Life Pictures – March/April 2018

I haven’t gotten my camera out a whole lot lately, but here are a few of the best from the last month or so. We’ve been cooped up inside, waiting for Illinois to prove me wrong on the fact that it DOESN’T have 6+ months of winter. So far, it’s failing miserably, so I really should get my camera out more often in desperate attempts to stave off the winter blues (in spring…).

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These two have started playing together all the time. It’s both wonderful and frustrating, since it ends in fighting, screaming, whining, and crying about 80% of the time. But I love watching their relationship grow.

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That hair though…!

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This girl’s eyes…!

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All the Evans cousins!

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A few more Jason pictures

After finally going through my camera’s pictures on the computer this morning, I realized that I have gotten seriously out of practice and that my settings were off quite a bit. However, there were a couple that were … okay. I will not say good, but good enough. I’m glad, because it is crazy how much Jason has already changed in just a couple weeks!

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His hands were so big! He’s grown into them a bit now.

Jason Edward

I’m finally getting around to writing this up! I’ve been trying to think of how to do it, really. I’m not sure why I’m struggling to come up with a good line of thought this time, so I apologize in advance for the stream-of-consciousness of the following.

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Quick story is: Jason was born at home at 11:33pm on February 15. He weighed 8lbs 8ozs – about a pound a half bigger than Gloriana!, was 21″ long, and had a 14cm head (I’ve decided this stat should be included; it’s highly relevant.). Sam and I worked well together again, and our birth team was wonderful. There were really no complications at all. I tore minimally, but didn’t require stitches. And I got a pitocin shot to avoid excess bleeding after delivering the placenta. We don’t know if it was technically really needed, but Sam and I have both decided that we rather like it. I haven’t had a bit of light-headedness or even a lot of postpartum bleeding this time, whereas with Gloriana I was a bit scared to shower without someone nearby for a few days because I was worried I might pass out.

Anyway, everyone was surprised and happy to be able to head home and to their beds before 2am. I know I was convinced it was going to be an all night thing. Which, I suppose, brings us to the actual labor.

But before IΒ really start rambling, here are more pictures. I have some on my camera as well, but I haven’t had a chance to upload them yet. These will do for now. πŸ™‚

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It was definitely going, though I didn’t recognize it, when we got up that morning at 4:45 (the other kids have recently decided a 5am wake up time is good; we’re not sure why…). Sam had already taken the day off to be with me during the midwife appointment and to take me out for a consolation lunch at Jim’s Bistro. So, we all spent the morning being pretty chill, with me trying desperately not to be too frustrated or depressed that the contractions weren’t coming any stronger, faster, or more consistent than they were.

Eventually we dropped the kids off with Sam’s family, and decided to come home and possibly nap. I couldn’t nap. So, Sam made bread dough, and we went to lunch while it rose. I highly, highly recommend the Raging Bull burger from Jim’s Bistro. It is SO good. We were in and out of there super fast, so we came home and baked the bread. After that we headed over to Brande’s for our appointment.

I’d asked at the previous appointment if she’d be willing to do a membrane sweep should I make it to this appointment. She was, so we did that this time. I was extremely disappointed to hear that I was only 1cm dilated when she started, and that she was only able to get it to maybe 2cm. We left with the not very reassuring phrase “All I can promise you is that you won’t be pregnant forever.” I was pretty much convinced I would be at this point.

Brande was slightly concerned that the baby might have been posterior, so we went straight from her house to see Dr. Church to get adjusted. By the time we got to the office, I was having consistent contractions every 10 minutes. They didn’t last long, and weren’t so strong that I couldn’t talk through them, but I was having to deliberately breathe. However, after 3+weeks of prodromal labor, I still wasn’t convinced this wasn’t going to go where all those had gone: Nowhere. -_-

Home again, after seeing Dr. Church. I tried again, and failed again, to nap. So, we spent most of our time watching things and playing video games. Just trying to relax. I eventually downed a large glass of chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie that Sam kindly made for me. I am glad I did. It was a nice bit of energy to get me through!

Sometime around 6pm, we had to decide what to do with the kids. Sam’s family still had them, and they were doing great and having fun. I still couldn’t tell whether this was the real thing or not (contractions every 2-3 minutes – I know, I know… maybe one day I’ll learn… –Β  but they only lasted 15-20 seconds, and weren’t crazy strong). However, I decided that I’d rather give it the chance to be the real thing instead of bringing them home to perhaps stall things, or have to send them away again in the middle of the night.

