I Be Missin’ You

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I’m writing this while listening to my 1-year old cry because the poor thing is surrounded by toys in his playpen, but is PISSED that I put him in there instead of continuing to chase him around and keep him from physically harming himself at almost 8 months pregnant. The audacity. He’s just lucky it’s not cheerios in his high chair while Curious George does the entertaining for me. Or perhaps he would like that more. Maybe that’ll be my after-nap strategy.

If this isn’t an indicator to why I have had trouble making it to my computer to actually put ALL OF THESE WORDS into blog-form, I don’t know what is. I feel like my eyes are permanently on the crazy setting now.

Anyway, HERE I AM YOU’RE WELCOME. I actually have been really missing this. I’ve been tossing the idea around to try and create blog content every day for a while just because I need to. Like for me. And my sanity. I’ve been holding back because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow through, and then I would be embarrassed in my failure…because that’s a thing I do. BUT I’m going to try it anyway. So basically, get ready for a lot of boring blog posts with daily (or not) ramblings about our turned-upside-down life.

I really don’t know how to do an update without organizing and categorizing it, so that’s what I’m going to do, sorry for you free spirits who don’t understand the NEED for bullet points and numbered lists (but how?).

Me: Since Jane is still a part of me for now, this update is really about the both of us. I have been feeling a lot of the same symptoms that I felt toward the end of my last pregnancy when I got pre-eclampsia. I’m a lot less far along than then, so it’s been worrying me. At one point, I felt so bad that we ended up going to my clinic’s ER (it was like 10 pm on a Friday night). It was a pretty terrible experience in which I was made to feel really stupid for daring to believe that something could be wrong outside of normal pregnancy symptoms. This is super different from our usual experiences with this clinic and hospital. So yesterday at my regular pre-natal appointment, my doctor took me seriously and has placed me on a tighter appointment schedule, as well as some extra testing to be on the safe side. We set her c-section (!!!) to be April 21st, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make it that far. We’ll see! Other than that, I’m just trying to keep up with everything without going crazy. The norm. Bryan would prefer if I sat around all day and literally ate bon-bons, but I have trouble sitting down long enough to feed the 3-month-old. So this is going well.

Bryan: Still running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Always dreaming and scheming. I love this about him, I really do. Now just to get him to sit still and finish something. You guys he is just so cute to watch be a dad though. We now have 3 boys, and while I always saw him as more of a girl-dad, he truly has so much fun with the dudes. It helps that we gender-swap in a lot of areas, so while I could cry actual tears while being forced to snuggle for an extended period of time, he is a rock star with the middle of the night baby breakdowns. I and my body-heat-thermometer thank him.

El Oso: He started at a new high school at semester, which was both scary and exciting for him. He’s getting a lot more one-on-one attention from teachers, but it’s the #1 school in the state, so the stakes are a lot higher for him. His grades are a constant battle for us, but we’re working through them little by little.

Grady: You guys, no one told me how fun of an age *1* is. He is an absolute mess, stubborn as a mule (or his mama), and gets into EVERYTHING, but watching him learn new things every day and figure stuff out on his own is so much fun. It helps that he is so good-natured and thinks things like pretending to drink out of his sippy cup could be slaying material for comedians everywhere, but I digress. SO MUCH FUN. It makes me sad that he will eventually get sassy and develop an attitude. Can he just stay this small and adorable, but learn to spoon/fork-feed himself?

Osito: He is making leaps and bounds in the medical realm. He has appo

intments on appointments on appointments lately, but everything is improving and not getting worse, so we will happily take it. He’s a smiling fool now and JUST LAUGHED FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY OMG. He’s also just so handsome. He has these dimples and when he smiles I can just tell he is going to be on every girl’s crush list. I’ll of course tell them all to back up off asap, but I doubt it will work. It’s crazy that he will start solid foods soon and move to a new nap schedule that will match Grady’s for a while (Thank the good Lord above). I’m excited for that stability before the new baby comes though. Perfect timing.

