Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bumpdate: 24 weeks



How Far Along? 24 weeks

Size of Baby? About a foot long and around a pound and a half

Maternity Clothes? I just bought a bunch more.  It’s odd to me that clothes (specifically pants) I found comfortable last pregnancy aren’t comfortable this pregnancy.  I only had one pair of jeans that I really liked and Motherhood Maternity was having a 40% off clearance sale so I bought 2 more pairs, along with another pair of corduroys, a maxi skirt and a dress.  Should be set to go to NYC at the end of February now.

Weight Gain? Around 13lbs.  I wish it was less.

Stretch Marks/belly button? No change.  I have them.  They’re not going away.  Hopefully I won’t get too many more.

Baby’s Sex? Still a boy.  Still don’t have a name picked out which still annoys me.

Sleep? Sometimes.  It’s definitely getting a little more difficult.  I try to put a pillow between my legs to help keep my hips aligned, but it doesn’t help a ton.  My hip that I’m laying on starts to hurt after a while so then I have to roll over, which is a a challenge.  And usually I get up to pee when I wake up to roll over and that hurts like heck to walk to the bathroom from the bed.  Usually somewhere between my bed and the toilet my hips do this huge “clunk” that I can definitely feel and sometimes hear, and then I feel better.  The joys of pregnancy.  He’ll be worth it.

Food Cravings? Still no new cravings.  Nothing sounds good lately.  I don’t feel like I’m eating healthy enough and then I don’t know what to eat so I just don’t eat, which causes headaches.  I’ve been trying to eat more salads, but salads just don’t fill me up and so I get a headache almost every time I eat one, unless I eat a bunch of stuff with a salad.  I hope to God I don’t have diabetes this time around.

Best Moment This Week? Hearing his heart beat again.  I’d been a little worried because I hadn’t been feeling him much, but he was doing well and moving a ton when she was listening for his heart beat with the Doppler.  A close second would be finding out that the GD (gestational diabetes) cut off for the clinic I go to now is 140.  Long story short, my last OB in the States had a cut off of 140 also.  I tested at 139, so when I moved back to Italy at 33 weeks, they said that I hadn’t passed because their cut off was 130.  So they tested me 2 more times until I failed it at 37 weeks.  So knowing this clinic has the 140 cut off for GD gives me a little bit of hope that I could pass it.

What I am loving? The fact that Mark and Abbie have felt him move.  Abbie was pretty darn excited.

Movement? Yep, he moves quite a bit now.  Last week he started moving a ton and now I feel him all the time, mostly way down low, but sometimes up high also.

What I’m looking forward to: Him moving up a little.  Apparently he’s dropped a bit since my 20 week update and he’s directly on my bladder, which makes me feel like I have to pee ALL the time.  As in like 3-4 times an hour.  It is SO annoying.  I will take the shooting back/hip/pelvic pains any day over the constant feeling that I have to pee.  It’s horrible.  So I hope he rises soon so he gets off my bladder some.

Other Updates…Not really.  I feel pretty good, despite my back/hip pain and the having to pee constantly.  I’m excited to meet this little dude.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Looking ahead to 2015


Although 2014 was a good year, there are definitely changes I’d like to make in 2015, starting with this blog.  As of right now I have a whooping 19 blog posts done for last year.  That bums me out big-time.  I use this blog as my online diary and we print books out at the end of each year and we’re hoping someday we’ll have an entire set of the books with the story of our lives in them to pass down to the kids.  I have so many pictures from last year that I haven’t even looked at, but I am starting to go through my photos and edit them and it is my goal to get all of those pictures, at least, up on the blog.  I’ll write as much as I remember about the days I took them, but at least the pictures are better than nothing.  And then I hope to keep up on it much better this year, although with having a job and adding another kid to the mix and possibly moving God knows where, that might be tough.  But I’m going to attempt it anyway.  I’m bound and determined to get last year caught up too, but I’m going to be back-dating all of my posts so they probably won’t show up in your feeds.  If you want me to email them to you, let me know and I’ll add you to the list!