It was after deciding that that things seemed to get much more serious – though again, I didn’t really feel like it. I felt this time like I had a much harder time coping and relaxing and “getting in the zone”. I couldn’t find a comfortable place or position to relax through the contractions. I tried what I did the whole time with Gloriana (hands and knees), but that DEFINITELY wasn’t right. Eventually Sam convinced me to try to sleep again, so I headed to bed. As with Gloriana, I hated contracting lying down, so I ended up catching some half sleep while sitting up. I didn’t like that either, but I was too frustrated to move around any more.

Sam called the midwife and his mom sometime while I was there. They all arrived around 10pm, I think. I was again frustrated when everyone arrived because the contractions that had been coming in doubles went back to just one at a time. Only for a few minutes though, then it was back to business. Not long after that, my water broke.

I moved to the bathroom, and FINALLY found the zone! Laboring on the toilet was wonderful this time. I was also awake for transition this time. I never really thought I COULDN’T do it, but it was all I could do to remember how rewarding and empowering and amazing the whole experience would be. I did have the thought that if I was starting to think like this, it wouldn’t last long. I would be to the next stage shortly. Just keep breathing and trying to relax.

And finally pushing. I was mentally prepared to push for a while, to do whatever I had to do not to get an episiotomy again (unless the baby was in distress again, obviously). His heart rate stayed amazingly strong through everything, even mid-contraction, so nothing was needed, but calm and focus. Pushing went shockingly fast – less than 10 minutes. My body gave me two breaks during the pushing phase: one right before his head came out (finally felt that ring of fire so many people talk about), and one right after his head was out (weirdest feeling ever – not particularly enjoyable). At some point in there, Sam ended up completely holding me up by my knees, and I was over his shoulder gripping his belt loops! Odd, but effective. lol

Then finally he was born! His cord was only 14-15″ long though, so I couldn’t really bring him to my chest until the placenta was delivered. Once that happened, I got the pitocin shot, and we headed back to bed. I love home births! I’m always SO out of it at this point that I am incredibly thankful not to have to go anywhere, or ever try to be halfway presentable, or put on coats, or ANYTHING! Just head to my bed! It’s amazing.

Surprisingly this time, I didn’t really want anything to eat. I just drank a TON of strawberry pineapple La Croix that I’d been hoarding for labor day. After all the usual after baby things (weighing, measuring, quick exam, etc) were done, everybody headed home, and we drifted off to sleep.

I woke up after about 3 hours unable to sleep anymore. I had the baby high. I was practically giggly from being so happy NOT to be pregnant anymore, and shocked that we had an 8 1/2 pounder!

The after pains were definitely worse this time, but I still only medicated for about 36 hours. Since then they’ve varied in strength, but have never been worse than my usual bad cramps.

Jason slept amazingly that first night. We’ve had a couple of rougher nights since then, but he’s been pretty great for the most part! We’re all thrilled and in love with his little chubbiness! He was baptized our first week back at church (this past Sunday, the 25th)!

We have been thoroughly enjoying our time as a family. We’re blessed to have Sam home with us until March 5, and I still get to ease back into real life because, Lord willing, Mama is planning on coming back that week! Right now, I’m feeling so great normally that I’m fighting myself not to do too much. πŸ™‚

New House!!!

Life has been… insane lately, but I’m finally getting around to looking through, picking out, editing, and posting a few pictures that I’ve taken since we moved! This post is sponsored by forced take-it-easy time, thanks to having my wisdom teeth pulled yesterday (a portion of life’s latest insanity), and my kids being mercifully occupied this morning by Jed and Faith. πŸ™‚

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One of the things we loved most about this house when we first looked at it, was it’s backyard. Nice outdoor space was/is really important to us, and this one came already fenced! (Though Sam and Levi did spend one evening patching various holes, making it more escape-proof, before we moved.) I also love how we’re just off one of Peoria’s main roads, yet surrounded by trees and quiet! I’m amazed at how quiet our neighborhood is!

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Of course, being surrounded by trees, we have tons of leaves. Sam and Ryan have done a lot since this picture to manage them. Unfortunately, it’s now cold, so Ryan is far less eager to go outside.

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She’s such an adorable, busy, little goofball.

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Our living room is long and a bit narrow, so setting it up presented a challenge. I love how we’ve got it right now though. The couch is in the middle, sort of splitting it in half. We’ve left the area behind the couch fairly empty, with plenty of room for the kids to pull out the toys or to have a safer place to rough house.

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Sam picked up a leaf sweeper soon after we moved. Ryan has declare it his. πŸ˜€

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The kitchen, dining room, and living room creates a U shape, and I LOVE it! Everything is connected, so I can see/hear the kids while I’m working anywhere else! I also ADORE the gigantic windows in our living room and dining room; I love, love, love all the natural light!

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The windows are also wonderful because I don’t mind letting Ryan go out to the back yard unaccompanied. I can easily keep an eye on him!

