Wednesday, November 23, 2016

(Almost) 20 Weeks

Time for a monthly update on the little one - quite a bit has happened in November!

A few days after the twins' birthday party I noticed a bit of lower abdomen pressure.  I remembered a similar feeling with the twins, though it was not until much later in the pregnancy.  I went ahead and called the doctor that morning just to be safe and she had me come in for a quick ultrasound.  Michael was working from home that day so he was able to join me.

She did a few measurements and was able to ease my worries immediately - everything looked great and the baby was quite secure in its spot.  In my best nonchalant voice I asked, "While we're here, could you do a quick look at the baby and see if you can tell if it's a boy or a girl?"  She did and told us it looked like a girl.


From about 10 weeks on, I just knew it was a boy.  No real reason why, just a gut feeling.  I asked her how sure she was and she replied, "I wouldn't paint the nursery, but I'm pretty sure."  I had a quick chat with the doctor and we were on our way.  I kept looking at Michael and saying, "A girl!  Can you believe it?"  He politely reminded me I was the only one who was convinced it was a boy so a girl was very easy for him to believe.

The next two weeks were hard because I felt a bit in limbo.  I didn't want to start growing attached to the idea of a girl only to find out a few weeks later it was indeed a boy.  I swore I saw a little something during the scan so I almost convinced myself it was a boy and she was mistaken.

When I was 18.5 weeks we went in for the scheduled anatomy scan.  Michael was able to come to this appointment as well, which made me so happy.  She checked the brain, heart, kidneys, and spine.  Everything looked perfect and about a week ahead of schedule.  Not shocking as the twins always measured one if not two weeks ahead.  The baby was, once again, bouncing all over the place and gave us several great shots so we walked away fully confident it was a girl.

sucking her thumb :)

I was both ecstatic and a little sad, as I would've been regardless of the outcome.  I'd already daydreamed two difference scenarios - a baby brother and a baby sister.  Hearing that it was a girl made me so excited (if not a little jealous) for Sloane to have a little sister, but I also knew how wonderful it would've been for Jude to have a little brother.  Regardless, I know they will both be amazing older siblings and this little one is the absolute luckiest to have these two as friends and mentors. :)

Once the kids were out of MDO I drove them to a park near Michael's work so we could do the gender reveal as a family.   I'd made confetti poppers the night before and we had a quick run-through as to what they'd do.  As you can see, Jude got a little confused and forgot to actually pop it.  Meh, whatever works.

I'd told Sloane we could purchase a pair of pajamas for the baby once we knew what we were having so once we'd vacuumed up our confetti (yes, I brought a dustbuster to the park), the kids and I drove to the mall.  We found a pair we loved and then Jude requested we go to the boys side and get a matching pair for his little brother.  It was then I realized... he thinks all babies come in pairs.  I knelt down and gently reminded him there was only one baby and it was a little girl.  He immediately started crying.  "But what about my brother?  What about the other baby?"  It was incredibly sweet and heartbreaking all at once.

We ended up not purchasing the pajamas that day and instead went to the shop next door for cookies.  When in doubt, give Jude food and he will cheer up immediately.  We had our cookies and visited the Disney store before heading home.

So that brings us to today.  I'm almost 20 weeks and feeling pretty great!  I've definitely popped and now look very pregnant - about the same size as I was with the twins at this stage.  It's a little disheartening but I'm telling my ego to shut it and just be thankful for a healthy pregnancy.  I've put off maternity tops as long as possible but my non-maternity tops are getting fairly short. I ordered a few recently and have lots of plans for layering this winter.  I've gained 12 pounds so far, which puts me at the weight I started the twins' pregnancy so it'll be interesting to see how this continues!  I also finally felt her (for sure) around 17.5 weeks and now get swift kicks and jabs quite often.  It is, by far, my favorite part of pregnancy.

Moving onto far more exciting stuff - a NAME and a NURSERY!  Not ready to reveal either yet, but we think we may have a first name and are trying to decide on the perfect middle name (which is ridiculously hard).  I am very protective of this third child and want to make sure she doesn't feel excluded from the twins but also realizes she is so special and unique.  While I didn't want the name to sound terrible with Jude & Sloane, I also didn't mind if it veered away from the one syllable names we chose for them.  And if you're rolling your eyes because I thought through all of this for a name, join Michael's club.

I also created a secret Pinterest board and went to town on her nursery.  When we first found out we were having a baby I was all, "Psh, we'll just throw something together last minute."  Ha.  HAAAA.  That plan lasted a few weeks.  She will be in the office, which is a tiny room with no closet.  We're going to have to get really creative with space.  I'm excited because it's super close to our room, has a large window (which has its drawbacks for a nursery but for someone who loves photography it is THRILLING), french doors, and pretty crown molding.  I'm fairly sure when we're done it'll be my favorite room in the house.