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Speaking of the blog and all my photos and editing, that’s another thing I’d like to work on.  I really want to improve in my photography, including the actual picture taking and figuring out my camera more and then editing in Lightroom.  This blog was a lot easier to keep up with when I didn’t know much about photography and didn’t edit any of the photos.  It adds significantly more time to the blogging process when I want to edit the photos before I put them on here.  This year I would LOVE to upgrade my camera to a full frame (preferably the 5D Mark iii), but considering that camera is about $2500 I’m not sure that’s going to happen.  Although, when we had Abbie, we got my first DSLR, the XSi, and shortly after we had Ben we upgraded to the 60D, so it would just be keeping up with tradition if I upgraded again with baby #3.  I love the 60D but I take a lot of photos inside and I have to bump the ISO up SO much to be able to have the shutter speed above 1/120, which I need considering I’m shooting kids or dogs (aka – moving targets).  But if the ISO is above like 800 the photos have a ton of noise in them and that bugs the hell out of me.  (See below for examples.)  I still get decent pictures, but I like crisp, clean shots and these are far from it.  

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I also would love to work on de-cluttering my house.  I am the queen of holding on to things I don’t really need to keep because I always think of the what-if’s.  But let’s face it, I’m not ever going to be the size I was in high school anymore and having some of those clothes is more depressing than motivating at this point so I could probably unload them.  We have so much stuff that we don’t use that I should just get rid of.  And my main motivation is our potential move this summer.  We were close to our weight limit when we moved from Italy to here and since then we’ve purchased another kitchen table (and I’m using the old one as one of my sewing tables), a solid oak antique desk for Abbie, a huge 3 piece sectional couch and lots of other little things that add up in weight.  I can almost guarantee wherever we go next we won’t be living in a 3100+ sq foot house and we’re not going to have room for all our stuff so we might as well downsize now.  I’m hoping I can put some things in my parents basement/shed for a while until Mark is out of the military and we’re not moving every 1-3 years.  This will be a tough one for me, but I’m going to try!


I would also love to be more active this year.  Right now it’s a little tough with being pregnant and all, but after I have this baby, I would like to be more active.  I have dreams that I can actually run for any real amount of time.  I have never been good at running and I have never enjoyed it.  If I could get to the point where I could actually jog a mile without stopping and without feeling like my lungs are going to explode or collapse or both, I would consider that a win.  I’d love to someday do a 5K, but that is a long way in the future.  I have pretty much zero endurance and I would like to build that up by walking/jogging and maybe swimming.  This will probably be the hardest of all my goals because I tend to not make time to exercise and I can only imagine that might get more difficult with 3 kids.


I would also like to have more patience with my kids and really work on the way I talk to them and handle them when I’m tired/stressed/busy/etc.  My kids tend to get the brunt of my pissy-ness and I hate that.  I want to learn to take a step back when I feel tension building and then handle the situation and my emotions the way I would like my kids to handle them.  They are little sponges right now and I really want to be the best example to them of how we should act and how to be kind and if I’m flipping my lid, I can’t expect them not to.  I’ve been reading articles regarding the way you talk to kids and how it affects them and I’m much more aware of what I’m saying now or how I’m coming across to my kids.  I’ve already noticed I’ve been able to hold back a few times and not flip out on them.  I’m far from the perfect parent, and I never will be perfect, but my goal is to become better and to bring myself up to a level I’m comfortable with and I’m not there yet.

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Last but not least, I love buying fabric.  I have a pretty healthy stash of fabric, but I never DO anything with it.  I have lots of plans for it, but actually sitting down and sewing something doesn’t ever happen.  I don’t make it a priority so it just doesn’t happen.  I love making things though and I love giving homemade gifts so I’m hoping to use at least some of my stash this year.  I haven’t even made my own kids quilts yet so if I could make them their own full sized quilts I would be happy with that.  And I think I’ve decided I’m going to pay someone else to quilt them for me since that part really stresses me out and trying to get a full sized quilt through my little machine sounds like hell.  I love piecing the tops together so I figure if I can at least get 3 tops done and then pay someone else to do the hard part it’s a win/win.  I get to use some of my stash and don’t have to do my least favorite part of quilting.


Lofty goals for 2015, but I’m really looking forward to this year!  Big changes are going to happen for us as a family and looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us and meeting our newest addition!

PS:  All of these pictures were taken Jan-March of 2014…  Better late than never.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflecting on 2014


2014 has been a good year for us.  I really don’t have any complaints.  Mark’s work schedule is great – he’s been home with us a lot, which is always nice.  I remember shortly after we were married and I was still getting my feet wet as a wife and more importantly, as a military wife, I was around a few older, more seasoned military wives.  They were talking about how sometimes it was nice when their husbands went TDY or deployed because they enjoyed the space and being able to do whatever they wanted, etc.  I kind of thought they were nuts at the time, but figured maybe I’d feel the same after I’d been married longer.  We’ll have been married 9 years this year and together for over 10 and I still get excited to see Mark every day after work or meet him for lunch, and the kiddos are exactly the same way.  This assignment has been great because he is usually able to be home by 5pm or before and we all enjoy that.  He’s not as stressed as he was in Italy and that helps too.

