Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Laundry Lessons

I've decided it's time to teach my son how to do laundry. I came to this realization tonight, when Jake announced he was "commando", because he didn't have any clean underwear. Turns out he'd been commando the entire day! I wonder how long this would have gone on before he finally asked me to wash some underwear?

Jake started Laundry 101 just minutes after his announcement. His job: gather the dirty clothes from his bedroom and bathroom. Then I showed him how to sort the clothes into different loads. I don't think he got it. He's a smart kid, but something tells me sorting clothes is completely over his head. So I put the load of underwear in the washer myself, and then the dryer too. Maybe I can teach him to fold? Or, perhaps we should start small, and focus on putting his laundry away without unfolding it! Of course, these are big goals. I'm still trying to teach Brad these same lessons.

But I have done my part. Neither of my boys will have to go "commando" tomorrow. The laundry is now done...it's up to them to put it away!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Power of Prayer

I meant to write this yesterday...so many of you texted and emailed to tell me you were thinking of us all day and praying. I appreciate that so very much, but I just couldn't find words, or energy to describe our appointment yesterday. So I will try again this morning.

Yesterday was an exhausting day, mentally and physically. I had a bad feeling from the beginning...when we had trouble finding the right clinic and again when they were running way behind schedule. But, my feeling was wrong. The appointment went great!

The ultrasound showed baby's heart is working perfectly! No more skipping beats! We heard it, and saw it, and the ultrasound tech was great about explaining everything. We met with the doctor, a perinatolologist (which is basically an ob-gyn who deals with complicated pregnancies). He assured us that everything looks great. Not only did baby cooperate for heart pictures, they were also able to get all the other measurements they needed to say that everything looks normal.

He did say my doctor will likely want me to come in for weekly visits for awhile, just to make sure the heart doesn't start skipping beats again, or start beating to fast or too slow (that's actually more of a concern than skipping beats). If everything is ok in a few weeks, we'll go back to regular visits.

This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I've been preoccupied, worried, and scared about this for weeks. I was preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best. I truly believe this is a testament of the power of prayer. All of my friends and family who added us to your daily prayers, thank you. Prayer works! Keep praying!

Finally, we still don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl. We decided we did not want to find out, and the ultrasound tech said baby wasn't cooperating, so she wouldn't have been able to tell us if we would have asked!

Here are the updated pictures...hopefully they are the last ultrasound pictures we'll have! My favorite is the fist picture...he or she is ready to take on the world, and big sister Lizzy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The World Through Lizzy's Eyes

I should know better than to leave the camera laying around where a two year old can reach it. Thank goodness for digital.. I have deleted many pictures Lizzy has taken in the past few months. Back in the day when Lexi and Jake were her age, before I went digital, I wasted a lot of money developing pictures that weren't really worth developing.

But I never dreamed a two year old would be able to find the camera, switch the settings to video, and make her own movie. Check it out...she's searching for Jakey.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby Lizzy

None of my kids have ever been big pacifier users, or even thumb suckers. All three had a pacifier for between six weeks and six months, then suddenly, they all ditched it. Until this weekend.

Lexi cleaned out the van on Friday and found a long lost "nookie". She didn't get it thrown away in time, because as soon as Lizzy saw it, she wanted it. She has been obsessed with it all weekend. We even had to take it fishing yesterday, and when it fell in the lake, I thought the game was over. No such luck. Someone rescued it with a net and gave it back to her. Today, she took it to church, and wouldn't take a nap without it. If she doesn't have it in her mouth, she's walking around asking everyone "where'd nookie go?". Lizzy is smart enough to take the nookie out of her mouth to talk, and she knows to wash it off if she drops it outside. She also obviously knows this is not something a two year old should have...because she would not let me get a picture all weekend..Lexi finally snapped this one while she was napping.

I know I should end this before it gets too out of control, or screws up her teeth. But I just can't. It makes her happy, and I know she'll soon realize nookies are for babies and get rid of it again. And we only have one...when it's gone, it's gone. I am not buying her another one.

But at the same time, I can't help but wonder if this is a sign of what's to come in November. Will Lizzy regress to other baby things? She's been doing so good at potty training...will that take a turn for the worse when baby comes too? Will Lizzy insist on having a bottle and a nookie as long as baby does?

