Samson’s Birth Story in Moments

Well, it’s a boy! I had a feeling that little acrobat Peppercorn was a boy, but it was still exciting to wait. And it wasn’t as hard to wait as I thought it would be! Samson’s birth was an incredible experience, and as much as I would recommend you read the whole story to truly get a feel for what happened, here’s what I went through in moments.

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Statistics

We planned a home birth, and Samson was born in water.
I started labor around 11pm. Sam was born at 7:03am the next morning.
That’s only 8 hours of labor! Quite a lot shorter than EV’s at 21 hours.
I wasn’t checked for dilation at all until 5 hours into my labor. At that point I was 8cm.
There was no mucus or broken water before pushing, so I had to fully trust my body (and God!)
My contractions lasted about 1 minute and were 4 minutes apart.
I had front contractions that moved to my back. I didn’t have back labor like that last time.
Again, there was no pain medication. I just relied on the presence of the help that God gave me and listened to what my body told me to do.
The second stage of labor was less than 10 minutes. Between my water breaking and Sam being born, it was 4 minutes!
Samson was born weighing 7 lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long. A perfect boy!

Game-Changing Decisions

Goes without saying: birthing at home was a big decision, and made a world of difference!
The midwife we chose is incredibly experienced, and she already had a relationship with us because she taught the birthing class we took with EV.
We decided to do as few interventions this pregnancy as we felt safe doing. We had one ultrasound in the first trimester, a few dopplers for checking the heart tones, and the required 3 visits with an OB. There was a little bloodwork, but everything came back normal. If I had felt at all like something was wrong, I would have approached it differently.
The fact that I am young and remained healthy the whole pregnancy is the overarching reason we knew a home birth was a good decision. Many women are not as greatly blessed with a situation like ours.
The midwife and birth assistant agreed that the best thing that could happen would be that they would do mostly nothing but wait and offer emotional support. That is just what we got, and it was wonderful!
We had so much peace about EV being taken care of because we prepared a “team” for her. Turns out, we didn’t really need much help, as she slept the whole time!
Because we went as close to natural as we could, Samson’s birth and first days were incredibly peaceful!

What I did

I used a warm bath, the support of the people with me, and prayer to cope with the pain.
I paid attention to what my body was telling me. At times, it meant being in water, and at others, it meant lying in bed or walking around.
I did the low groan… until I didn’t anymore. My midwife thought contractions had stopped!
I threw up a few times, but it actually was relieving!
Never once was I wearing anything, and I think that this is the best way to labor!
When I was ready to meet him, I pushed. But it was premature. So I waited and it was only 2 contractions before it was time.
After I waited to fully dilate, my son came super fast!
I felt his head as he was born, and there was such a profound connection made at that moment.
I was the one who shouted, “It’s a boy!”

What I Felt

Oh, boy, I felt in pain! Miserable, yes, but fearful? No! I was very emotionally and spiritually prepared, Praise God!
Almost my whole labor, it was dull aching pain at level 10 with each contraction. Again, it was from front to back.
Pushing is an intense, burning sensation, but fortunately it was very quick.
When I felt his head as he was born, I finally connected that all of this was to bring a human into the world. It’s strange that, even though I knew this from before, it wasn’t totally real until then.
At one point, I felt discouraged that labor might go a lot longer than I prayed for.
But never once did I feel afraid!

What I Thought

This is hard
I don’t want to do this
Rely on God as your strength
I can’t wait to meet my baby
This might not happen, but then… this is happening!
Let go of control
Breathe
You can do this!