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I had set a goal to sell 6 houses this year, and I sold 7 and helped a whole bunch of renters find housing, and I am so happy about that.  I truly love real estate and helping people find and sell houses.  I’ve learned SO much this year and I am SO thankful that I got the courage to ask Sean if I could work for him.  He and Elisa have been so supportive and have so much knowledge between the two of them.  They back me 100% and have always been available for me whenever I needed help or had questions, which is frequently in your first year of real estate.  A lot of this business is learned on the fly and by trial and error and I am still learning a lot, but I have so much more confidence now than I did a year ago.  My skin has gotten MUCH thicker, which is needed at times in this business also.  I recently had a very experienced agent tell me that I need to “get better control of my clients” because I was asking her to change something on a contract that my clients weren’t comfortable with.  That probably would have had me in tears a year ago, but, although I was annoyed, I just laughed it off.  I hope even if I am in this business for many years that I never try to “control my clients”.  I view my position as a guide in transactions for my clients, but I like my clients to be in “control”.  After all, it is their money or their house.  I was talking to Elisa about the situation and she said that sometimes the nice thing about newer realtors is that they don’t try to manipulate their clients at all and are open books and completely transparent, and that’s what I strive for.

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The kids have grown so much this year.  They can be so much fun and complete pains in the butt, even at the same time.  I have learned over the past year how to balance work and home a little better, although I’m still learning.  Abbie asked me this year “Why did you decide to be a house seller instead of stay home with us?”.  It really struck me as to how she perceives me working.  Realistically, I am home with them 95% of the time still, although sometimes when I’m really busy I am on the computer a lot.  She has cried before when I’ve left to go show houses and that’s always hard.  If it’s not too hot out or I’m not going to be gone long, I have taken them with me to show a house.  They sit in the car with their snacks and drinks and watch a movie.  (So thankful we got the Denali with the dvd player in it.  That thing is a life saver.)  They have become pretty good friends for the most part, and sometimes they play together so well.  Sometimes they fight like cats and dogs, but they are getting better.

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Sammer has been such a good addition to our family and I tell Mark multiple times a day that I wouldn’t trade that dog for the world.  I’ve missed having a big dog/Golden so much and I am so glad I finally convinced him to add to our herd.  Sam is the perfect dog for us.  He is so friendly to everyone and everything.  He listens very well.  He is 100% a people pleaser and is constantly seeking your approval, but is okay to go lay by himself and doesn’t need constant attention.  Although he usually has someone’s attention at least 80% of the time.  Sure, he’s destroying our back yard by chewing on the plants and the trees (???) and digging holes and killing the grass, but that’s a small price to pay for the companionship he provides us all.  The kids both love him, especially Abbie.  She lays with/on him a lot and is always in his face telling him how much she loves him.  He’s such a good boy.

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A year ending is always kind of bittersweet.  I’m excited about what’s to come in 2015 but sad that 2014 is over.  The kids will soon be another year older and time has gone by that we’ll never get back.  Time seems to just be flying by!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bumpdate: 20 weeks



How Far Along? 20 weeks

Size of Baby? 10” head to heel, about the size of a banana

Maternity Clothes? Yes.  I LOVE my pregnancy leggings with the stretchy band that goes over my belly.  However, I need more longer shirts/tunic because I get really self conscious if I wear leggings with anything that doesn’t cover my butt.

Weight Gain? Almost 10lbs now.  Yay.

Stretch Marks/belly button? No change.  I have them.  They’re not going away.  Hopefully I won’t get too many more.

Baby’s Sex? He’s a boy!  I had a good feeling in previous weeks that he was a boy, but I was still hoping like crazy that he was a girl.  The deal was is this baby was a girl, we could talk about being done.  If it was a boy, we’re definitely trying for one more (so I can have 1 girl and 3 boys, of course).  Either way, I’m still excited.  I hadn’t been feeling him much so when we saw the heartbeat and that he was doing well, I was so relieved I didn’t really care what she said it was.

Sleep? I’m getting more pelvic pain when I try to roll over, but overall, I can sleep pretty well.

Food Cravings?No new cravings really.  Usually nothing sounds good, which is annoying.

Best Moment This Week? Finding out the sex last week, and that he is doing well.  It’s a relief for sure.

