Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Spontaneous Trip to Seabrook!

When Chris called me up a few days ago and asked if we wanted to join them out at their beach house in Seabrook for Conference weekend, I was surprised to check the calendar and learn that we could actually go!  Since Lia's soccer game was on a Sunday this weekend, we were already not planning on her playing in it.  As a result, all we had was Logan's first soccer game and a friend's birthday party that ended by 1 p.m. making the rest of our Saturday free to pack up and leave.  So, after thinking about it, I called Natalee back up a day later and told her that the kids and I would join them and that we would just plan on skipping school/preschool/piano lessons on Monday.  So, we left Saturday afternoon, and made the 2 plus hour drive out there without any problems or traffic.  Since Natalee and Chris were both arriving in different cars with different kids coming from different activities, the kids and I had the place to ourselves all evening long.  We unpacked, made and ate dinner, and enjoyed a quiet evening before heading to bed around 9 p.m.  Natalee and their three oldest arrived after Brynn's basketball game around 10 p.m. and Chris and their two youngest arrived at almost midnight after camping/hiking the past three days (yes, he's crazy).
We then had a relaxing Sunday morning watching the first session of conference before heading to their wonderful, neighborhood indoor pool for a funfilled, swim session.  After returning to the beach house for lunch, we watched the afternoon session of conference before bundling up and heading out into the rain for a walk down to the beach.  The rain managed to slow down to a sprinkle by the time we arrived at the beach which made spending an hour or so down there a bit more pleasant.  We then headed back up the house for a delicious dinner prepared by Natalee in honor of Chris' birthday which was the following day.  We finished off the evening with Chris opening some gifts and some hide-and-go-seek before heading to bed.  On Monday, we enjoyed a walk to the Seabrook shops and around the neighborhood in the  morning before heading back for lunch at the house and a second round at the pool in the afternoon.  By the time we got back and packed up the van, we pulled out around 5:30 p.m.  The kids and I stopped for gas and dinner in Hoquiam before making the drive home in the dark by ourselves.  It was a relief to get home by 8 p.m. and we were happy to be greeted by papa who we hadn't seen since Saturday!  It was a fun and fast get-away, but such a fun break from life and a great chance to spend some quality time with Chris' family.

Ella getting ready to jump into the pool.

And they're she goes!  My flexible girl striking a 'star fish' pose while in the air.

All three of my water-loving kiddos together.

Long-legged Lia jumping into the pool.

Flashing me a smile.

Crazy Logan striking a wild pose while jumping into the water.

Ella enjoying the hot tub.

The cousins posing inside the awesome, tree stump at the beginning of the path to the beach.

Mama and her kiddos.

Logan, Trenton, Ella, and Lia exploring the awesome, gnome houses while walking through the forest.

Logan and Trenton with a giant mushroom.

Ella in the gnome forest.

Crossing the "troll bridge" on the way to the ocean.

Ella and Logan running to check out a fort made out of driftwood on the beach.

Logan and the fort.

Crazy Garrett decided to go skin boarding in the freezing weather and freezing, Pacific Ocean.  Here he is posing for me before taking off.

Boarding along the shoreline.

Oh, to be that young and carefree again!

Ella, Logan, and the grey Pacific ocean.

All of the cousins minus Garrett and Callie.

Best buddies showing off their whole, sand dollars that they found.

Mama and kiddos braving the rain and the cold.

Chris getting ready to open his birthday presents back at the beach house after dinner.

Logan looking on from his perch on the banister before Chris blew out his candles.

Logan and Lia were so excited to sleep in the adorable, bunk bed room with Trenton and Riley.  Here is Logan all tucked into bed with his cool, nautical sconce light on above him.

Lia smiling down from her top bunk before reading in bed.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