So that’s us right now…the very abridged version anyway. Congrats to the people who read this far! Hopefully my creativity will pick back up and I’ll be able to write actual meaningful posts soon.

Love, Alex

Nothing in It for Me

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I’m a feely person. I am 100% an external processor, it is difficult for me to “let things go” (how does one even just “let something go?”), and hormones are sooooo not my friend. SO this whole raising a baby-turned-toddler/adoption/growing another baby/adoption again thing has really taken a toll on my emotional state.

People say a lot of things about me. Lately, most of those things have been positive. “You guys are just so awesome.” “I’m so thankful for your calling.” “I don’t know how you do it, but God is really blessing you guys.” “She is a super-mom.” This is all very flattering, but do you want to know how I feel? I feel like a piece of crap. I feel like a selfish, whiny, brat of a person and I wish I could feel a lot stronger. 

The truth is that I am not a strong person, and for the first time in my life I can say that I can’t do this alone. That’s not to say that I could before, but I think God has been stringing me along for my entire life letting me think that I had it so hard and that I was handling everything so nicely, only to teach me a lesson that I apparently badly needed to learn, and with nothing short of grandeur. This lesson has come in loud and clear from the Big Guy. Are you ready?

“This isn’t about you, Alex.”

Ugh. Ouch.

You see, I didn’t even know it, but all of this excitement and pushing forward and all of the things that kept me (and both of us) going through this process was all about how it made me feel. It made me feel like a baller who was just doing the Lord’s work with grace and ease. Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks and it hurt. Badly. Having a teenager is hard. Teenage boys are gross and bonding with one in a maternal way isn’t as natural as I thought it would be. It often feels like all I am getting out of this is more laundry and less food. This is real-talk, you guys. THIS CRAP IS HARD. I don’t really know how to eloquently put it. Throw in a new baby with his own set of health problems and who cries all of the time, and my eyes have only one setting now: crazy.

This reality set in on day one. I sat in my closet alone on move-in day and realized that this didn’t feel as good as I thought it would. I asked God what was wrong. How could something I was so excited about not feel all that exciting after all? Every time I have asked Him that question, which is all the time, His answer has come in loud and clear (which for me is a rare occasion. As you may remember, I am not a sweet whispers from God kind of person. I am a kick-in-the-pants kind of person for dang sure.):

“This is still My plan, even if there’s nothing in it for you.”

So this is not necessarily a sweet blog post in which the lesson or message can be wrapped up neatly with a bow. This crap is still hard. I am not nearly refined enough to take that message from God and allow peace to fall upon me or something. I am getting by a day at a time with the help of those closest to me (including God), and lots of crying and chocolate. I am a firm believer in the power of a good cry. My husband, on the other hand, wishes I would learn another coping mechanism that doesn’t stress him out quite as much. FAT CHANCE DUDE.

PS: Please don’t think I have gone off of the rails and am against foster-care and adoption now. That is the opposite of the truth. I am still 100% in and think that (most of) you should be too. Please still ask me questions about all of that, you can just trust that my answers will be raw and real and honest, which is really better, right?

Love, Alex

The Calm before the Storm

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I am literally minutes away from getting a delivery. Of a baby. Someone is coming my house to deliver a baby. To live with us. This is in addition to the baby I already have and the baby growing inside me right now.

I wanted to take a minute, really just for myself, to compose myself before possibly the craziest time *ever* begins. I don’t know what to expect, what to do, or how to be. All I know is that God has been setting me up for a while to trust Him with everything in me. He’s done that by turning my life upside down lately. Multiple hospital visits,a surgery, a surprise pregnancy, becoming the mother of a teenager I didn’t know before, scary moments, and lots of change. I have been an emotional wreck. And now He’s asking me to trust Him again.

I tried to enjoy my last night of regular sleep, but I really couldn’t. Dreams of chaos crowded my mind. As soon as the new baby starts figuring out sleep is probably when the even newer baby will make her grand entrance, then the cycle will start over. These last few moments are so weird. I feel like they should be sacred or something, but really they are just full of anxiety. I know I should be better, but I’m not. I feel like a crazy person. I have no idea what to expect and that scares the crap out of me. I am not a go-with-the-flow person. I need plans and structures and routine. We’ve been over this before, it’s nothing new. I am not easy-going, but apparently God would like for me to be.