Memorable Moments

-I am so grateful that God put it on my heart to trust in Him and have NO FEAR! This was months of spiritual preparation, and I knew that God would tell me what I needed to know if there was something I needed to know. Everything else would be a part of His plan, and I felt confident praying specific things for my birth, such as: a healthy baby, a short labor, EV to be well taken care of, an early arrival, and a peaceful delivery at home. All of these things were answered with a faithful “Yes!”
-About 5 hours into labor, I began wondering if it was possible for this to not be the right time. Because we had no major event, like my water breaking, I started to feel discouraged that I might not meet my baby soon, like I thought. Then, my midwife, recognizing my mood, decided to check my dilation, and I was 8cm! It helped me push those worries aside.
-Early in the morning, I got back into the birth pool and my midwife came back from her nap. She told me that I was spending a lot of my energy groaning through contractions, and I should try to just let them happen. So, I did. After about a half hour, she asked if the contractions had stopped! Nope! I just stopped responding to them. The only indication I gave that they were still happening was that I asked for water after each one. It was pretty incredible that I managed to do that!
-One half hour before Samson was born, we prayed that he would be born soon. I tried to push, since the last time, I was so determined to meet EV that I didn’t wait for contractions. However, my midwife told me that the contractions would change, and it would be better to wait for them to push the baby down than to do it myself. Two contractions later, they started pushing him out, and then shortly after that, my water broke and he fell instantly into the birth canal. Then it was only one more contraction before he was born!
-EV slept the entire time! Basically, she woke up and had a brother! My younger brother watched her during the last little bit of delivery, and he heard me shout, “It’s a boy!” from the living room!
-Jimmy said that he didn’t even need to see the gender to know it was a boy… he could see from Samson’s face that it was a he!

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Curious October

Well happy October, everyone! It’s finally the (most likely) month of baby Peppercorn’s birth!

And it’s nearly half over…

Life has been really hectic. Ever since my brother came to live with us in August, it’s really felt like nothing has slowed down. There was the hospital fiasco, of course. Then, we had Jimmy’s business trip and my church’s women’s retreat on back to back weeks, and we’ve had so much to do just to get ready for the baby. And we’ve been blessed with employment, as my brother got himself his first job and Jimmy racked up quite a bit of overtime!

No wonder my 38th week crept up on us! I’m fairly confident that it’s only a matter of days before we meet this kid. 

 I see that God has been preparing me quite well, though. I feel like every little detail is falling into place, not to mention that He’s been doing a lot of work on my heart.

Main message: Trust Him.

Persevere. Have joy. Take comfort. Rember that He knows what you need and what you want. Have no fear, just trust Him.

One thing that impacted me a lot when preparing for this baby’s birth (and ridding myself of the fear of delivering naturally again) was being told that I can confidently bring God my concerns and my desires. I want a short labor. I want to feel capable the whole time. I want to feel supported. I want a great group of people on Team EV. I want to have peace about every last thing.

He is delivering answers already! He is peeling away my worries, and making me really, really excited to see this baby! I really don’t want to be anxious or crazy about natural induction methods like I was last time, and even in that way I feel quite relaxed. 

 But yeah, any day now would be fine 😉 I’m curious to see what day God picks!

Our room is finally ready! We decided to sidecar the crib instead of using a bassinet, and I am seriously looking forward to it! And I just feel so excited to see holiday stuff pop up, even Halloween, because this year will be so different!

TWO KIDS!

Oh, about that other kid… She’s still amazing. Every day.

She’s speaking a ton more! It feels like a thousand new words (in broken baby language, of course) every week. EV will be such an amazing big sister! Hugs have been her “thing” lately, which is adorable. Also, she is still totally crazy about Curious George. 

So when a local Barnes & Noble was having a Curious George party… We just had to go. It might be our last chance to do something special for her for a while. It seemed like the perfect opportunity! 

 She was super starstruck when he walked in the room. Even though she was a tiny bit apprehensive about sitting on his lap, it only took 0.056 seconds for her to be all up in his business, handing him random books and toys from around the store. That’s my girl! Fearless little EV.

I have been trying to take in moments with her. Quiet ones. Loud ones. Oh yeah, she’s discovered yelling. Ha! But it’s her. Every time I look at her beautiful face, I feel that sense of awe and wonder that I did on that first day. 

And I get to have that with another human super soon. A different, unique, wonderful little thing that I will apparently love just as much as EV, who fills up my heart more than I thought it could be filled up!

Just wow.

Hopefully, next blog, I’ll be on the other side of that. Let you know how that goes.

Pray for me and my family as we enter this new stage of life. It will be amazing!

What Really Happened at the Hospital

If you happen to be connected with me on Facebook, you know by now that Labor Day weekend was a complicated and frustrating one. EV broke her arm, and I know a lot of people want to know what happened. I tried my best to stay positive despite the craziness, but the truth is, it was a pretty horrible experience. Honestly, one of the worst experiences of my life.

