Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dear Holland Claire

I wrote a letter to Jude & Sloane once a month during their first year.  I look back at those letters and want to hug the tired mom who tried to capture every single detail.  I remember thinking if I got it all down I would never forget anything.  I now realize a novel would barely scratch the surface, but I do love the snippets I have of each.

The anticipation for Holland's arrival continues to grow.  I'm so anxious to meet her.  But, if I'm being honest, I'm also terrified.  I've had almost 4.5 years of Jude & Sloane.  4.5 years to learn their passions, their struggles, their fears, and their strengths.  In six weeks my doctor is going to put this sweet baby girl in my arms and I'm not going to have a clue who she is.  She might have Sloane's nose or Jude's hair, but now that I understand the incredible bond between a mother and child, I'm scared of starting all over and knowing absolutely nothing about my newest daughter.  I guess that's what makes it exciting as well.

So Holland, this is my very first letter to you.  Because while I don't know you yet, I want to fill you in on two of the most incredible people I've ever met... your big brother and sister.

Dear Holland,

Precious girl, it has been a crazy eight months with you in my belly.  From the very beginning you have been a fighter and made your presence known.  I felt pretty rough the entire first trimester but knew the result of my sickness was a flourishing baby.  When your dad and I found out you were a little girl, I was in total shock.  I just knew you were a boy.  Now I can't imagine anything else but you, Holland Claire.

I want to tell you about your siblings.  I want you to understand how important they are to our family and how excited they are to meet you.  You aren't even here yet and they argue over who gets to sit closest to you.  They both place their hands on my stomach to feel you kick.  They talk to you and sing to you and ask me what you're up to in there.  Do you have toys?  What are you wearing?  Are you asleep or awake?

I want to tell you about Jude.  He is almost indescribable because he is so many different things all at once.  He is so strong.  I'm slightly terrified at how strong he is because I know you are going to be so tiny.  And yet, he is so gentle.  He is the first child in the room to look up when a baby cries.  I have no doubt he will be your protector and want to make sure you are always ok.

He is animated.  When he tells stories he uses his whole body and you better watch out because he will use you as a prop if it makes sense with the plot.  He has to touch everything - he has always been curious about the effect to every cause.  This often gets him into trouble, but it's also what makes him unique.  It's impossible for people to talk about Jude without a smile on their face.  He is extraordinary.

I have more great news for you.  He adores his sister.  He would do absolutely anything for her and I know that will be the case for you as well.  My biggest fear is he would sacrifice everything to make sure his sisters are happy.

My prayer is you two will find some similarities that Jude & Sloane don't share.  That you will realize what a privilege it is to have an older brother who cares so much about you, sweet girl.

I want to tell you about Sloane.  She is a firecracker and one of the funniest people I know.  She has started making up her own songs and every single one of them is about you.  At least once a day she tells me she's going to be the best big sister and then she hugs you and whispers it again.

Your big sister is kind.  She notices and remembers things that many look past.  She is at times empathetic and other times reserved... and you never know which way she's going until she's arrived.

She has told absolutely everyone about you.  Holland, she is so proud of you already.  She can't wait to teach you how to do all the things she has learned in her four years.  And when you watch her I hope you see magic, because that is what I see when I look at her.

My prayer is you two will have a bond similar to what Sloane and I have now.  That when times get tough and you don't feel comfortable sharing your feelings with your mom, you will always share them with your sister.

I want to tell you one more thing.  Holland Claire, you are about to join a family that's far from perfect but filled with so much love.  With all the unknowns, please know this:  The four of us are your biggest fans.  We cannot wait for you to join us and learn all of the intricacies of our family.  Be prepared for a lot of laughs and hugs because that's what we do best.

Your dad and I were blessed with two very special gifts four years ago and for some reason God decided to bless us once more.  We are humbled, we are grateful, we are ecstatic.  And baby girl, we cannot wait to meet you.

Love always,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Baby Sprinkle/Amazing Weekend for Holland

It's been a busy few weeks!  Michael and I went on a quick getaway trip to Austin (separate blog post forthcoming) and my parents came down to visit last week.  The days and weeks are moving along at hyperspeed now and I'm trying not to blink.

This past weekend was pretty perfect.  I have some amazing friends who put together the sweetest sprinkle for Holland.  Two of them visited from North Carolina and Houston (with their daughters!) so we made it an all-girls weekend filled with fun activities.  I (politely) kicked Michael & Jude out of the house as of Friday evening but with as much giggling, shrieking, and all things pink experienced in this home I think I was doing them a huge favor.  :)

Lauren & Bryn flew in from North Carolina Friday morning and the little girls hit it off immediately. Bryn & Ryan are almost exactly one year older than Jude & Sloane and they have all heard about each other for at least three years.  It was clearly time for a proper introduction.  

Bryn gave Sloane two necklaces and from that moment on at least some aspect of their outfits either matched or coordinated.  Ryan and Stefanie came over with their twin boys so we had a crazy morning playdate with seven kiddos and four moms.  We stayed at the dining table the entire time to catch up and let the kids fend for themselves. It was great!  After nap time, my parents took Jude to Mimi & Papa's house for the rest of the weekend.

