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.

IMG_8226 IMG_8267

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.

IMG_8244 IMG_8281

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.

IMG_8422 IMG_8639

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.

IMG_8402 IMG_8713

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.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ben at 3 years old


Ben is growing like a weed now.  He weighs around 34lbs and is 40” tall – which puts him close to his sister in the 95th percentile for height.  He is almost an exact replica of his daddy and EVERYONE mentions it when they see them together.

Ben loves mac n cheese and cheese sticks that you pull apart to make look like trees.  He loves olives and orange juice and can sometimes put away 2-3 bowls of cereal in the morning.  He usually has a pretty good appetite and he does pretty well eating with silverware without spilling stuff everywhere.


He can count to 15-ish by himself and he knows most of the ABC’s.  He can recognize some letters and numbers and knows most colors.  He can tell you his birthday and his full name and he still pronounces “r’s” as “w’s”.  I think it’s adorable.

Ben has 2 speeds – running and stopped.  He bounces almost everywhere he goes and loves to jump over cracks or curbs or anything else he can get over.  Makes me quite nervous sometimes, but he does pretty well.  He balances really well on his balance bike and he also rides Abbie’s little bike with training wheels and does really well with that too.TelltalesPhotography-14

Potty training has been an issue for us.  He is terrified to poop in the potty.  He’ll pee in the potty just fine and we can put him in pull ups and he’ll even go pee by himself, but he won’t poop in the potty.  He doesn’t like you in the bathroom with him when he’s using it and he goes and finds a private place to poop – though never in the bathroom.  His favorite is in the middle of clothing racks at stores if we’re out and about.  I’ve decided not to push it too much with him and just go at his pace.  I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll have 2 boys in diapers and that’s okay.  Worse things could happen.

Ben wears 3T size clothes, although the pants are a little bit short on him already.  He wears size 5 diapers and size 10 shoes.  (He has huge feet just like Abbie.)  We got rid of his paci almost completely this month and next month we move him into his big boy bed.  He is trying really hard to give up his afternoon naps although I’m not ready for that at all.  Typically he sleeps from about 8pm to 8:30am and naps from noon to 2 on a good day.  He loves trains and planes and garbage trucks and he loves to wrestle with Abbie or Daddy or Sammer or anyone that will rough house with him.  His favorite thing is throwing rocks into the pool, much to Mark’s dismay.


Ben loves to watch TV.  He begs to watch his shows every day.  His favorites right now are Peppa Pig, Kate and Mim Mim, Thomas the Train, and Sophia the First.  He LOVES watching The Lorax too.  We got him a train table and he loves playing with his trains for hours.  He loves the plasma cars we go them also.  Usually he and Abbie get along pretty well although he’s learning to stand his ground with her, which she’s not a big fan of.

Where Abbie was our strong-willed, defiant child, Ben is much more laid back.  But he also gives up on things pretty easily and gets frustrated easily at times.  He has a great sense of humor and loves to make people laugh and he loves talking to anyone and everyone when they’ll listen to him, even if they don’t fully understand him yet.  He is a sweet boy and it tender hearted and it’s been fun to watch him grow and develop these last 3 years!


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, trains...you 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 spit...you'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 all...run 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