What really happened at the hospital, though, was that God was doing work in our family, and that is worth celebrating!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-4;12 NIV)

It is no surprise to me that this verse came up multiple times before any of this ever happened. God showed me that when Christians persevere in any kind of suffering, they are met with actual reward in the end. There is no doubt. For what we went through at the hospital, we will be rewarded eternally! That gave me so much strength when we were sitting and waiting in the hospital room. Afterwards, however, I learned another lesson: we are made perfect in perseverance. Now, I have just one more tool in life’s tool belt that I know how to use.

But I know there are other details about what went down that y’all want to know. I have no problem documenting them for you. Maybe some day I will come back to this post and it will remind me of the amazing work that was done. Continue reading

A tooth! Finally!

If you have been around us at all in the last year, you would know that EV still bears a gummy smile (and I’m certain your heart just melted)! Teething has been on our minds since she was two months old, but 16 whole months went by, and none of the times we suspected a tooth was responsible for her crankiness (or drooling) had we been right.  Until now! The last month, it was pretty clear that her gums were changing, which was part of the reason her pediatrician was not concerned. It is pretty rare for a kid to go this long without cutting any teeth, but how many people do you know who never got their teeth? Still, it was making me a little anxious to approach having another baby with zero experience dealing with teething. If I was going to lose sleep for months on end because of one kid, the last thing I wanted was for the other kid to have as much or more reason to keep me up too. We JUST got EV on a routine that has her sleeping all night with a consistent bedtime of 8pm. What would we do if we had a newborn AND a teething toddler?

I guess I know the answer now though. Deal, that’s what we’d do. That’s always what you do as a parent. You hold it together just long enough to get a tiny bit of help, and you may not even utilize all the help you can get because your heart is to take care of your kids. No matter how little sleep you got last night.

But, thankfully, we haven’t had too much nighttime troubles with these teeth. Actually, she has been awesome at night for the most part! And, having just gone on a weekend getaway with two 5-hour drives one day after the other, I’m praising and thanking our Good Lord that she decided to cut teeth the day AFTER we got back! Goodness me, though, I am just so heartbroken to see her this way. Ironic as it may be, we were just talking to our young parent cousins about how horrible it is to have a sick kid. You want them to slow down all day, but the second they aren’t themselves because they are sick, you find yourself begging for them to just go pull something off the shelves or giggle about an animal noise or something! And yesterday, going into teething, I remembered just how true it is. Break anything, kid, just be you again!

EV hit her head pretty hard falling off the couch. It’s never a fun thing for anyone, but it’s part of being a kid. I consoled her, but for some reason, she refused to calm down. It made me extremely nervous! Was it more than just a bump? What should I look for? How do you know if it’s something serious? Luckily she was distracted by her favorite monkey, Curious George, and my mom instincts told me that she would have acted a lot more distressed if it was serious. Still, she kept crying and moving her pacifier in her mouth like the pain was in waves.

I stuck my finger on her gums, and what do you know? One of her back teeth had popped through! Suddenly, it made sense. The bump on the head was a catalyst for her crankiness, but it was the tooth that spurred her on. So, unfortunately, the next four hours were spent cuddling her through painful cries that would eventually wear her out enough to put her to sleep. It was hard, especially since she refused to eat or drink, but my gut told me it would be fine. I just needed that help all parents need!  Which reminds me, did I tell you my brother is living with us now? It was all kind of a last second deal, but he’s free as a bird, and I needed the help with EV, so it’s working out! He’s been very helpful to us and EV loves him, of course!

So he ran around gathering things while I rocked her or laid beside her. I sent Jimmy to go to the store after he finished work, and he got teething medicine, frozen fruit stuff, teething toys and the like. But, of course, after hours and hours of being a miserable shell of herself, she perked right up when Daddy came through the door! I was relieved that she was finally herself again, but man! How is that for unfair? At least I had a witness to prove just how difficult it had been…

Today, she’s much more herself. She’s been mooing, meowing, and barking at everything and everyone lately, and today is no exception! She’s still having trouble being interested in eating, but she is drinking plenty. And she proved that she ate enough yesterday with today’s diaper situation, so I’m not stressing! I just wish she were a little happier, but at least she is herself, if just a cuddlier, slightly crankier version of herself. I’m glad I have Curious George to help babysit!