24 Weeks!

Well, it's hard to believe it, but I have already hit my 24th week of pregnancy!  This is the monthly picture Lia took of me today before we headed off on our weekend trip to Seabrook. I am definitely looking more pregnant these days and I think that it is obvious enough for some strangers to even notice.  My stomach is getting large enough that I definitely will need Ron's help in the next few days to pull down the bin of maternity clothes from the loft in our garage.  Thank heavens for leggings and tunic-style shirts that have made it possible to go this far without wearing my maternity clothes.  Overall, I am still feeling really good.  It is starting to get harder to do things like bend over, stand up from a soft chair or couch, or walk up and down the stairs.  I am feeling the baby kick a lot every day--especially when I lay down at night which I just love!  In fact, while cuddling with Logan one evening in his bed, he laid his hand on my belly and got to feel the baby kick five different times!  It was so fun to share this special moment with him--especially since he is always going to be the 'big, older bother' to this baby.  I have also noticed that my legs and especially my feet really hurt by the end of the evening if I have not taken the time to get off them during the day which is sadly most days.  My ankles also look a little puffy when I take off my socks at night, so I think I need to start listening to my body more and taking a daily break which is easier said than done.  
The other update of this past month is that I finally had my ultrasound appointment last week (September 26th) with Maternal Fetal Medicine after having to wait several days for my OB's referral to go through and then having to wait several more days to be seen.  It was an extremely positive experience and I was amazed at how thorough and lengthy the ultrasound was.  It lasted over an hour and the sonographer repeated my entire 20-week ultrasound in addition to performing an echocardiogram on the baby which is an entirely separate ultrasound on the baby's heart.  After the ultrasound was complete, the doctor came in and met with me for several minutes to discuss the results.  After being so stressed and worried for almost three weeks and bracing myself for the worst, I was incredibly relieved to learn of the good news.  The 'bright spot' on the baby's heart had already disappeared and the overall health of the heart and kidneys look great which can also have abnormalities when a two-vessel, umbilical cord is found.  So, both of the issues that were detected at my midpregnancy ultrasound have either been resolved or ruled-out as a problem at this point.  I still have placenta previa, but there are plenty of weeks left in my pregnancy for the placenta to move and, if not, I will have a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks.  Although this is not ideal, I will take it any day over the other two issues as it doesn't effect the health of the baby whatsoever.  I will have an ultrasound at 32 weeks to check on the location of the placenta and I will also begin having weekly stress test performed on the baby starting the same week for the rest of the pregnancy to make sure that the baby is still growing fine and to make sure that the thinner, umbilical cord is not kinking (which can happen as a result of it having only two vessels instead of three).   So, although there are still some issues to follow up on, I am just so grateful and relieved for the progress that has been made so far in this pregnancy and I hope and pray that this little baby continues to develop healthy and strong over the next few months until he joins our family this winter!

Logan's First Soccer Game

This is the third year in a row that I signed Logan up for the indoor soccer program offered in the fall at our local rec center.  I love this program because it is so laid back and mellow compared to Lia's soccer program.  I honestly don't know how I would juggle their practices and games every week if they were both in the same league.  After only three Saturdays of practices, Logan rec program dropped the weekly practices today to begin six games in a row.  All of us drove down as a family to the rec center this morning to cheer Logan on.  He has improved so much since he started playing his PreK year.  Logan did such a great job chasing the ball around while playing both defense and offense and was able to kick the ball a countless amount of times.  It was so fun to watch him play and to cheer him on from the sidelines!  I can't wait to see him make a couple of goals this season!

My cute boy giving me a smile from the court while waiting for the game to begin.

Logan chasing after the ball.

Taking a water break with his two teammates, Isabella and Mateo, at his side.

Logan leading the pack going after the ball.

Trying to get the ball back from an opponent.

This is my favorite action shot I managed to get of Logan from the game.  It's just too bad the head of the person sitting in front of me also got in it. :-(

Logan going after the ball again.

Kicking it away from an opponent.

Logan and the rest of his team with their coach at the end of the game.

The Strikers doing a team cheer.

Logan and the rest of his teammates congratulating the other team.