So alright God, here goes.

Love, Alex

Breaking the Silence

Oh hey.

So, It’s been a while. Liiiiiike 4ish months? Something like that. It’s time for that to end. I never intended on taking that much time off from this space, but I think I needed it. And not in a whimsical “I just needed some space” or some crap. No. Like in an “I am dropping the ball in every area of life and I need to figure myself out for a sec.”

“From what?” you ask. Or maybe you don’t, but just humor me for a sec. There are quite a few things that have been pulling me away from writing all of the many thoughts and feelings and all the things here. For starters, I’m pregnant again. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you probably saw our annual announcement photo. Just in case though…

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This is a pretty accurate depiction of our chaos actually. Who is the other person in the photo? Well that’s the second main component of the growing list from the whole me-dropping-the-ball-on-life thing. THAT is the child we are adopting. Yep, at the same time as we are having another baby. He was living with us for exactly 1.5 weeks when we found out I was pregnant. Try to tell me that God doesn’t have a sense of humor and I will fight you.

This has by far been the hardest thing I have ever been through, which might be sad, yes, but still difficult none the less. I really look forward to writing more in detail about the triumphs and battles and emotions (Which OMG there are so many of) and wins on this blog. I’m sorry that I have not done so in the past few months. I needed to write. I needed to pour my feelings out. I needed to be snarky and honest and vent and everything else, but I just haven’t been able to even wrap my mind around taking that time. I am running on empty, and I am so hoping that my corner of the interwebs will help fill me up again.

That, and Jesus. And sweet tea, as it turns out. And my people. You guys mean more than you know and I’m sorry I suck at friendship and daughterhood and sisterhood and personhood lately. I love you.

Love, Alex

With Baby Comes…

This is one of those things that I know no one reeeeeally cares about reading, but I neeeeeed to talk about it.

Weight.

So I had a baby, in case anyone reading this doesn’t already know that from my bombardment of photos on the interwebs. And with a baby comes extra weight. It’s a fact of life. When you’re pregnant, however, you can be smart about it, or, like me, be stupid about eating and healthy weight gain.

I had packed on a few pounds before I got pregnant, and was in the process of trying to lose it, and failing miserably. I just love food ok? When I saw the double line on the pee stick, I was all “Great! No more having to worry about losing weight!” And I ate…and ate…and ate…and gained a lot more weight.

Y’all.

*Swallows pride.*

I weighed well over 200 pounds at the end of my pregnancy.

It was hard for me to accept. I wanted to badly to be able to control it, but losing weight has always been difficult for me.

Before I move on, I just want to say that I am not at all trying to be one of those people who isn’t that big, but is going to complain about it anyway. If there’s nothing we women get more annoyed with, its skinny girls talking about how fat they are, meanwhile we are sitting here, obviously heavier than them, eating a burger. No, I am not trying to be that woman. Just talking about my personal story, and although I was and still am overweight, I try not to think of myself as “fat.”

Losing weight has NEVER been easy for me. I can exercise, but I am unwilling to change my diet much if at all, so when exercise doesn’t cut it (10% exercise/90% diet right?), I give up and feel even worse about myself. I like carbs, cheese, and sauces. Those are my vices. Plus I love to cook, it’s a creative outlet for me, and cooking some variation of chicken, again, gets old. When given the choice at a restaurant, I will always choose something I want instead of something healthy. Why pay for a salad when I can make that at home, right? It’s a real problem. I use food for comfort too. I have a hard time sitting and watching a tv show or movie without having something to snack on. I tend to break the golden rule of dieting by drinking my calories as well. Coke is like sweet nectar of the gods on my mouth. I could go on and on.