So, then, I should mentioned my pregnancy. Baby Peppercorn is just perfect as far as we can tell! Super active, I get a lot of “whoas” anytime someone gets a good feel or glimpse of this Olympian. And, this kid has a tendency to make me really uncomfortable, which is why I’m thinking we’re having a boy! Besides the fact that I am carrying waaaay differently!Regardless, we are still waiting to find out, and now we are only 8 weeks from the EDD! And since today is September 1st, I can say fairly confidently that we are having a baby next month! Our family’s identity will be shaped by this person, and honestly, I’m enjoying waiting for the surprise. We have the rest of our lives to become familiar with this kid, so we can let this part of the adventure be a mystery.  And, I’m just so glad that God is blessing us with a healthy pregnancy! I care so much about doing right by Him and our family, and if we had any bumps in the road, He knows I would do whatever it took to keep us all safe. I am thankful to have no worries. In fact, God has been teaching me deeply about how His command to have no fear truly means to have no fear! I can confidently enter into anything knowing He is with me, even if those things are bad or scary, because He will snatch me out of it if He needs to. The trials I might face, no matter how big, will be met with reward in the end, so long as I put my trust in Him.

Maybe it’s easy to say that now, without having faced some of life’s most serious trials, but the point is that I know it’s true. I can bring this baby into the world, be a mom of two, and share Jesus with the testimony of my words, actions, and life. It is not because I am sufficient, but because the one who walks with me is.

So with that, I say May God bless you, and my you Bless Him also!

The Things I’ve Learned

It’s been a… rocky few months, to put it very lightly.

There are obvious changes happening. In my life, the most obvious would be the arrival of my second child in just two short months. And then, there have been less apparent things, both good and bad, that are changing the course of my life. It’s not even only my life, but everyone’s. So many things have happened. Maybe someday I will write about them, or publish the small amount that I have written in private. I’ve certainly thought about them a lot, to say the least.

Really, though, it’s what all these experiences have taught me that’s important. So, that’s what I will share.

Before I go on, let me say that these things are significant because of the way I learned about them. I sought after the truth, and it was given to me through God’s word, the changes in my heart, and confirmation in my spirit. To me, it wasn’t a journey of self-discovery. Rather, it was through active seeking of something outside myself, something constant, and I have been blessed to know that it is available to me, as it is to all of us, through Jesus.

Marriage has been an exceedingly prominent theme in my learning from God. At first, I wasn’t quite sure why I was learning so much about it, but then one thing happened, and then another, and then another. I realized that God wasn’t seeking to teach me about my own marriage in particular, but marriage as a whole. His design for marriage is undeniable. His intention for marriage is clear, which is why it was given the name “marriage.” Those who seek to do His will recognize these truths are written perfectly in His Word. Though He has been teaching me about marriage for many years, I was recently called to surrender my perspective again, so I could be affirmed in the truth.

Broader than the topic of marriage, I’ve learned about redemption. It is certainly related to marriage, in that many marriages need it. But, redemption is always possible, always available, and it is relentless. I’ve learned that there is no limit to what can be redeemed. I’ve heard a lot of “it’s too late,” and a lot of “it’s hopeless,” but because of Jesus, these things are just not true. Our God is absolutely without limits, as is His love and goodness. We are the ones who resist redemption.

Which brings me to another big lesson about resistance. It’s so clear to me now, but before I just couldn’t see it. When we seek change, reconciliation, healing, or any manifestation of goodness, we focus so much on having something visible and tangible. What God wants, though, is a spiritual change. The Bible says ask and you will receive (Matt. 7:7), but there’s a catch. If you are resisting the change that will happen in your spirit, why should God give you anything? What does He owe you? It has been a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over, but it finally makes sense. Only when I allowed my heart to be surrendered and work to be done within would I get the physical reward that I was seeking. I had to care about what God cares about first, and let all other things be second. God wished to bless me, and I praise Him for choosing to do that! But I can’t say I cared any longer for the wealth I received. It was dust compared to the treasure I got from within.

I have learned so much about wisdom. James 1:5 says that if you ask for wisdom, you have it. I realized that, even though I had received wisdom so many times, my attitude when asking for it was misguided. Although there are times when wisdom collides with you in obvious ways, you must believe that you have it when you ask for it. It’s almost as if it’s already been given to you before you even ask. Continue reading James 1 and you will see that doubt is what snatches wisdom from your grasp. Doubt distances you from God, so the message is really this: trust Him. He will save you if you walk into destruction, so don’t be afraid. Ask for wisdom, and leap.

