It would seem that I've been on a blogging hiatus for most of 2009. It was a crazy year that I never could have imagined, but we've made it through. Now I'm standing here looking forward to 2010 and not really knowing what is in store for my family. If I learned anything over the last 18 months or so, it is that I am not in control and my best laid plans don't always work out. I've become much more relaxed in that manner. I'm learning to go with the flow, have faith that God is in control of my life, depend on my husband and cherish our open communication, and believe that in the end as long as I have my family and my faith, things will work out for the best.
That being said, I do have a couple of resolutions/goals for 2010 (and then I'll attempt to catch up on 2009).
1. My pregnancy years have come to a close (yes, I gave birth to #3, more to come later), so as soon as I am cleared medically, I plan to start watching what I eat and exercising. I'm currently 10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, so at a minimum I need to lose that, but ideally 20 pounds would put me at a very comfortable weight (especially if I can tone a bit).
2. Be a good wife. This year I read the 5 Love Languages book and think I've learned a little more about how to make my husband feel loved. I need him and that means I need to continue to show him that I love him, need him, and respect him. This means I need to be fully committed to supporting his dreams and aspirations, and being thankful to what he contributes to our family, be it financial or through work around the house or time with the kids.
3. Be a good mom. I have 3 children now, so it's vitally important to me that I remember to enjoy all the small moments with them. Each of my children needs quality time with me, so sometimes that means that the dishes or laundry have to wait until after bedtime, so I can play a game of Operation, give a bottle, or have a tickle fight.
Those are the only things I'm willing to put down as goals. Some other things that I'd like to see happen, but I can't 100% control are:
1. School - I'd like to start my Masters program full time in the fall.
2. Finances - I'd like to get in the position that we can get by if I am in school full time.
So, a little about what's been going on.
Faith Evelynn is my new daughter. I don't think I posted since my intial announcement, but Faith was born on December 19, 2009 at 4:39 p.m. She weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. We did end up finding out she was a girl, although we had considered having this last baby be a surprise. In an early ultrasound (12 weeks) we thought we saw "boy parts" so we wanted to confirm and when we confirmed, we found out "he" was actually a "she." Because of all of our shoulder dystocia issues with Grace and Luke and Luke's extremely large size, we kept a close eye on her growth and decided to induce 3 weeks early to be sure she didn't get too big. We did an amnio on Dec. 17th for lung maturity and when we got the results, my parents and Eric's Dad and girlfriend came in on the 18th. Christie stayed with Grace and Luke on Saturday morning while my parents and Eric's Dad came to the hospital with us. My induction went smoothly. I seemed to stall at about 3 cm for a couple of hours (too early for an epidural), so I spent some time on a birthing ball for some pretty intense contractions. Finally made it to 5 cm and got my epidural. After that I progressed to 10 cm very quickly and when it was time to push I pushed twice during one contraction and she was born. No shoulder dystocia and the easiest delivery yet!
After birth, when we were doing the newborn assessments in our post-partum room our baby nurse surprised us by informing us that Faith had a cleft of the hard palate. We were shocked that we again have to deal with this birth defect. We will be visiting the Craniofacial Clinic at Children's Hospital on Tuesday (1/5) to determine exactly what the plan will be to get her fixed up. So far, things are going well. She has to use the same special bottles that Grace used and I'm pumping as she can't breastfeed. I haven't decided how long we're going to pump, but it isn't making me crazy yet, so I am just keeping going day by day.
I think at my last post, Eric was still at home with Grace and working nights and weekends at Wal-Mart. He did take a job with a medical collections firm at the beginning of July. Things were going well when he was let go without a good explanation at the beginning of November. He did qualify for unemployment again, but now the "base" period used for calculating benefits only included the time he was at Wal-Mart, so our weekly benefit is significantly less than before. He's now keeping both Grace and Luke at home and will have Faith too if he isn't back to work before I finish up maternity leave. For now, we've decided not to have him take a part-time job as it would reduce the unemployment benefit and there's no way he could work late nights and take care of all the kids all day. We are also looking into ways for him to get started on some photography stuff. In the fall he took some pictures of friends in outdoor settings for his portfolio and he just used some of his birthday/Christmas money to buy some backdrops and studio lighting so he can start doing some indoor work too. I hope he can get a couple of shoots set up and eventually start doing some photography work on the side. It's crazy and I don't know why we have to deal with this unemployment stuff again. I am not sure what our plan is. He really needs whatever job he takes to pay well, as we'll have to pay for childcare for 3 kids.
Grace just turned 5. She's awesome and funny and so smart. She can almost read now. If we spent a little more time working on it, she'd have it down. She's an excellent colorer. She does imaginary games all the time. She loves dinosaurs and learning about anything. She also loves her baby sister and brother.
Luke is about to turn 20 months old. He's hitting the terrible twos I think as we are constantly saying "No, Luke." He's so sweet though and the "no's" are all because he's into everything. He loves the "moan (phone)" and watching "Mo" (Nemo). He runs, dances, and attempts jumping. He loves playing peekaboo and laughs and smiles all the time. His conversational skills keep improving. I feel like he drops a new word on us almost every day. He's grown up from my baby to a toddler. It's exhausting, but also wonderful. He loves his Momma and blows kisses and gives big hugs before bedtime (all other times of the day he's too busy to be bothered). He's become a Daddy's boy too. I love it.
I just finished my Columbus State pre-requisites for the Master's of Nursing program. My application to the Masters program was due December 15th. I completed everything and sent it all in. I haven't received the decision yet, but could find out in March. I expect I will be accepted, but am not sure if I'll be able to go or not. With Eric's job situation it doesn't seem to be possible financially to think I could quit my job. Now thinking of the possible future surgeries that Faith might need, I know I need my insurance, so I unless Eric gets a great job with comparable benefits, I'm not sure how it's possible. I do think this career path is what God wants for me, so I'm trying not to look too far ahead as I can't control the future. I'm hoping that something will work out by Spring when I have to make a decision as I can't defer and if I don't start in the Fall, I'd have to reapply for next year.
We're trying to sell our house again. When Eric lost his job in November we put the house up again. We're hoping to get out and break even. If we can rent someplace with at least 3 bedrooms for a little less than we pay now in a better school district, we can eliminate some expense, plus solve our delima of where to send Grace to kindergarten in the fall. We'd be able to rent until I finish school and then hopefully buy a bigger place in the same school district. So far, no luck, but we're trying to stay positive.
So, that's about it. I'm going to try to post more often because I missed writing. Now that I'm done with classes until at least summer (assuming I'm going to start full-time in the fall), I should have a little more time in the evenings. I'm not sure if the picture I tried to post with this worked, so if not, I'll add a picture of Faith soon.