The point is, it has always been a problem, but a bigger problem is feeling down about myself. This is hard crap you guys. I hardly have time to dress myself and keep laundry washed, let alone to spend 2 hours of my day working out. Because let’s be honest, doing  45-minute work out is only a small part of it. For me, It means pumping, because, you know…jumping around and stuff, squeezing into a sports bra and still-too-small work out clothes, making sure the kid is asleep or otherwise occupied, doing the work-out, showering (maybe), and changing again. THAT’S LIKE HALF THE DAY YOU GUYS.

Ugh.

I do love the #MomBod movement over the past few weeks, and I am all over giving grace to moms to get their bodies back, but that doesn’t mean that I should just do nothing. I want to be able to run and play with my kids and get down on the floor and color without it hurting. I want to be able to…gosh just to wear MY OWN CLOTHES again. We like to paint a pretty picture of how beautiful childbirth is, but rarely do we have honest feelings about how hard and sucky it is to accept that our bodies will never be the same. I don’t want to feel like I am body-shaming or mom-shaming by saying that it is sucks to have stretch marks all over my body and to accept that it’s just how my body looks now. Or can we just talk about boobs? Or extra skin? Or just all of it?

I want to feel healthy and good about myself again. I want the fat in my face to go away so I can stop hating every single photo of me. And sure, there’s a part of me that needs to learn to love myself and my body more, but there’s another part that needs to suck it up, get her act together, and eat better.

All of this to say, I am on a diet. *Shudder.* Even I hate those words. I wish I could be one of those women that’s all “HAHA what’s a diet??” but no, I did not win the “Bounce-back-after-childbirth lottery,” and something’s gotta give. I don’t like diets. They rarely work and I never want to have to buy a bunch of shakes, drops, bands, wraps, and whatever other diet fad is going around now. Just no. I am doing the 17-day diet. I like it because it’s structured, but simple. I can have as much as I want of certain things, so I am never hungry, and it’s easy to wrap my mind around. I am down about 6 pounds since starting, and I am 2/3 of the way through cycle 1 (It consists of four 17-day cycles). That puts me at (crap is there still pride I need to swallow??) 174 currently. My goal is 140.

As far as eating out goes, that’s where Bryan comes in. I asked him to be in charge of my diet for the time being. He was all “Nope nope nope nope this is a trap nope.” But I talked him down and explained that I don’t have enough self-control to eat well, so could he please order for me at restaurants and slap chips out of my hand when necessary. He has been great so far! I think showing him that I wouldn’t fight him on it in the moment (bites tongue) really helped him to not feel like this was a lose-lose for him.

I may post updates as I go, but maybe not. I know this stuff isn’t exactly riveting, but it’s a big part of my life right now. Food is so hard for me that when I limit myself, it occupies roughly 97% of my thoughts. So I’m just trying to hang in there…for now.

Love, Alex

Ladies and Gentlemen…Well, really just mostly Ladies

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So when I was pregnant, I was of the “meet me in the parking lot with the epidural” camp as far as giving birth is concerned. I had friends that did all natural childbirth, and a part of me was happy for and proud of them, and part of me was sorry for them. Just keeping it real. Ripping my vagina open and feeling every bit of it did not seem like something I wanted any part of. So my “birth plan” consisted of “I go into labor. Bryan drives my panicking butt to Willow Creek. I check in, get epidural, and push out baby. I smile and cry at miracle. The end.”

God must have been all “HAHAHA that’s cute. Remember how your mom had preeclampsia, spent 22 hours in labor pushing and then the doctor told her that her pelvis didn’t do that? And remember how I created genetics?”

So yeah, NOTHING happened like it was supposed to. I got preeclampsia and was induced at 39 weeks and some change. I almost tied my mom’s labor record. He wasn’t a-comin’. At almost 22 hours, I was still only at a 5 and Grady was still a -3 station. (For those of you that don’t know what any of that means, it is a measure of cervical dilation and how far down into my lower extremities he was, respectively. The station starts at -4, so he had only moved one unit after all of those contractions.)