That's about it for now.  By my next update we will (surely?) have a name to share.  While the first trimester was painfully slow, the second trimester is flying by and I feel like I hit a new week every few days.  April 6 will be here before we know it!

ps.  If you were curious, I did end up getting the pajamas we picked out that day.  First purchase for our baby girl!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Jude & Sloane | 4 Years

The longer I go between updates on Jude & Sloane, the more anxious I get.  There's so much to share!  What if I leave something out?  Is it even possible to capture their personalities in a blog post? (Absolutely not.)  Regardless, I know one day I'll want to sit back and remember what this age was like and I imagine they might find it entertaining as well.  So kiddos, I apologize now for not being able to capture the true spirit that is you.

Height: 42 in (85%)
Weight: 39 lbs 4 oz (78%)
Clothes: 5T
Shoe: 10.5

Height: 42.5 in (95%)
Weight: 36 lbs 8 oz  (64%)
Clothes: 4T tops and 5T pants
Shoe: 9.5

Jude Sullivan

Jude has the energy of the sun in a 4-year-old body.  He doesn't walk, he runs.  He doesn't jump, he leaps.  His kisses are powerful and his hugs make you lose your breath.  He feels with every fiber of his being.  Those who truly know Jude adore him.  He is crazy and all over the place, yet he remains one of the sweetest humans I know.

Jude had a rough start to school this year.  He's not a fan of change and as we walked past last year's classroom he let me know he was not interested in new teachers or a new environment.  No matter how much I encouraged him, he would have none of it.  He had a rough few weeks before finally settling in with the new schedule and now he's absolutely thriving.  His teachers have a funny story about him every time I pick him up and they recognize the amazing boy hiding under the cloak of crazy.  :)

Jude's speech continues to improve and while he's still difficult to understand at times, he will repeat his need/story/joke as many times as it takes for you to understand.  His heart belongs to Sloane and his adoration for her is so apparent.  It's incredibly sweet but I sometimes worry he will grow comfortable in her shadow.

He's still a picky eater and can be downright lazy at times.  He has zero interest in getting dressed on his own - he'd far rather me do it for him.  Now that a baby is on the way, I'm cracking down and not helping him as much.

Jude is very stubborn and has no problem throwing a loud fit if he's not happy with the situation.  He does not enjoy time-out so the simple threat of "Do you need to go to time-out?" is typically enough to calm him down.

This kid loves to dance.  His favorite show right now is Mickey's Monster Musical and he has the entire Monster Boogie memorized.  It's so fun to watch and I hope he's always that carefree.

His blonde hair has darkened a bit but it's still fairly light.  His bright blue eyes have little sunbursts and he has two freckles on the side of his neck that I adore.  He has his dad's lips and my eyes.  Those who knew me as a child think he looks like me but everyone else thinks he's all Michael.

While I know he doesn't grasp the magnitude of this new baby, he talks about it all the time and has become far more gentle around me.  If he kisses the baby too hard, I let him know and he tries again until he gets it right.

Jude is a total daddy's boy.  When Michael is around Jude wants nothing to do with me.  He loves to hold Michael's hand when we're running errands and sit in his lap if we're in the living room together.  It's hard not to feel a little jealous at times but I'm also so grateful for their sweet bond.

He loves his new fast race track and fire truck but he would watch television all day if we let him.  He loves the weather ("Mama, a storm is coming!") and the moon.  He's still scared of dogs (thanks neighbor) but loves pretending to be a cat.

I cannot imagine life without my precious son.  His laughter is still the best medicine ("Mama, I'm lappin!") and his love is something fierce.  What an amazing four years it has been!

Sloane Elisabeth

Every time I tell a story about Sloane I'm laughing and shaking my head. She is the funniest, sneakiest kid I know.

Michael and I don't really think she has a photographic memory but it's pretty darn close.  The other day I read her a 20-page book that she'd never seen before.  When we finished she turned to the first page and told me she wanted to read the story to me.  "I'd love that, Sloane."  She started "reading" and it was word for word what I'd read ten minutes prior.  Pretty amazing.

Sloane is a storyteller.  She has a vivid imagination and is so curious about her surroundings.  When she asks "why" she's not just trying to pass time, she genuinely wants to know why.  Be as specific as you can (and be careful) with your answer because she's holding onto every word.

She is so dramatic.  When she gets upset about something she crosses her arms and furrows her brow.  Lately she's added a distraught, "Hurumph!"  It's adorable and infuriating all mixed up into one.

She loves to help in the kitchen.  Whether it's mixing pancake batter or baking pumpkin muffins, as soon as she sees I'm up to something she grabs her stool and stands right beside me.

