Saturday, November 26, 2016

Paw Patrol!

This past week we enjoyed the company of my sister Briana and brother-in-law Nick who flew in last minute to spend Thanksgiving with us! Gosh, those two are just the best. It isn't until one of my sisters comes into town that I remember how much I love my family and late night burger runs and pie and working out to AC/DC and not shaving my legs or bothering with makeup and constantly talking in terrible accents and pretending as if no time has passed at all while planning the layout of our shared home in the middle of nowhere. 

They left yesterday and as balm to the wound they've left on my heart since their departure, this video of Scout's reaction to the Paw Patrol dvd Adam purchased for the kids while Black Friday shopping has been on repeat. Catching this moment has been my greatest achievement this month. Besides still being able to nurse Piper. The fact that "the girls" still know what to do this late in the game is just so freaking awesome. 
Good job, ladies. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2 Months with Three

It's been two months since Piper's birth and my initiation into the motherhood of threes. 
I remember when I was pregnant and scared with Scout that countless people told me to chill out because it doesn't get hard until there's three.
"Hey, two is exciting. Three is a different story." 
And they were totally right. 
Two was bliss and three is bliss with an equal side of chaos. 

But first, a quick update on the kids. 

Jude started Kindergarten this school year and is doing so incredibly well my heart could burst. He's obsessed with all things Lego's and asks multiple times a day for the Lego City Fire Station we volunteered Santa to promise him for Christmas. He also started indoor soccer right around the same time and although he doesn't quite get the concept that the whole thing is a competition, that's almost what I love most about it--just my perfectly happy boy running (and often skipping) around the court happy to kick the ball and give it to someone else and cheer for the other kids whether they're on the same team or not. He also loves his new baby sister and teasing his newly crowned middle sibling. 

Scout is constantly talking, singing and playing some sort of instrument. She's known for going 0-100 at any given moment, usually because of a dog or a baby or Winnie the Pooh. "WOOOOOAAAAHHHH DOGGIE! AIR-PAY! (airplane) DADDY!!" and such. And when the non-stop singing doesn't stop when it needs to (church) and crackers are shoved in her mouth to serve the same purpose as duct tape, she spits out a "ank you" and continues on humming loudly. It makes me so happy that she's just this little tone deaf humming bird around our house, putting anything around her neck that could resemble a scarf and standing up on anything that could resemble a stage, and just being a perfect mix of affection and fire. Two is so much fun. And so freaking frustrating. She loves her baby sister way too much and is often found hugging and kissing her with so much terrifying love that I swear she may inadvertently kill her. Piper doesn't seem to mind. 

Piper has been smiling for the last few weeks and just loves her siblings, even when Scout sits on her back during tummy time. She's a beautiful and easy baby that loves to nurse and sleep and smile. She's even started sleeping through the night. If that first postpartum month wasn't so hard I swear I'd have 20 more if they could all be just like her. I'm one lucky mom and the magic of having a newborn hasn't lessened with it being my third. It's just as heavenly as ever. She's nearly doubled her birthweight, and although she doesn't have any dimples like the other two and her eyes are this weird mix of blue, green and brown, we've accepted her with open arms. 


Recently, some friend think I've had enough time to become some sort of expert on the subject and have asked what it's like having three. For those on the cusp of becoming parents of three themselves, I've left out a lot of the struggle because, you know--fear-- and have been more candid with the others who still have time to save themselves.
No, it's not that bad, but I admit it is harder than I thought it'd be and everyone's emotions are running higher than anticipated. 