It goes very much alongside preparation. God prepares us, and He prepares others. So, wherever you step, you must trust that He has prepared that path for you, and if it is the wrong way, He will intercede. He has prepared you for this moment your entire life. When the Jews doubted and became afraid, He punished them! We get so much validation from others for being cautious and smart, when the reality is that we are fearful and doubtful. We forget that Jesus wants us to go to God like children. To the world, it looks like foolishness. But it is freedom. Believing that we have been prepared for whatever will come next is pure, childlike freedom.

So then, what right do I have to be afraid of anything the Bible says about the work of a Christian? Should I fear rejection? Persecution? Suffering? If I am wronged, should I be unloving? Unwilling to reconcile? This has been the most recent lesson for me. I am still struggling, still probably going to sin, still learning. But I trust in God’s work. And I know that the instructions I need to live this life are available to me. I’ve learned some of them already. And I have total refuge in my Lord, the one who so graciously gave me instructions, and even more, sacrificed His only Son so that when I failed to follow them, I needn’t be punished.

The same is true for you as well. If you have never accepted Jesus into your heart by following the instructions in Romans 10:9 to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that He rose from the dead, then right now is the moment to do it. You want to be set free from the chains of this world, and be born again into a new life. That is salvation, and my friend, it is free for the taking.

Why I Love the Second Trimester

As of this moment, I’m sick. And though I usually am pretty miserable to be around when I’m ill because of my mopey-ness, especially considering that I can’t take any medicine and this cold falls on top of the regular pregnancy ailments, I’ve actually been ok. I’ve been feeling a lot of gratitude. I’ve had all sorts of reasons to be sad, stressed, depressed, you name it, but my focus has been on the things I love about my life.

I’m nearing the end of my second trimester. I know, I know, crazy! I’m 24 weeks along, and that means it’s less than 13 weeks before I’m full term. And we will probably meet this kid before Halloween, which, if it didn’t smack you upside the head like it did me, is the next major holiday of 2015. Fourth of July came and went, and now we are just sailing through summer until the insanity of the Holiday season, during which I will definitely have a newborn child. EV was a super cute patriot, but she won’t be alone in these pictures for much longer!

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Because Baby Peppercorn (whose temporary name I will likely change) will be here soon!

At 22 weeks

As you can clearly see, Baby Peppercorn isn’t really all that tiny anymore. This kid is definitely starting to make itself known. That’s why I’m probably going to start calling him/her Wiggler. I seriously don’t know if this kid sleeps some days. The movements can be clearly seen and they happen very often!

This is the main reason I love the second trimester!

You see, with the first trimester, there is hardly anything to love. You’re sick, you’re not showing, you can’t feel anything, and you have to restrict yourself in a lot of areas. It’s hard to be excited about a baby when you’re not entirely convinced there is one and you feel miserable. But, there is something magical I love about those first weeks. It’s hard to describe, but you get to plan and imagine what the future holds with a lot less panic than when the time is near. And there is something sweet about your child being so tiny inside of you, knowing nothing else but this cozy pocket we call a womb.

And the third trimester, well, that’s it’s own excitement. Not only are you going crazy because you want to see your baby and actually put it DOWN for 5 seconds, but you’re huge, and achey, and you see the bathroom at least once every two hours. Everything is ten times harder than its ever been, so thank goodness it doesn’t last long. Except for the last 2-4 weeks. Those DRAG ON FOREVER. If you go long enough, you actually wonder if the baby will ever come out. Ever. But, man, you are never closer to your baby than you are during the third trimester. That’s the best part. That and the fact that you have so little time before you get to hold your baby!

But, I love the second trimester. A lot! It’s the time when all the sickness from the first is gone and before all the acheyness of the third has arrived. You’ve finally got the cute baby bump and can put some of those ridiculously priced maternity clothes to good use. People start striking up conversation about your baby, and though it’s not always appreciated, it can be nice to know that people recognize the impending bundle of joy. Sure, not everything is coming up roses. You probably are still slower to get up, quicker to the bathroom, and suffer from some ailments like swollen ankles or soreness. In general, though, it feels the most normal of the three and you still get all the benefits of being pregnant. You can actually DO lots of things, and you can’t help looking adorable with that belly sticking out just enough.