Sloane is very tall and lanky (with a belly!), has blue eyes that are bordering on green, and the world's slowest growing hair.  It's a bit of a mess at the moment but she loves how "long" it is getting and is still convinced she's the next Rapunzel.

She enjoys her toys but has far more fun making up her own stories and playing pretend.  She's easily entertained and manages to get her brother to play right along with her.

Sloane is quite the athlete and tends to pick up skills fairly quickly.  She is quick and agile but still a bit of a klutz (no clue where she gets that, ahem).  She loves soccer because it's daddy's favorite sport.  She always asks, "Which color are we rooting for, dad?"

As I said before, she is sneaky.  Those who are around her think she's incredibly sweet.  And she is, but it's not always genuine.  She knows exactly what she wants and will say whatever necessary to get it.  It's troubling to us because neither Michael nor I are like that and we're not exactly sure how it came to be.  Nature is a powerful force, I suppose.  We've both agreed to do everything we can to harness her power for good and not evil - ha!

She is SO EXCITED about becoming a big sister.  I'm not sure how she'll handle it once the child actually arrives (there is nothing Sloane loves more than being the center of attention), but for now she is its biggest fan.  She sings to it, reads to it, and talks about how cute it's going to be.  "It's going to have the cutest little feet!"

When I'm having a rough day, she's the first to pick up on it and is at my side comforting me until I tell her all is well.  That part of her is genuine to the core.  Her heart is big and bold.  When God created her he gave her far too many gifts and I pray she never takes any of them for granted.

I know when she's a teenager I'll have to keep this part a secret but she is the best friend I could ask for and my prayer is our bond will deepen and strengthen as the years go by.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jude & Sloane's 4th Birthday Party

After Jude & Sloane's first birthday we decided we'd only do parties on odd years and let even years be family only (at least while they were still young).  That was the plan and we stuck to it... until this year.  Turns out when you have a baby on the way you start considering the sweet moments you have left with your current kiddos.

Michael wasn't excited about this new arrangement so I promised him a few things.  1. The party would be simple.  2. The party would be inexpensive.  Neither of these have applied to their previous parties so I knew it would be a challenge.  I'm usually pretty good at sticking to a budget until the week before when suddenly there are 8,000 items we need for the party and all 8,000 items cost way more than I would ever consider paying had I found them one month prior.

Challenge accepted.

The theme was easy.  Jude & Sloane adore pajamas.  Sloane adores pizza.  I didn't think "Hummus and Pajamas" would bring in the masses so Jude didn't get his say in the food category.  I designed the invitations on PicMonkey and texted them to party-goers.  If that isn't cheap and easy, I don't know what is.  Point for Merd.

They already had plenty of adorable pajamas so I didn't need to buy new birthday outfits.  Once again, Michael would tilt his head and say, "Need?" but let's be honest.  I ordered their cake from Market Street  - if you live in Texas and are near a Market Street, I can't recommend them enough.  They are cheap and delicious.  We picked up the pizzas from Dominos, using coupons to keep the cost down.

Cake topper by Ladada Designs
Biggest splurge: Fruit (isn't it always?) and popcorn from Uptown Popcorn.  Michael grabbed the Dill flavor (YUM) and Confetti (meh).  We popped our own butter popcorn at the house.

We still had plates, napkins, straws, and cups from last year's party so we were all set there!  We always have a giant number balloon so I kept with that tradition and added six more basic balloons to the order last minute.  Come on, I'm no saint.  Since the party was at night, I grabbed glow sticks for favors.

And that was it!  Pizza, fruit, popcorn, and cake.  Seven balloons.  Glow sticks.  DONE.

The kids had a blast.  The weather was perfect so we spent a good portion of the party in our backyard.  I don't think Jude & Sloane stopped moving the entire time (except when we sang to them).

Going overboard in the past with food or decorations or party favors or birthday outfits... our kids didn't care.  In fact, I think we all had a better time this year because I was far less stressed and far more present, which I know they pick up on as well.  Good lesson for me.  :)

One other thing I feel I must disclose.  Sloane.  Oh my goodness.  She talked about her presents the entire time.  We always open them after the guests leave, which I told her before the first guest arrived.  So what did she do?  Waited until I was chatting with approximately seven moms before blurting out, "Are they going to leave soon so I can open my presents?"  And that wasn't it.  She went up to my friend Elizabeth and waved at her.  Elizabeth asked, "Oh, are you ready for me to leave?"  "Yes!  Bye!"  She also brought Ryan her kids' shoes toward the end of the night (without Ryan asking).  Needless to say, we had a long talk about patience and gratitude the next day.  Fortunately everyone found it funny, but her dad and I did not.

And so wraps up their 4th birthday party!  I'm so glad we did it and am so grateful for the sweet friends who came.  I can only hope we're all still close when these kids are celebrating their 14th birthday!


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