Saturday, August 29, 2015

Happy (crazy belated) birthday John Paul!

So, way back in March our little John Paul turned 1.

Clearly, I am right on time in posting pictures of his birthday and waxing nostalgic about the last 12 18 months of his life, because we haven’t had another family birthday yet.

Oh wait, I turned 30 in June. Whoops!

we celebrated my birthday with ribs and otter pops... everyone liked the ribs, everyone except John Paul liked the otter pops
Regardless, John Paul did turn 1 and no matter how late I am I can’t fail to blog faithfully about the about-to-be-middle-child, and better late than never and all that jazz. We had a lovely little family celebration, with meat pie (treasured Rappana family recipe) for dinner and Pope cakes topped with strawberries and chocolate for dessert. Dessert was most definitely a hit, especially with the birthday boy.

Although it was only the middle of March the weather was perfect for dinner outside--which was a really good thing, because cleanup was much easier. And even though we have a great dining room and lots of leaves to put in the table, it is getting really hard to fit everyone when we are all together.

and cleanup was... not insignificant
So that was John Paul’s birthday… and it feels like it was forever ago. He was sprint-crawling everywhere in an attempt to keep up with his brothers. He was napping really well, but was still waking up multiple times a night and generally wanting to nurse. He was full of smiles and laughter, had a few consistent signs (“more” and “all done”), and no words yet.

And only five months later (only… almost a third of his life) he is running AND climbing all over the place. He definitely thinks he is one of the big boys, and he’s close to being able to hold his own. He has finally started saying “mama” consistently and it absolutely melts my heart every time. He is sweet and affectionate and cuddly, but also overflowing with mischief and 110% wild little boy. He excels at giving bazoomers (rasperries) and loves to wrestle with his daddy and brothers.

Other words in his ever-expanding vocabulary:
datoo--thank you
wa-wa--water (or sometimes milk)
ahge tuck--garbage truck
ash--crash (I remember M saying it exactly the same way at the same age)
soos--shoes (he gets very excited about shoes)
ou-sy--out side (ditto on the excitement)
dou-says--down stairs

And lots and lots of gibberish that perfectly mimics speech patterns and inflections, but has few recognizable syllables. He definitely thinks he’s talking, and half the time I think I understand him.

playing at Roubaix Lake during our vacation to the Black Hills in June
He loves books and his brothers and being outside. He also really loves his crib and I am so thankful for my (currently, knock on wood) wonderful little sleeper. He started sleeping through the night pretty consistently at the beginning of summer, just in time for my pregnancy insomnia and million nightly trips to the bathroom to take over. Naturally.

he sucks his thumb and twirls his hair and we all think it's the cutest thing ever
I can’t get over how big John Paul is getting, but at the same time I’m cherishing (or at least trying to cherish) these last few months of him being my baby. I’ll never forget how huge Michael looked the first time I saw him after Liam was born, and again with Liam suddenly looking so much older and bigger after John Paul came; and I’m already looking forward to/mourning that instantaneous transformation from baby to big brother that is coming in November.

And in case you're like me and absolutely completely obsessed with thoroughly enjoy a good birth story, here's Part 1 and Part 2 of our little Pi Day Baby Story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Life: Not On My Terms

Not that it ever has been, of course. But sometimes it's easy to forget I'm not totally in control.

Spring Break 2007:
mojitos at the Opera Bar watching the sun set over Sydney? totally on my terms
One of the beautiful (and terrifying and messy) things about motherhood is that it constantly reminds me that I'm not really in control. I'm in charge of nearly everything, but I'm not in control.

Side note: one of the joys of that magical moment of Daddy getting home from work is that there is someone else to make a decision! To be responsible for something! To be in charge!

For all the decisions I make in any given day I still find it somewhat shocking how little of my life is on my terms. You’d think I’d get used to this. Maybe someday I will, but it is not this day! Four and a half years of motherhood haven't cured me of that particular delusion yet.

And really, the biggest (and totally uncomfortable, upsetting, shocking) piece of it all is, that life isn’t on my terms. You see where this is going, I’m sure.

