is that I always feel like I need to be philosophical in my posts. Come to some climactic epiphany, or have some life lesson spun into my words. I forget that just capturing moments from my life, from my children's life, is what is most important. Even if it's just one line. "It was a great day." My kids will see that and know that on that day, I was happy. Certainly Facebook isn't going to be around forever, and you can be sure my kids aren't going to scroll through it looking at my status updates to gauge how life was. To me, a journal is as important as pictures.

So this is my goal for myself. I will blog. Ideally, once a week. Realistically? Hopefully once a week, or at least whenever something worthwhile (or seemingly mundane) happens. Capturing our life so that if our kids have any doubts of their childhood, or are curious about events, they can look back at my entries and read about it. Family vacations we took before they were old enough to remember, weekend trips to the Zoo. Potty training tales, terrible 2's, first days of school, what we do on a lazy day. Anything. I owe my children that. It's something I cherish from my mother, and I don't want to suddenly be 50 and look back, and regret that my kids don't have my words of wisdom (har har) to carry with them even after I'm gone.

I am 36 weeks pregnant now. I am so excited to bring another precious soul into this world, and to fill this blog with memories of and for her (and her, and him).

Monday, July 23, 2012


As I sit here contemplating my place in life, there are four simple answers.

These precious lives that I have been blessed with...this amazing man (and funny, as you can tell) who shares his life and children with me...I thank God every day for them. Whenever I'm unsure about what I'm doing or where I'm at, all I have to do is look at them to be reassured that I am just where I'm meant to be.

I know I can't shield my kids from the world. I wouldn't want to. I always had an awareness of what was going on around me growing up, but my Mother raised me with enough of a shield that I wasn't blasted, but that I also wasn't naive. I pray I can do the same for my kids. I want them to be able to see the evils of the world, and take it in stride. See the beauty beyond the pain. I can still tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing on the day of 9/11. Often times when I hear an airplane overhead, I pause just to listen. Just to make sure. But I still fly. I still look at Muslims with the same respect that I do everyone else. I don't let one group of terrorists take away my spirit, and keep me hidden away from the world. I still wake up every morning thanking God that I'm alive. I pray I can instill that same outlook in my children.

Life is never sure. You could walk out your door and get struck by lightening, hit by a car, shot by a terrorist, or diagnosed with cancer. You could also walk out your door and experience everything beautiful. Smell the fresh air, explore new territory, meet new and amazing people, laugh and play, fall in love. There are so many possibilities in life. So many amazing ones. I hope I can, along with my family, always focus on those, rather than the bad.

"Be the change. Be the good. Be the heart. Be the soul. But most importantly, be the ones who continue forward."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I have this huge to-do list. It was started before I became pregnant, and once I knew baby was on board, my sporadic motivation kicked into high gear. "I'm going to super Spring clean my house, spend all Summer organizing and rearranging, and enjoy the Fall before baby gets here." I was going to do a million activities with the kids, have Nevaeh potty trained and toddler-bed-adapted two months before my due date. I was going to be freaking Super Mom on a whole new level!

And then reality set in. Reality as in, pregnancy. That magical time where my mind is on hyper speed with ideas and quests and must-do's, but my body renders useless. The first trimester? I slept. I am one of those lucky women who never gets morning sickness or any terrible symptom. I had a bit of nausea yes, but all I had to do was nibble on a snack and it was cured. But I am also one of those unlucky women who feels like they're one step away from a coma. I'll be the first to admit, it took all I had to get up with the kids, get them breakfast, and turn on cartoons before dozing off on the couch. I did get out with them; the zoo, Cosi, grocery store (hey, to a kid? That's a trip! Especially when Giant Eagle has those awesome race car carts!) We had out of state friends visit, and then took a camping trip with them the beginning of my second trimester. I definitely stayed active in between naps! (I also swore I'd blog regularly, because I want my kids to have a hard copy record of their childhood, along with all the awesome memories!....But that kind of went down the crapper too, now didn't it? Thank God for Facebook!)

So my list is far from completed. And it doesn't help that I keep adding projects, getting side tracked, deciding to skip housework and head to the Zoo or pool, or just being lazy and playing games with the kiddos all day long. But they are happy, I am happy, all are healthy and growing strong! I still have plenty of time to tackle everything that needs done :-) I'll sign off here with some highlight pictures from the Summer!

