No More Babies

I’m sure many of you know the rate of speed our kids are growing, and that we do not in fact have any more babies in our house. Sienna is growing by leaps and bounds, will be two in November, Parker will turn five on Sunday, and Mason is 3, with his birthday in March. Whew!
When you’re in the baby stage, it seems so exhausting and never ending. It’s precious, but so draining and requires SO much of Mommy. I wouldn’t change any of it, It is our family, and I love it. I always dreamed of being a Mommy, and as I look around at my life, and my family, it is exactly what I wanted as a little girl. It’s not always fun, not always without frustration or yelling, not always technology free and full of hugs and kisses, but it’s our family and I’m so thankful for it.

I’ve been focusing on the baby years a lot these last few months because Dan and I made the hard decision to stop having babies, and have Dan get a vasectomy. We came to the decision after several factors. One being that we are happy with the size of our family. I know there are GREAT Mamas out there that can divide their love and attention between three plus kids, but I just know it isn’t for me. I don’t know if the decision is made more evident by the fact that our kids are so close together in age, but right now, it’s pretty challenging on a daily basis to make sure I’m dividing up my attention enough between the three kids. Sienna is very jealous of the brothers, and the boys usually have to call my name several times to get my attention because I’m busy with one of the other kids doing something else. I feel constantly torn, and admittedly my fuse can be short at times with them because of it. I know it’s just the season we’re in right now, but after much prayer and consideration, we know that this is what God has for us. It is what we can handle.
Secondly, we don’t use birth control. I know, I know… I get the raised eyebrows and side slanted head from my OBGYN every visit. It’s just not for us. I don’t like to put hormones into my body, and the copper IUD makes you bleed like you’re dying a slow death, which doesn’t sound fun. There’s also condoms, but seriously… who enjoys those? The “being careful method” (also known as the “pull and pray” method, haha!) just didn’t make for a relaxing experience for me. It always made me SO nervous I was going to accidentally get preggers again!
Also, I’ve been working hard lately on my fitness, getting my body back in shape after having Sienna (almost TWO years ago!), Lymes disease, lower back issues, and just lazy bones syndrome. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, I just never lost it after I had Sienna. I went straight from breastfeeding to being sick, and then never got around to losing it. So yeah, that was another deciding factor. I admittly, selfishly, want my body back after pushing out nine, ten, and eight pound babies within a three year period.
Another reason is Money. I mean, speaking strictly from a practical point of view, of course, we could get by with WAY less. Our kids could share rooms, wear each other’s clothes, wait to get a car until they’re in their 20’s…, the list goes on. But why? I agree that teaching them to get by with less, will allow them to be good shepherds over what they do have. I COMPLETELY agree with not getting them every single thing they want, doing chores and earning money only for EXTRA work around the house instead of just what is expected are all GOOD things, but what about college? What about the inevitable doctor bills or sports and extra circular activities they’ll join, or summer family vacations, etc. Shouldn’t we plan from a practical perspective when planning our family too? I think so. I think that three kids is all we can afford comfortably. For now AND down the road when college and all the other big expenses start creeping in.
Lastly, Dan and I aren’t exactly spring chickens. When I say “Dan and I”, I really mean… just Dan. Haha (sorry honey!). No, but seriously. Dan just turned 40 this year, and I turned 33, which is acceptable child bearing age, but for Dan, he just feels like he’s done (and I do too). I had to have an arm twisting session with him to convince him to have another after the boys. SO SO glad I won that battle (or should I say that GOD won that battle) and that we got our GIRL!

So, yeah. Dan had a vasectomy on Friday. He’s fine. He has some pain of course. The worst part was that they offered no sedation. He had a valium and some lidocaine via local injection. It’s hard when you have three kids and have something done like that. Sienna loves to give hugs and her head is right at crouch level. Ouch! Seriously, though. I’m so thankful that he agreed to do it, especially after all the Crohn’s surgeries he’s had, it’s hard to want to have an ELECTIVE procedure done that he knows will be so painful, but I’m forever grateful that he agreed!

Parker cracks me up with his questions too. In our house, we try to be perfectly honest as much as possible given their age and understanding. This is the conversation I had with Parker after I dropped Dan off at the office for the out patient procedure.

Parker: “Mommy, why are you dropping Daddy off?”

Me: “He’s having a procedure done”

Parker: “I heard Daddy said he was getting a needle in his pee pee”

Me: “Yes, he is. He’s getting it done so we don’t have any more babies”

Parker: “Ouch, that will hurt really bad. Why does he have to get a needle in his Peepee when you’re the one who has the babies?”

Me: “…..Well… When two people are married, you need a Mommy and a Daddy to have a baby”

Parker: “Oh, okay. Where is that park at? Is it really far away? Does it have a slide?”

Whew! Lengthy explanation averted!

