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. 

I wouldn't say it's as easy as 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 honestly, 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 or massive boobs, for the sake of creating, growing, delivery, and nourishing a sweet, innocent babe is incredibly 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. 






Friday, March 11, 2016

Must Love Dogs

What are you doing tonight?
We're eating sorbet and Vienna Fingers in bed while watching Must Love Dogs on Netflix.
LITERALLY couldn't be any more cool, could we?

Speaking of loving dogs, here's a throw back to our last visit to Shake Shack in Austin, when Scout met the fluffiest dog her little body could handle. Her love for (big) dogs is amazing. And my heart aches that our new place doesn't allow dogs.
One day, sweet Scout, one day! 

Haha I love the way these photos show exactly how this went down. First, she looks up for approval from the owner. Then, she lightly pets and faintly smiles, and then quickly becomes infatuated. Petting this sweetie was the only thing she wanted to do the rest of the night! 











Friday, March 4, 2016

New Home in Seattle and Bye for Now to Great Friends

Sooooo...we're back in the Pacific Northwest.
Isn't that ridiculous? 
I mean, it's pretty hilarious, right? 
We literally made a circle. Well, more like an upside down pyramid, but nevertheless, nearly the biggest wobbling pyramid one can make in these United States. 
I know what some of you are thinking--"Can't they just make up their minds?"
"Do they actually like doing this?" "Have they no sense of direction?"

To be fair, the answer to all of these questions can be partly answered "No."
But in all honestly, it's 90% yes. 
1. Each move we've made has been brought about by careful fasting and prayer. 
Each move has been agonized over and included extensive pros and cons lists, with carefully constructed maps of where the best pizza and gyro places are. 
2. We actually do like moving. Although each move has been more difficult to make than the last, we have had some pretty stellar adventures, seen amazing things, done amazing things, and been influenced and forever befriended by some pretty incredible people. 
3. Our sense of direction is always moving upward. And with every move, we've been lucky to do just that in not only our careers, but in our closeness as a family and the joys we've experienced together.

That being all fine and good--I'm sort of over it. Now that Jude is on the verge of Kindergarten, I'd really like this one to be the last for awhile. I know awhile for us isn't awhile, but give me like, I don't know, five years and then we'll see what happens?

How was it moving from Austin to Seattle? 
How nice of you to ask. 
It was unbelievably difficult. 
I'm still in denial. 
You know when they talk about how for a young mom the perfect utopia would be for girls like me to live in the same area, with kids all the same age, with all of us in the same stage of life, with the same interests, same sense of humor and same instinct to give one another and one another's kids the shirts off our backs at any given moment, and to have our kids play together nearly every day, eat lunch together, and do regular girl's nights together?

I had that village. The same village most women are only lucky enough to have hazy visions of--only to be cruelly snapped back into reality by the sound of their kid being screamed at by some perfectly shaped helicopter park mom (are those moms really always coming from the gym?)

Leaving the village of genuine, down-to-earth, beautiful moms, dirty leggings and day-old-makeup and all, has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. 
I remember the moment it happened, too, when I realized I had it. 
We were at JoDee's house. The place was in pandemonium. No one cared. The kids were alive. And then I overheard someone say, "Hey, can Scout eat this," and my beautiful friend said, in her familiar, matter-of-fact way, "Oh yeah, go ahead. Scout can have anything." 
And then it clicked that my daughter didn't have one mother here. She had 20. Twenty young, energetic mothers that loved her and loved my son and would take them, without question, anytime I needed to go grocery shopping, to the dentist, to a work meeting, or would even just grab Jude on their way to the park while Scout napped. 

I could go on. And on. And on. 
Like, how Liz always told me how hot I was that day, or gave me her crazy eyes of "tell me what's going on immediately" when things were less than awesome that day.
Or how whenever Anna found out Adam was out of town she'd immediately coordinate doing dinners together that week. 
Or how they all reassured me that my crazy was also their crazy and that nothing was all that bad because we had each other. 

And then, to make it even worse, these friends threw me a beautiful outdoor surprise going away party, with twinkle lights, sit down dinner, games, memories and even a freaking painted Space Needle backdrop. 
Up until then, I had bottled up my expanding emotions to be unleashed at another time. Preferably while on my own, in Seattle, in a dark closet for 12.5 minutes (hours?)
But instead, I lost it. Right in JoDee's shoulder. I couldn't think of anything more touching, or more personal, from women who's efforts towards me I felt like I was being disloyal to. 