 Timmy, Savannah, Vae and Landon, camping in the PA mountains!
 The waterfall in PA, so cold, but so breathtakingly beautiful!
 Timmy's mom Erika and I are already planning their wedding <3
 My best friend! We met on Mom365 because of our babies, and this year we got to meet!
 Brave boy rode some roller coasters!
 We can never get enough cousin time! Dawnica and Zaley :-)
 Landon is going to be an amazing big brother to this new little girl!
 She's a total fish! "No, I got it!" is her favorite line when we try to hold onto her in the water
 More family time! Amber, Nate, Ollie, Gina (Bennett is baking!) and us minus Landon
 Another day at the park!
 July 4th, 2012. Landon shot his first gun. An AR! Go big or go home!
 Lots of fishing and remote boating!
 They're really starting to play so well together <3
 This was at 22 weeks I believe. 24 weeks today!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Reveal

Wednesday Chris, Nevaeh and I anxiously drove to my Doctor's appointment. The only appointment I required Chris to go to (Not that he objected). The Gender Appointment. The nurse weighed me, and I had finally gained a pound (Dr. Davy did say I should try to increase my calories a little, to make sure I don't lose I had lost 7 pounds prior to gaining that 1. Not sure how I lost, since I had absolutely no sickness).
Ultrasound Tech Guy walks in, squirts the gel on my belly. Vae was apprehensive about it all, as she usually is, until she saw that gel, which is apparently hilarious. Wand moves over my belly and we see a VERY active baby! Arms and legs flailing, head moving from side to side. That explains the constant flits and kicks and flutters I've been feeling since week 16 :-)
I like to think Baby is waving Hi! 

"Ready for the gender?" The Tech Guy asked. Chris hoped for a boy (of course) I hoped for a girl, but had a little feeling it was a boy.
"See those parts right there? Those are"

We all walked out with huge smiles on our faces!

That was Wednesday. I had dinner plans made for Friday with my Dad, stepmom Sus, brother Nate, sister in law Gina (and Ollie) and sister Amber. I had to wait two full days to reveal who was in my belly! Thank God I had plenty of work around the house, and a sweet Nevaeh to keep me busy!

I planned and planned. I had the best idea on how to announce it. Bought a new outfit (Good excuse, right?!)
Look at that belly! 19 1/2 weeks. This is gonna be a big kid!

We ate at Olive Garden in Dayton, it was a good middle point for all of us. Plus I had been craving Seafood Alfredo for weeks so I didn't even need to glance at the menu! They were extra tortured to know they had to wait until the end of the meal to find out. 
But, like dessert, I told them it was best saved till the end! So we could leave with something sweet in our mouths.
Food comes, great conversation. I almost forgot why we were there, and just enjoyed my time with family. With all of us in different parts of Ohio (or right outside Ohio in good ole KY) these nights were rare, and I was cherishing every moment, soaking up the jokes and laughter. Grandma Sus of course was badgering Nevaeh the whole night, trying to get the secret out of her. My little trooper just smiled sweetly at her, not spilling a single bean! 

Some Highlights from the night...

By this point (like you readers) everyone was more than ready for dessert. I had a chat with the waiter, who was thrilled to be a part of this surprise! Handed him my tupperware wrapped in foil (didn't want anyone catching a glimpse of the fruit!) and ordered a slice of raspberry cheesecake (really the only dessert that would taste perfect with blueberries or strawberries). 

Then we waited patiently for the dessert to be brought out. At one point my brother's face split into a huge grin and he said "Here it comes!" We whipped our heads around to see a waitress carrying a tray with a plate of red....lasagna. Try again!

Finally we saw our waiter (crap for me forgetting that awesome guy's name!) walking out. He turned out to be the perfect waiter because he made my surprise even better. He carried the tray with the plate, and had it covered with a napkin. The suspense! I loved it! He asked my brother for my name, then came to stand by me, and just icing-ed my night even more.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" He shouted. My face turned red, of course.
"Bethany here is pregnant, and we are going to find out the gender of the baby right now!" I could feel the whole restaurant whip their attention to our table, and my stepmom said the two women behind me craned their necks with open jaws in anticipation.

Waiter set the plate down.

He whipped the napkin off....

Screeches! A lot of people applauded, my whole family shouted in excitement!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adjusting for Three

I always love the rush of progress that new life brings. The moment I confirmed my sweet little girl was on the way, I flipped over the moon, dragging with me all the ideas stored in my mind. How to decorate the nursery, prenatal exercises, what foods to eat, the best body pillow a pregnant girl could have, a birth plan. Outside of the pregnancy itself were other obsessions. Like the nesting that grabbed me by the wrists and had me down on hands and knees the entire 9 (10) months, scrubbing every inch of my house. Rearranging furniture, organizing every last needle and sock so there was the most adequate amount of space in our modest Dayton home. Not that anything ever looked perfectly polished. I had ADHD so with that comes the sacrifice of anything actually getting done how I want it. I flit from one project to the next, change my mind twenty times halfway through a paint job.