At long last, the doctor told me I would have to have a c-section. I was devastated. I felt like a failure. I was terrified. My mother’s fate had become mine. I cried, Bryan cried, my mom cried. We all know how well I deal with change, and I had been served a whole lot of it all at once. Laying on that table waiting to be cut open was one of the most out-of-control, least fun feelings I’ve ever experienced. But you guys, look what I got out of it.

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Wait, no. Bad example.

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That’s better.

I found myself becoming so thankful that I live in a day and age where my experience was possible. What if c-sections weren’t a thing, or if I lived in a place without access to the right equipment to do one? One or both of us may have died. And also, there are perks to having a baby extracted from me instead of pushed out of me. I didn’t poop in front of anyone, for one thing. There are others, I’m sure, but I was pretty psyched about the poop thing.

So when I was asked to do a tour of The Birth Center, I was skeptical. I had friends who went there for their pregnancies and childbirth, but what could they do for me? I mean, even if I wanted to participate, that ship had sailed, right?

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The founder of the Birth Center in Rogers, Cara, telling us all about it. She is an extremely educated, wise businesswoman who is passionate about women’s maternity health.

So wrong. What I imagined was a super crunchy, all natural, granola place was actually an incredibly modern, beautifully decorated, home-like place. Their 4 birthing rooms are set up like bedrooms I want to live in STAT. They have heated, vibrating, cleaning toilets, you guys. WARM TOILETS. I gave birth in December, you do the math. They also boast of low waiting room times. As someone who had to wait upwards of an hour at my appointments sometimes, I was all ears.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

Imma need to know where you got that bedding.

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Here is me striking an awkward pose during a tour to show off how nice their bathroom set up and decor is.

I have to pause here and give a shout-out to my friend Sarah, so I’m sure is thinking “I tried to tell you all of this, you jerk” right now. Sorry I didn’t listen, Sarah!

This was all fine and dandy…for other women. The ship had sailed, right? I had the scar that got me into the “no vaginal births unless you want to drive somewhere else to maybe, possibly, painfully make it work” club. Then I took a look at their exam room and found out that they do all-over women’s care. So basically, I can partake in the dreaded yearly in a fluffy robe in a warm environment instead of the alternative, which I feel no need to explain. They also do birth control care, will test for hormone levels, can give prescriptions for UTIs and stuff, and tons of other needs.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I mean, look at that. That just looks comfy. My friend Jacqueline actually put it on. I wanted to but am less brave than she is.

I loved my experience with Willow Creek, and will definitely go back IF I have another baby by growing it and not adopting it, but I am going to the Birth Center for my yearlys from now on. I didn’t expect to be sold, but man, it’s hard to say no to their amenities, especially when it’s just as, if not more affordable than traditional settings.

Above all, I love how empowering they are for women. They have somehow found a way to make you feel like a delicate flower and strong warrior all at the same time. And I love that.

Acorn Disclosure

You can find more info on The Birth Center in Rogers here. They are happy to answer all questions you may have and THEY DO FREE TOURS, y’all!

Love, Alex

Things That Stop Being a Thing in Pregnancy

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A lot has happened since my last pregnancy blog post.

I’m officially in my third trimester. So that happened. I’m not sure when, exactly. Because hasn’t it only been like 5 days? When I give birth tomorrow or something maybe I’ll figure out where the summer has gone.

I digress.

Also, my body has changed a lot. I knew it would. Like, logically in my mind I was all “I’m going to get fat and my boobs are going to get big and I’m going to get stretch marks. Now that all of this has happened, I still stand in the mirror like “Sigh. This is what I look like now I guess.”

What else? Oh! A lot of things have stopped being a thing. Seriously, as “duh” (you have to say it like Cher) as it seems, there are still times when I surprise myself with all the things I can’t do because pregnancy. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Agility. This doesn’t exist anymore. Bending over normally? Nope. Standing up without making noises and/or whining for help from whoever is nearest? Gone. Rolling over in bed without waking up your husband? HAHAHA. I’ve reached the point where I don’t even care that people are taking pity on me. There is no more “I’ve totally got this!” When I drop something on the floor, I just look down and wait. Like a diva. ASK ME HOW MUCH I CARE.

