we're still here!

I told my cousin Sarah that we must be a part of the Cozy Womb Club. She carried her babies past the due date as well. My Aunt Diane is in this club and my friend Katie and so are many others. And it is a sincere waiting game. Time is measured in days and nights, because each morning you think, "well this could be it!" And every night you think, "maybe we'll wake up and go to the hospital." Every 12 hours seems to be a new set of possibilities.

The truth is, as I told Rory today, there are so many friends I know who have begged God for one more week or one more day, hoping the baby could grow strong on the inside before it came. So we are fine. The baby is healthy and doing well and tomorrow will be 41 weeks officially. Today we go to the doctor to make a plan to induce. With my whole heart I hope things start naturally, but it will not be for a lack of effort on my part! I have walked stairs, our road, done many things to try to get things moving, but it turns out a mom doesn't have a lot of control over this sort of thing.

But I have heard nonstop stories of how others have gotten their labor started. And been told many things on what I should be doing. Some are well received and others make me feel like I am doing something wrong.

My very favorite though, was my neighbor's daughter who told me that when she was 3, her mom was due with her sister. They had taken the 3 year old to the cousins to play and then picked her up to wait for the baby back at their home. While opening the door for his wife, the dad misjudged her position and opened the door into her belly with enough force that it caused her water to break on the spot! So they turned around, took the 3 year old back to the cousins and went to the hospital.

Something about the slap stick of that moment makes me laugh so hard. What a riot.

So we'll wait and continue to get things done around the house. In a great twist, we have had some wonderful family time this week. Rory is still busy, but he's on baby-mode and has been so present. We have made lots of fun summer memories this week and for that I am so grateful.

And tomorrow we have 50 baby chicks arriving! We didn't see that coming when the due date was a week ago! But this is life, and it's full and it's good.

homeschool lite

(It's Thursday night...still pregnant. Doing squats and going for long walks. At the ultrasound yesterday the ultrasound tech said she hadn't seen a baby at 40 weeks so active. That it clearly has a lot of room still to wiggle. Rory later translated all of her comments to mean: your womb is basically an olympic sized pool and baby isn't feeling any squish to motivate it to get out...)

This summer we are going to try to continue some sort of home school routine on the days that have nothing planned. This is mostly because routine really does help shape a day and with little kids I do like having some sort of rhythm to our time. Even with the baby coming. I know it will have to be flexible, but believe me, this is flexible!

The kids each got a new math book as I have been told that math is most important thing to keep moving forward throughout the summer months, unless you want to review the old content for 2-3 months in the fall. I have so many friends who have commented that it only takes one summer to learn that lesson the hard way and then you decide to do some sort of math over the summer. So the kids each moved up a grade and are so excited about their new books. (staying with Critical Thinking Company for them...Kindergarten for Elsie and 1st Grade for Ivar.)

Then Ivar has to read us a story each day to keep up his reading words. And then we work on a letter in our handwriting books. And that's it. It's low key. It's fun and quick. But it sort of keeps my head in the game. Even if this happens twice a week it feels good. We are signed up for our bank's summer reading program and our library's summer bingo program. Both of those have fun and creative things to add into our days and I am grateful for the creative ideas from both of those programs (reading outside, asking a friend their favorite book and reading it, reading a book about your town...) I know there are some drawbacks to incentive programs, but I'm a fan. Incentive tends to be motivating!

And I still have to say my most enthused pupil is still Hattie who has her own workbook from the dollar tree that she works in diligently. Until she moves on to help her sister...

my thoughts on the gender

Today we are most definitely 40 weeks! After an appointment yesterday, my doctor wanted us to come in for an ultrasound to make sure baby had enough fluids. It was a great appointment, and everything checked out healthy and baby is doing fine.

As a bonus of the late ultrasound, we got to see our fully formed baby one last time in black and white before this baby comes out and is placed in our arms.

When I look at the picture above I want to weep. I love this child so much I could burst open. I cannot wait to hold it in my arms. I cannot wait to meet this life that God has chosen for our family.

Rory and I have chosen not to find out the gender of any of our kids until they are born. Rory was encouraged by his brother Troy to not find out and let that moment of birth hold the big surprise. My reasoning has more to do with stories I've picked up along the way with mom's finding out the gender at their 20 week ultrasound and then feeling some sort of disappointment. I had a friend tell me she was at a gender reveal party and when the "wrong" gender was revealed the mom ran to the bathroom and cried.

My problem with finding out the gender before the actual birth of the child is that every mom and dad has an opinion. Whether we admit it or not I believe we are gunning for one gender over the other. The even-steven part of me thinks another son would be great to round out the family: two boys and two girls. A brother would be so fun for Ivar. Another boy would give me the chance to get out Ivar's darling baby outfits.

But then I think about another daughter: three sisters in our family! A bff for Hattie. But most of all, that this would be the designed life that God has chosen for our family.