I feel a strong urgency to go when I am pregnant. To hurry up and improve the life I'm currently living, so that it can seamlessly become that much sweeter when this new life joins in. This pregnancy is no different. My neighbors will confirm their many jokes of hiring me as a housekeeper or project tinker-er, just from the countless times they see me decluttering the garage, putting together a new shelf, wheeling a shopping cart (upside to living next to Walmart) of garbage down to the dumpster or hauling away a CRV load of Goodwill items, only to haul in an equally full load of new and improved things to modestly fill the house with comfort.

Chris and I decided to hold off on buying a house, a decision that I'm now ecstatic to have made. While we will be spending another year in this two bedroom townhouse, with three children...I'm strangely at ease with it. I know that I have until November to empty out this house of all things unnecessary, and fill it with things that will benefit us, and make the adjustment into three children that much smoother.

I'm evaluating my parenting styles. Which I'm sure would come whether a new baby did or not. It's important to always strive for improvement, especially when it involves the raising of your children. I know how difficult it has been to have two children, to overcome the sibling jealousy, the divided attention, the fraction of Me-Time, and the grasping at a slim chance at alone time with my husband. I know that with the addition of this third little love, will come new challenges, more stretching of time, more neediness and inevitable sibling jealousy. I want to make that transition as easy as possible, especially for the two little loves I have already been blessed with.

My sweet babies. Nearly two years they have been in each other's lives, and we're still getting the hang of it. Their personalities are so different. Landon is high energy, bursting onto your lap for a quick hug and kiss before he jets off to accomplish all things an almost 4 year old needs to accomplish. Nevaeh is pure excitement, an everlasting optimist who can't give enough lovin's. Daddy walks in the door from work and she bolts to him screeching daaaadddyyy and leaps into his arms to smother him with kisses. 
While their personalities defer so greatly, they still have that sibling bond that can't be severed. Amongst their bickering and "Moooom, Vaeh did thiiiis" moments, they give me sightings that stop my heart. Sweet hugs, laughter at a joke between them. When one gets in trouble, the other is quick to sympathize for their punished sibling.

I can't to add to that. This little nugget is growing inside my belly. I am 15 weeks tomorrow. In a way it's been quick, but in another way I feel the time is dragging by and I should be encouraging labor by this point. Patience is a that I need to grasp a little more firmly. I am enjoying this pregnancy, the best I can since with Nevaeh I was a full time student and employee, and had so much going on that before I knew it she was in my arms and I longed to feel her kick one more time, or nudge herself into my right ribcage for a snooze. I am so excited for those moments with this child, and I know that I am blessed to be a SAHM this time around, and be able to fully embrace the bond we are already forming. 

Yes, I am well aware how fast I am showing this time around! I assure you, unless hiding in a dark undiscovered corner, there is only one in there :-) 

I am becoming more confident in who I am. I'm learning that when something makes me unhappy, or dissatisfied, I have the power to change it. I embrace the role of Mother whole-heartedly, and thank God every minute for blessing me with this family. This is what I was meant to do. I was born to be a Momma, and though I have been told that I should have lived my life first, gone through college and established myself...I can only smile at them and accept their concern. The passions I've had for life are not something that need to be accomplished before starting a family. Most of my passions involve my family, so really I'm benefiting myself. My life is being to the absolute fullest, I could not be happier with the path my feet are traveling. I'll stumble, and get things wrong, and change my mind on the things I do. But I have my husband Chris, my son Landon, my daughter Nevaeh, and this newest sweetie to ride the river with me. 

I am so Blessed!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big boy beds and Tator chunk

Dear Landon,

You are my sweetest man! You have a hard time listening to Daddy and I, but you are 3 and that's exactly what we expect at this age. We are showing you the right way to be, and you are learning! You love your Sister so much, I know you do. I love it when you hold her hand on our walks around the neighborhood, and teach her how to jump!
You got your big boy bed last week. You picked out Star Wars bed sheets and a Transformers comforter. and you have a bright green lizard on your wall. You are very diverse :-p

Dear Nevaeh,

Hello my little slice of Heaven! You are 18 months old, and you are full of personality. Ornery, as you showed today when you were all over the mall playground. Sweet, because you'd randomly run up to give me a big hug. Ornery again because you'd then take off full speed, arms and legs pumping, cracking up! You really look up to your Brother. I see you copying little things that he does. I'm so glad you have him in your life!
You are a picky eater. You used to be my little foodie, but every since you turned 13 months, it's been downhill. Come back my Food Lover!


I knew you were here before any signs. Daddy and I had been trying for you since September, so of course I was looking for signs. I got the same feeling with you that I did with your sister Nevaeh. I just knew you were there. So I peed on a stick 5 days before my missed period. It was so faint, barely there. But it was there! You will be here in early November. I cannot wait to know more about you, sweet baby. Daddy has nicknamed you Tator Chunk!