They're my people. And so the real question is, Carrie Bradshaw:
How do you find the motivation to make new friends, when you already have best friends just a plane ride away? 

To all my loves in Austin: I love you. You've all been there for me during a time in my life when I didn't think I could do anything on my own (I mean, when do I ever?)
Thank you for being more than friends, but true sisters. 
Bye for now! I have a feeling a few years down the road some of you will leave Austin and maybe be that much closer to me! 

Come visit! Anytime! You can sleep in my bed!
Seriously, I mean, Adam won't be there and I'm not giving a beautiful, ]flying unicorn some dumb air mattress to sleep on.

text me all the pics I have with each one of you from that night and I'll add it here to have forever!










Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Balloons

These two, man. Sometimes they just kill me. 

These were taken in November while playing with balloons from Adam's birthday. 
Jude loves making her laugh, and she loves him for it. 
They've both reached the stage in their relationship where they're definitely more territorial and jealous of one another and of the attention they get from me and Adam, but all-in-all, they cherish each other.
And I'm glad I can capture moments like these to look back on while he's shaving the hair off her Barbie dolls and she's trying to date one of his best friends. 




Saturday, January 2, 2016

Big Sister's February Wedding!

*Disclaimer, this post is a touch sappy--but whatever*

In February, my big sister, Briana, got married in Salt Lake City--and I can't believe I never posted about it. 
She married just about the greatest guy ever (next to my Adam, of course *wink wink*), and we really love them both so much. It was the perfect day, they're the perfect couple, and they make each other perfectly happy. 
It was quite a trip though. Adam's work was incredibly busy, so me and the kids made the trek on our own. Jude had just started his first week of preschool, and the night before our departure he developed a cough and a low-grade fever. I figured it was just a cold and we set out that next morning. The whole way there Jude coughed is freaking lungs out. But pushing through and being his normal cheery self, I figured it was really nothing. My sister-in-law, Mindie, was SO GRACIOUS (because she's a freaking beautiful, magical unicorn of a woman) to let us stay with her and her four kids amidst expelling his germs every 15 seconds. The fever kept going for days, and while I don't belong anywhere else than caring for my sick child, I was disappointed to be missing out on the family festivities. I mean, I flew there for this stuff, right? 
By the third-day-straight of high fever and coughing, Jude lost steam and wasn't himself anymore. He stopped eating and drinking, which clued me in that something was really wrong. But being the nurse that I am, it wasn't until he threw up and passed out on the toilet that I finally took him to the ER. 
Delirious, lethargic, and blue-lipped, I carried my sweet boy into the hospital. 
Three IV sticks, a bag of fluids, a chest x-ray, a nasal swab and a breathing treatment later, he starting perking up--exhausted, irritable, but more himself. The doctor then said he had RSV and since he was rehydrated and the fever broke we were okay to go home. 
Almost on our way out, the nurse checked his oxygen levels just one more time and found they were too low to go home. So they admitted him. Because he's cute, right? The ER doctor said it would be a few days before we'd probably be discharged.
Once admitted into the pediatric floor Adam decided enough-was-enough and he set out to meet us. 
Fortunately, after a relatively good night's sleep, Jude woke up acting much more like himself and when he told the nurse he wanted chocolate for breakfast, I knew he was back. So he had Oreos and chocolate milk and a long nap. 



A few hours later we were back to Mindie's and Adam arrived and took over just in time for me to spend a few hours with Briana before the morning of. I watched her try on her wedding dress for the last time, her best friend practice her wedding makeup and hair, and laugh as she opened her sexy gifts. 
It was a perfect, intimate send off to our sweet older sister. 




And then the big day! 
IT FREAKING SNOWED IN PERFECT SUNLIGHT FOR THEM. 



We made such fond memories with our families out West and are so grateful for them. I even got to see some major besties from our former life in Portland!











I'm thankful to all our wonderful family and friends who helped and offered help with the kids while Jude recovered and for making our visit so great. Even though it was almost a year ago it really feels like yesterday. We need to go back. My kids need snow in their lives. And Aunts and Uncles. And cousins...





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