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As can Gloriana, which she enjoys – though she would probably prefer to be out there with him. πŸ™‚

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Moving out of our apartment was crazy, but I am so, so glad we did. I love our new house and neighborhood! One day we would still like to get out of town and on more land, but this place is so perfect for our life right now!

 

Park Pictures

Since my last post, we have looked at and come under contract on a house here in Peoria, and we are so excited! Of course, something could still happen to make the deal fall though, and we’re actually praying that it will if this isn’t a wise decision, but we’re hopeful and excited! Lord willing, we’ll be out of our apartment of 3.5yrs by the end of October! Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone who prayed. It’s been a stressful hunt, and we’re delighted to have found something we love so much. I can’t wait to share some pictures on here!

Having that burden lifted has helped me so much. I didn’t realize quite the strain it was putting on me. Being pregnant, I tended to blame that for every bad attitude, headache, and general exhaustion, and I know that’s still a lot of it, but the last couple days have been amazing. I certainly haven’t had the greatest of attitudes or anything, but when I get that exhausted, discouraged, unmotivated feeling, I think about being in my own home for Christmas. It makes me warm and fuzzy happy! πŸ™‚ And it prompts me to use the time I have better (hopefully). So today, when the kids wouldn’t let me nap without destroying things and each other, I decided we needed to get outside. (CANNOT WAIT until that means walking out the back door!!!!!!!!!!) We headed to one of my favorite nearby parks. I was hoping Gloriana would just putter around and let me sit and watch them. That didn’t happen, of course, with my little climber, but we had a good time, and I pulled out my camera again.

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Updates

So, it’s been a while. Every time I’ve thought about posting lately, life sends another curve ball, so I’m a little hesitant to start today.

I hardly even remember where things were when I last posted; so much has happened. Gloriana is now over 1. Poor kid didn’t really have her birthday recognized much, but she is only one. She’s practically running now. She talks a little, signs please, and is starting to eat everything under the sun, thanks to me needing to wean her. Weaning has actually gone pretty well. There have been rough spots, and I’m still lost about what to do at night, but over all, she’s happier and easier to deal with. I’m shocked actually. Potty training is sorta kinda happening. It’s been months since I’ve had to clean a poop diaper, and it’s starting to be a combination of me and Sam being able to read her cues, and her actually coming to us looking worried. πŸ˜† She is a climber. Far more so that Ryan was. That has me simultaneously worried, proud, and thankful for her typically cautious behavior.

Ryan is Ryan. He’s helpful, loud, annoying, and wit’s-end-frustrating. He loves playing with Gloriana, which is generally wonderful. But we’re having to work on giving her personal space, and not just barging in and bowling her over. Also working on watching where he’s walking, not talking back, being polite and nice, and using common sense. None of that seems to be going very well lately, but I have to cling to the hope that progress will show up eventually. He is starting to learn the alphabet. I’m still trying to figure out how he’s going to learn best. We’ve been working on catechism, but sometimes he refuses to even try. So, with his letters, I decided not to push him. I’ve been printing out coloring pages focusing on a single letter, explaining what it is, and showing him how to draw it. He loves A, and points them out everywhere now. Today was our first day on B, and he just wanted to draw A’s. πŸ˜›

That’s a quick update on the kids. Pregnancy is going surprisingly well for me, though the normal first trimester exhaustion seems to have hit me more in the second trimester. Still, after a miscarriage scare about a month and a half ago, things are going very well. We had to go in for a second ultrasound a couple weeks ago, and we asked, despite it still being pretty early, if they could tell the gender. It was very obvious, which clearly means we’re having a boy. πŸ™‚ Surprisingly enough, I actually think we may already have a name picked out! We never have names picked out all the way until after they’re born, so this is quite the accomplishment, and we certainly won’t be sharing because it’s still far too subject to change. πŸ˜€

And that’s most of the news I have. We have put offers in on two properties (and looked at many more) so far, but they were both refused, so we’re back to desperately looking. Our evenings are spent pining for a back yard to let the kids play in, and not wanting to go anywhere to let the run. Lord willing, we’ll have a place in plenty of time to settle in before the baby comes. It’s getting scary close to when that won’t really be possible though. Prayers on that front would be most appreciated.