After I had Ivar I told everyone, "after surviving labor and delivery they could have announced, "it's a monkey!" and I would have been overjoyed because that monkey was mine. I carried that monkey for 9 months and was ready to love whoever they put on my chest." And it's so true! The gender is the very last thing you are thinking about when the baby finally arrives. Joy, elation, overwhelming love, big fat tears rolling down your cheeks...those things overwhelm your heart and mind when they lay that life on your chest. I just don't believe there is room to feel anything but gratitude in that moment.

And that's how I felt today, looking at the baby moving around inside of me. I want that baby. Boy or Girl. Even Monkey. I want that one. The one that I have been carrying for 40 weeks. And man, I want it so badly. Rory and I are so ready. Twiddling our thumbs, we are. And I just can't wait to meet the little one. Who are you, baby? It doesn't even matter. I adore you so, so much and love you already with my whole entire heart.

Tuesday is the due date!

...or Wednesday, like my doctor just told me at my last appointment. Which is seriously confusing because for nine months I've been telling people June 20th. And now it's June 21st. And I know it's just a date. And I know it's really just a rough estimate. And I know babies come late. I was just down this road 20 months ago with Hattie, 10 days late.

But let me tell you, that does not stop a woman from hoping the baby might come on Father's Day. It seemed so perfect. And we do have a streak of barn animals being born on holidays, so a human birth seemed possible. Plus my hips are complete jello, ready to do this thing. And I've put up with 8 weeks of "due any day now!" so that it felt like maybe it could come a wee bit early.

But no. Ivar was one day early. I think Elsie was two days past her due date. And Hattie a whopping 10 days past hers. The plus side is that I clearly have a very cozy and comfy womb that my kids enjoy for the full 40 weeks. And that is a gift. But I am ready now.

Rory has been working like crazy lately and told me Friday that he was hopeful to have a few nights of good rest and days of rest before the baby came. The next morning he said he'd like to move the cat back from the barn into the garage which I took to mean, "let's clean the garage all day." Which is my love language. So I did. I hit that garage like a woman in her 39th week of pregnancy, loading up the car with loads and loads to take to giveaway. But Rory was confused as to how I jumped from "let's move the cat back into the garage" to "please move this, and that, and lift that and that for me..." We had a nice talk that night where he explained People over Projects. And I tried to argue that sometimes Pregnancy trumps People, but he didn't buy it. We worked through it, got a good night's sleep and I'm still pleased with my clean garage. ;)

Today (Monday) I took the kids to the library to get started on the summer reading program, to the river, to a few favorite shops including the cupcake shop (where we each split a cupcake, and Hattie discovered she LOVES cupcakes and Elsie dropped her cupcake flat on it's frosting on the floor...) and then to our favorite thrift shop and to a taco stand for a cheap lunch. The goal was to exhaust myself, and we did. We came home, ate our tacos and then I decided to tackle the kid's room. Again, anything to get this party started.

Emotions are right on the edge again. On Friday we went to play with Elsie's best friends but before we left she asked me to get into my bed so we could snuggle a bit before we got in the car. She has asked for a lot of snuggles lately. It reminds me a lot cupcakes and combines. Sort of that high alert, something huge is about to happen, but we don't know when mood... I was trying to explain what a mind game this whole thing is to Rory. I said it would be like knowing you are going to have to run a marathon, but not ever knowing when the gun is going to go off.

So we'll wait. I have a feeling it will all happen soon. But I felt that way with Hattie, so what do I know? Honestly, you'd think I'd have a better sense of how this labor and delivery thing begins, but I really don't. I read through the stages of labor last night and thought, "yeah right. As if I have ever known when I was in "transition." All I remember is that I was in "pain." Ha!

And even knowing the pain that is to come, I am still ready to do this thing. I cannot wait to meet this little baby who is swooshing around. I cannot find out if we have a little sister or a little brother in there. I cannot wait to hold it and introduce myself. I cannot wait for my kids to meet this little baby and to have everyone get to know each other.

But until then, I guess I can wait. Because I have to wait! Patience, they say.

two great reads...

It's Friday night, and we just finished family movie night with the kids. Tonight was Rory's pick: a documentary called Chicken People. It was hilarious. Sort of a Best in Show documentary all about chickens. We fast forwarded some parts but all in all, a pretty funny super quirky, entertaining movie. 

Rory is putting the kids to bed now and I just wanted to pass along two excellent articles that were shared with me this week. 

This article felt so affirming, and strangely original. The part that impacted me the most was her second tip: Self Congratulation is key to mental health. I loved that paragraph. The article is not just for moms of large families. It definitely is for all mothers. And full of wisdom, I thought.

My friend Dorothy sent this article to me today and I LOVED IT. I wish I had written it. Tonight at dinner I told Rory about the whole article and I got a little choked up. It's all true: there is work and there is reward. I love the whole piece. 

So take a moment to click through or print these two out. I'm going to print both out and put them somewhere so I can return to them often. I hope you enjoy!

And now it's the weekend! Rory has a movie chosen for the two of us to watch next and then our plan is to rest this weekend. We have been packing a lot in lately, and it is time to rest before this labor train takes off! Have a great night. :)