I really can't say that I blame her. Lizzy has been the baby, and giving up that spot will be difficult. Maybe this regression is part of her coping process. Or maybe the nookie just tastes good. At any rate, if the nookie suddenly goes missing, I won't admit to anything!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Games We Play

Some people play musical chairs. In our house, we play musical beds. Even when everyone goes to sleep in their own beds, you never know who you'll wake up next to in the morning. This picture says it all:

Both girls went to bed in their own rooms that night. Lexi came running upstairs after a bad dream, and Lizzy wandered in after falling out of her own bed. Rather than fight with them, and get my own lazy butt out of bed, I just let them both crawl into bed with me. You'll notice Brad isn't in the bed...that's because he often falls asleep in front of the tv downstairs. Rather than wake the sleeping beast, I have learned to just let him stay on the couch. Notice how the girls are spread out horizontally in our bed though..it's no wonder I got up that morning! There was no room for me!

Monday morning tops everything though. Lizzy wanted Jake to lay down with her at bedtime. He had been gone all weekend, and they missed each other. I left them in her room, and crawled into my own bed across the hall. I fell asleep to the sounds of Jake making up bedtime stories and the two of them giggling. At 2:30 I woke to Lizzy saying "Jakey, Jakey" but I didn't hear anything else, so I went back to sleep. I got up at 5:00 to go to the gym and checked on them. Jake had taken over Lizzy's bed, and she was sleeping on the floor, butt up in the air. They seemed fine, so I left. Thankfully I shut the gate at the top of the stairs when I left. An hour later, I walked into the house, to find Lizzy sleeping at the top of the stairs. The gate obviously prevented her from wandering too far, and she looked like a puppy, waiting for it's owner to return. She woke up then, led me into the kitchen where she grabbed a tortilla from the fridge, then crawled into my bed. I laid down with her, and she slept for another two hours.

The moral of the story? There probably isn't one...but if I had to pick a lesson from these games of musical beds, it would be these: choose your battles. There are things worth fighting with your kids over. Where they sleep at night is not one of them (not during the summer, anyway). Second, enjoy these moments...very soon, they will not want to snuggle you at night. In fact, this week Jake and Lizzy are at the farm, Lexi spent the night with a friend, and Brad again fell asleep on the couch, leaving me with the bed all to myself. It was nice, but also a little lonely. And finally, sleep trumps all arguments. Sometimes, it's worth giving in just to get a few more minutes of shut-eye.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oh Baby

These are the first pictures of baby number four. It's a little early for an ultrasound (I'm just 17 weeks..usually the first ultrasound is done at 20 weeks). But there is good reason for this early look at baby.

I went in for a routine check-up last week Thursday. I had heard baby's heartbeat at my visit four weeks ago and it sounded perfect. This time, it skipped a beat. It was a consistent skip...three beats, nothing, three beats, nothing. At first I thought Dr. P's equipment wasn't working correctly, but when her voice sounded concerned, I knew it wasn't an equipment malfunction. She quickly sent me down to ultrasound to get a better look at baby's heart.

I'm no doctor, but I must tell you I knew the second I saw the ultrasound screen...something was wrong. I could see a muscle (which I assume was the heart) beating three times, then skipping a beat, then beating three beats, then skipping. The ultrasound tech turned up the volume and suddenly I could see and hear baby's heart. Tears started flowing at that moment, and didn't stop for several days.

The tears were for many reasons: fear that something is wrong with my baby, fear that it was caused by something I did (or didn't) do, and an overwhelming realization of how much I already love this baby. That's been the most sobering part of all of this... I didn't really want a fourth baby. I was thought I was warming up to the idea, despite the rude comments and questions I've endured from people (no kidding, numerous people have asked me if this was "planned", or "did you mean to?") I figured by the time baby comes in November, I'd be ready. But, turns out, I'm already ready, and I've already fallen in love with this baby, heart problem or not. When I heard the heartbeat and saw the images on the screen, it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is OUR baby...and let's face it, Brad and I have cute babies! I'm now more excited about this baby than I ever have been. I truly can't wait for November!

In the meantime, I am now considered a "high risk pregnancy"..in all my pregnacies, this is a first. We will do some follow up on the irregular heartbeat. We go to Fargo on June 24th to see a cardiologist from Sioux Falls, and to get a level two ultrasound and a fetal echocardiogram. That should determine if it was a "fluke" thing, or if there really is something wrong with baby's heart. I've been trying not to google "irregular fetal heartbeat", but I couldn't help myself. From what I've read, it happens in about 14-percent of all pregnancies but is only a problem in one to two percent of those. That means statistics are on my side. But, I am cautiously optimistic...I have many friends who have been in that one to two percent in other ways. But, I know that whatever happens, we will be ok. In the meantime, please pray. That is really the only thing anyone can do at this time! And, watch for more baby pics...we'll have lots after the appointment on the 24th!