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Learning Lesson

Lia came home the other week from school bursting with excitement about wanting to run for her school's student council.  Since she is finally in 5th grade, Lia is now old enough to run for the position of secretary/treasurer which is a shared position for two 5th or 6th graders where as president and vice president are set aside just for 6th graders.  Like most things offered at school, Lia always gets super excited and wants to be involved.  As happy as I was to hear about this, I was also a little nervous as I knew that the chances of her losing and getting her feelings hurt were very real.  I agreed to help Lia with this endeavor on the the condition that she would be able to handle the disappointment of losing if it happened to which she agreed.
So, over the next week, we put in quite a few hours preparing for this election.  Ron spent an entire Sunday afternoon with Lia helping her type up her election speech.  Lia then had to meet with the rest of the students running for the student council positions and give her speech in front of a panel of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers.  Only five students were selected for the position of secretary/treasurer to move on and Lia found out by the end of the day that she was one of them!  She came home so thrilled about the good news.  We then had three days to put together six election posters to hang around the school.  After ordering pictures of her to be developed at Costco and picking up some supplies at Michaels, Lia and I spent four hours this past Sunday with a friend of mine from church (who owns a vinyl-cutting machine) making her posters.  My friend cut out the vinyl, I laid it down on her posters along with the pictures, and Lia decorated all of them with gems and glitter glue.  It was quite the production, but we managed to finish before dinner time!  Lia, Logan, and I then went to school 30 minutes early on Monday morning to hang up her posters in the designated areas of the school.  Needless to say, I walked out of school afterwards a little worn out by all of this. 
Lia then practiced her speech every night for the rest of the week in preparation for the election assembly that was held this morning in her school's gymnasium in front of all of the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes.  After dropping the kids off at school and then Ella at preschool, I drove back down to the school where I checked Logan out of class to join me for the 10 o'clock assembly.  I simply could not get over how brave Lia was to do all of this.  I never would have had the courage or confidence to do this sort of thing in the 5th grade.  Luckily, the candidates for secretary/treasurer went first in the assembly and Lia was #3 out of #5.  She did such a great job--reading her speech with poise and confidence while making plenty of eye contact with the audience.  She really has a gift for public speaking and would make such a great, student leader.  After all five candidates had given their speeches, Logan and I slipped out of the assembly since he was anxious to get back to reading time.  I then went on with my day wondering about the results of the election as the students had been promised that they would find out by the end of the day.  After the all of the upper grades had been given the chance to vote in class, Lia and the other candidates were pulled out of class where they learned of the results privately from the teacher in charge of the elections before the winners were announced over the intercom to the entire school.  Sadly, Lia was not one of the two candidates who won the position she ran for and she was devastated.  Ironically, she was beat by her two close friends who had also advanced to the 'top 5.'  Needless to say, it was a painful loss and Lia would not be happy to know that I devoted a blog post to this painful event in her life.  But, after the dust settles and her heart heals, I hope that Lia can see what a great job she did and also know how proud Ron and I are of her.  She has some wonderful gifts and talents that will help her to be a wonderful leader now and later on in her life and I hope that this experience has taught her some valuable lessons that she can use for years to come!  We love you and are so proud of you, Lia!

Lia standing next to one of the two, larger posters we were allowed to make.

And Lia standing next to one of the smaller posters we made.

Lia giving her speech at the election assembly.

Another shot of my brave girl with some of the other contestants sitting behind her.

Lia walking back to her seat.

Lia sitting back down while smiling at her good friend, Adalyn, who is one of the girls who ended up winning the secretary/treasurer position by the end of the day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Brain Pulling Experience

Tuesday mornings are now a little more busy than normal.  I drop the kids off at school at 8:45 and then Ella and I race back up the hill to get to the Y before her swim lessons begin at 9 a.m.  After swim is over at 9:30, we then go to the locker room where I immediately change her into her ballet clothes in order to take Ella to her ballet/tap lesson that goes from 10 to 11 a.m.  This week while I was getting Ella ready in the locker room stall, I began brushing her wet hair to put it into a pony tail after getting her dressed in her tights and leotard.  While I was combing the underside of her hair, Ella buried her neck into her shoulders making it difficult for me to reach this part of her hair which is something that she has been doing a lot lately.  After asking her why she has been doing this, Ella replied, "It pulls my brain!"  As you can imagine, much laughing ensued.  Oh, how I love this girl of mine!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Just For Fun!

I realized as Ella was getting ready for gymnastics class today that Lia also wore the same leotard for her first class six years ago.  So, I had to find Lia's picture to compare to Ella's picture just to show how much these two, little girls look alike at any stage of their lives!  I know I have said this before, but I will say it again...they could have been twins!  So, here are both of my four-year old girls wearing the same leotard while standing in the same gymnasium on their first day of gymnastics class almost six years apart to date!

Lia's first day of gymnastics on October 1, 2012.

And Ella's first day of gymnastics on September 28, 2018.

Ella's First Gymnastics Class

Although Ella started taking swim lessons and ballet class last school year, today was her first day of gymnastics class!  We enrolled her back in the Y for her entire PreK school year so that she can take swim lessons two mornings a week when she is not at preschool.  However, since gymnastics is the second class that is offered with her membership, I figured that it would be a waste to not take advantage of it.  So, today, we got her dressed in her sister's old leotard and headed off to her first class after going on a preschool field trip together.  Ella was so excited and as calm as a cucumber.  I just can't get over how easily she adjusts to new things and change compared to her older brother.
After we arrived and the teacher was taking roll, Ella's favorite friend and next door neighbor, Poppy, walked in the door.  I had completely forgotten that her mom had mentioned to me that she had taken gymnastics at the Y on Fridays in the past.  So, just by luck, these two girls ended up in the same class today!  So, Ella had the time of her life tagging along with Poppy to the different stations in the gym during her 45 minute class.  Ella was all smiles the entire time and it was so cute to see the two of them together!

Ella posing for me in the gymnasium before her class began.

Ella swinging on the bars.

Getting help from her teacher to do a somersault down the wedge mat.

Ella following Poppy over the obstacle course.

The girls waiting their turn in line.

Poppy and Ella crossing the balance beam.

Ella walking up the mat.

All finished with class and posing on a balance beam!