So, yeah. No more babies. I bawled the other day. A friend posted a sappy video on FB about a few japanese Moms leaving their child’s one year appointment and their husband’s surprising them with an artwork style display of baby photos of the child’s first year along the walls of the hallway. I just cried like a baby. I cried because it made me realize how fast and quick those baby years really are. I cried because I knew I wouldn’t have another baby of my own to hold. I cried because I wondered if I had enjoyed it enough, savored it enough, documented it enough, loved enough without complaining of how hard it was, or if I was doing it right, or if they were reaching their milestones. I mourned the baby stage. It’s a sweet stage and one that goes by way way too quickly.

For now, I will savor the toddler and childhood stages and dream about whats to come, what we can finally talk about doing now that the kids are older. The fun adventures that await as they grow, makes us excited to look forward to the future. The future of them growing into their own person, and us helping them be the best they can be!

Dan Turns 40!

August is a big birthday month in our house because Dan and I both have August birthdays.  This year however, was especially important, because Dan turns the BIG 4-0! I knew I wanted to plan a party for him, but after asking questions, I decided I didn’t want to make it a surprise.  I just didn’t know enough about the people he works with and would want to invite, and I wanted to make sure that it was something that he really wanted, with the people invited that he wanted, so I made sure he was very involved in the planning.

Knowing that Dan is a big steak lover, and loves the restaurant Cabernet, we decided that it was the perfect upscale restaurant to celebrate such a milestone occasion.  They have a mezzanine level that serves as a balcony that overlooks the restaurant on the second floor.  It has one large “last supper” style table that seats 24 in the room, and we thought it was the perfect room for the party.

I went with a black and white vintage chalkboard type theme.  Dan really liked the invitation that I modified on mixbook.com  They had some really cute ones on Tinyprints.com, but we wanted to customize it a little more than they allowed on their standard invitations, so we went the mixbook route, and were very happy with it!

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Dan and I decided since it was a special occasion, to do the Uber Black, which means that you’ll either get a town car or black SUV.  We didn’t want to drive because we knew some drinks would be thrown back, and we didn’t want to worry about how to get home.  We ended up with the SUV and it was so nice. Driver was great, transaction was simple. Easy peasy! We arrive in style!IMG_9634.JPG

It was a lot of fun, the only downside was that the room only sat 24 people, which made it hard when it came to Dan deciding who to invite between family, his work friends, church friends, and friends from our neighborhood.  We wish that more could come, but with a larger group, we wouldn’t have been able to sit at the same table, so that would’ve been hard too.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed delicious food, sipped on great drinks, and had a wonderful time laughing and goofing off with friends! We had a made from scratch cake made from The Baker’s Man, which is who made my 30th birthday.  It was meant to look like the invitation, and I think he did a really good job! It didn’t taste as good as the one for my 30th (a little dry) but the icing was yummy, and we were having such a good time, that we didn’t really care much! Here are a few iPhone shots of the evening.

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IMG_9602.JPGI did a few surprise boards for Dan to commemorate his 40 years of life.  Ironically, Dan’s Mom had sent us old pictures a few years ago of Dan when he was a baby, and I dug through them all and found a few gems, and added a few recent ones too.  I’m happy with how it turned out!
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As if the fun we had at Cabernet wasn’t enough,  we decided to go across the street to get a little more cray-cray at Wild Wing Cafe.  We took a few shots with friends, and watched a band play, and the laughter and giggles continued.  We hung out on the front patio and after a shot and two long island ice teas, Dan thought he was a comedic genius, and had all of us rolling! So. Much Fun! He certainly had fun on his birthday.  You only turn 40 once!IMG_9629.JPG

 

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IMG_9632-0.JPGWell, Happy Birthday sweetie! I had a blast, and I’m glad to be celebrating this milestone birthday with you! After all you’ve been through the past few years, this party was well deserved! Looking forward to many more years of fun and celebrating!

SUP Yoga Birthday

I’ve been meaning to write about my SUP yoga birthday for a while now, and I finally have some time while the kiddos are napping to update the blog! The first time I did Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) was in Charleston with my bestie a few years ago. Her boyfriend is an avid surfer, and they own their own SUP boards. So, we took them out to the inlet, but not being too excited about what was in the water (we passed a few jellyfish), I was too nervous to get up on my feet, in fear of falling. So yeah… I paddled while on my knees, and that was basically it. It still peaked my interest because it is a lot like kayaking but with the option of getting wet and working your core, plus it offered options for doing fun yoga positions.
So, fast forward to this summer, my favorite Yoga studio in town Breathe Yoga, decided to host a summer series of SUP yoga classes out on Lake Lanier. The dates they had listed for June, the first month didn’t jive with my schedule, so I looked into the company they were using, and that’s when I found Atlanta SUP Yoga.  I snooped around their site a bit, and got to their calendar of events and noticed that on my birthday, August 10th, they were hosting a Super Moon Sunset paddle that evening!  I called immediately to see how many spots were open and then sent out a few emails to friends who I thought would be interested in joining me on, and Wallah! A fun evening on the books!