Okay, not a surprise per se, because yes, we do know what causes that. But definitely not part of our plans at this point. And that was hard for me, because they were really responsible, good plans. Plans that we prayerfully formed around some significant health concerns on my part, among other things.

And it was also unexpected because we did everything right NFP-wise. After a lengthy discussion with our Creighton Model instructor all we were able to determine is that we apparently have the dubious distinction of being in that 1-3ish % (depending on which study you look at) for whom the method simply doesn't work the way it is supposed to. For some reason it's really important for me to throw that out there. We were using an actual, scientific, effective fertility awareness method (not the rhythm method) and we were using it correctly--but sometimes even that doesn't work. Look for further reflections on our experience with NFP at some future point because I have already been trying to write this post for several months and if I wait until I have figured out how to say everything I want to/feel like I need to say then I will never finish it!

SO. Pregnant. Surprised. Upset. Scared. Anxious. That's where I was when we found out in early March. We told family and a few friends and asked for prayers, but that was all. I wasn't ready to talk about being pregnant, especially not in a public setting like social media, until I found some peace with this situation. Let me be clear, we loved this baby even during that first week in March where I was sure I was pregnant but refusing to take a test because then there was still a chance that this was just a really bizarre cycle. I didn't want to be pregnant right now but I loved and wanted this specific child. Complicated? Maybe, maybe not. Never tell a pregnant woman her emotions don't make sense... but you probably knew that already! (Or anyone, for that matter... "You are emotional AND irrational" is not likely to be helpful in any situation, amiright?).

finally took the plunge and announced Baby #4
on Instagram and Facebook for Mother's Day
It took the entire first trimester and then some for me to come to terms with being pregnant again. Even once I had started to feel a little more excited and a little less scared, I didn't know how to start talking about this baby publicly. It wasn't just mourning the loss of my own plans and letting go of my anxieties--I felt guilty for being pregnant. And especially guilty for being pregnant and not being 100% thrilled about it.

I know so many people--family, close friends, acquaintances from college, blog friends--who are dealing with infertility and/or are grieving the loss of a child. And then here I am over here, just wishing I could somehow manage to wean one baby before getting pregnant with the next. How could I announce this new little life within me in the face of so much pain and suffering? Even more--how could I talk honestly about this pregnancy and my own struggles with it? I determined almost right away to offer my sufferings, major or minor, physical and emotional, for those struggling to conceive or grieving the loss of a child. But could I even say that to anyone? Would it just seem like salt in the wound?

I don't know. I still don't entirely know. But as time goes on and I round the bend into the 3rd trimester, it has started to feel a little ridiculous to have total blog-silence about this baby. So, here we are at 28.5 weeks, announcing the not-quite-imminent arrival of Baby #4 in November. And we are thrilled--really and truly--even as I wonder on a daily basis how I am possibly going to survive another 11ish weeks of this.

Oh, and by the way--Mama's getting reinforcements and we're all pretty thrilled about that too ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Top 10 Reasons My 4 Year Old is Out of Bed--You Won't Believe Number 6!

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds internet headlines ridiculous and obnoxious. And yet they are so ubiquitous that I find myself thinking in them... ugh.

Regardless, I really do have 10 reasons to share for why my 4 year old is not in his bed (as he should be). Whether or not number 6 blows your mind... well, nobody else on the internet gets sued for false advertising in their headlines, right? ;)

Without further ado:

10) (any time) "I have to go potty!" Let's just get the obvious out of the way, shall we? But really, no complaints here as I would far rather take him to the bathroom kick Alex out of bed to take him to the bathroom than change his sheets!

9) (3am) "I had a dream that I talked to a stranger and he spit on me." What?! Obviously we need to have another talk about not talking to strangers, but not in the middle of the night!

8) (4am) "I heard ghost/monster/something else noises in the wall." This one always makes me sad because I hate the thought of him being scared... but he gets up and comes into our room to tell us, so he's obviously not too scared. And they have a sound machine, so he can't even hear the house settle or cars outside.

7) (15 minutes after being tucked in) "I can't sleep. Liam's talking to me." He would stop talking to you if you would stop talking to him!