The best part, though, my favorite part of pregnancy, is the wiggling. It’s that first window into who your kid is. Are they calm? Jumpy? Persistent? Playful? Active? Shy? These are just a few things you can learn from paying attention to your Wiggler. It feels really cool. Like you’re cuddling a little person with your belly, but this person is just playing gleefully. And it’s a frequent reminder that you’re a mom. You’ve got a kid who not only relies on you, but is having such a grand ol’ time, they’re just swimming around, getting a feel for being just a little bigger than yesterday.

Obviously, it’s not just the feeling of it for me. It’s the concept. I can’t say that I enjoy being pregnant 24/7, but I am in love with the concept of what it means to bring a human into the world. That’s why I’d do this a dozen more times. Being incapable of so many tasks is sucky, but I get to house a baby in my body, which happens to be the coziest, closest place. They get 24-hour “womb service”, so they’re always happy. Then, I go through the hardest task I’ve ever been given in order to meet this person, and love just pours over everything. My heartbeat, my voice, my smell, my cradling all create a soothing environment for this baby to be in as it learns how to be a part of the world. It’s profound, something created by God, and I feel glad and lucky to be able to be an intricate part of this piece of life.

Because Lord knows I do not like being pregnant for the nausea.

Still, we aren’t sure when we’ll do this again. Having babies is a lot of work, and it would be nice to have a break. I’m at God’s mercy, but the plan is to put off a third baby for a few years. Perhaps we will feel that two kids is right for us. Honestly, God did a lot of work in my heart making me feel content with just one. And that’s when baby two showed up! So, at the risk of learning that lesson all over again, I will just focus on my current situation and what I can do to further the Kingdom of God.

Easier said than done, I think.

But, I have a lot to the be thankful for. My life is brimming with love, and not just because I’m in my second trimester.

Whoa There, Life! Slow Down!

It’s hard to believe that I’m more than halfway done with this pregnancy already. My firstborn is nearly 14-months-old. And we’re really, finally starting to feel settled down here in Charleston.

Jimmy and I suffer from wanderlust. And for a while there, it was driven by homesickness for the Northwest. We are not Southern by nature! Fortunately, EV is our Carolina girl, and this kid will be Southern-born too, so, I guess they’re kind of like anchor babies. Which is funny, because of all the Coast Guard stuff here.

But… we are dreaming of Japan. Strange, right? Well, there are no plans to live in Japan, but we are planning a trip 2-3 years out. We’re learning Japanese (slowly). And, I don’t know, there is something about that place that my heart feels drawn to. It could be the fact that they need a lot of Jesus over there! I mean, it would only make sense that God would put that need on our heart. But the crazy thing is, it might not be a huge mission field for us. We would do it, of course! Perhaps there’s a different plan at work, though. Perhaps God wants us to go to Japan for a week on vacation, know enough Japanese to witness to ONE person, or maybe not even a Japanese person, and then off we go, back home to good ol’ Charleston. God loves someone that much that He would take years of learning, planning, and saving out of one American couple’s lives to use 2 seconds of it and reach someone’s heart.

Enough about that, though! It may be exciting for me to talk about, but I’ve got life updating to do! And lots of it!

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As of the 6th, I crossed over into twenty-four-years-old-hood. I’ve been having non-milestone birthdays for a few years, and I’m totally ok with it. Years go by so fast! I don’t need a big birthday bash every year. But, I did get lots of nice stuff (thank you family!), a beautiful day with breakfast at a fancy brunch place, time with my family, and some Jaipur!

Oh, that’s a new thing. Jaipur is a two-player merchant trading game. Jimmy and I love games! But we have hardly any two-player ones, so we bought this card game at a neat hole-in-the-wall books and games shop. It’s fun! And it has lots of pretty cards. And you can’t use the same strategy every time, because part of it is chance. I’m satisfied with it, I’d say!