Four of the six of us carpooled and met for dinner beforehand at a really cute fun place called Pelican Pete’s right on Lake Lanier.  It really made me feel like I was on vacation being there.  Straw tiki hut style roofs, live music, cool breeze by the water. It was perfect! They didn’t have a lot of food choices (mainly bar type food) but we were just looking for a small bite before we hit the water.

After dinner, we met up with the rest of the crew, and our instructor at Vanns Tavern Park at Lake Lanier to get our SUP on!  The instructor Christy was awesome, and we started with cracking glow sticks to make necklaces and bracelets for when it gets dark.  The session was from 6:30-9pm, so even though it wasn’t dark when we started, we knew it would be getting dark when we were returning and they require by law for you to have a light on when it’s dark out.  So, why not bedazzle with glow stick jewelry?

It. Was. Amazing. I fell in love! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to get up on my feet. Once you’re on your knees, you go to table top position, and gradually push back with your hands and your feet push back into a squat, and then stand up with your paddle! I had the best company too.  A few girlfriends from my neighborhood, a longtime friend of mine from church, and a few playgroup Mom friends came, and it was the best group of girls! Lots of laughs and fun and simply the best way to spend my birthday!  We decided since all of us practice yoga, that we would do some yoga moves on the paddle board as well.  It wasn’t nearly as difficult as you would think and Christy was a certified yoga teacher, and was able to show us simple but effective positions.  Once you get the balance down, adding yoga is just a fun way to make it more interesting and to give you a new perspective and awareness.  It was so incredibly serene.  We thought the yoga would be the highlight of the night but God had something else to surprise us.  Just as we were paddling back, we looked behind us to see the most amazing sunset intermixed with overcast clouds.  Pink and purple hues with rays of light bursting from behind the trees.  Truly incredible!   Right when we though we had seen the perfect sky, we see the super moon peek over the horizon during our paddle back.  Large orange super moon!  The instructor had her iPhone, and took pictures, but it didn’t do it justice!  I wanted to bring my phone since it had a waterproof case, but the instructor said she didn’t advise it because it could very easily get dropped into the water and gone forever. So, I took her advice and just left it behind. But man… that was one incredible moon!

Now… I want my own paddlboard. Seriously!  I joke with Dan all the time about it.  If they weren’t so expensive, I probably would already have one right now! We just had such a great time that night, and it made me realized how close we are to Lake Lanier (only 22mins away from where we live) and how much we could really make the lake a fun part of our summers as the kids get older. I remember some fun times on the boat on LL as a kid as well, and would love for my kids to have those same memories.  So, I told Dan that we must go out on the lake soon, and we made plans for Labor Day to do just that.  More details in a future post on our boat rental and ride.

Turning 33 went off without a hitch, and it was by far the most adventurous and serene birthday thus far!

 

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First Day of School!

Last Friday was the First Day of Preschool for the boys! Mama was glad they were excited about their new Preschool, teachers and meeting new classmates! Sienna will be home with me another year and I’m excited about our one on one time together as the boys enjoy learning at school.  This will be Parker’s last year and Preschool.  With his September birthday, he’s in the Young 5’s class. He misses the cut-off for Kindergarten, but he’s going five days a week! I miss my morning time with him, but I know how much he loves school, and I enjoy the fun times we get to have in the afternoon!  Mason has always been pretty apprehensive about new situations or environments, so I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t cry on the first day! He was so brave!  He’s growing up so fast.  He’s in the 3 year old preschool class and going three days a week.  It’s nice that he has a balance of three days at school, but still two days home with Mama.  He’s so easy going and enjoys his time at home too, so this was the perfect schedule for him.

Excited about the new school and a new year of learning and fun with these sweet kiddos!

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Visit from Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle Chris

Rennie and Dad come down usually once a year in the summertime to visit, and all of us are always excited to see them and visit with them! The kids get lots of love and attention from them and this time they got lots of love and attention from Uncle Christopher too, who they haven’t seen in years! The boys had a blast building legos with Christopher, and Rennie enjoyed helping with coloring and sticker time at the table. Dad really enjoyed having some one on one time with Mason, reading his truck book and learning all about Mason’s monster truck collection. We ended our visit with a home cooked dinner and a walk around the neighborhood. It was so nice to get to see them and catch up on life together!