2. Normal and predictable hormones. A thing of the past. There’s so much crap going on in there that there is no telling when or how it will force its way out. Sometimes, it’s crying at a dogfood commercial. Sometimes, it’s getting irrationally angry at your spouse/whoever. This can be a bonus if you say, while yelling, that you know this is irrational and you just can’t help it. It doesn’t make it better, but somehow makes you feel justified. Sometimes, it’s that in-between thing where it’s like you’re crying but not really crying…just, tears are falling out of your face. This never happens conveniently. It’s always when you are about to have dinner with people or walk into church.

3. Holding your pee in. Whether it’s sneezing or coughing or because your little bundle of joy felt the need to suddenly kick you in the bladder, you have 5 seconds to get. to. the. bathroom. This is the only exception to the agility clause. Somehow, our lack of bladder control gives us the super-power to suddenly jump up lest we pee on ourselves. Which, let’s all admit it, has already happened, even if only a little bit. My favorite thing is when my body is all “YOU HAVE TO PEE RIGHT. NOW.” and then by some miracle you leap to your feet and make i to the bathroom and maybe produce a tablespoon of urine. Thanks for that baby.

4. Sex. It’s not that it’s not a thing anymore. It’s just a whole new thing. And we can just leave it at that. Feel me ladies?

5. Being unaware of your internal organs. Remember when the best you could do when pointing out where your organs were was to just do a swooping wave over an area and be like “uhhh, somewhere in here.”? Well now we can tell you exactly where stuff is. Because it gets kicked all the time. ALL THE TIME. I’d like to know what goes through random people’s heads when pregnant women suddenly jump or flinch around them. You guys: It’s because the human we’re about to squeeze out of ourselves has decided to prime our reflexes and pain tolerance by claiming our personal insides as their own punching bags. Who knew we even had that many things in us?!

6. Your entire body not looking like it was mauled by a tiger. Y’all. Try as I might, I have failed. Scratch that. Coconut oil has failed ME. Coconut oil, I thought we were friends. I rubbed you on me EVERY DAY and still you lost your battle against the stretch marks. How can I ever trust you again? Tell you what, when I look sexy in a bikini again, that’s when you will earn my trust back.

7. Peaceful Sleep. Whether it’s getting up to pee every 5 seconds, or attempting to roll over because your left side just can’t anymore, or because the miracle inside me has decided that this is the perfect time to practice gymnastics, sleeping through the night is like a unicorn or fairy or some other mystical creature these days. The other night, I woke up at 3:30 (to pee of course), tried to go back to sleep, then gave up after a few minutes. I got up to see if there was anything I could do around the house, quickly laughed at myself, got something to eat and drink, spilled my drink, scared the crap out of Bryan, cleaned it up, got back in bed, and watched 30 Rock until 6:30 when I finally fell back asleep. This is the new normal people.

8. Looking cute for more than an hour. Listen, I just can’t be bothered with things like jeans and jewelry anymore. Even if I will only be home for 30 minutes before leaving the house again, my uniform of sweatpants and Bryan’s t-shirt comes on. The grunting and effort of changing are totally worth it. Plus, it’s like a mini work out and that counts right? Of course it does. I have also mastered the art of how much “getting ready” I can do to just barely pass for not a psych ward escapee.

9. Remembering what it was like to not be pregnant. I know it wasn’t all that long ago, but I have forgotten what it was like to feel hungry in the normal area of my stomach, flex my abs without it looking suuuuper weird, and to bump into things without immediately thinking that a little person inside me also felt it. Maybe that’s just the forgetful preggo brain for ya.

10. All of the extra random stuff. Having a wedding ring that fits, walking like a human instead of a duck, sitting in one position for more than 1 minute. You know, all the things.

I’m told this will all be worth it in the end. After my epidural legs wear off and I’ve cried out the last of my pregnancy hormones, I’m praying that my body will EVENTUALLY return to normal. Only time will tell.