That evening we met up with Ann Marie and Erika for dinner at Gloria's.  They brought three of their four girls and we let them all sit at one side of the table while the moms sat at the other side.  (Are you noticing a pattern here?)  After dinner we walked next door for some ice cream.  It was so much fun seeing the girls interact with one another.  All of our minis spending time together - wonder if they'll still be chatting like their moms in 30 years? :)

Saturday morning was Holland's sprinkle and it was incredible.  The hostesses outdid themselves with decorations, food, coffee, and mimosas.  A few months ago Ann Marie mentioned the best idea I've ever heard: Guests could bring unwrapped gifts and put them on the dining table so I wouldn't have to open each gift in front of everyone.  YES.  I consider myself a decently social person but opening gifts in front of a group has always been my nightmare - to be able to skip that part and just spend time chatting with friends sounded lovely.  

It was such a special time and Holland's nursery floor is now covered with amazing gifts from incredible friends.  

The incredible hostesses!
Most of the guests!

Once the hostesses planned which weekend to come to town, we decided we'd take our girls to American Girl for a fun lunch.  When the sprinkle was over we drove to the AG Bistro and had a great time eating lunch with our girls and their dolls.  Sloane was in heaven.   The lunch lasted almost two hours and was right in the middle of nap time but the girls were all troopers and had a blast.  I think we all kept waiting for some sort of disaster and/or meltdown and it never happened.  Super proud of all of them!

After lunch we all relaxed for a bit.  Saturday night, Ryan, Stefanie, Erika, and Ann Marie came to my house in pajamas (sans kiddos) and we ate more Mexican food, drank some wine & cocktails (& water... sigh), and stayed up until midnight catching up on anything we hadn't already discussed the prior day.  

It really was the best weekend.  Sloane and I missed our boys but we had such a great time together and I know both of them enjoyed the one-on-one attention they received from mom and dad.  Sloane made a new friend and I loved watching it all unfold.  It was hard to say goodbye to Lauren & Bryn at the airport but I know a lot of memories were made that will stick with Sloane for a long time.

I took a two hour nap yesterday afternoon and another nap today!  I'm sure I'll go to bed early again tonight.  The weekend definitely wore me out and I know I wasn't able to be the hostess Lauren & Bryn deserved because I'm feeling so limited both in ability and energy. They pretended not to notice and were the sweetest house guests.

We're at 6.5 weeks until Holland arrives and everything is starting to feel more real.  As if carrying around 28 extra pounds and feeling her kick every three seconds isn't enough of a wakeup call, seeing her (almost) completed nursery along with tiny pajamas and diapers has definitely made me realize we're in the homestretch.  When I hugged my parents goodbye I realized the next time I see them will be a day or two before she arrives.  Eek!  I'm not sure you can ever truly prepare for a new baby so I'm just trying my hardest to appreciate the little moments leading up to it!  

Friday, February 3, 2017

30 Weeks!

There's something about reaching 30 weeks that just makes me breathe a little easier (I do NOT mean in the literal sense as breathing has become increasingly difficult due to this little one taking up so much room). 

Yesterday I had the horrid glucose test.  I ate some cottage cheese as soon as I woke up because I still feel iffy if I delay meals.  I've been dreading this test because I had gestational diabetes with the twins and felt the whole thing was a load of baloney.  I carried almost 14 lbs of babies yet the absolute worst I felt the entire pregnancy was the day I had to do the (second) 4-hour glucose test.  Having a very pregnant lady not eat or drink anything for 12 hours, followed by three separate blood draws... It was the WORST.  I've already decided if/when I flunk the test I took yesterday I'm going to tell them to write a big ol' "Gestational Diabetes" on my chart and not make me take the second test. I have no problem waving the white flag.

I dropped off the kids at MDO, chugged the oh-so-delicious fruit punch syrup, and drove to the doc.  Along with the blood draw I also received the Tdap shot so my poor arm was definitely abused.

Enough bad news, I have some GREAT news!  My doctor asked if I had any concerns and I told her I really missed all of the ultrasounds I had with the twins.  Even though I get to hear her heartbeat at every appointment, I just want to SEE her.  My amazing doctor did a quick check to make sure there was an availability and snuck me in for an ultrasound.  I thanked her a dozen times - it was such a sweet surprise!

The results?  Holland is still very much a girl and looks big & healthy.  I even saw her sweet cheeks, which took up more than half her face.  Besancon women have big babies (my brother and I were 9 & 10 lbs and Jude and Sloane were quite large for twins) so I'm fully expecting Holland to be a bit rotund.  Cannot wait!  We get to meet her in nine weeks and I go back and forth between wishing the time away and holding onto every second I have left with just the twins.

I'll see my doctor every two weeks moving forward.  I'm feeling pretty good for the most part - my legs hurt (I wake up every morning and it feels like I ran a marathon the day before) and my energy is definitely waning, but no other complaints.  The kids have been very independent lately, which has been a huge relief because it's getting harder and harder to pick up, bend down, etc.  I'm carrying pretty high and mostly out front, but I'm definitely one who looks pregnant from the back.  Zero waistline here.

29 Weeks
My best friends from TU visited last weekend and it was so great to see them.  We're scattered across the midwest so these times are few and far between... and always so much fun.  We ate some great food and pampered ourselves with manicures, pedicures, and blowouts. (I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan of the 'do when we left the place but it definitely worked in my favor the next day for maternity pictures - thank you, excessive hair spray)!  Lots of coffee and laughs - I miss them terribly.

Up next: Michael and I are going to Austin in a few weeks for a (very) quick babymoon.  We found an adorable house on Airbnb and are so excited to eat allllll the food.  :)

To end this novel, we took some maternity pictures on Sunday!  Marci did an incredible job and it still blows me away to realize the next time she takes our pictures we'll be a family of five.  FIVE.

(Picture overload... you've been warned!!)


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