Here are just a few things I've learned and been subject to over the past 2 months: 
-I laugh on the inside when people assume that the baby is the cause of all of the stress, when it's actually the other two acting out due to having their attention cut by 33%.
-Your standards for cleanliness will have to be lowered, if only just a little bit. Otherwise, the pent-up anxiety will drive you to insane sprints of cleaning that just leave you in hopeless tears on the freshly mopped bathroom floor your son just missed the toilet and peed on. 
-You will resent anything that needs mincing. When your baby demands to be held, your two year old is starving and your 5-year-old thinks this is the perfect time to tease the 2-year-old, ain't nobody got time for that. So just skip it. Or give it a few whacks with a butcher knife and call it good.
-Have a really interesting answer in your back pocket to the question of whether you're done having kids or not. You can't just say you don't know because people demand a follow up. 
- Leaving the house is terrifying because the older two know your hands are full with the third and will take any opportunity to scatter in random directions, and usually toward a busy road. 
-But, if you confine yourself and your little ones indoors, their stifled energy results in mutiny. I've come to appreciate the concept of "sister wives." 
-With each kid my milk supply has increased exponentially. This time around I'm convinced big boobs are completely overrated. Why would I want volatile goodies that go from saggy, half-deflated water balloons to red and painful explosive firehoses, when I can be perfectly happy with the easy-going chest of a 12-year-old boy. 
-I've never been more tired in my life. And as an on-and-off-again night nurse, that's saying something.
-Depriving someone of sleep is a form of torture, designed to not only mess with their ability to function physically and mentally, but to essentially break them down to a state of insanity. I haven't had moments of insanity, yet, but I've had moments where if someone asks me for so much as a turn of my head Dr. Banner ceases to be Dr. Banner. 
-And when you're essentially up 24/7 around the clock taking care of people, you can't have too much ready-to-grab-and-eat stress food, i.e. homemade muffins, chocolate, cookies or pie. Seriously, this beautiful flying unicorn of a lady dropped off a giant Costco pumpkin pie a few days after coming home from the hospital and I devoured that thing in two days BY. MYSELF. Her name is forever etched on my heart. 
-Also, having those foods your kids can help themselves to proves handy in keeping them alive when you've once again dropped into a near death-like sleep while nursing the baby on the couch.
-I hope more than anything that those moments when I'm nursing and nature's not only calling, but also refusing to stay on its side of the dam because, you know--birth--and everyone follows me into the bathroom, with the baby and boppy still on my lap, are completely erased from their photographic memories. Please, oh please, oh please. 
-You may all of a sudden age 60 years and forget easy things, like a time when six hands weren't clawing at you for 10-12 hours a day, when you last shaved your legs, went grocery shopping, what day it is, your kids' birthdays, how jeans feel, or how to keep an idea going until the end of your sentence.
-You may even get to a point when your heart could burst for joy because of all the beautiful and wonderful kids you now have to love while simultaneously resenting that they require any effort on your part to stay alive. 

I'm getting there, I promise. I'm not 100% yet. But I'm getting there. Inch by inch. Day by day. But the best advice I can give for adjusting in those first few months is to let things go, order in your groceries, arrange playdates and ask people to take your older kids for a few hours, buy a few new coloring books and packs of crayons, have a few takeout menu's handy, teach your kids to do chores BEFORE your baby arrives, and to just suck it in. Which is such a dumb saying and I hate it so much, but really. Soak in the moments. Because during all the hard I've been reminded over and over again to stop wishing away this day for the next because this very moment is the one I've dreamed about my whole life. Good or bad, I'm living my dream. And honestly, how many people can say that? 

Here are just a few of thousands of favorite moments snapped over these last two months:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Miss Scout is 2!

Always so many emotions when one of my little ones turns a year older.
ESPECIALLY those first couple of years.
This past year of having Miss Scout in our lives has been even sweeter than the last. Pretty much immediately after she turned one her big personality came out and we came to know her as a sweet, but sassy, impatient, but kind and very loving and nurturing little girl. She has us all wrapped around her finger, especially her big brother, Jude. Those two are seriously the best of friends.
The other day, after picking Scout up at the play area at the gym, Jude got really excited to see her. And as they opened the door to let her out he yelled, "Hi Scout!", and then turned and walked the other way. Scout immediately yelled, "Wait!" And Jude turned around just in time for her to hug him around the waist. 
He responded, sweetly, "Oh sweetie, I love you." 
It melted my heart and that of a few other moms who were lucky enough to hear.
They have their moments, of course, but for the most part, they're truly great buddies.

The most terrible and traumatizing labor and recovering out of the two I've experienced by far, but you were well worth it. And although my body at times mimics that of a 90-year-old woman, I forget all of that when I reflect on the joy you bring into my life constantly. Your quick kisses, tight hugs, huge smile, love for dogs and all things princess and babies and ice cream are just a few of the reasons why I love you so much. 

And here are a few favorites taken of our girl by our ever talented friend, Myra Merrill, back in May! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts on being pregnant

A third baby! How fantastic, how intimidating, how uncharted and how exciting for our family to be growing even bigger. I always knew I wanted a few babies (8, to be exact--that dream has since changed), but now that my dream is actually a reality I'm just as nervous as I am thrilled to be snuggling and getting to know yet another sweet babe this fall. 
There's no denying that we're thrilled about this new addition. So thrilled, in fact, that the morning I found out we were expecting was exactly two mornings since my sweet husband had left his unfortunately toxic job--and we weren't even phased.
"It'll all work out," he said. "I don't even care," I said. We hadn't been trying for very long and after a year of trying for Scout, which seemed like an eternity for us, and pales in comparison to so many that try for so much longer, we knew it was meant to happen and meant to happen now. 
And everything has worked out and the pregnancy has gone very, very well. 
Baby girl #2 is due September 10th! 
She's very strong, active, and merciful. Thus far. I'll keep you posted. 

Thoughts on pregnancy

Me and pregnancy have a bit of a complicated relationship. 
And bear with me on this one. 
I always envisioned my pregnant self as basically the same me, wearing the same pair of skinny jeans, unbuttoned, for 9 months, delivering a perfectly round 8 lbs. baby, and then going back to my normal clothes as if nothing had ever happened. I'm good at controlling what I put in my body and thought this stage of my life would be no exception, minus an exploding uterus.
But with my 5'4" frame, small torso, short legs, and unfortunate genes, these hopes were dashed 4 months into carrying Jude. 
With Scout, the weight gain was slower, a red, itchy rash covered my chin the entire time, and in the last 3 weeks of carrying her I made up the difference in what I had gained with Jude. 