6) (2am) "Daddy! Liam's not in his crib!" Note: Liam has never (knock on wood) climbed out of his crib. After Alex took M back to his room: "Oh, there he is!"

5) (usually the second time he's up after being tucked in) "My covers are in a mess!" Your covers would stay perfectly arranged if you would just stay in bed!

4) (5 minutes after being tucked in) "My bed is broken!" The fitted sheet had come untucked from one corner. Slightly.

3) (5 minutes after being tucked in) "It's being a rough night." It wouldn't be half so rough if you would stay in bed long enough to fall asleep! But let's pray your Guardian Angel prayer anyway...

2) (5 minutes after being tucked in) "I'm having rough dreams." Pretty sure you haven't been having any dreams yet, buddy. But let's pray your Guardian Angel prayer anyway...

1) "Can I be awake?" No! It is still dark outside! Go back to bed and stay there, please!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oh, here I am!

When I've taken an unplanned break from blogging I never know whether to just jump back in like nothing has happened or to offer a lengthy explanation (justification?) for my absence. And then I overthink my explanation (okay, definitely a justification), and that just delays my reentry even more.

So. Hi. I'm back. I didn't mean to take an almost-two-month hiatus. In fact, in that time I started at least four different posts and never made any significant progress with any of them.

I guess I don't really need to justify why I was living my life instead of blogging about it, do I? Everything just got kind of overwhelming--imagine that! So if I'm back does that mean things are settling down? Ha. Of course not. More like I have a new writing project and looming deadlines, so I'm finally motivated enough to procrastinate (and it's a huge relief to write something I don't have to think through as intensely as a Bible study).

As the weather has been getting nicer we've been spending as much time outside as we can. John Paul is walking all over the place as of the last two weeks--just in time to play outside with his brothers. I've been doing (marginally) better on keeping up with laundry. I finally finished going through the amazing abundance of hand-me-downs we've received over the years and actually got around to redistributing the wealth among various family members and friends. (My bedroom looks so much bigger without half a dozen garbage bags full of clothes sitting in the corners. Seriously.)

There, consider yourself updated, more or less! Pictures of John Paul's birthday coming soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our Holy Week and Easter spent in Lincoln (not pictured, the stomach bug making its rounds Good Friday through Easter Sunday. Ugh.).

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boy Talk

Michael (4):

Ash: That's a lot of lotion, make sure to rub it all in.
M: On my flippers?
Ash: ... Your flippers?
M: Yeah.
Ash: You don't have flippers.
M: pointing These.
Ash: Those are your knuckles.
M: Oh.

(upset because Liam's dinosaur was getting a little too close to his carefully constructed scene) Liam is getting into my business! He needs to get into his own business!

(upset because John Paul was trying to take apart his Lego sheep) Mama! This sheep is my homework and John Paul is always destroying my homework!
I'm sensing a pattern here... Welcome to your life as the firstborn, my son.

Alex: Michael, what are you drawing?
M: I don't know. What does it look like? (his standard line whenever he draws anything)
Alex: Hmmm... Is it a plate of spaghetti?
M: No it's not! It's worms attacking each other. But that's not nice.

Ash: Michael, who is the Lamb of God?
M: Um... Jesus!
Ash: Very good!
M: But what would happen if he turns into a boy?
Ash: Well, he's not really a lamb, like an animal, but it's a way of saying that he takes away the sins of the world.
M: without missing a beat That's too bad!

Liam (2):

L: A Thomas-ache! A Thomas-ache!
Ash: You have a tummy ache?
L: Yeah! A Thomas-ache!
You are so happy about it, I rather doubt it... 

Hep yoo! Hep yoo! whenever he needs help... I love it

but let's be honest--when you're two and your trains simply won't cooperate,
remembering to use your words isn't exactly high on your list of priorities

L: puts a blanket on his head A elf-unt! A elf-unt!
Ash: Are you an elephant?
L: Yeah! Moo!
Ash: No, an elephant doesn't say moo! What does an elephant say?
L: Raaawwwr!

upon observing me poking Alex in the ribs for stealing my phone: Mama! No a-hit Daddy.

John Paul (11 months):

A lot of "ooh" and "daa" and mimicking the craziness of his brothers

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