What I am loving? Going through all of Ben’s old clothes to see what I have and what I need.  If this baby had been a girl, I would have been set on clothes because Abbie was born in May also.  However, Ben was born in December and this baby will be born in May, so they’ll be almost exact opposite seasons for the first year or so.  But… I love to shop for baby clothes so I’ve been having fun picking up things I find here or there on sale.

Movement? Finally I’ve been feeling him more often, which is a relief.  I found out at our ultrasound that I have an anterior placenta (the placenta is almost exactly in front) so it’s thickness blocks me from feeling his kicks very often.  I do feel him up high though, and on the sides sometimes when I’m laying on my side.  And when I have to pee I can feel him bouncing on my bladder, but not usually in the front.  And it’s not been hard enough yet than Mark could feel it either.  Hopefully soon!

What I’m looking forward to: Mark and Abbie being able to feel him move also.  Abbie asks all the time when she’ll be able to feel him move.  We’re going to paint the nursery this week too, and I’m excited about that.  It was one of the last rooms left in our house to paint.

Other Updates… I feel like I’m carrying this baby higher than my other two.  It’s already a little hard to breathe at times because I feel like he’s up in my ribs, which I don’t remember with the others.  Makes me a little nervous because we still have a LONG way to go.


The pictures below were a few of the outtakes from our gender announcement photos.  In the one on the left I told Abbie to act upset, which she didn’t want to at all.  She didn’t understand why I wanted her to act upset, so I asked her to do it for just a few and then she could cheer in the others.  Realistically, Abbie is most excited about this baby and she is very happy it’s a boy, which is interesting.  She’s been asking for a baby sister for YEARS – like since been was born – and the last month or so, she’s said she wants another baby brother.  I asked her before we went in to the gender ultrasound (both kids were with us) what she wanted the baby to be and she said boy right away.  I asked her why she wanted a boy since she already had a little brother and she said she wanted two little brothers.  Mark said she did her happy dance when the ultrasound tech told us it was a boy and she’s constantly talked about what we’ll name him and she picks out toys of hers that she wants to wrap and give to the baby when it gets here.  So the picture on the right is a better representation of how they actually feel.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Ben’s birthday letter from Daddy


Ben3         Ben19 

Happy 3rd Birthday Little Man! 8 Dec 14

You are 3 years old already! I refuse to believe it! It wasn't too long ago that you were barely saying 2 words. Now you're throwing together sentences that are 10+ words strong! You're a smart little kiddo just like your sister. Your sister has done a lot to help you talk. I know in large part it's because of her that you are communicating so well. She not only teaches you words or common sentences and phrases but she also provides you with some stiff competition. She is always filling up the airwaves so you've had to learn quickly how to express your ideas and feelings so as not to get lost in the noise. Although she does teach you some phrases Mom and I would rather you not repeat. Such as, “turdy butt”, “poopy head”, or the always popular combo “you stinky turdy butt poopy head”. Where does this stuff come from? Mom does a great job teaching you as well. Just like she did with your sister. Mom is always testing your knowledge or teaching you new words and how to pronounce them. You are darn good for having no front teeth. When you take your time you're easy to understand, but sometimes you get excited and the words just don't come out the way you want. Then it becomes somewhat difficult to understand you but you're improving everyday.


You, my little man, love machines. Anything that moves and makes noise (just not too much noise or the hand earmuffs go up). Cars, trucks, boats, planes, love them all. Mom and I bought you a train table for your birthday and what a hit that has been with you. We had the bright idea of assembling the table and giving it to you the morning before we left for our trip to The Polar Express. I still don't know how we got you out of the house and on the road when we did.Ben11 

One of my favorite things to do is watch you play. You've started adding the sound effects to your cars, trains, and planes just like I used to. You are so interested in the motion of your vehicles. You study every aspect of their movement. I love how you lay your head down on the couch and study how they move across the couch cushion while you push them back and forth, back and forth. Or, you'll walk around with your plane in hand watching it fly through the air twisting and turning all the while making the engine come alive with your sound effects. Here's a little constructive feedback for your sound effects; a little more air and a lot less're running a bit rich.


Wow do you like to run! I don't you think walk anywhere anymore. You have two speeds right now; crashed and sprint. Run in the house, run out of the house, run up the stairs, run down hotel hallways, run while being chased, run while not being chased, run to the park so you can run in the park, run while your nose is running, and the best of to the door when I walk through it to meet me when I come home from work. One of my favorite times of the day! Something I know I'll miss when you get older.