I also crossed over the halfway mark of being pregnant with baby Peppercorn! It’s kind of strange still calling the baby that, but we haven’t settled on a gender neutral name (and I don’t think we will), so it’s that or baby #2. We’re still shuffling through names, which we probably will do until baby gets here, but there are a few we’ve got hovering at the top. I’m going to leave you hanging, though! (It’s only fair, since that’s basically the position I’m in until we meet this little guy… or girl!)

My spidey-sense is telling me it’s a boy. I have a pretty accurate gender-radar too. I’ve been right with most (if not all) of my friends. With EV, I knew it was a girl. I’d say like 75-80% certain. And I feel around there now, too. But, while I might be slightly surprised to give birth to a girl this time, I won’t be disappointed in the least. Either way, it’s crazy. Our family’s identity is going to change based on this person who’s currently the size of a large banana and likes to dance, particularly if I have coffee.

But, we will have to WAIT! Horrible word these days. But it’ll be better than Christmas, so I feel like it’s going to be worth it.

CRAZY THOUGHT: I’m a mom! Whoa!

Do all moms have a moment like that? Because I just did.

EV doesn’t seem to think it’s weird though. Gosh, that kid. She’s awesome!

New things this month: 1) the word “no” and it doesn’t mean what she thinks it means, 2) tantrums… yeah, 3) recognizing things she’s learned, 4) new interest in foods other than fruit and cheese, and 5) semi-regular naps… finally. I’ll tackle these one at a time.

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1) The word “no.” Usually accompanied by a shaking of the head. It means: no, rejection, “I’m about to do something I shouldn’t do,” “more please,” and “I want that.” We’ve found that context and body language are extremely important in figuring out which one it is. If she really means “no” then usually she uses her hand to push things away or she walks off. If she means “more please” then generally she’s looking curious or pointing at something (but still shaking her head). She also makes a “hmm?” sound when she really wants something. And it’s pretty easy to tell when she’s about to do something forbidden.

2) Tantrums. Oh joy! She has a very serious idea of what she wants these days. Apparently, she has learned boundaries just enough to know how to react when she doesn’t get what she wants. So, while she is still happy most of the time, she has discovered that she can scream about something she wants if she doesn’t get it. I wouldn’t say she’s a drama queen, but she is most definitely a toddler. Now, our patience and steadfastness skills are being put to the test. We’re not perfect, but we’ll probably survive!

3) This has been awesome. In our house, we do have screen time. But it’s not all bad! Actually, researchers find that educating programs that engage family members can be a valuable learning tool. It’s when TV replaces social interaction that we should worry. But most of the time, I am cuddling and interacting with EV while we watch shows. Some of her favorites are Super Why, Pokemon, and Tinkerbell. It was really fun when she found a stuffed Pikachu and brought it to Jimmy with much excitement! We had to buy it, of course! She recognizes characters and retains stuff really well (just like her daddy). The alphabet song from Super Why is her favorite thing EVER! And she even points to the screen and answers when the characters from Super Why, which is a reading show, ask questions. It’s funny, she has preferences already. We’ve exhausted My Little Pony (my choice for TV) but she never did appreciate it like I did.

4) New food interests. Since we had to switch to food rather abruptly, we’ve been trying to get EV to eat a variety of things. She was very receptive to fruit and dairy, but not so with much of anything else. Lately, however, she has been gobbling eggs and sausage and fig bars and even shows a lot more interest in veggies like spinach and broccoli. As Jimmy excitedly put it, “She’s eating real food!” It may seem silly, but that sort of thing is a big deal when it’s for the first time.

5) Thank goodness for this one. Nap schedules that are not something this kid took to very well. And that’s fine with me. I’m very flexible thanks to my wonderful, hard-working husband. But, it’s really hard to plan your day around naps that may or may not happen. Thankfully, ever since we night-weaned off nursing, she’s been interested in sleeping around the same time every day. 10-11 is when she goes down for her first nap, usually 2 hours long. 4-5 is when she goes down for her second nap, although sometimes she skips it and goes down for the night early, and this nap is usually an hour or less. And she almost always sleeps in the car. It still varies, but not nearly as often as before. Hopefully I can get both kids down at the same time! Wouldn’t that be awesome? Benefits of having 2 so close in age.

So that’s the update. I wish it was a little more… I don’t know, exciting? Car chases and explosions! Unicorns (but, like, not on TV). I wish I were better at telling those funny stories that happen all the time with kids.

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Maybe next time. Sayonara!