It's not as easy as labeling it a "love-hate" relationship, because there are so many things we naturally love and hate about the experience.
It's more of a struggle with a self-declared war against myself.

I like feeling a sense of control over my body and appearance. 
Why did that just sound so shallow? 
I once told a friend of mine, in shame, that something I have struggled with in recent years was the way my jeans fit being synonymous with my level of self esteem. You might say, "That's so high school of you, Britney." But in all honesty, I was too busy with sports to care about my weight in high school. Also, skinny jeans hadn't been invented yet. 

I've surmised that it really has nothing to do with caring about what others think of me, and it's more of an internal struggle of knowing I am fully capable of not having unwanted face fat, arm pit fluff, and leg girth, but for 10 months out of my life, I have no control over my own body's usually predictable metabolism. It's more about living up to the high expectations I've set for myself, and less about having high expectations for how I want others to see me. 

And the whole time I resent my mind for not allowing me to simply enjoy this time of my life, that is so very temporary, and just take care of myself now, and deal with any unwanted weight or body changes later. 

One night, after prodding Adam to give a straight-forward answer about his feelings on the matter over the years, he finally answered, "Honestly, I don't see it as you getting fat. I see it all as something really beautiful."
And then I stopped. 
First of all, shut up and kiss me, you perfect fool.
Second of all, he was absolutely right. Any change, any skin rash, any face chub, any stretch marks or ankle swelling or extra hair or love handles or leg girth, for the sake of creating, growing, delivery, and nourishing a sweet, innocent babe is extraordinarily beautiful. And being the vehicle that brings that person into the lives of their father, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles and others is no small feat on a body. 
My thoughts shifted from resenting my body for not being a little more compassionate, to taking pride in the life it has already created. 

I mean, seriously, the whole thing is pretty incredible, right? 

So, in the name of 3.5 months to go, I'm giving myself permission to keep going to the gym, eat a cookie or two (or 5) and just deal with it. 

Because in the end, this is the only time in my life when I get really awesome boobs. 

photo credit to Myra Kjer! 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Jude is 5!

On Friday, my sweet Jude Dude turned 5! 
Jude woke up early that morning to a brand new toy waiting on the kitchen counter, nibbled the frosting off his donut for breakfast, made a trip to the YMCA to play, blew up balloons the rest of the day at home, enjoyed a celebratory dinner of hot dogs, french fries, and watermelon--all per his request--with Nana, Grandpa, and Uncle Nick, opened up a new color-changing Doc Hudson car and soccer ball and net from Nana, jumped with little sister on a new mini-trampoline from us, and blew out the candles on his purple (favorite color) monster, rainbow cupcakes from Nana!

It was low-key and without Adam this year, but the festivities are going all weekend as Adam returns. Which is a very Stevens way of celebrating birthdays.

Hey Jude,

You are just the sweetest, funniest, happiest, silliest, kindest, most curious and best hugger and snuggler of a boy ever.
I just love you to absolute bits, bud. 
Right now your favorite shows are AFV and anything Winnie the Pooh. Your favorite toys are color-changing cars from the Cars movie. Your favorite thing to do outside are swim and play soccer. Your favorite lunch is an "eggy" sandwich with oranges. Your favorite dinners are pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and hot dogs, with ice cream for dessert. 

Anyone that knows you will say you love everyone, have a joy for life like no one they know, always celebrate the little things, and are the best big brother ever. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lately in Bellevue

This Wednesday we're moving out of our apartment in Bellevue to a beautiful home up north. I can't even tell you how excited I am!
Our own (rented) home!
With a huge, gorgeous backyard!
I can be AS LOUD AS I WANT blasting whatever effing music I want.
I can stop yelling at my kids for jumping up and down on the hardwood floors.
This is amazing. 
Guys, I can plant tomatoes if I want. TOMATOES.

Although thoroughly looking forward our move, we've really enjoyed our time here in Bellevue. It's a beautiful, small city (size-wise it reminds me a lot of Portland) and it's been so fun just to walk everywhere with the kids, pick up our groceries, go to the park, get gyros, and not worry about parking or traffic. 
Here's a few photos taken over our last two weeks here. 
Some of which are new favorites of mine. 


This one of this girl. Gosh, she's such a little beauty. 

One night we got pizza on the go and he just sat down on the street corner waiting for our turn to cross, munching on a slice. This kid is so funny these days. 

Hope you're all having a great weekend!
Tonight we're watching Jurassic World and eating Oreo's thins--the mint kind.
Pretty sure tonight is a major step up from last.
Although, we seem to have fun no matter what. 

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