We're still working on your ability to handle frustrating situations. Hopefully Mom and I can move you past the ear piercing shrill. That shrill could mean a number of things including but not limited to “Sampson is molesting me”, “Abbie ripped a toy out of my hand”, “my pancake fell off my fork”, “the magnetic train cars keep falling apart”, or (what mom and I always imagine) “I just lost my arm or leg and I need immediate medical attention”. We'll get there eventually.Ben17

You're the best little man! I'm excited to watch you grow! But it's now time to tell you what Mom and I have been telling Abbie for the past few years. Stop growing!! You're not allowed to get any older! We're not going to celebrate your birthday anymore so you can't get any older! It's worth a shot anyway.


I'm love being your dad! Happy Birthday Benji-boy! 

Love, Dad      


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bumpdate: week 16


How Far Along? 16 weeks

Size of Baby? 4.5 inches long, 3.5oz, about the size of an avocado

Maternity Clothes? Yes, I am definitely digging them out.  Some of my stretchier jeans I can still wear unless I’m going to be sitting for a while and then it’s really uncomfortable.  I mostly wear maxi skirts or leggings or maternity pants.

Weight Gain? about 2.5 lbs

Stretch Marks/belly button? I don’t know.  My entire abdomen is basically one big stretch mark so I have no clue if they’re new or old or in between.

Baby’s Sex? Still no clue, which is a bit annoying.  I knew Ben was a boy, but this time I’m just not sure.  I’m getting headaches (did with Abbie, didn’t with Ben), but I don’t know if they’re hormonal or stress/tension related.  I’ve been pretty emotional which makes me think maybe girl, but that could just be wishful thinking.

Sleep? Still good.  I’m getting some minor back/pelvic pain, but not enough to wake me up yet.  I’ve still be somewhat tired so that could be why I sleep like a log.

Food Cravings? Chicken – BBQ chicken pizza, which I don’t think I’ve ever ordered before this pregnancy.  Chicken avocado sandwiches (usually I prefer burgers).  I used to love having ice cream or pop corn before bed and I don’t really want either of those now.  I usually have cereal.  Just odd.

Best Moment This Week? Seeing baby A on ultrasound at our last appointment.  It’s little legs were crossed.

What I am loving? All of Abbie’s questions and comments about the baby and how it’s going to get here and what we’ll do with it and how I am feeling and when she’ll be able to feel it move.

Movement? I’ve felt some weird stuff that I’m still not exactly sure what is.  But very occasionally I can feel the baby move.  I’m excited for it to be more regular.

What I’m looking forward to: Dec 15th when we get to have the big ultrasound!!

Other Updates… At my OB appointment last week my doctor said, “You knew you’d lost the baby when you came in, didn’t you?”  She said that that was amazing that I had that intuition and that she could tell by my voice that I knew.  I found that interesting.  Oh, and baby B is still in there, but about the size of baby A’s head right now.  Kind of odd.


16 week ultrasound – I honestly have no clue what that is except for the round looking thing on the left is it’s head with maybe it’s little hand right in front of it’s face.  ??  Either that or I’m growing an alien.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taking it all in


The next day Mark and I went in for an ultrasound to confirm that baby B wasn’t alive.  I knew it wasn’t, but I still felt like I was going to throw up as I was waiting to be called back.  I’m glad Mark was able to leave work to come with me.  His co-workers were understanding and they all hurried to finish building the schedule so Mark could leave to get to our appointment.  The u/s tech asked me why we were there for a scan, I think mainly to know if we actually knew why, not because she needed to know.  She confirmed that baby B didn’t have a heartbeat and after that anticipation of hear it again was over, I was okay.

I think the hardest thing for me to get over was the fact that we weren’t having twins anymore.  It was difficult to change my mindset from 2 to 1 and I think that’s what I was mostly upset over.  At 10 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t super attached to the babies yet, more the idea of having twins.  Yes, it totally sucked losing baby B and I was/am sad, but I’m not one of those that dwells on it for weeks/months/years and I just trust God’s plan with it all I guess.  I figure that baby B wasn’t completely healthy and I would much rather lose a baby at 10 weeks pregnant than like my parents did and lose one when they’re 10 months old.

The next week I had the nuchal translucency ultrasound to scan for downs syndrome and other chromosomal disorders and baby A was still doing well and moving around like crazy again so that was reassuring.  Not reassuring enough for me to make this pregnancy blog/ FB official yet, but it was still reassuring.