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#Shesgotlegs Challenge

A friend of mine over at In Balance Yoga Crystal, who I went to school with is an amazing Yoga teacher and great friend. We have two kids that are within days and weeks of each other! Our boys are a day apart and our daughters are a few weeks apart. When she challenged me to the #shesgotlegs yoga challenge, I thought it would be a good way for me to be intentional about my yoga practice at home. I’m more of a studio yogi and can’t seem to get motivated enough at home or know exact poses to do.  It’s a challenge where there are poses every day in the month of August, and you do the pose to the best of your ability and snap a picture of yourself in that pose and post to Instagram with the #shesgotlegs hashtag.  It’s that simple.

I thought it was a helpful challenge to me, but I learned some things about myself and ultimately I have decided to quite doing this picture-taking portion of the challenge.  I think it’s a great challenge and it’s great for people to encourage one another to go further in their yoga practice, but for me, it ultimately left me with some insecure feelings.

Let me elaborate. I  know yoga is for EVERY Body. I know… However, it has really brought out my insecurities about my weight having pictures taken of me in yoga positions when I’m not fit.  I know it may sounds very superficial and maybe self absorbed, but it’s true.  I know some of you understand.  The unfiltered truth is, that when you have extra weight on you, that not only is it more difficult to get into more challenging poses, but they don’t photograph as well either. You can’t suck in, you can’t do that “skinny” angle…it’s very open and vulnerable.

There’s good news in this though.  It has really been just the motivation that I’ve needed to get back into shape.  The right way… the feel good and look good way. The motivation not to stop until I’m living a life that I know I should. No excuses. I’m too young to be continuing on  the way I have and I’m too smart to not just “do what I need to do” to get there.

My grace period is over. I’ve had three kids in three years, gone through Lyme disease and the ailments that followed, and now that I’ve recovered, it’s time to get serious!  My goal is to focus on cardio and strength training 4-5x a week with yoga mixed in 2-3x a week.  Dan and I signed up for a 5k at Lake Lanier in November, so I am working on getting in shape for that.  I’m working on eating less and retraining my body limit foods with processed sugars, grains, carbs and  fill with whole foods and protein. Not easy, but totally doable! As a longer-term goal I can focus on next Spring when Dan and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary and even though we don’t have anything planned, I would love to be fit, looking good, and feeling good by then!

So here I am… flaws and all. Letting the chubbies all hang out. I enjoy practicing yoga, and I will continue to do the #shesgotlegs challenge on my own, I just won’t be taking any more pictures of myself in the poses! Crystal was able to give me tips on how to do a headstand too. I was using a chair to help me kick up at first, but now I can do one on my own without a chair. This week in Heated Power Yoga I was able to do my first headstand at the end of class. Something I had been working towards for several months! Baby steps! I never thought my body would be able to do all these yoga poses and inversions, but it has. This has reminded me that my body is capable of so much if I have faith that it can do it! I’m asking God to help me along the way with prayer and intention, to work through me during my workouts. More updates to come!

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Enjoying Summer Break Part 2 |iphoneography|

This summer has FLOWN by. In just a few short weeks, the boys will be starting preschool at their new school!  The hustle and bustle of the school year will start again, and there will be a tad bit more normalcy in the homestead, but also maybe not as much leisure time as there has been this summer.  I’m looking back on these months past as we get ready for the school year, upcoming birthdays, fall baseball (a first in our house!) and I think we’ve had a great summer! Even though we didn’t take any vacations this summer (we just did Destin in the spring), we had lots of fun mini day vacas with the kids and little adventures that I think they really enjoyed.

As I mentioned in the first summer break post hereI set up a playgroup for every Friday during the month of June and July in order to be able to enjoy some fun activities with friends.  We really enjoyed those who came out to hang and made some fun summer memories with us! I know the kiddos really enjoyed seeing their friends, and of course, I really enjoyed getting to catch up with the Mamas too! A big thanks to those who took time out of their week to meet with us! We’ve also enjoyed our time spent at home, keeping it low key and finding fun things to do around the house! As sad as I’ll be to see summer go in a few weeks, I thinkwe’ve had a pretty successful one!

 

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Stillwaters Farm- Visiting the Ashbys

We had been planning all summer to visit my grandparents, and this past weekend, we finally took time out of our weekend to go up to Hartwell, Ga and enjoy a nice summer day at the farm. Of course, the kiddos were so excited to see Great Grandpa and Great Grandma! We had a nice time together catching up. We enjoyed picking fruit from the garden, eating lunch together, driving out on the pickup truck to see the cows, riding in the tractor, climbing the hay bails, swinging on the tree swing, enjoying yummy ice-cream, snuggling on the sofa (with beloved Georgia Tech blanket), and enjoying conversation with my amazing Grandparents!  They are truly a living example of what God calls us to be. Humble, loving, gracious, giving and many more Christ-like attributes. We are beyond grateful for their love and Godly influence in our life! We enjoy savoring these moments with them, making lasting memories, and wishing that we could do it more often.

 

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