I could go into some of the thoughts that are occupying my mind lately: What does a Biblical role of firstborn son look like in our modern society? How do we train Ryan to whatever that is? How do we form community in modern society? I understand the agricultural one I moved away from more than the one I moved to, but I think that’s my issue – not the community’s. How do I learn to accept all that a community is supposed to be? Will my kids every know how to raise animals? Will I ever have a garden? If I do, will it actually produce anything? If it does, will I preserve the produce as well as I ought? How do we balance the priorities of marriage, family, church, and community? What should I fix for dinner tonight? Will I ever get around to cleaning the bathroom? πŸ™„ But I figured I’d just move on past all those, and get to a little peace and quiet in the form of vacation:

Below are really the only good pictures I got from our much-needed family vacation to Kentucky. We went to see the Ark Encounter, but none of the pictures came out. Sam, Gloriana, and I were sick the whole time, but we all still had a great time hanging out at the gorgeous house, swimming, playing games, and eating food! I need another vacation…

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So, what’s new?

Before I get into the pictures, which is probably what most everyone coming here actually wants, I want to document a few other things, primarily for me to look back at in the future.

I continue my dumpster-diving adventures, and out of the 6 dressers (or acting dressers), 3 were rescued from our dumpster, one was free from a friend, and the other two were thrifted or consignment. However, possibly the nicest piece of furniture we own is one of the dressers we “rescued”! Sorry, I’m slightly proud of free storage. πŸ˜€

I’ve decided that I am so lazy, cheap, and introverted that I am gradually becoming more and more “crunchy”. I had started noticing that my teeth were getting very sensitive and was concerned by some darkish spots and a possible crack or cavity on one of my wisdom teeth. I’m not particularly surprised by this. Oral hygiene hasn’t always made it to the top of my to-do list since motherhood. So, this past week, I got worried about it enough that I decided to try oil-pulling again. I tried it a while back and could. not. stand it! But I read a tip to add essential oils to the coconut oil. I was actually able to swish it for 10+ minutes with a couple drops of thieves added to it! So, I’ve been doing that daily, and ordered and started using THIS remineralizing toothpaste, and I made up another batch of THIS mouthwash. I’ve not been at it too long, but I’m actually really loving the results so far! I’m currently trying to think of a good recipe for coconut oil that will include immune boosters, stay solid at room temperature (preferred so I can throw it in my bag when we leave to go places, but not 100% necessary), and be something Ryan (and eventually Gloriana) will believe to be a good treat. If you’ve got something that fits that bill, shoot it over to me! πŸ˜‰

And now, on to the pictures!

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This little miss is 9, coming up on 10 months, now, and I really just can’t believe it! She is experimenting with getting up on her knees and trying the stereotypical crawl, but her preferred method is still the army crawl. And she is getting fast!

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I’ve actually started suspecting that she’s trying to talk too! Still no teeth, but she’s been extremely cranky (for her) lately, so we’re hopeful that they’ll pop through before too much longer, especially since she’s finally starting to take an interest in food.

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This guy. Crazy and frustrating as ever, but we’re making progress, and I’m really looking forward to the weather being consistently warm enough to take him out to burn some of his excessive energy.

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We were very happy to be outside last week!

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They’re relationship is so fun (and scary) to watch. Now that Gloriana is definitely mobile, I think Ryan believes she can be his wrestling buddy. We’re continually working on his understanding of “gentle”. πŸ˜›

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He is forever cracking us up these days! Some of his common Ryanisms:

  • My water in mine eyes
  • Feet nails
  • Mountain (amount, as in “is this ‘nough mountain?” )
  • Acident
  • My body not working! (When he’s having issues in the bathroom…)
  • “I want it be bootiful ou’side! Yeah, ih’s pretty! ih’s nice and bootiful out dere!” (When he’s trying to convince us to go for walks in the recently dreary outdoors)
  • And then the constant “Why?!” Oh yes, we’re solidly in the why stage… πŸ˜’

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Catch Up, in Pictures

About a month ago, we spent a while working in the guest room and fully transformed it into Ryan’s room. He’s been in there pretty consistently ever since!

Also sometime around then, we had a big snow. Ryan was thrilled, and I was excited that I’d noted the location of his snow gear when we had cleaned up his room.

She’s almost 8 months in this picture. Now she’s just a couple days away from 9!

Yeah, Ryan enjoyed it. I’m not as convinced about Levi though. πŸ˜‰

The smolder… I’m 99% confident he was asking about “de boys?”

A boy and his stick.

A drooly girl and her Baymax hat!

He was setting up his soldiers into two opposing lines.

8 months old exactly here.

I feel like this one really illustrates life with these two fairly well… πŸ˜›

❀ Tired after a long day at the church building doing various things (smoking meat, cleaning, decorating, setting up) for Grace and Micah’s wedding the next day!

And she’s finally sitting up confidently on her own now. And army crawling all over the place!

And I’ll end with one from today. It’s been a busy month with far more going on than I’ve even alluded to here. Thankful for the approaching weekend, and some normalcy this week. πŸ™‚